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Political Roundup for October 6, 2017

Senate:

MO-Sen: Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) has taken another step towards getting in the race. A “Hawley Victory Committee” organization was filed with the FEC this week. The NRSC is also listed as a joint fundraising committee in the filing-a typical move for a campaign getting ready to launch. 3 other Republicans are currently running-2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen, retired Air Force pilot and University of Central Missouri Aviation Department assistant dean Tony Monetti, and Navy veteran Courtland Sykes.

TN-Sen: If you missed our special post on it yesterday, there was big news in this race as Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced he would not run, followed soon by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) getting into the race. With Haslam and Peyton Manning out, Blackburn appears to be the frontrunner for now.

House:

AZ-9: As expected, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) has announced he plans to run for Congress. Stanton, who is in his 2nd term as mayor has been expected to run for another office, although he had been looking at a statewide office. Stanton will be the overwhelming favorite on the Democratic side, although might not clear the field completely. Biologist Talia Fuentes was already in the race before Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) announced her plans to run for the US Senate. Former House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D) has been considered a possible candidate, but many think he won’t run against Stanton. Because of Arizona’s resign to run law, Stanton will have to resign as mayor, although he won’t have to leave office until he submits his election petitions, which are due May 30. A special election will then be held to complete Stanton’s term through 2019.

CO-2: Businessman and gun control advocate Ken Toltz has announced he is running in the Democratic primary for this open seat. Toltz had been exploring a run ever since Rep. Jared Polis (D) announced he was giving up the seat to run for governor, but said Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas motivated him in part to finally join the race. Toltz ran for Congress before in 2000 as the Democratic nominee in CO-6, losing by 12 points to then Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), a campaign in which he made gun control a major part of his platform in the wake of the Columbine shooting. Toltz is the 2nd Democrat to join the race in as many days-Nederland Mayor Kristopher Larsen joined the race on Wednesday. They join former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse, former Boulder County Democratic party Chairman Mark Williams, and minister Howard Dotson in the race on the Democratic side. No Republican has yet announced plans to run in the blue district.

CO-7: The last major challenger to Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) has dropped out. Dan Baer, formerly ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has dropped out of the race. Baer had been the last holdout to stay in the race after Perlmutter reversed course and decided to run for re-election to Congress after previously deciding to run for governor, a race he dropped out of, and then deciding he would just retire from politics. State Sens. Andy Kerr (D) and Dominick Moreno (D) and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D) dropped out of the race soon after Perlmutter got back in, but Baer stayed in, boosted by an impressive fundraising haul.

MA-3: State Rep. Juana Matias (D) is joining what is becoming a very crowded race to succeed Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). Other Democrats running are state Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D), Dan Koh, former chief of staff to Boston mayor Marty Walsh, Cambridge city councilor Nadeem Mazan, Lori Trahan, a former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Marty Meehan (D), and former Democratic LG nominee Steve Kerrigan. State Sen. Eileen Donoghue (D) is considering running as well. Rick Green, a businessman and founder of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, became the first Republican to join the race on Wednesday.

MI-11: Businessman and lawyer Dan Haberman is joining the Democratic primary race for this open seat. Haberman joins former Obama Administration auto task force official Haley Stevens, and Fayrouz Saad, former head of the Office of Immigrant Affairs for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Businesswoman Lena Epstein, who previously had been running for US Senate and former state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R) are running on the Republican side; state Sen. Marty Knollenberg (R) and state Rep. Laura Cox (R) , among others are considering getting in as well.

NH-2: Dr. Stewart Levenson, former chairman of the Department of Medicine at Manchester’s VA Hospital and who was involved in a whisteblower complaint about the facility, is running for Congress as a Republican. Levenson joins former state Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) with businessman David McConville possibly joining as well in the race to face Rep. Annie Kuster (D).

PA-18: State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R) entered the race yesterday to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who now has announced his resignation, effective Oct. 21. A special election will be held sometime next year to fill the seat. Reschenthaler seems to be the favorite among party insiders, although state Sen. Kim Ward (R) has announced she is running too. State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) will possibly run as well.

TN-7: If you missed the special post on it yesterday, after Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) announced her candidacy for US Senate, state Sen. Mark Green (R) followed by announcing his candidacy for her congressional seat, completing a winding political journey this year. Green had declared his intention to run for governor early in the year, a race he dropped out of after being nominated to be Secretary of the Army-but he dropped out of contention for that post after Democrats criticized some comments he had made in the past. He decided not to restart his candidacy for governor, but had been encouraged to challenge Sen. Bob Corker (R) before Corker decided to retire. Green now becomes the early frontrunner, but other Republicans are expected to run for the deep red seat.

Governor/state offices:

SC-Gov: State Rep. James Smith (D) yesterday became the first Democrat to announce a run for governor. Smith had been the only Democrat known to even be looking at the race. 4 Republicans are running-Gov. Henry McMaster (R), LG Kevin Bryant (R), former state Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton, and party-switching former D LG Yancey McGill (R).

FL-CFO: State Sen. Tom Lee (R) is running for Chief Financial Officer. Lee will be challenging appointed incumbent Jimmy Patronis (R) in the Republican primary. Patronis was appointed to the post in June by Gov. Rick Scott (R) after former CFO Jeff Atwater (R) resigned to become CFO of Florida Atlantic University. Lee was the Republican nominee for CFO in 2006, losing by 7 points to Democrat Alex Sink.

LA-Treas.: Dueling polls by two of the Republican candidates in the upcoming Oct. 14 primary show themselves ahead of the group of Republicans in the race. State Rep. John Schroder (R) and former Gov. Bobby Jindal administration official Angele Davis both have released polls showing them making the runoff with lone Democratic candidate Derrick Edwards. Interestingly, the third major Republican candidate, state Sen. Neil Riser (R), finishes in second among the Republicans in both polls with Davis in third in Schroder’s poll, and Schroder in third in Davis’s poll. Edwards leads all candidates in both polls, but should be a heavy underdog to whichever Republican emerges from the primary.

MI-AG: State House Speaker Tom Leonard (R) has announced he is running for Attorney General. Leonard joins state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R) in the GOP primary. Former US Attorney Pat Miles and attorney Dana Nassel are running on the Democratic side. Nominees will be decided at party conventions after next year’s August primary.

Political Roundup for September 29, 2017

Senate:

AZ-Sen: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) announced her long-expected bid for Senate last night. Click for our full coverage of the race and Great Mentioner for the now-open AZ-9.

MO-Sen: While everyone still waits for AG Josh Hawley (R) to enter the race, another Republican is entering. Courtland Sykes is running as a strong supporter of President Trump and an admirer of Steve Bannon. Sykes is actually from Arkansas, and just recently moved to Missouri. He worked on the staff of Rep. Bruce Westerman (R) from last year to early this year. He joins former 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen in the Republican race.

NV-Sen: Rep. Dina Titus (D) will not run for Senate and will instead run for re-election to Congress. Titus had been publicly exploring running for Senate and had expressed some disappointment after Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) quickly became the favorite candidate of the DSCC, former Sen. Harry Reid (D), and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D).

TN-Sen: Peyton Manning (R) is denying interest in running for the seat left open by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R) saying he is giving “zero consideration” to running and says he has “zero interest in being a politician”. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) confirmed he is thinking about running, but will take some time weighing a run. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) is expected to enter the race soon. Former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) is considering as well and says he will decide by the end of the week whether to run. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke (D) is considering a run as well. Attorney James Mackler is currently the only Democrat running.

House:

CA-24: Businessman and rancher Justin Fareed (R) is making his third run for this seat. Fareed narrowly lost to Chris Mitchum (R) for the 2nd place in the 2014 primary to face Rep. Lois Capps (D) and won 2nd place in the 2016 primary, losing to now-Rep. Salud Carbajal (D) 53-47 in the general election. Carbajal is running for re-election; civil engineer Michael Erin Woody (R) is the only other candidate in the race.

CO-2: Gun control advocate Shannon Watts (D) will not run for Congress. Watts, who runs the gun control advocacy organization Moms Demand Gun Sense in America had been considering getting in the race and was thought to be a possibly strong candidate as the only woman in the race and because of her large social media following. Former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse (D), former Boulder County Democratic Party chairman Mark Williams and Howard Dotson, a minister are running for the Democratic nomination. Ken Toltz, another gun control advocate and failed Democratic nominee in CO-6 in 2000 is also considering running. No Republicans have yet signaled an interest in running.

Governor:

AK-Gov: Businessman Scott Hawkins (R) is joining the race for governor. Hawkins joins former State Senate President Charlie Huggins and self-employed businessman Michael Sheldon in the Republican primary. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) was running but has suspended his campaign. Gov. Bill Walker (I) is running for re-election.

IA-Gov: Another candidate is joining the race for governor. This time though it’s a Republican. Boone city councilman and former Iowa State Patrol communications manager Steven Ray is running. He joins Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett in the GOP primary. Ray is not related to former Gov. Robert Ray (R), who served as governor from 1969-83. 7 Democrats are running in the Democratic primary.

ME-Gov: State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) has officially entered the race for governor. Mason had planned to roll out his campaign a few weeks ago, but those plans were put off after the sudden death of his mother, state Rep. Gina Mason (R). Mason joins former State Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Mayhew and state House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R) in the Republican primary. Sen. Susan Collins (R) is also considering getting in the race.

NH-Gov: Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky (D) has announced he will not run for governor. Volinsky was encouraged to run by people on the left-he served as legal counsel for Sen. Bernie Sanders in his 2016 NH Primary run, and was a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He will instead run for re-election to his Executive Council seat. Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is the only Democrat so far who has announced a bid to face Gov. Chris Sununu (R).

NC-Gov. 2020: Former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is not closing the door on trying to return to his old job in 2020. McCrory, who recently started a daily hosting segment in a Charlotte radio station, said he would consider another run down the road, but said it’s way too early to decide now, and he wouldn’t make any decision until after the 2018 midterm elections. McCrory has been the Republican nominee for governor in the last 3 elections, losing by 3 points in 2008, winning a solid 12 point victory in 2012, and losing narrowly his re-election bid last year. LG Dan Forest (R) is thought to be a likely candidate in 2020.

Other:

Steve Scalise: Rep. Steve Scalise (R) yesterday made his first appearance in the House chamber since the June attack which seriously wounded him. He entered the chamber on crutches to a thunderous standing ovation and then gave a speech.

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 26, 2017

First off, there are two legislative specials tomorrow, one primary and one general. The primary is in MA-SD-4th Middlesex, a D+14 (2016) seat stretching from Arlington to Billerica (bill-rick-uh, or bill-UH-rick-uh if you really want the authentic cockney-townie mispronunciation) in the northwest suburbs of Boston. State Rep. Sean Garballey (D) and Cindy Friedman (D), CoS to the late prior incumbent, are facing off; both are establishment liberals and there is no clear favorite between the two. A third candidate, state school board member Mary Ann Stewart (D), seems like a longer-shot. No Republicans are seeking the seat. The general is for IA-LD-22, an R+19 (2016) seat covering Omaha exurbs and rural areas east of Council Bluffs. Banker and local GOP official Jon Jacobsen (R) looks like at least a slight favorite over Carol Forristall (R), widow of the prior incumbent, who lost her bid for the GOP endorsement and is instead running as an Indie, and a Libertarian Some Dude. Dems have no one on the ballot after their candidate failed to turn his paperwork in on time, though he is running as a write-in. Now the rest of the day’s news –

Senate:

ND-Sen: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) is undecided on whether to seek a second term this cycle, saying that being in the Senate is “a hard life.” Should Heitkamp retire the seat would be a likely GOP pickup; if she runs again she would likely face a competitive general election, possibly against Rep. Kevin Cramer (R).

VT-Sen: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D) and his wife Jane have retained lawyers, as they are now under FBI investigation. The investigation centers on alleged fraud in Jane Sanders’s mismanagement of a now-shuttered College where she was president. Jane Sanders allegedly falsified descriptions of the college’s donor base and finances when seeking a large loan, and Bernie may have used his influence to lobby for the loan arrangement.

Governor:

AL-Gov: State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) is the latest Republican to explore an entry into this increasingly crowded primary. Zeigler had a reputation as a gadfly before winning the Auditor post over several little-known rivals; however, he has raised his profile since becoming Auditor with aggressive investigations of various scandals surrounding ex-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) that eventually forced the latter’s resignation. Zeigler says has not made a decision to enter the race and may seek a second term as Auditor. Should he enter the race, Zeigler would face Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington (R), minister Scott Dawson (R), and businessman Joshua Jones (R), with PSC chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R) also seen as likely to enter. Incumbent Kay Ivey (R) has not yet indicated if she will seek a full term. Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

CO-Gov: Kent Thiry (R), the CEO of the dialysis company Davita, is exploring a run for Governor. Thiry, who has donated to both parties, would likely run as a centrist and would likely self-fund his bid. He would join Arapahoe DA George Brauchler (R) and two other self-funding businessmen, ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R) and Romney relative Doug Robinson (R), in the GOP primary; State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) is also seen as likely to enter. Reps. Jared Polis (D) and Ed Perlmutter (D), ex-State Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D), and State Sen. Mike Johnston (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

FL-Gov: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) says that though the FBI is now investigating corruption in Tallahassee city government, he is not personally under investigation. This setback is the latest in a string of embarrassing headlines for Gillum, including campaign finance woes and improper use of government email. Gillum is facing ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D) and businessman Chris King (D) in the Dem primary, with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D) and wealthy trial lawyer John Morgan (D) considering runs. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is in the race on the GOP side.

IL-Gov: Five Democrats seeking to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) appeared before the important Cook County Dem machine meeting on Thursday. Businessman JB Pritzker (D), considered the establishment favorite (read: the choice of State Dictator House Speaker Mike Madigan (D)) because of his immense wealth, played to the part by dutifully asking for machine backing. Fellow businessman and Heir Force Col. Chris Kennedy (D) used his speech to argue for no endorsement and attempting to cast himself as an outsider. Three other Democrats, State Sen. Daniel Biss (D), Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), mostly seemed to use the meeting as a chance to boost their name recognition, while a sixth, State Rep. Scott Drury (D), skipped the meeting entirely.

More IL-Gov: In what could present a headache for Rauner, former pro wrestler Jon Stewart (L) will run for Governor as a Libertarian. Stewart definitely sounds like a Republican in all but name, as he was a vocal Trump supporter and once hired Kellyanne Conway to run his campaign for the State House as a Republican in the 90s. It’s unclear how much traction Stewart might get – or how many votes he might win from people thinking he’s “the other” Jon Stewart, as a school in Utah did in 2006 when they booked him for a fundraising gala.

KS-Gov: Businessman and ex-State Rep. Mark Hutton (R) is considering an entry into this primary. Hutton, who says he would try to bridge the moderate-conservative chasm within the KSGOP but who has generally been more identified with the moderate wing, retired from the legislature in 2016. Hutton would face SoS Kris Kobach (R/C), ex-State Sen. and 2006 nominee Jim Barnett (R/M), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R/M), and businessman Wink Hartman (R/C) in the primary; LG Jeff Colyer (R/C) is also thought to be considering a run. Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) and ex-State Rep. Josh Svaty (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

MD-Gov: Attorney Jim Shea (D) is the latest little-known Democrat seeking to try his luck in the primary to take on popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Shea is a former chair of a large law firm and university regent, so he may be well-connected. He joins Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D), ex-NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous (D), and businessman and Hillary aide Alec Ross (D) in vying to take on Hogan.

OH-Gov: In a move that surprised no one, AG Mike DeWine (R) announced his run for Governor over the weekend. DeWine, a former Senator before scoring a comeback as AG in 2010, looks like a slight front-runner in a titanic four-way primary against LG Mary Taylor (R), Rep. Jim Renacci (R), and SoS Jon Husted (R). Democrats have a four-way primary of their own between ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), State Sen. Tony Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D).

House:

CO-2, CO-3: State Sen. Kerry Donovan (D) will not run for Congress this cycle. Donovan had been mentioned as a potential candidate for both the open deep-blue CO-2, where her primary home is, and the medium-red CO-3 of Rep. Scott Tipton (R), where her family owns a ranch and a large part of her Senate seat is based. 2014 SoS nominee Joe Neguse (D) looks like the front-runner in a potentially crowded field for CO-2, while Democrats do not as of yet have strong prospects to take on Tipton.

IL-12: St. Clair County DA Brendan Kelly (D) is rumored to be considering a run against Rep. Mike Bost (R), and has attracted the interest of the DCCC.  This downscale MetroEast and Little Egypt district zoomed right last year but has some strong Democratic heritage; as DA of the district’s largest county, Kelly could be a formidable candidate. Several Some Dude Dems are in the race to take on Bost.

SC-1: Attorney Joe Cunningham (D) will run against Rep. Mark Sanford (R) in this medium-red Charleston area district. Cunningham seems to be well-connected; he is also receiving some buzz for his particularly blunt upfront stance that he will not vote for Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker if elected. Sanford was expected to face a serious primary challenge as well, but both of his erstwhile challengers have since dropped out.

UT-3: Attorney Tanner Ainge (R), son of Boston Celtics President Danny, wasn’t registered to vote in Utah when he filed as a candidate for Congress in May. Ainge returned to Utah in November of last year after six years in Illinois and California, and says he forgot to re-register when he returned to the state. Ainge will face Provo Mayor John Curtis (R), who is under fire for his past as a Democrat, and ex-State Rep. and convention winner Chris Herrod (R) in the August 15 primary.

State & Local:

AL-LG: State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R) of rural northeast Alabama has joined the race for LG, joining State Sen. Rusty Glover (R) and elected state school board member Mary Scott Hunter (R) in the primary. Hunter was also the recipient of a scathing internal report from the school board last week. The report alleges that Hunter conspired with the sitting interim state Superintendent and several staffers in a months-long campaign to spread false innuendo about Craig Pouncey, an applicant for the appointed Superintendent job. Hunter disputes the report’s accuracy.

FL-CFO: CFO Jeff Atwater (R) is resigning this week, and Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) choice to replace him is ex-State Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R) of Panama City. Scott is set to announce the appointment today at Patronis’s restaurant; Patronis says he will run for a full term in 2018, though it’s still too early to say if he will face primary opposition. Ex-State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) is likely to be the Dem nominee for this post in 2018.

GA-LG: State Sen. Rick Jeffares (R) runs a water and sewer contracting company which has received a large amount of state business. The business dealings are completely legal as Georgia law permits legislators to receive state contracts as long as they are received through a blinded open-bidding process. However, if Jeffares moves from his part-time legislative post to the LG slot, the issue might become thornier. Jeffares says that the LG spot is part-time, permitting him to continue his company’s state business, but he has not made a decision on whether to continue his business if he wins. Jeffares is facing State Senate President David Shaffer (R) and State Rep. Geoff Duncan (R) in this primary.

IL-SoS: SoS Jesse White (D) is considering going back on his intention to retire in 2018. White, 82, has admitted he is considering seeking a sixth term but has not finalized a decision either way. The popular White would likely be a prohibitive favorite against any opposition if he ran again.

KS-SoS: State Rep. Keith Esau (R) will run for the open SoS seat, joining Sedgwick County clerk and KSGOP chair Kelly Arnold (R) in the GOP primary. Esau, who hails from the Kansas City suburbs, is generally identified with the KSGOP’s Conservative faction.

LA-PSC-2: Here’s one we missed. Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R) resigned last month to take a job in the Trump administration, leaving his Public Service Commission seat open. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has appointed ex-State Rep. Damon Baldone (D) to the seat, giving Democrats a 3-2 majority in the body. There will be a special election for the seat later this year. Baldone will seek to keep the position, while orthopedic surgeon Craig Greene (R) has also announced he will run for the seat.

Knox, TN-CE: Sheriff JJ Jones (R) has ended his 2018 campaign for Knox County Executive, leaving County commissioner Bob Thomas (R) and former professional wrestler Glenn “Kane” Jacobs (R) as the only major candidates in this open-seat race.

St. Paul, MN-Mayor: The state bureau of investigation has concluded its investigation of city councilman Dai Thao (D) and has referred the matter to prosecutors. Thao allegedly met with a lobbyist in April and requested a campaign contribution in exchange for support of a measure. Thao is seeking the open Mayoral seat this year against ex-councilman and Gov. Dayton Admin official Melvin Carter (D), ex councilwoman Pat Harris (D), and ex-school board member Tom Goldstein (D). Carter is considered the front-runner; incumbent Chris Coleman (D) is retiring to run for Governor in 2018.

Political Roundup for June 16, 2017

We continue to keep Rep. Steve Scalise (R) in our thoughts and prayers. As of yesterday evening, he was still in critical condition but was said to have improved in the previous 24 hours. He underwent a second surgery yesterday, will require more surgeries in the coming days, and will be in the hospital for some time. Here’s hoping to a speedy recovery.

Kevin Vaughan (R) won TN-LD-95 easily last night, winning 62%-35%.

Congress:

WI-Sen: Businessman Kevin Nicholson is considering entering the Republican primary for US Senate and is apparently testing to see how his background as a Democrat will go over with voters. Nicholson was once president of the College Democrats of America and spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. He registered as a Democrat in North Carolina in 2005 and records show he voted in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. He claims he voted “no preference”, but records indicate that nobody in his precinct voted that way. A poll is currently being conducted that mentions this background for an unnamed candidate, but also mentions that the person is a decorated Marine, successful business leader and father of 3 children, who evolved into a conservative Republican, all things that apply to Nicholson’s background. Others considering running include State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R), state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R), state Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R), 2012 GOP candidate Eric Hovde and Nicole Schneider, daughter-in-law of the founder of Schneider Trucking.

CA-48: There seems to be no shortage of Democrats willing to take on Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R). Scientist and entrepreneur Hans Keirstead is the latest to announce a bid. Keirstead is a native of Canada who became a US citizen in 2008. Businessman Harley Rouda, architect Laura Oatman, real estate broker Boyd Roberts and airline pilot Tony Zarkades are also Democrats who are running. Hillary Clinton won the district by 2 points in 2016, although Rohrabacher prevailed by 16 points.

CO-2: State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) says contrary to some reports, he is not considering running for this now open seat. One political blog this week mentioned him as a possible candidate, but he says he is only considering a run for state Treasurer. Lundberg was the GOP nominee against Rep. Jared Polis (D) in 2012, losing by 17 points. Polis is now running for governor. The same report that said Lundberg was considering running for Congress also mentioned former State Rep. B.J. Nikkel (R) as a possible candidate-Nikkel has confirmed that she is indeed considering running. 2014 Democratic Secretary of State nominee Joe Neguse is the only Democrat to announce a bid so far, but several others are considering.

FL-23: Tim Canova is back for a rematch. The Bernie Sanders supporter who ran against Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D) from the left in the 2016 Democratic primary is running again. Although Wasserman-Schultz prevailed in the primary by a somewhat comfortable 57-43% margin, Canova received a lot of attention for his run and raised a lot of money from Sanders supporters. There does not seem to be any love lost between the two-Wasserman-Schultz did not even mention her opponent by name in her 2016 primary victory speech and Canova refused to concede or even congratulate her. The outcome of this battle may be a signal as to just how much influence Sanders supporters are building in the party-one thing that may help Wasserman-Schultz however is since she is no longer chairman of the DNC, she is not quite the lightning rod for criticism that she was.

ID-1: Former state Sen. Russ Fulcher (R) is dropping out of the governor’s race and running for Congress instead. He was immediately endorsed by Rep. Raul Labrador (R), who is giving up the seat to run for governor himself. The move should benefit Labrador, as he and Fulcher come from the same more conservative wing of the state GOP, and probably makes Fulcher the frontrunner for this seat for now. The only other candidate to announce a bid so far is 80s era LG David Leroy (R), who also ran for this seat in 1994, finishing a distant 2nd in the GOP primary. Others including state Sen. Bob Nonini (R) and state Reps. Luke Malek (R) and Mike Moyle (R) are considering running.

TN-6: State Rep. Judd Matheny (R) plans to run for Congress, assuming that Rep. Diane Black (R) runs for governor. Matheny says he is waiting to make a formal announcement until Black announces an expected gubernatorial run. If Black does not run for governor, he will not run for Congress and will instead run for re-election to the Tennessee House. Matheny joins pro-Trump journalist Scottie Nell Hughes in considering a run for this seat if Black runs for governor.

Governor:

IA-Gov: No surprise here, but Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced in a press release that she plans to run for governor in 2018. Although she has long been expected to run, even before she succeeded former Gov. and now US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad (R), she had previously been evasive about her plans for 2018. She also announced that Acting LG Adam Gregg (R) will be her running mate. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is considering running against her in the Republican primary.

MN-Gov: Former state House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL) is joining a large DFL field for governor. Thissen also ran in 2010, finishing 3rd at the state convention. Thissen was Speaker from 2013-2014, a period when the legislature passed a lot of liberal legislation, and some blame Thissen for the DFL losing their House majority in 2014 and losing more seats in 2016. The DFL field that Thissen is joining also includes Rep. Tim Walz, state Reps. Erin Murphy and Tina Liebling, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Attorney General Lori Swanson is also considering running.

NY-Gov: A new Marist poll has good news for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) winning re-election in 2018, but not so good news for a possible presidential run in 2020. The poll shows Cuomo trouncing each of 4 potential Republican candidates-2010 nominee Carl Paladino, 2014 nominee and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson and Donald Trump, Jr. by 30+ points. But when asked whether he should run for president in 2020, a majority, 51% do not want him to run.

State offices:

LA-Treas.: State Rep. John Schroder (R) has resigned his state House seat to focus on a campaign for state Treasurer. Schroder was already serving in his final term in the House due to term limits. State Sen. Neil Riser (R) and state Rep. Julie Stokes (R) are also running in the Oct. 14 special election-others are still considering.

Political Roundup for June 14, 2017

Last night in Virginia, the Governor nominees weren’t surprising, but their margins were. LG Ralph Northam (D) prevailed by a surprisingly robust 12 points, while ex-RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) squeaked to a 1-point victory over Prince William CE and self-hating Yankee Corey Stewart. For LG, 2013 AG candidate Justin Fairfax (D) and State Sen. Jill Vogel (D) will face off. There were no particular surprises in the House of Delegates primaries, with one minor exception: Banker Mavis Taintor (D), who self-funded an insane $175K (!) for her bid in Loudon County’s LD-33, lost her primary 52-48 to a more traditionally-spending candidate. Hopefully for her Taintor self-funded most of that cash as a loan rather than a gift. In Las Vegas, Steve Seroka (D) ousted incumbent Bob Beers (R) for council district 2 while ex-State Rep. Michele Fiore (R) picked up the open district 6.

Senate:

IN-Sen: State Rep. Mike Braun (R), who is in his second term representing a rural Southwestern Indiana seat, will explore a run against Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). Braun is the first candidate to definitively declare interest in this race, but is definitely well into the “C” list. Three far bigger names, Reps. Luke Messer (R) and Todd Rokita (R) and AG Curtis Hill (R), are thought to be considering the race, and it’s hard to see Braun as any kind of threat to them in the primary.

TN-Sen: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) announced last week that she would not challenge Sen. Bob Corker (R) in 2018, though she has not shut the door on a gubernatorial bid. Corker has announced he would not run for Governor, but has not firmly declared whether he will seek a third term in the Senate. Presumably Blackburn’s Senate calculations would change if the seat were to come open.

UT-Sen: The Romney for Senate speculation machine continues to churn, as Mitt has announced he remain active in politics by forming a SuperPAC designed to help House Republicans in 2018. Biden has encouraged Romney to run for the seat of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), and Romney did nothing to brush away that suggestion when the two appeared together last week.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Medical technology executive Josh Jones (R) is the latest candidate into this increasingly crowded primary. Jones joins (deep breath) Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), PSC Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), Jefferson County commissioner David Carrington (R), and minister Scott Dawson (R) in the race. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not indicated whether or not she will seek a full term and says she may not make an announcement until the fall.

FL-Gov: Now here’s something you don’t see every day: A prospective Democratic candidate holding a fundraiser for a prospective Republican rival. But that’s exactly what wealthy ambulance-chasing trail lawyer John Morgan (D) is doing for State House Speaker Rich Corcoran (R). Morgan, a staunch booster of medical marijuana, is holding the fundraiser as thanks to Corcoran for his work in making the state’s medical pot statute more permissive. Though neither has declared for the gubernatorial race yet, both men have said they are actively exploring bids. Morgan would join ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), and businessman Chris King (D) on the Dem side. Corcoran would join Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) in the GOP primary, with Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) also considering.

MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D) is the latest candidate to officially enter this race. Thanedar has indicated he will partially self-fund; he will face ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), businessman Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit official Abul El-Sayed (D) in the Dem primary, with Macomb CE Mark Hackel (D) the biggest name still considering a run. On the GOP side, LG Brian Calley (R), AG Bill Schuete (R), and State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) look like the major possible contenders.

PA-Gov: Businessman Kris Hart (R), who had been exploring a run for US Senate, will instead seek the nomination to challenge Gov. Tom Wolf (D). Hart joins State Sen. Scott Wagner (R) and businessman Paul Mango (R) in the race, with State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) and ex-LG Jim Cawley (R) considering runs as well.

RI-Gov: Republicans have their first candidate making serious moves toward challenging Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R), who retired in 2016, is preparing a run and seems to be staking out a position as a Trumpist, which might be a questionable strategy in the deep-blue state. Cranston Mayor and 2014 nominee Alan Fung (R) is widely thought likely to make another bid, and a couple other Republicans are considering. The fiscally moderate Raimondo may face a significant primary challenge from her left as well, though no Democrats have made concrete moves toward the race yet.

House:

CO-2: 2014 SoS nominee and Hickenlooper admin official Joe Neguse (D) announced a bid for Congress Tuesday, and quickly secured several prominent endorsements, including from ex-State House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D). Two other Dems, 2000 CO-6 nominee Ken Toltz (D) and executive Shannon Watts (D), who are both also prominent gun-control activists, are also publicly considering the race.

GA-6: A SUSA poll shows the race between ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) and Han Solo impersonator former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) tied at 47, a significant improvement for Handel from their prior poll, where Ossoff led by 7 points. The closely-watched runoff for this seat is this coming Tuesday.

NC-9: Megachurch pastor and 2016 candidate Mark Harris (R) is resigning to consider another congressional run. Harris fell just short by 135 votes in a three-way race against Rep. Robert Pittenger (R). Pittenger has had multiple controversies related to questionable business dealings and making racist remarks on national TV, so there is a strong possibility he could be vulnerable to a primary in 2018; he is also high on retirement watchlists.

NH-1: State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) announced Tuesday that he would run against on-again/off-again Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in this purple seat. Sanborn, known as a staunch conservative with libertarian tendencies, joins former local police chief Eddie Edwards (R) in the GOP primary.

NY-22: State Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) is considering a run against Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) in 2018. Brindisi considered a run for the open seat, and was heavily recruited by national Dems, in 2016 before deciding not to run. This formerly light-red seat moved strongly right in 2016, but the conservative Tenney fell short of a majority, winning 47-40 in a 3-way race.

OH-2: Jerry Springer (D) has been floated for multiple offices by Ohio Democrats in recent years, including for this cycle’s Governor race. But it seems he may have a different seat in mind, as someone has apparently been polling Springer against Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R). This deep-red Cincinnati-area seat would likely be a tough hill to climb for Springer or any other Democrat.

TN-6: Prominent pro-Trump talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R), who also runs a pro-Trump press group, will consider a run for this deep-red central Tennessee seat if Rep. Diane Black (R) gives it up to run for Governor. Hughes, the first candidate to publicly declare interest in the seat, has said that she would not challenge Black in the primary.

WI-6: Nonprofit exec Dan Kohl (D), nephew of ex-Sen. Herb (D), will challenge Rep. Glenn Grothman (R) for this medium-red seat stretching from the northern Milwaukee suburbs to Oshkosh.

State & Local:

AL-AG: Former US Attorney Alice Martin (R), who also served as chief deputy to now-Sen. Luther Strange (R) when he was AG, will run for the AG slot in 2018. Martin will face appointed incumbent Steve Marshall (R), whose appointment by disgraced then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) may be problematic for his chances of keeping the seat. However, Martin may find hitting Marshall on his Bentley ties problematic herself, as she interviewed for the appointment as well.

CA-LG: Ex-Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin (G), who for her eight years from 2006-2014 made Richmond by far the largest city with a Green Party Mayor, will run for LG in 2018. McLaughlin’s odds are probably long with several prominent Dems in the race, but she has a chance to stake out a position as the farthest-left candidate in an already-left-wing field. McLaughlin will face State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D), former Ambassadors Eleni Kounalakis (D) and Jeff Bleich (D), and physician Asif Mahmood (D), and likely others, in this race.

FL-Ag Comm: Ex-State Rep. Baxter Troutman (R) is running for Ag Commissioner, becoming the fourth Republican into this primary. Troutman joins State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R), State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R), and 2015 Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) in the race.

FL-CFO: CFO Jeff Atwater (R) will resign on June 30th to take an academic position. Gov. Rick Scott (R) is tasked with appointing his replacement. One possible appointee took his name out of the running this week though, as State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) announced he was not interested in being appointed. The move probably means Latvala is considering his 2018 options as running for Governor and bowing out of politics entirely.

KS-SoS: Sedgwick County Clerk and KSGOP chair Kelly Arnold (R) is the first person to consider a run for the open seat of SoS Kris Kobach (R), who is running for Governor. With his base in the Wichita area and institutional ties, Arnold would likely be a formidable candidate for the seat.

NM-LG: Ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D), the former House Majority leader until his 2014 retirement, will explore a run for LG in this shotgun-wedding primary. Miera joins two little-known candidates, civil servant David McTeigue (D) and teacher Jeff Carr (D), in the Dem primary race, and thus would seem to be the front-runner. The primary winner will be combined on a ticket with the winner of the (entirely separate) Gov primary.

Mobile-Mayor: Ex-Mayor Sam Jones (D) will kick off a run to get his old job back this Saturday. Jones served two terms as Mayor before losing his 2013 to re-election race to now-incumbent Sandy Stimpson (R). Jones will likely face a rematch with Stimpson in this year’s race, in late August.

CA-SD-29: Legislative Democrats are pushing bills to delay the state’s recall process in order to help State Sen. Josh Newman (D). Newman won a formerly-red Orange County seat in 2016 in a considerable upset and is now the target of a recall campaign by Republicans upset with his vote for a recent tax hike. The bills under consideration would slow down the recall process so that a successful Newman recall effort would be unlikely to trigger an election before the 2018 general election.

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