Check back at noon today for our preview of today’s North Carolina mayoral elections; we will also have a brief liveblog tonight.
AL-Sen: Here’s an unexpected wrinkle in the coming special election. Roy Moore’s son has just been booked into jail on criminal trespassing charges. The actual charges are relatively minor ($1,000 bail), but Roy Moore probably doesn’t want to be reminding Alabama voters that the “Law and Order” candidate has a child who’s been in jail 9 times.
CA-Sen: Bucking expectations, it seems like Diane Feinstein (D), will indeed run for re-election. Feinstein is the Senate’s oldest member and was widely considered to be retiring after 4 terms, but is liked well enough by CA Democrats that she should be able to effortlessly coast to another term. Still, this is probably net positive for the GOP, as it means that there’s a much better chance that we get one of the top-2 spots in a major statewide CA race next year, and Feinstein is almost certainly better than any prospective replacements for Conservatives.
ME-Sen: Steve Bannon is reportedly trying to recruit Ann LePage, wife to current Maine Governor Paul LePage, to run for Senate against Angus King (“I”). Ann has no political experience aside from being Maine’s First Lady, but has a good public profile that combines her husband’s salt-of-the-earth blue-collar attitude without his many eccentricities. Still, I see little reason to think King Angus is in any serious trouble with his sky-high approval ratings and “centrist” leanings, even if Trump did notably better in the state than most Republicans.
MO-Sen: After months of dallying about, Missouri AG Josh Hawley (R) has formally launched his bid for Senate. Hawley, who is still in his first year as AG, was a strong enough candidate to basically clear the field on nothing but rumors of his candidacy for one of the GOP’s best pickup opportunities in the Senate, and has emphasized his “unplanned candidacy” in his announcement. Recent polling has shown Hawley up narrowly in the match up.
TN-Sen: This is either unexpectedly good luck or the sign of a great political strategist planning this out in advance, but Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s announcement video got pulled from Twitter over its content. The parts in question involve Blackburn mentioning her role in banning the sale of fetus parts (which Twitter deems too “inflammatory” to put in a paid ad, wrap your head around that), but Blackburn has used the decision as a rallying cry for Conservatives to stand up to Silicon Valley censorship. There are certainly worse themes for a Senate campaign to take in a state like Tennessee, and if she wasn’t the strong favorite beforehand, she is now.
WY-Sen: GOP donor Foster S. Freiss is the latest to be looking at a longshot GOP primary challenge to an incumbent Senator, this time in Wyoming against John Barrasso. While not mentioning it outright, it is widely speculated that Bannon is actively trying to recruit Friess to run as a way of putting pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Barrasso is widely considered bulletproof in Wyoming, so an upset here would be Cantor-esque in terms of ripples throughout D.C.
Governor & States:
OH-Gov: Frank Luntz recently sat down with four GOP candidates looking to replace Ohio Governor John Kasich to talk issues. Lt. Gov Mary Taylor talked about how both of her sons being recovering opiate addicts has given her personal insight into the addiction crisis in the state, Congressman Jim Renacci talked about budget-cutting and passing right-to-work policies, Secretary of State Jon Husted talked about school choice and his life as an adopted child and single father, and Attorney General (and former Senator) Mike DeWine talked about Ohio’s exploding foster-care system due to the prevalence of drug-addicted parents.
VA-Gov-1: A poll from Christopher Newport University has Democrat Ralph Northam up on Republican Ed Gillespie 49-42, in line with most polls showing this as a mid-single-digits race. If Gillespie can’t shake this race up in the last few weeks, he needs to pray that the polling industry has herded around that result, because we’ve seen a remarkable amount of agreement from (almost) all polls on the state of the race. That would be ridiculous if something similar didn’t happen last cycle, when McAuliffe had a pretty consistent 6-7 point lead in the polls before only winning by 2% when NOVA finally came in.
VA-Gov-2: The United Mine Workers Union has endorsed Northam for Governor. The endorsement will probably help Northam hold down the GOP’s margins in the Western Virginia Coal mining areas that have trended strongly Republican lately at the federal level but are much more receptive to Democrats running statewide.
PA-18: State Rep Rick Saccone (R) has, as expected, formally dropped his bid for Senate and is instead running for this soon-to-be-open seat covering most of Pittsburgh’s Southern and Eastern Suburbs.
SC-5: Archie Parnell, the Democrat who missed picking up this red seat by 3 points in a special election a few months ago, is running for it again. It is highly likely that his second attempt will be less impressive than his first, as the low turnout race was heavily overshadowed by the media-hogging GA-6 contest one state over, and the higher overall midterm turnout will probably give him a much less favorable electorate next November.
Local & Others:
Allentown-Mayor: This is a nice piece detailing the . . . complicated race for Allentown’s mayor this year. Who is going to win, the 3-term incumbent Democrat under federal investigation for corruption, or the Democrat-turned-Republican upstart looking to win a low-turnout affair in the strongly Democratic city?
1972: Some Democrats are having serious 1972 flashbacks when looking at the 2020 race. There are certainly some comparisons to be had, with radical left-wing insurgents being denied their choice of presidential candidates only to watch the “safe” establishment candidate go on to narrowly lose to a Right-wing Populist, and demanding more control over the nomination process and direction of the party in response. Basically Democrats are worried the BernieBros are too left-wing for the American electorate, and might wind up throwing Trump another term by default in the same way that nominating the left-wing McGovern gave Nixon a landslide win in 1972 despite middling popularity. There is one key difference however, in that Trump is nowhere near as intelligent a political candidate as Nixon was, and might be capable of losing the election regardless.
Weinstein: This story isn’t directly election-related per-se, but fits nicely into Trump’s narrative that the media is unfairly gunning for him and protecting the Democrats, so people are talking about it. Basically disgraced womanizer (and major Democratic fundraiser) Harvey Weinstein’s conduct was first brought to the attention of the New York Times in . . . .2004, only for them to quickly bury the story for more than a decade. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Trump twitterstorm about how the “Failing New York Times lied and covered up stories to protect the Democrats and their cronies” in the near future.