Last night in St. Petersburg, Ex-Mayor Rick Baker (R) performed considerably worse than expected, tying incumbent Rick Kriseman (D) at 48. The race will head to a November runoff.
AL-Sen: Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) picked up an endorsement last weekend from State Sen. Trip Pittman (R). Pittman, an antiestablishment conservative who came in fourth in the primary, has a base in the Mobile area. Moore is currently leading polls of the runoff with appointed incumbent Luther Strange (R).
More AL-Sen: However, the polling picture has been loking slightly better for Strange recently. Harper has Moore leading him just 47-45 and Strange’s allies in the Senate Leadership Fund put out a poll showing him down to Moore 45-41. These polls are far better for Strange than some prior surveys showing him down by a margin well into the double-digits.
AZ-Sen: Newly-pardoned ex-Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) is, at 85, considering a run for the US Senate seat of Sen. Jeff Flake (R). There are reasons to be skeptical though: Arpaio, a serial publicity hound, has floated his name for just about every statewide race in the last two decades. Flake also got some bad news from JMC Analytics Monday, as a new poll shows him trailing ex-State Sen. and 2016 candidate Kelli Ward (R) 47-21; however, there may be reasons to be skeptical as the poll was only of Republicans and AZ has semi-open primaries.
FL-Sen: A Florida Atlantic University poll has Sen. Bill Nelson (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R) just 42-40, a smaller margin than most polls have shown. Scott has not declared his candidacy but is near-universally expected to challenge Nelson in what will be a hard-fought and expensive race.
NV-Sen: Sen. Dean Heller (R) has an internal from Tarrance to rebut that JMC Analytics Poll showing him down from a few days ago. In his internal he leads perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (R) 55-33. Not exactly a sterling performance for an internal but certainly better than the alternative.
AK-Gov: Ex-Sen. Mark Begich (D) is considering a run for Governor, which would throw a major wrench in some Democrats’ plans to back incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) for a second term as the race’s de facto Democrat. Begich could have a significant reservoir of discontent on the left to tap into; State Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D) says he is looking for a liberal candidate to challenge Walker and will run himself if no one emerges. However, a Democrat running against Walker runs the sizeable risk of splitting the center and center-left vote in the red state and handing the race easily to the GOP with a plurality. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) is in the race for Republicans, and several others are considering.
MA-Gov, MA-LG: State Rep. Paul Mark (D) is rumored to be testing the waters on a bid for Lt. Governor or Governor. Mark, a Bernie supporter who hails from the Berkshires at the western end of the state, would join Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D), Gov. Patrick admin official Jay Gonzalez (D), and 1994 LG nominee Bob Massie (D) in the Gov primary; no notable candidates have declared for the shotgun-wedding LG primary. The primary winners will face popular Gov. Charlie Baker (R) and LG Karyn Polito (R) in the general.
CO-5: The primary to take on Rep. Doug Lamborn (R), a generic backbencher whose poor political skills have netted him chronic primary troubles, is getting even more crowded. Colorado Springs councilman Tom Strand (R) has indicated he plans to enter the race next month. Strand joins State Sen. Owen Hill (R) and El Paso County commissioner and 2016 Senate nominee Darryl Glenn (R) in the GOP primary. Strand’s entry is probably music to the ears of the incumbent, as the odds of Lamborn’s challengers butting heads and allowing the incumbent to squeak through with a plurality have gone up significantly.
IA-3: Pete D’Allesandro (D), Bernie’s Iowa campaign manager, will run for the light-red house seat of Rep. David Young (R). D’Allesandro joins several other little-known Dems in the race but could easily emerge as the primary front-runner if he can tap into Sanders’s network.
NY-27: The House Ethics Committee has extended its review of Rep. Chris Collins’s (R) financial transactions, and will announce a decision by mid-October. Collins allegedly helped friends and colleagues buy shares in a pharmaceutical company at below-market prices.
TX-16: A pair of Democrats have announced their campaigns for the deep-blue open seat of Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D). El Paso CE Veronica Escobar (D) kicked off her run last week, and probably starts the race as the front-runner, as she represents the entire district. School board member Dori Fenenbock (D) also announced her campaign last weekend; she will resign her school board seat to focus on her campaign.
UT-1: Rep. Rob Bishop (R) has pledged to retire in 2020 if he wins re-election to a ninth term. Bishop has never been seriously challenged for his deep-red seat covering the northern Salt Lake City suburbs and rural northern part of the state.
State & Local:
DE-AG: AG Matt Denn (D) surprisingly announced he would not seek a second term yesterday. Denn, a former LG and Insurance Commissioner, was generally talked about in terms of when, not if, he would climb Delaware’s political ladder. Instead, Denn will retire in 2018 to pursue private sector employment, citing burnout at the grueling campaign lifestyle.
FL-AG: State Rep. Jay Fant (R) is attempting to stake out a position as the most conservative candidate in this race. Establishment support and the endorsement of incumbent Pam Bondi (R) has largely passed Fant by in favor of retired judge Ashley Moody (R). To remain relevant, Fant is hoping to cast himself as the most conservative candidate, as well as to receive at least implicit support from Gov. Rick Scott (R), with whom he has had a good relationship. Little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D) is in the race on the Dem side.
GA-LG: State Rep. Geoff Duncan (R) will resign his legislative seat to focus on a bid for LG. State Sen. David Shafer (R) is considered the front-runner for the open seat, with Sen. Rick Jeffares (R) also in the race.
KS-SoS: State Rep. Scott Schwab (R) will run for SoS, joining fellow State Rep. Keith Esau (R) and KSGOP chair Kelly Arnold (R) in the race. Schwab seems to be the only moderate of the three candidates in the race so far, giving him a clear lane on one side of the KSGOP’s moderate/conservative chasm. Incumbent Kris Kobach (R) is running for Governor.
VA-AG: AG Mark Herring (D) is surprisingly launching a negative ad against his little-known challenger, former prosecutor John Adams (R). The ad hits some of Adams’s corporate legal work. The launch of the ad is more than a little surprising as Herring was not expected to have a competitive race against his little-known opponent, and could backfire by raising Adams’s name recognition.
NJ-State House: State Rep. Craig Coughlin (D) has secured the support of the Essex County delegation for Speaker. The move means Coughlin has the votes to oust incumbent Speaker Vincent Prieto (D) next year.