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Political Roundup for October 13, 2017


MT-Sen: In an unusual twist, a husband and wife have both joined the race for US Senate, with each running in separate primaries. James Dean, a financial advisor is running in the Republican primary, while Sarah Dean, a fashion designer is running in the Democratic primary. Neither has ever run for political office before. Sarah Dean is the first Democrat to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the primary, while James Dean joins state Sen. Al Olszewski (R), State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) and businessmen Troy Downing and Ron Murray in the Republican primary. Yellowstone County district judge Russell Fagg, who retires from the bench today, is also considering running in the Republican primary.

TN-Sen: Ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) is seriously considering joining the GOP primary for Senate. Fincher, who retired last year after serving 3 terms in the House, recognizes the uphill battle he would seem to have against Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), but he says he’s used to a challenge. One point in his favor is that he has $2.3 million leftover in his campaign account from his runs for Congress that he could use for a Senate run. He says he plans to make a decision soon, but didn’t give a specific date.

UT-Sen: Boyd Matheson, head of the Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based conservative think tank, and former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee (R), is considering running against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), if Hatch runs for re-election. Matheson met with former White House strategist Steve Bannon in Washington last week about the possibility of running. Bannon said Matheson had set up an exploratory committee for a possible run, although Matheson said there is currently no such committee and there is no specific deadline when he plans to announce a possible run.


CA-36: Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a former soap opera actress who now is an avocado grower and also owns an interior design company, is running for Congress as a Republican. Pelzer, who appeared on the soap operas “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” spoke in support of Donald Trump at last year’s Republican National Convention. Former Palm Springs TV news anchor Dan Ball has also discussed a possible run as a Republican as well. Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) is running for re-election.

FL-6: As Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) decides whether to run for re-election or possibly run for governor, one candidate isn’t waiting for DeSantis to decide. John Ward, a multi-millionaire business investor and Navy veteran has announced he is running in the Republican primary as a pro-Trump outsider. Nancy Soderberg, a former National Security Council official and an Ambassador at the United Nations for the Clinton Administration is running as a Democrat.

GA-6: Former Atlanta TV news anchor Bobby Kaple is planning to run for Congress as a Democrat. Kaple says he left his job last month as a morning and noon news anchor for the local CBS affiliate in preparation for a run. Jon Ossoff (D), who lost to Rep. Karen Handel (R) in a June special election has not decided whether to run again. Kaple says he plans to run whether or not Ossoff does-and points out he resides in the district, unlike Ossoff.

MT-AL: State Rep. Tom Woods (D) has joined the Democratic primary for Congress. Woods is the first candidate with political experience to run, joining attorney John Heenan and nonprofit director Grant Kier in the Democratic primary.

NM-2: Andrew Salas, former adjutant general of the New Mexico National Guard, is running for the Republican nomination for Congress. He joins a race without a clear frontrunner after the recent surprising departure of state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, Jr. (R) from the race to replace Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who is running for governor. Also running in the Republican primary are state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R), former Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman, and pharmacist Jack Volpato. Salas is making his first bid for political office, although his wife Martha Salas is currently chairwoman of the Socorro County Board of Commissioners.

PA-8: Lawyer Dean Malik is challenging Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) in the Republican primary. Malik planned to run in 2016, but says he was pushed aside and forced to drop out after Fitzpatrick joined the race to fill the seat left open by his brother, former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R). Malik is criticizing Fitzpatrick for not being supportive enough of President Trump’s agenda.

PA-11: Businessman Andrew Lewis has announced he is running for the Republican nomination for this open seat. He joins state Rep. Stephen Bloom (R) and former state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser in the GOP primary. Also, Denny Woolf, former state agriculture secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell (D) from 2003-2009 has put his name in for the Democratic nomination. Woolf joins Air Force veteran Alan Howe in the Democratic primary.

Governor & state offices:

IL-Gov: The first Democrat to run for governor has become the first major candidate to drop out. Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar (D) has left the race, citing fundraising difficulties. Pawar’s exit could help state Sen. Daniel Biss (D), with whom Pawar had been battling for support from progressives and supporters of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Businessmen J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy are battling for support from the establishment, Hillary Clinton-supporting wing of the party. Although Biss could benefit from his support, Pawar says he has no plans to endorse any of the other candidates at this time. but won’t rule it out later.

ME-Gov: State Sen. Mark  Dion (D) is joining the most crowded primary race in the country, for the Democratic nomination for governor. Dion is also a former 3 term sheriff of Cumberland County, which includes the state’s largest city of Portland. He is one of 10 Democrats running in the primary-other major candidates include AG Janet Mills (D), state Sen. James Boyle (D) and former state House Speaker Mark Eves (D). Sen. Susan Collins (R) is expected to announce today whether she will join the list of Republicans running. Republicans already in the race are former state Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew, State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) and state House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R).

MD-Gov: Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a consulting firm owner, is joining the very crowded Democratic primary for governor. Although Cummings is a political novice herself, she has a well-known last name as the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D). Cummings is the 8th person to run for the Democratic nomination to face Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Other major candidates running include Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz (D), state Sen. Richard Madaleno (D), and former NAACP head Benjamin Todd Jealous.

RI-Gov: Former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson (D) is challenging Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) in the Democratic primary. Dickinson recognizes that his bid is a longshot, but wants to provide competition to the governor and provide an alternative. If he doesn’t win the nomination, he says he would be inclined to support Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) if he runs again and wins the Republican nomination.

FL-AG: State Rep. Frank White (R) is considering running for Attorney General. White is in his first term in the Florida House. Two other Republicans are already in the race-former state Rep. Jay Fant (R) and former Hillsborough County District Judge Ashley Moody. Both have already begun fundraising and  have raised six figure sums.

Political Roundup for August 11, 2017


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).


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.


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 18, 2017

First off today, there are a pair of elections to preview, one domestic and one international. There is just a single legislative special of note today, a primary for RI-SD-13, a D+17 (2016) seat covering most of Newport and all of Jamestown, on the next island to the west. Four Dems are facing off.  School board member David Hanos (D) looks like the slight front-runner, as he has establishment support and the endorsement of the prior incumbent. but well-funded Newport councilman John Florez (D), attorney Dawn Euer (D), and state official David Allard (D) are all running serious campaigns and any could come out on top. The D primary winner should be favored in the 3-way August general over 2014 nominee Michael Smith (R), who lost by a respectable 10 points three years ago to the powerful prior incumbent (the then-Senate President), and center-left Gov. Chaffee admin official Kim Ripoli (I). There is also an NH House primary and a general, which we don’t cover as a quiet protest against the NH House’s insane size.

Today is also the general election in Bermuda. Bermuda is an island 650 miles east of the Carolina coast, with a total land area roughly 2/3 the size of Manhattan. It is a British territory, but has home rule powers that are in practice absolute in domestic policy, and even some foreign policy functions. Its population of 65K is roughly 60% black and 35% white. Offshore finance and tourism are the only economic drivers of significance; while Bermuda is extremely wealthy, that prosperity comes with an astronomically high cost of living (the average house price is $1M, for example). Bermuda has a 36-member parliament elected in the standard British first-past-the-post system. It has a two-party system of the incumbent center-right One Bermuda Alliance and the center-left Progressive Labor Party. The two parties tend to be quite evenly matched; 1985 was the last time either took more than 55% of the vote.The OBA had just a 19-17 majority in the outgoing parliament, and the election was triggered by two renegade OBA MPs breaking with the government and bringing it down. Reporting on the election is sparse, but the one recent poll of the election showed the OBA likely strengthening its hand. Now the (huge list of) the rest of the day’s news:


AZ-Sen: Trumpist forces, possibly including the White House itself, are seeking to target Sen. Jeff Flake (R) in the GOP primary. There are apparently two recruiting targets: State Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) and ex-AZGOP chair Robert Graham (R), with ex-State Sen. and 2016 candidate Kelli Ward (R), who is already in the race, as a backup option. A bruising primary against Flake would likely be good news for Dems targeting this seat as a pickup opportunity; Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) are thought to be interested in bids.

MO-Sen: Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R) will not seek the Senate seat of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). AG Josh Hawley (R) remains the GOP’s clear recruiting target for this race.

MT-Sen: State Auditor (Insurance Commissioner) Matt Rosendale (R) is “95 percent there” on a decision to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) and will likely decide within the month, according to unnamed insiders. Rosendale is clearly the GOP’s third option for the race against Tester after Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) was appointed interior secretary and AG Tim Fox (R) declined a bid. Rosendale, who has some self-funding ability, would likely be the front-runner in the primary if he entered, joining State Sen. Al Olszewski (R), judge Russ Fagg (R), and storage company owner Troy Downing (R).

WV-Sen: Former mining executive Don Blankenship (R), recently released from prison after serving a year for safety violations during his tenure, is considering a Senate run. Blankenship would join AG Patrick Morrisey (R) and Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) in the GOP primary; needless to say, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) would likely relish making the race a referendum on Blankenship’s polarizing nature in the state.


AL-Gov: At this point we need to start making lists of who isn’t running for Governor of Alabama. State Sen. Paul Sanford (R) says he has been receiving encouragement to run, as he is stepping down from the Senate due to self-imposed term limits. Sanford doesn’t sound too enthusiastic about the idea though, as he says he hasn’t raised any money and probably won’t enter the race. Should he enter the primary he could join the following candidates who are in or exploring the race: Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), PSC Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), State Sen. Bill Hightower (R), businessman Josh Jones (R), and minister Scott Dawson (R). ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) are exploring runs on the D side. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not indicated her plans.

AK-Gov: State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) will run for Governor, becoming the first major candidate into the race. Centrist Gov. Bill Walker (I) has not indicated if he will seek re-election, and it is unclear whether either or both parties will seek to go after him aggressively should he seek a second term.

FL-Gov: State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) will presumably announce a run for Governor on August 16. Latvala, a moderate who is considered a kingmaker among insiders in Tallahassee but has little name recognition outside his Pinellas County base, would be a credible but long-shot primary contender against front-running Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R). State House Speaker Rich Corcoran (R) is also considering a run; Dems have a primary between ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), and potentially multiple others.

IA-Gov: Retired businessman Fred Hubbell (D), a major Dem donor, is the latest Democrat into this primary, which is becoming ridiculously crowded. Hubbell joins State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), State Rep. Todd Prichard (D), ex-IADP chair Andy McGuire (D), former Gov. Vilsack CoS John Norris (D) ex-Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn (D), and 2014 State Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D). If none of the candidates cross 35% of the vote, the nomination goes to a convention, and that is looking increasingly likely here.

ME-Gov: Ex-State House Speaker Mark Eves (D) has become the latest Democrat to enter this increasingly crowded primary. Eves joins appointed AG Janet Mills (D), 2008 ME-1 candidate Adam Cote (D), lobbyist Betsy Sweet (D), and veteran Patrick Eisenhart (D) in the Dem primary; LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R) and appointed State Treasurer Teresea Hayes (I) are also in the race.

MD-Gov: As expected, left-wing State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D) is the latest Democrat to officially declare a run for the chance to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (D). Maladeno joins Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), ex-NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous (D), attorney Jim Shea (D), and Hillary aide Alec Ross (D) in the primary.

NE-Gov: Moderate State Sen. Bob Krist will leave the Republican party and run against Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as an independent, or more precisely, under a vanity third-party banner, which has lower signature requirements. The odds seem decent that Krist could become the de facto Democrat in this race, as no credible Dem has publicly indicated any interest in taking on the relatively popular Ricketts.

RI-Gov: State House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan (R) is considering a run for Governor. Should she enter, Morgan would face Trumpist ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R) in the primary; Cranston Mayor and 2014 nominee Allan Fung (R) is also thought to be considering a run. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) may face Dem primary opposition as well.

WI-Gov: Nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D) has become the second little-known Democrat to declare a run against Gov. Scott Walker (R), joining businessman Andy Gronik (D) in the primary. State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), Madison Mayor Paul Soglin (D), and State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) are all considering runs as well.

WY-Gov: Businessman Bill Dahlin (R) is the first candidate to declare for Wyoming’s open-seat gubernatorial race. It’s still too early to speculate how serious a candidate Dahlin might be, as several bigger names such as ex-Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R), SoS Ed Murray (R), and Treasurer Mark Gordon (R) are all considering this race.


CA-39: Veteran and lottery winner Gil Cisneros (D), who won a $266M lottery jackpot in 2010, is running against Rep. Ed Royce (R). Cisneros’s presumable self-funding ability may make him an attractive candidate for this hitorically-Republican Orange County seat that Hillary carried.

CA-52: Republicans look set to at least have an interesting candidate to take on Rep. Scott Peters (D). Omar Qudrat (R), a former Guantamo prosecutor and Muslim of Afghani descent, will run for this seat covering much of San Diego proper. Qudrat faces long odds in a seat that was purple but has trended strongly left in recent years.

CO-4, CO-AG: Rep. Ken Buck (R) may run for Colorado AG if AG Cynthia Coffman (R) gives up her seat to run for Governor, citing a desire to return to Colorado and his background as a former DA. Buck would likely be the favorite for the GOP nomination for AG (and trigger a competitive primary for his deep-red House seat) if he ran.

FL-6: Bill Clinton admin official Nancy Soderberg (D) has filed to run for this fairly red Daytona Beach area seat, giving Dems a credible candidate. The seat is expected to be open as Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) has pledged a three-term limit; DeSantis is speculated to be interested in either a bid for Governor or Florida AG.

MI-11: Detroit city official Fayrouz Saad (D), who previously worked in the Obama administration, will run against Rep. David Trott (R). This light-red suburban Detroit seat is likely to be relatively high on Dems’ radars as a pickup opportunity, but it’s unclear if Saad is their choice recruit here.

NM-1: Immigration attorney Michael Hendricks (R) has become the second Republican to enter the race for this medium-blue Albuquerque seat, joining ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Janice Arnold-Jones (R). Democrats have a crowded primary for this open seat with ex-NMDP chair Deb Haaland (D), Albuquerque councilman Pat Davis (D), and ex-US Attorney Damon Martinez (D) seem the top candidates.

TX-23: Ex-Rep. Pete Gallego (D) has filed for a third matchup with Rep. Will Hurd (R) after coming up short in both 2014 and 2016. Gallego says that the outcome of upcoming re-redistricting that may affect this purple district in either direction will not have an effect on his decision on entering the race.

WV-2: Former congressional staffer and Hillary campaign operative Talley Sergent (D) will run against Rep. Alex Mooney (R). Mooney has underperformed in his two prior races but this very Trumpist district is tough terrain for any Democrat, particularly one tied to Hillary. However, Mooney made another strange decision recently by tapping sitting Maryland State Sen. Michael Hough (R) as his CoS, highlighting Mooney’s own craven carpetbagging across the Potomac. Hough will not resign his legislative seat to take the job with Mooney.

WV-3: Physician Ayne Amjad (R) is the latest candidate into this open-seat race covering southern West Virginia. Amjad will face ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Snuffer (R), and potentially others, in the primary; State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

State & Local:

CO-SoS: Jena Griswold (D), Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) DC liason, will run for Secretary of State next year. Griswold looks like the top Democratic choice to take on incumbent Wayne Williams (R) as she is receiving most establishment support. In tangentially related news, the Williamses may be on their way to replacing the divorcing Rep. Mike and AG Cynthia Coffman as the COGOP’s power couple, as Williams’s wife Holly (R) will run for a safely Republican seat on the El Paso County commission.

CO-Treas: State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R), who represents a deep-red seat in the Denver exurbs, will run for the open State Treasurer seat. Lawrence joins fellow State Rep. Justin Everett (R) and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn (R) in the GOP primary. State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is considered the most likely Dem nominee for this open seat; incumbent Walker Stapleton (R) is termed-out and likely to run for Governor.

GA-Ins Comm: Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens (R) won’t seek a third term in 2018. Hudgens’s decision leaves a third Row Officer seat open in addition to the LG and SoS posts vacated by gubernatorial candidates. Hudgens’s top deputy, Jay Florence (R), quickly filed to seek the seat.

ID-Treas: Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre (R) will run for the open State Treasurer seat, joining investor Kevin Jones (R) in this primary. Five-term incumbent Ron Crane (R) is retiring.

LA-Treas, LA-PSC-2: Qualifying closed for the Louisiana Treasurer special on Friday of last week, and there appear to be three major candidates: State Sen. Neil Riser (R), State Rep. John Schroeder (R), and Gov. Jindal admin official Angele Davis (R). One Some Dude Democrat also filed, and may be able to make the runoff on Dem votes but probably stands zero chance of winning. Qualifying also closed for the PSC-2 seat, a heavily Republican seat around Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Three Republicans signed up, Edwards-appointed incumbent Damon Baldone (R), who was a D State Rep. but filed as a “Republican”, ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R), and physician Craig Greene (R).

MO-Aud: State House Speaker Todd Richardson (R) is preparing to run for State Auditor against appointed incumbent Nicole Galloway (D). Galloway is the only Democrat holding a Row Office in Missouri, a post she was appointed to after her Republican predecessor committed suicide. Richardson looks likely to be the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

OR-Lab Comm: Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) announced last week that he would not seek a third full term in the nominally non-partisan post. Avakian has been known as one of the most aggressive Social-Justice-Warriors in high office, which led him to be polarizing even in his blue state and lose his bid to move up to SoS in 2016. Avakian’s most likely successor is probably one of his erstwhile rivals for the SoS post, ex-State Rep. Val Hoyle (D). Hoyle, a more mainstream liberal, already announced her intent to run, though she may face opposition from ex-State Sen. Diane Rosenbaum (D).

SC-LG: The South Carolina state ethics board has interestingly announced that it will allow LG Kevin Bryant (R) to continue to raise money for an election that won’t happen. Bryant is fundraising under a campaign for the LG job – but the state is transitioning in 2018 from a separately-elected LG to a presidential-style system where gubernatorial candidates pick their running mates. Apparently there is a legal fiction-slash-loophole that the money can be raised for Bryant to persuade someone to pick him as their running mate. More likely of course is that Bryant is planning to run for an office that has a real election (such as a primary challenge to Gov. Henry McMaster (R)) but doesn’t want to admit it yet.

CA-San Diego County-3: R-turned-I-turned-D ex-State Rep. Nathan Fletcher (D) will run for county supervisor next year in a seat covering central San Diego. Fletcher will likely face ex-DA Bonnie Dumanis (R) in what could be a high-profile contest.

Political Roundup for December 28, 2016

Today’s Roundup will be the only one of the week and our last of 2016. We will resume our regular Roundup schedule on Tuesday, January 3, 2017; until then we will have open threads as comments warrant.

In yesterday’s special election in IA-SD-45, State Rep. Jim Lykam (D) easily won a promotion to the upper chamber.


MN-Sen, MN-Gov: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) will not run for Governor and will seek reelection. The very popular Klobuchar is likely a near-prohibitive favorite for whichever post she sought.

ND-Sen: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) says she is “likely” remaining in the Senate. Add to that as much salt as you wish.

WI-Sen: Here’s a Great Mentioner piece on possible challengers to Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). General consensus is that Rep. Sean Duffy (R) will have the right of first refusal for the race, and he is apparently considering a bid.


FL-Gov: Ex-State House Speaker Will Weatherford (R) has announced he will not run for Governor in 2018. Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is considered the front-runner for the GOP nod, though several other Republicans are considering bids. Outgoing Rep. Gwen Graham (D) and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) are among the possible candidates on the Dem side.

IL-Gov: Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has kicked off his re-election bid by self-funding $50M, a signal that he once again intends to dip deep into his personal fortune to bankroll his campaign (and most likely that of ILGOP candidates downballot as well).


FL-6, FL-AG: Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) has introduced a term-limits amendment limiting House members to three terms. The measure is not going anywhere, of course, but the fact that DeSantis is sponsoring this measure as a third-term House member suggests that he is unlikely to run for a fourth term. DeSantis, who waged an abortive Senate campaign in 2016, is widely considered likely to run for Florida AG, though a second Senate run may be another possibility.

MT-AL: Ex-Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill (R), who claims he was the one who killed Bin Laden, will not run for Rep. Ryan Zinke’s (R) seat. About seven serious Republicans, including Insurance Commissioner-elect Matt Rosendale (R) and 2016 Gov nominee Greg Gianforte (R), are on record as being interested in being named as the GOP nominee at a convention.

More MT-AL: State Rep. Casey Schreinier (D) has become the second  Democrat to publicly express interest in Zinke’s seat. Schreiner joins State Rep. and 2014 US Senate nominee Amanda Curtis (D) in the convention race; he seems to be slightly more moderate than the bold progressive Curtis.

SC-5: State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who was the nominee for this seat in 2006 back when it was a Conservadem bastion, will run for the seat of OMB director nominee Mick Mulvaney (R) in the upcoming special. Norman is likely to be a front-runner in what will likely be a crowded GOP primary. State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) is to date the only other candidate on either side to express interest in the race.

UT-2: Rep. Chris Stewart (R) is in the running to be Trump’s Secretary of the Air Force. If Stewart departed he would open up a contentious GOP convention battle for the deep-red seat.

State & Local:

NYC-Mayor: Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) of Spanish Harlem will support Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D) if he runs for re-election, but pointedly didn’t rule out running if DeBlasio doesn’t run again. No indication if Mark-Viverito has any inside info on DeBlasio’s thought process or if this is just idle speculation.

FL-Ag Comm: Paul Paulson (R), a businessman who ran for Mayor of Orlando last year and got stomped in spite of self-funding six figures, will run for Ag Commissioner when the seat is open next year. Paulson has little institutional support and some minor controversies in his past, so he is unlikely to get a cleared primary, but putting in his own cash could make him a factor here.

IA-LG: Ag Commissioner Bill Northey (R) is open to serving as Gov-designate Kim Reynolds’s (R) new LG when she ascends to the top job next year. Northey had been preparing a run for the top job himself until Gov. Terry Branstad (R) was appointed as Ambassador to China.

San Antonio-Mayor: Bexar County Dem Chair Manuel Medina (D) has formed an exploratory committee for a run for Mayor. DINO incumbent Ivy Taylor (D) is already facing moderate-liberal councilman Ron Nirenberg (I); Medina would likely run to the left of both Taylor and Nirenberg.

Chicago-CD-20: “Chicago Alderman Indicted” is so trite it’s hardly worth reporting, but Willie Cochran (D) of Washington Park on the South Side has pled not guilty to fraud, bribery, and extortion charges. The charges are the standard penny-ante corruption you see so often in machine bastions like Chicago, NYC, and Philly.

DE-SD-10: Democrats have selected attorney Stephanie Hansen (D), who was New Castle County council president in the 90s, to run for this Senate seat in a February special election. Hansen’s race against 2014 nominee John Marino (R) will determine control of the chamber. The special election is likely to take place sometime in February.

Political Roundup for August 31, 2016


Field offices: If the number of field offices translates to votes, then Clinton appears well positioned in 15 key swing states. The Clinton campaign has 291 field offices to Trump’s 88 in those states. Trump has more field offices in Wisconsin than any other state, followed by Virginia and Ohio but Clinton still has more field offices in all 3 states.

Rothenberg prediction: Stuart Rothenberg is seeing a solid electoral vote win for Clinton shaping up, as shown by the fact that the Trump campaign’s boast of competing in large blue states is coming up empty and that he hasn’t secured some normally red states. He is seeing her floor at somewhere near the 332 electoral votes that Obama got against Romney in 2012.


Trump downballot effect:  Real Clear Politics’ Tom Bevan says that so far, Republican Senate candidates are not being dragged down by Trump. He points out that in the 12 most competitive Senate races around the country, Republican Senate candidates are running on average 5 points better than Trump. He also used Arizona as an example where efforts to tie Sen. John McCain (R) to Trump are not proving to be effective thus far and that voters appear to be allowing Republican candidates to express general support for him while indicating what they disagree with him on.

OH-Sen: The Democrats appear to be waving the white flag in this race as Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC is canceling two weeks worth of reserved broadcast time in several markets. This comes after the DSCC announced on Monday that they were delaying the start of their own ads. Sen. Rob Portman (R) has been building a consistently solid lead over former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in recent polls.

More OH-Sen: In another indication this race is quickly becoming uncompetitive, the Koch Brothers’ PAC is canceling $2.1 million of ad time reserved for late September because they believe Portman is in a very strong position to win re-election. The Kochs have already been spending heavily in the state to help define Strickland in a negative way and can probably claim some credit for Portman’s rising poll numbers.

TX-Sen. 2018: Former Gov. Rick Perry (R) is indicating no interest at this time in challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in a Republican primary in 2018. He points out that most of his political experience has been in the executive branch as agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor and that those talents don’t fit the US Senate.

Governor & State offices:

ME-Gov: Gov. Paul LePage (R) appeared to be hinting at possible resignation in a radio interview yesterday morning over an obscenity-laced voice mail left for a Democratic state representative over charges that he called LePage a racist. He suggested he was “looking at all options” after apologizing to the legislator and didn’t commit to finishing out his term. However, later in the day he appeared to back off, paraphrasing Mark Twain by saying “the rumors of my political demise are greatly exaggerated.” If LePage resigned, he would be replaced by State Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R).

MO-Gov: St. Louis businessman Sam Fox, who usually donates to Republicans is giving $100,000 to the campaign of Attorney General Chris Koster (D). Fox was a supporter of the campaign of State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) before Schwiech committed suicide last year.

VA-Gov. 2017: State Sen. Frank Wagner (R) is running for governor next year. He says his decision to run was influenced by the state party’s decision last weekend to use a primary as the means of selecting a nominee instead of a convention. Wagner joins former RNC chairman and 2014 Senate candidate Ed Gillespie, Rep. Robert Wittman, and Donald Trump state campaign director Corey Stewart on the Republican side.

GA-Gov. 2018: Former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) strongly endorsed Donald Trump on Monday and refused to snuff out rumors of a possible comeback in 2018. If Perdue tries a comeback, he would likely have to get past a crowded field of current Republican officeholders including LG Casey Cagle, Attorney General Sam Olens and Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

PA-AG: Bruce Beemer (D) became the new Attorney General yesterday after being confirmed by the Senate. He will serve out the rest of Kathleen Kane’s term and will be replaced next January by the winner of this November’s election.

Election Results:

AZ-Sen (R): McCain || AZ-1 (R): Babeu || AZ-2 (D): Heinz || AZ-4 (R): Gosar || AZ-5 (R): Race not yet called-Jones leads by 886 votes || AZ-PSC (R): Burns, Tobin, Dunn || Maricopa-Sheriff (R): Arpaio || Glendale Mayor: Weiers

FL-Sen (D): Murphy || FL-Sen (R): Rubio || FL-1 (R): Gaetz || FL-2 (R): Dunn || FL-4 (R): Rutherford || FL-5 (D): Lawson || FL-6 (R): DeSantis || FL-9 (D): Soto || FL-10 (D): Demings || FL-11 (R): Webster || FL-13 (R): Jolly || FL-18 (D): Perkins || FL-18 (R): Mast || FL-19 (R): Rooney || FL-23 (D): Wasserman-Schultz || FL-24 (D): Wilson || FL-26 (D): Garcia || Miami-Dade CE: Runoff between Gimenez (R) and Regalado (R)

August 30 Primary Preview: AZ & FL

This Tuesday two more states have their primaries, Arizona and Florida, and there are a ton of races to discuss, largely thanks to re-redistricting and 7 retirements triggering a massive shakeup in Florida’s House delegation. Polls close at 7p ET in most of Florida, 8p ET in the Panhandle, and 10p ET in Arizona. We’ll be liveblogging starting at 7 on Tuesday. Click Here for legislative primary previews!

Arizona: (Resources)

AZ-Sen (R): Incumbent John McCain (R) is seeking a sixth term and facing likely the toughest challenge for his seat of his career. Owing to his high profile and his reputation as a maverick with support across party lines, McCain has never faced a particularly serious challenge for re-election. But he has been long more tolerated than beloved by the AZGOP base, winning his primary in 2010 only by utterly discrediting his opponent. Fear of McCain’s campaign skill kept out all “A” list challengers and left his only primary opposition as State Sen. Kelli Ward (R). Ward, a backbench legislator from the rural northwestern part of the state who has dabbled in conspiracy theories, is no one’s idea of a top-flight challenger to a sitting incumbent; unsurprisingly, recent polls have shown McCain up by a large margin over Ward. However, distrust for McCain within the AZGOP base runs deep enough that if the race is a referendum on McCain, he could still lose, which is why McCain’s team has been hitting Ward with attack ads despite her low profile and fundraising. For now it looks like McCain will once again win renomination, but the possibility of a Ward victory on the backs of conservative opposition to McCain should not be entirely discounted. The primary winner will face Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who has won three of four elections for a light-red northern Arizona seat and is considered a strong candidate in her own right. Kirkpatrick will face a tough battle against McCain’s proven crossover support (though she may still have a chance if Hillary makes a serious play for the state). However, if Ward were to win the primary, this race would instantly become a major priority for Dems. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean R.

AZ-1 (R): This epically Mathismandered R+3 seat covers a nonsensical collection of areas, from the liberal college town of Flagstaff through the large Hopi and Navajo reservations at the northeast corner of the state, south through blood-red rural east-central Arizona, and finishing up in medium-red exurban southern Pinal County between Phoenix and Tucson. The net effect is to create a light-red district with no obvious population center or cohesion, which played perfectly into the hands of Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s (D) high name recognition in her 2012 comeback bid. With Kirkpatrick running for Senate, the seat is now open. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (R) looks like the front-runner. Babeu has long had a high profile as a hawkish-on-immigration Sheriff, but his first attempt to run for Congress in 2012 was derailed in a series of ugly stories about him allegedly having an illegal-immigrant boyfriend and allegations of abuse at a reform school he ran in Massachusetts in the 90s. As a result, he has drawn significant opposition. Rancher and 2014 candidate Gary Kiehne (R) is looking like Babeu’s most serious rival. Kiehne is able to self-fund, and came within 1% of winning the nomination in 2014. He has attracted a mix of establishment and antiestablishment support this time, receiving endorsements from antiestablishment-friendly Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) and State House Speaker and former candidate David Gowan (R). However, Kiehne has had some problems with foot-in-mouth disease in his 2014 run. Ex-SoS Ken Bennett (R) is the third candidate who seems to have some chance to win. The closest thing to an establishment candidate in this field, Bennett served a term and a half in statewide office, but his campaign skills seem mediocre as his 2014 gubernatorial bid ended in a weak 4th-place primary showing. Bennett looks likely to finish third, as evidenced by some establishment support flowing to Kiehne to stop Babeu. Finally, 2014 AZ-9 nominee Wendy Rogers (R) has a credible profile as a veteran, but her bid two years ago underwhelmed and her run this time doesn’t seem to be getting much traction. She may draw a few votes, likely from the more establishment side of the ledger at Bennett’s expense, but seems very unlikely to win. The primary winner will face R-turned-I-turned-D ex-State Sen. Tom O’Halleran (D). O’Halleran served as a Republican in the State Senate and almost won his old seat back as an Indie in 2014, but doesn’t seem to be a particularly strong candidate. As a result, he will likely need an assist in the form of a flawed GOP nominee to win – but that seems very possible with the highly flawed Babeu as the primary front-runner and the also-flawed Kiehne as his major opponent. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as a Tossup.

AZ-2 (D): This R+3 district covers most white-majority parts of the Tucson area, including the northern and eastern sides of the city and its eastern suburbs, and also including the southeast corner of the state. Two Democrats are vying to take on first-term incumbent Martha McSally (R). Ex-State Rep. Matt Heinz (D), a physician and mainstream liberal, strangely ran for this seat in the 2012 primary, getting blown out by a large margin by the prior incumbent. However, Heinz’s second run has gone better, receiving significant establishment support and credible, if not outstanding, fundraising. Heinz’s primary opponent, State Rep. Victoria Steele (D), is also a mainstream liberal with some establishment support and credible but not amazing fundraising prowess. Steele received headlines when she revealed her story of overcoming being molested as a child. For a race between two relatively evenly-matched candidates, the race has been surprisingly devoid of personal attacks; for now it looks like Heinz is a very marginal favorite, but Steele could easily win as well. As for the general, McSally has proven a strong campaigner, winning in 2014 in a slight upset, but this light-red seat will definitely be competitive through to November with either Dem. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean R.

AZ-4 (R): This R+20 seat is what was left after all of northern AZ’s Dems were soaked up into AZ-1 to make it winnable for Ds in the Mathismander. It stretches from northwestern AZ through the retiree-heavy Prescott area to Phoenix exurbs of northern Pinal County. Three-term incumbent Paul Gosar (R) has been a backbencher with antiestablishment tendencies, a profile that isn’t a terrible fit for his district. He easily won a seriously-contested 2012 primary and seemed to lock the seat down, but Gosar has a semi-credible foe this year. Buckeye (pop. 50K) councilman Ray Strauss (R) has raised little, but for some reason has attracted 6-figure spending from an outside establishment group. Thus, Gosar has felt the need to spent a not-insignificant amount raising his profile. Gosar doesn’t cut the profile of a particularly vulnerable incumbent, but the amount of cash spent on this race suggests  there may be a reservoir of discontent with him that isn’t immediately apparent. Though most indicators point to Gosar easily winning renomination and a Strauss victory would be a shocking upset, this race is still notable enough to keep an eye on in the corner of your eye. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

AZ-5 (R): This open R+17 seat covers the suburban southeast corner of Maricopa County, including eastern Mesa, Gilbert, and some of Chandler. Four Republicans are facing off for the open seat. 2014 gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones (R), a former tech executive, has unsurprisingly been the best-funded candidate. A mainstream conservative, Jones’s gubernatorial primary bid ended in a somewhat weaker-than-expected third two years ago, but her self-funding is more effective in the smaller district and she has outspent the field, which has made her a serious contender in this race. State Senate President Andy Biggs (R) is a staunch fiscal conservative who has received extensive backing from the Club for Growth. Biggs also has the endorsement of retiring Rep. Matt Salmon (R) and several other big names in the movement conservative establishment in Arizona. Outside support from the CFG and his own wealth (Biggs won the Publishers’ Clearing House Sweepstakes in the 90s) have allowed Biggs to nearly match Jones on the air. The two have been trading attacks, which could open the door to their two rivals. Ex-Maricopa County commissioner Don Stapley (R) is striking somewhat moderate notes in his campaign. This would seem a strange tactic in a deep-red seat, but this area has been somewhat friendly to moderates such as ex-Mesa Mayor Scott Smith (R). Between Biggs and Jones attacking each other, the crowded field, and his name recognition from representing essentially the entire seat on the county board, those factors could allow Stapley to slip through with a plurality. Finally, State Rep. Justin Olson (R) is somewhat antiestablishment-leaning and has a base in his large district. Olson has not been as well-funded as his rivals, but is still likely to draw a significant number of votes and could even have a chance to win if the three other candidates nuke each other and split the vote. Polling has shown the race as a three-way tossup between Jones, Biggs, and Stapley, but any of the four have a chance to win. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

AZ-PSC (R): Three of the five seats on Arizona’s Corporation (public service) Commission are up for four-year terms, all elected statewide. The GOP has a five-way primary; as all of the candidates are little-known and have raised and spent little the race is extremely muddled. Any three of the five could advance and vote-scattering may play a significant role. Incumbent Robert Burns (R) probably gets one spot on account of name rec from previously being on the ballot. Appointed incumbent Andy Tobin (R) is probably a good bet to advance as well; he has been one of the higher-profile members of the PSC from his stint as State House Speaker, unsuccessful 2014 AZ-1 run, and his new push to transfer some of the PSC’s tangential duties (like railroad regulation) to other agencies. That leaves three other candidates who are likely fighting over the last spot: Ex-State Sen. Al Melvin (R), an antiestablishment conservative who ran a brief Gov campaign in 2014, and State Rep. Rick Gray (R) and ex-Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn (R), who are both more establishment-friendly. There is no clear favorite between the three and they could also upset Burns and/or Tobin. Basically I throw up my hands in trying to handicap this primary race. As for the general, Democrats are only running two candidates for the three seats in ex-PSC member William Mundell (D) and ex-State Rep. Tom Chabin (D), who could have a chance if the D ticket is overperforming up-ballot. RRH Elections currently rates the general election contests for two of the three seats as Lean R and the third seat as Safe R.

Maricopa-Sheriff (R): Containing a majority (4M) of the state’s population, Maricopa is America’s 4th-largest county and has a PVI of R+8. The race for Maricopa Sheriff is easily the most-watched Sheriff’s election anywhere, in no small part because of the incumbent. That would be Joe Arpaio (R), a media-savvy six-term incumbent who styles himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and has been well-known and controversial for some unusual policies (most notably housing prisoners in tents and issuing them only pink underwear). Arpaio has also been one of Trump’s earliest and strongest supporters. He is quite controversial not only for his outspokenness and populist message, but also for long-running allegations of unethical behavior and favoritism. In this primary Arpaio’s major challenger is ex-Buckeye police chief and 2004 candidate Dan Saban (R). Saban lost by just 10 points to Arpaio 12 years ago before running as a Dem in 2008 (which he claims was purely as a strategic move to have a better chance of ousting Arpaio) and losing by 13; this year, he is running on a mainstream conservative platform but basically emphasizing that he isn’t Arpaio. However, as Arpaio has a high profile and a dedicated base of fans (particularly among the GOP primary electorate) that looks unlikely to be a winning strategy for Saban. An additional problem for Saban is that two other Some Dudes are running; while neither is serious they will both draw scattered anti-Arpaio votes. The primary winner will face 2012 nominee Paul Penzone (D), a retired cop who gave Arpaio his toughest challenge ever in 2012 and has released internal polling showing him competitive with Arpaio this year. However, if Saban were to upset Arpaio in the primary, the conservative county would likely revert to form and hand him an easy victory over Penzone.

Glendale-Mayor: Glendale is a western Phoenix suburb with a population of about 225K, roughly 60% White and 30% Hispanic. Its PVI is roughly R+7. The northern part of the city is suburban-to-exurban and very conservative, while the southern part of the city is something of a slumburb with a large Hispanic population. Glendale elects its mayor by Louisiana Rules Top Two, meaning that this two-person race will be decided this week. Incumbent Jerry Weiers (R) is seeking his second term. Weiers is a mainstream to slightly antiestablishment conservative, but he has often found himself opposed by a majority of the city council. He is facing a serious challenge from former city fire chief Mark Burdick (R). Burdick is running as something of a moderate and somewhat more Chamber-of-Commerce friendly than Weiers. The divides between the two are mostly very parochial (business incentives, development planning, and the like) but that doesn’t mean the race isn’t fiercely contested. It looks like there is no clear favorite this week.

Finally, there’s two other AZ mayoral races to mention: Mesa-Mayor is the race for the top job in America’s 38th-largest city. With a population of 440K, Mesa is by far America’s largest purely suburban city, and is solidly Republican with a PVI of roughly R+12. However, the mayoral election today isn’t of much interest as incumbent John Giles (R) is totally unopposed. Scottsdale-Mayor is the race to lead the northeast Phoenix suburb with a population of about 230K and a PVI of about R+8. Scottsdale is often thought of as a mini-Austin, western-hipster-chic town, but in reality that describes only a small part of the city (at its southern tip) and most of the population resides in its conservative exurban northern portion. Confusingly unlike Glendale, Scottsdale’s Mayoral race uses California Rules Top Two. As there are only two candidates, that means this round is of no consequence. Incumbent Jim Lane (R) is a mainstream conservative seeking his third full term; he faces opposition from ex-city councilman Bob Littlefield (R), an antiestablishment populist who was controversial in his three terms on the council. Lane has more establishment support and looks likely to be favored in the real election in November.

Florida: (Resources)

FL-Sen (R, D): After spending the bulk of the cycle running for President and adamantly denying that he was considering seeking re-election, incumbent Marco Rubio (R) reversed course at the filing deadline and decided to seek a second term. The gaggle of “B” list Republicans seeking the seat largely cleared for Rubio, who remains relatively popular in the state despite losing it in the presidential primary. However, one candidate, builder Carlos Beruff (R), decided to stay in the race. Beruff, a Trumpian populist with some self-funding ability, made a splash when he decided to take on Rubio, using his unapologetic Trump support as the cornerstone of his platform. Beruff also quickly received the implicit endorsement of Gov. Rick Scott (R). However, his campaign has fallen flat since then – his minor self-funding has not been nearly enough to make a dent in Rubio’s profile and popularity in the huge state. As a result, Rubio looks like a prohibitive favorite to win renomination. Democrats have a more hotly-contested primary. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) is the front-runner and the anointed candidate of the Democratic establishment. Murphy won his light-red House seat on the Treasure Coast in 2012 against the polarizing then-Rep. Allen West (R) and skated to an easy 2014 re-election over a weak opponent. Murphy’s main asset is his father’s wealth; his campaign was dealt a blow when a story dropped that he has exaggerated his resume, with good reason. Prior to his election to Congress, his accomplishments consisted largely of using his father’s money in order to pretend to be an accountant and business owner. Against a stronger candidate field, Murphy might have been vulnerable in a primary, but Murphy retains Dem establishment support, in no small part because his main opponent is a bigger basket case than him. Rep. Alan Grayson (D) is a polarizing liberal, to say the least – Grayson’s three non-consecutive terms in the House from the Orlando area have been a near-constant stream of inflammatory remarks designed to endear him to the moonbat liberal base, but which probably make him unelectable with the electorate at large. Additionally, Grayson has been under fire for domestic abuse allegations from his ex-wife and revelations of him owning a large offshore bank account. Between these two uninspiring options, Dems have been looking for alternatives. Attorney Pam Keith (D) is about as much of a non-serious Some Dude as they come, but she received the Miami Herald endorsement and seems likely to draw a non-insignificant number of protest votes. Finally, businessman and vanity presidential candidate Rocky De La Fuente (D) carpetbagged into this race from San Diego (!) at the filing deadline, and might have been a factor had he spent some of the money he flushed on a Presidential bid here, but he has been stingy for this race and looks likely to finish at asterisk level. All in all, the establishment looks like it will carry Murphy to a primary victory in spite of his flaws, and he will enter the general with at least some chance of defeating Rubio if Hillary’s coattails are long enough. However, overall Rubio has to be considered the favorite for a second term. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean R.

FL-1 (R): This open R+21 district covers the western panhandle around Pensacola and Ft. Walton Beach. Six candidates seem likely to draw a noticeable number of votes. However, there is a clear front-runner in State Rep. Matt Gaetz (R). Gaetz, son of former State Senate president Don, has lapped the field in fundraising, and the split field seems to be working strongly to his advantage. Gaetz is probably the closest thing to an establishment candidate in this race, though even the establishment in this area is clearly movement conservatives. State Sen. Greg Evers (R) was thought to be Gaetz’s major competition. Evers represents 2/3 of the district and was initially thought to be the strong front-runner because of his large base and name recognition. Evers is somewhat more antiestablishment than Gaetz, and has focused on Second Amendment issues in the legislature. However, his fundraising has been poor, and outside of a stunt to raffle off an AR-15, his campaign hasn’t gotten a whole lot of buzz. 25-year old attorney Rebekah Johansen-Bydlak (R) was thought to be a “Some Dude” level candidate, but her profile as a Paulist and young age has drawn her some national interest and endorsements, which have allowed her to fundraise credibly. She will likely draw a significant number of votes but running as a Paulist will be a tough sell in this extremely military-heavy district. Developer Chris Dosev (R) has been a factor due to his self-funding. Dosev, a veteran, is running a somewhat generic conservative campaign that would probably have gotten lost in the shuffle if it weren’t for his self-funding, which has placed him second to Gaetz in cash. Veteran and Rep. Miller staffer James Zumwalt (R), grandson of admiral and 1976 VA-Sen D nominee Elmo, could be able to tap into Miller’s network, but his fundraising has also been mediocre. While both Dosev and Zumwalt will likely draw a significant number of votes, they both seem like a long shots to actually win. Finally, businessman and 2014 Indie candidate Mark Wichern (R) got a not-insignificant 6.5% of the vote two years ago on an antiestablishment conservative platform; while he isn’t running a particularly serious campaign this time either he may have enough name recognition to draw a few votes. While in a field this unsettled an upset is definitely possible from any of Evers, Johansen-Bydlak, Dosev, or Zumwalt, it seems like Gaetz is clearly in the driver’s seat in this race. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

FL-2 (R): This open R+17 district stretches from Panama City to rural north-central Florida and includes most white-majority neighborhoods of Tallahassee. Physician Neal Dunn (R) seems to have most establishment backing. He received the endorsement of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) and has self-funded his way into a spending advantage. However, he has been hit for donating to Democrats and supporting Medicaid expansion. As a result, antiestablishment groups, including the Club for Growth, are backing Gov. Scott admin official Mary Thomas (R), who strikes more antiestablishment notes. Thomas has been well-funded herself and has outside support, and interestingly would be the first South Asian woman ever elected to Congress if she won. A third candidate, Bush 41-era ex-US Attorney Ken Sukhia (R), has a credible profile on paper, but has raised little and doesn’t seem to be able to truly compete with Dunn or Thomas. Sukhia straddles the establishment-antiestablishment line; while he may draw a significant number of votes, he doesn’t seem likely to hurt one of Dunn or Thomas more than the other. There has been no polling of this race, but the amount of money spent and the level of attacks suggest that there is no clear favorite between Dunn and Thomas. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

FL-4 (R): This open R+19 district covers most white-majority parts of Jacksonville along with suburbs in Nassau and northern St. Johns counties. Duval Sheriff John Rutherford (R) looks like the clear front-runner. As a longtime Sheriff for most of the district’s population, Rutherford has had a high profile and has coalesced most establishment support, and has been considered the front-runner since the day he entered the race. He also received some recent positive press for helping save a motorist from a car wreck on I-95 several weeks ago. Rutherford faces three credible opponents. Businessman Hans Tanzler III (R), son of a 70s-era Jacksonville Mayor of the same name, has self-funded his way into being Rutherford’s best-funded competition, hitting Rutherford from a slightly more antiestablishment angle. State Rep. Lake Ray (R) is an establishment conservative with strong Chamber of Commerce ties (he is the head of a local manufacturers’ group) and a base in his district, but he has been unable to match either Rutherford’s profile or Tanzler’s money. Finally, St. Johns County commissioner Bill McClure* (R) is the only candidate from his part of the district, but St Johns is a small part of the seat and McClure has some liabilities of his own, so he looks likely to finish fourth. The sparse polling of the race suggests that Rutherford is still very much the front-runner, but there is some chance Tanzler or Ray could pull the upset. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.
*(DISCLOSURE: McClure lobbied the legislature in support of my unsuccessful redistricting plan last year).

FL-5 (D): This dramatically redrawn D+12 district stretches from the black-majority parts of Jacksonville to black-majority parts of Tallahassee. However, it is only 45% black overall, as it also takes in some conservative rural territory. This has not been a good year for twelve-term incumbent Corrine Brown (D). After fighting to preserve her gerrymandered Jacksonville to Orlando vote sink, Brown found herself in a district where she has represented very little of the territory (only the Jacksonville portion of the seat is retained from the old FL-5). Brown has also been hit with an indictment that alleges she used a fake “charity” as a personal slush fund in a truly uninspired corruption scheme. As a result, Brown seems more likely than not to lose this race to ex-State Sen. Al Lawson (D), who hails from the Tallahassee area and has mounted two unsuccessful bids for the old FL-2 in 2010 and 2012. Lawson is a mainstream establishment liberal with his own network and geographic base – coupled with Brown’s indictment, that makes him a clear favorite. However, it’s important to remember that indictments don’t always have the same salience with black voters distrustful of the criminal justice system, so there is a slight possibility that high turnout and a huge margin in Brown’s native Jacksonville could give her the upset. Regardless, the Dem primary winner will be totally safe in the general. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D.

FL-6 (R): This R+5 district is based around Daytona Beach. Two-term incumbent Ron DeSantis (R), who is somewhat antiestablishment-friendly, was running for Senate for most of this cycle, but dropped back down to run for re-election at the filing deadline. DeSantis’s district was made somewhat more Dem-friendly in re-redistricting but is still medium-red. Most of the large field of “B” and “C” listers who had been seeking this race in DeSantis’s absence exited upon the incumbent’s re-entry, but DeSantis still faces two other Republicans. State Rep. and 2012 candidate Fred Costello (R) lost the 2012 primary to DeSantis 39-23 before returning to his State House seat in 2014; in a somewhat confusing decision, he has decided to give up his State House seat again to stay in this race and take on DeSantis. Costello is a generic establishment conservative, but this bid doesn’t seem to be capturing the attention of any outside establishment groups, and he doesn’t seem to have the campaign skills or cash of his own to take on an entrenched incumbent with a large warchest. A third candidate, realtor GG Galloway (R), is also in the race; while Galloway received some buzz while the seat was open, his impact now seems likely to be little more than peeling off some anti-DeSantis votes from Costello. The primary winner will face State Rep. Dwayne Taylor (D), who isn’t running a particularly serious campaign but could be credible enough to catch a wave. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Likely R.

FL-9 (D): This open D+4 district covers the heavily Hispanic Kissimmee-St. Cloud area and some Hispanic-heavy neighborhoods in eastern and southeastern Orlando. It was roughly 55% White and 30% Hispanic as of the 2010 census, but that Hispanic number is exploding as this area is ground zero for Puerto Rican migration to the mainland. Physician-Scientist and lobbyist Dena (Minning) Grayson (D) has had a credible career of her own in the medical field, but she is mostly running here as the (new) wife of outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson (D), promising to carry on her husband’s legacy as a bold progressive. She has been able to tap into her husband’s support base, but like Alan, Dena Grayson is enough of a loose-cannon to be shunned by much of the Dem establishment. The candidate of establishment liberals is State Sen. Darren Soto (D), a mainstream liberal with labor backing and a base in the district’s rapidly growing Puerto Rican community. Soto has drawn some fire from the left for being relatively socially moderate, which could hurt him in a primary where his Hispanic base is liable to be very low-turnout. A third candidate, Rep. Alan Grayson staffer Susannah Randolph (D), was attempting to seize the liberal Grayson mantle before Dena entered the race, but she has since made moves to distance herself from her boss. Randolph has some significant liberal outside support from groups like EMILY’s List and seems to be casting herself as a bold progressive without the Grayson drama. Finally, local D official Valleri Crabtree (D) is running as a moderate; she seems like a distinct long-shot but may draw some votes, likely at Soto’s expense. For now it looks like this race is close to a three-way tossup between Grayson, Soto, and Randolph. The winner will likely face Kissimmee councilwoman Wanda Rentas (R), who is credible on paper but doesn’t seem to be running a serious campaign. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Likely D, but that rating will likely be revised in our next update.

FL-10 (D): This dramatically redrawn open D+9 district is based on the west side of Orlando and includes its inner western suburbs. Its demographics are roughly 45/27/23 W/B/H. 2012 nominee and former Orlando Police chief Val Demings (D) has the support of the DCCC and most of the national Dem establishment. Demings narrowly lost a much more conservative version of this seat four years ago and has most establishment support, but she faces two serious challengers. Ex-FLDP chair Bob Poe (D), a former executive at the Orlando Magic NBA franchise, has been the best-funded candidate thanks to extensive self-funding. Poe has an interesting story of being openly-gay and HIV positive and has some establishment support of his own. While both Demings and Poe are mainstream liberals, Poe is running a hair to the left, which could give him some liberal grassroots support. A third candidate, State Sen. Geraldine Thompson (D), has name recognition and a base in her heavily Democratic black-majority Senate district. Thompson has some endorsements from her fellow legislators, but she has struggled with fundraising and looks likely to come in third. However, she could peel a significant number of black votes away from Demings. For now it looks like this race is something close to a Tossup between Demings and Poe. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D.

FL-11 (R): This R+12 district covers a broad swath of west-central Florida, stretching from Ocala to Orlando’s western exurbs to Tampa’s northern exurbs. Thanks to re-redistricting, this is a pseudo-open seat. Three-term incumbent Dan Webster (R) saw his old district dismantled; about half went to the new, more Democratic FL-10 and about 20% was merged with the seat of fellow Rep. Rich Nugent (R). Fortuitously for Webster, Nugent retired and Webster was able to relocate to a vacation home he already owned in this seat. However, he still faces what might be a difficult primary from Rep. Nugent staffer Justin Grabelle (R). Grabelle has the nominal support of his boss and some establishment backing, but he also lives outside the district, blunting the carpetbagger charge against Webster. The race has been highly sleepy, with neither side spending a large amount or attracting much outside support. As Webster somewhat straddles the establishment/antiestablishment line (he was a longtime state legislative leader, but also was the insurgent challenger to Paul Ryan for the Speakership) he doesn’t have either particularly strong friends or enemies in either wing. Coupled with Grabelle’s unexceptional campaign, that looks likely to notch Webster a win in his new district. However, there has been no polling of this race and the large amount of the district new to Webster could give Grabelle the upset. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

FL-13 (R): This D+3 district covers the Pinellas Peninsula around St. Petersburg and went from slightly R-leaning to slightly D-leaning in re-redistricting. Incumbent David Jolly (R) dropped back down to running for his bluer House seat when Rubio re-entered the Senate race. However, his late re-entry means he won’t face a totally cleared primary. 2014 special election candidate Mark Bircher (R), a veteran who took nearly a quarter of the vote in a special primary on an antiestablishment platform, is running again. Bircher received some positive buzz for his first bid, but his attempt to take on Jolly as an incumbent in a D-leaning district has gone nowhere this year. As a result, Jolly is the prohibitive favorite for renomination. However, the general will be a much tougher battle, as Democrats will nominate ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (R->I->D). Though Crist is something of a punchline for his shameless opportunism, he is still well-liked his native St. Petersburg and has the new lean of the district on his side. Additionally, Jolly has alienated national GOP insiders with his aversion to personally fundraising and they have signaled they are willing to punt this seat to be rid of Jolly. As a result Crist looks like a moderate favorite to pick up the seat. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean D.

FL-18 (D, R): This open R+4 district, which Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) is vacating to run for Senate, covers the Treasure Coast region and the northern suburbs of Palm Beach. Businessman Randy Perkins (D) is the DCCC’s favored candidate, in no small part because he is able to  self-fund to the tune of $3M; the DCCC forced out two more locally established candidates in favor of Perkins due to his cash. However, he still faces a competitive primary. Like many Dem primaries, this race features a divide between the national and local D establishments as a significant part of the local D establishment is backing attorney Jonathan Chane (D). Chane is running to Perkins’s left as a more liberal candidate and has significant local labor and liberal establishment support. The race has become nasty, with Chane hitting Perkins on his past donations to Republicans and Perkins hitting Chane on his work for tobacco companies. It seems like there is no clear favorite. The GOP primary is perhaps the most muddled race of the day, which is really saying something on a day with a ton of competitive contests. This race is a 6-way free-for-all, with each of the candidates having significant strengths and weaknesses and all having some chance to win. Physician Mark Freeman (R) has been the best-funded candidate thanks to extensive self-funding. Freeman is running a generic outsider-type campaign with slight antiestablishment tendencies, but his lack of ties to the district (he carpetbagged here from the Boca Raton area) may be a problem. School board member Rebecca Negron (R), wife of State Sen. Joe (R), has the deepest roots in the local establishment. She has also fundraised well and is running a relatively generic establishment conservative campaign. Veteran Brian Mast (R), a double-amputee, has an inspiring life story of military service and has fundraised well; he is running as a mainstream conservative. Ex-State Rep. and 2014 nominee Carl Domino (R) has high name recognition from his prior effort, but his 2014 campaign was beyond poor (he qualified for a “Turkey of the Year” honorable mention on the basis of his 20-point blowout loss in the light-red district to the empty-suit Rep. Murphy). Attorney and former congressional staffer Rick Kozell (R) has fundraised credibly and has some establishment support; he is running a relatively generic campaign but has not been shy about pointing out his opponents’ liabilities. Finally, pundit Noelle Nikpour (R) has a high profile with the conservative base due to many Fox News appearances, but her fundraising has been poor and she seems like a long-shot in this contest. It is clear that there is no front-runner in the GOP primary, but CW is that Freeman, Negron, and Mast have better chances to win than the other three. It’s really too early to handicap this election without nominees known other than to say that there is no clear favorite. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as a Tossup.

FL-19 (R): This open R+13 district covers the bulk of the Fort Myers and Naples areas. Businessman and former Ambassador to the Vatican Francis Rooney (R), no relation to FL-17 Rep. Tom, looks like the clear front-runner. Rooney has outspent his opponents, aided by self-funding, and has attracted some outside establishment support as well. The only poll of the race, from Rooney’s consultant, gave him a 15-point lead on his nearest competitor. That would be Sanibel councilman and 2012 candidate Chauncey Goss (R), son of ex-Rep. and CIA director Porter (R), who ran a credible campaign for this seat in 2012. Goss has name recognition from his father and a credible resume of his own as a longtime budget staffer in DC, but he has not been able to match Rooney’s fundraising and looks likely to finish second. A third candidate, 2012 MD-Sen nominee and former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino (R), is running as the most antiestablishment conservative in the field. However, he has no real ties to or network in this seat, which he moved to just a few months ago, and looks likely to finish a distant third, as evidenced by a recent caught-on-tape outburst at a reporter who questioned his carpetbagging. While an upset from Goss may be possible, for now this looks like clearly Rooney’s race to lose. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

FL-23 (D): This D+10 district covers most of suburban Broward County south of Fort Lauderdale, as well as Miami Beach. Six-term incumbent and deposed ex-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D), widely known as DWS, has drawn fire for her rocky (to put it generously) tenure at the DNC. DWS’s resignation was forced this summer after emails were leaked showing what everyone already knew: that the DNC had actively put its thumb on the scale in favor of Hillary against Bernie in the primaries. As a result, DWS has drawn a primary for her House seat from law professor Tim Canova (D). Canova is running as a moonbat and has drawn extensive national interest from BernieBros eager to topple DWS, actually raising enough to outspend the incumbent in the last few weeks. But in spite of his national appeal, Canova faces a dramatically uphill fight in this district. This heavily-Jewish seat is full of suburban establishment liberals and moderates, and has no real progressive base outside of a small contingent in the Miami Beach area. Polls have universally shown DWS leading Canova by a wide margin, and even Canova’s internals haven’t put him closer than a high single-digit deficit. As a result, while Wasserman-Schultz may be done at the DNC (and her role on the national stage may be significantly reduced) she will likely still be returning to Congress next year. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D.

FL-24 (D): This (barely) majority-black D+34 seat covers the north side of Miami and slumburbs to the north, including Miami Gardens and Miramar. Three-term incumbent Frederica Wilson (D) is a mainstream liberal backbencher known mostly for her fondness for distinctive hats (and no, they don’t say “Make America Great Again”). Wilson won a dramatically split primary with a plurality in 2010 and then prevailed by a large margin in a one-on-one race in 2012. This year she again has a credible opponent in retired NFL player Randal Hill (D). While credible on paper due to his name recognition, Hill’s campaign doesn’t seem to have gotten off the ground this year as there isn’t a huge reservoir of dissatisfaction with Wilson (and the main gripe about her, from the district’s large Hatian-American community that would like to see one of its own in Congress, isn’t one Hill could take advantage of). Thus, Wilson looks like a strong favorite for renomination. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D.

FL-26 (D): This D+4 district covers the southern portion of the Miami area around Homestead as well as the Keys. It is 68% Hispanic, but Hispanic here does not denote “Cuban” as there are significant Colombian and Puerto Rican populations; I’d guess the district is about half Cuban. Two Democrats are seeking to take on first-term incumbent Carlos Curbelo (R). This seat may be a rematch of the 2014 general; ex-Rep. Joe Garcia (D) won this seat on his third try in 2012 before losing to Curbelo in 2014. Garcia beat an ethically-challenged Republican in 2012, but he has had his own ethical issues in Congress, including his Chief of Staff being indicted in a campaign-finance scandal. Garcia has also been considered a weak candidate, as he has gone 1-for-4 in runs for this seat. As a result, national Democrats have bypassed Garcia in favor of 2014 LG nominee Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (D), who also ran against Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) in 2008. Taddeo-Goldstein has outraised Garcia, and has more establishment support, but she doesn’t have Garcia’s name recognition from his congressional term and hard-fought 2014 race. Thus, there is no clear favorite in the primary. This general election is sure to be competitive; Curbelo is a strong candidate who has machine backing and has aggressively distanced himself from Trump, who is beyond toxic here, but this seat is more D-leaning than the one Curbelo won two years ago. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as a Tossup.

Miami-Dade CE: Dade County, which is essentially coextensive with the Miami metro area, is America’s 7th-most populous county with a population of 2.7M. It has demographics of roughly 65% Hispanic (most of those being Cuban, but with significant Colombian and Puerto Rican populations in the southern suburbs) and 15% each White (mostly upscale liberals, with Jews comprising a large chunk of this bloc) and Black (with a large chunk of these being of Hatian descent). Dade has a PVI of D+10, but thanks to the effective Cuban GOP machine that dominates local politics in most of the county, both serious candidates are Republicans. The race is Louisiana-Rules Top Two, so except in the unlikely event that a handful of non-serious candidates cause both major players to be held below 50, this race will wrap up this week. The race is an internecine fight within the Cuban machine; the differences are mostly over parochial issues. Incumbent Carlos Gimenez (R) is a main-line Cuban machine Republican who has been moderately popular in office since winning a 2011 recall election. However, he has drawn a serious challenge over parochial issues (particularly a proposed transit system expansion) from school board member Raquel Regalado (R), daughter of Miami (city) Mayor Tomas (R). The issues at play here are purely parochial; Regalado is also a typical Cuban machine Republican, and both candidates have support bases across party lines (Regalado has labor support, while Gimenez has the support of most D elected officials). Regalado has her own base from her father’s network, but her campaign hasn’t really given a strong reason to fire the relatively popular Gimenez. As a result, Gimenez looks like a moderate favorite for a second full term.

One more congressional general election is worth mentioning. FL-7 is an R+2 seat covering central and northern Orlando and its northern suburbs in Seminole County. Twelve-term incumbent John Mica (R) has locked this district down, but Democrats seem somewhat enthusiastic about the last-minute entry to candidacy of professor Stephanie Murphy (D). It’s still too early to say how serious Murphy is, but this is a seat that could flip in a Trumpocalypse wave. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

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Political Roundup for June 24, 2016

UK EU Referendum: In a result that defied most predictions, expectations and polls, the UK has voted to leave the EU by a margin of 52%-48%. In light of the results, David Cameron has announced his resignation as Prime Minister and a successor will be chosen sometime before the Conservative Party conference in October.


Arizona: A new poll shows Trump in trouble in reliably red Arizona. Clinton leads 47-42(with rounding from decimal points) in a poll from Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights. The state has gone Democratic only once since 1948-Bill Clinton won it in 1996 by 2 points.

North Carolina: Clinton and Trump are tied at 43% each in a PPP poll. Those numbers are with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein included-in a head to head matchup, Trump leads Clinton 48-46.

Endorsements: Two prominent Republicans in the national security community are making opposite endorsements. Former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld is endorsing Trump, while former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft is endorsing Clinton.


FL-Sen: Although Sen. Marco Rubio (R) has the support of most Republicans in Florida and nationwide for his re-election bid, Gov. Rick Scott (R) is not among them. He praised Carlos Beruff, describing him as a good friend and saying that Florida voters should make up their own minds regardless of the “opinions of the political class in Washington”.

IL-Sen: Sen. Mark Kirk (R) is touting his decision to not support Donald Trump in a new ad. The ad also touts his independence and his bipartisan credentials, highlighting his support for a vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

NC-Sen: Sen. Richard Burr (R) leads state Rep. Deborah Ross (D) 40-37 in a new PPP poll. The results are almost identical to their last poll of the race in May where Burr lead 39-36.


FL-4: Former City Councilman Eric Smith (D), the only Democrat running for Congress for this open seat is dropping out of the race, leaving the party without a candidate. A Democrat would have an uphill chance at winning this solidly red seat anyway, and Smith has been running on his own without any help from the Democratic Party.

FL-6: While all the other major candidates have dropped out of the race in light of the decision of Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) to run for re-election, State Rep. Fred Costello (R) is staying in the race. Costello is making an issue of the fact that DeSantis does not currently live in the redrawn district.  Costello will find it tough to get his message out though as he only has $86,000 compared to DeSantis’s $3.2 million. The two also faced each other in 2012 when the seat was open with Costello finishing with 23%, second to DeSantis’s 39%.

PA-2: Rep. Chaka Fattah (D) has resigned effective immediately in the wake of his conviction this week in a racketeering case. He previously had said he would resign on Oct. 3. Fattah lost to State Rep. Dwight Evans (D) in the April congressional primary. With the short period between now and the general election in November, it is likely that any special election to fill the seat will be held concurrently with the general election.

State & Local:

MO-AG: The Republican primary for Attorney General is getting more contentious as a conservative PAC is releasing an ad criticizing state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, while Schaefer’s campaign has released an ad against University of Missouri law professor Josh Hawley that has prompted criticism. Schaefer’s ad says that Hawley was part of a legal team that argued before the US Supreme Court on behalf of a terrorist who wanted to overturn a rule barring him from growing a beard in prison. But Hawley’s name was incorrectly listed as being part of the legal team in the case, and he never had anything to do with the case. Former Sen. John Danforth (R) criticized Schaefer for the ad, saying it raises questions about his ethical judgment. The Hawley ad against Schaefer portrays him as a moderate, using footage from a previous state Senate campaign where Schaefer said “I’m a very moderate candidate”.

Political Roundup for June 23rd, 2016

Voters in the United Kingdom head to the polls today to vote on the EU referendum which will decide if Britain remains or leaves the European Union. Polls are scheduled to close at 22:00 BST  which is 5pm EST.


Trump: A Leland Beatty poll of Texas has Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump polling at 36.8% in Texas. In TEXAS! The poll has Hillary Clinton at 29.7%, Gary Johnson at 2.6% and a full 31% wanting someone else.

Johnson: Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld participated in an hour long primetime CNN Town Hall.


AL-Gov: GQ takes an interesting look at Gov Robert Bentley (R) downfall. Of note is how the grandfatherly “accidental governor” gives in to temptation and the plot his wife hatched to use her iPhone to catch him cheating on her.


AZ-Sen: A Rocky Mountain poll of the AZ Senate race has incumbent Sen John McCain (R) leading with 4o% with Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick at 31% with 29% undecided.

FL-Sen: Sen. Marco Rubio (R) announced he will run for re-election. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) and Lt Gov Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) have both ended their senate campaigns and endorsed Rubio. Polling of the GOP primary has Rubio winning in a landslide. Recently released poll of has potential GOP primary(see here) has Rubio at 57%, Beruff 5%, Wilcox 4% and Undecided 34%.

FL-Sen: CBS4 News Miami has done an investigative report into Democrat senate candidate Rep. Patrick Murphy’s history and finds that Murphy has exaggerated his experience and in other instances made claims that were misleading or outright false. Murphy seems to have repeatedly lied about being a small business owner and that contrary to his public claims Murphy never worked a day in his life as a Certified Public Accountant.


FL-6: Rep Ron DeSantis (R) ended his Senate campaign and announced he will run for re-election to the House in this likely Republican district. DeSantis now lives 30 miles outside the redrawn districts boundaries and will most likely move. Veteran Brandon Patty who was running for this seat and who Marco Rubio was scheduled to fundraise for last night has dropped out and endorsed DeSantis (see here). As has State Rep. David Santiago (R) and Republican Pat Mooney (brother of WV Rep. Alex Mooney). The Club for Growth has also come out and endorsed DeSantis’ re-election campaign.

NH-1: A frequent critic of Rep. Frank Guinta (R) is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission charging that the congressman illegally kept $81,500 of funds repaid to him by his campaign committee and improperly used general election funds for primary campaign expenditures. Guinta has been caught up in the insanity of federal campaign finance laws and faces a tough GOP primary challenge from Rick Ashooh and a general election challenge from former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in this R+1 seat.  Wealthy lawyer and businessman Shawn O’Connor who initially ran in the Democratic primary is also running in the general as an Independent.

PA-2: Convicted felon Rep Chaka Fattah (D) submited his letter of resignation effective Oct. 3, but Speaker Ryan calls for him to step down immediately.

TN-3: Independent 3rd party congressional candidate (and raving racist lunatic) Rick Tyler put up a “Make America White Again” campaign billboard over Highway 411 in Tennessee. Tyler is a long shot some dude perennial candidate who has gotten his 15 minutes of fame with this racist stunt. Rep Chuck Fleisch­mann (R) should be a safe bet for re-election in this R+16 seat.

TN-4: Conservative talk show host Mark Levin has endorsed Republican challenger Grant Starrett over incumbent “sellout” and “sleazeball” Rep Scott DesJarlais in the GOP primary for this R+18 seat.

State, Local & Other:

AZ HD-29: State Rep. Cecilia Velasquez (D) has been indicted on felony fraud and other charges linked to lying on an application for food stamps.

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