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Political Roundup for March 15, 2017

Senate:

MA-Sen: Businessman Rick Green has decided to not seek the Republican nomination for US Senate next year. Although not a high profile candidate, Green was seen as somebody who had the ability to self-fund. Other Republicans looking at the race against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) include state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) and businessman John Kingston.

House:

CA-25: Katie Hill, the director of an organization that helps the homeless, is running to challenge Rep. Steve Knight (R). She says she can appeal to swing voters who may have voted for Hillary Clinton but also voted for Knight(both won the district by about 6 points), pointing out that her family is half Republican. Bryan Caforio (D), whom Knight defeated in 2016 is also considering running again.

CA-48: Democratic businessman Harley Rouda, who decided a couple of weeks ago to run against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R), has already raised over $100,000 in donations since getting into the race. Some Democratic challengers in normally red districts(CA-48 did go for Clinton by about 2 points last year after going for Romney by 12 points in 2012) seem to be able to raise money well-whether that translates into votes is still an open question.

NH-1: State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) is seriously considering a run for Congress next year. Sanborn met with officials from the NRCC last week in Washington. He is considered one of the top conservative leaders in the state legislature. State Rep. John Burt (R) is also considering a run.

SD-AL: Secretary of State Shantel Krebs (R) is in for South Dakota’s at-large House seat that Rep. Kristi Noem (R) is giving up to run for governor. Krebs is the second Republican in the race, joining Dusty Johnson, former chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R).

Governor:

IL-Gov: Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker has set up an exploratory committee to run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year. 3 Democrats have already announced bids to run against Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). They are businessman Chris Kennedy, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar and school superintendent Bob Daiber. State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) is also considering a run.

SC-Gov: State Rep. James Smith (D) is apparently ready to enter the race for governor soon. Smith is said to be the only Democrat laying the groundwork for a run. Others considered possible candidates have denied interest. South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Harrison, who ran for DNC Chair, says he will not run for governor despite reports indicating he was considering a bid. Former state Rep. Bakari Sellers (D) says he has nothing to announce and state Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell (D) says she is leaning against running.

WI-Gov: Democratic businessman Andy Gronik says he will decide fairly soon whether to enter the race. He says it will be more than a couple of weeks before he decides, but won’t be months either. Also, Bob Harlow, a Democrat and recent Stanford University graduate who took 7% of the vote in the primary for CA-18 last year has announced is running for governor.

State & local:

AZ-SOS: State Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs (D) is running for Secretary of State. Hobbs may have competition in the Democratic primary-Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) has a campaign committee for the office but hasn’t said yet whether he will run. Current Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R) is running for re-election.

CA-AG: San Bernardino County DA Mike Ramos (R) will not run for Attorney General next year and instead will run for re-election as DA. Ramos would have faced an uphill race against appointed AG Xavier Becerra (D), but was considered Republicans’ best and most prominent prospect.

Charlotte Mayor: City Councilman Kenny Smith is the first Republican to announce a run for Mayor of Charlotte. Despite controlling the mayor’s office continuously from 1987-2009, no Republican has been elected since 2007 when Pat McCrory won the last of his record 7 2-year terms. Mayor Jennifer Roberts (D) is running again and Vice Mayor Vi Lyles (D) and state Sen. Joel Ford (D) are running in the Democratic primary as well.

Staten Island Borough President: After serving 7 months in prison for tax fraud, former Rep. Michael Grimm (R) is considering a return to politics and considering running for Staten Island Borough President. He is said to have the backing of former Borough President(and Congressman) Guy Molinari (R). But insiders say he would have a tough time finding much more support to run against current BP Jimmy Oddo (R).

Other:

RIP: Former Rep. Kika de la Garza (D) of Texas has died at the age of 89. De la Garza represented TX-15 from 1965-97 and was chairman of the House Agriculture Committee from 1981-95. In 1978, Rep. Leo Ryan (D) of California asked de la Garza to accompany him on a fact-finding trip to Guyana to visit the mission colony of cult leader Jim Jones. De la Garza decided not to go, citing the hectic schedule of the House. Ryan was killed on the trip by a Jones supporter as his plane tried to leave a nearby airstrip.

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Dutch Election Preview & Open Thread

Tomorrow there is a general election in The Netherlands. The Netherlands is a densely-packed and very wealthy nation of 17M along the North Sea in northwestern Europe, slightly larger than Maryland in size. It has a 150-member parliament, allocated by pure party-list proportional representation with no threshold. As you can imagine this leads to a huge number of parties – all 11 parties in the current parliament are considered likely to re-enter the new one. Dutch politics is something of a false choice in that the establishment parties capable of forming a government have little ideological variation (all are basically centrist to center-left upscale liberals), but there is a plethora of non-serious, extreme, and/or single-issue parties that will never lead a government. Polls close at 4pm Eastern Time and vote counting tends to be quick, so we’re running our preview a day in advance to give you time to discuss it.

The big story this election is the rise of the Party for Freedom (PVV), a right-wing populist party that takes a hard-line on immigration. The PVV is led by Geert Wilders, who is one of the few European politicians that would be considered hard-right even by American standards. Wilders takes one of the hardest lines on immigration of any first-world pol and is openly hostile to Muslim immigration in particular. Outside of its position on immigration and strong anti-EU stance, the remainder of the PVV platform is pretty much in line with the Tea Party or conservative base faction of the GOP, albeit more libertarian-friendly and less religious-influenced. As you can imagine, this combination has establishment figures in arguably the world’s strongest bastion of upscale left-liberalism headed for the fainting couch. The PVV has been subject to a cordon (a refusal by all other parties to form a government with them) for its entire existence, and that will inevitably continue. While the PVV has been polling in first for much of the campaign, its vote share has been eroding due to sustained attacks from the more mainstream parties. However, it seems likely to take enough votes to force the formation of an unweildy coalition of every mainstream party.

The election has basically come down to PVV vs. not-PVV, but the four major mainstream parties represent different flavors of European establishment politics. The largest party in the outgoing parliament is the People’s Party (VVD), a centrist pro-european business liberal party which would probably fit around the Bloomberg space on the American spectrum. They are in coalition with Labor (PVdA), a fairly standard European social-democratic party who would be similar to BernieBros in the US. PVdA has been hurt by its cohabitation with VVD in government, and looks likely to lose a large number of its seats to the far left. Currently a major opposition party is Democrats-66 (D66), a left-liberal party that would be very similar to the upscale limousine liberal wing of the US Democrats. D66 has been surging this year as the most vocally anti-PVV of the legacy parties. Finally, the Christian Democrats (CDA), who would be best described as a somewhat more upscale version of US Blue Dog Dems, were historically a very large party but have been slumping as of late. Given the absurd narrowness of the political spectrum (you could pretty much fit the entire mainstream Dutch political spectrum within a slightly expanded US Dem coalition) you can see how the PVV might be gaining traction.

It seems all but certain that the new government will need to include all four of these parties to exclude the PVV, but there are six other parties, some of whom may enter government if they or the PVV do enough to force the four mainstream parties below 50. The largest non-mainstream, non-PVV party is the Socialists (SP), a fairly typical neo-Communist party like Germany’s Linke. They have been in opposition since their founding but may need to enter government this time. They are joined on the far left by GreenLeft, a typical green party, and Party of the Animals, which is basically if PETA formed a party. There are also two religious parties, the Christian Union, a party that might best be described as following christian-left Pope-Francis-type principles, and the ultra-Orthodox-Calvinist Reformed Party, who are (to the best of my knowledge) the only flat-out theocratic party to sit in a first world parliament outside Israel. And if that wasn’t enough minor-party chaos, there’s also 50-Plus, which is what you’d get if AARP formed a centrist party.

Needless to say polls are projecting chaos. The PVV is taking a little over 20%, which won’t be enough to form a government (obviously) or even enough to force the mainstream parties to deal with them, but may make them the largest party (they are neck-and-neck with VVD on that front). The real question will be if VVD+D66+CDA+PVdA can get above 50, which some polls are suggesting is possible, or if they will need to include some of the mixed nuts to form a functioning government.

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Political Roundup for March 14th, 2017

Please check back this afternoon for a preview and open thread for tomorrow’s Dutch election.

President:

Snow: Because it’s 2017 it is now the job of the President of the United States to shovel snow.

Trump administration: The Trump administration has more than 1,900 vacancies to fill. Trump named only 20 sub-Cabinet level positions (including 2 who withdrew) and has a huge list of ambassadorships, counsel positions, and commissioners to fill. Trump’s Office of Presidential Personnel had only 18 people working in it (one-fifth the number employed by President Bill Clinton at this point in his presidency). This ghost office is captained by 38-year-old John DeStefano, a former political director for former House speaker John Boehner. His only major personnel experience has been advising newly elected 2010 tea-party members on whom to hire. Considering Donald Trump takes 15 episodes to hire 1 intern this slow pace of hiring should have been entirely expected.

Cuomo: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has hired two fundraisers from Florida to help plan events and connect him with donors in the state. Hiring fundraisers in the swing state sources say shows he is laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign in 2020. He already has raised $22 million for his re-election bid next year and over the weekend Donald Trump fired the biggest threat to Andrew Cuomo’s political career (Preet Bharara).

Governor:

AL-Gov: State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) has released a new book called “The Making of the People’s Governor 2018″ and is openly contemplating a run for Governor in 2018. Zeigler has been a very vocal critic of scandal tarred Gov. Bentley (R) and has filed a lawsuit trying to force Alabama to hold a special election for US Senate seat Bentley appointed Luther Strange (R) to before 2018.

GA-Gov: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) will run for Governor next year. The field to succeed a term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal (R) is wide-open and many other candidates could join the race.

MA-Gov: Former Governor Michael Dukakis (D) has agreed to serve on the campaign finance committee for  Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) possible gubernatorial run.

MD-Gov: Former State Dept. official Alec Ross (D) said he would decide whether he plans to challenge Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan “in the next month.”

NJ-Gov: Democrat Tim Johnson has launched a seven figure cable TV and internet ad buy. Johnson is the first candidate to qualify for public matching funds so New Jersey taxpayers will underwrite a portion of this campaign. Johnson is a huge underdog in the Democrat primary against Goldman Sachs moneybags Phil Murphy.

OH-Gov: Ex-state Rep. Connie Pillich (D) announced she will run for Governor. Pillich lost the 2014 State Auditor race to Josh Mandel (R) by 14 points so Pillich is hoping to fail up. Pillich is the third Democrat to enter the gubernatorial race joining Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni and former Rep. Betty Sutton.

VA Gov: NARAL endorses Lt. Gov Ralph Northam (D) for Governor over former Rep. Tom Perriello (D).

Senate:

CA-Sen: Arnold will not be back. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) put out a statement statement indicating he will not run for Senate in 2018. Schwarzenegger may have been the GOP’s best hope of preventing a liberal Democrat from winning this seat in 2018.

DE-Sen: Sen. Tom Carper (D), who will be 71 on election day 2018, has told the National Journal that Donald Trump makes him more likely to seek re-election. Carper indicated that he was leaning towards retirement when the thought Hillary Clinton would be president. Carper only has $245,000 in his campaign war chest but should be an easy favorite for re-election if he chooses to run again.

NRSC fundraising: The NRSC raised $5.1 million last month, the best month of fundraising they’ve had in an off-year February in the past 16 years. They have raised $9.3 million this year and have $10.3 million cash on hand. the DSCC has not released February fundraising figures yet, but they trailed the NRSC in January fundraising.

House:

IA-4: For the sake of his political career Rep. Steve King (R) needs to learn when to STFU.

NE-2: Former 1 term Rep. Brad Ashford (D) has ruled out trying to regain the seat he lost to Rep. Don Bacon (R) last fall but his wife has not. Ann Ferlic Ashford (D) is considering running for the House seat her husband lost last year.

SC-5: The filing deadline for the special election to succeeded Mick Mulvaney (R) has closed. Seven Republicans, three Democrats and five third party candidates have filed.  The party primaries will be held on May 2, a primary runoff if need will be on May 16 and the special election will be on June 20th. Republicans are heavily favored to hold this seat.

VA-10: Virginia state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D) is being recruited to run for congress against Rep. Barbara Comstock (R).

State, Local & Other:

CO-AG: State Rep. Joe Salazar (D) has filed paperwork to run for Colorado Attorney General. Incumbent Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) is considering a run for governor next year, but could seek another term as Attorney General. Salazar is not related to former Sen. Ken Salazar (D) but could benefit from the name confusion. Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett (D) is also considering a second run for Colorado Attorney General. Garnett lost to then Attorney General John Suthers (R) in 2010.

VA-State House: Democrats in Virginia are claiming the “Trump resistance” is leading to a surge in candidates running for the state house. Democrats said they had candidates running in 43 of the 66 House districts that Republicans currently represent, more than double the 21 GOP districts Democrats contested in 2015. Democrats also have challengers in all 17 GOP-held districts that went for Clinton.

NY-SD 30: The Harlem Democrat political machine choose real estate developer Brian Benjamin to be the Democrat candidate and the next state Senator pending the May 23rd special election. Benjamin is a close ally of New York County party Chariman Keith Wright. Once Benjamin wins this heavily Democrat district Democrats will once again have 32 elected members of the New York State Senate which is governed by 31 Republicans in alliance with 1 Democrat and the Independent Democrat Caucus. Benjamin has flirted with possibly joining the IDC.

Atlanta-Mayor: A  WSB-TV poll conducted by Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone find City Counclor Mary Norwood (D) leading with 28.6% of the vote. No other candidate breaks 9%.

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Political Roundup for March 13th, 2017

As the denizens of DC realize that they got wintry mix instead of real snow, here’s your daily cup of hot electoral news to wake you up and prevent you from being so cranky that you hit your annoying neighbor.

Big Picture

Media Bubble: This is actually the ninth article in a series over at 538 that explores the 2016 election and the media’s roll in it. This part looks at the Pauline Kael Effect as it relates to 2016 and uses Brexit as a comparison.

Trumpocrats: Democracy Corps revisits a bunch of Trump voters in Macomb County and finds out that they really don’t regret their vote at all. I’d say it would be fair to extend this result to all of the fairly urban areas where Trump got major crossover support.

Congress

IN-Sen: Howey Politics looks at Todd Rokita’s (R-Indecision) nascent senatorial bid and finds him in a decent position should he choose to run. If I were him I’d decide soon, though, as Rep. Luke Messer (R-The Early Bird) is already gathering endorsements for later release.

MA-Sen: Another day, another Republican wants to challenge Lizzy Warren. Businessman John Kingston (R-Money) has been meeting with donors and party leaders in advance of a possible run for the Senate in 2018. At this point I’d call this a surprisingly crowded primary.

PA-06/PA-07: The DCCC has already come out swinging on healthcare, slamming Reps. Meehan & Costello (R-Popular) for supporting the Obamacare replacement. Yeah, yeah, whatever – Come back to me when you have actual candidates.

TX-Redistricting: Well, apparently trying to hurt OR help Hispanics elect a legislator of their choice is illegal, depending on whether it hurts or helps Democrats. No, seriously, stop laughing. That’s what a three-judge panel just said. The panel ruled that TX-23, TX-27, and TX-35 are illegal because they hurt the Democrats, err, consider race illegally. The panel issued an order for a redraw, though the state may appeal to SCOTUS to block it.

UT-03: Dr. Kathryn Allen (D-Unrealistic Expectations) has filed to run against Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Bulletproof) in 2018. This wouldn’t be very notable, except that she got over $400k in donations after Chaffetz made some mildly stupid remark about the Obamacare replacement bill.

Governor

CA-Gov: Former Assemblyman David Hadley (R-High Property Values) has filed to run for Governor. Hadley served one term representing a South Bay seat in L.A. County before losing in the anti-Trump CA tsunami in 2016. He’s a really great guy, and a very good campaigner, but I have no idea why he’s running for so high an office.

WI-Gov: Rep. Ron Kind (D-Low Risk) has decided against a bid for Governor against incumbent Scott Walker (R-Conservative Pantheon). This is very good news for Walker in his search for a third term, as Kind likely would have instantly turned the race into a coinflip.

State/Local

PA-HD-197: The Philly Democratic machine has lost their appeal, so the only name that will appear on the special election ballot is that of Lucinda Little (R). Democrats are now mounting a write-in campaign, which should be a good test of the machine’s strength.

WATN: Former OH Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D-Their Only Hope) has taken a job at American University teaching public affairs. In the article she doesn’t rule out running for Congress in the future. However, AU being in my neck of the woods, I put my ear to the ground. From what I hear, she has no desire to return to electoral politics anytime soon.

International

Western Australia: Labor has swept the Liberal-National coalition out of power in state elections in Western Australia. This is significant because Labor often starts rolling up state victories like this before a big general election win at the national level.

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Weekend Open Thread for March 10-12, 2017

The state of Western Australia will go to the polls tomorrow to elect its state Parliament. Western Australia is the largest in area of Australia’s 6 states(about 4 times the size of Texas) and has a population of 2.6 million, slightly smaller than Kansas. Like the federal Parliament and every state except Queensland, it has a bicameral Parliament-a lower house called the Legislative Assembly, where government is formed, and an upper house called the Legislative Council. The 59 members of the Legislative Assembly are elected by districts through a full preferential voting system just like the federal House of Representatives, while the 36 members of the Legislative Council are chosen in 6 regions on a semi-proportional basis by the Single Transferable Vote method.

The current Liberal Party(center-right) government of Premier Colin Barnett has been in office since 2008 and is attempting to win its third term. Unlike at the federal level and in other states, the WA Nationals(who maintain an affiliation with, but a separate identity from the federal Nationals) are not in a formal coalition with the Liberals, although they support the Liberal government. They are opposed by Labor, led by Mark McGowan. Possibly the most interesting facet of this election is it’s the first test of the increasing popularity of One Nation. One Nation, founded and led by Pauline Hanson(an outspoken fan of Donald Trump) is a nationalist, populist party that began in the late 1990s and experienced some electoral success then, but had largely faded from the political scene until last year when they elected 4 Senators(1 from Western Australia) at the federal election, including Hanson. Since then, they have gained in the polls, registering in double digits in some nationwide polls.

The most important moment in the election campaign came last month when the Liberals and One Nation agreed to a preference deal where each would preference the other above other parties. The deal was expected to help the Liberals in the lower house and One Nation in the upper house, where the semi-proportional method of election gives them the best chance to win seats. The move was a huge turnaround for the Liberal Party as they had such disdain for One Nation previously that in 2001 then-Prime Minister John Howard said Liberal voters should preference One Nation last. When the deal was made last month, it was expected to aid both sides by giving the Liberals a fighting chance to retain government despite trailing badly in the polls and give One Nation an opportunity to possibly win enough seats in the upper house to hold the balance of power and even win a few seats in the lower house. As the campaign draws to a close however, the deal seems to be seen more as a desperate attempt by the Liberals to cling to power and has angered some One Nation voters and candidates who don’t like linking up with a mainstream political party. Some One Nation candidates have spoken out against the deal and have even refused to distribute cards guiding their supporters how to mark their preferences and have been disendorsed by the party. The deal has also caused friction between the Liberals and the WA Nationals as it asks Liberal voters to put One Nation ahead of their usual allies. A visit by Pauline Hanson to WA this week has appeared to hurt One Nation too as she made several controversial statements and displayed a lack of knowledge of local issues. Labor, already favored to win has been helped by all of this and now seems to be poised to win in a landslide. They currently hold 20 seats in the Legislative Assembly and need a gain of 10 seats to take control-projections have them possibly gaining as many as 20 seats or more with a double digit swing. A Liberal victory at this point would be considered a huge upset. Analysts will be watching the strength of One Nation support as well to see for its implications for the nation as a whole, and especially for Queensland, Hanson’s home state where One Nation support is strongest and they are expected to have state elections later this year. Results should be clear tomorrow morning in the US-polls close at 6 PM local time or 5 AM EST.

Now for this weekend’s questions:

1.  How do you see the upcoming special congressional elections coming out? Do Republicans win all the seats they previously held, or do Democrats pull off an upset or at least come close in any of them?

2. If you could pick one race in 2018 to guarantee a win for your side, what would it be?

And because an act of Congress will change the very fabric of time this weekend….we give you THIS

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Political Roundup for March 10, 2017

Senate:

UT-Sen: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) confirmed yesterday that he plans to run for re-election next year. Already Utah’s longest serving Senator in history, he will be attempting to win an 8th term in office. Serving a full 8th term would put him 3rd on the list of the all-time longest serving US senators(Sen. Pat Leahy is currently in his 8th term as well). Hatch said in 2012 that it would be his last term, but now both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) have encouraged him to run again. He has been spared a potentially strong primary challenger with former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) apparently being chosen as ambassador to Russia. Mitt Romney has also been talked about as a possibility to run.

Governor:

CO-Gov: The appearance of State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) at a US Term Limits rally this week was said by the Denver Post to be part of a “shadow campaign” for governor. However when asked yesterday about whether he planned to run for governor, he said “not anytime soon.”

GA-Gov: State House Speaker David Ralston (R) sidestepped a question on Wednesday about whether he plans to run for governor. He didn’t give a yes or no about running, but comments indicated he is at least considering. LG Casey Cagle (R) is expected to run, and others such as SOS Brian Kemp (R) and former Reps. Jack Kingston (R) and Lynn Westmoreland (R) are said to be considering runs as well.

MD-Gov: State Sen. Richard Madaleno (D) says he is considering running for governor. He is one of the most outspoken critics of Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in the legislature. He joins Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D), Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D), and former NAACP head Ben Jealous as Democrats who have said they are considering a run. Rep. John Delaney (D) and state Del. Maggie McIntosh (D) are also thought to be thinking about running.

NJ-Gov: LG Kim Guadagno (R) won a key county party endorsement on Wednesday. She won the county party endorsements in Ocean and Passaic Counties, while Assemblyman Jack Ciatarelli (R) won the endorsement of his home county of Somerset. Ocean County has the most registered Republicans of any county in the state, and gave Donald Trump 66% of the vote, his highest total in the state.

WI-Gov: Former State Sen. Tim Cullen (D) says he plans to run against Gov. Scott Walker (R) next year. He stooped short of making a formal announcement, but said he didn’t know of anything that would keep him from getting into the race. Cullen, who is 73 served 3 terms in the Senate from 1975-87 and again from 2011-2015. No other Democrats have said yet they plan to run, although Rep. Ron Kind (D), state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D), Dane County Executive Joe Parisi (D). state Rep. Dana Wachs (D) and Jefferson County DA Susan Happ (D) have all indicated possible interest in running.

House:

CA-49: Attorney and former Orange County Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Levin is running for Congress. He will join fellow Democrat and 2016 candidate Doug Applegate in the race against Rep. Darrell Issa (R). Applegate came within 0.5% of unseating Issa last year.

MD-1: Rep. Andy Harris (R) has a primary challenger for 2018. Small business owner Lamont Taylor filed last week to run against the incumbent. Taylor has never run for political office before, but says he was inspired to think about running after meeting Gov. Larry Hogan (R) last year.

OK-1: Businessman Kevin Hern plans to seek the Republican nomination for Congress next year. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) is expected to retire after pledging to serve no more than 3 terms when he was first elected in 2012. He has also expressed interest in being appointed to head NASA. Two other Republicans, attorney Andy Coleman and businessman Scott Pendleton have also announced bids for the seat.

TX-3: Collin County Judge Keith Self (R) said this week he is considering running for the seat of retiring Rep. Sam Johnson (R). He has said he may take several months before deciding to run-one thing he has to consider is that he would have to resign his position to run. State Sen. Van Taylor (R), whose state Senate district overlaps much of the congressional district has indicated he plans to run and is considered the likely frontrunner.

State & Local:

WI-Treas.: The Wisconsin Legislature this week approved a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate the office of State Treasurer. The measure will be voted on next April. Current State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk (R) ran in 2014 on a pledge to work on eliminating the office. Most functions of the office have already been transfered to other agencies. The only governmental function the office currently has is to serve on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

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Political Roundup for March 9, 2017

As we recover from the Day without Privileged Women as one of my female coworkers put it, it is time for today’s roundup:

President/National

FBI: We should expect 6 more years of FBI Director James Comey.  On Wednesday he announced he has no intention to go anywhere any time soon. He must be ready to handle the love/hate he is feeling from the Trump administration.

2020 Democrats:  Here is a look at the potential problems facing the Democrats in 2020 as they nominate a presidential candidate and the deficiencies in their nomination process that could lead to a contested convention.  Good… let the progressive rage flow through them.

Purple America:  538 looks at the rise of super red and super blue counties and the downfall of purple counties across the country.  Nothing surprising especially as rural and urban areas continue to amplify their respective partisan leans.

Congress

GA-6:  Democrats are hoping for their own Scott Brown moment in this northern Atlanta suburban seat with Jon Ossoff (Bold Progressive?), but reality is far more complicated than the Trump underperformance in the district.

MN-Sen:  Senator Al Franken (DFL) returned approximately $40,000 of donations tied to the Thorton Law Firm based in Boston due to an investigation ongoing of the firm and its campaign finance practices.  Allegedly the Thorton Law Firm reimbursed employees for campaign contributions.

Trumpcare: As the details of Trumpcare sink in, vulnerable lawmakers do not want to discuss the repeal and replace of Obamacare that was rolled out this week.

More Trumpcare: President Trump (R) wants the assistance of former campaign frenemy Senator Ted Cruz (R – Houston / Calgary).  Cruz did lay the groundwork for much of what Trump did in the campaign (completely humiliate the establishment) there was friction when Trump alleged Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of JFK.

States

CA-Gov:  Businessman, perennial candidate/ballot question proponent, and former presidential candidate John Cox (R) has thrown his hat into the gubernatorial campaign.  You known things are bad in California when the press considers him the first major candidate to announce on the Republican side.

FL-Gov:  Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) will not seek the Democratic nomination.  Has Congressman Charlie Crist (D-R-I-D), who recently shaved his Beard, officially ruled out a run yet?

PA-Gov:  Governor Tom Wolf (D) announced he is officially running for reelection in 2018.  His most likely challenger appears to be State Senator and RRH favorite Scott Wagner (R).  Wolf and Wagner both hail from York County.  Not sure how the other side of the War of the Roses will take having to choose from two candidates from York.

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Political Roundup for March 8, 2017

Last night in Los Angeles, incumbent mayor Eric Garcetti (D) cruised to re-election with 81%. All council incumbents appear to have been re-elected (though Gil Cedillo in district 1 looks to have just avoided a runoff and could slip below the 50% line) while the open District 7 will head to a May runoff between Monica Rodriguez (D) and Karo Torossian (D). The anti-development Measure S failed by a large margin. In St. Louis, councilwoman Lyda Krewson (D) won the mayoral primary, though by a much narrower-than-expected 2 point margin. For AL-LD-58, Rolanda Hollis (D) won outright, while Zach Taylor (R) and Steve Barnes (D) will advance to a May general for OK-LD-28.

Congress:

WV-Sen: Ex-US Attorney and 2016 gubernatorial candidate Booth Godwin (D) is considering a run for Senate against Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the primary. For Goodwin, this would be an uphill battle as WV has a very conservative Dem primary electorate; indeed, his main purpose in considering running may be to boost his wife Amy’s (D) run for Mayor of Charleston, which has a much higher liberal contingent.

GA-6: A poll from Trifalgar has congressional staffer Jon Osoff (D) and ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) tied for first with 18 and Johns Creek councilman Bob Gray (R) in third with 13. Trump is above water in the district that he carried very narrowly, at 51/41 in this poll.

IL-13: Perennial candidate David Gill (D), who was the nominee in 2012 but has run for Congress every two years without success, is trying once again to unseat Rep. Rodney Davis (R). This seat was drawn to be purple but has stampeded right over the last five years and looks unlikely to be a top Dem target.

Governor & States:

OH-Gov: Ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D) became the latest candidate into this very crowded race yesterday. Sutton, who represented an Akron and suburban-Cleveland district from 2006 until it was eliminated in redistricting in 2012, will face State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D) and potentially many others in the primary.

FL-SoS: Legislation has advanced in the State Senate that would return the SoS office to an elected position after it was moved from an elected to an appointed office in 2002 as part of a major state government restructuring. The bill would need support from 60% of the members of both chambers and be subject to a 2018 referendum to succeed.

OH-Treas: State Rep. Robert Sprague (R) is the first candidate to enter this race. Sprague hails from the state’s rural but GOP-vote-rich northwest; he may face Franklin County Treasurer Clarence Mingo (R) in the primary. Incumbent Josh Mandel (R) is running for the US Senate.

Local offices:

Buffalo-Mayor: City Comptroller Mark Schroeder (D), a mavericky and somewhat moderate Democrat, kicked off his run against establishment-backed incumbent Byron Brown (D) yesterday. Brown is expected to be the favorite in the fall primary in the heavily Democratic city.

Rochester, NY-Mayor: Incumbent Lovely Warren (D), who won her first term in an upset in 2013 and has little establishment support, announced she will seek a second. Warren faces challengers from both her right and left in the Spetember primary in the form of moderate county commissioner James Sheppard (D) and moonbat former TV anchor Rachel Barnhart (D).

Paterson, NJ-Mayor: Paterson Mayor Joey Torres (D) has been indicted by the state attorney general, along with his public works head, on corruption charges for using city employees for personal tasks. I’m shocked, shocked, that there would be corruption in local government in New Jersey!

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Los Angeles & St. Louis Mayor Preview & Open Thread

Today we have two key Mayoral elections, a Louisiana-Rules Top Two primary in LA and a Dem primary in St. Louis. Both will likely be decisive. Because LA counts incredibly slowly and it will likely be hard to get real-time info on St. Louis, we won’t have a liveblog for these races, but feel free to use this as an open thread for discussion and check tomorrow’s roundup for a recap of the results.

Los Angeles Mayor: If you’re reading this blog you probably don’t need me to describe Los Angeles to you, but it is of course the nation’s second-largest city. LA has a population of around 3.9M, which breaks down as roughly 50% Hispanic, 30% White (mostly upscale liberals in the western part of town and western San Fernando Valley), 10% Black, and 10% Asian. It has a PVI of about D+24 (2008). Fourteen candidates are running for mayor, but only two are serious, and as a result the Louisiana Rules Top Two race will likely conclude today. Incumbent Eric Garcetti (D) is seeking a second term. It’s important to note that unlike its fellow mega-cities of NYC and Chicago, the Mayor of LA is relatively weak in de jure executive power, with its main influence in its visibility and bully pulpit. As a result, while Garcetti, a mainstream liberal, hasn’t been particularly exceptional as mayor, he hasn’t done much wrong either – and that’s been enough to keep any established pol from opposing him. The main complaint about Garcetti’s tenure is that he seems to be rather transparently planning a gubernatorial run in 2018. Dem campaign operative Mitchell Schwartz (D) is Garcetti’s only serious challenger. Schwartz has a lot more in common with Garcetti than the two have differences; both are upscale mainstream liberals steeped in Democratic activism. Schwartz has attempted to get to Garcetti’s left on a few minor issues such as renewable energy, but his campaign generally seems to be little more than a name on the ballot at this point. It would be a shock if Schwartz and the bevy of non-serious Some Dudes in the race were to hold Garcetti even below 60%, let alone force a runoff.  LA has elections for its other city offices today as well, but incumbents Mike Feuer (D) and Ron Galperin (D) are totally unopposed for City Attorney and City Comptroller respectively. Indeed, the only citywide race getting real debate is an initiative, Question S, which would essentially stop new high-density development citywide. LA City Council races are over the fold!

St. Louis Mayor: St. Louis is the nation’s 60th largest city, with a population of 315K that breaks down as roughly 47% Black and 44% White. The oval-shaped city is basically the geopolitical version of the classic black and white cookie – the south side is largely white, with a mix of old white-ethnic neighborhoods and gentrifying upscale areas. In contrast, the north side above Delmar Blvd. (which contains about half the city’s area and under a third of the population) is over 90% black and arguably the nation’s most vicious ghetto, with entire neighborhoods totally gone and turned into prairie, and those remaining suffering through crime rates that are perennially in contention for the nation’s highest. The mayoral race this year is an open seat and today there is an all-important Dem primary. With a PVI of D+31 (2016), the Dem primary in St. Louis has been tantamount to election for generations; Republicans have put up credible candidates just twice since 1949 (in 1973 and 1981) and this year looks unlikely to break that pattern. Six notable Democrats are running, two white and four black.

Councilwoman Lyda Krewson (D) is the clear front-runner. Krewson’s biggest asset is being the only serious white candidate in a race with four serious black candidates, but that is far from the only reason for her commanding position in this contest. She has lapped the field in fundraising and holds the endorsement of outgoing incumbent Francis Slay (D). Krewson also has strong labor support, including from the police union. Additionally, though she represents the limousine liberal Central West End on the council, she is by far the most moderate candidate in this field (though still a mainstream liberal overall), and that means she is well-positioned to romp with high-turnout moderate white-ethnic voters on the south side. Krewson’s four serious black rivals each could have presented a tough challenge to her were they to coalesce the black and more liberal white vote, but with all four running they seem likely to bump heads and prevent any from catching Krewson. That said, there is a black front-runner in City Treasurer Tishaura Jones (D), who now looks like Krewson’s most serious rival. Jones has recieved endorsements from some more liberal figures in the Missouri Dem party, including ex-SoS Jason Kander (D) and 2016 AG candidate Jake Zimmerman (D). Jones’s campaign has gone overboard on SJW leftism, most notably blasting the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper as racist. That has given her some national celebrity and seems to have put her in pole position among the black candidates. However, paradoxically, that’s probably a good thing for Krewson – St. Louis doesn’t have much in the way of a white moonbat population (and what is there is concentrated in Krewson’s own ward of the Central West End) so Jones has little chance of getting much crossover appeal. And her brew of SJW leftism is strong enough that she probably can’t coalesce moderate blacks enough to make up for Krewson’s likely large margin among whites. Jones’s main rival for the black vote is Council President Lewis Reed (D), who is elected at-large. Reed hails from a racially-mixed area on the South Side, and is a mainstream establishment liberal, which on paper got him pegged as an early front-runner. Reed has also kept pace in fundraising, and is probably the only candidate in this field who could put together a bi-racial coalition; he would have likely had a good chance to prevail had he been able to coalesce the black vote. However, Jones’s surge and Krewson’s ability to coalesce whites have left him squeezed, and it’s probably most likely that he comes in third. But Reed still has some black establishment support, including from Rep. Lacy Clay (D), who represents the entire city in the House, which could make him a contender. The final two black candidates, councilmen Antonio French (D) and Jeffrey Boyd (D) are little-known outside of their north-side wards and have trailed the top three candidates in fundraising. Though neither is likely to be a real threat to win, each is still likely to draw a significant percentage of black votes. French’s support will likely come out of Jones’s pocket, as he is known as a staunch SJW who was arrested in the Ferguson protests, though he surprisingly landed the Post-Dispatch endorsement. Conversely, Boyd’s support will likely come from Reed’s base as he is a more moderate/establishment black liberal. Finally, one more candidate worth a mention is school board member Bill Haas (D). Haas, a moonbat, straddles the credible contender vs. non-serious perennial candidate line; though he has been able to consistently win election to the school board, he has run for higher office multiple times and never drawn more than a few percent. This time he will once again probably draw a low-single-digit percentage of liberal whites, though it’s unlikely to affect the outcome as his voters would probably splinter between Krewson and Jones if he were not in the race. A non-serious Some Dude is also running. All in all this is very much Krewson’s race to lose, though the field is unsettled enough that there is some chance for Jones or Reed to pull a surprise upset if turnout patterns are favorable.

The primary winner will enter the general as a prohibitive favorite. Three Some Dude level Republicans are running; the most likely primary winner is utility exec Andy Jones (R), the only one who is the least bit serious. The other two GOP candidates are running as publicity stunts, one (James Osher) to stop an eminent domain takeover of a building he owns and another (Andy Karandzieff) to promote his restaurant. None have any chance in the general. Two noteworthy independents are also running: conservative pastor and TV Station owner Larry Rice (I) and moonbat banker Kacey Cordes-Marht (I). Rice has some name rec and Cordes-Marht has some self-funding ability but as of now neither looks likely to present the Dem nominee much trouble.

Legislative Specials: There are also two special primary elections to discuss: AL-LD-58 is a 67% BVAP, ~D+21 (2008) seat in northeast Birmingham and the largely middle-class black suburb of Center Point. Three Dems, Center Point councilman James Howell (D), realtor Rolanda Hollis (D), and correctional officer Rodney Huntley (D) are facing off. All three have little information available online (Hollis slightly more than the other two) so I’m just going to say that there is no clear favorite and the race may head to a runoff. No Republicans are running. OK-LD-28 is an R+21 (2012) seat around Seminole on the eastern fringe of the OKC exurbs. Four Republicans and Five Democrats are running. For Republicans, ex-Seminole Mayor and 2004/06 State House nominee Billy Choate (R), school board member Mike Matlock (R), and businessmen Daniel Matthews (R) and Zack Taylor (R) are facing off. Right now I’d peg Matthews and Taylor as more likely to win, but anyone could come out ahead. The most likely Dem nominee is 2016 nominee Marilyn Rainwater (D), who is something of a perennial candidate this point after losing bids for this seat in 2012 and the State Senate in 2014. However, Rainwater faces 2016 candidates Jason Leonard (D) and Yasminda Choate (D), 2008 OK-4 nominee Blake Cummings (D), and attorney Steve Barnes (D), and any of them could come out on top as well. The GOP nominee will likely be favored over any Dem in the general.

Flip over for LA City Council races…

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Political Roundup for March 7, 2017

Programming Update: we have our Los Angeles / St. Louis preview / open thread posting at 2pm. Last night in MT-AL, Greg Gianforte (R) won the GOP convention easily on the first ballot.

As President Trump continues to cause chaos via Twitter, the PA Senate Democrats are even less effective than usual as someone is holding their system hostage, and social justice warriors continue to whine, moan and demand play doh in their safe spaces, it is time for today’s roundup:

President/National

Working Class Whites and Institutions:  What does the growing detachment of working class whites from religious and civic institutions?  Not surprising the Atlantic notes that declining rates of religious attendance and civic involvement are tied to working class whites and appear to be driving alienation and isolation.  Nothing surprising to us communitarians in the audience who grew up in areas where society has collapsed.

Libertarians:  Politico Magazine examines how the libertarian movement within the Republican Party got so close to mainstream power, but seems to have been crushed by the “yuge” tidal wave of Trumpism.  In particular, Politico Magazine looks at how events seemed to have doomed the promising candidacy of Senator Rand Paul (R-Libertarian)

Congress

Obamacare Repeal and Replace:  Congressional Republicans revealed their agenda for repealing and replacing Obamacare.  I am glad to see a plan is actually out there now, but I am still very worried this ends up being a quagmire on the level of the original passing of Obamacare.

AL-Sen:  State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R-Not Bentley) filed a lawsuit against Governor Robert Bentley (R-Corrupt) over his appointment of Senator Luther Strange (R-Corrupt ???) and intention to let Strange serve until the 2018 Senate election.  Zeigler argues that Bentley should have called a special election immediately to fill the seat and Strange was appointed to get him off the trail of Bentley whose under siege in a fashion it makes you wonder if he is distantly related to former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D-Montco (PA) County Prison).

DCCC-Frontline Program:  The DCCC announced their top 19 defensive targets in the 2018 election.  8 represent districts Trump won and about half are freshman.

CA-34: Newly appointed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) endorsed Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D) in race to fill his old congressional seat.

GA-6: The Ossoff Strikes Back! After getting hammered by The Congressional Leadership Fund with a brutal TV ad accusing him of faking his resume and being an immature college kid, Jon Ossoff (D-Galactic Republic) has released a trio of new ads. You almost have to laugh at the Ossoff’s ad in which he portrays himself as some sort of top secret National Security spook when in reality his “National Security aide” job was a college gig that he did in between keg parties and dressing up as Han Solo.

PA-17:  One of the Trump Democrats, Representative Matt Cartwright (D-Holden Slayer), did not make the DCCC Frontline Program despite being targeted by the the NRCC.  If I was the DCCC, I would wait to see if the Republicans can come up with a serious challenger before classifying Cartwright endangered.

States

AL-Gov:  Speaking of Governor Bentley (R-Corrupt), the effort to impeach him is moving forward.

AL-Gov: Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. is being urged to run for governor. Hawkins considered running in 2010 as a Republican.

CO-Gov: Former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (DNC) is considering a run for Governor of Colorado.  Salazar would face a competitive Democratic field.

More CO-Gov:  Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter (R) filed to run for Governor of Colorado.  Gaiter’s candidacy seems to be focused on bridging the rural/urban divide in the country.

IL-Gov: Chance the Rapper (Who is he?) donated $1 million to Chicago’s appallingly poor and violence ridden public schools.  Chance did this after meeting with Governor Bruce Rauner (R- Passes the Scarsdale Test), which he alleges was unproductive.

TN-Gov:  Businessman/philanthropist/former economic and community development commissioner Randy Boyd (R) announced his campaign for Tennessee Governor.  Boyd is known to be close to term limited Governor Bill Haslam (R).

VA-HD-31: Thanks to Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s unilateral decision to restore voting rights to convicted felons a man who was convicted and served 16 months in prison for threatening to kill President Obama will be allowed to run for Virginia’s House of Delegates. McAuliffe restored Nathan Daniel Larson voting rights and now Larson has filed signatures to run as an independent on a platform of subjecting women.

International

UK:  Former Foreign Secretary and Conservative Party leader William Hague (Tory) says Prime Minister Theresa May (Tory-Heroine of the global Center-Right) should scrap the fixed elections law and go straight to the polls to win a decisive majority to carry out the Brexit.  I am ambivalent to Hague’s argument as I see it’s merit, but I do not think May should go back on her word.  She has other means to deal with the “Wet Tories” who refuse to play ball in the House of Commons and those rebellious members of the decadent House of Lords (Nigel Farage and his troublesome band of UKIP misfits receiving life peerages).

Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Liberal-Left’s Wet Dream/Trump Lapdog) has seen the popularity of the Liberal Party fall back to 2015 general election numbers.  While the next election is at least 2 years away, the Liberals would still comfortably beat the leaderless Conservatives.