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Political Roundup for May 17, 2017

Election Results:  Ralph Norman won the Republican primary runoff in SC-5 by a razor-thin margin, which will lead to a recount. Kay Kirkpatrick won the Georgia SD 32 runoff with a healthy 58% of the vote.   Wendy Brawley won the South Carolina HD 70 Democratic runoff.  Two non-machine candidates won the Democratic nominations in Philadelphia for District Attorney and Controller.  Lawrence Krasner (D-Bold Progressive) and Rebecca Rhyhart (D) will likely be the next District Attorney and Controller respectively.  Bill Peduto (D-Bike Lanes) is on his way to a second term as Mayor of Pittsburgh after winning the Democratic primary easily. Finally, in Los Angeles, councilman Gil Cedillo (D) won re-election and Monica Rodriguez (D) won an open seat.

The news a bit light as President Trump is sucking the oxygen out of our political circus with his growing dumpster.

President/National

Governed by a Child:  David Brooks (Scarsdale Republican) articulated what I have been saying for months about Trump in a recent NY Times piece… Trump is not an authoritarian, Nixon, populist or corporatist, but is nothing more than an infant leading the most powerful nation in human history incapable of exercising any form of self-control.  While I think Brooks comes off as a smug elitist at times, he is on point.

Watergate:  Senator John McCain (R-War Hero) is calling the level of “odd behavior” to put it mildly coming from the White House as reaching Watergate levels.  You need 2/3 to convict a president in an impeachment trial.  The Democrats have at least one Republican flirting with the idea.

Comey:  With an alleged memo floating around where former FBI Director James Comey noted that President Trump asked him to stop investigating  former DNI Director Flynn’s love affair with Mother Russia, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R) is going to subpoena said memo if it exists.

Democrats:  While the current occupants of the White House resemble a burning ship adrift, Democrats with presidential ambitions were dancing around down the street trying to appease potential decisionmakers in the anointing of a new Democratic champion if Hillary Clinton gives up her death grip on the Democratic Party.

Congress

Obamacare/Trumpcare/Moderatecare:  A bipartisan group of moderate senators is pushing a proposal to keep Obamacare afloat despite the respective caucus leaders engaging in taunts of the other saying their caucus is united.  It is not clear what the compromise bill will look like or whether it would ever make it to the floor for a vote.

NY-27:  Representative Chris Collins (R) faces an ethics inquiry into investments he made in an Australian biotech firm.  The Office of Congressional Ethics did not comment, but allegedly they are investigating Collins.

International

UK-Labour:  While the new Rome burns, the Labour Party wants to tax the British people at levels not seen since the time Clement Attlee was Prime Minister.

 

SC-5 & Pennsylvania Liveblog

Results: SC-5  (AP) || SC-5 (DDHQ)  || PA (AP)  || GA-Senate 32(Cobb)  GA-Senate 32(Fulton)

10:15 ET – I am going to call it an evening as the only outstanding races of interest are PA-Superior Court (Republican Primary) and PA-Commonwealth Court (Democratic Primary).   We will have an open thread from here on regarding the Los Angeles races.

9:47 ET – Philly machine death watch… Krasner gets the check for DA and Rhynhart gets the check for Controller.

9:45 ET – With another dump in GA Senate 32, I am going to call it for Kilpatrick (R) with 89% in from Cobb and 100% in from Fulton.

9:37 ET – We might be seeing the first signs of the death of the Philadelphia Democratic machine as two candidates not considered machine candidates are winning DA and Controller with 57% in.

9:33 ET – Cobb has dumped 50% of the precincts as Kilpatrick remains up 58-42 in Cobb, which means that Kilpatrick is up by approximately 56% to 44%.  This looks like Kilpatrick will hold this for the Republicans.

9:30 ET – All of Fulton has been counted in GA-Senate 32 and Kilpatrick remains up by about 10%.  Cobb still has 72% of its precincts to report.

9:30 ET – Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto (D-Bike Lane) has received the check with 66% of the vote with 50% counted.

9:25 ET – Bold Progressive Philly DA candidate Lawrence Krasner (D) is out to a 16 point lead with 42% in.

9:10 ET – Back to GA Senate 32… Kilpatrick remains up with 28% in from Cobb and only early votes in Fulton.

9:08 ET – Norman has won the SC-5 Republican runoff.

9:06 ET – In Pennsylvania, it appears the Democratic endorsed candidate for Commonwealth Court, Todd Eagen, is polling 4th right now.

8:48 ET – Norman is up by approximately 400 votes with 51 precincts remaining.

8:42 ET – Norman is down to 1% lead over Pope, but the remaining precincts are in Pope favoring York County.

8:40 ET – Pope and Norman are within 10 votes of each other with 2/3 in.

8:27 ET – Norman has taken the lead in SC-5 according to DDHQ.

8:15 ET – There appears to be a glimmer of hope for Norman in SC-5 as the results continue to narrow and his areas are just starting to heavily report.

8:07 ET – Pope’s lead is narrowing as 1/3 of the results are in. Pope leads by 4%.

8:03 ET – In Georgia State Senate District 32, Kilpatrick (R) leads Triebsch (D) 58% to 42% as the first results roll in.

8:00 ET – Pennsylvania has closed.

7:50 ET – With 7% in, Pope leads Norman 58% to 42% in SC-5.

7:41 ET – Turnout is supposedly low in the Pennsylvania primaries today, which close at 8pm Eastern.  I was the 14th Republican to vote and 25 voter overall in my ward at 915 AM.

7:33 ET – Ryan_in_SEPA here for the liveblog.  Pope still has a 60 vote lead as the early vote starts being counted.

7:30 ET- I will be turning this over to Ryan_in_SEPA for the rest of the night.

7:19 ET- Pope is now up 54-46 with York early votes coming in.

7:13 ET- Norman leads pope 69-66 in the first early votes.

7:00 ET- Polls have now closed in SC-5 and Georgia.

SC-5 Runoff & Pennsylvania Primary Preview

Tomorrow there is a congressional runoff in South Carolina as well as a mayoral race in Pittsburgh and assorted other contests across Pennsylvania, along with a pair of LA City Council runoffs. Poll closing times are as follows in ET: 7- SC-5 & Georgia || 8- Pennsylvania || 11 – Los Angeles. Our liveblog will start at 7ET tomorrow, but first we are previewing the races here:

SC-5 Runoff (R): Today there is a GOP primary runoff in SC-5; This seat 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 Charlotte and Spartanburg metros. The seat has a PVI of R+10 (2016). Facing off this week are a pair of state Reps who basically tied in the first round, being separated by just 0.3%, or a little over 100 votes. As you might guess, that means that the runoff is set to be highly competitive.

Tommy Pope

Ralph Norman

State Rep. Tommy Pope (R) narrowly took first place over his rival, fellow State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who unlike Pope resigned to run. Pope and Norman have generally been regarded as far more alike than different: they have represented districts a few miles away from each other in the Charlotte suburbs and have generally been mainstream conservatives in the State House. The differences in the first round mostly came down to emphasis; Pope tends to focus more on public safety while Norman is more focused on economics.

However, in the runoff, an ideological fissure seems to have opened, with Pope becoming the establishment choice and Norman taking up the anti-establishment mantle. Pope is the third-ranking Republican in the State House and has received outside support from the Chamber of Commerce. Conversely, Norman has said he would consider joining the Freedom Caucus and has received support from the Club for Growth and Erick Erickson. But don’t let the newfound buzz around this race from both sides cause you make a mountain out of that difference; both would overall qualify as mainstream conservatives and I would expect their hypothetical House records to be substantively identical.

There is no clear favorite in the runoff and most observers expect it to be very close. Norman has been better-funded (thanks to self-funding), and did better than expected in the first round. He has also picked up the endorsement of fourth-place finisher Chad Connelly (R), while the third-place candidate has not endorsed. So CW is that Norman may have a bit of momentum, and most observers would probably tilt the race to him ever-so-slightly. However, a victory for Pope would be wholly unsurprising as well. The winner will face Goldman Sachs tax attorney Archie Parnell (D) in the general; the seat has been a low priority for Dems but there is a chance that may change ahead of the June 20 general. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

Legislative Specials: Also in SC, there is also one special election this week. SC-LD-70 is a D+22 (2012) 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), who has the support of the late former incumbent’s family, led farmer Heath Hill (D), the only serious white candidate, 40-24 in the first round. Thus Brawley looks like the clear favorite in the runoff. Another state legislative special going on today is the runoff for GA-SD-32, an R+20 (2012), but likely much D-friendlier by 2016 numbers, seat in eastern Cobb County in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Attorney Christine Treibsch (D) led Physician Kay Kirkpatrick (R) 24-21 in April (when the election was consolidated with the high turnout GA-6 race). But Republicans took 60% of the vote in the preliminary, so Kirkpatrick should be favored unless Democrats are exceptionally motivated. The unusual date (even I thought this runoff was going to be with the GA-6 runoff on 6/20) may benefit Treibsch by lowering turnout and giving more weight to energized Dems.

Pittsburgh-Mayor: Pennsylvania is also holding its primary election tomorrow; in addition to the local and judicial races Ryan_in_SEPA will preview below, there is a Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh. No Republicans are running so the winner will have a free ride. Pittsburgh is a city of 305K that is roughly 70% White and 25% Black; it had a PVI of D+22 in 2008. Incumbent Bill Peduto (D) is a bold progressive, and a favorite of that growing and high-turnout constituency. He has had a generally successful tenure as mayor, continuing the city’s transformation into a bona-fide urban cultural center from a gritty steel town. As a result, he looks like a very strong favorite for a second term against two challengers – it would be surprising if he did not take a strong majority of the vote tomorrow. Peduto’s main rival, city councilwoman Darlene Harris (D), is a somewhat more moderate Democrat, but she does have some real establishment support; surprisingly, Harris came closer than expected to beating Peduto for the county Dem party’s endorsement. However, Harris is known as a bit of a gadfly (posting photos of herself riding an elephant, and once accosting a bicyclist she says was not in the right lane). She also hasn’t been running a particularly professional campaign, as she doesn’t even have a website; thus, she looks likely to finish a distant second. Seminary dean John Welch (D) has been trying to get to Peduto’s left on economics; while he has a base in the black community, there isn’t a lot of room to Peduto’s left flank, and Welch’s conservative social positions make poaching white progressive support a long-shot. Thus, CW is that he is likely to come in third. Overall, anything besides an easy Peduto win would probably be shocking.

LA City Council: Two races on the LA City council will head to runoffs this week.
LAX-CD-1 is a heavily Hispanic seat that stretches from MacArthur Park near downtown northeast to the middle-class Hispanic Mount Washington area. Incumbent Gil Cedillo (D) was surprisingly sent to a runoff, falling short of the 50% mark by less than a point. Cedillo was known as “one bill Gil” in the state legislature for his single-minded pursuit of drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens, and unsurprisingly poor Hispanics are his core constituency. It looked like he might have a real fight on his hands with his runoff opponent, bike store owner Joe Bray-Ali (D). Bray-Ali was running on an anti-car hipsterish platform which might have played well with high-turnout white yuppies in the gentrifying district. But Bray-Ali’s campaign was torpedoed when he was unmasked as a racist internet troll, which led to the abrupt withdrawal of all his establishment endorsements. Cedillo now looks like the overwhelming favorite for re-election.
LAX-CD-7 is the only open race on the council this year. The seat is based in the largely poor and heavily Hispanic northeast quarter of the San Fernando Valley around Sylmar and Pacoima, but the remote middle-class white suburban neighborhood of Sunland-Tujunga makes up about a quarter of the district’s population, and will likely punch far above its weight in a low turnout race. City public works board member Monica Rodriguez (D) led city council staffer Karo Torossian (D) 30-17 in the first round. Both candidates have establishment support; Rodriguez is closely tied to Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), while Torossian has support from his boss, a councilor for a neighboring district, and the endorsement of the third-place finisher. Based on the first round results and the seat’s Hispanic majority, Rodriguez is most likely a mild favorite, but there is a decent possibility Torossian could surprise.

Thanks to Ryan_in_SEPA for the Pennsylvania previews below:

Pennsylvania voters will be going to the polls to determine nominees for various statewide judicial positions including Supreme Court, Superior Court and Commonwealth Court and numerous county and municipal races.

Supreme Court: Neither party faces a contested primary for Supreme Court as Republican nominee and interim Justice Sallie Mundy is running for a full term against Democratic challenger Dwayne Woodruff.  Chief Justice Thomas Saylor (R) and Justice Debra Todd (D) are running for retention in November.

Superior Court:  Both parties have five contestants for four nomination slots to move onto the November general election.  The Pennsylvania Republican Party endorsed Lancaster DA Craig Stedman, and Common Pleas Court Judges Paula Patrick (Philadelphia), Wade Kagarise (Blair), and Emil Giordano (Northampton) while Magistrate Judge Mary Murray (Allegheny) is running without the state party endorsement.   The Pennsylvania Democratic Party endorsed interim Superior Court Judge Geoff Moulton, Common Pleas Court Judges Debbie Kunselman (Beaver), Maria McLaughlin (Philadelphia), and Carolyn Nichols (Philadelphia) while former Senior Deputy Attorney General William Caye II is running without the state party endorsement.  Judge Jacqueline Shogan (R) is running for retention in November.  The endorsed candidates are heavily favored to clear the primary and head to the general election.

Commonwealth Court: Each party has two nomination slots being contested today.  The Republicans will not have a contested primary as Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Cannon (Delco) and municipal attorney Paul Lalley (Allegheny) are the only Republican candidates.  The Democrats are having quite the contest as there are 6 candidates running with only one, attorney Tom Eagen (Lackawanna), being the only one to receive the official backing of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.  Interim Judge Joseph Cosgrove (Luzerne), State Representative Bryan Barbin (Cambria), Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler (Philadelphia), and attorneys Timothy Barry and Irene Clark are running without the state party endorsement.  Commonwealth Court is down in the weeds so its anyone’s guess, but I suspect that Eagen and Ceisler win the Democratic nomination.

Municipal Elections:  Voters across the Commonwealth will be voting in various county, municipal and school broad elections.  The most prominent municipal/county race is the primary for Philadelphia District Attorney, which involves the replacing of disgraced Bold Progressive turned DINO turned standard corrupt Democrat District Attorney Anthony Williams.  In a race that has garnered national attention with George Soros dropping significant cash behind attorney Lawrence Krasner (Bold Progressive).  Other prominent candidates on the Democratic side include former Deputy Mayor Rich Negrin (Police), former Deputy District Attorney and AUSA Joe Khan (Rendell-NOW), former Deputy Attorney General Michael Untermeyer (Lots of Advertising), former Deputy DA Tariq El-Shabazz (Tax Cheat), and former Deputy DA John O’Neil (Some Dude) and former Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni (Some Dudette) seeking the Democratic nomination.  Former Deputy District Attorney Beth Grossman is running unopposed for the Republican nomination.  Before Soros’ donation to Krasner, I rated this as a 3 way between Negrin, Khan and Untermeyer.  Now it is a 4 way battle for the Democratic nomination as the machine has stayed out of the race.  Philadelphia City Controller is somewhat competitive as Controller Alan Butkovitz, whose seeking a third term, is receiving a spirited challenge from former Philadelphia Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Rhyhart for the Democratic nomination.  Otherwise this primary season has been surprisingly quiet.

GA-6 Special Election Preview

Thanks again to Jon Henrik Gilhuus for his help with the pictures!

Tomorrow the first round of the year’s most-watched House Special election will take place. At stake is GA-6, an 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. Polls close at 7p ET and we will be liveblogging. If you haven’t seen our poll of the race from last week, now is the time to check it out. Five Democrats and eleven Republicans are running.

Jon Ossoff

The clear front-runner in the first round is former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D). Ossoff has coalesced national liberal support and raised a ridiculous amount for this race from national liberal donors. He is running a stridently anti-Trump campaign and seeking 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 limit his ability to take crossover support. While he received essentially unanimous Dem support in the poll, his crossover support was non-existent. As a result, he is certain to finish in first, but according to our and other recent polls, he is likely to finish well below 50%, probably somewhere around the 40% mark. Ex-State Sen. Ron Slotin (D) is the other Democrat of note in the race. Slotin served two terms in the State Senate in the early 90s before launching an unsuccessful primary run for GA-4 in 1996. Slotin was initially considered a credible candidate for this race before he got eclipsed by the Ossoff hypestorm, but he may still draw a couple points from more moderate Dems turned off by Ossoff’s thin resume. Three Democratic Some Dudes are also in the race and may draw a point or two between them.

Karen Handel

On the GOP side, the field is far more crowded with four candidates all having a chance to come in second. That said, ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) looks like the most likely to advance. 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 – fiscally conservative and socially a mainstream conservative. Owing to her strong name recognition and base in Fulton County (nearly half the district), she has taken a narrow lead for second in our poll and was a more comfortable second in some other recent polling. She has also received some establishment support, including an endorsement and ad from ex-Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R).

Bob Gray

Handel looks likely to finish in the high teens and have the best chance to advance, but there are three other candidates tightly bunched right behind her in the low teens. Johns Creek councilman Bob Gray (R) has turned into a surprisingly strong contender, thanks to significant self-funding and a campaign as the most unapologetic Trumpist in the field. Strangely for someone embracing Trump so tightly, Gray has also been backed by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth.

Dan Moody

Ex-State Sen. Dan Moody (R) has by far the most cash of the field thanks to $2M in self-funding. He has been running as a fairly typical Chamber-of-Commerce conservative and has the support of Sen. David Perdue (R), who Moody helped recruit campaign workers for in 2014. Moody also helped recruit people for the successful campaigns of former Governor Sonny Perdue (cousin of the Senator), and several of the Perdues’ campaign people have returned the favor to work for Moody this spring.

Judson Hill

State Sen. Judson Hill (R) is also a Chamber-of-Commerce conservative and has the support of Newt, as well as a strong base in the wealthy, heavily Republican, and high-turnout Cobb County portion of the district. All of Gray, Moody, and Hill were tightly behind Handel in our poll, and each could have a chance to upset her for second.

The other seven GOP candidates look to have no chance to advance, but will probably draw 5-10% between them. Businessman David Abroms (R) is running as a moderate and has support from Egg McMuffin Evan McMullin, which will likely get him around three points; he seems unlikely to garner much more than that. Businessman Kurt Wilson (R) hasn’t received a lot of buzz, but has fundraised six figures and has some support in local grassroots conservative circles that may get him a point or two. Conversely, Trump campaign operative Bruce Levell (R) has received some national buzz for his ties to the Trump camp, but got zero support in our poll and looks likely to finish at asterisk level. Three other candidates, GOP operative Amy Kremer (R), accountant William Llop (R), and veteran Keith Grawert (R), are running semi-serious campaigns and may draw a percent or two between them. There is also a final Some Dude in the race on the GOP side who has been running on a message of open anti-Semitism and whose name doesn’t deserve to be mentioned.

Special Elections: There are also two special elections tomorrow, and the more interesting one overlaps with the western part of GA-6. GA-SD-32 is an R+20 (2012), but likely much more D-friendly by 2016 numbers, seat in eastern Cobb County and parts of Sandy Springs, embedded within GA-6 and vacated by congressional candidate Judson Hill (R). Five Republicans and three Democrats are seeking this seat and it is chaotic enough that any two can advance. Physician Kay Kirkpatrick (R) looks like the slight front-runner; a major GOP donor, Kirkpatrick has been well-funded. There has been a slight brouhaha over Kirkpatrick using her maiden name on the ballot instead of her married name, with rivals saying that the move was to hide past Dem donations under her married appellation. Fellow physician Roy Daniels (R) is running an antiestablishment campaign and has Erickson’s endorsement. Attorney Gus Markis (R) has Gov. Deal’s endorsement, while railroad conductor Matt Campbell (R) has the support of a prominent legislator from an adjacent district. Consultant Hamilton Beck (R) looks like the longest-shot among the GOP candidates. Three Democrats are running; attorney Christine Triebsch (D) looks like the slight front-runner, but physician Bob Wiskind (D) and Weather Channel producer Exton Howard (D) are also running serious campaigns. Any two could advance, and an R-on-R or even a D-on-D runoff are possible. The other election is far less interesting. AL-LD-67 is a black-majority ~D+23 (2008) district around Selma. Attorney Prince Chestnut (D) is the prohibitive favorite over a Some Dude Indie.

Political Roundup for January 11, 2017

Election results:

All favored candidates won in yesterday’s special legislative elections in Georgia and Virginia. In GA-SD-54, Chuck Payne (R) won easily 65-35. In VA-SD-9, state Del. Jennifer McClellan (D) took 91% in a race with only a Libertarian opponent, in VA-SD-22, Mark Peake (R) was not harmed by the presence of a conservative independent on the ballot, winning by a fairly easy 53-40 margin, and Rocky Holcomb (R) won 53-47 in VA-LD-85.

President:

Booker 2020?: Sen. Cory Booker (D) plans to testify against Sen. Jeff Sessions (R)  today in the confirmation hearings for Attorney General. Sen. Tom Cotton (R) is blasting Booker for his decision, calling it a “disgraceful breach of custom” to testify against a colleague, and suggests that Booker is doing it to get support for a 2020 presidential campaign. The move is unprecedented as no sitting senator has ever testified against a colleague during confirmation hearings for a cabinet position.

Senator:

MA-Sen: Republican Rick Green, the wealthy owner of an auto parts company and founder of the conservative group Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, is exploring a run against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D). Green has been active in the party, coming up two votes short in a bid to head the Massachusetts state GOP in 2013 and serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention last year, where he supported John Kasich. His group the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance has also been a player in state legislative politics, targeting the voting records of Democrats on issues like taxes and immigration. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is the only other Republican to publicly consider a bid.

House:

KS-4: Attorney George Bruce (R) announced his candidacy for the seat of CIA Director-designate Rep. Mike Pompeo (R). Bruce has never run for office before, but says he decided to run after he got calls encouraging him to run. He is the first to publicly announce his intention to run. Once the seat is vacant, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has 5 days to call a special election, and the parties have 25 days to choose a nominee. Nominees will be chosen in a district convention of party activists.

TX-3: State Sen. Van Taylor (R) has made it clear to people close to him that he plans to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Sam Johnson (R) next year, although an official announcement isn’t expected until after this year’s legislative session. Taylor should be a formidable candidate as he represents much of the Collin County-based district in the State Senate.

Governor:

CO-Gov: A businessman and former Republican state Representative is considering a run for governor. Victor Mitchell was elected to the state House in 2006 from a heavily Republican district in Douglas County, but retired after just one term to become chairman and CEO of ReLogic, an online real estate brokerage firm. No major candidates have yet entered the race, but wide open races with well-known names in both parties are expected to enter the race to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).

FL-Gov: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) is downplaying rumors of his intention to run for governor. Gillum is part of a lawsuit filed by Second Amendment supporters over the city’s refusal to repeal a ban on gunfire in city parks despite a state law preempting local gun laws. Some have accused Gillum of grandstanding on the issue as a way to raise his profile for a statewide run. Gillum considered a run for Congress last year in the redrawn FL-5 and even made a long list of potential Hillary Clinton running mates.

MI-Gov: William Cobbs, a former global vice president for Xerox, filed to run for governor last week as a Democrat. Cobbs is making his first bid for political office. He joins state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the race for the Democratic nomination.

NV-Gov: LG Mark Hutchison (R) has ruled out a bid for governor next year. He says he thinks there are several other qualified Republicans who will run to replace term-limited Gov. Brian Sandoval (R). He also says he will decide after this year’s Legislative session if he will run for re-election as Lieutenant Governor.

PA-Gov: Gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Scott Wagner’s (R) hometown newspaper takes a look at his rapidly rising political career including links to past coverage of him. Included are stories about why he spent a month as a Democrat in 2002(to vote for Ed Rendell for governor and against Bob Casey, Jr.) and why he donated to the Attorney General campaign of Kathleen Kane (D) in 2012(during his campaign for state Senate in 2014 he said “she’s not a political person.”)

TX-Gov/TX-Sen: LG Dan Patrick (R) has announced he is running for re-election as Lieutenant Governor-an announcement he said he made now to stop rumors that he might challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Abbott has not yet said whether he will seek re-election, but Patrick says he wants to be the first to endorse Abbott for re-election and quash rumors that he is considering running against him.. He says if Abbott does not run for re-election, then he would reevaluate his decision. He also says he will not challenge Sen. Ted Cruz (R), or take any position in the Trump Administration.

VA-Gov: Distillery owner Denver Riggleman has become the 4th Republican to enter the race for governor, joining former RNC Chairman and 2014 US Senate candidate Ed Gillespie, Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart and state Sen. Frank Wagner (R). Riggleman had been considering a run for awhile, but wanted to be convinced he could raise enough money to be competitive. Riggleman also says he was inspired by the success of Donald Trump running as a long-shot outsider.

State offices/other:

FL-Ag. Comm.: Former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R) will not run for Agriculture Commissioner next year. Crisafulli, who served as Speaker from 2014-2016 and was term limited out of office, comes from a family with ties to the citrus industry and was publicly mulling a run and likely would have been the frontrunner had he entered the race. Self-funding businessman Paul Paulson (R), who ran a sacrificial lamb campaign for Mayor of Orlando in 2015, is the only candidate in the race so far. Current Ag. Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is widely expected to run for governor.

TN-LG: Randy McNally (R) is the new Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee, succeeding the retired Ron Ramsey (R). Ramsey was the first Republican since Reconstruction to hold the post, which automatically goes to the person selected as Speaker of the Senate.

WATN?: Michigan lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, who became famous in the 1990s as the lawyer for assisted suicide practicioner Dr. Jack Kevorkian, pretty much exited the political arena after he got clobbered by Gov. John Engler (R) by a 62-38% margin as the Democratic nominee for governor in 1998. But he has recently started running ads in Michigan with a tagline that says “2020: A clear vision of America” prompting speculation that he intends to get back into politics. Fieger says the 2020 tagline does not necessarily mean he is planning a presidential run, but says that he thinks if Donald Trump can get elected president, then anyone can. One Detroit political consultant says the ad means he is considering running for some race in the next 2 or 4 years either at the state or federal level.

Political Roundup for January 10, 2017

As the elite left plots to attack and insult every portion of American society not fully behind the SJW agenda by the end of the month and President-Elect Trump plans to do what he does best, make them seem even more moronic and drive them crazy on Twitter, it is time for Tuesday’s roundup:

Special Elections:

There are four special elections today, one in Georgia and three in Virginia. In Georgia, GA-SD-54 is an R+24 (2012) seat around Dalton. Chuck Payne (R), a local GOP official who was a high-ranking member of the Ben Carson campaign, is heavily favored over zoning board member Debby Peppers (I), who has some Dem support and is running a serious enough campaign to have the potential to surprise with extremely low turnout. For the Virginia races, the inimitable VPAP has great infographics covering district stats and candidate fundraising; click on the district numbers to access those. VA-SD-9 is a black-majority D+23 (2016) seat covering northeast Richmond and suburbs in eastern Henrico and Charles City Counties. State Rep. Jenn McClellan (D) is facing only a Libertarian opponent. VA-SD-22 is an R+9 (2016) seat covering part of Lynchburg and a broad swath of rural areas between Charlottesville and Richmond. Attorney Mark Peake (R) looks like a moderate favorite over ex-Fluvanna Sheriff Ryant Washington (D). This seat would flip the Senate if Dems were able to take it, and Washington has outraised Peake. However, the lean of the seat makes it tough for Dems (unlike the state as a whole, this seat actually moved three points right in 2016) and Peake still looks like the favorite overall. Finally, VA-LD-85 is the most competitive of the four elections, an R+2 (2016) seat in west-central Virginia Beach around Pembroke Mall. The candidates are cop Rocky Holcomb (R) and teacher Cheryl Turpin (D), whose husband lost a run for DA in 2013. Low turnout should benefit Holcomb in this historically-R area, but Turpin has led in fundraising. Both sides are targeting the seat and there is no clear favorite.

President:

Kushner:  Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will serve as a senior adviser to Trump.  Kushner, like his father-in-law, is a real estate developer and will resign/divest of much of his growing real estate empire and New York Observer to concentrate on his duties.  Kushner will receive no salary.

Cabinet:  Trump appears to be taking a “Chairman of the Board” approach and will empower his cabinet to take aggressive action on their own during the initial months of his presidency.  This is not surprising as Trump seems to have no time for details and enjoys being a figurehead.  One has to wonder if we have too many years of the figurehead presidency if we will devolve into something resembling Westminster democracy.

DOD:  Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work has been asked to remain as Deputy Secretary of Defense under the Trump administration.   The Trump team wants to Work to remain to ensure a smooth transition in light of the generally insane world out there.

Congress:

Obamacare:  There appears to be some sanity in the Republican caucus when it comes to repealing Obamacare.  Several senators led by Senator Rand Paul are objecting to a repeal without an immediate replacement.  President-Elect Trump also supports voting to repeal and replace at the same time.  Repealing without a replacement is a recipe for disaster.  It is pathetic that Republicans do not have this already pre-packaged as they have been demanding a repeal and replace for six years.  Pathetic.

2018:  The Judicial Crisis Network, a third-party group with plenty of cash, plans on attacking Democratic senators in Republican states who oppose President-Elect Trump’s judicial nominations.  I hope they oppose and get slaughtered.

MO-1:  Besides ensuring adequate African-American Democrat and White Republican representation for the great state of Missouri, Representative Lacy Clay (D / R for Redistricting) does not get much attention here on RRH Elections.  Clay is threatening to file a police report against Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Marine Corps) for removing an anti-police painting from the Capitol complex.  Normally I would dismiss Clay’s antics, but his efforts to undermine the Democratic Party in redistricting means we should all take his anger seriously.

TX-16: El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser (D) considers a run for Congress if Representative Beto O’Rourke (D) commits ritualistic political suicide and runs against Senator Ted Cruz (R-Whatever he pushes today) in 2018.

GA-6:  The field continues to narrow in the probable jungle special election to replace Representative Tom Price (R) when he is confirmed as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Governor/States:

MN-Gov: State Auditor Rebecca Otto (D) has announced a bid for Governor. Otto joins St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D) and State Rep. Erin Murphy (D) in the contest.

LA-Treas: State Rep. John Schroder (R) is the first candidate to announce a run for Treasurer in this October’s special election.

International:

Corbyn:  Because I cannot resist writing about the Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Marxist Loyal Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, I must post the Politico piece articulating how the vanguard party plans to bypass the bourgeois-controlled mass media and use social media in a Trump fashion to reach the proletariat. Corbyn failed to study his Marx properly as he does not realize the British left has not evolved as far as the American right when it comes to media hatred.  Admittedly this is the most coherent thing out of the international left since the November election, which is not saying much as the US Democrats are busy going Full Corbyn when it comes to identity politics.

More Corbyn:  Taking a break from emulating the tactics of President-Elect Trump, Corbyn took time to join Marxist union thugs causing transit chaos in London.  This is causing a backlash from the rump of the New Labour Party capitalist tools.  Even the Mayor of London Sahiq Khan (Capitalist Lapdog) attacked the Marxist union thugs.

Political Roundup for December 14th, 2016

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

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

President

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

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

Governor

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

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

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

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

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

Senate

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

House

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

Miscellaneous

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

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

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

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

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

Political Roundup for December 13, 2016

11 days until Hanukkah, 12 days until Christmas, 13 days until my birthday (along with Mao’s birthday), and 38 days until El-Presidente-Elect Trump (United Russia)(R) takes office.

There is a single legislative special today, in GA-SD-54. This is an R+28 (2012) seat around Dalton in the mountains of northwest Georgia. Five candidates are running in this Louisiana-Rules Top Two race, four Republicans and an Indie. The Republicans are local GOP official Chuck Payne (R), who was also a high-ranking member of the Ben Carson campaign, Michelle Underwood (R), who lost a county commission race earlier this year, Conda Lowery-Goodson (R), who lost the primary for this seat this year to the prior incumbent by 3:1., and contractor William Vinyard (R). Zoning board member Debby Peppers (I) could also have a shot at a runoff spot. Right now it looks most likely that Payne heads to a runoff with either Underwood or Lowery-Goodson, but any of the five could have a chance to advance.

President

Trump:  President-Elect Trump postponed a news conference where he planned on detailing the efforts to still enrich the Trump empire avoid conflicts of interest with his business assets.  Trump promised this news conference for December 15 way back in November.  Now he promises to have it by January 20.

DNI:  In a real WTF moment, avoid Trump hater Carly Fiorina is in consideration for Director of National Intelligence.

Pennsylvania:  Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein (Con Artist, weirdo, hippy, criminal, etc…) received a strong rebuke from U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond who dismissed the Green Party’s scam to raise funds demand for a recount of Pennsylvania’s paper ballots and an examination of Pennsylvania’s voting machines.  I have not spoken much about Pennsylvania’s voting machines despite some weird comments in the press about them being hackable.  Considering the machines are not hooked up to any external means of communication and are slightly more sophisticated than the ten plus year old elliptical bike in my basement, anyone saying the machines have been hacked should be placed under a mental health evaluation hold at the local hospital.

Wisconsin:  Speaking of Green Party lunacy, Wisconsin completed its recount and discovered El-Presidente-Elect Trump widened his lead by 162 votes.  Rigged!

Colorado:  A Clinton appointed U.S. District Court judge has tossed an attempt to unbind Colorado’s presidential electors.   Judge Wiley Daniel denied two Democratic electors injunction request on the basis such a request would undermine the democratic process.

Electoral College:  Speaking over undermining the democratic process, Representative Jim Himes (Limousine Liberal) wants electors to vote against El-Presidente-Elect Trump as he is “completely unhinged”.  Maybe if the Democratic Party nominated a better candidate we would not be facing a Trump presidency.

Congress / Parties

PA-2: Convicted felon and former Congressman Chaka Fattah (Corrupt) received a 10 year federal jail term for his RICO conviction.  Not long enough.

SD-AL:  With Representative Kristi Noem (R) mulling a run for Governor, the chatter class is wondering if the Blaze loudmouth Tomi Lahren could return to South Dakota and run for Congress.  Lahren has made a name for herself by ranting about various right wing topics of the day.  I suspect the various political types in South Dakota really would love her to come in and usurp what is rightly theirs to covet.

K-Street:   Like all of us, K Street continues to determine who actually can figure out what is going on with Trump. Several outgoing congresscritters are looked at as potential windows for the private sector into the Trump administration.

DNC: Another article on how the Democratic Party cannot reconcile with its electoral defeat while winning the popular vote.  The party cannot decide what needs to be done while some are debating whether the party needs essentially a refresh of Clinton or going Full Corbyn.  We can only hope they choose the latter.

RRH Elections 2016 General Election Preview Series, Part 3: Sunbelt Legislatures

Today we continue our tour of this year’s legislative elections with 10 more states across the south and southwest.

Part 1 (Friday, October 21): Northeast Legislatures
Part 2 (Monday, October 24): Midwest Legislatures
Part 3 (Tuesday, October 25): Sunbelt Legislatures
Part 4 (Wednesday, October 26): Western Legislatures
Part 5 (Thursday, October 27): Local Elections and Public Service Commissioners
Parts 6-7 (Monday, October 31 – Tuesday, November 1): House Races
Parts 8-9 (Wednesday, November 2 – Thursday, November 3): Governor and Row Officer Races
Part 10 (Friday, November 4): Senate Races

Today we will cover 19 chambers in 10 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Why only 19? Well, the Texas Senate doesn’t have a single competitive election this year, and all seats are essentially certain to stay with their incumbent parties. In Yellow are states covered in this preview, white states will be covered in other parts of the series, light gray are states others will cover in the diaries, and black are states with no legislative elections this year.

There are four chambers that are competitive, three GOP-held (the Arizona Senate, Florida Senate, and New Mexico House) and one Dem-held (the New Mexico Senate). Plus there is one more chamber that is “theoretically competitive”, with enough competitive seats to change hands but where the minority party would need to win an implausible number of long-shot races, the GOP-held Florida House. However, I’d probably argue that three of the four competitive chambers in this region (all except the New Mexico House) are decided long-shots to flip control. The other significant story-lines in this region are Dems’ attempts to break the GOP supermajority in the NC legislature and a number of teachers attempting to make Dem gains in Oklahoma.

Flip over for the full previews!

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Georgia Runoff Liveblog & Democratic Convention Roundup for July 26, 2016

Today is night #2 of the Democratic Convention. Bill Clinton will be the big headliner tonight. But separately, there is also the Georgia Runoff for one congressional seat and 13 legislative seats (read more about that in our previews here here). We will be liveblogging in this thread starting at 7p ET, with the liveblog focusing on the lone major race of the night in GA-3.

Results: AP

9:30 ET – For some reason the AP hasn’t called it for Ferguson but I will go ahead; with 95% in, Ferguson has won 54-46.

8:40 ET – 75% in and Crane has closed the gap to 54-46, but his two best counties are in.

8:20 ET- 42% in and Ferguson is still up 57-43.

8:05 ET- 25% in and Ferguson is holding a similar 20-point lead. I’m basically ready to call it.

7:50 ET- Ferguson is leading the early vote in every county in except Fayette (Crane’s home base) and is up 59-41 overall.

7:30 ET- Early votes are in from two counties and Ferguson is up 55-45.

7:00 ET- Polls have closed in Georgia.

Dem Convention News:

Unity: The theme of yesterday seemed to be getting the Bernie Bros on board with speeches from  Sanders and Warren, but that proved to be difficult as Sanders supporters booed outgoing DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz as she opened the convention.

Email Hack: The FBI is investigating whether the Russians are behind the leak of DNC emails that led to the sacking of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

DWS: Here’s an interesting piece on how she managed to stay on for so long despite being universally regarded as incompetent. Long story short, she was likely to raise a ruckus if forced out and the White House didn’t care enough about the DNC to have that fight.

Michelle Obama: The speech she gave last night seems to suggest a post-presidency that’s not a Hillary-esque front-and-center role on the national stage, but not a Laura Bush-type quiet invisible retirement either.

Likability: An interesting piece on how hating Hillary became the default setting for American culture