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DNC Chair & DE-SD-10 Preview & Open Thread

Saturday Update #3: Delaware SD-10 has been called for Democrat Stephanie Hansen. Democrats will maintain control of the Delaware state Senate and the trifecta there.

Saturday Update #2: Perez has won with 235 votes to Ellison’s 200.

Saturday Update: Perez fell half a vote short on the first ballot, leading Ellison 213.5-200, with 214 needed to win.

This Saturday the DNC will be holding its chair election, as well as a special election that will determine control of the Delaware Senate. Here are our previews of both of these contests:

DNC Chair: There are seven candidates for DNC chair, but only two major. Voting among the 447 DNC members will take place using a typical iterative convention ballot at the convention in Atlanta, with successive rounds and the lowest vote-getter being dropped until one candidate achieves a majority. The first ballot will come Saturday at 10AM (this thread will be bumped to the top of the main page). Obama ex-US Labor Secretary Tom Perez (D) looks like the slight front-runner going in. A close ally of Obama, Perez has received an endorsement from Biden and has said he has commitments for 180 of the 224 necessary votes. Take that with as much salt as you want though, as convention vote commitments tend to be very fluid. Perez is very ideologically liberal, but establishment in tone and sensibilities. (my odds – 50%) Perez’s major challenger is MN-5 Rep. Keith Ellison (D), who is running as a harder-edged liberal. One of just two Muslims in the House, the sixth-term Rep. from a deep blue Minneapolis seat looked like the front-runner when the race kicked off. Ellison has had strong ties to the Sanders loyalists and Sanders’s endorsement, while Perez is widely thought to be close to the Clinton camp. It’s unclear whether that is an asset for him or not; while the DNC is the epitome of establishment liberalism there could be some buyers’ remorse over how the primary was handled. Ellison has his fair share of establishment support, most notably from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D). Outside of the primary fuss, Ellison has attracted some issues in the broader political press over his history of close ties to the Nation of Islam, which could be a problem for a party looking to expand beyond its liberal base. (my odds – 45%) Beyond Perez and Ellison, a third serious candidate is South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) (BUE-tuh-jeej). Buttigieg is 35 and openly-gay, so he has been getting some buzz for his youth and identity-politics cred. Buttigieg’s support has not equaled Perez’s or Ellison’s by any measure, and so far his support base seems to generally come from the more moderate elements within the party (though make no mistake, Buttigieg is firmly a mainstream liberal). Buttigieg has been generally attempting to present himself as an acceptable compromise candidate between Perez and Ellison and someone who can do a better job of reaching out to swing voters. Indeed, his best (only?) hope is probably for a protracted deadlock between the two front-runners, in which case he could emerge. That said, Buttigieg’s odds have declined dramatically in the last few days as two other lower-tier candidates have dropped out to endorse Ellison and Perez, decreasing the chance that neither can coalesce a majority. (my odds – 4%) The other candidates are basically non-factors. Dem operative and Fox News commentator Jehmu Greene (D) has some profile but little establishment support, and will probably be eliminated early. (my odds – <1%) Finally, Idaho Democratic Party executive director Sally Boynton-Brown (D) is mostly notable for a remark in which she said that her job as DNC chair would be to “shut other white people down”, which drew widespread derision. It would be amazing if she survives the first round, or even gets more than a couple protest/pity votes. (my odds – <1%) Two other candidates are total Some Dudes, Peter Peckarsky (D) and Sam Roman (D); they obviously have no chance. Overall CW is generally calling this as Perez being slightly favored over Ellison, with Buttigieg having a very small outside chance if neither can coalesce a majority.

DE-SD-10: This weekend is also host to arguably the most important special election of the year. Up for grabs is DE-SD-10, a D+7 (2012) seat stretching along the Maryland border from south of Newark to Middletown. Preliminary results indicate it was roughly D+6 in 2016 as well, in spite of Delaware shifting right as a whole. Development-wise, the seat ranges from suburban in the north through exurbs in the center to rural areas in the south; most of the population is in the suburban northern part. The seat was vacated by now-LG Bethany Hall-Long (D), leaving the Delaware Senate tied at 10-10 and this seat the tiebreaker. As a result both sides have been campaigning hard for this seat; spending here has reached well into the six figures. Republicans have a credible candidate for this seat in 2014 nominee John Marino (R), who lost to Hall-Long by just two points two years ago. Democrats recruited a strong candidate of their own in 90s-era ex-New Castle County Council President Stephanie Hansen (D). A Libertarian is also running; it’s unclear which side he might take more from. Though Republicans made gains in Delaware over the last few cycles, the Delaware GOP is still one of the worst parties by organizational strength. Additionally, Dems are energized right now and have taken the race very seriously, pouring considerable resources into Hansen’s campaign, outspending Marino by a large margin and bringing in heavy-hitters like Joe Biden to campaign. As a result, Hansen looks like a moderate favorite to hold the seat, the Senate, and the trifecta for Dems.

Here is an open thread for discussion of this weekend’s voting.

Political Roundup for February 22, 2017

“If I was Governor, I’d sure find better things to do with my time. Like getting Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday back to separate paid holidays. Presidents’ Day. What a rip-off.”

Last night in WI-Supt, we saw a moderate surprise as Beloit local superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), the more conservative candidate, easily bested the more moderate John Humphries (R) for the right to take on incumbent Tony Evers (D). Evers, however, cruised overall, winning 2/3 of the vote, and will likely have little trouble in the general in April barring something unexpected.


DNC Chair: NH Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley (D) dropped his bid for DNC chair over the weekend and will back Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D). Buckley was considered a longer-shot to win but still had a significant base of support. His endorsement probably doesn’t give Ellison a huge advantage in his competitive fight with co-front-runner Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez (D), but it probably does significantly hurt the chances of the third major candidate in the race, South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), who needs both Ellison and Perez to deadlock well short of a majority in order to have a shot. SC Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison (D) is the only other candidate with any significant support, but he seems a long-shot.


MI-Sen: Buried in this Great Mentioner piece about possible challengers to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is the revelation that ex-State Sen. Randy Richardville (R), who held down a swingy district at the state’s southeast corner from 2006 to 2014, is considering the race and will decide “by this summer.” Stabenow has not definitively said whether she will seek re-election, but is expected to; many other Republicans are considering the race, though Richardville seems to be the most obviously serious. One potential candidate taking herself out of the running though is termed-out SoS Ruth Johnson (R), who seems to have her eye on a safely Republican State Senate seat in her home of exurban northern Oakland County instead.

NJ-Sen: George Norcross (D), the dictator of the southern half of the state, and his brother, Rep. Donald Norcross (D), have made their decision on whether to play nice with indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) or seek to push him out the door, and they’ve chosen the former. La Cosa Norcross will host a fundraiser for Menendez next month, which probably closes the door on Don running against him. It seems they are betting on Menendez either going down quickly with time for Don to enter the primary, surviving his trial, or not going down until after the election, triggering a special – a combined outcome with reasonable chance to happen but still a bet that’s not without risk. It’s unclear whether the other major candidate interested in the seat, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D), will make the same calculation. Menendez limping through the primary to a general election with a cloud over his head is probably the only chance Republicans have to make a serious play for this seat, but no Republicans have as yet indicated interest.

OH-Sen: State Sen. Matt Huffman (R) will not run for US Senate this cycle. Huffman had been mentioned as a potential more establishment-friendly alternative to the candidate already in the race to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), State Treasurer and 2012 nominee Josh Mandel (R), and had apparently already secured some donor commitments. However, Mandel’s head start (he has been more or less running continuously since 2015) could pose a daunting obstacle to someone with little name rec. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) is the only other major candidate thought to be considering the race.

WI-Sen: On the heels of Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R) announcement that he will not run for the Senate, State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) is considering a run. Vukmir has represented a district in deep-red Waukesha County for over a decade, which could give her a geographic base. With the only field-clearer (Duffy) out of the picture, the GOP primary to taken on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is expected to be very crowded.


AL-Gov: Former Auburn Football Coach Tommy Tuberville (R) is considering a run for Governor. Tuberville, who has lived in Texas and Ohio since leaving Auburn in 2008, could have a dedicated base of fans in the state where College Football is perhaps taken most seriously of all – but coming from the state’s second most popular school (and arch-rival of its most popular) could be a handicap. Many other Republicans are considering the race, most notably LG Kay Ivey (R), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R), State Sens. Del Marsh (R) and Cam Ward (R), and ex-State Supreme Court Justice and 2010 candidate Roy Moore (R). Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell-Cobb (D) and State Rep. Craig Ford (D) are considering runs on the Dem side.

AR-Gov: Country radio host Bobby Bones (D/I?) had dinner with Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Monday. It’s unclear what the conversation entailed; Bones has been considering a challenge to Hutchinson, but it’s not clear how serious he is about such a bid, as his show is based out of Nashville, TN. Anyone will likely face a very uphill battle against the popular incumbent.

CO-Gov: Ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R), who served a term in the legislature a decade ago and has since become a prominent businessman and activist, will run for Governor and says he will self-fund $3M. Michell is the first GOP candidate to declare; State Sen. Mike Johnston (D) is in on the Democratic side and a large number of others from both parties are considering this race. Both primary fields are expected to be crowded.

FL-Gov: Two new candidates are considering this race on the Dem side, though neither sounds particularly serious about it. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) told Ebony that he is considering “what 2018 looks like” while self-funding 2010 Senate candidate Jeff Greene has been “talking to consultants”. Democrats’ major options here still look like ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D), and prominent trial lawyer John Morgan (D), though many others have expressed at least some interest. Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is the front-runner for the GOP nod.

KS-Gov: Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) has entered the race, giving Democrats a top-tier candidate here. Though Kansas is deep-red, Democrats sense an opening due to the extreme unpopularity of Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and the ongoing feud between moderate and conservative Republicans. Brewer, who led the state’s largest city from 2007 to 2015, may face ex-State Rep. and 2014 nominee Paul Davis (D) in the Dem primary. SoS Kris Kobach (R), LG Jeff Colyer (R), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R), and businessman and 2010 KS-4 candidate Wink Hartman (R) are considered the most likely candidates on the GOP side.

MN-Gov: State Sen. David Osmek (R), a staunch fiscal conservative, has indicated an interest in this race. Both sides’ conventions are likely to be crowded; Osmek could face any or all of State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R), 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), MNGOP Chair Keith Downey (R), State Sen. Michelle Benson (R), and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (R). On the D side, Auditor Rebecca Otto (D), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D), and State Rep. Erin Murphy (D) are already in the race, while LG Tina Smith (D), AG Lori Swanson (D), and Reps. Rick Nolan (D) and Tim Walz (D) are all thought to be interested.

WI-Gov: Rep. Ron Kind (D), whose western-Wisconsin prairie-populist House seat trended hard-right in 2016, is not ruling out a run for Governor. Gov. Scott Walker (R) is widely exprected to seek a third term; Kind would likely be Democrats’ strongest prospect given his two decades representing the swingy rural west of the state. Dane CE Joe Parisi (D) and State Sens. Jennifer Shilling (D) and Kathleen Vinehout (D) are other commonly-discussed names for the D side in this race, though no one has made strong moves as of yet.


CA-34: An internal from FM3 for nonprofit exec Sara Hernandez (D) shows her in second place in this Louisiana-Rules Top Two Jungle primary, trailing State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) 20-9. However, there are a ton of undecideds and it’s unclear we can really say anything about the race for this deep-blue downtown LA seat from this poll besides Gomez likely being in first.

GA-6: We have a new poll from Clout Strategies (aka Wenzel) for this April Louisiana-Rules Top Two Jungle Primary. Congressional Staffer Jon Osoff (D) leads with 32, followed by ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) at 25 and no one else above 11. However, this poll has a few problems: first, it does not test the second non-Some Dude Democrat in the race, ex-State Sen. Ron Slotin (D), who has lost out on most establishment support but may draw a few points. Second, the demographics of this poll seem a bit off as it is almost entirely white and very old. So bottom line, salt to taste.

MT-AL: A group of county officials is asking the state to hold the special election to replace Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) by mail instead of through normal polling places to save money. A bill has been proposed in the State Senate and will be considered today; it would give individual counties the choice of running a standard poll or all-mail election. Assuming Zinke’s confirmation proceeds as planned a week from today, the special election is likely to be held on June 6; 2016 gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte (R) will likely face off with either ex-State Rep. and 2014 Senate nominee Amanda Curtis (D) or musician Rob Quist (D).

NJ-5: State Rep. Holly Schepisi (R), who was widely considered the GOP’s top choice to take on Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D), has said will likely not run for Congress this cycle (though she did leave the door open the smallest of cracks). This decision puts the GOP back to square one in this suburban seat, based in wealthy northern Bergen County, that narrowly backed Trump but trended left.

SC-1: Buried in this worthwhile longread on Rep. Mark Sanford (R) is the revelation that Ted Fienning (R), a veteran and businessman will run against him in the 2018 primary and seed his campaign with $250K of self-funding. The full article is worth a look; Sanford is certainly one of the most complex characters in DC and his willingness to cross Trump in service of fiscal conservatism could make him a key player over the next few years.

State Races:

FL-Ag Comm: State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) of southwest Florida is planning a run for Ag Commissioner. Should he enter, he will face State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) in the primary. No Democrats have as yet declared interest in this seat.

OK-AG: Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has appointed Secretary of State (an appointed position in OK) Mike Hunter (R) as the new Attorney General, replacing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (R). Hunter will most likely seek a full term in 2018.

IN-Supt ’20: The Indiana Senate has killed a bill that would transform the State Superintendent from an elected office to an appointed one under the purview of the Governor. Republicans had supported the change after then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) spent much of his term fighting with then-Superintendent Glenda Ritz (D), a staunch liberal. But last year Ritz was defeated by Jennifer McCormick (R), and so some of the partisan urgency was lost. A little under half the Senate’s Republicans decided to break ranks and join with Democrats to kill the proposal.

VA-LD-28: Virginia State House Speaker Bill Howell (R) of Stafford County in the DC exurbs will retire this year after a decade and a half as Speaker. Howell turned a narrow GOP majority into a dominant 66-34 one and was at times the key Republican figure in state Government when Democrats controlled the Governorship and Senate from 2007-09 and 2013-14. Howell will likely be succeeded as Speaker by Kirk Cox (R) of suburban Richmond.

AL-Redistrict: Alabama has started redistricting to unpack some black-majority legislative districts that courts have struck down as racial gerrymanders. General consensus is that there will be little more than minor tweaks to the lines.

Local Races:

Buffalo-Mayor: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) announced his campaign for a fourth term yesterday. Brown will likely be favored as he maintains most establishment support. Brown’s major challenger is mavericky city Comptroller Mark Schroeder (D).

Cincinnati-Mayor: The field is set for the Cincinnati Mayoral race; moderate incumbent John Cranley (D) will face two more liberal candidates in city councilwoman Yvette Simpson (D) and university board member Rob Richardson (D). The California-Rules Top Two primary is on May 2.

Detroit-Mayor: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) is broadly popular, and for a time it looked like he may not draw a significant challenger, but that changed as State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of the longtime 70s and 80s Mayor of the same name, entered the race. Young will likely run to the left of Duggan, the first white Mayor to lead Detroit since the 70s.

St. Louis-Mayor: A new Remington poll of the St. Louis Mayoral Primary in two weeks shows councilwoman Lyda Krewson (D), the most moderate and only serious white candidate, with a wide lead. Krewson takes 36% to 16% for left-wing favorite city Treasurer Tishaura Jones (D), 13% for council President Lewis Reed (D), a black establishment liberal, and 12% for left-wing councilman Antonio French (D). Councilman Jeffrey Boyd (D) brings up the rear among serious contenders with 4%.


Ecuador: The Ecuadorean Presidential election has officially been called as heading to a runoff between left-wing ex-VP Lenin Moreno and center-right banker and 2013 presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso. Though Moreno led the first round by nearly 10 points, Lasso is considered a slight favorite in the April 2 runoff.

Political Roundup for February 15, 2017

Election News:  Republican Anne Neu won the Minnesota State House special election for seat 32B last night.  Democratic State Senator Bill Perkins won a vacant City Council seat in Harlem as well.  Now for the rest of the roundup…


Flyover Country:  In case some of our readers were wondering as they are worrying about President Trump from their homes on the respective flanks of the country, Trump is still popular in middle America.

Obamacare:  As I predicted months ago, the Republicans are running into serious internal issues regarding the repeal of Obamacare.  If a repeal happens at all, you got to wonder if it will take as long as it took the Democrats to pass Obamacare.

DNC:  Tom Perez claims to have enough votes to win the race for DNC Chairman.  A Perez win would continue Obama control of the DNC.

SBA:  Linda McMahon was confirmed as SBA Director.  She received strong support from both parties by today’s standards.

MI-Sen:  With a dearth of interested candidates, Republicans in Michigan are floating the idea of Kid Rock running for US Senate.  Crazy to think that Kid Rock as a candidate is not that far outside the realm of possibility.


Women:  The number of women in state legislative seats has reached 25% of the total membership with women controlling state legislative chambers also reaching an all time high.

Voting Laws:  As often seen in life, when your side cannot win on the merits, you challenge the rules.  Democrats are now focusing their political rage on the election rules as a source of their defeat.


UK:  Ahead of two key byelections, the Labour Party appears poised to lose two seats and potentially impair Jeremy Corbyn’s “leadership” of the Labour Party.


Political Roundup for February 13, 2017

Saturday in KS-4, Democrats shockingly nominated attorney Jim Thompson (D), a total Some Dude, over ex-State Treasurer Dennis McKinney (D), who was heavily favored going in. With zero name rec and no obvious self-funding ability, Thompson will be a very decided underdog to State Treasurer Ron Estes (R) in the April general election for this deep-red Wichita-area seat, which we currently rate as Safe R.


Polling: Even some liberals seem to be tiring of PPP (D)’s long-standing practice of asking Republicans joke polling questions designed to make them look bad. HuffPo has called out PPP for asking a question on the “Bowling Green Massacre” that implied (to those not closely attuned to the news) that the fictional event made up by Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway was reality.

DNC Chair: Under two weeks ahead of the vote, neither of the front-runners to lead the DNC, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D) or ex-US Labor Sec. Tom Perez (D), is anywhere close to a majority, which could open up the door for another candidate like South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttgieg (D) to come up the middle.

Kasich: He is starting a SuperPAC, which may be a prelude to a possible Trump primary challenge in 2020.


CA-Sen: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), the Senate’s oldest member at 83, will hold a kick-off fundraiser for her 2018 re-election bid next month. This is as good a time to as any to remind you that holding fundraisers and proclaiming your intent to run again does not necessarily preclude a late retirement.

PA-Sen: State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) of suburban Pittsburgh will run for the seat of Sen. Bob Casey (D). Saccone seems a credible “C” lister, but as 1 of 203 State Reps. the PA GOP will likely continue searching for someone with a bigger profile.


IL-Gov: Bob Daiber (D), a local schools superintendent in the downstate suburban St. Louis area, is running for Governor. Daiber doesn’t really seem to have the profile to compete in the large state where most of the Dem primary base is in Chicago, so he seems a long-shot at best. Daiber joins businessman and heir force candidate Chris Kennedy (D) and Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D) in the race.

IA-Gov: 2014 State Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D) will run for Governor, joining another “C” list Democrat, former state cabinet official Rich Leopold (D). Several other Democrats, all relatively little-known, are considering runs for the seat of Governor-designate Kim Reynolds (R).

NV-Gov: State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R), an antiestablishment conservative, is considering a run for Governor. He would likely face AG Adam Laxalt (R), who himself has some antiestablishment tendencies, in the primary. Schwartz would likely start at a major deficit to Laxalt in financial resources and institutional support.


CA-34: The state Democratic party gave its official endorsement to State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) for this deep-blue downtown-LA based seat. Gomez is the only prominent elected official in the race, and thus the clear front-runner in April’s special. However, he faces a huge number of lesser-known candidates that may force a runoff.

NV-3: Ex-Rep. Joe Heck (R) will cash out to the lobbying world and will not run against Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) in 2018. However, Heck did not rule out another bid down the line.

NC-5: Democrats may have a non-Some Dude candidate to run against Rep. Virginia Foxx (R) in Winston-Salem councilwoman DD Adams (D). This Winston-Salem based seat also includes some deep-red territory in the northwest part of the state, making it deeply Republican overall; thus, Adams is probably unlikely to make it competitive.

State Row Officers:

AL-AG: Gov. Bentley has appointed Marshall County DA Steve Marshall (R) to Sen. Luther Strange’s (R) vacated AG seat. Marshall is expected to seek a full term in 2018; it’s unclear if he will face credible primary opposition, but a half-dozen other Republicans also interviewed with Bentley for the job.

FL-CFO: Florida CFO Jeff Atwater (R), who had already announced he would not run for anything upon being termed out in 2018, will step down after the legislative session to take an administrative job at Florida Atlantic University. The decision isn’t a huge surprise as Atwater had been looking for an exit ramp from politics since 2015, exploring several different university and appointed positions while passing on overtures to mount campaigns for Senate last cycle and Governor in 2018. Nevertheless, his decision to leave early will allow Gov. Rick Scott to make an appointment to his seat. The blog FloridaPolitics has a Great Mentioner of the more than half-dozen names Scott could pick, all of whom could also be candidates for the seat in 2018. State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) has been considered the most likely Dem candidate for this race, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) and ex-Rep. Fratrick Murphy (D) have also been mentioned.

LA-Treas: Two candidates entered the race for this fall’s special election last week; State Rep. Julie Stokes (R) of suburban New Orleans announced she is in, while State Sen. Neil Riser (R) of the rural northeast part of the state leaked a memo that he is about to enter. They join State Rep. John Schroeder (R) in what is expected to be a very crowded jungle primary. Appointed incumbent Ron Henson (R) has not announced if he intends to stand for election.

WI-Supt: Incumbent State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) has a large financial lead over his rivals, school administrator John Humphries (R) and Beloit local schools superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), though that’s mostly due to his rivals being broke rather than Evers being flush. The California-Rules Top Two primary for this race is a week from tomorrow with a general in April in which Evers is expected to be favored over Humphries.

Local Elections:

Pittsburgh-Mayor: Councilwoman Darlene Harris (D) has filed to run against Mayor Bill Peduto (D) in the May primary. Harris, a mavericky Dem who has clashed with Peduto’s liberal agenda, is Peduto’s only major challenger.

Corpus Christi-Mayor: Ex-councilman Chad Magill (D) will drop out of the race for Mayor in May’s special election. Three major candidates are seeking the seat, ex-Mayor Nelda Martinez (D), councilman Joe McComb (R), and ex-councilman Mark Scott (R).

Westchester, NY-CE: State Sen. George Latimer (D) and State Rep. Tom Abinati (D) are considering runs against Westchester CE Rob Astorino (R), who is seeking a third term in the deep-blue county this year. Defeating Astorino is a priority of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), as Astorino was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 2014 and is likely to run for Governor again in 2018 if he wins re-election. Latimer and Abinati would each be a top-tier candidate against Astorino.

Philadelphia-DA: Philly DA Seth Williams (D) has announced he will not seek re-election this year, apologizing for bringing “embarassment and shame” to his office in a gifts scandal, which has resulted in a federal probe that is apparently nearing completion (and will probably result in charges). Williams allegedly accepted gifts from attorneys with cases he was prosecuting, among other penny-ante corruption. The Dem primary for this seat, which is tantamount to election in ultra-blue Philly, is in May.

Political Roundup for February 2, 2017


Price/Mnuchin: Senate Republicans have changed the rules in the Senate Finance Committee to allow HHS Secretary nominee Tom Price (R) and Treasury Secretary Nominee Steve Mnuchin to be sent out of committee n a party-line vote. The decision was necessitated by Dems on the committee staging a walkout in an attempt to deny a quorum.

DeVos: Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos (R) now looks like the Trump cabinet nominee in the most danger after Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Lisa Murkowski (R) announced yesterday that they would vote against her. DeVos now needs every other Republican to stay on board to be confirmed by a 50-50 tie vote.

DNC Chair: Former US Labor Secretary Tom Perez (D) scored a major coup in his bid to become DNC chair when he picked up the endorsement of Joe Biden. Perez is considered one of the two front-runners for the job, along with Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D), with South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttgieg (D) also having a base of support.

Media Circus: You thought the 2016 campaign was behind you? Think again. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I/D) and Ted Cruz (R) will engage in a fantasy presidential debate to stroke their egos debate the future of Obamacare next Tuesday.


AZ-Sen: Rep. Paul Gosar (R) quickly shot down a boomlet of speculation this week that he was interested in a primary challenge to Sen. Jeff Flake (R). Flake, a moderate to libertarian conservative who opposed Trump, is already facing ex-State Sen. and 2016 candidate Kelly Ward (R), while State Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) and Reps. David Schweikert (R) and Trent Franks (R) have also been mentioned as possible primary challengers.

IN-Sen: Rep. Susan Brooks (R) will not run for the seat of Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). Fellow Reps. Luke Messer (R) and Todd Rokita (R) are widely thought to be exploring challenges to Donnelly, so Brooks’s decision could thin the primary field.

SC-5: State Sen. and 2010/14 Gov nominee Vincent Sheeheen (D) will not run for this seat, depriving Democrats of arguably the only candidate who could seriously put the medium-red seat in play. On the other side of the aisle, businessman Tom Mulikin (R) became the second Republican to declare a candidacy here, joining State Rep. and 2006 nominee Ralph Norman (R). Fellow State Rep. Tommy Pope (R) is also thought to be considering a bid, along with potentially some others. Assuming Rep. and OMB Director designate Mick Mulvaney (R) is confirmed in the next few weeks, the primary for this seat will be in late April.


GA-Gov: Georgia Democrats are salivating over the prospect of ex-US Attorney Sally Yates (D) running for Governor. Yates is currently enjoying her 15 minutes of national fame after being fired as acting US AG for insubordination by Trump on Monday, but has strained relations with some local Dem leaders. In addition, her newfound national liberal profile may not be an asset in what is still a red state. In addition to Yates, possible Dem candidates here could include State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D), 2014 nominee and ex-State Sen. Jason Carter (D), and 2014 US Senate nominee Michelle Nunn (D).

IA-Gov, IA-LG: LG Kim Reynolds (R) is set to ascend to the top job when Gov. Terry Branstad (R) departs to become Ambassador to China. But the question of what happens to the LG seat is a thorny one. The CW had been that Reynolds would be able to appoint her successor as LG but State Sen. David Johnson (I) is suggesting that, through somewhat convoluted legal reasoning, Reynolds will be an LG acting as Governor and thus there will be no open LG spot for anyone to be appointed to. Johnson has asked AG Tom Miller (D) for an opinion on the matter.

NJ-Gov: A new Q poll shows Gov. Chris Christie (R) hideously unpopular, with a 17/78 approval rating. Ambassador and Goldman Sachs Exec Jon Corzine Jr. Phil Murphy (D) leads LG Kim Guandagno (R) 45-29 for this year’s Gov race, though both candidates are still all but completely unknown.

OH-Gov: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) is considering a run for Governor. Whaley joins a crowded field of “B” listers considering the race on the D side, including ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), ex-AG Richard Cordray (D), ex-state Rep. and 2014 Treasurer nominee Connie Pillich (D), and State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D). Republicans seem headed for a titanic 4-way primary pileup of AG Mike DeWine (R), LG Mary Taylor (R), SoS Jon Husted (R), and Rep. Jim Renacci (R), though only DeWine has as of yet officially declared.

State & Local:

FL-Ag Comm: State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) announced a run for Agriculture Commissioner yesterday. Grimsley, who represents the state’s agricultural heartland south of Orlando, could be a front-runner for the post. Businessman and former Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) is already in the race, while 2000s-era ex-State Sen. Lisa Carlton (R) also announced yesterday that she would consider a run.

GA-AG: State Sen. Josh McKoon (R), a polarizing antiestablishment conservative, announced that he would not seek re-election, and strong speculation is that he will run for AG this cycle. If he enters, McKoon would face appointed incumbent Chris Carr (R), a more establishment-flavored conservative, in what could be a very competitive primary.

OH-Aud: State Rep. Keith Faber (R), who was State Senate President until terming out last year, confirmed what has been speculated for some time, that he will run for the open State Auditor’s seat. Faber looks like the clear front-runner for the post due to his high profile and establishment support. Termed-out incumbent Dave Yost (R) is running for AG.

Buffalo-Mayor: City Comptroller Mark Schroeder (D), a mavericky Dem, will run for Mayor this year against incumbent Byron Brown (D), who is likely to seek a fourth term. Brown retains most establishment support and starts out favored.

Cleveland-Mayor: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D), a relatively moderate Dem, will seek a fourth term this year. Jackson will face city councilman Jeff Johnson (D), who is running to his left, accusing Jackson of not paying enough attention to poor neighborhoods. However, Jackson is relatively popular and starts favored.

Oklahoma County, OK-Sheriff: Oklahoma County, OK Sheriff John Whetsel (D) abruptly announced his resignation, effective at the end of the month, yesterday. Whetsel, a 20-year incumbent, had just won re-election to a sixth term but was under investigation for financial irregularities in his office. A special election will be held later this year. Ex-State Rep. Mike Christian (R), who narrowly lost the 2016 election to Whetsel, will run.

Utah Primaries: A bill has unanimously cleared the State Senate that would mandate primary runoffs between the top two candidates in a primary if no candidate passes 35% of the vote. The bill now heads to the House.


Brexit: The House of Commons has ratified Brexit by a 498-114 margin,

Political Roundup for January 24, 2017

Brexit:  We start today’s roundup with the usurping of power by an unelected body in the United Kingdom.  No I am not talking about Queen Elizabeth II going all “King George III” and trying to claw power back from Parliament.  Instead the UK Supreme Court has morphed into its American counterpart and started exercising the “Divine Right of the Robed” and ordered the UK Parliament to hold a Brexit vote.


GHWB:  Former President George H.W. Bush was moved out of the ICU yesterday and is recovering from pneumonia.  Former First Lady Barbara Bush was discharged from the hospital.  We wish the Bushes well in their recoveries.

Trump Organization:  President Trump continues to move away from the management of his business empire, the Trump Organization.  Paperwork has been filed to remove him from management roles while he retains an ownership interest.

Size of Government:  Politico Magazine looks at how President Trump might be serious about shrinking the size of government. Hopefully Trump can be successful in his desire to slash spending because eliminating one dollar of spending is always difficult.

DNC:  The DNC Chairman race will likely go to the February DNC meeting as evidenced by last night’s forum where none of the candidates seem to think this thing will be resolved before the DNC meeting in Atlanta.


FL-4:  Representative John Rutherford (R) is recovering from a digestive system flare-up last week.  Rutherford was taken from the Capitol on a stretcher after having an acute digestive problem last week.  We wish Representative Rutherford well in his recovery.

CIA/KS-4:   Mike Pompeo is no longer a member of the House of Representatives as he was confirmed as CIA Director on Monday.  This will trigger a special election for his former congressional seat.


CA-Gov:  Democrats are battling over whom can stand up the most to President Trump in the race to replace retiring Governor Jerry Brown (D-Last Line of Sanity in California).  Several Democrats are vying for the top two primary spots in 2018 for the right to prove who will stand up to Trump more than the other candidate.

MN-Gov:  Governor Mark Dayton (D) collapsed while giving his State of the State address. Dayton was able to leave on his own from the Capitol and was examined by EMTs at home.  We wish Governor Dayton well.

Political Roundup for January 6, 2017


Electoral college certification: It appears that some House Democrats are considering challenging the certification of electoral college votes when the House and Senate meet in joint session for that purpose today. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D), Bobby Scott (D), John Conyers (D) and Jamie Raskin (D) have indicated they may do so. The objection must also be signed by a senator, and there do not appear to be any that intend to sign on to an objection. The grounds appear to be claims that as many as 50 Republican electors were ineligible to vote for various reasons. If an objection does happen, then both houses would debate the matter. Of course as Republicans control both houses, there is virtually no chance of the objection going anywhere.


TX-Sen: Former George W. Bush advisor and strategist Matthew Dowd is considering running against Sen. Ted Cruz (R) as an independent. Dowd has roots in both parties, beginning his career working for Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D) and LG Bob Bullock (D) before working for the RNC and on Bush’s presidential campaigns. Dowd says he would not caucus with either party if he won.


GA-6: Democrat Jon Ossoff is joining the race to replace HHS Secretary-designate Tom Price (R). Ossoff has financial backing that the other Democratic contenders don’t have that could give him a leg up on other Democrats. Ossoff, who runs a firm specializing in anti-corruption investigations also has the backing of Reps. John Lewis (D) and Hank Johnson (D), both of whom he has worked for. 3 other Democrats are running while only one Republican, state Sen. Judson Hill (R) has announced a run so far – other Republicans are expected to get in the race. The race will be run by Louisiana-rules top two, where all candidates run on the same ballot with a runoff between the top two if nobody receives a majority.

MT-AL: Another Democrat is getting in the race to replace Interior Secretary-designate Rep. Ryan Zinke (R).  Rob Quist, a musician and performer who is well-known in the state’s music landscape is running, joining 3 Democratic state representatives. Quist has garnered the endorsement of former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D). 3 Republicans – two state senators and one state representative – are running as well.


Governor’s races in general: Governing Magazine takes a look at all of the governor’s races in 2018 and rates them all as either vulnerable, potentially vulnerable or safe. They also play Great Mentioner and look at possible candidates in most of the races.

CA-Gov: Former pro football player Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier says he plans to run for governor next year. Grier has two things however which make his candidacy a longshot-he’s a Republican and he is 84 years old. Grier has supported candidates of both parties in the past-he was an aide to Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign and was present when Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, he also supported Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 and endorsed Donald Trump last year.

NJ-Gov: After previously deciding against a run, state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D) has changed his mind and will run for governor after all. Lesniak, a frequent Chris Christie critic and progressive champion is one of the longest serving legislators in the state having been first elected to the Assembly in 1978 and the Senate in 1983. He is considered a decided underdog to investment banker Phil Murphy in the Democratic primary as Murphy has consolidated support and kept the strongest challengers to him out of the race.

FL-AG: AG Pam Bondi (R) seems likely to be appointed to some position in the Trump Administration, though it’s not clear what she will be doing. Gov. Rick Scott (R) will appoint her replacement, and according to the state constitution, since less than 28 months will be left in her term, the appointment does not need confirmation by the Legislature. The question is will Scott appoint a caretaker or somebody who intends to run in 2018? Two possible caretaker replacements have been mentioned-Pete Antonacci, a former general counsel to Scott and former state Rep. Tom Grady (R), a friend of Scott and an appointee by Scott to the State Board of Education. Jesse Panuccio is somebody who Scott could appoint who may wish to run for the office himself. Panuccio is also a former general counsel to Scott who is considered a rising star in the state GOP. Senate President Joe Negron (R) is said to be interested in running for AG himself-appointing someone who plans to run could upset the relationship between Negron and Scott.


DNC: South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) is getting in the race for chairman of the DNC. Buttigieg considered running before but had previously decided against it. Buttigieg seems like a longshot and may be using the candidacy to draw attention to himself as someone who is considered a rising star in the party. Rep. Keith Ellison (D) and outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez are considered the frontrunners for the position. Three state party leaders are also in the running.

Tom Steyer: Liberal billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer sank nearly $88 million of his own money into races in 2016, but didn’t get much return on his investment. Out of 8 candidates he supported with his NextGen Climate Action Committee SuperPAC, only 4 won. 3 Senate candidates he supported won-Tammy Duckworth, Maggie Hassan, and Catherine Cortez Masto, while Katie McGinty, Deborah Ross, and Ted Strickland lost. He also endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and supported Roy Cooper for governor in North Carolina. The record is a little better than the 3 out of 7 candidates he supported in 2o14 with over $75 million. That’s $163 million he’s spent in the last two cycles with little to show for his efforts.

Political Roundup for December 16, 2016


Electoral College: Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig claims he is confident of at least 20 Republican electors that will refuse to vote for Donald Trump when the electors officially vote next week. However, only one elector, Chris Suprun of Texas has said publicly he will not vote for Trump, and GOP officials are confident that there will not be any mass resistance among Republican electors and expect nearly all of them to vote for Trump.


ME-Sen: State Sen. Eric Brakey (R) has ruled out a run for governor but says he might run for US Senate against Sen. Angus King (I) in 2018,. Brakey is a rising star in the state party and won 62% in his re-election bid in a competitive Senate district. Gov. Paul LePage (R) has also discussed taking on King as well.

CA-34: Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D) now appears to be the favorite to take the seat of Rep. Xavier Becerra (D) now that former Assembly Speaker John Perez (D) has dropped out of the race. Gomez has racked up endorsements from many state and national Hispanic leaders, as well as that of Sen-elect Kamala Harris (D). There is no date yet set for the special election as Becerra must wait for the Legislature to return to session next month to be officially confirmed to replace Harris as California Attorney General.

MN-5: Potential candidates continue to weigh their options for a potential special election for this seat in case Rep. Keith Ellison (D) is elected to head the DNC. State Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL) has decided against running for the potential race. Two other state senators, Patricia Torres Ray (DFL) and Jeff Hayden (DFL) are indicating interest, and state Rep. Peggy Flanagan (DFL) says she intends to run if Ellison steps down.

TN-4: Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) has won the title of the House’s quietest member in terms of speeches on the House floor. DesJarlais only spoke once on the House floor in this Congress, a 1 minute speech about the National Cornbread Festival in his hometown of South Pittsburg, TN. Two congressman spoke less, but they only served brief terms-Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R) of Mississippi who died in Jan. 2015, and Rep. James Comer of Kentucky who has only been in office a few weeks. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R) of Pennsylvania was the most talkative member on the floor, speaking at least once on 209 separate days.

State & Local:

CA-Gov: Outgoing Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingin (R) says she does not plan to run for governor in 2018. Swearingin was among a short list of possible Republican contenders for the race. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) appears to be the GOP’s best prospect, but he is considered by many to be unlikely to run.

FL-Gov: Outgoing Rep. Gwen Graham (D) has been considered a likely candidate for governor in 2018. But she has delayed making a final decision as her husband is treated for prostate cancer. She did sound like a likely candidate though saying in an interview that “every part of me wants to run for governor.”

Houston Mayor 2019: Pro Wrestler Booker Huffman, known as Booker T in the WWE world has announced a run for mayor in 2019. Huffman did not say what party he would run under. Current Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) was first elected in 2015 and it is not known if he will seek re-election.


DNC: Outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez is officially in the race to head the DNC. Perez is supported by President Obama and is the main opposition to Rep. Keith Ellison (D). Ellison responded to Perez’s entry into the race by rolling out a list of endorsements including 9 US Senators and 9 members of the House. Among those senators is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and outgoing and incoming Senate Minority Leaders Harry Reid (D) and Chuck Schumer (D). He also has endorsements from 15 state party chairs or vice chairs, who are among those that will vote in the February election. Perez has endorsements from 2 of those, although there were a dozen total that sponsored the conference call announcing his candidacy.

RNC: Trump has recommended Michigan GOP Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel to head the RNC as a reward for helping Michigan go Republican for the first time since 1988. McDaniel, who is the niece of Mitt Romney has not been involved in politics very long, working on her uncle’s campaign in 2012 and being elected Michigan’s Republican National Committewoman in 2014. McDaniel’s mother and namesake Ronna Romney ran twice for the US Senate-losing in the Republican primary to Spencer Abraham in 1994 and was the GOP nominee against Sen. Carl Levin (D) in 1996. McDaniel, unlike her uncle has been a supporter of Trump since he secured the nomination.

Sheriff Joe: As Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) prepares to leave office(finally), he is wrapping up his years long investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate. He says that the investigation was never about where Obama was born, but about a possible forged government document and that the investigation has “concluded” that the birth certificate was forged. I’m sure all of the remaining birthers will be glad to know he’s finally “solved” the case.

Political Roundup for December 15, 2016

Good morning from now frozen Chester County, Pennsylvania, a county where the post-election Trump would have had a 50/50 shot of winning instead of losing by high single digits.  Now it is time for the news:


Trump-Ohio:  Ohio voters are confident President-Elect Donald Trump (Who Knows?) will bring the change they desire.  The voters surveyed seem to be expecting all things from Trump including cutting the deficit, which he has no problem blowing up from his own statements.  Trump is a transactional guy.  Everything is negotiable.

Trump-Bulldozer:  Conrad Black describes President-Elect Trump as a bulldozer heading at 6omph towards a pile of destruction caused by decades of mismanagement and misgovernance.  I do not disagree with Black in his assessment.  I think Trump is going to get a lot of leeway from his supporters because the situation is viewed as being so bleakly by them.

Trump-Tech:  The technology world is warming up to Trump as leadership from Tesla and Uber are getting on board the Trump economic advisory group.  It will be interesting to see if a”newer tech” is breaking from the existing “new tech”.

Celebrities:  If anyone wanted to enrage the Great Unwashed and get me to jump in front of their angry mob, it is the celebrities who think since they try to entertain us (emphasis on try) that they have the right to blabber their incoherent ideological garbage everywhere all the time.  Now some are trying to directly appeal to electors to get them to vote against Trump.  Cannot we all just cut the cord, stop going to theaters, and ignore them?


NC-Gov:  In the dying days of Governor Pat McCrory’s administration, the Republican dominated NC General Assembly is busy rescinding the powers given McCrory (R) in light of Governor-Elect Ray Cooper (D) taking office soon.  Nothing causes partisans to hate executive power like the opposite party having it.


Conservatism/Populism:  The Federalist has a good look at how populism and conservatism need each other to succeed and how the former is breathing life into the latter.  One key part of that fusion I see happening is the decline of libertarianism in the Republican Party as libertarianism is usually in conflict with populism.

Middle America:  CNN looks at how the Democrats lost Middle America by looking at their fall from grace in Dubuque, Iowa.

Libertarians:  Speaking of libertarians, it appears the group will most likely be a strong part of the resistance to Trump.

DNC:  Organized labor is having a hard time as of late.  After the “yuge” surge of support among private sector union members for Trump, they cannot figure out who they want as DNC chair.  At what point do the private sector unions completely bolt the Democratic Party as their membership has no home there?

Political Roundup for December 14th, 2016

As the holidays near, expect a few more announcements of campaigns for 2018. A few pols always get started early, and the news usually starts dropping right now. Buckle up; the permanent campaign rolls on!

Last Night in GA-SD-54, Chuck Payne (R) at 36% and Debby Peppers (I) at 27% advanced to a January 10 runoff. Republicans took the rest of the vote.


Electoral College: It looks approximately 30 Presidential Electors are attempting to go rogue. They sent James Clapper an open letter asking him to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. Unfortunately for them, only one of their number is bound to Trump. El Presidente-Elect has 35 more to spare, so I don’t think that he’s very worried about these clowns.

Shy Tory Effect: The boys and girls over at the Post’s Monkey Cage blog examine polls from the election and conclude that there may have in fact been a Shy Trump Vote.


MN-Gov: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D) has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the governor’s mansion that Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is leaving vacant after 2018. Expect this field to grow a lot more before all is said and done, especially on the Democratic side of things.

NM-Gov, NM-1: Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D) kicked off her NM-Gov bid yesterday. Click through for our full post on the decision and the implications for NM-1.

NY-Gov/??: Outgoing Rep. Chris Gibson (R-Indecision) had previously ruled-out a run for statewide office. Now it looks he’s changed his mind. He’s now raising money for a statewide run. For now I’m going to assume that it’s for Governor, but given his apparent willingness to change his mind, I wouldn’t rule out a row office run.

OH-Gov/Sen: Former Gov. Ted Strickland (D, unfortunately for them) indicates that he might not be done running for office. As with the previous story, I’ll assume that he’s talking about another gubernatorial bid, seeing as he lost his last one by a lot less than his recent senatorial thumping courtesy of Sen. Rob Portman (R). He could run for Senate again if Sherrod Brown were to leave his seat vacant for some reason, though.

WI-Gov: State Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) has decided against a gubernatorial bid against incumbent Gov. Scott Walker (R-Conservative Valhalla) in 2018. Shilling just barely squeaked by in a contest with former State Sen. Dan Kapanke (R) by 58 votes a few weeks ago. I could see how that would dissuade her from running for statewide office, but given her geographic base, she’d probably be a decent candidate for the beleaguered WI Democrats.


OH-Sen: The 2016 elections are barely over, but Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) has already sent out his first breathless fundraising email for 2018. To be fair, I’d be scared too if I were a Democrat and my state had just leapt four points to the right.


MT-AL: Trump has tapped Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) to be Secretary of the Interior. We covered this and warmed-up the Great Mentioner Machine yesterday.


Detroit Elections: MI Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R) has decided to audit Wayne County’s electoral mechanisms. Not only were 59% of the precincts in Detroit ineligible for the recount due to the number of votes not matching poll books, but almost two thirds of those precincts recorded more votes than the books showed. Methinks some people might be wearing orange jumpsuits soon.

DNC: Labor Secretary Tom Perez has moved forward with his campaign to be DNC Chairman. He presumably has President Obama’s backing. is job is presumably to prevent the Democrats from going Full Corbyn and picking Keith Ellison, whom the President opposes.

Special Elections: Here’s a great article on special election turnout that uses yesterday’s election for GA-SD-54 as a test case. I hope that the author will write a follow-up piece now that the election has been held.

VA- Voter ID: A Federal Court has upheld Virginia’s Voter ID law.

WV-County Offices: Hoppy Kercheval, resident Mountain State political expert over at the MetroNews, breaks down the turnover in local offices that happened last month.