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.
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.