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Political Roundup for November 14, 2017

Governor:

CO-Gov: Arapahoe District Attorney George Brauchler (R) is dropping out of the race for governor and will instead run for the open Attorney General spot. Brauchler was once considered one of the favorites for the Republican nomination but the GOP primary has gotten especially crowed with the entry of former Rep. Tom Tancredo, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Walker Stapleton and Victor Mitchell. Brauchler should have a clear shot at the Attorney General position.

RI-Gov: We want the Fung, gotta have that Fung! A TargetPoint Consulting internal poll for Allan Fung (R) shows him leading the GOP primary by more than 20 points; Fung 45%, Patricia Morgan 24%, Joseph Trillo 10% and unsure at 20% and Fung beating incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) 46% to 41%.

WI-Gov: The field of Democrats seeking their party’s gubernatorial nomination has grown even larger. Firefighter union chief Mahlon Mitchell announced he will run for Governor. Mitchel, who is African American, was the Democrat nominee for Lt Governor in the 2012 recall elections. Other Democrats that are running or actively exploring a run include Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, former state Rep. Kelda Roys, state superintendent of public instruction Tony Evers, former Democratic Party chairman Matt Flynn, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, former Wisconsin Democracy Campaign executive director Mike McCabe, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Rep. Dana Wachs, Michelle Doolan, Bob Harlow, Dave Heaster, Brett Hulsey, Kurt Kober, Jared Landry, Andrew Lust, Jeffrey Rumbaugh and Ramona Whiteaker. Candidates have until June 1 to submit all paperwork to appear on the Aug. 14 gubernatorial primary ballot. The winner of the Democrat primary will face Gov. Scott Walker who will have his 4th statewide run for Governor in 8 years.

Senate:

AL-Sen: At a press conference yesterday Beverly Young Nelson accused Roy Moore (R) of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 years old. Nelson produced a copy of her High School yearbook which Moore signed “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say ‘Merry Christmas, Love, Roy Moore, D.A.”. As the scandal widens and polls show Democrat Doug Jones leading the election calls have increase for Roy Moore to step aside. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) became the latest to call on Moore to “step aside” and NRSC Chair Cory Gardner said Roy Moore is “unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office. If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the … Senate.” It is becoming clear that the only shot the GOP has at keeping this seat would be through some sort of organized write-in campaign.

MI-Sen: A new poll shows Detroit businessman John James in the lead for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. John James is at 24%, Rep. Fred Upton (who is currently seeking re-election to the House) is at 19% and former Chief Justice Robert Young trails with 7%. The winner of the GOP primary will face Sen. Debbie Spenditnow Stabenow (D) who is probably breathing a heavy sigh of relief that her GOP opponent won’t have a nickname with the words “Kid” and “Rock” in it.

NJ-Sen: Jurors in the trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D) seems to be deadlocked. They sent the judge a note on Monday saying they “can’t reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges” and the judge ordered them deliberating to try and reach a verdict.

House:

MA-3: Former ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford (D) announced his candidacy for the open  D+9 seat Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) is retiring from. Gifford, who is gay, has not lived in Massachusetts in 20 years but is originally from Manchester-by-the-Sea which is well outside the district. Gifford gained some notoriety in 2012 as one of Obama’s top fundraisers. He sent over 10 million emails to people on Obama’s email list asking for money and was even called the “Spam King” by BuzzFeed.

NJ-5: Our friend Miles Coleman has plugged the New Jersey gubernatorial numbers into the New Jersey congressional districts and finds that in NJ-5 was a virtual tie with Murphy edging out Guadagno by a mere 231 votes. Freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer won this district last year despite Trump winning the district by 1.3%.

OH-16: Former NFL wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (R) picked up the endorsement of neighboring OH-7 Rep. Bob Gibbs (R) for this open R+8 district. Gibbs will headline a fundraiser for Gonzalez at the Brookside Country Club in Canton, OH which is the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

PA-10: After several on again off again nominations for Drug Czar Rep. Tom Marino will seek re-election in 2018 to this fairly safe R+16 seat.

TX-29: In case you missed it, Rep. Gene Green (D) is retiring. Scroll down for our full write up and great mentioner on possible replacements for this D+19 seat.

SALT: The repeal of the state and local tax exemption could be the kiss of death for congressional Republicans in states like California, New York and New Jersey. Seven California Reps. Darrell Issa, Dana Rohrabacher, Mimi Walters, Ed Royce, Steve Knight, David Valadao and Jeff Denham could all face major blowback if the Republican “tax cuts” end up raising taxes on their constituents.

State, Local & Other:

PA-Lt Gov: I guess when you are living in a former Chevy dealership and off of the trust fund your parents set up for you an official residence in Harrisburg with a full staff of state workers waiting on you hand and foot must sound pretty good. With that in mind Braddock Mayor and former US Senate candidate John Fetterman (D) has announced he will challenge incumbent Lt. Gov (and friend to state troopers and household staff) Mike Stack III (D).

Albuquerque, NM-Mayor: Today is election day in Albuquerque. The latest Journal Poll published before the election had state Auditor Tim Keller (D) with a 16 point lead over City Councilman Dan Lewis (R). We will have a preview and open thread at Noon ET; our liveblog will start at 9PM.

New Orleans, LA-Mayor: The latest University of New Orleans Poll has Latoya Cantrell posting a 11 point lead over Desiree Charbonnet ahead of Saturday’s runoff election.

Political Roundup for November 10, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: As most people have no doubt heard by now, GOP nominee Roy Moore has been accused in a Washington Post story of having a sexual encounter with a 14-year old girl back in 1979 when Moore was a 32-year old assistant DA in Etowah County. Many, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and NRSC Chairman Sen. Cory Gardner (R) have said Moore needs to drop out of the race if the allegations are true(Moore is denying the allegations). However, it is too late to replace Moore on the ballot. Although, some have pointed out that was what we were told when New Jersey Democrats wanted to replace  scandal-plagued Rep. Robert Torricelli (D) on the ballot for US Senate in 2002 with former Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), and the state’s Democratic-dominated judiciary essentially looked the other way. But, barring some similar legal maneuver(and getting Moore to agree to drop out, which may be even tougher), Republicans may be stuck with Moore and hoping that voters believe Moore’s denials or look past something that happened nearly 40 years ago(which, this being deep-red Alabama, wouldn’t be a total surprise).

PA-Sen/PA-LG: Businessman Jeff Bartos has dropped out of the US Senate race, and will instead run for LG, working in tandem with the gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. Scott Wagner (R). Bartos’s exit from the race helps Rep. Lou Barletta (R), as he was the strongest opponent still in the race. Barletta now only faces minor opposition in the GOP primary.

House:

HI-1: State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D) became the 2nd person to join this race on Wednesday. She joins state Rep. Kaniela Ing (D), who announced a bid earlier this week. Party-switching state Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R->D) and AG Doug Chin (D) have indicated an interest in running as well.

NV-3: Michelle Mortensen, a consumer reporter for a Las Vegas TV station, is leaving that job to run in the Republican primary for Congress. She joins state Sen. Scott Hammond (R), former state Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman (R) and former Clark County Republican Party chairman Dave McKeon in the Republican primary. Philanthropist and 2016 NV-4 congressional candidate Susie Lee is currently the only Democrat running.

NH-1: Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D) has joined the race for this open seat. Pappas was recruited by national Democrats for the seat, and likely starts as the frontrunner. He joins former state AFL-CIO president Mark McKenzie, former Obama Administration Pentagon official Maura Sullivan, former Strafford County District Attorney Lincoln Soldati, and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke in the Democratic primary. State Rep. Mindi Messmer (D) and Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard are also considering. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former law enforcement official Eddie Edwards are running on the Republican side, with former NH GOP Vice Chairman Matt Mayberry considering. Trump won this district 48-45 last year.

TX-2: State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R) is the first person to jump into the race for this now-open seat. Roberts is in his first term representing a district in northwest Harris County. TX-2 lies wholly within Harris County, snaking around the northeast, north, northwest and west parts of the county.

TX-21: State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) has announced he is running for Congress. Isaac joins retired CIA operations officer Eric Burkhart as the only candidates to announce a run so far. Isaac doesn’t actually live in the district, but part of his state House district overlaps the congressional district.

VA-6: Two Republicans wasted no time in announcing campaigns in the wake of yesterday’s retirement announcement by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R). State Del. Ben Cline (R) and attorney and RNC member Cynthia Dunbar have both jumped in the race. Cline has represented a seat in Rockbridge County since 2002 and was re-elected easily on Tuesday. Other Republicans are expected to get in the race. Two potential Democratic candidates have already taken themselves out of the running. Former TV news anchor Chris Hurst had been recruited by national Democrats to run, but he instead ran for the House of Delegates and defeated an incumbent Republican on Tuesday. Del. Sam Rasoul (D), who took 37% against Goodlatte as the Democratic nominee in 2008, the best showing for a Democrat in the district since Goodlatte’s first election in 1992, had been considered a possible candidate, but will not run.

WV-3: WV Republican Party chairman Conrad Lucas, is running for Congress. Lucas joins a Republican primary that includes state House Majority Whip Carol Miller (R), state Del. Rupie Phillips (R), and physician Ayne Amjad. Democrats have a primary between state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D), Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, and Tri-State Transit Authority CEO Paul Davis.

Governor/state offices:

CO-Gov: Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) entered the already crowded GOP primary for governor yesterday. She joins 8 other Republicans currently in the race, including Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, investment banker Doug Robinson(nephew of Mitt Romney), and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), who just joined the race last week. Brauchler, however is now considering dropping out of the race and running for AG(more on that below).

NY-Gov: Little surprise, but after his loss in the Westchester County Executive race on Tuesday, Rob Astorino has announced he will not run for governor next year. Astorino, who was the 2014 Republican nominee, had been talking about making another run.

CO-AG: Now that the Attorney General position is open, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, is now considering dropping out of the governor’s race and running for AG instead, seeing his possibilities in the governor’s race fading as the race becomes more crowded. One person who will not be running for AG is Rep. Ken Buck (R), who had said earlier in the year that he might run if Coffman didn’t run for re-election. Buck announced on Wednesday that he will instead run for re-election to Congress. Other Republicans who have expressed interest in running include state Rep. Cole Wist (R) and 2014 CO-2 Republican nominee George Leing.

TX-AG: Austin-based attorney Justin Nelson (D) is running for Attorney General. He is the first person to announce a challenge to AG Ken Paxton (R). He is part of a law firm that specializes in high-stakes civil litigation and is also the founder and former president of One Nation One Vote, a nonprofit organization pushing for eliminating the Electoral College and going to a national popular vote.

Political Roundup for September 18, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: Plenty of movement over the weekend in this race, a week ahead of the primary runoff. Trump has announced he will go to Alabama to do a rally for appointed incumbent Luther Strange (R), a big get for Strange in a race where both candidates have been fighting to be tied as closely as possible to the President. Strange also picked up the endorsement of his senior colleague, Sen. Richard Shelby (R). However, Strange’s rival, ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R), nabbed a big get of his own in Rep. Mo Brooks (R). Brooks, who came in third in the primary, was largely expected to endorse Moore after his own bid was derailed by Strange’s sustained negative ad barrage. This now means that both major eliminated candidates from the first round, Brooks and State Sen. Trip Pittman (R), have picked Moore for the runoff; the three combined to take some 2/3 of the vote in the first round. Moore has led in all polls of this race, though by dramatically varying margins; the primary winner will face ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) in a December general.

CA-Sen: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is non-committal on running for a fifth full term in 2018. Feinstein has previously indicated she will run again, so the new statement could be opening the door to a retirement. AG Xavier Becerra (D) and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) have been mentioned as potential candidates for an open seat.

FL-Sen: Gov. Rick Scott (R) has received praise for his handling of Hurricane Irma, which could be a positive in his likely run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D). The article has a good recap of Scott’s efforts at Hurricane relief and their potential political impact.

OH-Sen: Author JD Vance (R) will not run for Senate. Vance wrote a well-received tome about his childhood in a lower-middle-class Cincinnati exurb as a reflection on Appalachian culture; he has been working the rubber-chicken circuit for several months and could have been a formidable contender if he entered. Front-running State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) and Kasich-backed investor Mike Gibbons (R) look likely to be the only major candidates in the primary to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).

Governor:

GA-Gov: Consulting company executive and former SEAL Clay Tippins (R) has filed to enter the race. It’s too early to tell how serious Tippins will be, but he could have the profile to be a credible contender in the crowded primary field. LG Casey Cagle (R), SoS Brian Kemp (R), and State Sens. Hunter Hill (R) and Michael Williams (R) are already in the race. State Reps. Stacey Abrams (D) and Stacey Evans (D) are in the race on the D side.

MA-Gov: Barnstable County Commissioner (side note: this is an office with far less power in MA than in other states, as some MA counties have no government at all and the rest have very limited functions) Ronald Beaty Jr. (R) is considering a primary challenge against Gov. Charlie Baker (R). Beaty served time in the early 90s for making death threats to prominent elected officials and has been notable in office for a plan to kill sharks – needless to say, he doesn’t seem like a very serious candidate.

MI-Gov: Trump dropped a somewhat unexpected endorsement in this race over the weekend, quickly endorsing AG Bill Schuette’s (R) bid (and spelling his name wrong in the process). The endorsement could be a major boost to Schuette as he faces a crowded primary; State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) and physician Jim Hines (R) are already in the race, and LG Brian Calley (who rescinded his Trump endorsement in the fall of 2016) is expected to enter as well.

NJ-Gov: Another Q poll shows this race as a total snoozer, with former Goldman Sachs exec and ambassador Phil Murphy (D) leading LG Kim Guadagno (R) by a whopping 58-33 margin.

House:

CA-24: Michael Woody (R), who served one term as a Fresno councilman in the 90s before an unsuccessful mayoral run, is running for this medium-blue Central Coast seat against Rep. Salud Carbajal (D). 2016 nominee Justin Fareed (R) is considering another run and would likely be the front-runner on the GOP side if he ran.

CO-4, CO-AG: Rep. Ken Buck (R) has said he will likely not give up his seat to run for AG if incumbent Cynthia Coffman (R) vacates the office. Coffman has still not decided whether to run for a second term or give up her seat to try for the gubernatorial office; Buck would have likely been the strong front-runner for the GOP nomination if he ran for an open seat.

IL-11: STEL-LA! Nick Stella (R), a cardiologist who narrowly lost the 2016 primary, is mounting a second bid for the seat of Rep. Bill Foster (D). This Joliet and Aurora based seat is deep-blue, but its Democrats here have been low turnout in midterms. Stella looks likely to be the primary front-runner this time.

NV-3: Nonprofit exec and 2016 NV-4 candidate Susie Lee (D) is running for this open seat. Lee, a charity executive with self-funding ability, was heavily recruited to run for this seat in 2016. Instead, she made the bad decision to try for the bluer 4th on the other side of the Las Vegas metro area instead. Lee then lost the NV-4 primary to Ruben Kihuen (D), while Democrats’ backup choice for the 3rd, now-Rep. Jacky Rosen (D), prevailed there. Lee looks likely to get a second chance though, as no prominent Democrats have entered the open seat race; thus, Lee could still secure machine backing for this race. State Sen. Scott Hammond (R), ex-State Rep. Victoria Seaman (R), and ex-Clark County GOP chair David McKeon (R) are in the race for this purple southern Las Vegas area seat on the GOP side.

NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) really is set to pull the trigger on a run to get his old Staten Island House seat back. Grimm, who was forced out by a conviction on some minor business violations, is set to primary his replacement, Rep. Dan Donovan (R), from the right. Due to his criminal record and Donovan’s strong support in the local establishment, Grimm’s campaign seems unlikely to gain much traction in the primary. However, he could still cause problems for Donovan in the general; Grimm is closely-tied to the leaders of the local Conservative party, meaning he could continue on to the general election and split the Republican vote in this medium-red seat. Democrats thus far do not have any credible candidates exploring this race, as Donovan was considered a good fit for this seat. But Grimm’s challenge may open the door for a more serious Dem to emerge.

PA-15: Northampton DA John Morganelli (D) is considering a run for this light-red open seat. Morganelli, who has lost several runs for AG but is well-known and has strong appeal in the Lehigh Valley, could easily be Democrats’ establishment choice for the race. Two other lesser-known Dems, ex-Lehigh County commissioner Bill Leiner (D) and pastor Greg Edwards (D), are in the race already. State Reps. Justin Simmons (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R) are running on the GOP side.

TX-27: Ex-Victoria County GOP chair Mike Cloud (R) is exploring a run against Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) in the primary. Farenthold has had some minor issues but has not been seriously challenged for his Corpus Christi area seat since winning it in 2010. Cloud’s bid against Farenthold may be complicated (or, alternatively, may benefit) by a change in the district; this seat may be re-redistricted if SCOTUS affirms a decision striking it down.

UT-3: A Dan Jones poll of this November’s special election shows Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) cruising as expected in this deep-red seat, leading physician Kathie Allen (D) 50-20. Jim Bennett (I), son of ex-US Sen. Bob (R), is polling at 6%, just barely missing the cutoff for a televised debate.

State & Local:

IL-AG: In a major surprise, AG Lisa Madigan (D) will not seek a fifth term; Madigan has also intimated that she is not planning to run for any other office, including Governor or Mayor of Chicago. Madigan long transparently harbored Gubernatorial aspirations, but she declared in 2014 that she would not run so long as her father, State Dictator House Speaker Mike (D), remained as the most powerful man in state Government. It looks like Lisa has gotten tired of waiting and decided to cash out.

MN-AG: One Democrat is in and one is out of this race. State Rep. John Lesch (D) has dropped out of the race, saying that AG Lori Swanson’s (D) continued deliberations on whether or not to run for Governor make the run too much of an uncertain prospect; however, Lesch was also recently fined $20K for campaign finance violations. However, attorney and Dem operative Matt Pelikan (D) has entered the race in his stead. Pelikan, who has worked on several prominent campaigns, joins State Rep. Debra Hillstrom (D) and ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) in the race – though all have left the door open to dropping out should Swanson run again. Republicans have two candidates in ex-State Rep. Doug Wardlow (R) and attorney Harry Niska (R).

NV-SoS: Reno Councilman Oscar Delgado (D) will not run for SoS against incumbent Barbara Cegavske (R), sending Democrats back to the drawing board in this race.

Buffalo-Mayor: After losing the Democratic primary last week, city comptroller Mark Schroeder (D) is undecided about continuing on to a general election against incumbent Byron Brown (D) on the Reform Party line. Schroeder, a moderate Democrat, could be a credible threat to Brown in the general as he would be a logical home for the votes of the city’s GOP minority – which could form a winning coalition when paired with Schroeder’s roughly third of the Dem primary vote.

FL-SD-40: Gov. Rick Scott (R) has denied Democrats’ request to move the election date for this suburban Miami Senate seat due to widespread power outages in the district following Hurricane Irma. The hotly contested race for the R-held, Dem-leaning, but Cuban-machine-friendly seat, between State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R) and perennial candidate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (D), is proceeding as scheduled one week from tomorrow.

Political Roundup for August 17, 2017

First off, huge congratulations are in order to our hardworking friends at Decision Desk HQ on their new deal to provide election data to BuzzFeed!

Governor:

AK-Gov: 2006 candidate and businessman John Binkley (R) is exploring another run for Governor. Binkley, who was a State Senator in the 80s before coming in second to Palin in the 2006 primary, would join State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) if he entered the race. Gov. Bill Walker (I) is expected to have Democratic support in his bid for a second term.

HI-Gov: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) has acknowledged that rumors that she is considering a gubernatorial bid are true. Hanabusa criticized Ige’s lack of major initiatives during his tenure, but such a bid would still be surprising as both Hanabusa and Ige are considered to hail from the Asian-dominated machine faction of the HIDP.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: A pair of Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidates have announced running mates for the team primary to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). Uber-wealthy businessman and establishment (read: Mike Madigan) favorite JB Pritzker (D) has chosen State Rep. Juliana Stratton (D) of Chicago’s South Side as his #2, while bold progressive Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D) has chosen Cairo (pop. 2K) Mayor Tyrone Coleman (D) as his running mate. Four others, Heir Force Col. Chris Kennedy (D), State Sen. Daniel Biss (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), have not chosen running mates.

Congress:

MO-Sen: State Rep. Marsha Haefner (R) of the southern St. Louis suburbs is considering a run for the Senate seat of Claire McCaskill (D), joining fellow termed-out State Rep. Paul Curtman (R) as declaring interest in the race. Both Haefner and Curtman, who have said that they would have run for MO-2 had Rep. Ann Wagner (R) entered the Senate race, seem unlikely to have much chance at the nomination if AG Josh Hawley (R), who is being heavily recruited, enters. Hawley got a preemptive endorsement this week from another prospective rival, State Treasurer Eric Schmitt (R).

CA-50: The FBI has raided the offices of Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr.’s (R) campaign consultants and treasurer amid an investigation into Hunter. There are insinuations that Hunter illegally used campaign money for personal purposes, which led to him repaying $60K to his campaign fund.

IA-4: Spencer (pop. 11K) councilwoman Leann Jacobsen (D) will run against Rep. Steve King (R). King, a polarizing conservative, sits in a seat that was formerly light-red but stampeded right in 2016. King has also beaten back several strong challengers.

MA-3: State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) is the first person considering a bid for the open seat of Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). This strongly-Dem Merrimack Valley and MetroWest seat is expected to draw a crowded Dem primary.

NJ-11: Woodland Park (pop. 12K) Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) has announced his candidacy for the seat of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R), joining Passaic County commissioner John Bartlett (D) and former federal prosecutor Mike Sherrill (D) in the primary. This historically-red exurban seat trended strongly left in 2016.

NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) may try to run against Rep. Dan Donovan (R) as a third-party candidate on the conservative line. Grimm, who was forced out of office due to an indictment over tax issues, is a favorite of one of Staten Island’s two warring GOP machines, that of ex-Rep. Guy Molinari (R). Donovan is not strongly identified with either the Molinari faction or its rival, that of ex-Rep. Vito Fossella (R), and that combined with his strong personal popularity makes him likely a prohibitive favorite in the GOP primary. However, a third-party Grimm bid could make this light-red seat more competitive in the general.

TN-2: State GOP official Ken Gross (R) will run for this open Knoxville-area seat. Gross says he intends to run on a “shoestring budget”, which likely means he will be a long-shot. Knox CE Tim Burchett (R) is considered the clear front-runner here, while State Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R) and businessman Brad Fullington (R) are also in the race.

State Offices:

CO-AG: Former state and federal prosecutor Amy Padden (D) is the latest candidate into this crowded primary. Padden joins State Rep. Joe Salazar (D), law school dean Phil Weiser (D), prosecutor Michael Dougherty (D), and attorney Brad Levin (D) in the primary. AG Cynthia Coffman (R) may seek re-election or run for Governor; Rep. Ken Buck (R) has been considered a possible candidate if Coffman chooses to vacate the seat.

CO-Treas: Routt County DA Brett Barkey (R) is the latest candidate into this crowded GOP primary. Interestingly, Barkey is the second candidate from his tiny remote county in the state’s northwest in this race, joining Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn (R). They join State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) and State Reps. Justin Everett (R) and Polly Lawrence (R) in the contest; State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is considered the likely Dem nominee.

GA-Ins Comm: Jim Beck (R), former CoS to retiring incumbent Ralph Hudgens (R), has filed to seek his old boss’s seat. Nonprofit exec Cindy Zeldin (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

NM-Lands Comm: State Sen. George Munoz (D) will run for the open Lands Commissioner seat. Munoz joins what is becoming a crowded primary of ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) and nonprofit exec Garrett VeneKlasen (D), who has the backing of Sen. Martin Heinrich (D). Incumbent Aubrey Dunn (R) is running for NM-2 and no Republicans have as yet declared interest in the seat.

NV-Treas: Ex-Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers (R), who lost his bid for re-election earlier this year over parochial land-use issues, will run for State Treasurer. Beers is the first candidate into the race, which is expected to be open; incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is considered likely to run for Governor.

OK-Lab Comm: A pair of candidates have entered the race for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner, as Cathy Costello (R) announced she would seek the seat. Costello is the widow of ex-Labor Commissioner Mark (R), who was killed by their mentally disturbed son in 2015, and sought the interim appointment that went to placeholder Melissa McLawhorn-Houston (R). She joins State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R), who upgraded her candidacy from “considering” to “in” last week.

OK-Supt: Campaign finance charges against Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister (R) that were filed last fall have been abruptly dropped without explanation. Hoffmeister was alleged to have improperly coordinated with outside groups to run attack ads against then-incumbent Janet Barresi (R), whom she defeated in the 2014 primary.

SC-AG: South Carolina AG Alan Wilson (R) is in hot water after emails from 2014 surfaced in connection with the ongoing scandal around lobbyist Richard Quinn (R). Wilson allegedly consulted Quinn on how to remove a special prosecutor from the corruption investigation as the course of the investigation was beginning to target some of Wilson’s close allies.

TX-Supreme Court: This is a worthwhile long read on Texas State Supreme Court Justice Don Willett (R), who is a far bigger star than his low-profile position would indicate because of his mix of strong political skills (exemplified by his very popular @justicewillett twitter) and solid legal scholarship. Willett is rumored to be in the running for a federal court seat (possibly even a long-shot SCOTUS pick) or for the Texas AG job if indicted incumbent Ken Paxton (R) leaves it.

Local Races:

Jersey City-Mayor: Ex-State Rep. Charles Mainor (D) will not run for Jersey City Mayor and is dropping down to a city council race. The decision leaves the race a two-man affair between incumbent Steve Fulop (D) and attorney Bill Matsikoudis (D); Fulop is considered a potential US Senate candidate should he win re-election.

Raleigh-Mayor: The Wake County Democratic Party has given its official endorsement to attorney Charles Francis (D) in his bid to unseat mayor Nancy McFarlane (I). McFarlane, a left-of-center Indie, has received the endorsement in her prior re-election bids; she still has significant Dem establishment support against Francis in the October race.

Anne Arundel, MD-CE: County Commissioner John Grasso (R) will challenge incumbent Anne Arundel CE Steve Schuh (R) in next year’s primary. Grasso is upset about an appointment to the county’s liquor board…a decision that Schuh had no control over. Thus, this primary challenge seems likely to be somewhat quixotic. The decision also takes Grasso out of a (likely equally quixotic) primary run against popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

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 June 21st, 2017

In case you missed it yesterday, Republican Karen Handel worked out an unexpectedly strong win in GA-6, and Republican Ralph Norman had an unexpectedly close win in SC-5. Republicans and Democrats each held a seat in the SC State House as well. What does it say about politics that the Democrats did better in the seat Clinton lost by close to 20 points that they basically ignored than the one she lost by 1 that they poured over $30 Million in? Maybe that going all-in on a political nobody who looks like he’s just finishing up his freshman year of college isn’t a good idea? Or perhaps,(more seriously) that the higher the special election turnout, the worse the result for the already-fired-up Democrats, as SC-5 saw something like 1/3rd as many votes as GA-6 did. Regardless, expect a day of Democrats spinning about how GA-6 didn’t really matter and Republicans spinning about how GA-6 meant everything.

Now, on to the news:

President:

CBS-Poll: A CBS poll has Trump down to his lowest numbers yet at 36% approval. His handling of the Russia probe seems to be his weakest point so far, as he’s not doing too bad on the other major issues tested. Also, Americans believe Comey over Trump by about 2:1, and slightly favor believing that the probe is a grave matter of national security over it being a political hatchet job.

2020: Morning Consultant did a poll of the favorability #s of just about every candidate seriously suggested for the 2020-Dem Nomination. The vast majority of them are unknown right now, with the exceptions being Warren (Slightly Positive) and Biden (Very positive). The only notable exceptions here are Sanders and of course Clinton 2020, because as they say the third time’s the charm!

Holder: Eric Holder, probably best remembered as the AG Obama replaced with Loretta Lynch, is apparently “re-entering the political fray” and is talking about running for President in 2020. Because at this point I think the Democrats saw the 17-candidate pileup of the 2016-GOP race and said “Hold my kale-smoothie–watch this”.

Congress:

MI-Sen: Former Michigan Chief SC Justice Bob Young all but formally announced his intent to run against Debbie Stabenow for Senate in 2018 at a local Republican event. Young, who is Black, sounded off on a very Constitutional-originalist note, and stressed his record of reducing the size of the judiciary in Michigan. He joins fellow Republican Lana Epstein in the GOP primary for this 2nd-tier GOP Senate target next year.

NV-3: GOP State Senator Scott Hammond has announced that he is running for this Suburban Vegas district that the GOP lost last year. The current freshman Democratic Incumbent Jackie Rosen is already running for Senate (Because the early bird gets the Senate Seat I guess?), and the seat was narrowly carried by Trump, making it a top GOP target for 2018. Hammond was a famous advocate for Nevada’s charter school bills, and gets a free shot at this seat since his State Senate seat isn’t up until 2020.

Other:

CO-alot: Mike and Cynthia Coffman, probably the closest thing the county has had to a political power couple since the Clintons limped off the national stage last year, are getting a divorce. While it’s not quite known why they are getting divorced (and kind of rude to pry), the couple was widely seen as the GOP’s best potential candidates for statewide office. We’ve got no idea what this means for Cynthia’s rumored Governor bid, or Coffman’s house seat, but we’ll hopefully find out relatively soon.

HI-St-House: In what has become commonplace for America’s weakest political party, the Hawaii GOP has lost another one of its members to the Democrats, this time former State House Minority Leader Beth Fukomoto, who was ousted from her leadership post for calling Trump racist and a Bully at the Hawaii Women’s March back in January. This is amazingly not the first time the GOP has lost its chamber leader to the Democrats, but since the state house is now 76D-5R, let’s hope we can manage to hold onto our 6% of the seats there.

Immigration: The Atlantic of all places has a good article detailing how the Democrats went from being sort of pro-immigration with major reservations to being absolutely 100% no-exceptions pro-immigration, and how it probably cost them the presidency. Remember a time when Obama felt a “Flush of patriotic resentment” at the idea of Mexican immigrants waving around Mexican flags at demonstrations?

Political Division: Here’s some interesting, if arguably flawed data. The voter study group commissioned a poll detailing the political ideology of the average Trump & Clinton voter. To summarize, Clinton’s supporters are pretty ideologically homogeneous Liberals, whereas Trump’s were split between Economic Conservatives and Populists. Notably, this poll also suggests that Libertarianism as an ideology is basically dead in the water in the US right now, which will come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to the political trends of both parties in the last 2.5 years or so.

Political Roundup for May 30, 2017

Apologies for the delay in today’s Roundup as we had a scheduling issue. Check back this evening at 7 ET for our liveblog of the Nova Scotia election. Our Preview is HERE if you haven’t seen it already.

Governor:

AK-Gov: The big question hanging over this race is as simple as it is huge: what will Gov. Bill Walker (I) do? Walker, a former Republican elected with Dem support, has pursued a centrist course in office, forming relationships that have been at-times-testy with both parties. Walker has not indicated whether he will run for re-election – and if he does, whether he will try to mount a second Indie bid or join either party. A trio of Republicans, State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R), ex-State House Speaker Mike Chenault (R), and businessman Scott Hawkins (R), have openly been exploring campaigns, while ex-Sen. Mark Begich (D) is rumored to be interested in a run on the Dem side. For now these questions will largely remain unanswered.

MD-Gov: Former NAACP chair Benjamin Todd Jealous (D) is the latest lower-tier Democrat to announce a bid to take on popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Jealous, who is known as a staunch liberal, will join State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D) and Hillary aide Alec Ross (D) in the primary; several other Dems, including Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz (D) and Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), are considering.

MI-Gov: LG Brian Calley (R) will kick off his bid for the top job today. Calley is expected to face a competitive primary with AG Bill Schuette (R) and potentially others. Ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is the front-runner for the Dem nomination, but other candidates are in that contest.

TN-Gov: State Sen. Mae Beavers (R) announced over the weekend that she will run for Governor. Beavers, an antiestablishment conservative from suburban Nashville, will join businessmen Bill Lee (R) and Randy Boyd (R) in the race. Ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) is in the race on the Dem side and the fields may grow from there. Most notably for Beavers, State Sen. and fellow antiestablishment conservative Mark Green (R) has not indicated whether he plans to rejoin the race after his nomination to be Army Secretary was withdrawn.

Congress:

OH-Sen: Some unnamed Republicans are apparently encouraging JD Vance (R), author of the well-received book “Hillbilly Elegy”, to run for the seat of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). While Vance has hinted he would like to run for office, there is no indication he is specifically interested in this race. Vance would face State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) in the primary if he ran.

KS-2: Basehor (pop. 5K) councilman Vernon Fields (R) will run for Congress. Fields joins conservative State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R) in the GOP primary; ex-State Rep. and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) is exploring a run for this medium-red Topeka area open-seat on the Dem side.

MN-2: Teacher Jeff Erdmann (D) will mount a bid for the seat of Rep. Jason Lewis (R), who won his first term in this purple south suburban Twin Cities seat last year in an upset. It’s unclear how serious a candidate Erdmann will be but some Democrats seem to be excited about him.

UT-3: Here is a good rundown of the massive field for the special election in Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R) Provo-area seat. Provo Mayor John Curtis (R), State Sens. Diedre Henderson (R) and Margaret Dayton (R), State Rep. Brad Daw (R), ex-State Rep. Chris Herrod (R), and lawyer Tanner Ainge (R) seem to be the most serious candidates.

State & Local:

CO-AG: Prosecutor Michael Dougherty (D) has become the third Democrat to enter this primary, joining State Rep. Joe Salazar (D) and former law school dean Phil Weiser (D). The primary winner will likely take on incumbent Cynthia Coffman (R).

HI-LG: Maui County Executive Alan Arakawa (D) will run for the LG seat, hoping to swap jobs with LG Shan Tsutsui (D), who is considered likely to run for the top job on his home island. Arakawa is a former Republican who is something of a moderate by Hawaiian standards. He could face opposition in the shotgun-wedding LG primary from State Sen. Josh Green (D), and potentially others, to join Gov. David Ige’s (D)  (likely easy) re-election campaign.

NM-Lands Comm: Nonprofit exec Gene VeneKlasen (D) will run for State Lands Commissioner. VeneKlasen joins ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) in the primary to take on incumbent Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R), who defeated Powell in 2014 in an upset.

Political Roundup for May 15th, 2017

Please check back later today for our preview of tomorrow’s Pennsylvania local election primaries, LA City Council runoffs, and the SC-05 Republican runoff. Until then, here’s some electoral tidbits to take your mind off the fact that you forgot to call your mother yesterday.

Congress

IN-Sen: Oh boy. We’re barely into the 2018 primary cycle, and already there’s a fist fight going on in a key Senate race. After it was reported that Rep. Luke Messer’s (R) wife made good money off of legal work done for the City of Fishers (a wealthy suburb north of Indianapolis), Messer is firing back at insinuations of corruption. He’s calling the whole thing a ‘hatchet job’ by Rep.Todd Rokita (R). Both men are looking to run against Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) next year. Rokita’s problem is that Messer got the jump on him and has already built a campaign, complete with touring the state and securing many private endorsements for later release. Rokita is known to be cautious and doesn’t like primary fights. If the report really was planted by him, he’s probably trying to push Messer out of the way so that he can get a mostly-cleared primary field. Expect to hear more about this in the coming days. It’s gonna get nasty unless one of the two men rules themselves out of the race.

PA-Sen/PA-Gov: State Rep. David Reed (R), the Pennsylvania House Majority Leader, has ended speculation over a possible gubernatorial or senatorial run. Personally I think this was very smart. He might be in leadership, but he’s still 1/203. The State Senate or the US House would be a much wiser choice of next rung.

Governor

IL-Gov: On the question of ‘which rich guy do we want to put up against Gov. Rauner?,’ it appears that the Democratic establishment in the Land of Lincoln have made their choice. Billionaire J.B. Pritzker has become the consensus pick of the Madigan machine and the unions (but I repeat myself). This has left the less-rich-but-still-loaded Chris Kennedy (yes, THOSE Kennedys) somewhat out in the cold. That’s kind of funny, because establishment Democrats were the ones who originally wooed him into joining the race. Kennedy may still put up a fight, but it’s hard to beat the machine.

MI-Gov: All I want for Christmas is for Geoffrey Fieger to run for governor again. Fieger, who was such a bad candidate when he was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 1998 that he single-handedly assured a third term for then-Gov. John Engler (R), is talking about running again in 2018. Finger’s loss was so bad that he only won Wayne County. That’s right, folks – he lost both Ingham AND Washtenaw. If he were to run, his biggest opponent in the primary would be State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who is already gathering support. Please, Geoffrey, run! Do it for the people!

State/Local

CO-AG: Well, it looks like the #Resistance crew have found their candidate against Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R). Denver attorney Phil Weiser (D) announced his candidacy and immediately pledged to fight President Trump at every turn using the powers of the state attorney general’s office. He was promptly endorsed by a range of former Obama administration figures including former Colorado Senator and former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

PA-LG: Look, there’s no doubt that Lt. Gov. Mike Stack (D- Northeast Phiily Machine-in-Exile) is in a bit of trouble. He and his wife have been accused of abusing state workers. He’s also been accused of running up a curiously high hotel bill in his city of residence. However, I don’t think that a Pittsburgh political activist is really going to cut it as a credible primary challenger against him. Aryanna Berringer doesn’t think that, though. If she did, she wouldn’t be thinking of running against him.

AL-Redistricting: The State House has now passed the court-ordered redistricting plan for their own districts. Democrats in the chamber of course objected because, well, painting Republicans as racist is basically the reason for their caucus’ existence.

OH-Redistricting: Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has rejected the ballot language offered by proponents of the referendum to give Ohio a redistricting commission for US House of Representatives districts. This means that the referendum will not be on the ballot in the fall and must wait until 2018.

New Orleans-Mayor: Michael Bagneris, a retired civil court judge, has thrown his hat into the ring for the mayoralship of the Crescent City. There are currently two other announced candidates: City Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell, and developer and possible nutcase Frank Scurlock. Scurlock was recently arrested near the Civil War memorials that the city has been planning to demolish. The charges sound like BS, but his claim that by advocating that the monuments stay he’s trying to stop ‘Civil War II’ is hilarious.

International

France: Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron has just won a landslide victory, but he faces an immediate problem: there are no members of his new En Marche! party in parliament. He can change that, but first he needs candidates to run for the party in next month’s elections. He’s put together a colorful list of names, but he’s having some trouble getting enough to run candidates everywhere.

UK: Well, that backfired. The Greens, knowing that they aren’t likely to win many seats next month, decided to stand down in a few key constituencies where they thought it would help Labour win against the Tories and urged Team Corbyn and the Liberal Democrats to do the same amongst themselves. It caught on with a few Labourites, but overall they’ve been met with a deafening silence. Not only that, but it gave UKIP an idea about how to go out with dignity while giving the Remoaners a final kick in the teeth. After saying for a while that they’d not run candidates against Brexiteers in both major parties, they pulled a surprise out of their caps and purposely failed to contest a couple dozen Tory/Labour marginals, especially in Southern England (mostly in London) and the Midlands. A bit of the UKIP vote will return to Labour, but the vast majority will go to the Conservatives. This is the first and last time I’ll say this: Well played, Mr. Nuttall. Well played.

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