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Political Roundup for November 17, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: A new Fox News poll shows Roy Moore (R) trailing Doug Jones by 8 points, 50-42. This is the 2nd poll in as many days to show Moore trailing by a significant margin. The election is still 3 1/2 weeks away, so we will see more polls, but for now it appears that the scandal is sinking in with the electorate.

Sex scandals not involving Roy Moore: Sen. Al Franken (D) has been accused by Leeann Tweeden, currently a radio news anchor in Los Angeles of groping and kissing her without her consent while on a USO tour in 2006. Franken was the headliner act as a comedian, while Tweeden served as an emcee. Franken has apologized for his behavior in a picture that accompanied the story but also said he doesn’t remember everything the same way she did. He says he will cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation into the matter.

Other scandal-plagued senators: A mistrial was declared yesterday in the corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez (D). Justice Department officials are reviewing the case to decide whether to put him back on trial, and the Ethics Committee may take up the case as well.

RI-Sen: Former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Flanders is running for the Republican nomination for US Senate. Flanders says he voted for Donald Trump, and liked his goals, but says he doesn’t have to “run with him” and support everything he does. Flanders joins state Rep. Robert Nardolillo (R) in the race to face Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D).

TN-Sen: Conservative activist Andy Ogles dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for Senate on Wednesday. When Ogles got in the race in September, he expected to be a conservative, populist alternative to Sen. Bob Corker (R). But after Corker decided not to seek re-election and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) entered the race, he saw his chances of winning all but vanish.

House:

NH-1: State Rep. Mindi Messmer (D) announced yesterday she is running for Congress. Messmer joins a Democratic primary that includes Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D), former state AFl-CIO head Mark McKenzie, former Stafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati, and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Eddie Edwards are running for the GOP nomination.

PA-15: Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries (R) is joining the Republican nomination for Congress. Pries joins a race that includes state Reps. Ryan Mackenzie (R) and Justin Simmons (R) and Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein (R). Pries is currently the only candidate from the west side of the district while the other 3 come from the east side.

TN-7: Country music songwriter Lee Thomas Miller announced this week he is running for Congress. Miller had been rumored as a possible candidate. He is currently the only candidate to challenge state Sen. Mark Green (R), who got in the race immediately after Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) announced she was running for US Senate.

TX-29: Two candidates have already announced they are running for this seat after Rep. Gene Green (D) announced his retirement on Monday. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) entered the race on Tuesday, as did state Rep. Armando Walle (D). Former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia (D) is also considered likely to run, and others may get in the race.

VA-2: Virginia Beach Democratic Party chairman Dave Belote is dropping out of the race for Congress. Belote says he is dropping out to help his father care for his ailing mother. Belote was the first Democrat to challenge Rep. Scott Taylor (R). 3 other Democrats are still in the race, businesswoman and 2016 nominee Shawn Brown, who lost to Taylor by 23 points, retired construction company owner Garry Hubbard, and schoolteacher Karen Mallard.

Governor:

CT-Gov: LG Nancy Wyman (D) will not run for governor next year. Speculation had been that Wyman would likely not run, but she had repeatedly refused to declare her intentions. She would have been the biggest name in the Democratic primary, but her ties to unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D) could have been a liability. Without Wyman in the race, there is no clear favorite in the Democratic primary. Democrats running or exploring a run include former West Hartford Mayor Jonathan Harris, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, former prosecutor Chris Mattei, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, former Wall Street finance executive Dita Bhargava, and former state veterans affairs commissioner Sean Connolly. A large field of Republicans are running too.

GA-Gov: Businessman Clay Tippins has officially entered the race for the GOP nomination for governor. Tippins, also a former Navy SEAL, has never run for office before and joins a race with experienced officeholders. Other candidates include LG Casey Cagle (R), Sec. of State Brian Kemp (R), and state Sens. Hunter Hill (R) and Michael Williams (R).

Political Roundup for October 4, 2017

Last night, Randall Woodfin (D) ousted incumbent Birmingham Mayor William Bell (D) by a shocking 20-point spread, Albuquerque proceeded to a runoff between State Auditor Tim Keller (D) at 39% and councilman Dan Lewis (R) at 23%.  Missy McGee (R) held the purple MS-LD-102 by an impressive 2:1 margin, while CA-LD-51 heads to a runoff between Wendy Carillo (D) and Luis Lopez (D).

Senate:

AL-Sen: JMC Analytics has Roy Moore (R) leading Doug Jones (D) 48-40. Generic R beats Generic D by a surprisingly small 49-45 margin.

TN-Sen: Gov. Bill Haslam (R) re-iterated that he is considering a run for the open US Senate seat of Sen. Bob Corker (R). Should Haslam enter, he would likely be a favorite over all comers in the primary and general election. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) is thought to be ready to run, and would be the favorite in a Haslam-less race, but she may be delaying her decision until Haslam’s intentions are known.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Add another “B” list name to the Democratic mix for this race: Malloy admin official Sean Connolly (D) is stepping down and rumored to be considering a gubernatorial run. Connolly would join Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), fellow Malloy admin official Jonathan Harris (D), and prosecutor Chris Mattei (D) in the race. LG Nancy Wyman (D) is also thought to be exploring a run and would be the primary front-runner if she entered. Republicans have an even more crowded field.

IL-Gov: Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) somewhat surprisingly signed a controversial bill last week enabling public funding of abortion through Medicaid. As you might expect, socially conservative Republicans are up in arms and there is talk of a primary challenge to the Governor. State Rep. Peter Breen (R) delivered a particularly stinging critique, saying “I’ve had a front-row seat to a governor that is unable to adequately and competently administer Illinois government. He is now lying to us. And so at that point, I can’t support someone like that.” It’s widely believed that State Dictator House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) pushed the bill to put Rauner in an impossible position, with signing it giving him a primary headache and vetoing it being a major problem in the socially liberal state for the general. Should Rauner lose the primary, Republicans’ odds of holding this seat likely to near zero, and likely Dem nominee and Madigan sugar daddy businessman JB Pritzker (D) will likely be the favorite to take the seat. Rauner appears to be betting the general election optics of this move are worth the primary headache.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) will announce next week if she will run for Governor. The popular Collins would be a near-prohibitive favorite in a general election if she ran, but she may face difficulties getting through a GOP primary for her moderation. LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R), State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), and State Rep. Ken Fredette (R) are in the GOP primary already; over a half-dozen Dems and three credible Indies are also in the race.

NJ-Gov: Emerson has Goldman Sachs exec Phil Murphy (D) up 46-35 on LG Kim Guadagno (R), a smaller margin than most recent surveys. Monmouth has a pretty similar 51-37 lead for Murphy. New Jersey is a fairly inelastic state and Murphy is unlikely to have crossover appeal, so some tightening of this race from the gaudy 30-point Murphy leads of prior polls is probably in the cards.

RI-Gov: Moderate Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has her first primary challenger, Paul Roselli (D), head of a nonprofit local park group. Roselli has gained notoriety for his opposition to a proposed powerplant in his hometown, but seems like a “C” list opponent for Raimondo. Unpopular liberal ex-Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (D) is also considering a run against Raimondo in the primary. Three Republicans, 2014 nominee and Cranston Mayor Alan Fung (R), State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R), and ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R), are in the race.

SD-Gov: AG Marty Jackley (R) launched his expected gubernatorial campaign yesterday. Jackley joins Rep. Krsti Noem (R) in what is expected to be a hard-fought titanic primary collision. State Sen. Billie Sutton (D) is the likely Dem nominee.

TN-Gov: Sen. Bob Corker (R) says he “can’t imagine” running for Tennessee Governor, a statement that is not quite Shermanesque but pretty close to it. Republicans have a crowded primary field of Rep. Diane Black (R), State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), State Sen. Mae Beavers (R), and businessmen Randy Boyd (R) and Bill Lee (R); Corker, however, would likely be the front-runner if he were to enter.

House:

FL-18: Obama admin official Lauren Baer (D) is running against first-term Rep. Brian Mast (R). Baer would be the second person in a same-sex marriage in Congress if elected; this light-red Treasure Coast seat trended right last year while Mast picked it up for the GOP.

IL-15: State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R) is not running for re-election and is apparently in contention for Ambassador to Kenya. However, McCarter is keeping his options open to making a second bid against Rep. John Shimkus (R), whom he primaried from a fiscal conservative angle in 2016. McCarter took 40% against Shimkus last cycle in this deep-red rural downstate seat and would be a formidable candidate in a rematch.

ME-2: Heir Lucas St. Clair (D) is carpetbagging from Portland into this rural northern Maine seat to run against Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R). St. Clair is the son of Roxanne Quimby, a co-founder of Burt’s Bees cosmetics. Quimby is also notable for having donated a large estate to the federal government to create a national monument, an effort St. Clair spearheaded. St. Clair joins State Rep. Jared Golden (D) as a major candidate in the primary to take on Poliquin. As a side note, this rural northern Maine seat is exactly the kind of place where a trust fund baby carpetbagging in will play well, right?

MA-3: Cambridge councilman Nadeem Mazen (D) will carpetbag into this deep-blue Merrimack Valley based district to seek the open seat. Mazen, who grew up in the seat, would be the third Muslim member of Congress if elected. He joins a crowded primary of State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D), 2014 LG nominee Steve Kerrigan (D), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh CoS Daniel Koh (D), and businessman Abhijit Das (D).

NH-1: 2010 gubernatorial nominee John Stephen (R) will not take on Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in 2018. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and cop Eddie Edwards (R) appear to be the serious prospects in the race to take on Shea-Porter.

NH-2: Businessman David McConville (R), who heads a prominent local fiscal conservative group and served as campaign manager for a gubernatorial candidate last year, is considering a run against Rep. Annie Kuster (D). McConville, who intends to run as a hard-edged fiscal conservative, would face ex-State Rep. and 2016 candidate Jack Flanagan (R) for the right to take on the popular Kuster in this light-blue seat.

NJ-11: Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) will not run for Congress, and has endorsed prosecutor Mike Sherill (D). Sherill looks like the Democratic front-runner to take on Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) in this historically-Republican wealthy suburban seat that trended left last year.

NM-2: State Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R), who was looking like the front-runner for this seat, has abruptly aborted his bid. It’s unclear why Dunn decided to drop out or whether he will instead seek a second term as Lands Commissioner, though there are rumors that a feud with Gov. Susana Martinez (R) (or her svengali, Jay McCleskey) may have played a role. State Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) and ex-Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman (R) are in the race for this open medium-red southern NM seat; Newman is thought to have the backing of Martinez. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R) is also considering.

NY-1: State Rep. Fred Thiele (I), an Independence Party member who is a de facto Democrat, will not seek the D nomination to take on Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Thiele had been considered Dems’ choice recruit for this race. Suffolk county commissioner Kate Browning (D) looks like Dems’ new top prospect to take on the popular Zeldin in this light-red eastern Long Island seat.

NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) officially kicked off his comeback bid this weekend. Grimm’s prior tenure in Congress ended with his resignation on tax charges; now, he is attempting to oust his successor, Rep. Dan Donovan (R) from the right in the primary. Grimm’s criminal record and Donovan’s popularity will likely make that a tough order, though Grimm could still cause significant problems for Donovan by continuing to the general election in this light-red Staten Island based seat on the Conservative third-party line.

NY-23: Running store owner Ian Golden (D) is putting a new-spin on the time-honored “walk across the district” publicity stunt by launching a 450-mile (literal) run across this large Southern Tier seat. The move could help Golden gain name rec in the crowded field of little-known candidates vying to take on Rep. Tom Reed (R) in this medium-red seat.

PA-1: Testimony at the trial of former judge and 2012 Jimmie Moore (D) is pointing a very incriminating finger at Rep. Bob Brady (D). In case you haven’t been following the story, here’s a recap: Moore, who is black, started to run a potentially credible primary challenge in 2012 against Brady, the white boss of the Philly Dem machine, in this racially-mixed district. Moore then later inexplicably dropped his bid, and quickly thereafter received a $90K payment from Brady. The cover story was that the cash was payment for “polling data”, but Moore admitted the obvious in a plea agreement – that it was a thinly-disguised bribe to get him out of the race. Brady has not yet been charged, but it’s hard not to see some charges coming down the pipeline for him.

PA-11: State Sen. John Yudchiak (D) will not run for this conservative Harrisburg-to-Wilkes-Barre open seat, eschewing the uphill race to stay in the State Senate. Four Republicans, State Rep. Steven Bloom (R), Corbett admin official Dan Meuser (R), Berwick councilman Andrew Shecktor (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R), are in the race or considering.

PA-15: Appointed Allentown city solicitor Susan Wild (D) will run for this light-red open seat, possibly giving Democrats their first credible candidate here. Several other Dems, including Northampton DA John Morganelli (D), are considering; Republicans are set to have a bloody primary between State Reps. Justin Simmons (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R).

PA-16: Dentist Gary Wegman (D), who ran an abortive bid for this light-red Lancaster-area seat in 2016, will mount another bid this year for the seat of now-incumbent Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R). 2016 nominee and nonprofit Christina Hartman (D) is also in the primary for a second round.

PA-18: Now this is a bombshell. Texts have been released strongly implying Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who is publicly pro-life, asked his mistress to get an abortion and privately disavowed his own pro-life views. Murphy previously admitted the affair, but this is the first sense that there is more to the story. The abortion issue could be a big problem for Murphy in his socially conservative district; he joins Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) in the pro-life abortion promoters’ caucus. Importantly, unlike DesJarlais, whose transgressions occured several years before his first election to Congress, the texts here are from this summer, meaning Murphy is at least likely to get a serious primary challenger. Ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D) is running for the Dems in this race.

UT-4: Salt Lake CE Ben McAdams (D) is considering a challenge to Rep. Mia Love (R). Trump did horribly in this suburban seat, scoring below 40%, but Love still won against her touted opponent by a 12-point margin. That said, this is the only House seat in Utah Dems could be competitive in and McAdams would definitely be a top-tier candidate.

State & Local:

AZ-SoS: Attorney and Dem operative Mark Gordon (D) is running for SoS. Gordon, who has not run for office but seems well-connected, joins State Sen. Katie Hobbs (D) in the primary for this seat. Incumbent Michele Reagan (R) is widely considered highly vulnerable due to her mismanagement of the office and is facing a tough primary with State Sen. Steve Montenegro (R).

IL-AG: Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti (D), who has become a minor celebrity for his twitter commentary on the Russia investigation, is considering a run for AG. Mariotti would join State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and Chicago Police official Sharon Fairley (D) in this primary, with several other Dems considering. Former congressional candidate and Miss America Erika Harold (R) is the likely GOP nominee for this open seat.

Atlanta-Mayor: Survey USA for WXIA-TV has a poll of this year’s Atlanta Mayoral race, with moderate councilwoman Mary Norwood (D) taking a large lead at 28%. Fellow councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) has moved into second place with 15%, with councilman Ceasar Mitchell (D) at 10% and four other serious candidates in single digits. In the likely event no candidate tops 50% in the November jungle primary, the top two finishers will head on to a December runoff.

New Orleans-Mayor: Clarus for WWL-TV has this race (a week from Saturday) looking close to a 3-way tossup, with City councilwoman Latoya Cantrell (D) at 27% and retired judges Desiree Charbonnet (D) and Michael Bagneris (D) at 26% and 19% respectively. A different poll of the race had Bagneris on top. The top two finishers in the first round will advance to a mid-November runoff.

Louisville-Mayor: Councilwoman Angela Leet (R) will run for mayor next year, taking on incumbent Greg Fischer (D), who is seeking a third term. Leet seems likely to be a credible opponent for Fischer in the light-blue city.

Cook, IL-CE: County commissioner Richard Boykin (D) will not take on County Executive Toni Preckwinkle (D) in the primary. Preckwinkle, who was previously highly popular, is now thought to be at least somewhat vulnerable due to her support of a new soda tax (which Boykin opposed). However, a loss for Boykin would hurt his prospects at the job he really wants (the IL-7 congressional seat when Rep. Danny Davis (D) retires) so the decision makes sense for him. It’s possible that Preckwinkle will not get a serious primary challenger now, though there is still definitely room for one as the soda tax is deeply unpopular even among Dems.

Political Roundup for September 21, 2017

As our thoughts are with our hurricane and debt ravaged unincorporated territory, it is time for today’s roundup:

President / National

Trump Job Approval Numbers:  In case you missed it, President Trump’s terrible approval numbers are starting to inch their way back into the low 40s.  Not great by any stretch, but not bad for Trump.

Manafort/Kurdistan:  While the Feds are closing in on Paul Manafort related to his shady political dealings with the Russians and their prodigy, Manafort is busy helping the Kurds plan an independence referendum.  Manafort has been doing things like this for years, but you have to wonder if the Kurds will give him citizenship if he makes their centuries long struggle a reality.

Congress

AL-Sen:  President Trump (R?-MAGA) appears to be waging battle for an underdog, Senator Luther Strange (R), in the US Senate runoff against former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R-Ten Commandments), but the race is tightening and Trump’s involvement is seen as someone with an ear to Trump believing Strange has a strong change of winning.

WV-Sen:  Governor Jim Justice (?) has completed his transition from being a DINO to a RINO by backing Senator Joe Manchin (D-Coal) in his reelection bid.  To quote Roguemapper, DINO+RINO = MAGA.

WATN:  Former Congressman and multi-time RRH Turkey of the Year winner Anthony Weiner (D-Sexting) is facing approximately 2 years in prison if the government gets its way.  A federal judge will sentence Weiner on Monday.

PA-19 (Defunct):  Former Congressman Bill Goodling (R) has died.  Goodling served 13 terms on Congress representing central Pennsylvania.

States

CT-Gov:  David Stemerman (R) is winding down his hedge fund, Conatus Capital Management LP, to explore a run for Governor in 2018.

NJ-Assembly:  Speaker Vincent Prieto (D) is pushing Democrats to pursue a supermajority in the NJ’s lower house in an effort to undermine the leadership aspirations of Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-South Jersey faction) whose recently received the backing of the majority of the existing Democratic lower house caucus.  Prieto’s long shot bid is targeting very unfriendly territory for the Democrats history in an effort to bring in new blood and save his Speakership.

PA-Voter Registration: A glitch in PennDOT’s motor voter system let non-citizens register to vote.  Al Schmidt (R) of the Philadelphia City Commission, which oversees elections in the city, announced that at least 168 non-citizens registered to vote in Philadelphia through the program that have been discovered.

More PA-Voter Registration:  While Republicans have made some gains in Philadelphia, independents and third parties now outnumber Republicans in the city.

Political Roundup for September 8, 2017

Senate

WI-Sen: State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) announced yesterday she is joining the race for the Republican nomination for US Senate. She joins businessman Kevin Nicholson in the race to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). Vukmir is stressing her deep roots in Wisconsin GOP circles, contrasting her background with that of Nicholson, who once served as president of the College Democrats of America and spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. Businessman Eric Hovde, who finished 2nd to ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in the 2012 Republican Senate primary, says he will decide in early October whether to run again.

Governor:

AL-Gov: The long awaited announcement by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) about her plans has come, and she is running for election to a full term next year. She joins an already crowded race with 7 other Republicans running, including Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington, Agricuulture Commissioner John McMillan, and state Sen. Bill Hightower, who officially joined the race on Wednesday.

CO-Gov: LG Donna Lynne (D) officially announced her campaign for governor yesterday. Lynne had already filed her candidacy last month, but this was the first time she formally announced publicly that she would run. Lynne said when she was appointed LG last year that she did not plan to run for governor next year. Those plans changed as the leftward tilt of the other Democrats running became apparent. Also running are Rep. Jared Polis (D), ex-state Sen. Mike Johnston (D), former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy and businessman Noel Ginsburg, all but Ginsburg are liberals. After Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) dropped his bid, some supporters of Perlmutter started asking Lynne to reconsider her previous decision not to run, seeing the need for a prominent moderate candidate to run.

CT-Gov: State Sen. Toni Boucher (R) is joining a long list of Republicans running or considering running for governor. Boucher filed the papers for an exploratory committee in June, but is now becoming more serious about a potential run, kicking off her campaign this month with a fundraiser. 3 Republicans are running, with 6 others, including Boucher having formed exploratory committees.

ME-Gov: The Republican leaders of both the state House and Senate are now running for governor as State House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R) announced a run on Wednesday, joining Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) who announced on Tuesday that he was running. Mason had planned to kick off his campaign formally on Wednesday, but postponed it after his mother, state Rep. Gina Mason (R) died unexpectedly. The two join former Department of Health and Human Services commissioner Mary Mayhew in the race. More candidates, including Sen. Susan Collins (R) may join the race on the Republican side. 9 Democrats have already formally announced candidacies.

MI-Gov: Next year’s gubernatorial race could be very competitive if the right Democrat runs according to a new poll. The poll by EPIC-MRA shows AG Bill Schuette (R) and former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer tied at 37 % each. The poll also tested Schuette against attorney Geoffrey Fieger, and Schuette lead 43%-33% in that matchup. Whitmer is already in the race, Fieger, who lost as the Democratic nominee in 1998 to then Gov. John Engler (R) 62-38, is not currently running, but has said he is considering entering the race. AG Bill Schuette (R) is not running yet, but is expected to enter the race soon.

OR-Gov: House Minority Leader Mike McLane (R) said on Wednesday that he will not run for governor. A group of Republicans had tried to get McLane to enter the race. State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) is the only Republican currently running.

SC-Gov: State Sen. Tom Davis (R) will not run for governor next year. He says the timing wasn’t right and he feels he could be more effective in the Legislature. He also may have found it difficult to break into a race where three serious candidates are already running and raising money-Gov. Henry McMaster (R), former state cabinet secretary Catherine Templeton, and LG Kevin Bryant (R). Also running in the Republican primary is party switcher ex-LG Yancey McGill (D), but he is not expected to be competitive. No Democrats are running yet, but state Rep. James Smith (D) is expected to join the race this month.

State & Local:

AK-LG: State Sen. Kevin Meyer (R) filed to run for Lieutenant Governor yesterday. He is the third Republican to run, joining state Sen. Gary Stevens (R) and former state Rep. Lynn Gattis (R). Alaska uses the “shotgun wedding” approach where governor and lieutenant governor candidates run separately in the primary but as a team in the general election.

MA-LG: Former Obama White House advisor Quentin Palfrey will run for lieutenant governor. Palfrey is the first Democrat to announce a bid. Massachusetts also uses the “shotgun wedding” approach for governor and lieutenant governors.

MO-Aud.: State House Speaker Todd Richardson (R) said Wednesday he will not run for State Auditor next year. Richardson had been considered a likely candidate to run for the office. State Auditor is the only statewide executive office that Republicans do not currently hold-current State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) was appointed by then Gov. Jay Nixon (D) in 2015 to replace Republican Tom Schweich after he committed suicide. Galloway is running for election to a full term. It is not known who will run now as no other Republicans were known to be planning a run.

Political Roundup for September 7th, 2017

Hello from Philadelphia, where Jim Kenney’s courageous soda tax is at work saving lives in the name of public health and social justice.

President & Misc.

2020 Census: In news that could affect the accuracy of the next census, and therefore the upcoming congresssional apportionment, The Economist reports that the upcoming budget underfunds the Census Bureau by approximately $300 million.

Demographic Trends: In a development which will continue to shape our political landscape, non-Hispanic white Christians now make up less than 50% of the population. Maybe pushing policies that appeal almost exclusively to that specific demographic isn’t such a good idea for winning the future…

Redistricting: A slew of prominent Republicans, including John McCain, John Kasich, Bob Dole, John Danforth, Dick Lugar, Alan Simpson, and the Governator, have called on SCOTUS to end gerrymandering.

Sign of the Times: The Chamber of Commerce is spending millions in order to pressure Republicans into voting for The Donald’s yet-to-exist tax plan.

Governor

CT-Gov, CT-LG: Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D) has picked State Rep. Liz Linehan (D-Cheshire) as his unofficial running mate ahead of their respective separate primaries.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: Moonbat fantasy and State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-People’s Republic of Evanston) has dropped his running mate, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, over his “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” position on Israel.

Senate

AL-Sen: Birds of a feather… Freedom Caucus Chairman and NC US Rep. Mark Meadows (R-Cashiers) has endorsed repeatedly in-contempt ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R-Where Else but Alabama?) in the Republican primary to fill the seat vacated by AG Jeff Sessions.

House

IN-04: Former Indiana Workforce Development Commissioner and ex-State Rep. Steve Braun (R-Zionsville) will run to replace Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Indianapolis) in 2018. Braun, of the Indianapolis suburbs, is a business consultant.

PA-11: State Rep. Tarah Toohill (R-Butler Township), probably too busy having fun, won’t run for the soon-to-be-open seat being vacated by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Hazleton).

PA-15: State Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Coopersburg) has decided to challenge one of the good ones, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Allentown), in a primary. While Dent has historically significantly overperformed, the incumbent has butted heads with Trump acolytes.

SD-AL: Former Public Utilities Commission member Dusty Johnson claims to be on track to break the primary stage fundraising record of $400,000 set by Blake Curd (R-Sioux Falls) in 2010. It should be noted that Curd lost that primary to outgoing Rep. Kristi Noem (R-Castlewood).

WA-08: ICYMI, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) will retire at the end of this term, his seventh, ahead of the 2018 buzzsaw midterms. We wish the former King County Sheriff and hero well as he potentially gears up for a rumored 2020 gubernatorial bid—or a payday on K Street. This is a district that has been represented by Republicans – Rod Chandler, Jennifer Dunn (mother of King County Commissioner and possible WA-08 candidate Reagan Dunn), and Dave Reichert – since its 1983 inception, yet there’s obviously nothing to see here regarding Reichert’s timing, folks. Paging electoral juggernaut and ex-State Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island)…

State Level

TX Voter ID: The 5th Circuit has stayed a ruling against Texas’ voter ID law on the basis that the state is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal, allowing the law to remain in place for this year’s elections.

TX HD-52: Four-term State Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock) is retiring in a district that the Donald won by a single point (46.7%-45.3%). Mitt Romney won this same district by 12 (54.7%-42.4%).

TX SD-02: State Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Mesquite) is challenging State Senator Bob Hall (R-Edgewood). Hall successfully primaried Burkett’s one-time boss, then State Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) in 2014 in this northeastern Dallas suburban and exurban district.

TX SD-08: Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), wife of TX AG Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), is mulling a run for the seat being vacated by Cruzian contrarian and State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano).

Political Roundup for September 1, 2017

Senate:

AZ-Sen: Rep. Trent Franks (R) has confirmed that he has no interest in running for US Senate next year. In a radio interview he said he just can’t see him running against Sen. Jeff Flake (R) and God himself would have to tell him to do it. However he did not rule out running for the Senate in the future, just that it isn’t the right time at the moment. He did confirm that he, along with State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and former state Republican chairman Robert Graham met with President Trump when he was in Phoenix last week, and said he did not commit to supporting any particular candidate against Flake.

PA-Sen/PA-LG: Real estate executive Jeff Bartos, who has been running for Senate since April, is said to be considering dropping out of the race. Rumors have been going around that he might drop out of the race if a more high-profile candidate entered, and the entry of Rep. Lou Barletta (R) to the race may fit the bill. The same rumors say that if he drops out, he may decide to run for lieutenant governor instead. This week, he defended gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Scott Wagner (R) from charges of anti-Semitism after Wagner made a comment about left-wing billionaire George Soros’ Jewish heritage, which may indicate that he is seeking to be part of a gubernatorial campaign as a running mate. Currently, there are no Republicans who have announced they plan to run for LG.

House:

FL-27: Former Doral Councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera has joined the Republican nomination to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R). Rodriguez Aguilera said she voted for Trump, contrasting herself with fellow GOP candidate former Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado, who did not support him. A 3rd candidate in the primary, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, supported Trump as well. State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) is the most high-profile candidate on the Democratic side, in a district that Democrats should have a good chance at picking up.

NV-3: Insurance agent Jack Love announced yesterday he is running for Congress, becoming the first Democrat to announce a run. State Sen. Scott Hammond (R) and state Rep. Victoria Seaman (R) have both announced runs on the Republican side. Pro golfer Natalie Gulbis (R) is also considering running. Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) is leaving the seat after just one term to challenge Sen. Dean Heller (R).

NY-11: Former Rep. Michael Grimm (R) has acknowledged publicly for the first time that he is considering running for his former job. Grimm resigned from Congress at the end of 2014 after his conviction on federal tax fraud charges and served 7 months in prison. Current Rep. Dan Donovan (R) was elected in the ensuing special election and re-elected last year. Grimm criticized Donovan, saying he is “doing a great job as a liberal Democrat” because he opposed President Trump on key issues such as the health care bill. Grimm says he will decide “fairly soon” whether to run.

WA-5: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) has drawn an unusually high profile opponent for 2018. Former state Senate Majority Leader and Washington State University Spokane chancellor Lisa Brown (D) has announced she is running for Congress. Two other candidates, Democrat Matthew Sutherland and Independent Eric Agnew are running in the all-party primary, but McMorris Rodgers and Brown are likely to meet in the general election. Although Brown is a more high-profile candidate than most Democrats who run for the seat, she should still have an uphill battle in a district that went for Trump by 13 points last year and has been Republican since 1994 when then-House Speaker Tom Foley (D) was defeated by Republican George Nethercutt.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is expected to decide in the next few weeks whether to run for governor next year. Sources close to her say she will make an announcement sometime between Labor Day and the Sept.26 runoff for US Senate between Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange (R). The possibility of Ivey running already forced one potential opponent, Public Service Commission Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh to run for LG instead, but the 8 other Republicans currently in the race say Ivey’s plans will not affect their plans to run.

CO-Gov: State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) is said to be looking at an early October formal entry into the governor’s race. Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, businessman Doug Robinson, and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell are already in the GOP primary race and AG Cynthia Coffman is considering joining the race as well.

CT-Gov: State Comptroller Kevin Lembo (D), unexpectedly dropped out of the governor’s race yesterday and announced he would run for re-election to his current post instead. Lembo was expected to be a top-tier candidate and his departure from the race was a surprise to other candidates. Speculation on the Democratic side has now turned to LG Nancy Wyman (D), who has not yet announced her plans. But since Wyman has not yet begun fundraising, some take that and her silence about her plans to mean she isn’t running. Democrats who are still running or considering include Middleton Mayor Dan Drew, Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim and former West Hartford Mayor and state consumer protection commissioner Jonathan Harris.

IL-Gov/IL-LG: State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) has chosen for his running mate Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. The move indicates Biss is playing to the left in his campaign as Ramirez-Rosa was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, is part of the council’s Progressive Caucus and recently joined Democratic Socialists for America.

ME-Gov: Ex-Gov. John Baldacci (D) says he may seriously consider running again if he has concerns about the field of candidates running. He says he may run if there is not enough moderation or bipartisanship among the candidates. Baldacci was the predecessor to current Gov. Paul LePage (R) serving from 2003-2011.

NY-Gov: State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R) is considering running for governor next year. He says he has been asked to run by party officials, other elected officials and members of the business community. Kolb has considered running and been asked to run for higher office before, turning down races for Congress in 2010 and 2012 and against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in 2010. There are several other Republicans considering runs including former state comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, 2010 nominee Carl Paladino, 2014 nominee and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and state Sen. John DeFrancisco. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is expected to run for re-election and any Republican nominee will have an uphill battle.

State & Local:

FL-AG: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler (D) is considering running for Attorney General. He will be leaving office next March due to term limits, and hasn’t yet decided what to run for next, if anything. But running for Attorney General or the Broward County Commission are said to be two possibilities. Seiler would give Democrats a more high-profile candidate for AG, as currently little-known consumer protection attorney Ryan Torrens is the only Democrat running.

Political Roundup for August 11, 2017

Senate:

TN-Sen/TN-6: State Sen. Mark Green (R) will not run for any higher office next year. Green had previously announced a run for governor earlier this year, but suspended that bid while he was under consideration to be Secretary of the Army. He later withdrew his name from consideration, but did not restart his campaign for governor. Sen. Bob Corker (R) has not yet said whether he is seeking re-election, but some had hoped Green would challenge him or run for the open seat if Corker does not run fro re-election. There was also some speculation Green might run for TN-6, which Rep. Diane Black (R) is giving up to run for governor.

TX-Sen: Former Corpus Christi Mayor Dan McQueen (R) is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the Republican primary. Running for Senate seems like a curious choice for McQueen after he resigned from his job as Corpus Christi Mayor earlier this year after spending just 37 days on the job. Among other things, McQueen is running on reducing the size of Congress to about one representative per 1 million people(the current average is about 1 per 711,000).

House:

FL-6: Former state Rep. Fred Costello (R) is planning to run for Congress, but only if Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) decides to run for governor. Costello has run for Congress twice before, losing to DeSantis in the 2012 and 2016 Republican primaries.

IN-4: Diego Morales, an Army veteran and a senior advisor to VP Mike Pence when Pence was governor is running for this now open seat. Morales is the first candidate to announce plans to run since Rep. Todd Rokita announced on Tuesday he is running for US Senate.  Also, state Sen. Brandt Hershman (R) announced on Facebook he is not running.

MA-3: Dan Koh, chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) hasn’t said anything publicly yet about running for this newly open seat, but of he does, he has the full support of his current boss. Walsh says he is “100 percent behind” Koh running for the seat. Koh, whose name was mentioned in connection with the seat after Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) announced her retirement Wednesday has said in the past that he has considered running for Congress or another elected office.

TN-6: Former Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner John Rose (R) has announced he will run for Congress next year. Rose served as Ag Commissioner from 2002-2003 and also has been involved with the Tennessee State Fair Association and owns a business that trains IT professionals. Rose joins state Rep. Judd Matheny (R) in the GOP primary. Political strategist Scottie Nell Hughes, an ardent supporter of President Trump has also expressed interest in the race.

Governor:

AL-Gov: State Senate President Del Marsh (R) will run for re-election to the state Senate and not run for governor. Marsh had been considering getting into the governor’s race, but said he wanted to wait until Gov. Kay Ivey (R) decided whether or not to run. Ivey says she is close to making a decision.

CO-Gov: Former Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham is considering running for governor, but wants to be sure he can win the Republican primary. Graham says he is a “different kind of candidate” who favors limited government and a strong defense but who is also pro-choice, pro-gay rights and favors some forms of gun control. He ran for US Senate last year, finishing a distant second behind Darryl Glenn in the Republican primary.

CT-Gov: Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano will not join the crowded GOP primary for governor. A gubernatorial bid by Fasano could have set up an awkward matchup between the Republican leaders of both the House and Senate with House Minority Leader Themis Klarides still deciding on a potential bid. 3 Republicans are already running with 3 others having formed exploratory committees, and others like Klarides could still join the race.

ME-Gov: Former state Rep. Diane Russell (D) is joining the Democratic primary for governor. Russell identifies herself as a “hardcore progressive” and favors single-payer healthcare. She was also a supporter in the Legislature of legalizing recreational marijuana and was also a supporter of the ranked-choice voting initiative. She joins 6 other Democrats in the primary.

MD-Gov: Krish Vignarajah, a former policy director for Michelle Obama, is joining the Democratic nomination for governor. However, questions have been raised about whether she meets Maryland’s residency requirements to run. Candidates must have been a registered voter in the state for 5 years, and while she says she registered to vote in the state as early as she was able, she also registered to vote in the District of Columbia in 2010 and voted there in 2014. She says she never voted in more than one place at a time, and doesn’t think being registered in more than one place precludes her from meeting the requirements.

 

Political Roundup for July 31st, 2017

President

Moulton: Weeks ago I predicted that there would be yet more long thinkpieces about Democrats who have no shot whatsoever at garnering their party’s nomination for President in 2020, yet would get coverage to drive clicks for lazy journalists. Well, it’s happened again, and much sooner than I thought. The offender this time is once again the normally-awesome Politico Magazine, one of the few sources for long-form political pieces that aren’t meditations on how everything is racist and misogynistic (I’m looking at you, Slate). This time their subject is Rep. Seth Moulton (D) of Massachusetts. Moulton is an impressive rising star within the party. To be fair, he could very well be President one day. He’s good looking, charismatic, and has a military background. He’s fairly moderate and speaks well. None of that changes the fact that you can’t win a Presidential nomination as a mostly-unknown House member in the age of mass primaries. Moulton is impressive, interesting, and worth covering, but this presidential click-bait nonsense is already getting out of hand more than two years before the Iowa caucuses.

Congress

MI-Sen: For the first time in a while, we have a new edition of your favorite head-scratching and shrugging gameshow, Dueling Polls! MIRS commissioned a poll from Target Insyght that shows Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) leading musician and expletive connoisseur Kid Rock (R) 50-42. However, a poll from the right-leaning pollster Trafalgar has the blue-collar balladeer leading the senator 49-46. The second poll also finds that Mr. Rock would have a commanding lead in the Republican primary were he to seek the nomination.

WV-Sen: Here’s a great piece by David Byler over at RealClear explaining why Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is getting multiple top-tier challengers despite being in pretty good shape for reelection. Politicians are generally ambitious, and if a state is very red or very blue, there’s often a bottleneck of talented politicians in the dominant party (especially if the state has few congressional districts). When you  have a winnable office that’s somehow still held by the other party, oftentimes a lot of talented politicians from the dominant party will crawl all over each other because they’re ambitious and/or they think the state’s lean will carry them to victory without having to wait for another member of their party to retire.

FL-23: I feel bad for Carla Spalding (R). She’s Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s (D) Republican opponent for 2018. Spalding is trying to make hay of the recent strangeness involving the congresswoman’s IT guy who has been arrested for various cybercrime against members of Congress and their staff, but it shouldn’t effect the outcome of the election one iota. Even if good ole DWS screwed up royally when she hired this guy, the district is just too Democratic for her to lose barring allegations of personal wrongdoing on her part.

IL-06: Naperville Councilwoman and bookmonger Becky Anderson (D) has declared against Rep. Peter Roskam (R). She’s decidedly C-list. However, there are already five other Democrats in the primary. crazier things have happened than a municipal official winning a crowded primary with a small plurality. As to whether she can beat Roskam, the district moved to the left in 2016, but was originally designed as a Republican votesink. Anything can happen, especially if there’s a wave, but Roskam is popular and a strong campaigner.

Governor

CT-Gov: This is getting ridiculous. State Sen. Toni Boucher (R) has announced her candidacy for Governor in Connecticut. That’s fine, except that she’s one of about a jillion candidates who are considering or have announced to run as a Republican to succeed the retiring and  unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D). Look guys, having good choices in a primary is great, but a clowncar with lots of mudslinging is only going to help make it harder for the GOP to win a blue state like Connecticut.

OH-Gov: Speaking of clown cars, he Republican primary for the Buckeye State’s highest office would seem to have a confirmed driver. That man is AG and former Sen. Mike DeWine, and it’s not even close. The results show a 42-18-11-5 race with SoS John Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and Rep. Jim Renacci behind define in that order. It’s a Tarrance poll for an outside group, so caveat emptor, but it’s not surprising given the former senator’s long history in statewide politics.

State/Local

CT-SoS: While most of the action is in the Republican gubernatorial primary, the Nutmeg State does have other offices up for election in 2018. Among them is Secretary of State, a position for which businesswoman Karen Cusick (D) has just announced. Cusack is the first into the race on the Democratic side and will likely get the jump on fundraising. A Republican could beat her if the gubernatorial contest goes well, but right now she looks like the favorite to be the new SoS.

ID-Treas: Restauranteur Tom Kealey (R) has announced his candidacy for Treasurer. I can’t find out whether or not he belongs to either the otter faction of the Labrador faction, but either way he’s likely to have company in the primary due both to factional infighting and the bottleneck effect.

MD-PG-CE: The tantamount-to-election Democratic primary for Prince George’s County Executive is heating up quickly. A few notable names have already entered, but they face stiff competition now that State’s Attorney (DA) Angela Alsobrooks has entered the race. It’s by no means a done deal, but DAs tend to be strong candidates and generally get a lot of free airtime.

Bailey, NC-Mayor: The small town of Bailey, NC has a problem: no one wants to be it’s next mayor. The town of 569 outside of Raleigh had enough candidates file for city council seats, but no one filed to lead the city after the current mayor announced his retirement. The filing deadline has been extended, but with such a small pool of possible office-seekers, who knows if anyone will bite?

International

Pakistan: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan has been forced to resign after the country’s supreme court ruled that he was ineligible for the office due to investigations into possible corruption. He also cannot compete in next year’s elections. Sharif was a crusader against the power of the country’s military, and this likely strengthens their hand. Opponents of the military will have to find a new standard-bearer if they wish to retain control of parliament.

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