Welcome to today’s tardy roundup!
NV-Sen: Perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian has announced a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Dean Heller. The concerning thing here is that a recent poll found Tarkanian would lead Heller in a head-to-head matchup, 38%-34% (yes, a ton of undecideds from a not very venerable pollster, so salt!). Not a good development for Republicans in arguably the most likely to flip seat this Senate cycle. Meanwhile, a McConnell-linked Super PAC is set to flood the zone for Heller.
AL-Sen: Like our own survey of the race, a JMC Analytics poll finds former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore leading appointed Sen. Luther Strange and Rep. Mo Brooks. However, in this poll Brooks is closer to the rest of the pack, with Moore on top with 30% and Strange and Brooks trailing with 22% and 19%, respectively.
CT-Sen: After Sen. Richard Blumenthal voiced support for investigating possible Russian collusion in the last presidential election, President Trump laid into the Connecticut Democrat via his preferred medium of Twitter. Trump is probably one of the worst possible messengers here, calling Blumenthal a “phony Vietnam con artist” despite his own questionable Vietnam War draft deferments. Maybe Blumenthal will get a nice fundraising bump from being attacked by Trump, although he doesn’t have a reelection until 2022.
MN-Gov: Former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R) is considering a run for Governor. Koch was seen as something of a rising star until her 2011 affair with a Republican operative, which resulted in her ouster from leadership. Since then Koch became a lobbyist, hosts a popular bipartisan podcast, and owned a bowling alley (random assortment, I know!). Anyway, Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R) is the leader of a pack of lesser-known candidates at the moment, although people are waiting on House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt’s decision as well.
WI-Gov: State Rep. Dana Wachs (D) is running against Gov. Scott Walker (R) for Governor. Wachs joins businessman Andy Gronik in the Democratic primary, although a number of other Democrats including State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and Wisconsin Schools Superintendent Tony Evers are also considering runs. Wachs apparently plans to partially self-fund the bid.
TN-Gov: State Rep. and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh is running for Governor or Tennessee, setting up a contested Democratic statewide primary. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) is already running. One major fissure might be school choice, where Fitzhugh is more aligned with traditional unions and Dean supported charter schools as mayor. A Republican is still highly likely to win here, with Rep. Diane Black, House Speaker Beth Harwell, and State Sen. Mae Beavers as the most prominent GOP candidates in the race.
UT-3: Once-relevant Sarah Palin has endorsed Tanner Ainge in the Utah special congressional election to fill former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ seat in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, the Club for Growth has chosen State Rep. Chris Herrod for the primary. The CfG has the ability to throw serious money in this race, unlike Palin nowadays.
TX-23: Rep. Will Hurd (R) got his first viable Democratic opponent last week, former Air Force intelligence officer and US Trade Representative staffer Gina Ortiz Jones. Former Rep. Pete Gallego (D) is still considering a run, but it is unclear if the field will clear for him in this anti-Trump political cycle and coming off a defeat at Hurd’s hands..