Weekend Open Thread for October 13-15, 2017

Happy Friday. Please check back tomorrow at 9p ET for our liveblog of the Louisiana races – until then HERE is our preview of this weekend’s elections across Louisiana (and international races in Austrial and Kyrgyzstan). Now this week’s questions –

1. THIS is an interesting article that argues that part of the reason for the nastiness in our current political climate is how divorced politics has become from the actual work of governing. Is there a way for the political discussion to circle back to more relevant issues from the current state of ceaseless kulturkampf?

2. If you were running for something and could have any one living person make a campaign appearance for you, who do you pick?

And because it’s the weekend we give you what would happen if the graphic designers staged a coup HERE.


Political Roundup for October 13, 2017


MT-Sen: In an unusual twist, a husband and wife have both joined the race for US Senate, with each running in separate primaries. James Dean, a financial advisor is running in the Republican primary, while Sarah Dean, a fashion designer is running in the Democratic primary. Neither has ever run for political office before. Sarah Dean is the first Democrat to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the primary, while James Dean joins state Sen. Al Olszewski (R), State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) and businessmen Troy Downing and Ron Murray in the Republican primary. Yellowstone County district judge Russell Fagg, who retires from the bench today, is also considering running in the Republican primary.

TN-Sen: Ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) is seriously considering joining the GOP primary for Senate. Fincher, who retired last year after serving 3 terms in the House, recognizes the uphill battle he would seem to have against Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), but he says he’s used to a challenge. One point in his favor is that he has $2.3 million leftover in his campaign account from his runs for Congress that he could use for a Senate run. He says he plans to make a decision soon, but didn’t give a specific date.

UT-Sen: Boyd Matheson, head of the Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based conservative think tank, and former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee (R), is considering running against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), if Hatch runs for re-election. Matheson met with former White House strategist Steve Bannon in Washington last week about the possibility of running. Bannon said Matheson had set up an exploratory committee for a possible run, although Matheson said there is currently no such committee and there is no specific deadline when he plans to announce a possible run.


CA-36: Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a former soap opera actress who now is an avocado grower and also owns an interior design company, is running for Congress as a Republican. Pelzer, who appeared on the soap operas “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” spoke in support of Donald Trump at last year’s Republican National Convention. Former Palm Springs TV news anchor Dan Ball has also discussed a possible run as a Republican as well. Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) is running for re-election.

FL-6: As Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) decides whether to run for re-election or possibly run for governor, one candidate isn’t waiting for DeSantis to decide. John Ward, a multi-millionaire business investor and Navy veteran has announced he is running in the Republican primary as a pro-Trump outsider. Nancy Soderberg, a former National Security Council official and an Ambassador at the United Nations for the Clinton Administration is running as a Democrat.

GA-6: Former Atlanta TV news anchor Bobby Kaple is planning to run for Congress as a Democrat. Kaple says he left his job last month as a morning and noon news anchor for the local CBS affiliate in preparation for a run. Jon Ossoff (D), who lost to Rep. Karen Handel (R) in a June special election has not decided whether to run again. Kaple says he plans to run whether or not Ossoff does-and points out he resides in the district, unlike Ossoff.

MT-AL: State Rep. Tom Woods (D) has joined the Democratic primary for Congress. Woods is the first candidate with political experience to run, joining attorney John Heenan and nonprofit director Grant Kier in the Democratic primary.

NM-2: Andrew Salas, former adjutant general of the New Mexico National Guard, is running for the Republican nomination for Congress. He joins a race without a clear frontrunner after the recent surprising departure of state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, Jr. (R) from the race to replace Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who is running for governor. Also running in the Republican primary are state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R), former Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman, and pharmacist Jack Volpato. Salas is making his first bid for political office, although his wife Martha Salas is currently chairwoman of the Socorro County Board of Commissioners.

PA-8: Lawyer Dean Malik is challenging Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) in the Republican primary. Malik planned to run in 2016, but says he was pushed aside and forced to drop out after Fitzpatrick joined the race to fill the seat left open by his brother, former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R). Malik is criticizing Fitzpatrick for not being supportive enough of President Trump’s agenda.

PA-11: Businessman Andrew Lewis has announced he is running for the Republican nomination for this open seat. He joins state Rep. Stephen Bloom (R) and former state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser in the GOP primary. Also, Denny Woolf, former state agriculture secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell (D) from 2003-2009 has put his name in for the Democratic nomination. Woolf joins Air Force veteran Alan Howe in the Democratic primary.

Governor & state offices:

IL-Gov: The first Democrat to run for governor has become the first major candidate to drop out. Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar (D) has left the race, citing fundraising difficulties. Pawar’s exit could help state Sen. Daniel Biss (D), with whom Pawar had been battling for support from progressives and supporters of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Businessmen J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy are battling for support from the establishment, Hillary Clinton-supporting wing of the party. Although Biss could benefit from his support, Pawar says he has no plans to endorse any of the other candidates at this time. but won’t rule it out later.

ME-Gov: State Sen. Mark  Dion (D) is joining the most crowded primary race in the country, for the Democratic nomination for governor. Dion is also a former 3 term sheriff of Cumberland County, which includes the state’s largest city of Portland. He is one of 10 Democrats running in the primary-other major candidates include AG Janet Mills (D), state Sen. James Boyle (D) and former state House Speaker Mark Eves (D). Sen. Susan Collins (R) is expected to announce today whether she will join the list of Republicans running. Republicans already in the race are former state Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew, State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) and state House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R).

MD-Gov: Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a consulting firm owner, is joining the very crowded Democratic primary for governor. Although Cummings is a political novice herself, she has a well-known last name as the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D). Cummings is the 8th person to run for the Democratic nomination to face Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Other major candidates running include Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz (D), state Sen. Richard Madaleno (D), and former NAACP head Benjamin Todd Jealous.

RI-Gov: Former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson (D) is challenging Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) in the Democratic primary. Dickinson recognizes that his bid is a longshot, but wants to provide competition to the governor and provide an alternative. If he doesn’t win the nomination, he says he would be inclined to support Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) if he runs again and wins the Republican nomination.

FL-AG: State Rep. Frank White (R) is considering running for Attorney General. White is in his first term in the Florida House. Two other Republicans are already in the race-former state Rep. Jay Fant (R) and former Hillsborough County District Judge Ashley Moody. Both have already begun fundraising and  have raised six figure sums.


2017 LA Primary Preview

Louisiana has its off-year primary election on Saturday; of course, all races use the Louisiana Rules Top Two jungle primary format, with a runoff scheduled for mid-November if no one crosses 50%. At stake is a special election for the Treasurer seat and one of five districts on the Public Service Commission, as well as the mayoral race in New Orleans. There are also elections abroad this weekend in Austria and Kyrgyzstan. Polls in Louisiana close at 9ET Saturday and we will have a brief liveblog.

LA-Treasurer: The big election this week is the special election for Treasurer, to replace now-Sen. John Kennedy (R). Appointed incumbent Ron Henson (R), who was Kennedy’s deputy and took over for the interim, is not seeking the seat. Four notable candidates, one Democrat and three Republicans, are running in this year’s special.

Derrick Edwards

Attorney Derrick Edwards (D) is certain to come in first, by virtue of being the only serious Democrat. Edwards is an interesting candidate; he is a quadriplegic who overcame his disability to get a law degree. However, Edwards has not shown any signs of fundraising (he had a total of $667 in his most recent campaign report) or running a serious campaign, meaning that the state’s Democratic establishment is giving him essentially no real support. CW is that he will come in first by a large margin – and then lose the runoff by a large margin to any of the three serious Republicans. Thus, the real contest is which Republican will advance to the second round with Edwards. And though the race is looking close to a three-way tossup, it’s one of the less interesting competitive statewide elections we’ve seen, as the three Republicans are more similar than different. All three would qualify as experienced, well-funded, relatively establishment-leaning mainstream conservatives, meaning this race is mainly differentiated on personality and geography. The three Republicans did not help themselves by hoarding their cash until the last moment, meaning all three are still little-known and turnout is likely to be rock-bottom.

John Schroder

State Rep. John Schroeder (R) represents a conservative district on the North Shore of Lake Ponchartrain and looks like the very nominal front-runner. He has led the field in fundraising by a significant margin, aided by his resigning his seat to focus on the campaign. Schroeder is a mainstream conservative and likely to have a base in the high-turnout New Orleans suburbs. He placed second in the only independent poll of the race, though that was back in August before all three candidates went up with TV ads, and has more recently released an internal showing him in second to Edwards as well. However, it’s an open question how much use polling is in this race, as all polls have shown the three Republicans taking low vote shares and tightly bunched.

Angele Davis

Jindal Admin official Angele Davis (R) is second in fundraising. Davis is attempting to cast herself as the most vocal Trumpist in the field. (In a sign of how toxic Jindal still is, Davis takes great pains to hide her involvement in his administration in her campaign material.) Davis, the only candidate from the Baton rouge area, has put out internals showing her in second to Edwards just as Schroeder has. She has also put out an ad with the endorsement of popular former Gov. Mike Foster (R), whom she also worked for.

Neil Riser

Finally, State Sen. Neil Riser (R) represents a rural seat in the northeast part of the state; he is likely to run up the margin in rural northern areas. Riser has also made an unorthodox but potentially good choice strategically; he has put in more attention to flipping Democrats in New Orleans (who are likely to be high-turnout because of the mayoral race) than his rivals, meaning he may be able to make the runoff on crossover votes. All three candidates are well-funded and have been trading barbs, and overall this race for second looks like something close to a 3-way Tossup. Two non-serious candidates, one Republican and one Libertarian, are also in the race. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

LA-PSC-2: Louisiana’s Public Service Commission is a 5-member body that currently breaks down as 3R-2D. The 2nd district is up for a special election this year. The seat looks like a larger version of the congressional LA-6, covering essentially the entire Baton Rouge area save the black-majority north side of Baton Rouge proper, plus most of Lafayette and the Houma area to the south. It has a PVI of ~R+23 (2008). This year, three Republicans are running for the seat, but they are of very different persuasions. The seat is up this year as prior incumbent Scott Angelle (R) was tapped for a Trump administration job, and three Republicans are facing off. This field looks depressingly weak, as evidenced by the fact that the front-runner for the seat is a former legislator who was embarrassed in a State House race just two years ago.

Lenar Whitney

Ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R) has the official GOP endorsement and looks like the overall front-runner, though she has generally been regarded as a political lightweight. She won a State House seat in 2011 and ran an underwhelming campaign for LA-6 in 2014, before losing her re-election bid in 2015 by a large margin to a more centrist Republican. Whitney is a staunch antiestablishment conservative who relishes casting herself in the Palin/Bachmann bomb-thrower mold; pundit David Wasserman once called her “the most frightening candidate” he ever interviewed. Of course, having media against her is an asset in this district, especially when Whitney’s conservative credentials run laps around her two rivals.

Damon Baldone

If Whitney’s brew of conservatism is distinctly on the strong side, her rivals err on the opposite side; both of them can quite reasonably be described as RINOs. Gov. Jon Bel Edwards (D) tapped ex-State Rep. Damon Baldone (R) as the appointed interim incumbent. Baldone served as a Democratic State Rep, and was Whitney’s predecessor. Like Whitney, he is generally regarded as a weak candidate and political leightweight. Baldone once notably tried to get himself listed on the ballot as both a Democrat and a Republican; he also was acknowledged to have participated in the affair-setup site Ashley Madison, and has had a $4M judgement against him in a business deal. This year, Baldone apparently got the appointment by misleading Edwards into thinking he wouldn’t run for election, but then filed to run, switching to the GOP in the process. Edwards pointedly withheld an endorsement of Baldone.

Craig Greene

As Edwards has not been hesitant to support RINOs for various offices, it seems possible that his real choice in the race is surgeon Craig Greene (R). Greene, whose father was a legislator a generation ago, is closely tied to ex-LG and Edwards admin official Jay Dardenne (R). Greene is a Dardenne-style moderate who publicly endorsed Edwards in 2015. By resume Greene seems to be stronger than his rivals, but the Edwards endorsement is a big stone around his neck in such a conservative district. Additionally, Baldone’s name recognition may usurp Greene’s claim on the more moderate vote and box Greene out of the runoff. Overall, Whitney looks like the clear front-runner; it would be shocking if Whitney did not come in first and she may have a chance to win without a runoff. If Whitney comes in below 50, either Greene or Baldone has a chance to advance with her, and the results in the first round (specifically, how far below 50 Whitney comes in) could be informative as to who has the advantage in the second round. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

New Orleans-Mayor: New Orleans is coextensive with Orleans Parish (County); it has a population of 400K that breaks down as roughly 60% Black and 30% White. It has a PVI of D+32 (2016). New Orleans has three major socioeconomic groups: upper-income whites, particularly in the city’s northwest and around Tulane, low-income blacks in the central part of the city, and middle-class blacks in the suburban New Orleans East and Algiers neighborhoods. 18(!) candidates are in the race this year, but only five are notable, all Dems. There are three front-runners in the race, all of whom are well-known black establishment liberals who have split establishment support. Retired judge Desiree Charbonnet (D) has led the race in fundraising. Charbonnet is a longtime local pol who received national buzz on the bench as one of the first judges to try sentencing-reform initiatives. She is running as a mainstream liberal, and probably has the strongest establishment support, particularly from unions. Charbonnet also has a big endorsement from US Rep. Cedric Richmond (D), who represents the bulk of the city. City councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (D) is probably the most left-wing major candidate in this field, though she is still a mainstream liberal and not all that far left of her rivals. She has strong name recognition from representing a fifth of the city on the council, as well as some establishment support. Retired judge and 2014 candidate Michael Bagneris (D) is the most moderate of the three major candidates, though again the differences are quite slight. He has name recognition from his run against incumbent Mitch Landrieu (D) four years ago as well as significant establishment support. Two other candidates are worth a mention; while both are long-shots to make a runoff they will probably draw a few points each. Businessman and 2010 candidate Troy Henry (D) is also running a serious campaign; like the three other candidates he is a mainstream liberal. Though he may get a few points, he trails his three rivals in establishment support and doesn’t have an obvious point of differentiation; as a result, most polls have him in single-digits. Conversely, there is also a sideshow in businessman Frank Scurlock (D), the only major white candidate in the race and the only one with his own ideological lane. A former Republican, Sculock is now running as a DINO and his signature issue is a staunch defense of Confederate monuments. Scurlock has self-funded considerably (he owns a national moon-bounce business) and he may get a few points with his conservative platform. However, he has major liabilities (including being charged for masturbating in an Uber) that mean he is unlikely to get more than a couple points.. Overall, this race looks like close to a pure 3-way Tossup between Cantrell, Charbonnet, and Bagneris, with any two able to advance to a runoff. Because the three are so similar, any pairing will be competitive in the runoff.

Legislative Specials: There are also two legislative seats up. LA-LD-58 is a D+21 (2016) rural seat along the Mississippi River near Donaldsonville. St. James Parish commissioner Ken Brass (D), 2015 candidate Miguel Aubert (D), businesswoman Adrienne Ricard-Cornish (D), and engineer Alsie Dunbar (D) are running; all seem serious and any two could advance to a runoff. LA-LD-77 is an R+30 (2016) seat in exurbs around Covington on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Three Republicans, antiestablishment-leaning 2014/16 US Senate candidate Rob Manness (R), Covington councilman Mark Wright (R), and judge Casey Revere (R), are in the race. One “Independent” (really a Dem in all but name), attorney Lisa Condrey-Ward (I), is also in the race. CW is that Manness is the strong favorite due to his name recognition, and could even wrap it up today. But any of the other three (particularly Wright, who has some local establishment support and name rec) may be able to join him in a runoff.

International Races:

Austria: Austria has its general election on Sunday; the Alpine nation has a population of 8.8M and a land area roughly the size of South Carolina. Austria has one of the first world’s more complicated electoral systems: the 183 members of the legislature are elected by proportional representation in two layers: one set of multi-member constituencies based on the 9 states, and another set of 39 smaller districts. The constituencies are multi-member and there is a threshhold of 4% for representation from a given constituency. Austria has a complicated multi-party system that belies how stable the country’s politics are: the two largest parties habitually form Grand Coalitions and have historically amiably divided the spoils of government between them, more often than not rendering elections all but irrelevant. The current government is headed by the Socialists (SPO), a fairly standard social-democratic party. Polling suggests that they are around 25% and will lose their position as the top party to their coalition partners, the center-right People’s Party (OVP), a pro-business, pro-Europe centrist-to-mildly-conservative group similar to Germany’s CDU. The OVP is currently polling around 33%. Historically, the main opposition has been the Freedom Party (FPO). The FPO is arguably the most mainstream and most successful of Western Europe’s nationalist-populist parties, being a junior partner in an OVP government in the early 2000s and getting 46% in last year’s presidential election. The FPO is polling around 25% and may be able to beat out the SPO for the second spot. Ideologically, it is probably one of the worlds Trumpiest parties, combining relatively free-market (for Europe) fiscal policies with moderate nationalism. While the SPO and OVP have not been eager to work with the FPO per se, they have not ruled it out. Importantly, after a recent change in leadership, the OVP in particular seems to be more keen to form a coalition with the FPO than the SPO. The fourth-largest party is the Greens, who are more moderate than most Green Parties and of a distinctly mainstream center-left nature on non-environmental issues. The Greens scored a major victory last year with the election of President Alexander Vanderbellen. However, they are in no position to capitalize on that, as a leadership dispute has caused the party to split in two, with the competing Pilz List taking about half the Greens’ votes; both are polling around 5%. There are also two more parties who will likely get parliamentary representation: the Economist-style liberal NEOS, who are polling around 5%, and the Freedom Party of Salzburg (FLO), a splinter group of the FPO based in Salzburg, who may take a few seats there. Overall, the OVP is set to take over as the largest party, and CW seems to be betting on them shaking things up by forming a coalition with the FPO rather than the SPO this time. However, another grand coalition (with the OVP in the lead rather than the SPO) should not be discounted as a possibility.

Kyrgyzstan: The central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan is holding a presidential election on Sunday as well. Kyrgyzstan is a post-soviet nation of 5.7M, largely ethnic Kyrgyz and Muslim. By the low standards of its global neighborhood, Kyrgyzstan is a fairly democratic nation, with seriously-contested elections. I am totally unqualified to discuss the dynamics of this race, but the two front-runners appear to be Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who is backed by the incumbent government, and Omurbek Banbanov, who is backed by the government of neighboring Kazakhstan.


Political Roundup for October 12th, 2017

Check back at 3p ET this afternoon for our preview of this weekend’s Louisiana Primaries.


Murphy: Alas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) will go on raising money off gun control and not run for President. Of course this early is like the beginning of a spy movie where you have to trust nobody because the premise sets up people going back on their word.


CA-Sen: Billionaire environmentalist financier Tom Steyer (D) is looking at a challenge of Sen. Diane Feinstein from the left. California’s top-two primary opens the door to these kind of intra-party challenges destined to take place among a general election electorate. Meanwhile, far-left Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) has declined to run for Senate against Dianne Feinstein, an institution in California politics, despite the urging of fellow Rep. Rho Khanna. State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D) also looks like a no at a campaign against Feinstein from the left. Feinstein has already racked up endorsements from a wide range of Democratic officials since announcing her reelection on Monday, including LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Sen. Kamala Harris.

AL-Sen: Roy Moore (R) previously said he drew no salary from his work with his charity “The Foundation for Moral Law;” however, he collected over $1 million from the organization over five years. Incredibly, when the organization couldn’t afford the salary they gave him a stake in a historic building they own. The organization also had two of his children on the payroll at one point. Moore faces former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) in this special election.

NJ-Sen: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) may yet squirm out of his dicey legal situation.


MI-Gov: State Sen. Pat Colbeck (R) has been stripped of all his committee assignments since launching a gubernatorial bid. Apparently the harsh move was in response to Colbeck appearing at a fundraiser in Senate Majority Leader Arian Meekhof’s district without notifying the rival politician. Seems like a minor faux pas compared to the severity of the response. Colbeck is running to the right in this race and will likely be overshadowed in the Republican primary by Attorney General Bill Schuette and the possible bid of Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley.

TN-Gov: After the House passed her budget bill, Rep. Diane Black (R) can take a victory lap and focus on her gubernatorial bid in this open seat. She is holding onto her committee chairmanship as budget negotiations continue with the Senate.


PA-13: Rep. Brendan Boyle (D) suddenly became many Republicans’ favorite congressman when he recently opined on the sport of soccer. “Run around for 90 minutes.
Flop when barely touched. Score 1 goal at most. Do I got it?,” Boyle tweeted, adding a winky face before he concluded the diatribe.

MN-8: Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL) is on the receiving end of a primary challenge from FBI counterterrorism analyst Leah Phifer. Phifer doesn’t sound overtly liberal on a lot of issues, but she is on one key issue in the 8th: the Polymet mining project. Nolan is liberal, but even he is not brazen enough to vote that far against his district. Phifer’s take on this issue could drive a nice wedge in the primary, and the race already has Green Skip Sandman returning for a repeat third party campaign to split those votes in the general. St Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber (R) is running on the Republican side in this swingy, Lean D seat. More from Aaron Brown.

NH-1: John DiStaso analyzes the newly open swing seat here, where real political junkies were starved of another Guinta v Shea-Porter matchup. Democrats interested in the seat include: former Somersworth mayor and former Strafford County attorney Lincoln Soldati and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D), and State Reps. Mark McKenzie (D) and Mindi Messmer (D).

NH-2: State Rep. Steve Negron (R) has picked up some legislative endorsements out of Nashua, which makes it sound like the outcome of his “exploring” this race is pretty likely.

State and Local

MI-Leg: Former State Rep. and felon Brian Banks (D)just resigned his seat last February over his latest charges, so naturally he is now…. running for a promotion to State Senate? Some politicians have some grand audacity.

TX-leg: A few updates.

  • HD-128: State Rep. Briscoe Cain received a boost to his reelection when Black Lives Matter shut down a speech of his at Texas Southern University, giving the conservative facing a Republican primary challenge from Baytown City Councilman Terry Sain a nice bogeyman to campaign against.
  • SD-13: State Sen. Borris Miles(D) survived an armed robbery last night.
  • HD-6: House leadership may have found a candidate to take on Freedom Caucus member Matt Schaefer in former State Rep. Ted Kamel of Tyler.

NH-Leg: Gov. Sununu (R) plans to nominate Speaker Shawn Jasper (R) to be the Commissioner of Agriculture, leaving a gaping hole for House leadership. Jasper would resign once confirmed for the post. Remember, Jasper has dueled a conservative insurgency since usurping his present post, so the move is sure to create a competitive race for a replacement.


Political Roundup for October 11th, 2017

After President Trump singlehandedly redefined the IQ bell curve yesterday in proving his vast intellectual superiority to Rex Tillerson, Mensa proudly folded up its operations. It had a good run, but the defunct organization knows the country is in the most capable hands.

Last night, Republicans held FL-LD-44, while the following combinations advanced in mayoral elections in North Carolina:
Raleigh: Nancy McFarlane (I) 49 – Charles Francis (D) 37
Greensboro: Nancy Vaughan (D) 61 – Diane Moffett (D) 22
Durham: Steve Schewel (D) 51 – Farad Ali (D) 29
Fayetteville: Mitch Colvin (D) 45 – Nat Robertson (R) 32


Duh: The failing New York Times shares the obvious: ultra mature President Donald Trump’s super not petty and totally provoked fight with outgoing US Senator and Liddle Man Bob Corker (R) isn’t endangering his legislative agenda.

Big, Beautiful Wall: Speaking of the American Great Wall… According to the very dishonest AP, many people are saying that they don’t like the Donald’s proposed wall. They also disapprove of his plan to deport the “dreamers.”

Chicago Demographics: According to The Economist, without the Big, Beautiful Wall soon to Make America Great Again, Hispanics have eclipsed African-Americans to become Chicago’s second-largest ethnic group. Until recently, they were long ignored by the C[r]ook County Democratic machine.

God’s Waiting Room: The Wall Street Journal reports that real estate developers are looking to shake Boca Raton, Florida’s reputation as “God’s waiting room.” Given the perennial swing state’s very troubling age gap, these sorts of things are always worth keeping an eye on, especially when they reflect potential larger trends.

Russians and Fake News: The New York Times highlights the ingenious method by which clever, Russian-run accounts fanned the flames of controversy on both sides in 2016: anger. This quote really says it best: “One of the most powerful weapons that Russian agents used to reshape American politics was the anger, passion, and misinformation that real Americans were broadcasting across social media platforms.”

GA-Redistrict: Sore loser and ex-US AG Eric Holder has filed a lawsuit against Georgia’s mid-decade redraw of its State House districts because…if Section 5 were in effect, he believes that preclearance would have been denied. Yes, really. Sad!


2018 Senate Cycle: According to Politico, some Democrats have begun to believe they can win the US Senate. The article points out, however, that the map is still very unfavorable. Even if Jabba the Hutt Steve Bannon’s deplorables succeed in their primary challenges, most will still win their generals.

AL-Sen: Former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) has released his first TV ad ahead of his matchup with Goliath Roy Moore (R). In his intro spot, Jones attacks the dysfunction in Washington and casts himself as a pragmatist who will cross party lines to accomplish something. Considering the “burn it all down” mentality of the Republican primary voters who supported God’s Gift to the World, Jones’ is sure to be the best possible strategy…

CA-Sen/Democrats: After ancient US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D) surprise re-election announcement, Politico highlights the rift among the California Democrats. The Democratic establishment, including US Senator Kamala Harris, back Feinstein. Yet, bold progressives like Congressmen Ro Khanna and Ted Liu are trying to get Congresswoman Barbara Lee or Robert Reich to challenge Feinstein.

WA-08: Seattle’s Crosscut, one of the best local news sites in America, breaks down State Senator Dino Rossi’s (R) likely uphill battle to keep Washington’s ever-changing 8th district in GOP hands.

The States

IL-AG: Former state and federal prosecutor Sharon Fairley has just filed for AG. In pressing responsibilities for a state prosecutor, the courageous candidate pledges to be a constant thorn in POTUS’ side. Fairley joins State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D) and State Rep. Scott Drury (D) in the primary race; a fourth possible Dem, McHenry CE Jack Franks (D), announced yesterday he would not run.

California First: The New York Times looks back at California’s Prop 187. Like some of the hardline immigration policies being pushed now, the referendum polled well in 1994. However, the article explains something we know all too well: Prop 187 ultimately destroyed the CA-GOP as demographics shifted. But, surely, things will be different this time!

TX-Gov: Greg Abbott, with or without an opponent, is looking to increase his support among Wise Latinas/os.

VA-Gov: Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) plans to campaign for Low Energy Ralph Northam (D) in Virginia this weekend.

Places where Donald Trump isn’t President

Catalan Independence: Despite some controversy surrounding the Spanish province’s independence vote, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont wasted no time in signing a declaration of independence from Spain.


NC Mayors Preview & Liveblog

Results: News & Observer

9:35 ET- It appears most of the vote is in. We may update again later if something significant changes, but here are the current results… pretty bad night for Republicans and center-right candidates overall.
Raleigh: McFarlane (I) 48 Francis (D) 38
Greensboro: Vaughan (D) 61 Moffatt (D) 22
Durham: Schewel (D) 50 Ali (D) 31
Fayetteville: Colvin (D) 43 Robertson (R) 33

9:10 ET- Legislative primaries: McClure (R) has won in FL-LD-58, and Vargas (D) has won in MA-LD-3rd Essex.

8:55 ET- Results reporting has slowed to a crawl, but so far no substantive changes in any of the races.

8:34 ET – Looks like McFarlane will finish just below the 50% needed to win outright; she’s at 48-38 over Francis. Schewel and Ali are advancing with 52 and 29 in Durham, and Vaughan and Moffett (D) will likely advance in Greensboro as they are at 59 and 26 respectively. Colvin is still (surprisingly) in the overall lead in Fayetteville, leading Robertson (R) 45-32.

7:50 ET- Colvin (D) is dominating the absentee vote in Fayetteville with 54%. Schewel (D) is at 52% in Durham, Vaughan (D) is on course for an uneventful win with 62% in Greensboro, and McFarlane (I) is just below the 50% mark needed to win outright with 49.3%.

7:30 ET- Polls have now closed across North Carolina.

7:20 ET- FL-LD-44 has been called for Olszweski (R), 56-44.

Four cities in North Carolina have mayoral elections today. Polls close at 7:30 ET; we will have a brief liveblog in this thread tonight. There are also elections in Liberia and a couple legislative specials in Florida and Massachusetts.

Raleigh-Mayor: The biggest mayoral election today is in Raleigh. The state capital has a population of 450K which breaks down as 55% White, 30% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It has a PVI of D+11 (2008), though that has likely shifted well to the left over the last decade. The city is relatively diverse socioeconomically, with white liberals on the west side, upscale white moderates in the northern part of the city, and a mixture of lower and middle-income blacks on the east side. Unlike the other three races today, Raleigh’s election uses Louisiana Rules Top Two, so 50% is enough to win outright. Incumbent Spanky Nancy McFarlane (I) is seeking a fourth two-year term. McFarlane is a moderate, business-friendly liberal who has generally had the support of the Dem establishment. She has been quite popular as mayor and has generally cruised to her first two re-elections over token GOP opposition. However, Raleigh has been shifting strongly left in recent years with an influx of minorities and upscale liberals. And this year, McFarlane is facing a much more serious challenge, from her left rather than right. Attorney Charles Francis (D) is running to McFarlane’s left, striking SJW notes in contrast to McFarlane’s business liberalism. This year, Francis has the official endorsement of the Wake County Democratic Party, which has previously gone to McFarlane. Francis has also outraised the incumbent, and has backing from some big names in the area’s Democratic establishment (including the heads of liberal polling firm PPP). Many more moderate Dems are still backing McFarlane, but observers generally do consider Francis likely to be a significant threat to the incumbent. A third candidate, mortgage broker and 2012 county commission candidate Paul Fitts (R), has some GOP support but isn’t running a particularly serious campaign. CW is that he is likely to come in third, but there is a small chance he could come in second on GOP votes. Generally, CW is that McFarlane will come in first but be held below 50% and head to a runoff with Francis; McFarlane could garner GOP support in the second round and will probably still be favored. However, there are also chances for McFarlane to overperform on name rec and her prior popularity and wrap things up today, or conversely for high liberal turnout to propel Francis to a first-place finish.

Greensboro-Mayor: Greensboro has a population of 290K that breaks down as roughly 45% White, 40% Black, and 10% Hispanic; the south and east sides are mostly black while the northwest part of the city is mostly upscale whites. It has a PVI of D+16 (2008). Three candidates are running for Mayor, two Democrats and one Republican, in a California Rules Top Two format; the top two will advance even if one passes 50%. Incumbent Nancy Vaughan (D) is seeking her third two-year term. Vaughan is a mainstream white liberal who has been relatively popular in her tenure. This year, she has two opponents, one from the left and one from the right, but both are little-known political novices. Businessman John Brown (R) has significant Republican establishment support and could make the runoff by garnering votes among the third or so of Greensboro’s voters that are right-of-center. However, Brown is a staunch conservative and has little crossover appeal to Dems, meaning he will probably advance but have little shot next month. A third candidate, pastor Diane Moffett (D), is also somewhat serious. Moffett is the only black candidate in the race and running slightly to the left of Vaughan. However, she doesn’t have much establishment support, and thus looks like a long-shot to beat out Brown for second. If she does, she will likely face a similarly uphill climb against Vaughan. Regardless of her general election rival, Vaughan is likely to pass 50% today and be the clear favorite in the November general election.

Durham-Mayor: The college town of Durham has a population of 260K, which breaks down as roughly 40% each White and Black and 15% Hispanic. Durham is socioeconomically divided east-west; the east side is largely poor blacks, while the west side is mostly upscale white liberals, with Duke as its main economic driver. Both groups are solidly Democratic; the city has a PVI of D+27 (2008). The open-seat race this year is in a California-Rules Top Two format, though it is unlikely to matter as no member of the 6-way field is in strong position to top 50%. Ex-councilman and Airport board member Farad Ali (D) is the most prominent black candidate. Ali is a business-friendly black establishment liberal in the mold of the outgoing incumbent, and seems to have the most support from the city’s establishment. Ali’s main rival, councilman Steve Schewel (D), is the only white candidate in the race and running to Ali’s left. Schewel is a fairly typical upscale white progressive who founded the city’s alternative newspaper before entering politics. But he isn’t the farthest-left candidate in the field; that would be musician Pierce Freelon (D). Freelon is a staunch left-winger, spouting all sorts of SJW priorities and declaring intersectionality the basis of his campaign. Being both black and left-wing, Freelon seems likely to draw significant numbers of votes from both Ali and Schewel. It is possible that Freelon boxes out one of the two top candidates, but he seems more likely than not to finish third. Three other Some Dudes seem less serious. Schewel and Ali advancing is thought to be the most likely outcome, but Freelon could have a chance to box one of them out. A general election between Ali and Schewel is likely to be highly competitive, though either will probably be favored over Freelon should he advance.

Fayetteville-Mayor: The race with the biggest partisan implications is in Fayetteville. It has a population of 200K, which breaks down as 45% White, 40% Black, and 10% Hispanic; however, a significant part of that population is ultra-low-turnout active duty Fort Bragg soldiers. The city has a PVI of D+10 (2008). Incumbent Nat Robertson (R) is seeking a third two-year term in this year’s California-Rules Top two race. Robertson, a moderate conservative, has won two tough races and seems to be reasonably popular. However, Fayetteville is a Democratic and fairly inelastic city, and Robertson seems likely to get a tough challenge once again this time, as two sitting city councilors are seeking the seat. Robertson looks likely to finish a clear first, and may clear 50%. As there isn’t a huge amount of ideological daylight between his rivals, Robertson’s score is an important thing to watch, as it may be predictive of his November vote share. Councilmen Mitch Colvin (D) and Kirk DeViere (D) are seeking the chance to take on Robertson. Colvin, the council’s president, is a mainstream black establishment liberal, and has the stronger connections to the local establishment. DeViere, a white first-term councilman and veteran, is a moderate liberal who has been considered a rising star. There doesn’t seem to be a clear favorite between the two, and either could have the chance to move on to the general. Simply because the Democrats voting are likely to be black-majority, I’d peg Colvin as a slight front-runner, but DeViere could easily prevail. A non-serious Some Dude is also running. Odds are regardless of who comes in second, Colvin and DeViere’s vote shares will sum near-totally, so today’s vote shares can be thought of as also a good straw poll for the November real thing.

Legislative Specials: There is one general election and three primaries this week, two in Florida and two in Massachusetts. The lone general is for FL-LD-44, an R-held D+2 (2016) seat covering southwest Orlando suburbs between Disney World and the Florida’s Turnpike. Ex-Winter Garden councilman Bobby Olszewski (R) is facing off with manager Eddy Dominguez (D), who entered the race as a replacement nominee just three weeks ago. Because Democrats pulled a late candidate switch, Dominguez is not on the ballot – instead, in a “punch Foley for Joe” type situation, Dominguez will get the votes that are cast for the name of prior nominee Paul Chandler. Because of Dominguez’s late start and Olszewski’s strong campaign, Olszewski is generally considered the favorite. However, this year, in a seat this purple, no Democrat can be counted out, and strong liberal turnout could allow Dominguez to surprise. The Florida primary is for FL-LD-58, an R+6 (2016) seat covering eastern Tampa suburbs in northeast Hillsborough County from Plant City to Thonotosassa. The GOP primary is hotly contested, between a pair of businesspeople, Lawrence McClure (R) and Yvonne Fry (R). Both have advantages: McClure has outraised Fry and has the NRA endorsement, while Fry is backed by the outgoing incumbent and has a big endorsement from AG Pam Bondi (R). The race has become nasty, but overall McClure looks like a slight favorite. The primary winner will face 2016 nominee Jose Vasquez-Figueroa (D) in a December general. MA-LD-1st Berkshire is a D+17 (2016) rural seat around Williamstown and North Adams at the northwest corner of the state. Ex-North Adams Mayor John Barrett (D), North Adams councilwoman Lisa Blackmer (D), Kevin Towle (D), a staffer to the late previous Rep., and Stephanie Bosley (D), daughter of a retired prior Rep., are all in the race; there is no clear favorite and any of the four could win. The primary winner will be a prohibitive favorite over 2016 State Senate nominee Christine Canning (R) in the general. Finally, MA-LD-3rd Essex is a D+7 (2016) seat covering most of Haverhill in the Merrimack valley. Two Democrats are facing off. Liberal Haverhill councilman Andy Vargas (D), a 24-year old Dominican immigrant, has more establishment support and seems a slight favorite over school board member Paul Magliocchetti (D), a Conservadem who took 16% as an Indie in a 2012 State Senate run, but an upset may be possible. The winner will face school board member and 2012/14 State Senate nominee Shaun Toohey (R) in a November general.

Liberia: The west African nation of Liberia is the first of 8 nations holding elections this month. Liberia is a largely-Christian nation of 4.6M in the southern part of West Africa, roughly the size of Ohio in area. Liberia was founded (and run for much of the 19th and 20th centuries) by black immigrants from the US and their descendants. It has long retained close ties with America; however, a series of civil wars, coups, and dictatorships ravaged the country from 1980 to 2005. Since then Liberia has gradually become a relatively free democracy, albeit one with an immature civil society and rampant extreme poverty (and being the center of the Ebola outbreak didn’t help either). Like most third-world countries, pols’ ideologies are poorly-defined, and politics is more based on personalities and clan ties than issue positions. This year, there are six major candidates for the presidency, but two front-runners. CW is that neither will clear 50% and they will head on to a runoff. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is standing down this year; CW is that her Vice President, Joseph Boakai, is likely to head to a runoff with former soccer star and current Senator George Weah, who lost the first modern free election to Johnson-Sirleaf in 2005. Four other candidates, former Senator and 2011 candidate Charles Brumskine, Senator and former guerilla fighter Prince Johnson, former local mayor Benoni Urey, and former Coca-Cola executive Alex Cummings, could each potentially snag a runoff spot.


Political Roundup for October 10th, 2017

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.


Political Roundup for October 9th, 2017

Happy Columbus Day! If you’re a government employee, congratulations, you have the day off! If you’re just a normal person, then here’s some electoral news to take your mind off of what Jenny in HR is probably telling everyone that came up on your last evaluation.

Big Picture

FL: Florida is a state of counterbalancing political trends. On the one hand, you have Puerto Ricans pouring into Orlando. On the other hand, you have northern retirees pouring planned communities across the state. This article examines the latter by looking at the biggest such community, The Villages (Florida’s Friendliest Home Town! to anyone who’s watched a few hours of Fox News in the last decade). One thing that the article fails to note is the same company that built The Villages is planning an even bigger community near Panama City Beach.

Gerrymandering: This is one of those great longform pieces from Politico Magazine. In it, Jeff Greenfield discusses how many Democrats’ obsession with gerrymandering blinds them to the real state-level work that they must do if they wish to regain power.

Talkin’ Bout My Generation: Is the Republican Party in a downward spiral with young voters? No, it definitely isn’t, at least according to this WaPo article. What seems to have happened is that as younger voters have gotten less white, white young voters have gotten more Republican. There’s also some evidence that young blacks have gotten a bit more Republican, but the article doesn’t discuss that.


MI-Sen: Another week, another Kid Rock Senate poll. This one from Mitchell (not the most reputable pollster) Mr. Ritchie trailing Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) by eight points, 46-38.

MO-Sen: Former Trump Steve Bannon has been trying to meddle in some Senate primaries recently. Missouri AG Josh Hawley (R), who’s running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) next year, heard that he might be on the target list and called the snake himself to charm his way out of it. It remains to be seen whether the snake will go quietly into the basket.

WY-Sen: Speaking of Steve Bannon sticking his nose where it’s in danger of being chopped off, he’s playing in Wyoming as well. He’s reportedly recruiting Blackwater founder Erik Prince to primary Sen. John Barrasso (R). I highly doubt it will work (see Liz Cheney primarying Mike Enzi a few years ago), but we’ll keep an eye on it nonetheless.

MI-08: When you’re in the wilderness, a bunch of formerly appointed officials suddenly look like good candidates. Enter Ellissa Slotkin (D), an Obama-era DoD official who is now running for Congress in her native Michigan. Slotkin is running against Rep. Mike Bishop (R) in his Lansing-to-Troy seat, and she’s raising quite a lot of money for a seat like this and early in the cycle. She’s got about $370k CoH right now. That’s phenomenal, but remember, Bishop is popular and the seat is stably R+4. If there’s a wave, I could see it falling, but it’s not likely at this point. The materials are there, though.

PA-18: With Rep. Tim Murphy (R) adding ‘disgraced former’ to the front of his name last week, there’s liable to be a special election for his Pittsburgh-area seat. Our friend Miles Coleman over at DDHQ breaks down the district by the numbers and finds that it’s likely to stay in Republican hands because of trends in the area over the past two decades.


CA-Gov: Fun fact: in Berkeley, CA, the side of town housing the big university is the one LESS in favor of seizing the means of production. Why is this, might you ask? It’s because even though California is a very blue state, and even its college students are yet bluer, they’re still less leftist than America’s biggest CrazyTown, where Jill Stein came in second place last year. Anyway, the college itself has produced a useful poll of the upcoming gubernatorial blanket primary. The poll came out as 23-12-10-9-7-4 Newsom (D)-Villaraigosa (D)-Cox (R)-Allen (R)-Chiang (D)-Eastin (D). I have to think that this race is Lt. Gove Gavin Newsom’s to lose, and he’ll certainly come in first in Top Two.


CO-Treas: Well, we know who the Republican nominee for Treasurer in Colorado is already. Incumbent Walker Stapleton (R) has decided to run for Governor, and State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R) has stepped right in and raised $90,000 already. That’s almost as much as Stapleton usually raises this time of the cycle. It more than quadruples her closest primary rival. This bodes well for the GOP holding onto the office, as there likely won’t be a bloody primary and Lawrence sounds like solid candidate who stays on-issue.

Erie-Mayor: Salena Zito thinks that the GOP might pick up the Mayor’s office in Erie, PA. I’m not convinced, but she makes a strong case. Pieces like this that focus on local races are often good reads, and this one is no exception.

Hopkins-Mayor: File this one under ‘dumbass.’ A candidate for Mayor in Hopkins, MN, an inner suburb of Minneapolis, is in hot water after after claiming that a new light rail project will bring in ‘riffraff,’ ‘ethnics,’ and shootings. however right he is about transit links sometimes bringing crime to the suburbs, this was exactly the wrong way to approach the subject. His campaign must surely be doomed after this.

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