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IN-Sen: Rep. Todd Rokita (R) is in

Fourth-term Rep. Todd Rokita (R) will join the primary for Sen. Joe Donnelly’s (D) Senate seat. Rokita has been making obvious moves toward the race for months, so pulling the trigger isn’t a terribly huge surprise. Rokita joins fellow Rep. Luke Messer (R) in the GOP primary, and the two have been shadow-boxing for quite some time. It seems like this race will become nasty and personal; there isn’t a whole lot of ideological daylight between the two (both would be classified as establishment conservatives) so personal attacks may become prominent. The final piece of the puzzle for this primary is AG Curtis Hill (R), who is thought to be considering the race and has the potential to make a late entry and sneak up the middle if Rokita and Messer bloody each other. It’s not entirely clear yet who will be the strongest choice to take on Donnelly, but Rokita would seem to have as solid a shot to be that person as Messer does.

Rokita leaves open IN-4, an R+18 (2016) seat covering the western suburbs of Indianapolis, the Lafayette area, and a big swath of the rural northwest and west-central parts of the state, ending just shy of the Chicago exurbs. Needless to say, all the action will be in the GOP primary. Booting up the Great Mentioner, State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell (R) has roots in the seat and could be a strong contender. State Sens. Brandt Hershman (R), Randall Head (R), Ronnie Alting (R), Phil Boots (R), John Crane (R), and Michael Young (R) live in or near the district, along with about 10 GOP State Reps. Young, Hershman and Head in particular may be names to watch; Young and Hershman lost the 2010 primary for this seat to Rokita, while Head ran for AG last year, losing at the convention.

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Detroit & Kenya Preview & Open Thread

Today there are a handful of minor elections: 8 legislative specials, an international race, and a meaningless mayoral race in Detroit. There isn’t enough to liveblog today, but here is an open thread to discuss any of these races.

Detroit: Today is the primary for Mayor of Detroit, but it’s not exactly interesting. Detroit has a population of around 675K (which is still dropping, though not quite as precipitously as it has been) that is roughly 85% Black, with a small Mexican community on the southwest side and a few white hipsters downtown. It had a PVI of D+44 (2008). This race is a California-Rules Top Two primary, so with only two serious candidates, today is essentially a straw poll for November’s real election. Incumbent Mike Duggan (D) is the first white mayor of the city since the 70s. Duggan is a typical machine hack liberal, but he has done a decent job of slowing the city’s freefall and even reversing the decline in some neighborhoods. Clearing that low bar is enough to make him a huge favorite for re-election to a second term. Duggan’s rival, State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of Detroit’s polarizing 70s and 80s era mayor of the same name, is running to his left, accusing Duggan of not paying enough attention to the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Polls generally show Duggan leading Young by around 2:1, and it looks like that will be close to today’s result as well. Six other non-serious candidates are on the ballot, including four felons.

Kenya: The east African nation of Kenya is also holding its presidential election today. Kenya is a nation of 48M with a land area slightly smaller than Texas. Like many third-world democracies, Kenya’s politics are more clan- and personality-based than ideological. The two candidates for president are incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and Ralia Odinga, his rival in the previous election. Both are wealthy and descendants of some of the nation’s founding leaders, and their families have dominated the nation for much of the time since independence. Polling shows Odinga with a slight lead; regardless of the result, observers are considering post-election violence to be likely between the nation’s various clans.

Legislative Specials: There are also 8 legislative specials at stake across 5 states: 3 generals, 4 primaries, and a primary runoff.
IA-LD-82 is probably the first legit shot for a contested R pickup in a legislative special this year. At stake is a formerly D-held R+12 (2016) seat covering much of the college town of Fairfield and rural areas to the south along the MO border. A pair of school board presidents, Phil Miller (D) and Travis Harris (R) are facing off. This is a very Trumpist area, but the seat voted for Obama in 2012. Between the new lean of the seat and the energized Dem base, I would say there is no clear favorite.
MO-SD-28 is an R+21 (2012) seat covering a broad swath of rural areas north of Springfield, from Lebanon to Sedalia. State Rep. Sandy Crawford (R) should be heavily favored over retired teacher Al Skalicky (D) for the seat.
MO-LD-50
is an R+13 (2012) seat covering the southern edge of the Columbia area and rural areas between Columbia and Jefferson City. Democrats have gone all-in on this seat on behalf of attorney and state legislative staffer Michaela Skelton (D), a cousin of ex-Rep. Ike (D). Skelton is facing lobbyist and GOP official Sara Walsh (R), who has the lean of the seat on her side but has trailed in fundraising. There is no clear favorite overall.
MI-LD-1 is a D+25 (2016) seat covering the wealthy northern half of the Grosse Pointes, the lower-middle-class suburb of Harper Woods, and the desperately poor northeast corner of Detroit. 11 Democrats are facing off; the primary winner will be the prohibitive favorite in the general. 2016 candidate and attorney Pam Sossi (D), who took over a third of the vote against the indicted prior incumbent in last year’s primary, is probably the front-runner this time with a more white-heavy electorate and fractured field. Two other 2016 candidates, congressional staffer Washington Youngson (D) and teacher Keith Hollowell (D), are also running. The other candidates in the race are Justin Johnson (D), the brother of indicted State Sen. Bert (D), school board member Tenisha Yancey (D), zoning board member Gowana Mancill Jr (D), attorneys Kirkland Garey (D) and Sandra Bucciero (D), and three Some Dudes. Sossi, Yancey, Mancil, and Johnson are considered the major candidates.
MI-LD-109 is a formerly-D-held R+3 (2016) seat covering the central Upper Peninsula from Marquette to Manistique. Four Democrats are facing off for the open seat. Marquette councilwoman and 2016 candidate Sara Cambensy (D) looks like the slight front-runner as she has name recognition from her prior run, but Marquette County commissioner Joe Derocha (D) has stronger establishment support. Two others, Sen. Debbie Stabenow staffer Jeremy Hosking (D) and Limestone Twp. councilman Tom Curry (D), also seem serious. The winner will face former school board president Richard Rossway (R).
OK-SD-45 is an R+21 (2016) seat covering some poor neighborhods south of downtown OKC and wrapping southwest around the Airport through deep-red southwestern exurbs near Mustang. Former State Highway Patrol chief Kerry Pettingill (R) looks like the slight favorite, but businessmen Duane Smith (R) and Paul Rosino (R) also seem serious. Attorney Scott Harris (R), physician Diane Means (R), businessman Brian Walters (R), and a Some Dude all look like longer shots. For Democrats, police dispatcher Steven Vincent (D) is the clear favorite over Noah Ynclan (D), who has no establishment support after revelations of a 2013 domestic violence conviction.
OK-LD-76 is an R+18 (2016) seat covering most of the western half of Broken Arrow in the Tulsa suburbs. Shelly Brumbaugh (R), widow of the prior Rep., is the clear favorite for the primary, but she faces four other Republicans. 2014 candidate Cliff Johns (R) seems like her most serious rival, but businessman Jess Guthrie (R), retired cop Ross Ford (R), and teacher Brian Elliott (R) are also in the race. Teachers Chris Vanlandingham (D) and Forest Mayer (D) are facing off for the Dem nomination; there is no clear favorite on that side.
SC-LD-31 is a D+23 (2016) seat covering central and western Spartanburg. Two Democrats are heading to a primary runoff: Spartanburg city councilor Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) and NAACP official Mo Abusaft (D). Henderson-Myers led Abusaft 39-32 two weeks ago and looks like a slight front-runner, but an upset is possible. The primary winner will be a prohibitive favorite in the general.

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Political Roundup for August 8th, 2017

Welcome to today’s tardy roundup!

Senate

NV-Sen: Perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian has announced a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Dean Heller. The concerning thing here is that a recent poll found Tarkanian would lead Heller in a head-to-head matchup, 38%-34% (yes, a ton of undecideds from a not very venerable pollster, so salt!). Not a good development for Republicans in arguably the most likely to flip seat this Senate cycle. Meanwhile, a McConnell-linked Super PAC is set to flood the zone for Heller.

AL-Sen: Like our own survey of the race, a JMC Analytics poll finds former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore leading appointed Sen. Luther Strange and Rep. Mo Brooks. However, in this poll Brooks is closer to the rest of the pack, with Moore on top with 30% and Strange and Brooks trailing with 22% and 19%, respectively.

CT-Sen: After Sen. Richard Blumenthal voiced support for investigating possible Russian collusion in the last presidential election, President Trump laid into the Connecticut Democrat via his preferred medium of Twitter. Trump is probably one of the worst possible messengers here, calling Blumenthal a “phony Vietnam con artist” despite his own questionable Vietnam War draft deferments. Maybe Blumenthal will get a nice fundraising bump from being attacked by Trump, although he doesn’t have a reelection until 2022.

Governor

MN-Gov: Former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R) is considering a run for Governor. Koch was seen as something of a rising star until her 2011 affair with a Republican operative, which resulted in her ouster from leadership. Since then Koch became a lobbyist, hosts a popular bipartisan podcast, and owned a bowling alley (random assortment, I know!). Anyway, Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R) is the leader of a pack of lesser-known candidates at the moment, although people are waiting on House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt’s decision as well.

WI-Gov: State Rep. Dana Wachs (D) is running against Gov. Scott Walker (R) for Governor. Wachs joins businessman Andy Gronik in the Democratic primary, although a number of other Democrats including State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and Wisconsin Schools Superintendent Tony Evers are also considering runs. Wachs apparently plans to partially self-fund the bid.

TN-Gov: State Rep. and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh is running for Governor or Tennessee, setting up a contested Democratic statewide primary. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) is already running. One major fissure might be school choice, where Fitzhugh is more aligned with traditional unions and Dean supported charter schools as mayor. A Republican is still highly likely to win here, with Rep. Diane Black, House Speaker Beth Harwell, and State Sen. Mae Beavers as the most prominent GOP candidates in the race.

House

UT-3: Once-relevant Sarah Palin has endorsed Tanner Ainge in the Utah special congressional election to fill former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ seat in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, the Club for Growth has chosen State Rep. Chris Herrod for the primary. The CfG has the ability to throw serious money in this race, unlike Palin nowadays.

TX-23: Rep. Will Hurd (R) got his first viable Democratic opponent last week, former Air Force intelligence officer and US Trade Representative staffer Gina Ortiz Jones. Former Rep. Pete Gallego (D) is still considering a run, but it is unclear if the field will clear for him in this anti-Trump political cycle and coming off a defeat at Hurd’s hands..

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Open Thread for August 8, 2017

Due to a scheduling mixup and my busy day with real work today we don’t have a Roundup ready – one of the other mods will put something up later. We will also have a dedicated preview and open thread for today’s elections in Detroit, Kenya, and legislative specials coming at noon.

EDIT: please move discussion to the new Roundup.

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Political Roundup for August 7th, 2017

Congress

AL-Sen: Well, this is probably a bit embarrassing for the ALDP. A poll mentioned in this article shows that a Some Dude who happens to be named Robert Kennedy, Jr. (D) is leading former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) in the special election primary 49-26. ouch! Do we have another Alvin Greene situation on our hands? Finding out will likely be fun.

MN-Sen: Well, a lamb has been found for the altar. State Rep. Jim Newberger (R) has announced plans to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) in 2018. Though MN is a purple state, Klobuchar is one of the most popular senators in the country. Well, at least she won’t run unopposed.

OH-Sen: If you had any doubt that the candidacy of banker Mike Gibbons (R) was anything other than a Kasichworld endeavor, this should convince you: Gibbons has hired two of Kasich’s close associates to help run his campaign. Now this could simply be because Gibbons trusts Kasich’s recommendations, but there are rumors swirling that this whole campaign is an effort to stymie Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), with the general election against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) being an afterthought.

MN-08: Rep. Rick Nolan (D), who narrowly won reelection to his Trumpish district in northeastern Minnesota last year, has declared that he’s running for reelection. He says he’s ready to fight, though don’t ask him about it via email, because to Nolan, it’s still 1979.

SC-01: Right on cue, Rep. and former Gov. Mark Sanford (R-His Emotions) has a primary challenger. State Rep. Katie Arrington (R) has pulled papers and filed to challenge the Love Gov for his Charleston-based coastal congressional district. Somehow, though, I have to think that she won’t get the job done, seeing as no one else has managed to do it before now.

Governor

AK-Gov, AK-LG: It has now been confirmed publicly that Gov. Bill Walker (I) will run for reelection. He will likely once again have Democratic backing and will likely only face major opposition from whomever Republicans put up to run against him, as his Democratic LG Byron Mallot (D) will run with him again. Also in this story, it notes that ex-State Rep. Lynn Gattis (R) has become the second Republcian to file for LG, joining State Sen. Gary Stevens (R) in the shotgun-wedding primary. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) is the only notable Republican in the Governor’s race as of yet.

CO-Gov: With the exit of Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) from the gubernatorial contest, it seems that the CODP’s moderate faction is searching for a new standard-bearer. Well, they might have found one. Progressives are already attacking healthcare executive Donna Lynne (D), who is thinking of entering to take on Rep. Jared Polis (D). Polis is currently the prohibitive favorite in the primary. The moderates are apparently afraid of how much oil and gas companies will pour into the race to defeat Polis, who has a hard stance against fracking. Just when the race looked to have turned quite boring, it may be about to heat up again.

FL-Gov: State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) and State House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) are already sniping at each other ahead of the Sunshine State’s Republican gubernatorial primary. Who’s the real winner here? That would be Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R), who is already the frontrunner in that race and is mostly avoiding taking fire while the other two fight it out to be the main non-Putnam candidate.

KY-Gov: I have no clue why a Kansas paper was covering this, but it’s a good article. Over the weekend at Fancy Farm, Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls AG Andy Beshear and Senate Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins trotted-out their lines of attack on Gov, Matt Bevin and the Republican controlled legislature for 2019. There’s also a great line from Rep. James Comer (R).

NJ-Gov: We knew that Goldman alum Phil Murphy (D) was leading Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R). This poll confirms that, putting Murphy at a 14-point advantage, 42-28. What’s interesting though is how many undecideds there are. This race has flown under the radar nationally, but you’d think that wouldn’t be the case locally.

NY-Gov: Actress Cynthia Nixon (D) of ‘Sex and the City’ fame is reportedly considering challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) from the left in the Democratic primary. Personally I can’t wait for everyone’s old ‘Nixon for Governor’ signs to get dusted off. There’s probably a bunch of those just sitting in some Gran Torino-style holdout’s garage in a California barrio.

State/Local

CA-AD-63: Even though the party chairmanship is now settled, the progressive v.s moderate fight currently roiling the CADP rolls onward. After the single-payer healthcare bill was spiked by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D), the nurses’ union is threatening to recall him. Get the popcorn ready folks. This could be a good one.

KY-SD-31: It seems that some hanky-panky was going on in Pike County in 2016. It’s a complicated tale, but the upshot is that a PI hired by Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones (D) was harassing voters in eastern Pike County on primary day when jones had a challenger. Watch this one, because if Jones goes down for this the last of the old guard Kentucky Democrats may be cleared out for good.

McIntire-Turnout: What happens when no one votes? Well, the residents of the small Iowa town of McIntire are about to find out. None of the town’s 70 registered voters cast a ballot on Tuesday measures pertaining to the terms of the town’s mayor and councilmen. Not even the poll workers voted because they weren’t residents of the town. I think this is a sign that the town might just want to disincorporate.

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Weekend Open Thread for August 4-6, 2017

In case you have not seen it, please take a look at our Republican primary poll for the US Senate special election in Alabama.  Thanks to all those who contributed and have shared the poll.  Now for this weekend’s questions:

(1)  With RRH favorite / Philadelphia Democratic Party Chairman / Congressman Bob Brady in hot water over accusations that his associates paid a candidate to drop out of a primary against him, is the potential fall of Brady another sign that political machines are on their death bed?

(2)  With our celebrity president and the talk of many celebrity candidates in the future, who would you like to see run for office from the celebrity world?

Since it is the weekend and we need humor despite the possible impending thermonuclear war with North Korea, please enjoy this video from simpler times with North Korea.

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RRH Elections AL-Sen R Primary Poll: Moore Leads Strange 31-29

Moore, Strange likely headed to runoff; Brooks likely to finish third; Race for first is tight and runoff may be very competitive

With less than two weeks until the closely-watched special Republican primary for the Alabama US Senate seat, a new RRH Elections poll shows the race for first place in the primary tight between former State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) and appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R). Moore leads Strange 31% to 29%, with both candidates likely to appear in a runoff. Rep. Mo Brooks (R) trails in third with 18%. Two other candidates, State Sen. Trip Pittman (R) and physician and evangelical leader Randy Brinson (R), poll in single digits. The survey of 426 likely Republican voters was conducted between July 31 and August 3, 2017 using both an IVR automated phone survey (369 voters) and an online survey (57 voters). It has a margin of error of 5%. All survey design and data analysis is the responsibility of RRH Elections; funding was provided by the generous contributions of our readers. For comments or questions on the poll, please email us at rrhelections@gmail.com or visit our website at http://rrhelections.com.

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Political Roundup for August 4, 2017

Our Alabama Senate Poll is coming out at 1PM!

Senate:

MT-Sen: Yellowstone County District Judge Russell Fagg has been given the go-ahead by the Montana Judicial Standards Commission to create an exploratory committee to run for the Republican nomination for US Senate. The Montana Democratic Party complained that Fagg was violating a rule forbidding sitting judges from identifying themselves as a candidate for a political office. The commission found that merely forming an exploratory committee did not identify him as a candidate, but that he was just “testing the waters”. Fagg is already planning on retiring from the bench in October. He considered running in the MT-AL special election earlier this year as well. State Auditor Matt Rosendale, state Sen. Albert Olszewski, and businessmen Ronald Murray and Troy Downing are currently running for the Republican nomination to face Sen. Jon Tester (D).

ND-Sen: State Rep. Rick Becker (R) is considering running for the Republican nomination to face Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) and plans to make a decision by next month at the latest. He also says whether Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) gets in the race will not be a factor in making his own decision. He also has not shut the door on running for Congress if Cramer runs for Senate. Becker made a failed run for governor last year, finishing 2nd at the state convention and did not carry his campaign to the primary. State Sen. Tom Campbell (R) and State Board of Higher Education member Kathy Neset (R) are also considering running for Senate as well.

House:

MD-6: Former state Del. Matt Mossburg (R) announced his candidacy for Congress yesterday. Mossburg served as a state Delegate from 1995-99 and then went through depression and drug addiction and has since become an advocate for tackling the growing opioid crisis. Mossburg says he was planning on running for state Senate before Rep. John Delaney (D) announced his retirement from Congress last week.

NV-3: Former state Rep. Victoria Seaman (R) is joining the GOP primary race for this open seat. Seaman served one term before losing a race for the state Senate last year. Seaman joins state Sen. Scott Hammond, former Clark County Republican Party chair David McKeon and autism advocate Lynda Tache in the Republican primary. Professional golfer Natalie Gulbis and unsuccessful 2016 nominee Danny Tarkanian are considering running as well.

NM-1: Yet another Democrat is joining the race for this open seat. John Flores, a former journalist and military veteran becomes the 9th Democrat to announce a bid. Flores appears to be courting the left by openly saying he would support impeaching President Trump. Frontrunners for the Democratic nomination appear to be former University of New Mexico Law School Associate Dean Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, who has raised the most money, former New Mexico Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland and former US Attorney Damon Martinez. Former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones (R), who lost by 18 points as the Republican nominee in 2012 and immigration lawyer Michael Hendricks are running on the Republican side.

NM-2: Former Eddy County Commissioner and pharmacist Jack Volpato (R) is running for Congress. Volpato had been planning on running for the state House before deciding to run for Congress after Rep. Steve Pearce (R) decided to run for governor. He joins State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn (R) and state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) in running for the GOP nomination. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R), who had been considering running as well, took himself out of the running yesterday.

NY-19: Ulster County Execuitve Mike Hein (D) will not run for Congress. Hein has been considered a possible candidate in this cycle and last cycle, waiting a long time before bowing out two years ago while other potential candidates waited on his decision. This time he is taking himself out of the running earlier, and others have not waited on him to decide his plans-8 other Democrats are already running to take on Rep. John Faso (R).

TN-2: Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (R) is running for this now-open seat. Although he will make an official announcement tomorrow, he has already filed his statement of candidacy with the FEC. Burchett, who also served in the state House from 1995-99 and in the state Senate from 1999-2010 had previously said he would either run for US Senate or for TN-2. With Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R) announcing his retirement this week, Burchett becomes the early frontrunner for the seat. State Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R) of Lenoir City also announced his candidacy yesterday.

UT-3: A judge has ordered that Jim Bennett, son and grandson of former Sens. Robert Bennett (R) and Wallace Bennett (R) respectively, to be placed on the ballot for the UT-3 special election representing the United Utah Party. The party is attempting to be a centrist alternative to the two major parties. Bennett had been a registered Republican before leaving the party last year over Donald Trump’s presidential nomination.

Governor:

MI-Gov: A newly released poll shows where potential Democratic and Republican candidates for governor stand in their respective primaries. The poll from Target-Insyght shows the Democratic primary tied at 35% between former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer and attorney Geoffrey Fieger. Fieger, who has not yet got in the race, was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor in 1998, losing by 24 points to Gov. John Engler (R). Announced candidates Abdul Al-Sayed and Shri Thanedar were way behind in single digits. AG Bill Schuette is the overwhelming favorite of Republicans at this point, taking 42%, well ahead of LG Brian Calley at 14%. Neither has yet joined the race, but both are expected to run.

OR-Gov: State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) has announced he will run for governor next year. If he wins the Republican nomination, he could face a rematch with Gov. Kate Brown (D) if she decides to seek re-election. Buehler faced Brown as the Republican nominee for Secretary of State in 2012, losing by 8 points. He has since been elected to the State House in 2014 and 2016 and has established himself as a moderate Republican in the Legislature.

State & Local:

HI-LG: State Sen. Jill Tokuda (D) will run for Lieutenant Governor next year. Tokuda joins state Sen. Josh Green (D) in announcing plans to run. Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa (D) seems likely to run as well. Former state House Speaker Joe Souki (D) and state Sen. Will Espero (D) are also considering running. Current LG Shan Tsutsui (D) has said it was “very doubtful” he would run again, and he may run for Maui Mayor instead.

IA-SOS: Jim Mowrer, who has made unsuccessful bids for Congress in the last two cycles, has decided to run for Secretary of State next year. Mowrer was the Democratic nominee in IA-4 in 2014 and in IA-3 in 2016, taking less than 40% each time. He plans to make an issue of a new voter ID law passed in April that was supported by Secretary of State Paul Pate (R).

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WV-Gov: Gov. Jim Justice Switching from D to R

In the first cross-aisle party-switch by a sitting governor in 26 years, Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia is switching from Democrat to Republican less than a year into his first term. Justice, the state’s richest man, was considered something of a conservative Democrat, as is typical for Dems from the Mountain State. But he has still had plenty of friction with the state’s Republican legislature this year over his support for economic populist initiatives. The move creates WV’s first Republican trifecta since 1930 (!). It’s not totally clear what prompted the switch – while Trump is incredibly popular in West Virginia, Justice was able to win his first term in spite of the riptide up ballot. It’s hard to think fear of losing in 2020 – as an incumbent with his own personal brand and limitless resources –  was the primary motivation. Indeed, Justice switched from R to D in 2015 (!) to run as a Democrat. He could have likely just as easily (perhaps even more easily) run as an R for the open seat, and he had stocked his administration with Democratic loyalists. The move thus likely creates more questions than answers about what it means for the Justice administration and the future of state government.

My personal guess is that this might be more about trying to pull the legislature to the left from within the GOP – West Virginia’s governor is quite weak, with no functional veto power, and Justice may reason that he can have more pull over the legislative majority with the same party label.

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Political Roundup for August 3, 2017

Polling Update: Tonight is our final night of calling for our poll of the Republican special election primary for US Senate in Alabama. We are targeting to have the results of the poll ready to be published on Monday but there is a chance we could have it sooner so be sure to check in with us tomorrow! As a reminder our polls are unlike any other organization or news source since they are 100% funded by crowdsourced donations and put together by volunteer political junkies for political junkies. We still need your help to cover the cost of this effort! If you would like to help and to be a part of this poll please go to our donation page: https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and contribute to our poll fund today!

President:

Patrick: Barack Obama’s inner circle is urging former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to run for President in 2020. Since leaving the Governorship Patrick has been raking in the big bucks at Bain Capital.

Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been touring around the country and has hired Democratic pollster Joel Benenson to conduct research for the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative. Benenson is a former top adviser to President Barack Obama and the chief strategist to Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign. In January Zuckerberg hired David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama’s 2008 presidential run, as president of policy and advocacy for the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative. Ken Mehlman, who ran President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, also sits on the board.

Governor:

CO-Gov: Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (D) is exploring a run for governor. Lynne was appointed Lt Governor in May of 2016. When she was appointed to her post Lynne stated that she had no ambitions to replace term limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). Clearly someone with lots of ambition to be governor is not above lying about those ambitions to get the job she wants. Rep. Jared Polis, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy and businessman Noel Ginsburg are also running on the Democrat side.

NY-Gov: Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) is considering a primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) next year. Miner is termed out of her current office and will be without a job next year. Miner was once a close ally of Gov. Cuomo. Cuomo picked her to serve as co-chairman of the state Democratic party in 2012 but she left the post after a falling out with Cuomo over her criticism of his policies. Former one-term Hudson Valley state Sen. Terry Gipson (D) is also considering a primary challenge to Cuomo. On the GOP side, another Syracusian, State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R), is considering a run. DeFrancisco was kept out of the Majority Leader’s job through Cuomo’s intervention on behalf of his intraparty rival, State Sen. John Flanagan (R).

OK-Gov: Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R) is leading the money race in the quest to become the next governor of Oklahoma. Lamb has raised more than $2 million which is significantly more than any of the other 13 candidates currently running. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (R) reported raising $181,000 while former State Attorney General Drew Edmondson is the top fundraiser among the four Democrats in the race collecting $300,211 so far.

TN-Gov: Rep. Diane Black (R) will run for Governor. This will open R+26 TN-06. We had full coverage on this yesterday.

Senate:

AL-Sen: Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund super PAC is up with $435,000 in TV ads attacking Judge Roy Moore (R) for raking in over $1 million in salary from his own charity The Foundation for Moral Law. You can see the ad HERE. The Senate Leadership PAC which is supporting appointed incumbent Luther Strange (R) had been focusing their fire on Rep. Mo Brooks (R).

IN-Sen: State Rep. Mike Braun (R) is assembling a campaign team and will announce his Senate candidacy in the next week or so. Rep. Luke Messer (R) entered the race last week while Rep. Todd Rokita (R) and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill are also looking at running. Democrat incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly is viewed as one of the more vulnerable Democrats next year.

MA-Sen: In the all important hunt for Curt Schilling’s endorsement state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) seems to have won out over Fran Drescher’s ex-husband Shiva Ayyadurai (R). Not sure if any of this means anything in terms of beating Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) but as the last Republican to hold this seat would say, Bqhatevwr!

MI-Sen: Kid Rock’s ex-girlfriend Sheryl Crow has written a song about his potential senate run. The song entitled  “Dude I’m Still Alive” features catchy lyrics like  “At least the guy’s not 90 / In his 32nd term / but a pole in the Lincoln bedroom / is bound to make some people squirm.” No word yet if Sheryl plans to write a song about John James.

MO-Sen: Looks like the GOP will get its man! Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) will announce he will open an exploratory committee to run for Senate on Friday. Hawley is the GOP’s top recruit to take on vulnerable Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has wisely turned down the job of heading the Heritage Foundation. After the internal discord there that lead to Jim DeMint getting pushed out, Sasse was smart to say “No thanks”.

NJ-Sen: Just a friendly reminder we are less than five weeks away from the start of Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial.

House:

IA-3: Former US Treasury Department economist Austin Frerick (D) has become the 7th Democrat to enter race vs Rep. David Young (R). If no candidate gets more than 35% of the vote in the primary the results are thrown out and a convention will pick the Democrat nominee. This is how David Young won the GOP nomination in his first run for office.

MD-6: State Sen. Roger Manno (D) and businessman David Trone (D) have entered the race for Democrat Rep. John Delaney’s now open seat. Manno is the Maryland Senate majority whip and Trone spend more than $13 million of his own money on his campaign for the 8th Congressional District last year. They joins Maryland House Majority Leader C. William “Bill” Frick (D) and Del. Aruna Miller (D) in the race for the Democrat nomination.

NY-11: Army veteran some dude Max Rose is the fifth Democrat to announce a challenge to Rep. Daniel Donovan (R). He joins some dude former cop Mike Decillis, some dude bond trader Zach Emig, some dude retired boxer Boyd Melson and some dude Michael DeVito Jr. in seeking the Democrat nomination. Unlike most of the other Democrat challengers Rose has actually lives in Staten Island (albeit only for the last 2 years). As is the way in New York politics the local party bosses will probably sort this out and narrow the field as to who will earn the right to lose to Dan Donovan.

NY-21: Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, who ran for Congress in 2014 and 2016, announced he will not run again in 2018. Funiciello received 11% of the vote in 2014 and 4.4% in 2016 in elections that Republican Elise Stefanik easily won with 55.2% of the vote and 63%.

PA-1: Millennial Nonprofit Executive Omar Woodard (D) might primary Democrat party boss Rep. Bob Brady. Woodward is black and Brady is white. PA-1 is minority-majority with Whites making up 40% of the district, Blacks 35% and Hispanics 16%. Brady is currently under federal investigation for allegedly bribing a potential primary opponent $90,000 not to run. No word yet on how much cash Brady is offering Woodward to forgo his campaign.

PA-4: Rev. George Scott (D) has launched a campaign for the Democrat nomination to challenge Rep. Scott Perry (R) in this R+11 district.

TX-23: Former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones (D) has launched a run vs Rep. Will Hurd (R) in what is probably the only truly competitive congressional district under the current lines in Texas (there is an outstanding federal court challenge to Texas congressional lines). Although Jones is the first major Democrat to announce former Obama official Judy Canales, former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings, and former Rep. Pete Gallego are considering running as well.

VA-10: Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) primary opponent perennial candidate Shak Hill has been posting articles about penis enlargement and proper techniques for prostate milking on his website throughout the summer. While we are not sure that this will be a successful campaign strategy it is good to remember that it will be 2018 so who the heck knows anymore.

State, Local & Other:

AK-LG: State Sen. Gary Stevens (R) is the first candidate running in the shotgun-wedding primary for Lt. Governor. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) is as of yet the only significant declared gubernatorial candidate for Republicans.

AR-SoS: 2014 nominee Susan Inman (D) is running again for the open seat. She lost to term limited incumbent Mark Martin by 25 points in 2014 and lost a bid for Arkansas HD-32 in 2016 by 13 points.

CO-Treas: State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) is the fourth Republican to announce a run for Treasurer. He joins fellow state lawmakers Justin Everett and Polly Lawrence and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn into the GOP primary. Current state Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) is term-limited and is expected to jump into the Colorado governor’s race. The only Democrat to announce a run so far is state Rep. Steve Lesbock.

Mobile, AL- Mayor: Incumbent Mayor Sandy Stimpson (R) leads ex-Mayor Sam Jones (D) 53-43; Stimpson’s lead comes from getting close to a quarter of the black vote in the roughly half-black, half-white city. The election is August 22nd.

Birmingham, AL-Mayor: Incumbent Mayor William Bell (D) is on pace to win outright with 54% in the latest poll. Former Auburn football player Chris Woods (D) is a distant 2nd at almost 17%. Assistant city attorney and Birmingham Board of Education member Randall Woodfin (D) is close behind in 3rd at 14%, with no other candidates above 10% in voter support.

NYC-Mayor: Mayor Bill deBlasio has asked for $2.9 million in taxpayer money to fund his primary campaign against two little known Democrat opponents who have raised barely $124,000 in campaign cash. This is clearly a much better use of government money than fixing the damn subways.