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Political Roundup for July 27, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: We have our first poll of the race, from Cygnal. It has appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) leading the pack, but only with 33%, with ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) advancing to a runoff with him at 26% and Rep. Mo Brooks (R) with 16%. DONATE so we can bring you our poll of the race next week!

DE-Sen: Sen. Tom Carper (D) announced he will run for re-election to a fourth term. Carper had been high on retirement watchlists and sounded fairly ambivalent about running again, but should he follow through on seeking another term it seems unlikely that he would face significant opposition.

IN-Sen: Rep. Luke Messer (R) announced his intent to enter the Senate race for the right to take on Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) yesterday. Click to read our full coverage on the race and Great Mentioner for his open IN-6 seat.

NV-Sen: An internal poll from Anzalone (D) for Rep. Dina Titus (D) shows Sen. Dean Heller (R) leading her 47-45.

WI-Sen: Consultant and veteran Kevin Nicholson (R) has become the first credible candidate into the race against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). Nicholson has an interesting profile as a former president of the national College Democrats organization; Nicholson says his views evolved over the last decade.

Governor:

CO-Gov: Kent Thiry (R), CEO of a dialysis company, will not run for Colorado Governor. A trio of Republicans are in the race: Arapahoe DA George Brauchler (R) and a pair of self-funding businessmen, ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R) and Romney relative Doug Robinson (R). Several others, most notably State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R), are considering. Rep. Jared Polis (D) is considered the front-runner on the Dem side, though others are in the race.

KS-Gov: Unpopular Gov. Sam Brownback (R) was announced yesterday as “ambassador-at-large for religious freedom”, meaning that LG Jeff Colyer (R) will ascend to the Governorship. Click to read our full coverage of the decision and analysis of its implications.

MD-Gov: Krishanti Vignarajah (D), a former policy director for Michelle Obama (aside: remind me again why a first lady would need a policy director?) is the latest Democrat to announce she is considering a run against Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Five Democrats are in the race, ex-NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous (D), Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D), businessman and Hillary staffer Alec Ross (D), and attorney Jim Shea (D). Several others are considering.

MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D) has self-funded $3.3M, a figure that will make him an instant factor in this race. Ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who had been considered the front-runner for the Dem nod, has raised less than half that at $1.5M. A third Dem, Detroit city official Abul El-Sayed (D), has also raised over $1M.

OK-Gov: Two more Republican candidates have entered the race for Governor of Oklahoma. Ex-State Rep. and minister Dan Fisher (R) and mortgage company CEO Kevin Stitt (R) have entered the race this week. They join a crowded field of LG Todd Lamb (R), State Auditor Gary Jones (R), OKC Mayor Mick Cornett (R), and 2002 Indie candidate Gary Richardson (R). Ex-AG and 2010 candidate Drew Edmondson (D) and State Rep. Scott Inman (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

SC-Gov: LG Kevin Bryant (R) will announce his campaign for Governor on Friday, becoming the third candidate to take on Gov. Henry McMaster (R) in the primary. Bryant will also face Gov. Haley admin official Catherine Templeton (R) and ex-LG Yancey McGill (R).

TN-Gov: Businessman Randy Boyd (R) scored an important endorsement from Shelby CE Mark Lutrell (R) yesterday. The endorsement could give Boyd a boost in West Tennessee, which currently has no Republican candidates for Governor. In addition to Boyd, State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), State Sen. Mae Beavers (R), and businessman Bill Lee (R) are in the race, with several others considering.

House:

FL-27: Mary Barzee-Flores (D), a retired local judge who was unsuccessfully nominated for the federal bench under Obama, will run for this open Miami-based seat. Barzee-Flores joins front-running State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D), State Rep. David Richardson (D), Miami Beach councilwoman Kristen Rosen-Gonzales (D), and others in the Dem primary. School board member Raquel Regalado (R) and Dade County commissioner Bruno Barreiro (R) are in the race on the GOP side.

IL-13: State Rep. Carol Ammons (D) will not run for Congress against Rep. Rodney Davis (R). Ammons would have been the highest-profile Dem in the race, but her liberal legislative record would have likely been a tough sell in this light-to-medium red district. Former Sen. Dick Durbin staffer Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan (D) seems likely to be the Dem establishment pick here.

NM-1: Ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Janice Arnold-Jones (R) is running again for this Albuquerque-area seat. Arnold-Jones’s prior run in 2012 was widely regarded as weak, but it doesn’t seem like many other credible Republicans are chomping at the bit to run for this medium-blue seat; immigration lawyer Michael Hendricks (R) is also in the race. Incumbent Michele Lujan-Grisham (D) is running for Governor; Ex-US Attorney Damon Martinez (D), NMDP chair and 2014 LG nominee Deb Haaland (D), and Albuquerque councilman Pat Davis (D) seem the major candidates on the D side.

PA-1: Say it isn’t so! A staffer for Rep. and Philly Dem boss (and RRH favorite) Bob Brady (D) has pled guilty to funneling $90K to Brady’s 2012 primary challenger, retired judge Jimmie Moore (D), to get Moore to drop out of the race. The obvious implication is that Brady himself is likely to be in the FBI’s crosshairs in the very near future. Should Brady be taken down, it would leave a massive vacuum atop Philly’s powerful Dem machine.

State Offices:

CT-Comp: State Rep. Sean Scanlon (D) is considering a run for Comptroller, joining State Sen. Terry Gerratana (D) in exploring the race. Incumbent Kevin Lembo (D) is considering a run for Governor. Businessman and 2014 CT-5 nominee Mark Greenberg (R) is in the race on the GOP side.

IA-SoS: 2-time House candidate and veteran Jim Mowrer (D) is considering a run for SoS. Mowrer joins a pair of other Dems, business owner Deidre DeJear (D) and Johnson County auditor Travis Weipert (D), in considering this race. The Dem nominee will face incumbent Paul Pate (R) in the general.

MA-AG: Cape Cod attorney Jay McMahon (R) will run for AG. Incumbent Maura Healey (D) is expected to seek re-election, and McMahon seems unlikely to give her much trouble.

NV-SoS: Reno councilman Oscar Delgado (D) is considering a run for SoS next year, and is apparently the Dem establishment’s first choice for the seat. Delgado would likely face incumbent Barbara Cegavske (R).

NM-Lands Comm: Public Service Commissioner and Ex-Lands Commissioner Pat Lyons (R) will run again for the job he held from 2002 to 2010. Lyons could face another former Lands Commissioner, Ray Powell (D), though another Democrat, nonprofit exec Garret VeneKlasen (D), is also running. Incumbent Aubrey Dunn (R) is running for NM-2.

OK-LG: A pair of Republicans threw their hats into the ring for the LG seat. State Sen. Eddie Fields (R) announced a run on Tuesday while Public Service Commissioner Dana Murphy (R) announced a run yesterday. Fields and Murphy could easily become the major candidates in this race.

KY-SD-7: State Sen. Julian Carroll (D), a former 70s-era Governor, is refusing calls to resign from his Frankford-area State Senate seat amid allegations he groped and propositioned a man in 2005. The entire Senate Dem caucus has asked Carroll to resign.

Local Offices:

San Bernardino-Mayor: We now have three Republicans running for mayor of heavily Democratic San Bernardino, as school board member and aerospace exec Mike Gallo (R) has entered the race. Gallo, who also served on a state board, joins incumbent Carey Davis (R) and councilman John Valdiva (R) in the race. No serious Dems are in the race as of yet.

TN-Knox-CE: Knox County commissioner Brad Anders (R) will run for County Exec, joining fellow commissioner Bob Thomas (R) and businessman and former professional wrestler Glenn “Kane” Jacobs (R) in this primary.

WATN: Jefferson Parish, LA Sheriff Newell Normand (R) is resigning at the end of August to host a radio talk show. Normand had often been mentioned as a candidate for higher office but never pulled the trigger.

Political Roundup for July 18, 2017

First off today, there are a pair of elections to preview, one domestic and one international. There is just a single legislative special of note today, a primary for RI-SD-13, a D+17 (2016) seat covering most of Newport and all of Jamestown, on the next island to the west. Four Dems are facing off.  School board member David Hanos (D) looks like the slight front-runner, as he has establishment support and the endorsement of the prior incumbent. but well-funded Newport councilman John Florez (D), attorney Dawn Euer (D), and state official David Allard (D) are all running serious campaigns and any could come out on top. The D primary winner should be favored in the 3-way August general over 2014 nominee Michael Smith (R), who lost by a respectable 10 points three years ago to the powerful prior incumbent (the then-Senate President), and center-left Gov. Chaffee admin official Kim Ripoli (I). There is also an NH House primary and a general, which we don’t cover as a quiet protest against the NH House’s insane size.

Today is also the general election in Bermuda. Bermuda is an island 650 miles east of the Carolina coast, with a total land area roughly 2/3 the size of Manhattan. It is a British territory, but has home rule powers that are in practice absolute in domestic policy, and even some foreign policy functions. Its population of 65K is roughly 60% black and 35% white. Offshore finance and tourism are the only economic drivers of significance; while Bermuda is extremely wealthy, that prosperity comes with an astronomically high cost of living (the average house price is $1M, for example). Bermuda has a 36-member parliament elected in the standard British first-past-the-post system. It has a two-party system of the incumbent center-right One Bermuda Alliance and the center-left Progressive Labor Party. The two parties tend to be quite evenly matched; 1985 was the last time either took more than 55% of the vote.The OBA had just a 19-17 majority in the outgoing parliament, and the election was triggered by two renegade OBA MPs breaking with the government and bringing it down. Reporting on the election is sparse, but the one recent poll of the election showed the OBA likely strengthening its hand. Now the (huge list of) the rest of the day’s news:

Senate:

AZ-Sen: Trumpist forces, possibly including the White House itself, are seeking to target Sen. Jeff Flake (R) in the GOP primary. There are apparently two recruiting targets: State Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) and ex-AZGOP chair Robert Graham (R), with ex-State Sen. and 2016 candidate Kelli Ward (R), who is already in the race, as a backup option. A bruising primary against Flake would likely be good news for Dems targeting this seat as a pickup opportunity; Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) are thought to be interested in bids.

MO-Sen: Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R) will not seek the Senate seat of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). AG Josh Hawley (R) remains the GOP’s clear recruiting target for this race.

MT-Sen: State Auditor (Insurance Commissioner) Matt Rosendale (R) is “95 percent there” on a decision to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) and will likely decide within the month, according to unnamed insiders. Rosendale is clearly the GOP’s third option for the race against Tester after Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) was appointed interior secretary and AG Tim Fox (R) declined a bid. Rosendale, who has some self-funding ability, would likely be the front-runner in the primary if he entered, joining State Sen. Al Olszewski (R), judge Russ Fagg (R), and storage company owner Troy Downing (R).

WV-Sen: Former mining executive Don Blankenship (R), recently released from prison after serving a year for safety violations during his tenure, is considering a Senate run. Blankenship would join AG Patrick Morrisey (R) and Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) in the GOP primary; needless to say, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) would likely relish making the race a referendum on Blankenship’s polarizing nature in the state.

Governor:

AL-Gov: At this point we need to start making lists of who isn’t running for Governor of Alabama. State Sen. Paul Sanford (R) says he has been receiving encouragement to run, as he is stepping down from the Senate due to self-imposed term limits. Sanford doesn’t sound too enthusiastic about the idea though, as he says he hasn’t raised any money and probably won’t enter the race. Should he enter the primary he could join the following candidates who are in or exploring the race: Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), PSC Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), State Sen. Bill Hightower (R), businessman Josh Jones (R), and minister Scott Dawson (R). ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) are exploring runs on the D side. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not indicated her plans.

AK-Gov: State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) will run for Governor, becoming the first major candidate into the race. Centrist Gov. Bill Walker (I) has not indicated if he will seek re-election, and it is unclear whether either or both parties will seek to go after him aggressively should he seek a second term.

FL-Gov: State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) will presumably announce a run for Governor on August 16. Latvala, a moderate who is considered a kingmaker among insiders in Tallahassee but has little name recognition outside his Pinellas County base, would be a credible but long-shot primary contender against front-running Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R). State House Speaker Rich Corcoran (R) is also considering a run; Dems have a primary between ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), and potentially multiple others.

IA-Gov: Retired businessman Fred Hubbell (D), a major Dem donor, is the latest Democrat into this primary, which is becoming ridiculously crowded. Hubbell joins State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), State Rep. Todd Prichard (D), ex-IADP chair Andy McGuire (D), former Gov. Vilsack CoS John Norris (D) ex-Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn (D), and 2014 State Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D). If none of the candidates cross 35% of the vote, the nomination goes to a convention, and that is looking increasingly likely here.

ME-Gov: Ex-State House Speaker Mark Eves (D) has become the latest Democrat to enter this increasingly crowded primary. Eves joins appointed AG Janet Mills (D), 2008 ME-1 candidate Adam Cote (D), lobbyist Betsy Sweet (D), and veteran Patrick Eisenhart (D) in the Dem primary; LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R) and appointed State Treasurer Teresea Hayes (I) are also in the race.

MD-Gov: As expected, left-wing State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D) is the latest Democrat to officially declare a run for the chance to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (D). Maladeno joins Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), ex-NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous (D), attorney Jim Shea (D), and Hillary aide Alec Ross (D) in the primary.

NE-Gov: Moderate State Sen. Bob Krist will leave the Republican party and run against Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as an independent, or more precisely, under a vanity third-party banner, which has lower signature requirements. The odds seem decent that Krist could become the de facto Democrat in this race, as no credible Dem has publicly indicated any interest in taking on the relatively popular Ricketts.

RI-Gov: State House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan (R) is considering a run for Governor. Should she enter, Morgan would face Trumpist ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R) in the primary; Cranston Mayor and 2014 nominee Allan Fung (R) is also thought to be considering a run. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) may face Dem primary opposition as well.

WI-Gov: Nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D) has become the second little-known Democrat to declare a run against Gov. Scott Walker (R), joining businessman Andy Gronik (D) in the primary. State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), Madison Mayor Paul Soglin (D), and State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) are all considering runs as well.

WY-Gov: Businessman Bill Dahlin (R) is the first candidate to declare for Wyoming’s open-seat gubernatorial race. It’s still too early to speculate how serious a candidate Dahlin might be, as several bigger names such as ex-Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R), SoS Ed Murray (R), and Treasurer Mark Gordon (R) are all considering this race.

House:

CA-39: Veteran and lottery winner Gil Cisneros (D), who won a $266M lottery jackpot in 2010, is running against Rep. Ed Royce (R). Cisneros’s presumable self-funding ability may make him an attractive candidate for this hitorically-Republican Orange County seat that Hillary carried.

CA-52: Republicans look set to at least have an interesting candidate to take on Rep. Scott Peters (D). Omar Qudrat (R), a former Guantamo prosecutor and Muslim of Afghani descent, will run for this seat covering much of San Diego proper. Qudrat faces long odds in a seat that was purple but has trended strongly left in recent years.

CO-4, CO-AG: Rep. Ken Buck (R) may run for Colorado AG if AG Cynthia Coffman (R) gives up her seat to run for Governor, citing a desire to return to Colorado and his background as a former DA. Buck would likely be the favorite for the GOP nomination for AG (and trigger a competitive primary for his deep-red House seat) if he ran.

FL-6: Bill Clinton admin official Nancy Soderberg (D) has filed to run for this fairly red Daytona Beach area seat, giving Dems a credible candidate. The seat is expected to be open as Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) has pledged a three-term limit; DeSantis is speculated to be interested in either a bid for Governor or Florida AG.

MI-11: Detroit city official Fayrouz Saad (D), who previously worked in the Obama administration, will run against Rep. David Trott (R). This light-red suburban Detroit seat is likely to be relatively high on Dems’ radars as a pickup opportunity, but it’s unclear if Saad is their choice recruit here.

NM-1: Immigration attorney Michael Hendricks (R) has become the second Republican to enter the race for this medium-blue Albuquerque seat, joining ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Janice Arnold-Jones (R). Democrats have a crowded primary for this open seat with ex-NMDP chair Deb Haaland (D), Albuquerque councilman Pat Davis (D), and ex-US Attorney Damon Martinez (D) seem the top candidates.

TX-23: Ex-Rep. Pete Gallego (D) has filed for a third matchup with Rep. Will Hurd (R) after coming up short in both 2014 and 2016. Gallego says that the outcome of upcoming re-redistricting that may affect this purple district in either direction will not have an effect on his decision on entering the race.

WV-2: Former congressional staffer and Hillary campaign operative Talley Sergent (D) will run against Rep. Alex Mooney (R). Mooney has underperformed in his two prior races but this very Trumpist district is tough terrain for any Democrat, particularly one tied to Hillary. However, Mooney made another strange decision recently by tapping sitting Maryland State Sen. Michael Hough (R) as his CoS, highlighting Mooney’s own craven carpetbagging across the Potomac. Hough will not resign his legislative seat to take the job with Mooney.

WV-3: Physician Ayne Amjad (R) is the latest candidate into this open-seat race covering southern West Virginia. Amjad will face ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Snuffer (R), and potentially others, in the primary; State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

State & Local:

CO-SoS: Jena Griswold (D), Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) DC liason, will run for Secretary of State next year. Griswold looks like the top Democratic choice to take on incumbent Wayne Williams (R) as she is receiving most establishment support. In tangentially related news, the Williamses may be on their way to replacing the divorcing Rep. Mike and AG Cynthia Coffman as the COGOP’s power couple, as Williams’s wife Holly (R) will run for a safely Republican seat on the El Paso County commission.

CO-Treas: State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R), who represents a deep-red seat in the Denver exurbs, will run for the open State Treasurer seat. Lawrence joins fellow State Rep. Justin Everett (R) and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn (R) in the GOP primary. State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is considered the most likely Dem nominee for this open seat; incumbent Walker Stapleton (R) is termed-out and likely to run for Governor.

GA-Ins Comm: Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens (R) won’t seek a third term in 2018. Hudgens’s decision leaves a third Row Officer seat open in addition to the LG and SoS posts vacated by gubernatorial candidates. Hudgens’s top deputy, Jay Florence (R), quickly filed to seek the seat.

ID-Treas: Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre (R) will run for the open State Treasurer seat, joining investor Kevin Jones (R) in this primary. Five-term incumbent Ron Crane (R) is retiring.

LA-Treas, LA-PSC-2: Qualifying closed for the Louisiana Treasurer special on Friday of last week, and there appear to be three major candidates: State Sen. Neil Riser (R), State Rep. John Schroeder (R), and Gov. Jindal admin official Angele Davis (R). One Some Dude Democrat also filed, and may be able to make the runoff on Dem votes but probably stands zero chance of winning. Qualifying also closed for the PSC-2 seat, a heavily Republican seat around Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Three Republicans signed up, Edwards-appointed incumbent Damon Baldone (R), who was a D State Rep. but filed as a “Republican”, ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R), and physician Craig Greene (R).

MO-Aud: State House Speaker Todd Richardson (R) is preparing to run for State Auditor against appointed incumbent Nicole Galloway (D). Galloway is the only Democrat holding a Row Office in Missouri, a post she was appointed to after her Republican predecessor committed suicide. Richardson looks likely to be the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

OR-Lab Comm: Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) announced last week that he would not seek a third full term in the nominally non-partisan post. Avakian has been known as one of the most aggressive Social-Justice-Warriors in high office, which led him to be polarizing even in his blue state and lose his bid to move up to SoS in 2016. Avakian’s most likely successor is probably one of his erstwhile rivals for the SoS post, ex-State Rep. Val Hoyle (D). Hoyle, a more mainstream liberal, already announced her intent to run, though she may face opposition from ex-State Sen. Diane Rosenbaum (D).

SC-LG: The South Carolina state ethics board has interestingly announced that it will allow LG Kevin Bryant (R) to continue to raise money for an election that won’t happen. Bryant is fundraising under a campaign for the LG job – but the state is transitioning in 2018 from a separately-elected LG to a presidential-style system where gubernatorial candidates pick their running mates. Apparently there is a legal fiction-slash-loophole that the money can be raised for Bryant to persuade someone to pick him as their running mate. More likely of course is that Bryant is planning to run for an office that has a real election (such as a primary challenge to Gov. Henry McMaster (R)) but doesn’t want to admit it yet.

CA-San Diego County-3: R-turned-I-turned-D ex-State Rep. Nathan Fletcher (D) will run for county supervisor next year in a seat covering central San Diego. Fletcher will likely face ex-DA Bonnie Dumanis (R) in what could be a high-profile contest.

Political Roundup for July 11, 2017

First off, there are three special elections in Oklahoma today, one primary and two general. The first general election is for OK-SD-44, an R+13 (2012) seat covering lower-middle-class areas in southwest OKC near the airport. A pair of prior candidates are facing off – 2014 nominee Michael Brooks-Jiminez (D) and 2016 State House nominee Joe Griffin (R). Neither was particularly impressive in his prior run; Griffin has establishment connections and the lean of the seat on his side but Brooks-Jiminez has outraised him by 5 to 1 (!). Democrats have also had a very strong run in special elections – even before the 2016 general, as budget cuts that hit education hard energized the teachers’ union. However, the Dem base in this seat is mostly low-turnout Hispanics. So there is no clear favorite in this race. The other general is for OK-LD-75, an R+16 (2012) seat in eastern Tulsa north of Broken Arrow. Realtor Tressa Nunley (R) should be favored over 2016 nominee and teacher Karen Gaddis (D), as Nunley has both the lean of the seat and better fundraising on her side, but an upset may be very possible with high Dem turnout. The primary is for OK-LD-46, an R+12 (2012) seat covering western Norman. Three Republicans are facing off; businessman and university lecturer Darin Chambers (R) looks like the slight front-runner over retired cop Charlie Samples (R) and businessman Jimmy Shannon (R), but any of the three could prevail. The winner will face 2016 nominee Jacob Rosencrants (D) in the general.

Senate:

MO-Sen: Republicans have their first serious candidate into the race to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), but it definitely seems like a “C” list name for such a top-tier race. State Rep. Paul Curtman (R), who is termed-out of his exurban St. Louis seat in 2018, will run for the US Senate. Curtman was originally planning to run for MO-2 on the assumption that Rep. Ann Wagner (R) would seek the Senate seat, but when Wagner decided to run for re-election, Curtman decided to move up to the Senate race. Several more prominent Republicans, including AG Josh Hawley (R), are thought to be considering runs against the vulnerable McCaskill.

WV-Sen: As expected, AG Patrick Morrisey (R) announced his bid for Senate yesterday. Morrisey will face Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) in what could be a very competitive primary for the right to take on Sen. Joe Manchin (D). The fault lines seem to be that Jenkins is closer to establishment Republicans while Morrisey has more antiestablishment backing.

CO-Sen ’20, CO-2: Boulder DA and 2010 AG nominee Stan Garnett (D) will not run for Congress, saying he wants to finish his term as DA; Garnett endorsed 2014 SoS nominee Joe Neguse (D) for the seat. Garnett, however, will explore a run for US Senate in 2020, when Sen. Cory Gardner (R) will be up for re-election.

Governor:

AL-Gov: This GOP primary continues to get even more absurdly crowded, as State Sen. Bill Hightower (R) of the Mobile area is the latest candidate into the field. Hightower joins Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), Jefferson County commissioner David Carrington (R), minister Scott Dawson (R), and businessman Josh Jones (R). PSC Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R) and Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) are also considering runs, while Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not announced whether she will run for a full term. Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) are in or considering runs on the D side.

CO-Gov, CO-7: In a significant surprise, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) is dropping out of the gubernatorial race today – and will not seek a seventh term representing CO-7 either. Perlmutter’s hand was likely forced by the decision of fellow Rep. Jared Polis (D), who unlike Perlmutter is independently wealthy, to enter the race; Polis now looks like the clear front-runner for the D nod. Click for our full coverage of the decision.

IA-Gov: Former Gov. Vilsack CoS John Norris (D) is the latest Democrat into this crowded primary field. Norris joins State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), State Rep. Todd Prichard (D), ex-IADP chair Andy McGuire (D), ex-Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn (D), and 2014 State Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D) in the primary. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) is facing Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R) and Boone councilman Steven Ray (R) in the GOP primary.

ME-Gov: Appointed AG Janet Mills (D) will run for Governor. Mills, a former legislator, likely becomes a front-runner for the Dem nomination as she has been highly visible in office. She will face 2008 ME-1 candidate Adam Cote (D), lobbyist Betsy Sweet (D), and veteran Patrick Eisenhart (D) in the Dem primary; LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R) and appointed State Treasurer Teresea Hayes (I) are also in the race. Many others are considering, but one candidate is bowing out of consideration; ex-State Senate Majority Leader Justin Alfond (D) announced last week he would forgo a bid.

NM-Gov, NM-2: Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn (R) announced he would not run for Governor after Rep. Steve Pearce (R) entered the race yesterday. Dunn announced he was backing Pearce and considering a run for NM-2 instead, but is also keeping open the possibility of bids for re-election or a seat on the state Public Service Commission; Dunn says he will make a final decision by next week. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R), who ran a little-noticed primary campaign in 2010 as a Some Dude before winning his State Senate seat, is also considering an NM-2 bid.

SD-Gov: Ex-State Rep. and 2014 candidate Lora Hubbel (R) will mount a second bid for Governor. Hubbel, a gadflyish antiestablishment conservative who took a fifth of the vote against popular Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), seems likely to be little more than a third wheel in this primary against two “A” list contenders, Rep. Kristi Noem (R) and AG Marty Jackley (R). State Sen. Billie Sutton (D) is the likely Dem nominee.

WI-Gov: State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), who won re-election earlier this year by a large margin in a low-turnout non-partisan race, is considering a run for Governor. Evers could be a stronger choice to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R) than either of the other prominent Dems considering bids, left-wing Madison Mayor Paul Soglin (D) and little-known State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D).

House:

IL-13: Former Sen. Durbin staffer Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan (D) will seek the Dem nomination to challenge Rep. Rodney Davis (R). Dirksen-Londrigan may have establishment support from Dirksen’s network, but could face State Rep. Carol Ammons (D) in the primary. Davis has seemed entrenched in recent years as this purple seat covering the Springfield and Champaign areas has moved right.

MI-6: 2014/16 nominee Paul Clements (D) is running a third time against Rep. Fred Upton (R). Clements’s prior two runs against Upton were distinctly unimpressive, but he has received some national liberal support. This Kalamazoo-area purple seat has been trending right in recent years.

MI-8: Former DoD official Elissa Slotkin (D) will challenge Rep. Mike Bishop (R) in his light-red Lansing to exurban Detroit district. Slotkin, a former CIA agent, seems to have a good resume of national security experience, but has not lived in the district since childhood.

MN-1: Obama Defense official Dan Feehan (D) will seek Rep. Tim Walz’s (D) light-red open southern Minnesota seat. Feehan seems to have significant establishment support, but has essentially no ties to the seat (he grew up in the Twin Cities and spent the last few years in DC). He will face ex-State Sen. Vicki Jensen (D) and others in the Dem convention and/or primary. 2014/16 nominee Jim Hagedorn (R) is the only significant Republican in the race so far, but others are considering.

MO-2: Attorney Kelli Dunaway (D) will take on Rep. Ann Wagner (R) next year, and she has received the endorsement of 2016 nominee and ex-State Rep. Bill Otto (D). Democrats’ odds for this medium-red seat went down with Wagner deciding to run for re-election, but as an upscale suburban district it may still be a target.

NV-4: Las Vegas Councilman Stavros Anthony (R) will run for Congress against Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D) in this seat covering the northern suburbs of Las Vegas. Anthony, who just won re-election to his purple council seat, is a top-tier get for the GOP in this light-blue seat.

NM-1: Ex-US Attorney Damon Martinez (D) is the latest Dem into the race for this open medium-blue Albuquerque seat. Martinez has the profile to be a front-runner for the seat; he joins NMDP chair Deb Haaland (D), Albuquerque councilman Pat Davis (D), Edgewood councilman John Abrams (D), and others in this crowded primary.

NY-21: Ex-St. Lawrence County commissioner Tedra Cobb (D) will run for Congress, becoming the first candidate with elective experience in the race for the Dem nomination to take on Rep. Elise Stefanik (R). Stefanik’s odds of re-election in this light-red seat will once again be improved by the candidacy of 2014/2016 nominee Matt Funicello (G), who has routinely drawn significant vote shares.

NC-3: Craven County commissioner Scott Dacey (R) will challenge Rep. Walter Jones (R) in the GOP primary. Jones, by far the most moderate safe-seat Republican in the country, has turned back multiple GOP primary challenges in his rural eastern NC seat, though often by unimpressive margins. Dacey seems to be promising to be a more traditional conservative than Jones.

SD-AL: Democrats have a credible recruit for the open seat of Rep. Kristi Noem (R) in former judge Tim Bjorkman (D). Republicans have a primary here between SoS Shantel Krebs (R) and ex-Public Service Commissioner Dusty Johnson (R).

State & Local:

OK-Ins Comm: State Rep. Glen Mulready (R), a member of House leadership, has become the first candidate to declare a bid for Insurance Commissioner. Mulready looks likely to be front-runner for the post, which is open as incumbent John Doak (R) is termed out.

Raleigh-Mayor: Attorney Charles Francis (D) will run for mayor of Raleigh this October. Francis seems likely to run to the left of popular incumbent Nancy McFarlane (I), a center-left Indie who has generally run with Dem support in the non-partisan race.

San Bernardino-Mayor: City councilman John Valdiva (R) will run for Mayor next year, challenging incumbent Carey Davis (R), presenting the possibility of two Rs as the major candidates for mayor of the heavily Democratic city. Valdiva received an endorsement from ex-State Sen. Bob Dutton (R), now the county clerk, at his campaign kickoff.

Orange, FL-CE: Sheriff Jerry Demings (D), husband of US Rep. Val (D), will run for Orange County Executive next year. Incumbent Teresa Jacobs (R) is term-limited, and Demings looks likely to give Dems their best chance of taking over the top job in the large, blueing county covering most of the Orlando area..

Political Roundup for June 6th, 2017

Check back with us tonight for our liveblog of the New Jersey primaries and CA-34 runoff. If you haven’t seen our preview of these races check it out HERE.

Governor:

AZ-Gov: State Sen. Steve Farley (D) has announced that he is running for Governor. He joins Arizona State University professor David Garcia, who lost a 2014 race for state education superintendent, in the Democratic primary for the right to face Gov. Doug Ducey (R) next year.

CT-Gov: Connecticut Port Authority Chair Scott Bates (D) will not run for Governor.

FL-Gov: Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) is exploring a bid for Florida governor. He has met with potential donors, looked at possible campaign staff and has made some inquiries about endorsements from fellow conservatives. DeSantis briefly ran for U.S. Senate last year before Sen. Marco Rubio (R) decided to seek reelection.  Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has already announced a run and is seen as the likely GOP front runner.

FL-Gov: Tallahassee shoe shiner Tony Knox has filed to run for Governor as an independent. Knox spent 30 years shining the shoes of Florida power brokers and now he wants to be one. Knox will need 13,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

GA-Gov: Georgia state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) entered the race for Governor. She was promptly endorsed by Emily’s List and the left-wing progressive PAC Democracy for America. Abrams, who is black, will face fellow state Rep. Stacey Evans, who is white, in the Democratic primary, but will not have to deal with a repeat bid from 2014 nominee and Heir Force Col. Jason Carter, who declined a second bid last week. Four Republicans are already running for governor, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, state Sen. Hunter Hill and state Sen. Michael Williams, who entered the race last week.

IA-Gov: Newly installed Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) may not get a free ride in the Republican primary next year. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R) has said he will announce his run for governor of Iowa at the end of June.

MN-Gov: Stewart Mills (R), who lost to Democrat Rep. Rick Nolan in 2014 and 2016 has denied a story in Morning Take that he was going to run for Governor of Minnesota. Mills is still considering making a third attempt at MN-8.

VA-Gov: Progressive wunderkind Tom Perriello’s latest ad is narrated by Elizabeth Warren and features pictures of him with Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. George Soros has also kicked in another $230,000 to Perriello’s campaign.

Senate:

IN/TN-Sen: Senator Peyton Manning? Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was spotted at the White House. He played golf with President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R) and met with Sen. John Cornyn, who just happens to be a former head the NRSC. If the former Indianapolis Colts great were to run for Senate I have to imagine Republicans would want him to run in Indiana vs. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) but Manning might prefer to run in Tennessee, where he went to college and played for the Vols, if Bob Corker, who just stated he is “not interested in running for governor”, doesn’t seek re-election in 2018.

House:

CA-34: The final absentee ballot rundown are in before today’s special election runoff. 21,000 ballots have been returned. 5,551 ballots were from Latino voters and 5,662 ballots were from Korean voters. CA-34 has nearly 150,000 eligible voters that are Latino and 18,700 that are Koreans. Latino are turning out at 3.7% rate while Koreans are so far turning out at a 30% rate!

GA-6: Hans Solo impersonator Jon Ossoff (D) has chickened out of a CNN debate with Republican Karen Handel. Being in a nationally televised debate is probably the last thing Ossoff wanted. Ossoff has been saying one thing to a national audience as he raises gobs of money from out of state Democrats as the poster child for the progressive #Resistance while saying another thing locally as he runs as a faux moderate back in Georgia. Appearing in a national debate could cause a disruption in the Force in the two faced campaign he has been running as his answers could either anger his national donors or the local voters both of whom he still needs.

FL-27: #NeverTrump CNN Republican pundit Ana Navarro (R) is still considering running for the seat of retiring Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R)….well sort of.  Here’s what Navarro said; “I’ve been touched by the number of people in the district and outside the district who have encouraged me to run for Congress. But at this time it seems to me that it requires a level of masochism that I have not yet reached.”

IA-4: Former telephone psychic Kim Weaver (D) has dropped her campaign for Congress against Rep. Steve King (R). In pulling the plug on her candidacy Weaver used every excuse in the book from claiming running was too much of a financial burden on her family, to her Mother’s health, to alleging that the office where she worked had her budget cut in retaliation for her candidacy, to even making unsubstantiated accusations of having received threats against her and her family. Weaver had raised over $700,000 from Democrats around the country. No word yet on what Weaver plans to do with all the money she raised. Rep. Steve King (R) responded to Weaver’s allegations by Tweeting “I wanted #KimWeaver IN the race-not out. Democrats drove her out of the race-not R’s. Death threats likely didn’t happen but a fabrication.” If Weaver was threatened the police should investigate. If the former psychic made this up she should apologize or seek mental help.

MN-1: Former state Sen. Vicki Jensen has become the first Democrat to announce that she will run for the open seat Rep. Tim Waltz (D) is vacating to run for governor. This district swung from 50-48 Obama in 2012 to 53-38 Trump in 2016. Jensen was a victim of the Trump wave as she lost her 2016 re-election campaign on the back of the Trump coattails.

NY-19: Antonio Delgado has become the 6th Democrat to announce a run against freshman GOP Rep. John Faso. Delgado claims to have already raised $300,000.

SC-1: Rep. Mark Sanford (R) may avoid having a Republican primary challenger next year. A month ago Sanford had two Republican challengers but Naval Reservist Tom Perez dropped out after getting deployed overseas and businessman Ted Fienning has changed his mind about running as well and has dropped out of the race. There is still a very long time until next’s years filing deadline so someone else may decided to try the uphill task of primarying Sanford.

SC-5: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is putting $275,000 towards boosting Democrat Archie Parnell ahead of the June 20th special election. Parnell should be a long shot against Republican Ralph Norman in this heavily GOP district; a recent internal for Parnell showed him down by 10.

TX-16: State Rep. César Blanco (D) has decided to seek re-election to the Texas state House and will not run for the Congressional seat Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) is vacating to run for US Senate.

WA-5: Here’s a tip to all aspiring Congressional candidates. Don’t release internal polls that show you are getting your clock cleaned by an incumbent. Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart  (D) is out with an internal poll from EMC Research showing him losing to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R) by a 49%-42% margin. Thanks for letting everyone know that McMorris Rogers is safe and that there is nothing to see here.

State, Local & Other:

NC-Redistricting: The US Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling striking down NC state legislative maps as racial gerrymander. At issue were nine state Senate districts and 19 state House districts. The Republican controlled state legislature will now have to redraw the maps for the 2018 elections (although a small possibility still exists that they will be forced to call a 2017 special election). Republicans have a 74 seat super-majority in the 120 seat North Carolina state House. If the Democrats take 4 more seats they could break the GOP’s veto-proof majority in the House. Republicans control 35 seats in the 50 seat NC state Senate so their 3/5s majority there should be safer.

Compton-Mayor: This story is straight out of Compton. The mayoral race in Compton, CA has turned into a generational battle of gangster vs. the next Brooklyn. Corruption tarred former Mayor Omar Bradley (D) is trying to regain his old job by denigrating the revitalization that has occurred under 35 year old Mayor Aja Brown’s (D) tenure. Brown won the April primary with 47% to Bradley’s 27%, with four other candidates picking up the rest.

FL-AG: Ex-Circuit Judge Ashley Moody (R) has entered the race for Attorney General and out going term-limited incumbent AG Pam Bondi (R) immediately endorsed her. State Rep. Jay Fant (R) and Democrat Ryan Torrens of Tampa are also running.

WATN: Lucky for former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) time ran out. Murphy was cleared of campaign finance violations involving $30,000 in donations from Saudi businessman Ibrahim Al-Rashid that were allegedly run through third party straw donors because the statue of limitations on the violations in the complaint against him had passed.

SC-5 & Pennsylvania Liveblog

Results: SC-5  (AP) || SC-5 (DDHQ)  || PA (AP)  || GA-Senate 32(Cobb)  GA-Senate 32(Fulton)

10:15 ET – I am going to call it an evening as the only outstanding races of interest are PA-Superior Court (Republican Primary) and PA-Commonwealth Court (Democratic Primary).   We will have an open thread from here on regarding the Los Angeles races.

9:47 ET – Philly machine death watch… Krasner gets the check for DA and Rhynhart gets the check for Controller.

9:45 ET – With another dump in GA Senate 32, I am going to call it for Kilpatrick (R) with 89% in from Cobb and 100% in from Fulton.

9:37 ET – We might be seeing the first signs of the death of the Philadelphia Democratic machine as two candidates not considered machine candidates are winning DA and Controller with 57% in.

9:33 ET – Cobb has dumped 50% of the precincts as Kilpatrick remains up 58-42 in Cobb, which means that Kilpatrick is up by approximately 56% to 44%.  This looks like Kilpatrick will hold this for the Republicans.

9:30 ET – All of Fulton has been counted in GA-Senate 32 and Kilpatrick remains up by about 10%.  Cobb still has 72% of its precincts to report.

9:30 ET – Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto (D-Bike Lane) has received the check with 66% of the vote with 50% counted.

9:25 ET – Bold Progressive Philly DA candidate Lawrence Krasner (D) is out to a 16 point lead with 42% in.

9:10 ET – Back to GA Senate 32… Kilpatrick remains up with 28% in from Cobb and only early votes in Fulton.

9:08 ET – Norman has won the SC-5 Republican runoff.

9:06 ET – In Pennsylvania, it appears the Democratic endorsed candidate for Commonwealth Court, Todd Eagen, is polling 4th right now.

8:48 ET – Norman is up by approximately 400 votes with 51 precincts remaining.

8:42 ET – Norman is down to 1% lead over Pope, but the remaining precincts are in Pope favoring York County.

8:40 ET – Pope and Norman are within 10 votes of each other with 2/3 in.

8:27 ET – Norman has taken the lead in SC-5 according to DDHQ.

8:15 ET – There appears to be a glimmer of hope for Norman in SC-5 as the results continue to narrow and his areas are just starting to heavily report.

8:07 ET – Pope’s lead is narrowing as 1/3 of the results are in. Pope leads by 4%.

8:03 ET – In Georgia State Senate District 32, Kilpatrick (R) leads Triebsch (D) 58% to 42% as the first results roll in.

8:00 ET – Pennsylvania has closed.

7:50 ET – With 7% in, Pope leads Norman 58% to 42% in SC-5.

7:41 ET – Turnout is supposedly low in the Pennsylvania primaries today, which close at 8pm Eastern.  I was the 14th Republican to vote and 25 voter overall in my ward at 915 AM.

7:33 ET – Ryan_in_SEPA here for the liveblog.  Pope still has a 60 vote lead as the early vote starts being counted.

7:30 ET- I will be turning this over to Ryan_in_SEPA for the rest of the night.

7:19 ET- Pope is now up 54-46 with York early votes coming in.

7:13 ET- Norman leads pope 69-66 in the first early votes.

7:00 ET- Polls have now closed in SC-5 and Georgia.

SC-5 Runoff & Pennsylvania Primary Preview

Tomorrow there is a congressional runoff in South Carolina as well as a mayoral race in Pittsburgh and assorted other contests across Pennsylvania, along with a pair of LA City Council runoffs. Poll closing times are as follows in ET: 7- SC-5 & Georgia || 8- Pennsylvania || 11 – Los Angeles. Our liveblog will start at 7ET tomorrow, but first we are previewing the races here:

SC-5 Runoff (R): Today there is a GOP primary runoff in SC-5; This seat is the former seat of OMB director Mick Mulvaney (R) and covers the north-central part of the state. The biggest bulk of the population is in the Charlotte suburbs, but the seat also contains a swath of rural areas from Sumter to the outskirts of the Charlotte and Spartanburg metros. The seat has a PVI of R+10 (2016). Facing off this week are a pair of state Reps who basically tied in the first round, being separated by just 0.3%, or a little over 100 votes. As you might guess, that means that the runoff is set to be highly competitive.

Tommy Pope

Ralph Norman

State Rep. Tommy Pope (R) narrowly took first place over his rival, fellow State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who unlike Pope resigned to run. Pope and Norman have generally been regarded as far more alike than different: they have represented districts a few miles away from each other in the Charlotte suburbs and have generally been mainstream conservatives in the State House. The differences in the first round mostly came down to emphasis; Pope tends to focus more on public safety while Norman is more focused on economics.

However, in the runoff, an ideological fissure seems to have opened, with Pope becoming the establishment choice and Norman taking up the anti-establishment mantle. Pope is the third-ranking Republican in the State House and has received outside support from the Chamber of Commerce. Conversely, Norman has said he would consider joining the Freedom Caucus and has received support from the Club for Growth and Erick Erickson. But don’t let the newfound buzz around this race from both sides cause you make a mountain out of that difference; both would overall qualify as mainstream conservatives and I would expect their hypothetical House records to be substantively identical.

There is no clear favorite in the runoff and most observers expect it to be very close. Norman has been better-funded (thanks to self-funding), and did better than expected in the first round. He has also picked up the endorsement of fourth-place finisher Chad Connelly (R), while the third-place candidate has not endorsed. So CW is that Norman may have a bit of momentum, and most observers would probably tilt the race to him ever-so-slightly. However, a victory for Pope would be wholly unsurprising as well. The winner will face Goldman Sachs tax attorney Archie Parnell (D) in the general; the seat has been a low priority for Dems but there is a chance that may change ahead of the June 20 general. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

Legislative Specials: Also in SC, there is also one special election this week. SC-LD-70 is a D+22 (2012) majority-black seat covering rural areas between Columbia and Sumter and a small piece of southeastern Columbia proper. School board member and 2016 State Senate candidate Wendy Brawley (D), who has the support of the late former incumbent’s family, led farmer Heath Hill (D), the only serious white candidate, 40-24 in the first round. Thus Brawley looks like the clear favorite in the runoff. Another state legislative special going on today is the runoff for GA-SD-32, an R+20 (2012), but likely much D-friendlier by 2016 numbers, seat in eastern Cobb County in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Attorney Christine Treibsch (D) led Physician Kay Kirkpatrick (R) 24-21 in April (when the election was consolidated with the high turnout GA-6 race). But Republicans took 60% of the vote in the preliminary, so Kirkpatrick should be favored unless Democrats are exceptionally motivated. The unusual date (even I thought this runoff was going to be with the GA-6 runoff on 6/20) may benefit Treibsch by lowering turnout and giving more weight to energized Dems.

Pittsburgh-Mayor: Pennsylvania is also holding its primary election tomorrow; in addition to the local and judicial races Ryan_in_SEPA will preview below, there is a Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh. No Republicans are running so the winner will have a free ride. Pittsburgh is a city of 305K that is roughly 70% White and 25% Black; it had a PVI of D+22 in 2008. Incumbent Bill Peduto (D) is a bold progressive, and a favorite of that growing and high-turnout constituency. He has had a generally successful tenure as mayor, continuing the city’s transformation into a bona-fide urban cultural center from a gritty steel town. As a result, he looks like a very strong favorite for a second term against two challengers – it would be surprising if he did not take a strong majority of the vote tomorrow. Peduto’s main rival, city councilwoman Darlene Harris (D), is a somewhat more moderate Democrat, but she does have some real establishment support; surprisingly, Harris came closer than expected to beating Peduto for the county Dem party’s endorsement. However, Harris is known as a bit of a gadfly (posting photos of herself riding an elephant, and once accosting a bicyclist she says was not in the right lane). She also hasn’t been running a particularly professional campaign, as she doesn’t even have a website; thus, she looks likely to finish a distant second. Seminary dean John Welch (D) has been trying to get to Peduto’s left on economics; while he has a base in the black community, there isn’t a lot of room to Peduto’s left flank, and Welch’s conservative social positions make poaching white progressive support a long-shot. Thus, CW is that he is likely to come in third. Overall, anything besides an easy Peduto win would probably be shocking.

LA City Council: Two races on the LA City council will head to runoffs this week.
LAX-CD-1 is a heavily Hispanic seat that stretches from MacArthur Park near downtown northeast to the middle-class Hispanic Mount Washington area. Incumbent Gil Cedillo (D) was surprisingly sent to a runoff, falling short of the 50% mark by less than a point. Cedillo was known as “one bill Gil” in the state legislature for his single-minded pursuit of drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens, and unsurprisingly poor Hispanics are his core constituency. It looked like he might have a real fight on his hands with his runoff opponent, bike store owner Joe Bray-Ali (D). Bray-Ali was running on an anti-car hipsterish platform which might have played well with high-turnout white yuppies in the gentrifying district. But Bray-Ali’s campaign was torpedoed when he was unmasked as a racist internet troll, which led to the abrupt withdrawal of all his establishment endorsements. Cedillo now looks like the overwhelming favorite for re-election.
LAX-CD-7 is the only open race on the council this year. The seat is based in the largely poor and heavily Hispanic northeast quarter of the San Fernando Valley around Sylmar and Pacoima, but the remote middle-class white suburban neighborhood of Sunland-Tujunga makes up about a quarter of the district’s population, and will likely punch far above its weight in a low turnout race. City public works board member Monica Rodriguez (D) led city council staffer Karo Torossian (D) 30-17 in the first round. Both candidates have establishment support; Rodriguez is closely tied to Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), while Torossian has support from his boss, a councilor for a neighboring district, and the endorsement of the third-place finisher. Based on the first round results and the seat’s Hispanic majority, Rodriguez is most likely a mild favorite, but there is a decent possibility Torossian could surprise.

Thanks to Ryan_in_SEPA for the Pennsylvania previews below:

Pennsylvania voters will be going to the polls to determine nominees for various statewide judicial positions including Supreme Court, Superior Court and Commonwealth Court and numerous county and municipal races.

Supreme Court: Neither party faces a contested primary for Supreme Court as Republican nominee and interim Justice Sallie Mundy is running for a full term against Democratic challenger Dwayne Woodruff.  Chief Justice Thomas Saylor (R) and Justice Debra Todd (D) are running for retention in November.

Superior Court:  Both parties have five contestants for four nomination slots to move onto the November general election.  The Pennsylvania Republican Party endorsed Lancaster DA Craig Stedman, and Common Pleas Court Judges Paula Patrick (Philadelphia), Wade Kagarise (Blair), and Emil Giordano (Northampton) while Magistrate Judge Mary Murray (Allegheny) is running without the state party endorsement.   The Pennsylvania Democratic Party endorsed interim Superior Court Judge Geoff Moulton, Common Pleas Court Judges Debbie Kunselman (Beaver), Maria McLaughlin (Philadelphia), and Carolyn Nichols (Philadelphia) while former Senior Deputy Attorney General William Caye II is running without the state party endorsement.  Judge Jacqueline Shogan (R) is running for retention in November.  The endorsed candidates are heavily favored to clear the primary and head to the general election.

Commonwealth Court: Each party has two nomination slots being contested today.  The Republicans will not have a contested primary as Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Cannon (Delco) and municipal attorney Paul Lalley (Allegheny) are the only Republican candidates.  The Democrats are having quite the contest as there are 6 candidates running with only one, attorney Tom Eagen (Lackawanna), being the only one to receive the official backing of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.  Interim Judge Joseph Cosgrove (Luzerne), State Representative Bryan Barbin (Cambria), Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler (Philadelphia), and attorneys Timothy Barry and Irene Clark are running without the state party endorsement.  Commonwealth Court is down in the weeds so its anyone’s guess, but I suspect that Eagen and Ceisler win the Democratic nomination.

Municipal Elections:  Voters across the Commonwealth will be voting in various county, municipal and school broad elections.  The most prominent municipal/county race is the primary for Philadelphia District Attorney, which involves the replacing of disgraced Bold Progressive turned DINO turned standard corrupt Democrat District Attorney Anthony Williams.  In a race that has garnered national attention with George Soros dropping significant cash behind attorney Lawrence Krasner (Bold Progressive).  Other prominent candidates on the Democratic side include former Deputy Mayor Rich Negrin (Police), former Deputy District Attorney and AUSA Joe Khan (Rendell-NOW), former Deputy Attorney General Michael Untermeyer (Lots of Advertising), former Deputy DA Tariq El-Shabazz (Tax Cheat), and former Deputy DA John O’Neil (Some Dude) and former Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni (Some Dudette) seeking the Democratic nomination.  Former Deputy District Attorney Beth Grossman is running unopposed for the Republican nomination.  Before Soros’ donation to Krasner, I rated this as a 3 way between Negrin, Khan and Untermeyer.  Now it is a 4 way battle for the Democratic nomination as the machine has stayed out of the race.  Philadelphia City Controller is somewhat competitive as Controller Alan Butkovitz, whose seeking a third term, is receiving a spirited challenge from former Philadelphia Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Rhyhart for the Democratic nomination.  Otherwise this primary season has been surprisingly quiet.

Political Roundup for May 5, 2017

Please check back at Noon ET for our preview of this weekend’s Texas mayoral elections and French Presidential Runoff. But in the meantime grab your Taco Bowl and enjoy the roundup…

Governor:

CT-Gov: State Sen. Toni Boucher (R) is the latest Connecticut Republican to consider an entry into this crowded primary, joining Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (R), Trumbull first selectman (Mayor) Tim Herbst (R), state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan (R) and 2014 SoS nominee Peter Lumaj (R).

FL-Gov: State House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) will open a committee this summer to raise money for a Gov run, but won’t make a final decision until… next March. That’s an awfully lackadaisical timeline for a race that will need extreme amounts of fundraising, and sending a signal to donors that you’re still unclear about your intentions doesn’t seem like the best way to go. Corcoran will face Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) in the primary if he goes ahead with a run, and a couple more minor candidates are also considering. Dems have a crowded field of decleared and potential contenders including ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D), and trial lawyer John Morgan (D).

IA-Gov: Freshman State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), a vocal liberal, is the latest “C” list candidate to jump into the Governor’s race, joining ex-IADP chair Andy McGuire (D), State Rep. Todd Prichard (D), former state cabinet official Rich Leopold (D), and 2014 Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D). Gov-designate Kim Reynolds (R) may face primary opposition from Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R).

NE-Gov: State Sen. Bob Krist (“R”), a moderate from the Omaha area, may challenge Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) in the 2018 primary. As the state populace generally seems to be on the side of Ricketts’ conservative agenda instead to the RINO-D coalition that seems to all too often dominate the Unicameral, Krist will likely have a tough time getting traction in a GOP primary.

MN-Gov, MN-8: State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) announced that he is still considering a run for Governor, while ruling out a bid for MN-8. Daudt would likely be a front-runner in the crowded GOP convention field if he entered.

PA-Gov: Ugh. As George Allen and Bob Etheridge can tell you, the only thing to do when around a tracker is ignore them and be on your best behavior. State Sen. Scott Wagner (R), who is challenging Gov. Tom Wolf (D), didn’t heed that advice when he angrily confronted a tracker working for American Bridge who was videotaping a private speech Wagner was giving on estate planning. Word to wise candidates: just don’t. Don’t protest and don’t give into those impulses no matter how justified you think they are. You will never come out looking good. Separately in this race, businessman Paul Mango (R) has made his entry into the GOP primary official. Multiple other Republicans are rumored to be considering.

Congress:

CA-34: AG Xavier Becerra (D) has endorsed State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) as his successor. Gomez faces a runoff with zoning board member Robert Lee Ahn (D) in June, in which the former looks like the strong favorite. Gomez has coalesced most establishment support and has the Hispanic-majority nature of the district on his side, though Ahn’s Koreatown base can be high-turnout.

GA-6: Now here’s a new one. WATL-TV, Atlanta’s MyTV affiliate, has launched a 7PM newscast… specifically to find a place to air GA-6 ads. The June 20 runoff between ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) and former congressional staffer Han Soloff Jon Osoff (D) has attracted well-beyond-saturation levels of spending.

NC-9: The FBI has closed a probe of Rep. Robert Pittenger’s (R) former business interests. Pittenger’s seat is safe but he narrowly escaped a 3-way primary last cycle with just over a third of the vote.

State Offices:

CA-LG: Having no real duties but a high profile, this open seat seems to be becoming quite attractive for former Dem megadonor-turned-ambassadors, as we now have two candidates fitting that profile here. Former Obama ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich (D) is running for the open Lieutenant Governor seat, joining fellow former ambassador Eleni Kounalakis (D), State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D), and physician Asif Mahmood (D).

FL-Ag Comm: As expected, State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) of the Fort Myers area has filed for the open Agriculture Commissioner seat, joining State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R).

ID-Supt: Local superintendent Jeff Dillon (R) is challenging incumbent Sherri Ybarra (R) in the primary for State Superintendent. Ybarra was a surprise winner in 2014 as a non-serious Some Dude, squeaking through a divided primary and narrowly winning the general on the deep-red lean of the state. Thus it seems a decent bet she could be vulnerable to a primary this year.

SC-SoS: State Rep. Joshua Putnam (R) is running for SoS, challenging four-term incumbent Mark Hammond (R). The decision is somewhat curious as Hammond has been non-controversial and South Carolina’s SoS is not a powerful office (it doesn’t oversee elections and mostly handles business and charity filings).

FL-SD-40: Ex-State Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla (R) is running in the special election for this vacant State Senate seat in the southwest Miami suburbs. Diaz de la Portilla represented an adjacent urban Miami district in the 2000s, and his brother Miguel (R) narrowly lost re-election to that seat last year. State Rep. Daisy Baez (D) is the only other candidate who has declared for the heavily-anti-Trump but historically Cuban-machine-R dominated district.

Local Offices:

NYC-Mayor: State Sen. Tony Avella (D/IDC) dropped his little-noticed bid yesterday to challenge Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D) in the primary. The northeast Queens State Senator, who has a reputation as a maverick for some heterodox views and would not have energized liberals by his association with the GOP Senate caucus, had only raised $35K for his bid.

More NYC-Mayor: Across the aisle, Arby’s pitchman and former celebrity detective Bo Dietl (I) was denied in his bid to run in the GOP primary; he would have needed 3/5 borough party chairs’ support to enter as a non-party member. The GOP primary looks to now be between developer Paul Massey (R) and State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R). Dietl may still run in the general as an Independent.

Jackson, MS-Mayor: On Tuesday, incumbent Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber (D) came in fourth (!) in the Democratic Primary with just 5% (!). Winning a landslide victory with 55% was attorney Chokwe Lumumba Jr. (D). Lumbumba is the leftist son of Yarber’s deceased predecessor of the same name, and the relatively moderate Yarber’s rival in a 2014 Special Election. Jackson, a majority-black city with high crime and deteriorating infrastructure, has a history of turning out its mayor by large margins, as this marks the fourth consecutive regularly-scheduled election in which the incumbent was defeated.

Toledo-Mayor: Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapsukiewicz (D) will challenge incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) for Mayor. Councilman Tom Waniewski (R) is also in the race, which will have a California-Rules Top Two primary in September.

San Francisco-Mayor ’19: State Sen. Mark Leno (D), a “moderate” (read: standard leftist moonbat instead of insane leftist moonbat) will run for SF Mayor in 2019; he is considered likely to be a front-runner to succeed termed-out incumbent Ed Lee (D).

NY-Rockland-CE: Attorney Maureen Porette (D), who seems basically “Some Dude” caliber, will run for County Executive against incumbent Ed Day (R). Porette seems to be running mostly on standard liberal platitudes, which is somewhat surprising as the main fault-line in Rockland centers on how to make peace with the county’s large Hasidim population.

Political Roundup for April 24, 2017

Yesterday in France, centrist corporate-liberal Emmanuel Macron and nationalist-populist Marine LePen advanced to a runoff with 23% and 22% respectively. The runoff will occur on May 7; Macron is overwhelmingly favored in the second round.

Next, tomorrow there are three special elections, a State Senate runoff in SC and two State House races in Connecticut. None have any partisan drama but all are interesting. SC-SD-3 is an R+25 (2012) seat covering the northern half of Anderson County. Ex-Pendleton Mayor Carol Burdette (R) took 49% last year as a mainstream conservative primary challenger to the prior very socially-conservative incumbent, now-LG Kevin Bryant (R). Burdette is facing off against 2010 SC-3 and 2014 US Senate candidate Richard Cash (R), a staunch social conservative himself who has unsurprisingly got Bryant’s endorsement. Burdette led the first round 31-26 with a diverse mix of candidates splitting the rest, so there is no clear favorite in this round. No Democrats are running so tomorrow’s winner will get the seat. Two seats in CT are also up. CT-LD-7 is a D+44 (2016), black-majority seat stretching from downtown Hartford to the northwest corner of the city. Veteran Rickey Pinckney (D) has the official Dem endorsement but is facing two Dems running as Indies, ex-State Rep. Kenneth Green (D), who lost a 2010 primary for re-election by 2 votes, and teachers’ union official Joshua Hall (D), who has the Working Families line. The “D” next to his name makes Pinckney the favorite, but Green’s name rec and Hall’s union backing could give each of them a slight chance to pull an upset with ultra-low turnout. Finally, CT-LD-68 is an R+17 (2016) seat around Watertown, a northwest suburb of Waterbury. The GOP has strangely nominated Watertown councilman Joe Polletta (R), who was the 2014 Democratic nominee for this seat. Polletta switched parties shortly after his loss and is now the strong favorite over ex-Watertown councilman Louis Esposito (D), who doesn’t seem to be running a very serious campaign.

And now the rest of the day’s news –

Congress:

AL-Sen: Here is a solid Great Mentioner piece on who is in, out, and considering taking on Sen. Luther Strange (R) for the Senate seat he was appointed to earlier this year. State Rep. Ed Henry (R) is the only candidate definitively in the race, but a ton of others are considering.

MI-Sen: Retired State Supreme Court Justice Robert Young (R) is being recruited as a possible challenger to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Young, who is of African-American descent, just retired from the bench. Ex-State Senate Pres. Randy Richardville (R) seems like the most serious candidate considering this race so far, though multiple others, including Rep. Fred Upton (R), have floated their names with varying degrees of seriousness.

MN-1: 2016 nominee Jim Hagedorn (R), a Some Dude who notched an unexpectedly narrow loss last year and is running again now that the seat is open, has landed an endorsement from Rep. Tom Emmer (R). Hagedorn would seem to be only a “C” list contender for this race now that the seat is open and one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities, so the support from a well-known establishment figure is somewhat surprising.

TX-3: In something of a surprise, Collin CE Keith Self (R) announced last week that he would not run for this open seat, potentially removing the most serious challenger to State Sen. Van Taylor (R). Taylor, who is personally wealthy and represents essentially the entire Plano-based district, now looks like a near-prohibitive favorite in this race as most other candidates of stature have already declined.

Governor:

MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D), who won an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, will run for Governor, joining State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Xerox executive Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit city official Abdul El-Sayed (D) in the Dem primary. AG Bill Schutte (R) and LG Brain Calley (R) are the most common GOP names associated with this race.

NJ-Gov: Former Long Hill (pop. 9K) mayor Gina Genovese (I) will run for Governor. Genovese, a former Dem, is running on a platform of encouraging municipal consolidation to save tax dollars and overall seems to take a relatively libertarian ideological line; thus, any votes she draws will probably come relatively equally from the two parties.

PA-Gov, PA-LG: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has stripped LG Mike Stack (D) of his state police detail and some staff after Stack and his wife were found to be abusing their staffers. The decision is leading to speculation that Wolf may attempt to recruit a primary challenger against Stack for the right to join him on the Democratic ticket next year.

WI-Gov: Democrats are having serious recruiting problems for this race, but businessman Andy Gronik (D) is apparently polling this race as a step toward exploring a possible entry. But you can strike one more well-known Dem off the list of possible challengers to Gov. Scott Walker (R), as Dane CE Joe Parisi (D) has taken his name out of the running as well.

RIP: Ex-Rep. Larry Hogan Sr., father of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R), passed away last week at age 88. The senior Hogan won an upset on his second try for MD-5 in 1968, then based in what were at the time blue-collar white DC suburbs of Prince George’s County. He served three terms in Congress, where he memorably was among the first Republicans to break with Nixon during Watergate. The decision likely caused his surprising loss in the 1974 gubernatorial primary to a little-known more conservative candidate, State Sen. Louise Gore (R). Hogan then served a term as Prince George’s County Exec from 1978-82 before being flattened in a Senate run by incumbent Paul Sarbanes (D) in 1982. Hogan lived to see two of his six children follow him into politics, with Pat (R) serving two terms as a State Rep. from the Frederick area in the 2000s and Larry of course being elected Governor in 2014.

State Offices:

AZ-Supt: Tempe Councilman and ex-State Sen. David Schapira (D) will run for State Superintendent. Incumbent Diane Douglas (R), who won the 2014 primary in an upset, has widely been considered an ineffective gadfly in her term. Douglas is likely to face a substantive GOP primary challenge, and Democrats seem ready to aggressively target this seat with Arizona’s leftward trend in recent cycles.

CA-LG: Former Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis (D), daughter of a prominent Dem donor, has opened a committee to explore the LG race. Kounalakis joins State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D) and physician Asif Mahmood (D) in declaring interest in this open seat. Termed-out incumbent Gavin Newsom (D) is running for Governor.

CT-Comp: 2014 CT-5 nominee Mark Greenberg (R) will run for Comptroller this cycle. Unlike his congressional runs, Greenberg does not plan to self-fund his run for Comptroller. Incumbent Kevin Lembo (D) is considering a run for Governor but could still seek re-election; no other candidates have as yet expressed interest in this race.

FL-Ag Comm: Daniel Sohn (D), who lost a race for a local water board last year, will run for Ag Commissioner; he seems to have some support base as no bigger-name Dems have as yet expressed interest in this race. State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) are in the race on the GOP side, and State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) is expected to enter. Termed-out incumbent Adam Putnam (R) is widely expected to run for Governor.

GA-SoS: Alpharetta (pop. 60K) Mayor David Belle-Isle (R) will run for the open SoS seat, joining State Reps. Buzz Brockway (R) and Brad Raffensperger (R) in the race. All three candidates hail from the Altanta suburbs. Incumbent Brian Kemp (R) is running for Governor.

SD-SoS: State Auditor Steve Barnett (R), who is termed-out of his current post, will run for the open SoS seat vacated by congressional candidate Shantel Krebs (R). Barnett is the first candidate to announce for the post; the nominee will be decided by convention.

CT-SD-13, WATN: Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz (D), who left politics after an embarassing episode in which she attempted to run for AG in 2010 without filling the qualifications and then made a little-noticed 2012 US Senate run, will run for State Senate in 2018, taking on State Sen. Len Suzio (R) in a Dem-leaning district.

FL-SD-40: State Sen. Frank Artiles (R) has resigned after using a racial slur to refer to two fellow State Senators last week. Artiles’s decision triggers a special election in his southwest suburban Miami seat, which Clinton carried by 18 points last year but where Cuban machine Republicans have historically held sway.

Local Races:

NYC-Mayor: State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R) of Staten Island will consider a run for Mayor if 2013 candidate John Catsimatidis (R) does not make another go of it. Malliotakis won a then-Dem-leaning State Rep. seat, which spans the Verrezano Narrows Bridge, in 2010. However, she has little name recognition city-wide and is not independently wealthy, unlike the main Republican already in the race to take on Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D), developer Paul Massey (R).

Seattle-Mayor: City planner and left-wing activist Cary Moon (D) will run for Mayor. Moon is best known for her efforts to completely close a major highway through the city center rather than relocate it to a tunnel. Moon is likely to vie with ex-Mayor Mike McGinn (D) for the ultra-left vote in her bid to take on establishment liberal incumbent Ed Murray (D).

San Diego-DA: San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis (R), a moderate Republican, will step down from the DA’s post to explore a run for a County Supervisor seat covering central San Diego. Dumanis’s top deputy, Summer Stephan (R), is running to succeed her and is likely to be appointed by the all-Republican County Board to fill the vacancy.

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