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Political Roundup for October 9th, 2017

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

Big Picture

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

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

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

Congress

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

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

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

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

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

Governor

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

State/Local

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

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

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

Political Roundup for August 31, 2017

Senate:

PA-Sen: As expected, Rep. Lou Barletta (R) kicked off his campaign against Sen. Bob Casey (D) on Tuesday, giving Republicans an unexpectedly good recruit for this race. HERE is our Great Mentioner for his open PA-11 seat from when the news first broke a few weeks ago.

WI-Sen: State Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R) will not run for the US Senate next year. Veteran Kevin Nicholson (R) is in the race to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), while State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) and 2012 candidate Eric Hovde (R) are considering.

Governor:

AL-Gov, AL-1: Rep. Bradley Byrne (R) will run for a third full term in Congress and will not enter the crowded gubernatorial primary. Byrne has indicated he may reconsider if incumbent Kay Ivey (R) does not seek a full term. Many Republicans are running in this primary.

CA-Gov: Fresh off an easy re-election this spring, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) has refused to rule out a gubernatorial run. Should Garcetti enter, he would join his predecessor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), LG Gavin Newsom (D), Treasurer John Chiang (D), and ex-Superintendent Delaine Eastin (D) on the D side of the top two primary. Self-funding businessman and vanity presidential candidate John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R) are also in the race.

GA-Gov: State Sen. Hunter Hill (R) resigned to focus on his gubernatorial bid this week; Hill’s upscale seat based in Atlanta’s tony Buckhead neighborhood is probably more likely than not to flip to Dems in the upcoming special. Hill is facing LG Casey Cagle (R), SoS Brian Kemp (R), and fellow State Sen. Michael Williams (R) in the GOP primary for this open seat.

KS-Gov: State House Speaker Ron Ryckman (R) will not run for Governor, seeing instead to stay in the House. Gov-designate Jeff Colyer (R) and SoS Kris Kobach (R) headline a crowded GOP primary field here; ex-State Rep. Mark Hutton (R), a moderate, became the latest candidate into the field yesterday.

OH-Gov: Jer-ry! A “friend” says that ex-Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer (D) is considering a run for Governor of Ohio. Springer, who has dabbled with several bids for Ohio races before but never pulled the trigger, would join a crowded Dem primary if he enters.

House:

MA-3: Radio DJ Greg Hill (R), who hosts the morning show on Boston’s modern rock station, is considering a run for Rep. Niki Tsongas’s open seat. Hill would give the GOP a credible candidate with name recognition but still face a very uphill battle in the deep-blue district. State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) and former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh CoS Dan Koh (D) are considering the race and many other Dems are thought to be interested.

PA-15: State Rep. Justin Simmons (R) is considering a primary challenge to moderate Rep. Charlie Dent (R). Dent, who is among the caucus’s more moderate members, represents a historically-swingy Lehigh Valley seat that has been gerrymandered to light-to-medium red status with the addition of conservative territory near Harrisburg.

SC-1: State Rep. Katie Arrington (R), a first-term legislator, will challenge Rep. Mark Sanford (R) in the GOP primary. Arrington appears to be promising to be a stronger Trumpist than the Trump skeptic Sanford. She also has some establishment support from her legislative connections, meaning she could be a credible threat to the incumbent.

State & Local:

MI-SoS: Professor and Trump Michigan campaign manager Joseph Guzman (R) has filed to run for the SoS seat. He will face State Sen. Mike Kowall (R) and Shelby Twp. Clerk Stan Grot (R) in the GOP convention. 2010 nominee Jocelyn Benson (D) is considered likely to run again for Dems.

OH-Aud: Ex-Rep. Zack Space (D) kicked off his campaign for State Auditor as expected this week. The race is highly important as the State Auditor (with the Gov and SoS) draws Ohio’s legislative maps. Space, who was swept into a rural red eastern Ohio seat on the 2006 wave and swept out on the 2010 wave, is not expected to face significant primary opposition; he will likely face State Rep. Keith Faber (R) in the general.

NE-SD-16, WATN: 2014 Nebraska gubernatorial nominee Chuck Hassebrook (D) will seek a state legislative seat streatching from the northern suburbs of Omaha to rural northeast Nebraska.

NC-Redistrict: The NC general assembly has quickly passed the new legislative redistricting maps. Overall there isn’t a huge amount of change, but it does make several R-trending rural seats more competitive and several D-trending suburban seats less competitive.

Political Roundup for August 23rd, 2017

Fellow teachers, welcome back to school! Everyone else, welcome back to your roundup.

Last night, Sandy Stimpson (R) won re-election outright in Mobile with 58%, while school board member Randall Woodfin (D) surprisingly outpaced incumbent Birmingham Mayor William Bell (D) by a 41-37 margin; Woodfin and Bell will head to an October runoff. Dawn Euer (D) won RI-SD-13 as expected, though she underperformed Hillary’s margin unlike most D special election candidates this year.

Senate

AZ-Sen: Things are rough between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the President. Besides Trump’s public criticism of McConnell and Senate procedures, McConnell is also facing off against Trump in the Arizona Senate Republican primary. McConnell, for his part, is rallying the Republican Senate caucus to support their embattled colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake.

More AZ-Sen: In a new poll from Republican public affairs firm HighGround, Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is in big trouble. First, he trails former State Sen. Kelli Ward 28%-43% in the Republican primary. Then, if Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) pulls the trigger on a run, Flake would trail her 33%-41% in the general election. In contrast, Ward would trail Sinema by only one point with a ton of undecideds, at 31%-32%.

Flake has the unpopularity of previous party-flippers like Lieberman and Specter of the past decade among his own party’s voters- without ever flipping parties. President Trump previously tweeted his support of Ward. With numbers like this, I wonder if we could see a retirement from Flake to prevent a Ward primary victory.

MI-Sen: Come for the shout-out from Harry Enten describing RRH Elections as “well-informed, well-intentioned amateurs trying to break into the [polling] industry.” Then, stay read his takedown of a fake poll from “Delphi Analytica” that briefly excited the political world about a possible lead for a Kid Rock campaign in the Michigan Senate race.

Governor

MN-Gov: State Sen. Dave Osmek (R) has announced a gubernatorial bid. While Osmek will have some legislative endorsements, he starts overshadowed by Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson within the Republican primary. After all, Johnson’s base overlaps with Osmek’s turf in the southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Further, Johnson occupies a similar libertarian/conservative ideological space as Johnson. Osmek’s website also starts out in uniquely rough shape, telling donors on the day of his announcement to either send a physical check or wait for Paypal to go up. Couldn’t he have just thrown up a Piryx account real fast and changed it later?!? Also, apparently http://osmekforgovernor.com redirects to a hit piece against the candidate.  For a hilarious take on the state of the gubernatorial race, see this tweet

VA-Gov: A new Roanoke College poll of likely voters finds Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) leads Ed Gillespie (R) 43%-36%, with another 4% for the Libertarian candidate.

CA-Gov: Apparently some “Democratic fundraisers and political operatives” are not excited by the always inevitable but finally happening gubernatorial bid of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) or former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign. In their place, they want some dude named Scooter Braun to run. He apparently manages some famous singers, including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Kanye West. I’m not even going to run down the list of recent celebrity candidates in the last few years, ok?

AK-Gov: Incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) have officially filed for reelection as a joint ticket again. They are not running on the Democratic ticket, so now the Alaska Democratic Party needs to figure out some way to legally keep anyone else from trying to snag that ballot line by filing for the primary. A lawsuit has been filed by the party to attempt to allow the pair to run in the party primary without actually running under the party’s affiliation.

WI-Gov: State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) is officially in, joining a bunch of B- and C-list Democratic candidates who are either actually in the race (state Rep. Dana Wachs, businessman Andy Gronik) or considering it (State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin). A full Great Mentioner is included at the bottom of the article.

House

TX-3: State Sen. Van Taylor (R) continues his march into this open congressional seat, officially filing to run now that Texas’ special state legislative session is complete. Our friend Miles at DDHQ will eventually get around to profiling this race, so stay tuned.

TX-16: El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D) will likely announce her congressional campaign this Saturday at an event. Escobar has been considering a bid for some time, and she will join El Paso ISD Trustee Dori Fenenbock and two other candidates in the Democratic primary. This seat is open with Rep. Beto O’Rourke running for Senate against Ted Cruz. Escobar already secured prominent backers like the outgoing incumbent, Rep. Joaquin Castro, and actress Eva Longoria.

AL-5: State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R) will run against incumbent Rep. Mo Brooks in the Republican primary here. Brooks is coming off a third-place finish in the special election for US Senate in Alabama. Although he cracked 40% in his own district in the three-way race, Holtzclaw probably sees an opening after Brooks was bloodied by ads that accused him of being insufficiently pro-Trump.

State and Local

TX-SD-8: A rare showdown in this open seat Republican primary between two red meat conservatives. On the one side is Philip Huffines, the self-funding Dallas County GOP Chairman and twin brother of State Sen. Don Huffines. On the other is Angela Paxton, wife of embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton starts out with some legislative support that would otherwise be assumed to go to Huffines, including from Freedom Caucus members and State Reps. Matt Shaheen and Jeff Leach. The divide may be geographic rather than ideological, with another state representative explaining her support with the statement, “She’s Collin County.”

MA-Leg: State Rep. Susannah Whipps is abandoning the GOP to sit as an independent legislator. No word on her committee assignments yet.

Political Roundup for August 21, 2017

Turn around, bright eyes, and fly your LearJet back from Nova Scotia to look at the roundup.

Senate:

AL-Sen: A JMC Poll has Sen. Luther Strange (R) in deep trouble in the runoff, losing to ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) 51-32.

AZ-Sen: Trump signaled support in a tweet last week for ex-State Sen. Kelli Ward’s (R) primary bid against Sen. Jeff Flake (R). But anti-Flake forces in the White House are not pleased, as they had been meeting with State Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) and ex-AZGOP chair Robert Graham (R), who are both seen as stronger candidates than the gadflyish Ward.

NJ-Sen: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) goes on trial next month, and Democrats are already laying the groundwork to try and keep him in office if he is convicted. If Menendez resigns or is expelled by the end of the year, Gov. Chris Christie (R) will get to appoint his replacement – and likely give Republicans another seat for a year. But if Menendez can stick it out for a few more months, Phil Murphy (D) will likely become Governor and keep the seat in Democratic hands. The complication of this is, of course, that Democrats would need to defend a convicted felon staying in the Senate… but of course, this is New Jersey.

Governor:

CA-Gov: State Treasurer John Chiang (D) is under fire for the fact that several developers won tax breaks from committees he oversees after donating to him. Both Chiang and the developers say that the tax breaks were awarded based on objective formulae, but the amount of donations to Chiang is far higher than those to previous officeholders in his position. Chiang faces LG Gavin Newsom (D), ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), ex-State Superintendent Delaine Eastin (D), businessman John Cox (R), and State Rep. Travis Allen (R) in this top-two race.

KS-Gov: State Rep. Jim Ward (D), the House minority leader, has become the latest candidate to run for Governor. Ward joins ex-Wichita Mayor Greg Brewer (D) and ex-state Rep. Josh Svaty (D) in what is becoming the most crowded KS Dem primary in memory. Republicans have an even more crowded field.

NY-Gov: NYC councilman Jumaane Williams (D) of Brooklyn is considering a potential primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Williams, a staunch leftist, could have an opening to Cuomo’s left and potentially draw significant votes in the general if he were to mount a campaign on the left-wing Working Families Party line.

More NY-Gov: 2010 nominee Carl Paladino (R) was kicked off the Buffalo School Board for allegedly leaking confidential board business. Paladino, a brash antiestablishment conservative who has long been known for outrageous statements, has been one of several Republicans considering runs for Governor.

SC-Gov: State Sen. Tom Davis (R), a libertarian-leaning conservative from Beaufort, is considering a run for Governor and will make a decision by Labor Day. Davis would join a fairly crowded field taking on Gov. Henry McMaster (R)’s bid for a full term, including Haley admin official Catherine Templeton (R), LG Kevin Bryant (R), and ex-LG Yancey McGill (R). A pair of Democrats, State Reps. Justin Bamberg (D) and James Smith (D), have acknowledged they are considering the race.

WI-Gov: Ex-State Rep. and 2012 WI-2 candidate Kelda Roys (D) is considering a run for Governor. Many Democrats, most notably State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), have been considering bids against Gov. Scott Walker (R).

WV-Gov, WV-SD-4, WATN: Gov. Jim Justice (R) has fired his CoS, 2014 WV-2 nominee Nick Casey (D). Casey, a former state Dem chair, was fired because of his close ties to Democrats, which no longer made sense after Justice switched parties. His replacement will be State Sen. Mike Hall (R) of Putnam County.

House:

CA-24: 2016 nominee Justin Fareed (R) has filed for a rematch in this medium-blue Central Coast seat. Fareed will face off again with freshman Rep. Salud Carbajal (D).

CA-48: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) continues to not really understand what the whole being a swing-district congressman thing is about. Rohrabacher, who is known for his ties to miscellaneous foreign kooks and his favorable statements toward Putin, visited Julian Assange at his London embassy hideout to discuss the Wikileaks Russian Email dump last year.

FL-27: LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) will not seek this downtown-Miami area open House seat, or any other office, in 2018. Lopez-Cantera was seen by national Republicans as one of the better shots to hold this seat, Democrats’ #1 House pickup opportunity. Dade County commissioner Bruno Barreiro (R) and Miami school board member Raquel Regalado (R) are in the race; Dems have a crowded field, but State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) has been considered the front-runner.

MA-3: As expected, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh CoS Daniel Koh (D) will step down to pursue a run for Rep. Niki Tsongas’s open seat. Koh joins State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) in considering a run.

NM-2: 2008 candidate, ex-Hobbs Mayor, and ex-NMGOP chair Monty Newman (R) will make a second bid for this seat. Newman joins Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn (R) and State Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) in the primary for this medium-red southern NM seat.

OK-1: Rumors are circulating that Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) is going to be named NASA director in the next few weeks. Bridenstine has already announced he will not run again, but a resignation would trigger a special in his (likely Safely red) seat covering the bulk of metro Tulsa.

PA-11: Rep. Lou Barletta (R) has not yet made his bid to run against Sen. Bob Casey (D) official, but a quartet of Republicans are already saying they will seek this seat if he vacates it: State Reps. Stephen Bloom (R) and Tarah Toohil (R), former state official and current LG candidate Dan Meuser (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R). The fairly red Harrisburg to Wilkes-Barre area seat should stay in GOP hands.

TX-23: Prosecutor Jay Hulings (D), who has ties to the Castro brothers, will run against Rep. Will Hurd (R) in this swing district. Ex-Rep. Pete Gallego (D) has announced he will try for a third matchup with Hurd but Democrats seem to be moving on from him after Gallego’s 2014 and 2016 losses.

State & Local:

CT-SoS: SoS Denise Merrill (D) announced she would run for re-election, putting an end to rumors that she would retire or run for Governor.

FL-CFO: State Sen. Tom Lee (R) abruptly and surprisingly announced he would run for CFO last week. Lee, of suburban Tampa, has decent name recognition and a sizeable campaign account, which could make him a formidable challenger to appointed incumbent Jimmy Patronis (R). Patronis has so far played it coy on whether he will seek a full term, but has opened a campaign committee. A little-known former state legislator from the Panama City area, Patronis is a favorite of Gov. Rick Scott (R) but has little brand of his own, which could make him vulnerable in a primary. Ex-State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) is considered the likely D nominee.

MI-AG: Attorney Dana Nessel (D), who led one of the SSM lawsuits consolidated into Obergefell, is running for Attorney General, becoming the first candidate on either side to declare definitive interest in the seat. The nominees will be decided by convention; incumbent Bill Schuette (R) is termed-out and considered likely to run for Governor.

NM-LG: Martinez Admin official Kelly Zunie (R) will run for LG in this shotgun-wedding primary. Zunie, who is of Native American descent, previously ran the state’s Indian Affairs department. She is the first Republican into the race, and may have enough establishment support to clear the field. Rep. Steve Pearce (R) is considered the favorite for the gubernatorial nomination.

NV-LG: LG Mark Hutchinson (R) has announced he will not seek a second term – or any other office – in 2018. Ex-SoS Ross Miller (D) quickly announced he is considering a run for the open seat.

MO-SD-14: Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D) is resisting calls from her resignation after she posted and deleted a facebook post calling for Trump’s assassination.

Redistricting:

NC House: Republicans released their draft NC House plan on Saturday. Click for the map; here are my tentative-guess ratings for the seats:
Likely R: 2, 9, 16, 46, 51, 59, 93, 98, 119
Lean R: 25, 35, 36, 37, 61, 62, 103, 104, 105
Tossup: 1 (the only R-held Tossup), 12, 22, 40, 66
Lean D: 24, 44
Likely D: 7, 47, 48, 115, 116
Safe D Pickup: 8

NC Senate: Republicans also released a draft NC Senate plan on Sunday. Click for the map; here are my tentative-guess ratings for the seats:
Likely R: 11, 18, 27, 39
Lean R: 1, 7, 9, 13, 17, 19, 41
Likely D: 5
Safe D pickup: 15
And also major kudos to King Hushpuppy for essentially nailing the map ahead of time.

Political Roundup for July 21, 2017

Polling Update: RRHelections is planning to poll the Republican special election primary for US Senate in Alabama and we need your help to make it happen! Unlike any other organization or news source our polls are funded by crowdsourced donations and put together by volunteer political junkies for political junkies. If you would like to help make this poll happen please go to https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and donate to our polling fund to be a part of this effort and to help make this happen!

Senate:

ME-Sen: Gov. Paul LePage (R) is now apparently leaving the door open to running for US Senate against Sen. Angus King (I) after saying in May that he would not run. State Sen. Eric Brakey (R) is currently the only candidate in the race and while LePage made positive comments about Brakey, he also said if Brakey “doesn’t start resonating pretty quick”, then he might change his mind about running.

MO-Sen: All 4 living former Republican US Senators from Missouri are encouraging AG Josh Hawley (R) to run for US Senate. Ex-Sens. John Ashcroft (R), Kit Bond (R), John Danforth (R) and Jim Talent (R) all signed a public letter released yesterday asking Hawley to get in the race. Danforth was one of Hawley’s earliest supporters and has been encouraging him to run for months.

House:

CA-45: Former Obama Administration senior technology advisor Brian Forde (D) is joining a crowded group taking on Rep. Mimi Walters (R). Forde is a former Republican who switched his registration to Democrat last year-although he voted twice for Obama. He joins 6 other candidates, all Democrats taking on Walters. Democrats are targeting the district, which moved significantly to the left at the presidential level in 2016, going for Clinton by 5 points after Romney won it in 2012 by 12.

FL-7: Businessman Scott Sturgill entered the race for Congress on Wednesday, joining state Rep  Mike Miller (R) vying for the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D). Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, who also considered running himself, was at Sturgill’s announcement and said he was supporting Sturgill. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (R) has also been mentioned as a possible candidate, but has not publicly shown any interest in running.

ME-2: Former state Senate candidate Jonathan Fulford is the 2nd Democrat to announce a run against Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R). He joins restaurant owner Tim Rich in the Democratic primary. Fulford lost 2 close races for state Senate in 2014 and 2016-losing by less than 1 point in 2014 and 4 points for the same seat in 2016.

NM-2: State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn (R) announced this week that he will run for Congress. Dunn is the 2nd Republican to get into the race, joining state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R). State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R) is also considering a run. Dunn has run for the seat before, finishing 3rd in the 2008 Republican primary. Dunn also lost a race for state Senate in 2012 before winning a very close race over incumbent Land Commissioner Ray Powell (D) in 2014 by 704 votes.  4 Democrats are currently running as well.

NY-1: Attorney David Calone, who narrowly lost in last year’s Democratic primary, has decided against running again to face Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Calone lost to Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne Holst in the primary by just 319 votes. Former Suffolk Legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D) is running, businessman Perry Gershon has a campaign committee for a run, and state Assemblyman Fred Thiele is considering. Thiele served in the state Assembly as a Republican from 1995-2010, when he switched to the Independence Party and caucuses with Democrats.

WV-3: Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D) is the 3rd Democrat to join the race for this open seat. He joins Tri-State Transit Authority CEO Paul Davis and state Sen. Richard Ojeda. Ojeda was thought to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination as someone who gained national attention last year for being brutally beaten just days before defeating an incumbent senator in the Democratic primary, but he has apparently struggled in fundraising and the Democratic establishment appears to be turning to Williams as their favored candidate.

Governor:

CA-Gov: Former state Assemblyman David Hadley (R) is dropping out of the race just two weeks after getting in. Hadley is a social moderate and fiscal conservative supported by much of the state Republican establishment and had been endorsed by a majority of the Republicans in the Legislature. In dropping out, Hadley cited the need to not split the Republican vote and increase the likelihood that two Democrats would advance to the general election in the state’s top two election system. Two Republicans remain in the race-businessman John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen (R).

NV-Gov: State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) said yesterday it is “virtually certain” he will run for governor next year. Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) is considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and has the backing of Las Vegas casino owner and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson. Schwartz however is purported to be a millionaire, and may have some self-funding ability of his own.

State & Local:

AK-LG: In what may be one of the shortest political campaigns ever, state Sen. David Wilson (R) has dropped out of the race for Lieutenant Governor just one day after getting in. Wilson filed to run on Wednesday and then amended his filing yesterday to say “not running for office.” Wilson’s  entry into the race was a surprise as he is a freshman legislator who had mostly stayed in the background. Wilson says he was debating, thinking and praying about running and the filing was an accident.

IL-Sec. of State: The Illinois GOP is recruiting Air Force veteran J.C. Griffin to run for Secretary of State. Griffin says it’s premature to say he plans to run, but he is definitely considering. Incumbent Sec. of State Jesse White (D), who is 83 and in his 5th term has told supporters he did not plan to run again, but he is said to be reconsidering at the urging of party leaders. White has won easily in his last 4 runs, and would likely be an overwhelming favorite if he runs again.

International:

Alberta PC-Wildrose merger: The Alberta Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose Party will vote this weekend whether to merge their two parties in a “unite the right” movement. The long discussed move is supported by both PC Leader Jason Kenney and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean but was primarily set in motion by Kenney, who resigned as an MP last year in order to campaign for the leadership of the Alberta PC Party on a platform of working to combine the two right-leaning parties. It is not a given however that the move will succeed-while the PCs only need to ratify the agreement by simple majority, the Wildrose Party set a 75% support threshold. If the merger succeeds, the new party will be called the United Conservative Party. Both Kenney and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean plan to run for the leadership of the new party. If the merger fails, there is the possibility of other forms of cooperation, such as non-compete agreements in some ridings. Both Wildrose and the PCs lead the incumbent NDP in recent polls for the next election, which must be held by May 31, 2019 at the latest.

Political Roundup for July 14th, 2017

President:

Impeachment: Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) has filed the paperwork to impeach Trump for Obstruction of Justice. This will go nowhere in the House of course, mostly because I’m pretty sure Obstruction of Justice requires something more serious than “Fired the politically compromised head of the FBI”, but this is probably more about boosting Sherman’s left-wing creds than an actual attempt to impeach Trump. Pelosi and the smart Democrats have been doing all they can behind the scenes to squelch this movement, as at the very least it is playing all their cards way too early, and at worst . . . well they remember what impeaching Clinton over completely provable and unambiguously true crimes did to the GOP in the late 90s.

Trump-Poll: Morning Consultant has a poll out with some surprisingly good numbers for Trump and the AHCA, with the President at an astoundingly-good 46-50, and the AHCA at 40/47, in both cases buoyed by unusually good numbers with non-whites. I’m pretty sure Trump would kill someone on 5th avenue for a 39%/19%/38% showing with Hispanics, Blacks, and “Other” respectively in 2020.

Iowa: A PPP “Informed ballot poll” has found that Trump and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst are both surprisingly popular in what is essentially a poll designed to show up in fundraising and morale-boosting emails against AHCA. But if PPP is going to release stuff like this, I’m going to be cheeky and selectively pick what I think is the most interesting part of it–Trump does best with the 18-45 demo. It’s not even like this is a complete fluke sample size either, as Ernst has a more classic Republican age lineup, being narrowly underwater with the young and up double-digits with everyone older. Clearly this means Trumpism is a winning issue with today’s youth, a PPP poll has confirmed it!!!

Senate:

VA-Sen: Corey Stewart, fresh off almost upsetting former RNC chair Ed Gillespie for the GOP nod for Governor, announced a bid for Senate in 2018. Stewart is probably most famous for being what amounts to a Yankee-transplant Confederate apologist, and would almost certainly be prohibitively toxic in a state where the Democrats have won literally every statewide election since 2009. This seat is very low on the GOP priority list, but Stewart is exactly the sort of candidate National Democrats want to have running so as to use him to “Akinize” the GOP elsewhere by nationalizing some of his gaffes or policy statements.

IN-Sen: So it turns out Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), fresh off blasting carrier for moving jobs to Mexico, has a family business that does the exact same thing. This is far from a deal-breaker of course, but expect it to show up in ads for this top-tier GOP senate target next year.

MO-Sen: It seems that either Hawley is extremely fond of having people calling him to encourage him to run for office, or he’s putting on an astoundingly elaborate kabuki theater performance to justify running for Senate so soon after his first election to statewide office. Seriously, I haven’t seen this many “Run X Run” stories for politicians who have been “rumored to be considering” running for over 20 years.

MI-Sen: Apparently Kid Rock is seriously in it to win it. Points for hitting the right message for a campaign from the first steps I guess, but I have my doubts his candidacy is actually going anywhere. Then again everyone said the same thing about the current President of the United States 2 years ago, so I really have no idea.

State, Local, & Other:

CA-Gov: Jon Chiang (D), current CA State Treasurer, is going to host a presumably tongue-in-cheek panel at San Diego Comic-con about how cities would deal with cleaning up after a hypothetical Superhero battle. Chiang has always been kind of a nerdy politician, so I guess this makes sense, but the move is still quite odd to me. Maybe he’s going for some kind of Imgur-meme-based approach to a campaign?

Higher-Ed: National Review has an interesting article saying that a post-Trump GOP would probably wind up being unified by someone aggressively targeting the higher-education industry in a similar way to how Trump took on the media. I honestly can’t wait, mostly because I think a lot of the problems with America’s economy can be traced back to warped incentives inside our university system, and also because I agree with one of the article’s conclusions–that like the media, higher-ed is too wrapped up in its own cozy ideological bubble to be able to actually do anything about it.

Political Roundup for July 5, 2017

National:

States of Chaos: July 1 was the fiscal year start, and no fewer than six (!) states experienced or narrowly averted budget chaos this weekend. Three states, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maine, all went into shutdowns this past weekend, while Connecticut was operating with an emergency gubernatorial funding decree. Illinois is on its third year of a stalemate between State Dictator House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) and Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) over fiscal policy; 15 Republicans voted to pass Madigan’s reform-less tax hike over the weekend, which Rauner says he will veto. New Jersey was shut down because of a feud between Gov. Chris Christie (R) and State House Speaker Vincent Prieto (D) over Christie’s plan to raid a health insurer to fund opioid treatment (and/or extort a payoff for South Jersey Dictator George Norcross), but that didn’t stop the Governor and his family from vacationing at a closed beach. Maine is under a partial shutdown after Gov. Paul LePage (R) vetoed a budget that raised taxes. Connecticut is operating without a budget, likely until later this month, as the tied Senate and Dem-controlled House deadlocked on competing budget proposals. Two other states, Washington and Alaska, narrowly averted shutdowns.

NATO, WATN: Ex-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R) was nominated as NATO Ambassador over the weekend.

Governor:

CA-Gov: As expected, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) won’t tackle the extremely uphill challenge of a run for Governor. Republicans have several “C” list candidates in or considering making attempts to lose this race, including self-funding businessman and 2008 presidential candidate John Cox (R), State Rep. Travis Allen (R), and ex-State Rep. David Hadley (R).

GA-Gov: State Sen. Michael Williams (R) got a celebrity endorsement for his gubernatorial campaign from Dog the Bounty Hunter, who endorsed Williams for his work in attempting to get a police pay raise. Williams is running as the most unapologetic Trumpist in this primary against LG Casey Cagle (R), SoS Brian Kemp (R), and State Sen. Hunter Hill (R) in the primary; State Reps. Stacey Abrams (D) and Stacey Evans (D) are in the race on the D side.

IA-Gov: One minor Republican is in and one minor Democrat is out of this race. Boone (pop. 12K) councilman Steven Ray (R) will run for Governor, joining incumbent Kim Reynolds (R) and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R) in the GOP primary. As an unknown small-town councilman, Ray’s odds against an incumbent and a big (for Iowa)-city Mayor would seem long to say the least. Democrats have a crowded field for this race. Across the aisle, Davenport councilman Mike Matson (D) dropped out of the race over the weekend, leaving six Dems in the race: State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), State Rep. Todd Prichard (D), ex-IADP chair Andy McGuire (D), ex-Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn (D), former Gov. Vilsack CoS John Norris (D), and 2014 Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D).

KS-Gov: Add Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer (R) to the list of Republicans considering a run here. Selzer is not strongly identified with either the Moderate or Conservative side of the KSGOP’s chasm, and would likely attempt to bridge the divide; however, his name recognition is low, and another candidate considering the race, State Senate President Susan Wagle (R), could also stake claim on that ideological lane. SoS Kris Kobach (R/C), ex-State Sen. Jim Barnett (R/M), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R/M), and businessman and 2010 KS-4 candidate Wink Hartman (R/C) are in the race, with LG Jeff Colyer (R/C) and ex-State Rep. Mark Hutton (R/M) also considering. Democrats have a primary between ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) and ex-State Rep. Josh Svaty (D).

MN-Gov: State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) has acknowledged publicly that, as expected, he is considering a run for Governor. Daudt would likely be a front-runner for the GOP nomination if he enters, but would face 2014 nominee and Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and Ramsey County commissioner Blake Huffman (R) in the GOP convention and/or primary. Democrats have an even more crowded field.

NE-Gov: I hadn’t actually heard anything about him entering the race, but ex-Unicameral Speaker Mike Flood (R) will not challenge Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) in the GOP primary. Flood had considered a run in 2014 but dropped out for personal and family reasons. State Sen. Bob Krist (R) may run against Ricketts as a moderate in the GOP primary or leave the party to run as an I or D in the general.

OH-Gov: As expected, LG Mary Taylor (R) will kick off her gubernatorial campaign this week, meaning this titanic four-way primary pileup will unfold as planned; she joins AG Mike DeWine (R), Rep. Jim Renacci (R), and SoS Jon Husted (R) in the race. Taylor’s campaign may be defined by her ties to Gov. John Kasich (R), who is reasonably popular but has issues with the GOP base, as well as her personal story of having both of her sons battling opioid addiction. Democrats have a crowded primary of their own.

Congress:

MO-Sen: In a major surprise and another big blow to the NRSC, Rep. Ann Wagner (R) will not run take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Wagner was considered all but certain to launch a campaign, so this decision is fairly shocking. Newly-elected AG Josh Hawley (R) now looks like Republicans’ choice recruit for this race, as some major donors have been encouraging him to run.

IL-14: Montgomery (pop. 5K) mayor Matt Brolley (D) will run against Rep. Randy Hultgren (R). This exurban Chicago seat was drawn as a GOP vote sink, but Trump only narrowly carried it, so it may be on Dems’ target lists in 2018; Brolley apparently has support from fellow Rep. Bill Foster (D), who represents the adjacent IL-11.

IN-9: Now here’s just about the weirdest selling point I’ve seen for a congressional candidate in a while: Orthodontist Tod Curtis (D) is running against Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-TN). But the reason he’s getting press is because of his hobby as a prolific video game collector, with a video game collection that may be worth into the six figures. It’s unclear how serious a candidate Curtis will be in the congressional race; Hollingsworth coasted on the lean of this red seat to perform better than expected in 2016, but his craven carpetbagging could be more of an issue in a less-favorable environment.

KY-6: State Sen. Reggie Thomas (D), a liberal who represents a deep-blue district in central Lexington, will take on Rep. Andy Barr (R). The outer Appalachian portions of the Lexington-based district have stampeded right; Thomas would seem to be a poor fit for the red seat.

PA-7: State Sen. Daylin Leach (D) will run for Congress against Rep. Pat Meehan (R). Leach, a bold progressive who also ran in the 2014 PA-13 primary, may be a tough sell with swing voters in the purple district, but he is definitely a higher-profile candidate than the “C” listers that have challenged Meehan the past few cycles.

TN-6: Rep. Diane Black (R) has not announced whether she will run for Governor, but that isn’t stopping State Rep. Judd Matheny (R) from announcing a run for her seat, which covers northern and eastern Nashville suburbs and rural areas to the east. Matheny, who represents a rural area southeast of Nashville, says he will go ahead with a bid for the seat even if Black decides to run again. Pro-Trump talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R) is the other candidate who has indicated interest in this seat if Black vacates it.

State & Local:

MN-AG: State Rep. Debra Hilstrom (D) has launched a campaign for AG, becoming the latest candidate to take a bet that popular incumbent Lori Swanson (D) will not seek re-election, either with a run for Governor or a retirement. Hilstrom joins State Rep. John Lesch (D) and ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) in the race. All have said explicitly or implicitly that they would defer to Swanson should she seek re-election. On the GOP side, ex-State Rep. Doug Wardlow (R) and attorney Harry Niska (R) are in the race.

IL-State Senate, WATN: State Sen. and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady (R) of Bloomington was elected as State Senate GOP leader, replacing Christine Radogno (R) who resigned last week.

Greensboro, NC-Mayor: Businessman John Brown (R) will challenge incumbent mayor Nancy Vaughan (D) in her bid for a third two-year term. Vaughan seems to be relatively popular and it’s unclear how serious a candidate Brown will be in the Dem-leaning city.

Fayetteville, NC-Mayor: City councilman Kirk DeViere (D) will challenge incumbent Nat Robertson’s (R) bid for a third two-year term this fall. Fayetteville is a Dem-leaning city but Robertson has won two competitive elections.

Rutherford, TN-CE: State Sen. Bill Ketron (R) will run for Rutherford County Executive in 2018, and three-incumbent Ernest Burgess (R) quickly announced he will attempt to move in the opposite direction to Ketron’s State Senate seat. Burgess will face State Rep. Dawn White (R) for the Senate seat; no other have as yet indicated a desire to challenge Ketron for the top job in the large southeast suburban Nashville county.

Political Roundup for June 23, 2017

Congress:

MO-Sen: Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) is far from announcing he plans to run for US Senate, but he isn’t ruling it out either. There is pressure for him to run-prominent GOP fundraiser Sam Fox this week said that potential donors should hold off donating to other candidates until they can convince Hawley to run. The persistent talk of Hawley possibly running is a problem for Rep. Ann Wagner (R) who has long been seen as a likely candidate. There may be something of the intraparty feud which contributed to State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) committing suicide in 2015 at play here too. Former Sen. John Danforth (R) has publicly announced his support for Hawley running-Danforth and Fox were both supporters of Schweich’s campaign for governor while Wagner was a supporter of former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, whose campaign was blamed by some for attacks which led to Schweich’s suicide. Both Danforth and Fox however have said they have nothing against Wagner, just that they think Hawley would be a better candidate.

AZ-2: Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) is planning to form an exploratory committee to run for Congress next year. Kirkpatrick would be moving districts as she previously represented AZ-1. She has moved to Tucson and is no stranger to the area as she graduated from the University of Arizona and worked in the Pima County Attorney’s office. She would potentially be joining a very crowded Democratic primary however-7 other Democrats have announced they plan to run or are considering running.

FL-7: State Rep. Mike Miller (R) is considering running for Congress next year against Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D). Miller, who is considered a moderate, may have competition for the Republican nomination. State Sen. David Simmons (R) has said before he is 98% sure he would run, but has not yet entered the race. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (R) is said to be interested in running too. Miller however also says there are legislative priorities he is working on that may make him decide to stay in the Legislature-which is similar to what led state Rep. Bob Cortes (R) to consider running and then decide against it.

FL-23: Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein (D) does not plan to join the Democratic primary between Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and Tim Canova. Finkelstein, who also hosts a popular segment on Miami local TV called “Help me Howard” was mentioned on a website devoted to Broward County politics yesterday as possibly joining the race but he says he never thought about running. He says Wasserman Schultz and Canova represent two camps of the Democratic Party well.

GA-6 and the expectations game: Some Democrats are blaming a failure to manage expectations for their loss in GA-6 being seen as a failure for them. While it could have been painted as them doing well in a traditionally strong red seat, the incredible fundraising haul by Jon Ossoff and the intense desire to hand President Trump and the GOP a defeat raised the hype and expectations for the GA-6 so much that anything less than a win was going to be seen as a failure. The GOP on the other hand seems to have played the expectations game well going into this and other special elections-raising the alarm for KS-4 by saying that Ron Estes was only ahead by a point in internal polling, saying that MT-AL was “closer than it should be” and saying that Karen Handel was “trending downward” in internal polling last week.

NH-2: Former state Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) is running again for Congress. Flanagan also ran in 2016, finishing 2nd in the GOP primary to former state Rep. Jim Lawrence (R). Lawrence went on to lose to Rep. Ann Kuster (D) by 5 points. Flanagan is the first candidate to announce a run-state Rep. Steve Negron (R) and former state Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker (R) are considering running.

NM-2: State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R) is considering running for Congress as Rep. Steve Pearce (R) considers running for governor. Pirtle as a 24 year old political novice took only 15% of the vote against Pearce for the Republican nomination for this seat in 2010 as Pearce was running again for the seat he gave up for an unsuccessful run for US Senate in 2008. Pirtle then ran for state Senate in 2012, winning the Republican nomination for a seat by just 10 votes and then upset a 34 year Democratic incumbent in November. As he is not up for re-election until 2020, he could run without giving up his state Senate seat. Pirtle is the first Republican to explore a race for the seat as Pearce decides whether to run for governor.

SD-AL: Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether will not run for Congress next year. Huether is a former Democrat who became an independent in December, and many speculated at the time he made the move in order to plan for a statewide race, recognizing that he would have a hard time getting elected as a Democrat. He is still considering running for governor next year or possibly for US Senate in 2020 when Sen. Mike Rounds (R) will be up for re-election. Huether’s current term as mayor of the state’s largest city ends in May 2018.

UT-3: Jim Bennett, son of former Sen. Robert Bennett (R) is suing the state in order to get a new party on the ballot for the UT-3 special election. He is affiliated with the United Utah Party, which is trying to be a centrist alternative to the Republican Party and was planning to launch soon, but moved up its launch to get on the ballot for the election. He attempted to get the party on the ballot through signatures, but the state said it wouldn’t be able to verify the signatures in enough time for the election. Bennett could have appeared on the ballot as an independent or unaffiliated, but he said he did not want to pretend he was unaffiliated when he had a party he was affiliated with.

Governor:

CA-Gov: Assemblyman Travis Allen (R) is entering the governor’s race. Allen is a conservative from Orange County who is also controversial and has a large social media following. He joins businessman John Cox as Republicans in the all-party primary. Polls indicate that if the party doesn’t coalesce around one candidate, there could be a D vs. D general election, but Allen says he isn’t worried about that.

ID-Gov: 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee A.J. Balukoff is considering getting into the race again next year. At this point, he would essentially have the nomination to himself-the only other Democrat currently in the race is Troy Minton, a homeless man, and no other Democrats have indicated interest in running. Balukoff ran a respectable race against Gov. Butch Otter (R) in 2014, losing by 15 points, although the race was thought to be a possible upset possibility that never materialized. He wants to run again, but his wife is unsure whether he should run again and he says he will not do it without the support of his wife. He plans to make a final decision this fall.

MD-Gov: Rep. John Delaney (D), who previously said he would decide by the end of June whether to run for governor, is delaying his decision until the end of July. It is unclear what Delaney will ultimately decide-although he has indicated interest in the race, he also has held fundraisers for his federal campaign account-funds that he can’t use for a state race. Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and state Sen. Richard Madaleno are all running for governor in the Democratic primary while Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has indicated he is interested in running.

NV-Gov: Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak (D) announced yesterday that he is running for governor. Sisolak is the first high profile candidate to announce a bid, Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) is expected to run, but has not yet made an announcement. Businessman and political newcomer Jared Fisher (R) has already launched a campaign. Wealthy Las Vegas businessman Stephen Cloobeck (D) is also considering joining the race.

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