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Political Roundup for October 13, 2017

Senate:

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.

House:

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 June 23, 2017

Congress:

MO-Sen: Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) is far from announcing he plans to run for US Senate, but he isn’t ruling it out either. There is pressure for him to run-prominent GOP fundraiser Sam Fox this week said that potential donors should hold off donating to other candidates until they can convince Hawley to run. The persistent talk of Hawley possibly running is a problem for Rep. Ann Wagner (R) who has long been seen as a likely candidate. There may be something of the intraparty feud which contributed to State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) committing suicide in 2015 at play here too. Former Sen. John Danforth (R) has publicly announced his support for Hawley running-Danforth and Fox were both supporters of Schweich’s campaign for governor while Wagner was a supporter of former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, whose campaign was blamed by some for attacks which led to Schweich’s suicide. Both Danforth and Fox however have said they have nothing against Wagner, just that they think Hawley would be a better candidate.

AZ-2: Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) is planning to form an exploratory committee to run for Congress next year. Kirkpatrick would be moving districts as she previously represented AZ-1. She has moved to Tucson and is no stranger to the area as she graduated from the University of Arizona and worked in the Pima County Attorney’s office. She would potentially be joining a very crowded Democratic primary however-7 other Democrats have announced they plan to run or are considering running.

FL-7: State Rep. Mike Miller (R) is considering running for Congress next year against Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D). Miller, who is considered a moderate, may have competition for the Republican nomination. State Sen. David Simmons (R) has said before he is 98% sure he would run, but has not yet entered the race. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (R) is said to be interested in running too. Miller however also says there are legislative priorities he is working on that may make him decide to stay in the Legislature-which is similar to what led state Rep. Bob Cortes (R) to consider running and then decide against it.

FL-23: Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein (D) does not plan to join the Democratic primary between Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and Tim Canova. Finkelstein, who also hosts a popular segment on Miami local TV called “Help me Howard” was mentioned on a website devoted to Broward County politics yesterday as possibly joining the race but he says he never thought about running. He says Wasserman Schultz and Canova represent two camps of the Democratic Party well.

GA-6 and the expectations game: Some Democrats are blaming a failure to manage expectations for their loss in GA-6 being seen as a failure for them. While it could have been painted as them doing well in a traditionally strong red seat, the incredible fundraising haul by Jon Ossoff and the intense desire to hand President Trump and the GOP a defeat raised the hype and expectations for the GA-6 so much that anything less than a win was going to be seen as a failure. The GOP on the other hand seems to have played the expectations game well going into this and other special elections-raising the alarm for KS-4 by saying that Ron Estes was only ahead by a point in internal polling, saying that MT-AL was “closer than it should be” and saying that Karen Handel was “trending downward” in internal polling last week.

NH-2: Former state Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) is running again for Congress. Flanagan also ran in 2016, finishing 2nd in the GOP primary to former state Rep. Jim Lawrence (R). Lawrence went on to lose to Rep. Ann Kuster (D) by 5 points. Flanagan is the first candidate to announce a run-state Rep. Steve Negron (R) and former state Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker (R) are considering running.

NM-2: State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R) is considering running for Congress as Rep. Steve Pearce (R) considers running for governor. Pirtle as a 24 year old political novice took only 15% of the vote against Pearce for the Republican nomination for this seat in 2010 as Pearce was running again for the seat he gave up for an unsuccessful run for US Senate in 2008. Pirtle then ran for state Senate in 2012, winning the Republican nomination for a seat by just 10 votes and then upset a 34 year Democratic incumbent in November. As he is not up for re-election until 2020, he could run without giving up his state Senate seat. Pirtle is the first Republican to explore a race for the seat as Pearce decides whether to run for governor.

SD-AL: Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether will not run for Congress next year. Huether is a former Democrat who became an independent in December, and many speculated at the time he made the move in order to plan for a statewide race, recognizing that he would have a hard time getting elected as a Democrat. He is still considering running for governor next year or possibly for US Senate in 2020 when Sen. Mike Rounds (R) will be up for re-election. Huether’s current term as mayor of the state’s largest city ends in May 2018.

UT-3: Jim Bennett, son of former Sen. Robert Bennett (R) is suing the state in order to get a new party on the ballot for the UT-3 special election. He is affiliated with the United Utah Party, which is trying to be a centrist alternative to the Republican Party and was planning to launch soon, but moved up its launch to get on the ballot for the election. He attempted to get the party on the ballot through signatures, but the state said it wouldn’t be able to verify the signatures in enough time for the election. Bennett could have appeared on the ballot as an independent or unaffiliated, but he said he did not want to pretend he was unaffiliated when he had a party he was affiliated with.

Governor:

CA-Gov: Assemblyman Travis Allen (R) is entering the governor’s race. Allen is a conservative from Orange County who is also controversial and has a large social media following. He joins businessman John Cox as Republicans in the all-party primary. Polls indicate that if the party doesn’t coalesce around one candidate, there could be a D vs. D general election, but Allen says he isn’t worried about that.

ID-Gov: 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee A.J. Balukoff is considering getting into the race again next year. At this point, he would essentially have the nomination to himself-the only other Democrat currently in the race is Troy Minton, a homeless man, and no other Democrats have indicated interest in running. Balukoff ran a respectable race against Gov. Butch Otter (R) in 2014, losing by 15 points, although the race was thought to be a possible upset possibility that never materialized. He wants to run again, but his wife is unsure whether he should run again and he says he will not do it without the support of his wife. He plans to make a final decision this fall.

MD-Gov: Rep. John Delaney (D), who previously said he would decide by the end of June whether to run for governor, is delaying his decision until the end of July. It is unclear what Delaney will ultimately decide-although he has indicated interest in the race, he also has held fundraisers for his federal campaign account-funds that he can’t use for a state race. Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and state Sen. Richard Madaleno are all running for governor in the Democratic primary while Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has indicated he is interested in running.

NV-Gov: Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak (D) announced yesterday that he is running for governor. Sisolak is the first high profile candidate to announce a bid, Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) is expected to run, but has not yet made an announcement. Businessman and political newcomer Jared Fisher (R) has already launched a campaign. Wealthy Las Vegas businessman Stephen Cloobeck (D) is also considering joining the race.

Political Roundup for June 22nd, 2017

Good morning from Chicago, where Fearless Leader Mike Madigan has reportedly slaughtered the golden goose to feed golden pâté to his union boss friends.

President:

2020: Last night, POTUS held a campaign rally in reddening Eastern Iowa (Cedar Rapids to be precise).

Senate:

NV-Sen: Jon Ralston, arguably the country’s best state political reporter, hesitates to categorize US Rep. and newly-minted Dean Heller challenger Jacky Rosen (D) as an A-list candidate. Yet, he calls the freshman Congresswoman “disciplined” and “perhaps the most impressive first-time candidate for Congress” he has seen. Ruh roh.

House:

Democratic Soul Searching (or is that too religious?): This money quote came from a Democratic operative: “We no longer have a party caucus capable of riding this wave. We have 80-year-old leaders and 90-year-old ranking members. This isn’t a party. It’s a giant assisted living center. Complete with field trips, gym, dining room and attendants.” No further commentary is necessary.

GA-06: Alleged human and talking points machine Jon Ossoff (D), who outspent Congresswoman-elect Karen Handel (R) 6:1 in his failed bid for GA-06, bemoaned the influence of money in politics from his high horse. Overall, Ossoff raised $24M and Handel hauled in $4.5M; however, outside groups favored Handel $18M to $8.2M. If only the Democrats have spent another $32M on this race, they could have engineered a hologram who actually seemed like he had been to a Waffle House.

LA-01: In wonderful news, GOP Whip Steve Scalise’s condition after the Congressional Baseball Shooting has been upgraded to fair.

Governor:

IA-Gov: Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett will challenge incumbent Kim Reynolds in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary in the country’s official ethanol fiefdom. While Reynolds has been elected twice statewide as Lieutenant Governor, Reynolds assumed the governorship this year when then-Governor Terry Branstad was confirmed as US Ambassador to China. Corbett would seem a long shot, but the former State House Speaker likely has strong institutional connections. His election in a blue city also suggests that his political skills are sharp.

KS-Gov: Lt. Gov and Dr. Jeff Colyer (R), second in command to a man less popular to Kansans than is neighboring Missouri, seems to think that a gubernatorial bid would be well-received. Rose-colored corneas must be nice to have. However, Colyer may end up leading the Sunflower State before 2018 if Governor Sam Brownback is given a rumored Trump Administration position.

MD-Gov: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D) will challenge Governor Larry Hogan (R) for re-election next year. While Hogan is probably only second in popularity to Old Bay in the Old Line State, POTUS is anything but beloved.

VA-Gov: In another state where POTUS is as underwater as climate scientists think Mar-a-Lago will be in a few decades, Lt. Gov Ralph Northam (D) leads former RNC Chairman and 2014 Senate nominee Ed Gillespie (R) 47%-39%. Troubingly, college-educated voters favor Northam 50%-40%.

Other:

The Sunbelt: In a trend that will affect our political geography, with the exception of the Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Diego metropolitan areas, Sunbelt suburbs continue to collectively grow much faster than their core cities.

 

Political Roundup for June 21st, 2017

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

Now, on to the news:

President:

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

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

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

Congress:

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

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

Other:

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

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

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

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

GA-6 and SC-5 Liveblog #1

10:15 ET: AP has given Handel the check as well. Jon Ossoff joins New Coke and the Falcons’ 28-3 lead in Atlanta’s Hall of Busts.

10:10 ET: CNN has joined in with calling GA-6 for Handel (R).

10:02 ET- For what it’s worth, Ossoff took 73% of the mail-in (absentee) ballots in DeKalb.

9:56 ET: DDHQ just gave the check to former SoS Karen Handel (R) in GA-6 over former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) after a big absentee mail-in dump from KeKalb still left Ossoff trailing Handel 52.5%-47.5%.

9:55 ET: All of SC-5 is in, and the margin stayed 51%-48% Norman (R).

9:49 ET: Meanwhile, Handel up to 53.4% in the DDHQ count with over 205k votes in. Ossoff now down to 58% in DeKalb with only 1 precinct outstanding, while Handel is up to 61% in Cobb with 11 left. That doesn’t even mention Fulton, with a good deal outstanding and the edge for Handel.

9:47 ET: Wasserman says Ossoff would probably need “80%+” of the 27,138 mail ballots accepted as of yesterday.

9:34 ET: With a decisive turn toward Handel in the returns in GA-6, Democratic strategists are pinning their hopes on mail ballots. However, as longtime GOP operative Brad Dayspring put it,

Very hard – if not unprecedented- to make up >2% based on mail in a district with these demographics.

Basically, we’re still here and watching, but things are getting tough for Ossoff.

9:29 ET: DDHQ has almost 200k votes in, and they have Handel (R) crossing 53% in GA-6 with a new batch of Cobb County votes.

9:28 ET: The AP gives Norman (R) the check as well in SC-5. With 12 precincts left in York County, Norman leads Parnell 51%-48%.

9:17 ET: And DDHQ makes the call in SC-5 for former State Rep. Ralph Norman (R). We still have 26 precincts left in York County, where Parnell has slightly improved, but Norman still leads 51%-48%.

9:12 ET: While I was prepping dinner we had a few batches drop that were great for Handel in GA-6. First Ossoff has dropped to only 59% in DeKalb (he needs a hair better than 60%). Now Handel is also over-performing her benchmarks by about 3 points in both Fulton and Cobb Counties. We’re talking about 63 precincts here, and it all brings Handel up to almost 53% right now.

9:04 ET: Got so busy chasing SC-5 counties that I missed a drop of e-day votes from Cobb County in GA-6. Handel is hitting what she needs here at about 57%, but we are still dealing with a pretty small number of precincts thus far. Overall 51.4%-48.6% Handel.

8:58 ET: As soon as I type, we’re now up to 88% in. Norman only up 51%-48%, but Parnell’s last stronghold left in Lee County s fully in. Those 42 precincts left in York should keep Norman over the top.

8:54 ET: With almost 3/4th of the e-day vote in for SC-5, Norman is now leading 52%-47%. I’ll try to break down the counties more as we get to the end, but there is still a lot to report for Norman in York and another batch waiting for Parnell in Lee.

8:43 ET: A new batch of DeKalb County votes (5 whole precincts!) keeps Ossoff around 60% in that county. He probably needs to be doing better than that though to pull out a victory, based on the benchmarks floating around.

8:38 ET: 42% in in SC-5. Parnell now leads Norman by less than 700 votes, and much of what’s outstanding is GOP friendly (York, Cherokee, and Spartanburg stick out).

8:30 ET: In GA-6, we’re now at 51%-49% Handel (R) with a small batch of Fulton County precincts coming in.

8:26 ET: A quick tweetstorm on Democratic consultants.

8:18 ET: Back in SC-5, Dave Wasserman throws cold water on Parnell’s (D) overperformance:

To be clear, still not convinced Archie Parnell (D) will win #SC05. Race very close now, but tons of GOP-heavy areas yet to report.

Parnell does look set to over-perform Hillary Clinton at least, who lost by 19 here. With 30% reporting, he leads Norman (R) 52%-47% with strong results out of Fairfield and Lee Counties.

8:16 ET: AP still isn’t showing E-day votes. However, DDHQ’s count has Handel up narrowly again.

8:06 ET: Another vote dump in GA-6. First DeKalb results are unsurprisingly friendly to Ossoff, with DDHQ telling us that Ossoff won the early vote there by 20%. However, Handel leads in Cobb early votes (again, as expected). Ossoff now leads 50.3%-49.7% over Handel. Now gives us some election day precincts!!!

8:01 ET: As we continue the long wait for Georgia, SC-5 is now up to 8% reporting, with more from Sumter County and a new batch from Kershaw. Kershaw is much friendlier to Norman (R), narrowing the margin to 56%-43% Parnell (D) over Norman.

7:52 PM ET: Alright, now our trackers are converging a bit. AP has 9 precincts in now with Parnell at 61%, with all e-day votes from Sumter County.

7:44 PM ET: SC-5 is definitely coming in faster than GA-6. With a couple precincts and a few counties’ early votes in, Norman (R) maintains his lead 52%-47.5%. DDHQ is ahead of AP here, which makes it look like Parnell (D) is crushing with 70%.

7:38 PM ET: Alright, DDHQ is hooking us up with early votes out of Fulton County, where Ossoff hit 48% in the first round. In this batch, Handel is up 51.4%-48.6%. We expected Handel to do better in early votes though than Republicans did in the 1st round.

7:36 PM ET: The first substantive results come in from SC-5, where Parnell (D) leads Norman (R) 58%-41% with just under 600 early votes in.

7:29 PM ET: First results incoming from DDHQ in GA-6. OMG! 9 WHOLE VOTES!!!! (Ok, I’ll settle down).

7:21 PM ET: Two things to read while we wait (besides the preview, which you should have read already). 1) Greg Giroux’s 1st round breakdown and GA-6 summary. 2) Ryan Struyk’s suggested benchmarks by county for an Ossoff or Handel victory.

7:11 PM ET: Remember, a few polling places remain open until 7:30 thanks to an issue earlier in the day that limited those locations to paper ballots for a brief period of time.

7:05 PM ET: Obligatory link to our preview, if you have been living under a rock or something and didn’t read it yet.

7:01 PM ET: Welcome to tonight’s liveblog! Polls have just closed in Georgia’s 6th congressional district, the most expensive congressional election in United States history, and the less dramatic SC-5. Will former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff ride a wave of intense Democratic disgust with President Trump in this affluent, typically Republican Georgia seat? Stay tuned.

Results:

Political Roundup for June 20, 2017

T’was the morn before specials,
And all through the districts,
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a – shoot, I didn’t think this one through for something to rhyme.

Anyway, it is special election day in the over-hyped GA-6 and likely snoozefest SC-5. Join us for our liveblog at 7 PM ET, and make sure to check our earlier preview here.

Senate

NV-Sen: By now you should have seen the news that freshman Rep. Jackie Rosen (D) will run for Senate against Sen. Dean Heller, one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents this cycle. Read through our post to find some Great Mentioner action.

Yesterday before this news a PPP (D) poll dropped showing generic D leading Heller 46%-39% (for context, this sample voted Hillary over Trump and Johnson 46%-43%-3%).

Governor

MN-Gov, St Paul Mayor: The Philando Castile verdict threw a monkey wrench into local DFL politics. Literally the morning after the verdict dropped, Democrats held the St Paul city convention. That meant some activists were out late occupying I-94 and showed up the next morning for some electioneering. The two Democratic candidates for governor with the closest ties to St Paul, State Rep. Erin Murphy and St Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, each dropped press releases on the subject. Murphy’s was more straight-forward, calling for changes in “use of force” laws, while Coleman’s was more political-speakish.

The decision also reverberates in the mayoral race, where candidates all condemned the verdict and one, embattled council member Dai Thao, actually brought a friend of Castile to speak for him. FWIW, no endorsement for mayor was dropped at the convention, with council member Melvin Carter leading the pack in balloting and a primary now on its way.

VA-Gov, VA-10: Our friend Miles Coleman at DDHQ explains why Corey Stewart’s Confederate revival campaign won in VA-10 in NoVa of all places with his trademark pretty maps. Stewart managed to consolidate some anti-Trump voters and benefited from low Republican primary turnout and a third wheel candidate sucking some of Gillespie’s oxygen from the room. For more on Stewart’s almost-upset, see this article in The Atlantic.

House

GA-6: A sampling of articles to read as E-day hits.

SC-5: Roll Call reminds us not to forget about today’s other special election, where a few national Dem leaders parachuted in but no money or real support for poor Archie Parnell (D). The article even catches one member of DCCC leadership not even knowing his name!

MN-3: Tonka Bay (pop. 1500) councilman Adam Jennings is the latest Democrat to file against Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in this affluent seat in the historically Republican southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Of course, if former State Sen. Terri Bonoff couldn’t do it riding a strong performance here from Hillary last cycle, hard to see how things change now.

WI-1: Ironworker Randy Bryce (D), who ran for local office in 2012, 2013, and 2014, is now running against Speaker Paul Ryan. While supporting candidates against the Speaker here is not as foolhardy as the hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown at Nancy Pelosi’s seat the last few years (see Dennis, John), Ryan still won with 55% in has last close-ish race in 2012, and he took over 60% the last two cycles. Still, credit where credit is due for this great web ad from Bryce. It opens with Ryan discussing tough options on health care and Bryce’s own mom’s struggles, and ends with Bryce offering to trade jobs with Ryan. Bravo for a good hit, though it’s only a web ad with his announcement.

NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) has a primary from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former Sanders organizer affiliated with Brand New Congress. I mainly linked this for the great reminder about how much Crowley’s career has been built through local party machines, which is worth a read if you have forgotten the details. The primary challenger herself seems over-hyped, but I always like to see good Democratic primaries and all that money pouring down the drain.

FL-18: 2016 Senate candidate (who lost to heir force Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic primary) Pam Keith is now going to run against freshman Rep. Brian Mast in this central Florida district. She had a nice resume last time around, but Murphy’s path was well-cleared by his dad’s large donations to Democratic candidates and committees.

Redistricting

WI-Redistrict: Not only did the Supreme Court take on the long-winding Democratic challenge to Republican state legislative redistricting, but they stayed the previous order to change the seats before the 2018 midterms. This means we get to see SCOTUS watch a parade of lawyers try to define gerrymandering for them, which should be fun since Wisconsin is not really the most egregious case to pick out. While it’s not unheard of for the court to issue a stay and then rule against it later, issuing such an order does make it that much more likely SCOTUS will uphold the current maps for Wisconsin. For more detail, see this article.

Miscellaneous

UT-Dem: Your rival party within your state hates their sitting president and has large numbers of defectors briefly willing to consider another candidate. Of course I talk about how Democrats should see the state of the GOP in Utah, where many young and devout Mormons couldn’t stomach President Trump. What is the Democratic response? Double-down of course, electing a Sanderista named Daisy Thomas as their new chairwoman. Apparently sexual harassment allegations were buzzing during the proceedings regarding a former candidate for the job.

TX-SD-10: A really neat analysis of straight ticket voting in Texas’ only real swing state senate district, formerly held by 2014 gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D) and now held by state Sen. Konni Burton (R). The article notes that the random selection of SD-10 for off-year elections markedly changed its electorate from a tossup presidential one to something closer to lean D in gubernatorial years.

 

GA-6 & SC-5 Special Elections Preview

As you’re most likely aware, tomorrow is the runoff for two key House elections. Polls close at 7p ET in both Georgia and South Carolina and our liveblog will start at that time.

GA-6: By far the most hotly-contested special election of the year is for this R+2 (2016) seat in the northern Atlanta suburbs. The seat covers the wealthy eastern quarter of Cobb County east of I-75, wealthy suburbs of Fulton County north of the Perimeter (which also have some isolated lower-middle-class minority pockets) and the northern quarter of DeKalb County, which is a mixture of upper-middle-class suburbs bisected by a corridor of poor, heavily Hispanic slumburbs along I-85. This was once Newt’s seat and the most Republican in Georgia (a prior version of this seat was a GOP vote sink as recently as the 90s) but it trended hard-left last year, and that has led Democrats to go all-in on this race in looking for a way to defeat Trump. Spending on this race has reached astronomical levels on both sides.

Jon Ossoff

Former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) took 48% in the first round. Ossoff quickly coalesced national liberal support and raised a ridiculous amount for this race from national liberal donors. In the first round, he ran a stridently anti-Trump campaign and sought to cast himself as the vanguard of the bold progressive “Resistance.” However, his incredibly thin resume, which consists of a low-level staffing job with five months of security clearance and running a small video production company, and his stridently anti-Trump liberal campaign limited his ability to take crossover support. Many Democrats saw his failure to win in the first round, despite coming closer than expected to 50%, as something of a disappointment. As Republicans took a majority of the first-round vote, Ossoff has made a quiet but significant change in tone for the second round, toning down his anti-Trump rhetoric and trying to strike a less partisan tone. Some commentators have gone as far as saying his most recent TV ads and debate appearances would have rhetoric more fitting of a moderate Republican.

Karen Handel

Ossoff’s rival in this contest is ex-SoS Karen Handel (R), who came in second in the primary, taking just shy of 20%. Handel is well-known from a long political career, including as Fulton County Exec, a term as SoS in the 2000s, and runs for Governor in 2010 and Senate in 2014. Handel is a fairly typical suburban conservative on both social and fiscal matters. While Democrats were firmly behind Ossoff in the first round, the GOP field was split, leading to the possibility that sour grapes among her rivals might prevent Handel, who is far from a hardcore Trumpist, from coalescing the GOP base. However, those predictions have not panned out, and Handel seems to be enjoying near-unanimous GOP support and a massive amount of outside cash. In a district that looks increasingly purple, polls have shown the two very close, though more have tilted toward Ossoff. To say that this race has become a partisan slugfest and nationally-watched test of partisan strength is an understatement, and it would be a shock if either Ossoff or Handel won by more than a 5-point margin. However, we at RRH feel obliged to take a firm stand on races as they approach their general election, and we have ever-so-slightly come down on the side of predicting an Ossoff victory. Thus, RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean D.

SC-5: The other special election today has gotten significantly less attention and money. SC-5 is the former seat of OMB director Mick Mulvaney (R) and covers the north-central part of the state. The biggest bulk of the population is in the Charlotte suburbs, but the seat also contains a swath of rural areas from Sumter to the outskirts of the Columbia and Spartanburg metros. The seat has a PVI of R+10 (2016).

Ralph Norman

The clear front-runner for the seat is State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who narrowly prevailed in a closely-contested GOP primary and runoff. The 2006 nominee for this seat, Norman has high name recognition from his prior run against then-Rep. John Spratt (D), and self-funding ability from his construction business. Norman is a relatively generic Chamber-of-Commerce conservative, with some slight antiestablishment tendencies (he has said he may join the Freedom Caucus if elected). The strongly conservative and inelastic nature of the district and Norman’s mainstream Republican profile should be enough for him to prevail tomorrow barring a very unexpected event.

Archie Parnell

Former Goldman Sachs tax attorney Archie Parnell (D) is Norman’s rival. Parnell has received some minor buzz from national Democrats, but ultimately was a “C” list choice here when bigger names such as State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) decided not to run. Parnell has released an internal with him down by 10 points, which was enough to prompt some minor investments from the DCCC. However, Democrats have basically always seen this race as a far longer-shot than GA-6 or even last month’s Montana race, and Parnell seems unlikely to win or even make the race particularly close barring a seriously unexpected surge of liberal enthusiasm. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

There are also two legislative specials today in South Carolina, but they look unexciting. SC-LD-48 is an R+13 (2016) seat around Tega Cay in the Charlotte suburbs, left open by the previously mentioned Ralph Norman, who is the nominee for SC-5. Ex-York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant (R) is favored over retired nonprofit exec Bebs Barron-Chorak (D), though there may be a tiny chance of an upset with abnormal turnout patterns. SC-LD-70 is a D+20 (2016) majority-black seat covering rural areas between Columbia and Sumter and a small piece of southeastern Columbia proper. School board member and 2016 State Senate candidate Wendy Brawley (D) is heavily favored over a GOP Some Dude.

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