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Political Roundup for April 19th, 2017

In case you missed it last night, Democrat John Ossoff got 48% of the vote in the GA-6 special election, narrowly missing the cutoff to win the seat outright. He will face Republican Karen Handel, who got 20%, in the runoff election in June. Now, onto today’s news!

President:

Immigration: Trump is taking his first steps towards reforming America’s immigration system, specifically the H1-B system where companies can petition for specific immigrants to be granted access to the country to work for them. He issued an executive order today that is probably more symbolic than anything else, most likely because I doubt it’s possible for him to push anything through Congress that would actually reduce immigration.

North Korea: So, it seems like there was some confusion about that carrier group Trump claimed was heading up to the Korean Peninsula. I’m still not entirely clear what was happening here, but it does not help Trump’s negotiation stance that he’s apparently not up to date on where his own carriers are.

Congress:

AL-Sen: With the date for the special election for this seat moved up (see story below), it looks like holder-of-the-most-badass-sounding-name-in-the-Senate Luther Strange is going to get a primary challenger. Strange hasn’t been able to shake accusations that he was appointed to this seat as a quid pro quo from former Governor Robert Bentley, who Strange was investigating at the time of his appointment. Strange’s prospective challenger, Del Marsh (Dammit Southerners, why do you guys get all the politicians with cool names?), is the current Senate Pro Tempore, and would be able to mount a serious challenge to Strange.

HI-2: Tulsi Gabbard, probably the most mavericky Democrat in Congress right now, has faced a lot of national blow-back over her Pro-Assad stances, including doubting whether or not he actually used chemical weapons on civilians. However, she is still gathering considerable support back home in her district, where she’s made quite a name for herself in her 4+ years in Congress.

MN-8: Stewart Mills, who came close to picking this seat up for the GOP in both 2014 and 2016, is considering making a 3rd run for the race. No word yet if he’s going to go back to his long-hair look for this attempt.

State & Local:

AL-Sen Special Election: Newly ascended Governor Kay Ivey has moved up the date of the special election for Alabama’s Senate seat to an August Primary and a December General. Former Governor Robert Bentley had scheduled it for election day 2018 in a curious yet legal move that created rumors that he was intentionally trying to help Senator Strange keep the office by dragging out the special for as long as possible. Oddly enough though, the dates selected are 1-week off of some important municipal elections in Alabama, so it’s curious why she picked those specific dates.

CO-Treasurer: State Rep. Justin Everett (R) has announced he is going to run for this open seat, setting up a competitive general election with fellow State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D). Everett is kicking off his campaign by promising to reform the state’s pension system.

KS-Treasurer: Governor Brownback has appointed Republican State Senator Jacob LaTurner to fill the now vacant post of State Treasurer after the previous officeholder, Ron Estes, won the recent KS-4 special election. LaTurner has been a reliable Brownback ally so this makes sense from a political perspective, but it also opens up his Senate Seat, and in the crazy world of KS primary politics that means that it could be filled by the sort of closet-progressive-running-as-a-“Republican” candidates that are surprisingly widespread in Kansas politics.

NY-Corruption: A former NYS county executive is being investigated for corruption (Debbie Preston, of Broome County). I’d make a joke about how in other news the Pope is Catholic, but honestly, the idea that Pope Francis is secretly an atheist out to destroy the Catholic Church from within is probably more likely than New York getting a handle on its corruption issues at this point.

VA-Fundraising #s: Blue Virginia has a nice rundown of the fundraising totals of most of the statewide and local candidates of note here.

Other:

UK-Election: I’ve hammered this point home for months, but it’s still kind of staggering to look at how bad the polls are for Labor. This ICM/Guardian poll released yesterday has the Tories up 48-23 on Labor, a popular-vote margin that is literally unprecedented in modern British polling. If Labor got every single LibDem and UKIP vote from this poll, they’d still be down 5 points to May’s Conservatives. This will be the first real test of the strength of Labor’s hold on its Northern White Working Class seats, which have historically provided the party with a large electoral “cushion” against poor poll numbers but who are the exact profile of the places that voted for Labor in 2015 and Leave in 2016, so we’ll see if May’s more Populist-flavored Conservatism can win them over.

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GA-06 Special Election Liveblog #3

AP. DDHQ.

1:32 ET – With only 25 Fulton precincts to go, Ossoff is still at 48%. The AP is calling it for a runoff and so am I. See y’all in June! Goodnight everybody!

1:14 ET  – Fulton dropped some more precincts and Ossoff ticked down to 48%.

12:10 ET – It appears that Fulton County had an error with one of its electronic voting cards. They’ve now found and corrected the error. After a big dump, Ossoff is down to 49%. There are still 33 precincts outstanding, all from Fulton County.

11:12 ET – Fulton County is keeping us all in suspense, but I still don’t think Ossof makes it.

156 Comments »

GA-06 Special Election Liveblog #2

AP  DDHQ

11:12 ET – Please make your way over the Liveblog #3.

10:12 ET – Ossoff gets a slight bump as the last of DeKalb comes in, but his best county is now done counting.

9:42 ET – With Ossoff down to 51% per Decision Desk, I think we can safely say that we’re going to a runoff. Handel still holds the second spot with 18%

9:35 ET – Over in VA, Smith (D) has defeated Del. Miller (R) for Prince William County Clerk of the Court 54-46.

9:27 ET – Fulton just threw in its first Election Day votes and brought Ossoff down to 54%. With only 67/210 precincts reporting, I think our initial panic was a bit overblown

9:24 ET – More DeKalb precincts just appeared. Ossoff ticks down to 57%

9:13 ET – With Cobb dropping 9 more E-Day precincts, Ossoff is down to 58%

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GA-06 Special Election Liveblog

AP  DDHQ

9:13 ET – This thread is getting a bit crowded. Please take the discussion to Thread #2

8:46 ET – The first few E-Day precincts are trickling in from DeKalb. Ossify is now down to 61% of the total vote.

8:42 ET – Fulton County’s early vote went 61% for Ossoff. He’s now at 62% of the early vote with Handel still in second place at 14%.

8:33 ET – The Cobb County early vote dropped. Ossoff got 57%, which brings him to 63% district-wide. Handel is still in second place.

7:56 ET – Ossoff won the DeKalb early vote with 71%, Handel in second with 11%

7:27 ET – Scratch that; the Clerk results are actually votes from Manassas and Manassas Park. Miller is winning Manassas and and Smith is winning (much more Hispanic) Manassas Park.

7:14 ET – While we wait for results in Georgia, Del. Jackson Miller (R) leads attorney Jacqueline Smith (D) 60-40 in the early/absentee vote in the special election for Prince William County Clerk of the Court in VA.

7:00  ET – Polls have closed in the hottest special election of 2017 so far.

139 Comments »

Political Roundup for April 18, 2017

Check back for our GA-6 liveblog starting at 7p ET. Until then be sure to check out our preview of the race if you have not already.

Congress:

ND-Sen: Firefighter David Peyer (D) is launching a bold progressive challenge to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D). We enthusiastically support Peyer’s efforts to make sure North Dakotans don’t send a Trump-appeasing DINO back to the Senate.

TN-Sen: Attorney and Iraq veteran James Mackler (D) will run for the seat of Sen. Bob Coker (R). It is unclear how serious a candidate Mackler will be but his launch is getting some significant press.

OK-1: Tulsa DA Tim Harris (R) has entered this race for the seat of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R), who has indicated he will honor a term-limit pledge and retire in 2018 (or sooner if he is picked to become NASA director). Harris joins businessman Kevin Hern (R) and nonprofit exec Andy Coleman (R) in the primary.

OK-2: Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R) created a really bad soundbite when he said that it was “bullcrap” that constituents pay his salary. Mullin’s deep-red rural seat isn’t vulnerable in a general but this is the sort of thing that could create primary trouble, especially since Mullin has also indicated he is likely to break a term-limit pledge.

Governor & Row Offices:

CT-Gov: Two Democrats are moving forward on runs to succeed retiring Gov. Dan Malloy (D). Malloy admin consumer affairs secretary Jonathan Harris (D), a former West Hartford Mayor, is stepping down from the cabinet to consider a run, as is federal prosecutor Chris Mattei (D). Should they enter Harris and Mattei would join Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D) in the primary; many other Democrats are considering.

CT-SoS: SoS Denise Merrill (D) has not announced whether she will run for Governor, but that isn’t stopping a candidate from floating his name to succeed her should the seat become open. State Rep. Matt Lesser (D) has announced he will explore a run for SoS, but only if the seat is open.

MN-AG: Attorney Harry Niska (R), who serves on a local board in Eagan, has become the second Republican to enter this race, joining ex-State Rep. Doug Wardlow (R) in the race. Unlike his rivals, Niska seems to have no compunction about taking on AG Lori Swanson (D), who is seen as likely to vacate the seat to run for Governor, but who would be a prohibitive favorite for a fourth term if she were to run again. State Rep. John Lesch (D) and ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) are in the race on the Dem side, but only if Swanson vacates the seat.

NE-SoS: Former elected state school board member Bob Evnen (R) will run for the open SoS seat. Evnen has already announced support from Sen. Deb Fischer (R) and Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R) and Don Bacon (R), and thus looks like the front-runner for the post. State Sen. John Murante (R) is the other candidate commonly associated with this race.

OK-AG: Appointed AG Mike Hunter (R) will seek a full term in his post in 2018. The decision was somewhat in doubt as Gov. Mary Fallin (R)’s first appointee to a Row Officer slot, Labor Commissioner Melissa McLawhorn-Houston (R), had announced she would be a placeholder that would not seek a full term.

Local Races:

Seattle-Mayor: Ex-Mayor Mike McGinn (D) will seek a comeback to the office he lost in 2013, taking on incumbent Ed Murray (D). McGinn is a far-left moonbat with hipsterish tendencies, while Murray is an establishment progressive. McGinn’s term as mayor was widely characterized as an incompetent mess, while Murray has done a better job on competence issues. But McGinn performed better than expected in 2013 with the city’s far-left electorate, and Murray has also been recently hit with a lawsuit alleging long-ago sexual abuse, so this race could be very competitive.

Rochester, NY-Mayor: Monroe County commissioner Tony Micchie (R) will run for Mayor of Rochester, giving Republicans a serious candidate for an office they haven’t seriously contested in living memory. Incumbent Lovely Warren (D) is facing County commissioner James Sheppard (D) and former news anchor and State House candidate Rachel Barnhart (D).

Washington, OR-CE: Washington County Exec Andy Duyck (R) announced last week that he would not run again for the top job in this large suburban Portland county, leading Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden (R) to enter the race. Though Washington County is nowadays deep-blue, it has a GOP-friendly history and officially nonpartisan elections.

International:

Britain: Prime Minister Theresa May (Conservative) announced a snap general election for June 8 to clear the air over the Brexit.  This moved was done with the support of Cabinet.  The Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Marxist Opposition Jeremy Corbyn (Old Labour) supports the move as well.

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GA-6 Special Election Preview

Thanks again to Jon Henrik Gilhuus for his help with the pictures!

Tomorrow the first round of the year’s most-watched House Special election will take place. At stake is GA-6, an R+2 (2016) seat in the northern Atlanta suburbs. The seat covers the wealthy eastern quarter of Cobb County east of I-75, wealthy suburbs of Fulton County north of the Perimeter (which also have some isolated lower-middle-class minority pockets) and the northern quarter of DeKalb County, which is a mixture of upper-middle-class suburbs bisected by a corridor of poor, heavily Hispanic slumburbs along I-85. This was once Newt’s seat and the most Republican in Georgia (a prior version of this seat was a GOP vote sink as recently as the 90s) but it trended hard-left last year, and that has led Democrats to go all-in on this race in looking for a way to defeat Trump. Polls close at 7p ET and we will be liveblogging. If you haven’t seen our poll of the race from last week, now is the time to check it out. Five Democrats and eleven Republicans are running.

Jon Ossoff

The clear front-runner in the first round is former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D). Ossoff has coalesced national liberal support and raised a ridiculous amount for this race from national liberal donors. He is running a stridently anti-Trump campaign and seeking to cast himself as the vanguard of the bold progressive “Resistance.” However, his incredibly thin resume, which consists of a low-level staffing job with five months of security clearance and running a small video production company, and his stridently anti-Trump liberal campaign limit his ability to take crossover support. While he received essentially unanimous Dem support in the poll, his crossover support was non-existent. As a result, he is certain to finish in first, but according to our and other recent polls, he is likely to finish well below 50%, probably somewhere around the 40% mark. Ex-State Sen. Ron Slotin (D) is the other Democrat of note in the race. Slotin served two terms in the State Senate in the early 90s before launching an unsuccessful primary run for GA-4 in 1996. Slotin was initially considered a credible candidate for this race before he got eclipsed by the Ossoff hypestorm, but he may still draw a couple points from more moderate Dems turned off by Ossoff’s thin resume. Three Democratic Some Dudes are also in the race and may draw a point or two between them.

Karen Handel

On the GOP side, the field is far more crowded with four candidates all having a chance to come in second. That said, ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) looks like the most likely to advance. Handel is well-known from a long political career, including as Fulton County Exec, a term as SoS in the 2000s, and runs for Governor in 2010 and Senate in 2014. Handel is a fairly typical suburban conservative – fiscally conservative and socially a mainstream conservative. Owing to her strong name recognition and base in Fulton County (nearly half the district), she has taken a narrow lead for second in our poll and was a more comfortable second in some other recent polling. She has also received some establishment support, including an endorsement and ad from ex-Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R).

Bob Gray

Handel looks likely to finish in the high teens and have the best chance to advance, but there are three other candidates tightly bunched right behind her in the low teens. Johns Creek councilman Bob Gray (R) has turned into a surprisingly strong contender, thanks to significant self-funding and a campaign as the most unapologetic Trumpist in the field. Strangely for someone embracing Trump so tightly, Gray has also been backed by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth.

Dan Moody

Ex-State Sen. Dan Moody (R) has by far the most cash of the field thanks to $2M in self-funding. He has been running as a fairly typical Chamber-of-Commerce conservative and has the support of Sen. David Perdue (R), who Moody helped recruit campaign workers for in 2014. Moody also helped recruit people for the successful campaigns of former Governor Sonny Perdue (cousin of the Senator), and several of the Perdues’ campaign people have returned the favor to work for Moody this spring.

Judson Hill

State Sen. Judson Hill (R) is also a Chamber-of-Commerce conservative and has the support of Newt, as well as a strong base in the wealthy, heavily Republican, and high-turnout Cobb County portion of the district. All of Gray, Moody, and Hill were tightly behind Handel in our poll, and each could have a chance to upset her for second.

The other seven GOP candidates look to have no chance to advance, but will probably draw 5-10% between them. Businessman David Abroms (R) is running as a moderate and has support from Egg McMuffin Evan McMullin, which will likely get him around three points; he seems unlikely to garner much more than that. Businessman Kurt Wilson (R) hasn’t received a lot of buzz, but has fundraised six figures and has some support in local grassroots conservative circles that may get him a point or two. Conversely, Trump campaign operative Bruce Levell (R) has received some national buzz for his ties to the Trump camp, but got zero support in our poll and looks likely to finish at asterisk level. Three other candidates, GOP operative Amy Kremer (R), accountant William Llop (R), and veteran Keith Grawert (R), are running semi-serious campaigns and may draw a percent or two between them. There is also a final Some Dude in the race on the GOP side who has been running on a message of open anti-Semitism and whose name doesn’t deserve to be mentioned.

Special Elections: There are also two special elections tomorrow, and the more interesting one overlaps with the western part of GA-6. GA-SD-32 is an R+20 (2012), but likely much more D-friendly by 2016 numbers, seat in eastern Cobb County and parts of Sandy Springs, embedded within GA-6 and vacated by congressional candidate Judson Hill (R). Five Republicans and three Democrats are seeking this seat and it is chaotic enough that any two can advance. Physician Kay Kirkpatrick (R) looks like the slight front-runner; a major GOP donor, Kirkpatrick has been well-funded. There has been a slight brouhaha over Kirkpatrick using her maiden name on the ballot instead of her married name, with rivals saying that the move was to hide past Dem donations under her married appellation. Fellow physician Roy Daniels (R) is running an antiestablishment campaign and has Erickson’s endorsement. Attorney Gus Markis (R) has Gov. Deal’s endorsement, while railroad conductor Matt Campbell (R) has the support of a prominent legislator from an adjacent district. Consultant Hamilton Beck (R) looks like the longest-shot among the GOP candidates. Three Democrats are running; attorney Christine Triebsch (D) looks like the slight front-runner, but physician Bob Wiskind (D) and Weather Channel producer Exton Howard (D) are also running serious campaigns. Any two could advance, and an R-on-R or even a D-on-D runoff are possible. The other election is far less interesting. AL-LD-67 is a black-majority ~D+23 (2008) district around Selma. Attorney Prince Chestnut (D) is the prohibitive favorite over a Some Dude Indie.

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Political Roundup for April 17th, 2017

We’re only a day away from one of the hottest special elections of the year – check back this afternoon for our preview of tomorrow’s GA-6 race. Until then here’s some electoral news to cure your Easter candy sugar hangover.

President

Cash Money: During the 2016 election, Donald Trump had underwhelming fundraising numbers, to put it mildly. Now that he’s actually President, that doesn’t seem to be such an issue. His campaign committee raised $42 million last quarter, and they show no signs of stopping there. The permanent campaign rolls on into infinity.

Congress

Generic Ballot: Marist is out with a new national poll, and it shows the Democrats at+7 on the generic ballot test. That one hurts, but it’s probably survivable for the House majority given the lack of a likely voter screen and incumbent overperformance.

MT-Sen: Jon Tester is facing a tough reelection in 2018, as he does whenever he runs in fairly-red Montana. If he loses next year, though, it won’t be for lack of money. He’s raised $2 million in the last three months. Keep in mind too that Montana isn’t a very expensive state media-wise. Big Sky Country is going to be absolutely covered in ads not too long from now.

ND-Sen: Well, this is something I wasn’t expecting.The NRSC apparently dislikes Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) more than you might expect, and they’re going so far as to recruit a challenger to run against him for right to challenge Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) in 2018. To replace him, the NRSC is trying to draft State Sen. Tom Campbell (R) (no, not the CA one). Campbell is wealthy and could self-fund, but North Dakota isn’t even very expensive, so that hardly seems like much of a reason to abandon a sitting Congressman. What does seem like a decent reason, though, is that Cramer has recently defended Sean Spicer on a few of his missteps.

WV-Gov: In contrast to Jon Tester and his fat stacks of cash, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) only raised $552k in the first quarter of 2017. That’s not horrible, but he probably needs to pick it up. Manchin is popular, but West Virginia is Trumpland. He’ll need lots of money to counter the funding of whichever Republican ends up running against him. Some people are saying that this signals a possible retirement, but I don’t think that the number is low enough to read that into it, at least this quarter.

GA-06: In the hottest special election so far this year, we’ve been gifted with two new polls in addition to our own. The first is from WSBtv/Landmark and predicts tomorrows results to be 45-17-9-8-8 Ossoff-Handel-Gray-Moody-Hill.

GA-06 Continued: The other poll, from Fox5/OpinionSavvy, says something similar with slight difference. The spread is 42-21-11-11-9 Ossoff-Handel-Hill-Gray-Moody.

PA-07: Frankly, folks, this Democratic primary is getting a bit suspicious. On Saturday, IT consultant Drew McGinty (D) became the third(!) Philadelphia Democrat to jump into the race to challenge Rep. Pat Meehan (R). This wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that PA-07 contains not a single precinct in the City of Philadelphia. To top tall off, no democratic candidate who actually lives in the district has yet announced a run against Meehan.

Governor

IN-Gov: It’s very early in the cycle of it, but it looks like we might already have a Democratic candidate for King of the Hoosiers. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott (D) recently hinted at a run for Governor in 2020 while speaking to an assemblage of high schoolers. Brian Howey thinks he’s serious, and Brian’s sources are usually credible. I’m not quite sure why McDermott wants to run statewide with Trump likely sweeping the state again even in a loss, but I guess he really wants to get out of Hammond.

ME-Gov: In a move that I’m sure really made some people mad, Treasurer Terry Hayes (I, but actually D) has announced that she’s running for Governor. What really sucks about this situation if you’re not her or one of her supporters is that if she comes at least second in the initial vote count, she’s almost guaranteed to win in the end due to Maine’s new (unconstitutional) IRV voting system. If IRV isn’t struck down and she wins, expect to see a lot more ‘Independent’ politicians in Maine in the future.

State/Local

Atlanta-Mayor: GA-06 may be getting all of the press right now, but ATL has another big race on the horizon – Mayor. During a recent press conference, Mayor Kasim Reed was asked about one of his chief rivals for reelection, State Sen. Vincent Fort (D). Reed didn’t hold back, dismissing Fort while also giving him both barrels with regards to his tenure in the General Assembly. As always, it looks like this race won’t be boring.

WA-SD-45: I gotta be honest, it looks like Republicans are going to lose the tenuous control that they have over the Washington State Senate. The Coalition has a one-seat majority. With the recent death of State Sen. Andy Hill (R), a special election has been called to fill District 45. Republicans chose their local golden boy, former gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, to run in the special election. However, a new poll from PPP (D) shows Manka Dhingra (D) leading Rossi 46-40. More troublingly, of the undecided voters, 52% prefer a generic Democrat to only 1%(!) who prefer a generic Republican.

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Weekend Open Thread for April 14-16, 2017

As we eagerly wait for Kim Jong-Un’s big surprise this weekend and what President Trump plans to do to crash it in a “yuge” way, it is time for this weekend’s open thread:

(1) What are your thoughts on Tuesday’s special election jungle primary in GA-6?

(2) What is sitting Governor has hurt his state party the most and why?

And because it is the weekend…Sean Spicer is going Phenomenal!

73 Comments »

Political Roundup for April 14, 2017

If you missed it yesterday, check out our GA-6 poll. Topline numbers are Ossoff, 39%, Handel 15%, Gray 12%, Moody 11%, Hill 10%.

Senate:

ME-Sen: Gov. Paul Le Page (R) says he’s seriously considering a run for US Senate, but then seems to damage his own prospects by suggesting he wouldn’t like the job very much and may not be very good at it. He says he “wouldn’t make a good legislator” and that committee meetings “would be boring.”

MA-Sen: Gabriel Gomez, the ex-Navy SEAL who was the Republican nominee in the 2013 special election to replace Sen. John Kerry (D) after he was appointed Secretary of State, is considering running against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D). Gomez ran a respectable race, losing to now-Sen. Ed Markey (D) by a 55-45 margin. He joins state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) as candidates announcing potential runs this week.

VT-Sen: No surprise, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) appears to be planning to run for a third term next year. He plans a trip to 7 states next week to oppose the Trump Administration, and his campaign organization is asking for donations to his re-election campaign to help fund the tour. His Senate office however is saying that it was not to be a formal announcement of his re-election plans and he would announce for sure in a few months about his political plans.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Stacy Lee George, a state corrections officer(and member of the Southern Republican men with female names caucus) said today he is running for governor next year. George has been a persistent critic of now ex-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) over the past couple of years and ran against Bentley in the 2014 Republican primary, but only took 6% of the vote.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) says she is weighing the “pros and cons” of running for governor next year and says she feels no pressure in making a quick decision. Her decision likely will not come until fall. One factor in her decision appears to be that she fears giving up a lot of seniority she has built up in Washington.

House:

IA-3: Michael Sherzan, who lost in the Democratic primary in 2016, but was planning to run again next year, is dropping out of the race. In stating his reason for dropping out, Sherzan complained about the campaign finance system and the need to spend so much time fundraising. He was the owner of a financial services company until retiring recently, and self-funded most of his 2016 congressional race. Des Moines attorney Anna Ryon is the only other Democrat who has announced for the race to face Rep. David Young (R).

KS-2: Ex-State House Minority Leader and unsuccessful 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) has decided to explore a possible campaign for Congress instead of running for governor again. Davis would likely be a strong, although not formidable candidate for the open seat. He won the district by 6 points in his gubernatorial campaign.

KS-4: State Senate President Susan Wagle (R) is considering challenging Rep.-elect Ron Estes (R) next year in the GOP primary. Wagle has been Senate President since 2013 and has been successful at steering through a difficult time for the Legislature as they have sparred over the proposals of Gov. Sam Brownback (R). She is on the conservative side of the state GOP’s conservative/moderate split, helping to recruit and campaign for conservative candidates, who completed a takeover of the chamber in 2012. Even as moderates staged something of a comeback last year, she was able to keep her position as Senate President. She would appear to be a potentially strong challenger for Estes, who was criticized for running a lackluster campaign, although Estes will be able to use his incumbency to his advantage. It would not be a surprise to see him draw other challengers as well.

More KS-4: Sean Trende has a good piece on Real Clear Politics on why the relatively close race on Tuesday may not be quite as bad as some people are making it out to be. The main point-while Estes underperformed Trump in every county, if you compare Estes’s performance to that of Pat Roberts’s Senate race and Sam Brownback’s governor’s race in 2014, it doesn’t look quite so bad. Estes tracked fairly close to Roberts’ numbers from 2014 in every county except Sedgwick and overperformed Brownback in every county except Sedgwick. The question is whether 2016, a good but not great year for Republicans, or 2014, a great year should be the baseline. He also points out that Thompson wasn’t a typical national Democrat, mixing conservative positions on guns and illegal immigration with traditional liberal positions on LGBT rights and climate change. He also ran against Brownback more than he did Trump-his issues page never mentions Trump, but mentions Brownback 8 times.

UT-3: A webpage is raising money to encourage popular Provo Mayor John Curtis to run against Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) in the Republican primary. Curtis, who is stepping down from the mayor’s office this year after serving two terms, says he is flattered at the support shown, but is not committing to running for Congress yet. Curtis unsuccessfully ran for the state Senate as a Democrat in 2000, but said in a January interview that he is a “conservative Republican” who was concerned about 1-party dominance in the state and ran as a Democrat to show that there could be good candidates from both parties.

VA-10: Army veteran and Rhodes Scholar Daniel Helmer (D) jumped into the race this week to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R). Helmer is the 2nd Democrat to declare their intention to run, joining former Fairfax County Education Association president Kimberly Adams. Several other Democrats are considering running including state Sen. Jennifer Wexton and Dorothy McAuliffe, wife of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).

State & Local:

NH-SD-16: Former state Sen. David Boutin (R) has filed to run again for his old seat. Boutin served for 3 terms before declining to run for re-election last year. The open seat was won by Democrat Scott McGilvray, the only seat Democrats picked up last year. McGilvray died last month, leaving the seat open again. Former state Rep. Jane Cormier (R) has also been talked about as a possible candidate, but has yet to file, with the deadline tomorrow. Former Executive Councilor Jim Normand (D) has filed and Manchester alderman Kevin Cavanaugh (D) is expected to file as well. Primaries are June 6 with the general July 25.

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CT-Gov: Gov. Dan Malloy (D) is Retiring

Deeply unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D) has announced he will not seek a third term.

Although it’s usually harder for an opposition party to defeat an incumbent than claim an open seat, this move is actually a relief for Democrats. Malloy underperformed the top of the ticket in each of his two narrow victories, and is the face of the state’s unpopular tax hikes and continued economic struggles. A poll from earlier this week showed Malloy with some of the worst approval numbers in the country at 29/66–for context, about the same number as Sam Brownback in Kansas.

Malloy had been no sure bet to have won the Democratic nomination had he run–Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), a solid B-list candidate, had already set up an exploratory committee for a primary challenge. Now, Drew may be joined by any number of the state’s many prominent Democratic officeholders. Some candidates who have generated discussion are LG Nancy Wyman (D), AG George Jensen (D), Comptroller Kevin Lembo (D), New Haven Mayor Toni Harp (D), Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim (D), and State Sen. and Heir Force Col. Ted Kennedy Jr. (D). There’s also always the possibility one of the Congressional delegation, perhaps Rep. Joe Courtney (D) or Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D), gets tired of life in DC and explores a run.

Republicans are also expected to draw a crowded primary field. Three candidates are already running: Shelton (pop. 40,000) Mayor Mark Lauretti (R), State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan (R), and Coventry (pop. 12,000) councilman Micah Welintukonis (R). Two-time Malloy foe Tom Foley (R) is not expected to make a third bid, especially considering he performed worse in 2014 than 2010.  There are also a number of Republicans who ran (and lost) for various statewide offices in 2014 who have been linked to the race, including Danbury (pop. 81,000) Mayor Mark Boughton (R), ex-State Sen. John McKinney (R), ex-US Comptroller General David Walker (R), Trumbull (pop. 36,000) First Selectman Tim Herbst (R), and attorney Peter Lumaj (R).

Given the unpopularity of Malloy’s administration and Connecticut’s quiet movement to the right in 2016 (the GOP tied the State Senate and move of the state outside of wealthy Fairfield County swung toward Trump), this remains a GOP pickup opportunity. But it’s a slightly less appealing one with Malloy out of the race, and it may now be several months before we have a sense of the primary fields.