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Political Roundup for December 15, 2017

Senate:

MN-Sen: Rep. Keith Ellison (D) will not run in the special election for the seat that Sen. Al Franken (D) is resigning. Ellison earlier had indicated he would consider running. He endorsed Sen.-designate Tina Smith (D), who seems to be clearing the field for her to run virtually unopposed on the Democratic side. State Sen. Melisa Franzen (D) says she is still considering running, either for the special election next year or for the full term in 2020.

TN-Sen: A Gravis poll of the Tennessee Senate race on the surface looks good for ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) as he leads Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R). But the lead over Blackburn, the Republican frontrunner is a mere 2 points, 42%-40%(he leads Fincher 42%-38%) and comes mainly from him having higher support from his own party than does Blackburn, likely coming from Blackburn’s lower name recognition in heavily Republican East Tennessee, far from her West and Middle Tennessee-based congressional district. As support coalesces behind the eventual Republican nominee, Bredesen will find it tough to maintain that already slim lead.

House:

AZ-2: Lea Marquez-Peterson, president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the first Republican to enter the race for this seat. Marquez-Peterson is running while expecting that Rep. Martha McSally (R) will run for Senate, even though McSally has not announced publicly what her plans are. She says she has talked with the congresswoman and told her that she planned to run for the House seat as soon as word leaked that McSally was likely to run for Senate. She says she will pull out of the race if McSally ultimately decides to run for re-election to the House seat. Other Republicans said to be contemplating a run if the seat is open are Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller and Douglas City Councilman DJ Morales.

HI-1: Attorney General Doug Chin (D) is said to be gearing up to run for Congress. He would join state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D), state Rep. Kaniela Ing (D), and Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin (D) in running for the seat Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is giving up to run for governor. Others, including party switching state Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R->D) are considering running as well.

TX-27: Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) is not running for re-election. Since the filing deadline has already passed, there is no “Great Mentioner” on who might run, but check our post from yesterday on discussion about the other Republicans who have filed for the race.

WI-1: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) is planning to retire next year, according to an article in Politico where they conducted interviews from three dozen people who all said they don’t believe he will stay in Congress beyond next year. Ryan however when asked about the report and whether he was planning to quit said “I’m not, no.” Ryan’s departure could put the seat into play for Democrats, although they still would seem to be at a disadvantage. Trump won the seat by 10 points last year, an improvement over Romney’s 4 point win in 2012.

Governor:

AR-Gov: Jared Henderson, former state director of Teach for America says he plans to run for governor as a Democrat. The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party says he doesn’t know of anyone else right now planning to run. So it looks like Henderson may be the party’s sacrificial lamb to take on Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R).

CT-Gov: Oz Griebel, CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance, is planning to run for governor, according to sources close to him. It is not clear however which party he will run to represent, although he did run for the Republican nomination for governor in 2010, finishing 3rd. He would join a crowded field of candidates either running or exploring the race in either the Republican or Democratic parties.

TN-Gov: Rep. Diane Black (R) fares the best of any of the Republican candidates for governor in the Gravis poll(same poll that polled the Senate race). Black leads ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) 40%-31% and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D) 42%-27%. State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R) and businessman Randy Boyd both have smaller leads over Dean, while Harwell has a larger lead over Fitzhugh than Black. State Sen. Mae Beavers (R) trails Dean, but leads Fitzhugh.

WY-Gov./WY-SOS: Secretary of State Ed Murray (R) has been accused of sexual harassment in an incident that occurred 35 years ago. The accusation was made in a Facebook post by a former coworker. Murray firmly denies that the incident described ever took place and says he doesn’t know why the woman would make the allegation. He has indicated an interest in running for governor next year, but has not yet entered the race.

States:

KY-HD-49: Rebecca Johnson, the widow of state Rep. Dan Johnson (R) who committed suicide on Wednesday in light of sexual assault allegations, says she will run in the special election to fill the seat. Ex-state Rep. Linda Belcher (D), whom Johnson defeated last year, has expressed interest in running as well. Belcher was first elected to the seat in 2008, after her husband who had held the seat was killed in a car accident-potentially setting up a race between two widows of former representatives. Belcher was re-elected in 2010, lost in 2012 and then came back in 2014 before losing again in 2016.

MN-AG: St. Paul City Attorney Samuel Clark (D) has announced he will run for Attorney General. Clark noted the awkwardness of running for AG when current AG Lori Swanson (D) has not announced her plans, but many expect she will run for governor. Clark joins state Rep. Debra Hilstrom (D), ex-state Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) and attorney Matt Pelikan as Democrats who have announced they are running.

International:

Australia: The second of two by-elections called because of MPs having dual citizenship is this weekend. The Coalition easily retained the New South Wales seat of New England two weeks ago, returning National Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to office. A much closer race is expected tomorrow in the New South Wales seat of Bennelong. Bennelong has been a Liberal Party stronghold, and was held from 1974 to 2007 by former Prime Minister John Howard with Labor winning it only in 2007 when Howard and the Coalition went down in a landslide. John Alexander picked the seat back up for the Liberal Party in 2010, held it relatively easily in the last two elections and is running to regain his seat. But Labor has put up a high profile candidate for the seat-former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally. The race is important as the Coalition needs to hold the seat to preserve their 1 seat majority; losing it would require them to rely on an independent member who has pledged to support them on confidence and supply, but vote freely on other issues. The most recent poll puts the Coalition ahead of Labor on a two party preferred basis by 6 points.

Political Roundup for December 4th, 2017

Big Picture

Professions: Here’s a cool breakdown of professions by party. It’s from FEC data, so the numbers will be fairly skewed in several ways. Still, it’s interesting to see the differences, especially between similar professions and among ones in the same industry.

Congress

AL-Sen: CBS commissioned a poll of the upcoming special Senate election in Alabama from YouGov and found Creepy Roy (R, unfortunately) ahead of former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) 49-43. Most polls recently have found Moore ahead by single digits, but turnout patterns will be crucial, as they are in any special election (and really, every election).

AR-Sen: It’s not official, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may be on the way out. If that happens, CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be his likely successor. Pompeo’s likely successor is rumored to be Sen. Tom Cotton (R). Finally, we get to the point of all this, which is that if those dominoes fall that way, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (R) may want to return to DC, this time in the upper chamber.

FL-Sen: In a contrast to much of his tenure in office, Gov. Rick Scott (R) seems to be pretty popular at the moment, or so says this poll by Saint Leo Uiversity. Scott’s favorables are over 60%, and the poll also finds him leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) by 10 (!) points. The undecided number in the poll is high, and we still have eleven months until the 2018 general election, but this has to be putting a smile on Scott’s face.

UT-Sen: I’m not quite sure why, but the country’s clumsiest political puppetmaster is contemplating backing Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) for another term against a nascent bid by former Presidential nominee and business wizard Mitt Romney (R). This might make sense, since Hatch has been instrumental in shepherding the tax reform package, except that he was looking to retire. I have to assume that Bannon is just trying to block Romney, but that seems somewhat risky in Romney-loving, Trump-disliking Utah. It seems risky for Hatch’s legacy as well. We’ll have to see how this one plays out over the next few months to get a clearer picture.

Trump Districts: Politico runs down the Democrats in Trump districts who are therefore vulnerable next year, and it’s a decent summation. I’ll just add that if there’s a Democratic wave, most of them should survive to be absolutely slaughtered a few cycles from now. The only district that I’m fairly sure will fall is the open MN-01.

MI-09: With the retirement of long-serving Rep. Sander Levin (D) over the weekend, speculation now turns to who will run to succeed him. Sander’s son Andy (D) is thought to be mulling a run, as is State Sen. Steve Bieda (D). On the Republican side of things, no major candidates are getting serious mentions yet. The district, based in the inner northern suburbs of Detroit, moved into theoretically competitive territory in 2016. However, Demorats are likely to hold onto it in 2018 and it may get eliminated in a few cycles due to reapportionment.

NV-04: One of Rep. Ruben Kihuen’s (D) former campaign workers has accused him of sexual harassment. The way things are going with allegations lately, this could see his northern Clark County-based district open up in 2018. Kihuen beat former Rep. Cresent Hardy (R) last year by four points. Hardy was once thought to be a probable one-term wonder wave baby, but the district actually moved two points rightward in 2018. A return to Congress for the Man from Mesquite no longer looks impossible, though the Democratic nominee should be favored.

TX-27: Rep. Blake Farenthold (R), he of the infamous footy pajamas photo, has been unmasked as the subject of a sexual harassment claim by a staffer that ended in an $84k settlement. This may boost the campaign of his primary challenger Michael Cloud (R), or it may attract more challengers.

Governor

AR-Gov: Well, Arkansas Democrats, once dominant in the Natural State, just can’t seem to catch a break. Not only have they lost both Senate seats, all four House seats, all statewide offices, and both chambers of the legislature, but now they’re even struggling to field a candidate for Governor. It had looked for a few days like they’d found one, but former State Rep. Jay Martin (D) has now taken his name out of consideration. I’m sure that someone will eventually file for the race, but it has to be embarrassing to put a name out publicly and then have that person publicly decline. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) will likely cruise to reelection with little opposition.

FL-Gov: The battle lines in the Sunshine State’s Democratic gubernatorial primary are finally starting to take shape. Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine (D) seems to have decided to take the corporate Democratic approach to raising the minimum wage, calling for regional differences in how much the wage is increased. Stay tuned for more differences appearing among the candidates as they jockey for different factions of the primary electorate.

State/Local

Aurora City Council: After a recount for a hotly-contested at-large seat on the Aurora, CO (pop. 325,000) city council, it appears that the more conservative candidate has won by 45 votes. However, it’s worth noting that progressives captured several seats on the once-red-but-now-blue city’s nonpartisan city council.

Political Roundup for February 22, 2017

“If I was Governor, I’d sure find better things to do with my time. Like getting Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday back to separate paid holidays. Presidents’ Day. What a rip-off.”

Last night in WI-Supt, we saw a moderate surprise as Beloit local superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), the more conservative candidate, easily bested the more moderate John Humphries (R) for the right to take on incumbent Tony Evers (D). Evers, however, cruised overall, winning 2/3 of the vote, and will likely have little trouble in the general in April barring something unexpected.

President/National:

DNC Chair: NH Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley (D) dropped his bid for DNC chair over the weekend and will back Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D). Buckley was considered a longer-shot to win but still had a significant base of support. His endorsement probably doesn’t give Ellison a huge advantage in his competitive fight with co-front-runner Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez (D), but it probably does significantly hurt the chances of the third major candidate in the race, South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), who needs both Ellison and Perez to deadlock well short of a majority in order to have a shot. SC Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison (D) is the only other candidate with any significant support, but he seems a long-shot.

Senate:

MI-Sen: Buried in this Great Mentioner piece about possible challengers to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is the revelation that ex-State Sen. Randy Richardville (R), who held down a swingy district at the state’s southeast corner from 2006 to 2014, is considering the race and will decide “by this summer.” Stabenow has not definitively said whether she will seek re-election, but is expected to; many other Republicans are considering the race, though Richardville seems to be the most obviously serious. One potential candidate taking herself out of the running though is termed-out SoS Ruth Johnson (R), who seems to have her eye on a safely Republican State Senate seat in her home of exurban northern Oakland County instead.

NJ-Sen: George Norcross (D), the dictator of the southern half of the state, and his brother, Rep. Donald Norcross (D), have made their decision on whether to play nice with indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) or seek to push him out the door, and they’ve chosen the former. La Cosa Norcross will host a fundraiser for Menendez next month, which probably closes the door on Don running against him. It seems they are betting on Menendez either going down quickly with time for Don to enter the primary, surviving his trial, or not going down until after the election, triggering a special – a combined outcome with reasonable chance to happen but still a bet that’s not without risk. It’s unclear whether the other major candidate interested in the seat, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D), will make the same calculation. Menendez limping through the primary to a general election with a cloud over his head is probably the only chance Republicans have to make a serious play for this seat, but no Republicans have as yet indicated interest.

OH-Sen: State Sen. Matt Huffman (R) will not run for US Senate this cycle. Huffman had been mentioned as a potential more establishment-friendly alternative to the candidate already in the race to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), State Treasurer and 2012 nominee Josh Mandel (R), and had apparently already secured some donor commitments. However, Mandel’s head start (he has been more or less running continuously since 2015) could pose a daunting obstacle to someone with little name rec. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) is the only other major candidate thought to be considering the race.

WI-Sen: On the heels of Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R) announcement that he will not run for the Senate, State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) is considering a run. Vukmir has represented a district in deep-red Waukesha County for over a decade, which could give her a geographic base. With the only field-clearer (Duffy) out of the picture, the GOP primary to taken on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is expected to be very crowded.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Former Auburn Football Coach Tommy Tuberville (R) is considering a run for Governor. Tuberville, who has lived in Texas and Ohio since leaving Auburn in 2008, could have a dedicated base of fans in the state where College Football is perhaps taken most seriously of all – but coming from the state’s second most popular school (and arch-rival of its most popular) could be a handicap. Many other Republicans are considering the race, most notably LG Kay Ivey (R), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R), State Sens. Del Marsh (R) and Cam Ward (R), and ex-State Supreme Court Justice and 2010 candidate Roy Moore (R). Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell-Cobb (D) and State Rep. Craig Ford (D) are considering runs on the Dem side.

AR-Gov: Country radio host Bobby Bones (D/I?) had dinner with Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Monday. It’s unclear what the conversation entailed; Bones has been considering a challenge to Hutchinson, but it’s not clear how serious he is about such a bid, as his show is based out of Nashville, TN. Anyone will likely face a very uphill battle against the popular incumbent.

CO-Gov: Ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R), who served a term in the legislature a decade ago and has since become a prominent businessman and activist, will run for Governor and says he will self-fund $3M. Michell is the first GOP candidate to declare; State Sen. Mike Johnston (D) is in on the Democratic side and a large number of others from both parties are considering this race. Both primary fields are expected to be crowded.

FL-Gov: Two new candidates are considering this race on the Dem side, though neither sounds particularly serious about it. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) told Ebony that he is considering “what 2018 looks like” while self-funding 2010 Senate candidate Jeff Greene has been “talking to consultants”. Democrats’ major options here still look like ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D), and prominent trial lawyer John Morgan (D), though many others have expressed at least some interest. Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is the front-runner for the GOP nod.

KS-Gov: Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) has entered the race, giving Democrats a top-tier candidate here. Though Kansas is deep-red, Democrats sense an opening due to the extreme unpopularity of Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and the ongoing feud between moderate and conservative Republicans. Brewer, who led the state’s largest city from 2007 to 2015, may face ex-State Rep. and 2014 nominee Paul Davis (D) in the Dem primary. SoS Kris Kobach (R), LG Jeff Colyer (R), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R), and businessman and 2010 KS-4 candidate Wink Hartman (R) are considered the most likely candidates on the GOP side.

MN-Gov: State Sen. David Osmek (R), a staunch fiscal conservative, has indicated an interest in this race. Both sides’ conventions are likely to be crowded; Osmek could face any or all of State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R), 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), MNGOP Chair Keith Downey (R), State Sen. Michelle Benson (R), and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (R). On the D side, Auditor Rebecca Otto (D), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D), and State Rep. Erin Murphy (D) are already in the race, while LG Tina Smith (D), AG Lori Swanson (D), and Reps. Rick Nolan (D) and Tim Walz (D) are all thought to be interested.

WI-Gov: Rep. Ron Kind (D), whose western-Wisconsin prairie-populist House seat trended hard-right in 2016, is not ruling out a run for Governor. Gov. Scott Walker (R) is widely exprected to seek a third term; Kind would likely be Democrats’ strongest prospect given his two decades representing the swingy rural west of the state. Dane CE Joe Parisi (D) and State Sens. Jennifer Shilling (D) and Kathleen Vinehout (D) are other commonly-discussed names for the D side in this race, though no one has made strong moves as of yet.

House:

CA-34: An internal from FM3 for nonprofit exec Sara Hernandez (D) shows her in second place in this Louisiana-Rules Top Two Jungle primary, trailing State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) 20-9. However, there are a ton of undecideds and it’s unclear we can really say anything about the race for this deep-blue downtown LA seat from this poll besides Gomez likely being in first.

GA-6: We have a new poll from Clout Strategies (aka Wenzel) for this April Louisiana-Rules Top Two Jungle Primary. Congressional Staffer Jon Osoff (D) leads with 32, followed by ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) at 25 and no one else above 11. However, this poll has a few problems: first, it does not test the second non-Some Dude Democrat in the race, ex-State Sen. Ron Slotin (D), who has lost out on most establishment support but may draw a few points. Second, the demographics of this poll seem a bit off as it is almost entirely white and very old. So bottom line, salt to taste.

MT-AL: A group of county officials is asking the state to hold the special election to replace Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) by mail instead of through normal polling places to save money. A bill has been proposed in the State Senate and will be considered today; it would give individual counties the choice of running a standard poll or all-mail election. Assuming Zinke’s confirmation proceeds as planned a week from today, the special election is likely to be held on June 6; 2016 gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte (R) will likely face off with either ex-State Rep. and 2014 Senate nominee Amanda Curtis (D) or musician Rob Quist (D).

NJ-5: State Rep. Holly Schepisi (R), who was widely considered the GOP’s top choice to take on Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D), has said will likely not run for Congress this cycle (though she did leave the door open the smallest of cracks). This decision puts the GOP back to square one in this suburban seat, based in wealthy northern Bergen County, that narrowly backed Trump but trended left.

SC-1: Buried in this worthwhile longread on Rep. Mark Sanford (R) is the revelation that Ted Fienning (R), a veteran and businessman will run against him in the 2018 primary and seed his campaign with $250K of self-funding. The full article is worth a look; Sanford is certainly one of the most complex characters in DC and his willingness to cross Trump in service of fiscal conservatism could make him a key player over the next few years.

State Races:

FL-Ag Comm: State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) of southwest Florida is planning a run for Ag Commissioner. Should he enter, he will face State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) in the primary. No Democrats have as yet declared interest in this seat.

OK-AG: Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has appointed Secretary of State (an appointed position in OK) Mike Hunter (R) as the new Attorney General, replacing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (R). Hunter will most likely seek a full term in 2018.

IN-Supt ’20: The Indiana Senate has killed a bill that would transform the State Superintendent from an elected office to an appointed one under the purview of the Governor. Republicans had supported the change after then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) spent much of his term fighting with then-Superintendent Glenda Ritz (D), a staunch liberal. But last year Ritz was defeated by Jennifer McCormick (R), and so some of the partisan urgency was lost. A little under half the Senate’s Republicans decided to break ranks and join with Democrats to kill the proposal.

VA-LD-28: Virginia State House Speaker Bill Howell (R) of Stafford County in the DC exurbs will retire this year after a decade and a half as Speaker. Howell turned a narrow GOP majority into a dominant 66-34 one and was at times the key Republican figure in state Government when Democrats controlled the Governorship and Senate from 2007-09 and 2013-14. Howell will likely be succeeded as Speaker by Kirk Cox (R) of suburban Richmond.

AL-Redistrict: Alabama has started redistricting to unpack some black-majority legislative districts that courts have struck down as racial gerrymanders. General consensus is that there will be little more than minor tweaks to the lines.

Local Races:

Buffalo-Mayor: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) announced his campaign for a fourth term yesterday. Brown will likely be favored as he maintains most establishment support. Brown’s major challenger is mavericky city Comptroller Mark Schroeder (D).

Cincinnati-Mayor: The field is set for the Cincinnati Mayoral race; moderate incumbent John Cranley (D) will face two more liberal candidates in city councilwoman Yvette Simpson (D) and university board member Rob Richardson (D). The California-Rules Top Two primary is on May 2.

Detroit-Mayor: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) is broadly popular, and for a time it looked like he may not draw a significant challenger, but that changed as State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of the longtime 70s and 80s Mayor of the same name, entered the race. Young will likely run to the left of Duggan, the first white Mayor to lead Detroit since the 70s.

St. Louis-Mayor: A new Remington poll of the St. Louis Mayoral Primary in two weeks shows councilwoman Lyda Krewson (D), the most moderate and only serious white candidate, with a wide lead. Krewson takes 36% to 16% for left-wing favorite city Treasurer Tishaura Jones (D), 13% for council President Lewis Reed (D), a black establishment liberal, and 12% for left-wing councilman Antonio French (D). Councilman Jeffrey Boyd (D) brings up the rear among serious contenders with 4%.

International:

Ecuador: The Ecuadorean Presidential election has officially been called as heading to a runoff between left-wing ex-VP Lenin Moreno and center-right banker and 2013 presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso. Though Moreno led the first round by nearly 10 points, Lasso is considered a slight favorite in the April 2 runoff.

Political Roundup for January 5, 2017

President:

SEC: President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Wall Street attorney Jay Clayton to head up the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Governor:

AR-Gov: National country radio Host Bobby Bones is considering a run against Gov. Hutchinson (R). No word yet on what party he’d run as; Bones has previously said he is neither a D or an R but his sensibilities seem left of center. Bones also may not meet the state’s 10-year residency requirement as his radio show has been based in Austin and then Nashville for the last few years.

CA-Gov: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) has quietly started discussing a potential run for governor with advisers and prospective donors according to former Los Angeles MayorRichard Riordan (R) and sources familiar with Faulconer’s deliberations.

CO-Gov: Plastics Executive & Clinton Foundation donor Noel Ginsburg (D) is running for Governor of Colorado, while former Denver Bronco quarterback John Elway (R) has said he will not run for Governor next year.

FL-Gov: Newly sworn in Rep. Charlie Crist (R, I, D) has said he will not run for governor in 2018. Rep. Crist is hard at work serving his constituents working on legislation in Congress raising money for his re-election and already has 2 high priced fundraisers scheduled for Jan. 16 and 17 in Sarasota and Miami Beach.

IA-Gov: Former state natural resources secretary Rich Leopold (D)  announced his candidacy for Governor in a video broadcast Wednesday on Facebook, making him the first person from either major party to publicly announce his intentions for 2018.

IL-Gov: Rep. Cheri Bustos (D) is considering a run for governor against the wealthy incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner. Multiple other Dems are considering the race.

MA-Gov: Former Gov. Deval Patrick budget chief Jay Gonzalez (D) is considering challenging Charlie Baker. Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) is as of yet the only Dem who has indicated interest in this race.

NJ-Gov: Republican Assembly Leader Jon Bramnick says he will not be running for governor. Bramnick will instead seek re-election to the Assembly. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R) is currently running and Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is considering a run. Unlike Guandagno, Bramnick is a close Christie ally.

NJ-Gov: Less than three months after saying he wouldn’t launch a campaign, State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D), a 38-year veteran of the state Legislature, said he is once again considering entering the race to succeed Gov. Chris Christie. Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. ambassador to Germany, is considered the front-runner to win Democrat nomination.

OH-Gov: Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill (D) is considering stepping down from his post to run for governor.

SC-Gov: Potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton (R) has postponed announcing her plans until the spring. Gov. Nikki Haley’s nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has complicated this race. With Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) potentially taking over as governor the political landscape is clearly changing.

VA-Gov: Former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) has entered the race for governor. Perriello’s late entry into the governor’s race will disrupt Democrats’ well-laid plans to anoint Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam (D) as there standard barer this year. Until Perriello’s entry into the race the Democrats had cleared the field in their June 13 primary for Northam. Perriello’s run will now give the Democrats a spirited primary this year.

Senate:

ND-Sen: Donald Trump asked Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) if he wants to run for Senate against Sen. Heitkamp (D) and Cramer said he’s thinking about running.

House:

MT-AL: A third Democrat has announced that he intends to run in the special election to replace Rep. Ryan Zinke (R).  State Rep. Kelly McCarthy (D) will join state legislators Amanda Curtis and Casey Schreiner in seeking the Democrat nomination which will be decided by party convention.

SC-5: State House Majority Leader Gary Simrill (R) has announced that he will not run in the special election for the seat Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R) is vacating to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Simrill is one of South Carolina’s most powerful Republicans. So far state Rep. Ralph Norman is the only Republican actively running for this seat.

State, Local & Other:

Buffalo-Mayor: Buffalo Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder (D) appears ready to challenge Mayor Byron W. Brown (D) in the September Democratic primary and is expected to formally declare his candidacy soon. Schroeder is known as a maverick without much support from the party establishment. Brown will be seeking his 4th term as mayor of Buffalo.

Cincinnati-Mayor: University official Bob Richardson (D) is the third candidate in the race; he’s a long-shot against moderate incumbent John Cranley (D) and liberal councilwoman Yvette Simpson (D).

NJ-SD-2: As expected, State Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic City) is retiring this year. The two state Reps. (one D and one R) in his swingy district will square off.

NY-Corruption: Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto (R), who is under indictment on federal corruption charges, resigned. Venditto’s indictment cost his son an easy re-election to the New York State Senate and forced the NY GOP to rely on Democrat Simcha Felder and the IDC for their state senate majority.

CT-State Senate: The Connecticut state senate had two resignations yesterday. Sen. Eric Coleman (D) and Sen. Rob Kane (R) both submitted their resignations leaving the Connecticut state senate tied at 17-17 with 2 vacancies. Kane is expected to be appointed as GOP state auditor & Coleman is in the mix for a judgeship. Coleman’s last minute resignation comes as a bit of a surprise. Both senate seats are considered safe seats for their respective parties (Kane’s seat was R+8 in 2012 and Coleman’s seat was D+34).

Political Roundup for December 12th, 2014

 

2016-Pres:

Perry: Rick Perry is not making me feel better about his electability as a candidate. He answered a question about his intelligence by refuting the premise of the question (good), but he gave hostile media a great clip when he claimed that running for president “Isn’t an IQ test”. Considering his 2012 campaign was plagued by missteps and gaffes, he isn’t doing a good job of shaking the label of being the “dumb” candidate.

Romney: Is Mitt Romney actually considering a comeback run for President? Losing Presidential candidates usually get some speculation about a subsequent bid, but Romney has gotten a lot more than most have and people are beginning to wonder if he is seriously considering jumping into the 2016 field.

Congress:

AZ-2: In the last uncalled house race, it looks like Republican Martha McSally has kept her lead after the machine recount of last month’s razor-thin election. Now comes the hand count, but it’s looking very likely that she’ll be seated in January.

NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter (D), who is now 3-2 in bids for this seat over the last decade, has not ruled out a 6th attempt. You would think NH-1 Democrats would find someone slightly fresher to run.

PA-Sen-2016: Democrats aren’t exactly lining up to run against Republican Pat Toomey. Aside from the losing 2010 candidate Joe Sestak (who isn’t particularly well liked by people in the PA Democratic party), most of the potential high-profile candidates are passing on the race. That is a big change from this year, where everyone and their mother ran for the right to beat Tom Corbett, and it does say a lot about Toomey’s perceived electoral strength that Democrats aren’t eager to run against him even in a presidential year.

Governor/State Office:

AR-Gov/Sen: Just in case it wasn’t clear from outgoing Governor Mike Beebe’s (D) pardoning of his son earlier, he has no plans for future runs for office. This denies Democrats one of their few remaining viable statewide candidates, as they are facing down a GOP trifecta & 100% R Congressional delegation after a string of defeats in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

IL-Comptroller: Incoming Governor Bruce Rauner (R) has made it known that he wants Judy Baar Topinka’s (R) chief of staff Nancy Kimme to take her spot as Illinois’s Comptroller until a new election can be called. Topinka’s sudden death earlier this week has caused a legal argument over who gets to appoint a replacement for the office she was re-elected to this year.

LA-Gov: Here’s an unexpected development—Burt Cain, the longtime warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary, the nation’s largest prison complex, is making noise about running for Governor next year as a Republican. Cain is a complete wildcard here, but given the reports that he was talked into running by someone on social media, he might be just blowing smoke.

LA-Lt-Gov: East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden has announced he is running for the open Lt. Gov spot next year. Holden, who is Black, is the only announced Democrat in the race, though he is apparently trying to run as a salesman and promoter of the state, touting his record from his 10-year stint as Baton Rouge’s “mayor”.

MT-AG/Gov: Republican Attorney General Tim Fox has filed for re-election. Fox is considered the top Republican candidate for Governor in 2016 against Democrat Steve Bullock, but this filing does not actually prevent him from running for that office.  It does allow him to start raising money that can be used for either office however.

Local Races/Other:

Nevada Assembly: The Republican Nevada Assembly Caucus remains in turmoil after its unexpected 2014 victory. There seems to be open conflict between the various factions of the party, including a recent spat where the expected incoming chairwoman of the Taxation committee was removed from the committee, along with her vice chair. There is also speculation that a scheduled meeting between a number of moderate Republicans and the Assembly Democrats could lead to some kind of deal over control of the chamber.

Philly-Mayor: Frank Rizzo Jr. has announced that he doesn’t plan to run for Mayor of Philadelphia. This is surprising, as most people saw his D-to-R party switch last year as setting himself up for a run in the overwhelmingly D city. He instead plans on running for a seat on the city council, which he lost in 2011 when he was defeated in a GOP primary.

San-Diego City Council: The council’s 4 Republicans have voted with La Jolla Democrat Sherri Lightner to make her the council president in a 5-4 vote over sitting President Todd Gloria (D). This allows the generally more moderate Lightner to replace Gloria, who was pushing for more Liberal causes like raising the minimum wage and climate legislation. This move will likely give Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer more leverage in running the city.

UT-Election Law: A recent Utah bill to change the state’s convention primary system (where getting 60% of the delegates earns you the nomination without a primary) to something more closely resembling primaries in the rest of the country is facing a legal challenge from the Utah GOP. It is also speculated to be targeted at Conservative Senator Mike Lee, who would easily coast to renomination at a convention. This utterly baffles me, as Lee has a 70% approval rating with Utah Republicans, and I can’t imagine someone successfully challenging a sitting Republican senator from the left in a state like Utah, especially without an obvious candidate.

 

Political Roundup for November 14th, 2014

 

Congress:

D-Leadership: Congressional Democrats are set to re-nominate the exact same leadership they’ve had for the last 10 years. I wonder how many more Republican ads that boil down to “Don’t vote for the Democrat because they will vote for Pelosi” it will take before she finally owns up and steps down. It will probably have to happen before the Democrats can hope to win back a house majority. The only change  in either chamber is that the Senate Democrats have created a new leadership position, a “Strategic policy advisor to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee” that they gave to Elizabeth Warren, likely as a token to progressives. It’s amusing that one of the main Conservative criticisms of Socialism—that it becomes bloated, inefficient and resistant to change—seems to be playing out in full in the Democratic leadership.

LA-Sen: Our first poll of the runoff election is a Cassidy (R) internal and has him up 16 points on Landrieu (D). While the poll is an internal and should be taken with a grain of salt, it does illustrate the massive gap Landrieu has to overcome in order to win re-election after her terrible “general election” performance. This is at least Likely R to start, and probably closing on Safe R, and an R win here would make 2014 the best Republican election in the Senate since the Reagan wave of 1980.

MO-Sen-2018: Claire McCaskill, one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senators up in 2018, has publically come out against re-nominating Reid. This is almost certainly a move to distance her from the Senate leadership rather than a serious move against Reid given that she didn’t provide an alternative candidate.

NV-2016: Republican Governor Brian Sandoval hasn’t committed to running for Senate against Harry Reid in 2016, despite the many rumors earlier in the cycle that he would. This could be simply trying to avoid the office-hopping charge of announcing for a new race two weeks after winning one (See Tom Cotton’s announcement non-annoucement in Arkansas), but it could also be that the GOP’s unexpected takeover of the state legislature has made staying on as Governor more appealing. Sandoval had the most impressive victory margin this year (though against a nobody), and would probably be heavily favored if he were to run against Reid.

Pres-2016:

Fiorina?: The 2010 CAGOP Senate candidate has been generating some buzz in the national circuit, including a trip to Iowa this year in support of Republicans in IA-1 and IA-2. Fiorina would be competing in what is shaping up to be a crowded Bizcon wing of the GOP, and she doesn’t really bring anything to the table aside from her lack of a Y chromosome.

Anti-Christie PAC: Tom Tancredo (R) has formed an anti-Chris Christie PAC with the overt goal of preventing him from winning the GOP nomination. This could be simple payback (Christie likely recruited Bob Beauprez for the CO-Gov nomination this year that Tancredo wanted), or it could be Tancredo is just trying to stay relevant despite falling out of favor with the Colorado and National GOP.

Huckabee?: The Huckster is making noises about running for the GOP nomination again. Huckabee has a good claim to the Socon base (though he will likely have to share it with the almost-certainly-running-again Rick Santorum), but will struggle to get a majority of the GOP vote due to his fairly left-wing economic policy positions.

Other:

AR-Gov/Sen: Mike Beebe, the outgoing D Arkansas Governor, is set to pardon his son of a felony marijuana conviction he received in 2003. While it was recommended to him by the state parole board this has absolutely horrible optics, as a powerful dad erases the crimes of his son. This most likely means that the otherwise popular Beebe isn’t interested in running for another statewide office, and he was the Democrat’s best hope to win back something in a state they are now completely boxed out of.

 

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