First off, today is a relatively big day for legislative specials, with 6 seats up across 5 states; there are 3 primaries, 2 general elections, and 1 Louisiana-Rules-Top-Two primary.
NH-SD-16 is the big general election, for a previously D-held R+1 (2016) seat covering northern Manchester and its northern suburbs.Ex-State Sen. David Boutin (R) is seeking to get the seat back that he retired from in 2016; he is facing Manchester councilman Kevin Cavanaugh (D). The special election is highly competitive. I would guess the energized Dem base this year probably makes Cavanaugh a slight favorite, but an upset is possible. DDHQ will be posting results of NH-SD 16 HERE!
MA-SD-4th Middlesex is a D+14 (2016) seat stretching from Arlington to Billerica in the northwest suburbs of Boston. Cindy Freidman (D), CoS to the late prior incumbent, is the prohibitive favorite over a Green candidate.
MS-LD-108 is a ~R+30 (2008) seat covering the bulk of the town of Picayune and nearby rural areas along the Pearl River at the Louisiana border. This race is in a Louisiana Rules Top-Two format with no parties listed on the ballot. Insurance agent and local GOP official Stacey Wilkes (R) looks like the clear favorite, but she could face a runoff with either manager Jerry Frazier (D) or businessman and libertarian activist Tavish Kelly (R), who ran an asterisk-level primary campaign for MS-4 in 2014.
FL-SD-40 is the big primary today. The seat is a previously R-held D+3 (2012, sadly I don’t have 2016 numbers, but it likely shifted strongly left) around Kendall in the southwest suburbs of Miami. Both sides have competitive primaries. Two perennial candidates are facing off on the Dem side; 2016 FL-26 candidate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (D) looks like the slight front-runner, as she has received more establishment support than R-turned-D ex-State Rep. and 2016 candidate Ana Rivas-Logan (D). On the GOP side, State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R) looks like the clear front-runner, as he has vacuumed up establishment support and lapped his rivals in fundraising. However, his main rival, 2000s-era ex-State Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla (R), may have greater name recognition and could win on that base. A third candidate, attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck (R), who ran an asterisk-level primary campaign for FL-26 in 2014, is running as the most antiestablishment conservative candidate, but looks like a third wheel.
FL-LD-116 is an R+7 (2012) seat around Kendall, vacated by the aforementioned Jose Felix Diaz. Former Rubio staffer and Jeb! campaign operative Jose Mallea (R) is facing off with attorney Daniel Perez (R). Both candidates have fundraised well and the race has become exceptionally nasty, with Perez being knocked for taking engagement photos in Cuba and Mallea being hit for not supporting Rubio in 2016 and not living in the district. Mallea has had greater fundraising and establishment support, so he looks like a slight favorite. The primary winner will face former Venezuelan anti-Chavista legislator (how’s that for a resume!) Gabriela Mayaudon (D).
SC-LD-31 is a D+23 (2016) seat covering central and western Spartanburg. Four Democrats are facing off: Spartanburg city councilors Jerome Rice (D) and Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D), NAACP official Mo Abusaft (D), and lab tech Angela Geter (D). Rice and Abusaft look like the front-runners, but Henderson-Myers is also serious. A pair of GOP candidates who ran in 2016 are squaring off for the right to lose again.
And now the rest of the day’s news –
CT-Gov: Much like Iowa Democrats and Alabama Republicans, Connecticut Republicans can’t resist piling more ever-more names into this clown-car primary. The latest entry is municipal manager Michael Handler (R), who serves as both budget director for the city of Stamford and emergency-management director for the neighboring town of New Canaan. State Rep. Themis Klarides (R) also indicated interest in joining the race last week. Other Republicans in the race or considering it include (deep breath): ex-US Comptroller David Walker (R), State Rep. Pradad Srinivasan (R), Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (R), Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti (R), Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst (R), 2014 SoS nominee Peter Lumaj (R), and others. Democrats’ prospective field is nearly as crowded.
HI-Gov: Rumors are growing that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) will leave her House seat once again to make a statewide bid – in this case, taking on Gov. David Ige (D) in the Dem primary. The choice would be somewhat surprising, as Hanabusa and Ige generally hail from the same fiscally liberal/socially moderate machine faction of the HIDP. However, it seems that Ige’s very passive and low-key style has irked some insiders, who are now attempting to recruit Hanabusa into the race.
MD-Gov, Anne Arundel, MD-CE, MD-SD-32: Anne Arundel County commissioner John Grasso (R) is termed out in 2018 and had previously announced a run for the purple SD-32 in northern Anne Arundel. However, Grasso now says he is considering primary runs against Gov. Larry Hogan (R) or Anne Arundel CE Steve Schuh (R) instead. Grasso’s focus in mounting either likely quixotic run seems to be on Hogan’s decision to reappoint a member of the county liquor board. mmmkay….
MI-Gov: State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) of suburban Detroit made his gubernatorial campaign official over the weekend. Colbeck, an antiestablishment-leaning conservative, becomes the second official candidate of note into the race after physician Jim Himes (R). AG Bill Schuette (R) and LG Brian Calley (R) are considered likely to run as well.
MN-Gov: Ex-State Rep. and MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R) will run for Governor. Downey could have some significant party establishment backing at the convention, but joins a crowded field of Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and Ramsey County commissioner Blake Huffman (R). State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) is considering and would likely be the front-runner for the GOP nomination if he enters.
NV-Gov: Clark County commissioner Chris Giunchigliani (D) is considering a run for Governor; if she enters she would join her fellow commissioner Steve Sisolak (D) in the Dem primary. AG Adam Laxalt (R) and Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) are considered likely to run on the GOP side.
OR-Gov: State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) announced he is considering a run against Gov. Kate Brown (D) and will decide within the next few weeks. Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon who ran a competitive race against Brown for the SoS slot in 2012 before winning a purple State House seat in Bend, is considered one of the few rising stars on the ORGOP’s meager bench, along with SoS and 2014 nominee Dennis Richardson (R).
VA-Gov: Ex-RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) and LG Ralph Northam (D) are tied at 44 in a new Monmouth poll, suggesting some tightening of the race from prior surveys that had Northam up by high single to low double digits. Gillespie also starts the general election with a cash advantage over Northam. Both Northam and Gillespie raised a bit under $2M in June. But since Northam spent a lot to win his primary while Gillespie sleepwalked through his (nearly to his demise, eking out an unexpectedly close win), Gillespie leads Northam in Cash on Hand 3.3M-1.8M.
WI-Sen: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D) will not run against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) as a Republican, and calls a group trying to “draft” him into the race a “scam PAC”. Clarke would have likely been a prohibitive favorite in a GOP primary because of his high profile but (ironically) might have had a tough time gaining crossover votes in a general election. State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) and 2012 candidate Eric Hovde (R) are the names most commonly connected with bids against Baldwin.
AZ-2: Ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) announced last week that she would carpetbag into this Tucson-area district and run against Rep. Martha McSally (R). Kirkpatrick has some name recognition in the area as her prior seat, AZ-1, extends into metro Tucson, and thus is likely to be Dems’ choice recruit for this purple seat.
WV-3: State Rep. Carol Miller (R) has entered this race, becoming the first truly credible candidate to seek this deep-red but historically-D Southern WV seat. Miller has a fairly strong record of consistently winning a seat in a 3-member Dem-leaning Huntington-area district. She joins ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Snuffer (R), whose prior bid wasn’t terribly impressive, in the race to replace Senate candidate Evan Jenkins (R). State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D) and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D) are in the race on the Dem side.
State & Local:
AL-AG: Adoption attorney Sam McLure (R), who is active in the pro-life movement, will run for AG next year, joining appointed incumbent Steve Marshall (R), ex-US Attorney Alice Martin (R), and 2006 State Auditor candidate Chess Bedsole (R) in this crowded primary.
GA-Ins Comm: Democrats have a credible candidate for this open seat as nonprofit exec Cindy Zeldin (D) has entered the race. Several Republicans have indicated interest in this race as well.
NM-LG: State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) is the latest candidate into the crowded shotgun-wedding primary for LG. Padilla and ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) look like the serious candidates for this seat. The primary winner will be joined with the Dem gubernatorial primary winner as one ticket.
OK-Lab Comm: State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R) is exploring a run for Labor Commissioner, becoming the first candidate to declare interest in this open seat. Appointed incumbent Melissa McLawhorn-Houston (R) has declared she will not seek a full term.
LA-PSC-2: This piece is worth a read about how Gov. Jon Bel Edwards (D) wound up pointedly refusing to endorse his own appointee for this seat, D-turned-R ex-State Rep. Damon Baldone (R). Baldone is facing Edwards-endorsing physician Craig Greene (R) and antiestablishment conservative ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R).
Atlanta-Mayor: A new SUSA poll of this fall’s Atlanta Mayor race puts moderate city councilwoman and 2009 candidate Mary Norwood (D) as the clear front-runner; however, she takes just 27%. No other candidate in the 8-way field tops 10%, but most of the other candidates are running to Norwood’s left.
Jefferson, MO-CE: Incumbent Ken Waller (R) will not seek a third term as County Exec in this large suburban St. Louis county. State Rep. John McCaherty (R) will run to succeed him; Jefferson County is historically Dem-friendly but has stampeded right in the last 10 years.
NYC-CD-28: Councilman Ruben Willis (D) of southeast Queens was found guilty of corruption charges last week and expelled from office. Willis’s seat will remain vacant until the general election in November; two other Democrats had also been running for the seat. In other NYC news, HERE is a really good rundown of all the candidates for city office this year.