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Political Roundup for December 6th, 2017

Well, the President of the United States and the RNC have both officially endorsed a sexual predator for a US Senate seat. Political participation these days feels like a game of Russian Roulette in which every chamber of the revolver is loaded.

Last Night, Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) won the Atlanta Mayor’s race by 1% (759 votes), Brad Hart (R) held Cedar Rapids Mayor for the GOP, and Robb Pitts (D) was elected Fulton County, GA Executive. Republicans picked up a State Senate seat in MA-SD-Worcester & Middlesex with Dean Tran (R), Wendy Carillo (D) took CA-LD-51, and the Dems easily held PA-LD-133. Margaret Good (D) won the nomination in FL-LD-72. Georgia Democrats elected in D-on-D runoffs Jen Jordan (D) in SD-6, Nikema Williams (D) in SD-39, Kim Schofield (D) in LD-60, and Bee Nguyen (D) in LD-89.

President/the Bigger Picture

The Great Sort (or not?): The Economist analyzes recent data regarding American political attitudes from Pew Research. It finds that, while the partisan gap regarding the role of government has widened, Americans broadly agree at an unprecedented level on two electorally influential notions: 1) homosexuality should be accepted, and 2) immigration is a positive force. The magazine also claims that, despite many theses to the contrary, Americans have not been moving to certain areas to be around fellow members of their political party.

Blame Canada (or at least Eastern Europe): ICYMI, President Trump re-tweeted anti-Muslim videos last week (surprise!). Fittingly, ABC‘s Nightline was inspired to take a look at the alarming popularity of white nationalism among the European youth (particularly within the former USSR). With Generation Y being split between the alt-right and Corbynism, our children and grandchildren are all screwed.

The Donald and the GOP: Totally loyal lifelong conservative Republican Donald Trump will definitely be loyal to the GOP. He won’t try destroying it, even if it doesn’t do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

The President’s Taxes (no, not like that): Lyin’ Quinnipiac finds that 53% of Americans disapprove of the GOP’s efforts to update the tax code. Just 29% support them. For context, the pollster notes that those numbers are more dreadful than both Obamacare and Clinton’s tax hikes upon their first times being polled.

Congress

AL-Sen: The RNC has decided to go on a second date with God’s Gift to the World Roy Moore (R-His Selective Conceptions of Morality) after daddy lowered his shotgun barrel.

More AL-Sen: Clearly not attracted the idea of having a child predator in the Senate, Republican Senator Jeff Flake (R-Mesa) did the only thing he could do when Steve Bannon (“R”-his Alt Reich) decided to “gift” a trojan horse to the party: he donated to Democrat Doug Jones (D-Birmingham).

#LockHimUp: Doug Jones told a crowd at a Mobile rally that False Prophet Roy Moore (R-Gadsden Mall) belongs in jail, not the US Senate.

MI-13: US Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) is retiring to spend more time creeping on nurses at the old folks home. Accordingly, his Detroit West Side/Downriver/Western Wayne County seat is open for the first time since the court-ordered 1964 redistricting.

TX-05/TX HD-04: State Rep Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) has thrown his ten-gallon hat into the ring in the race to replace outgoing Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas).

The States

CA-Gov: Looking to shore up the moonbat vote, bold progressive State Treasurer John Chiang (D-Los Angeles) is attacking Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-San Francisco). Why? Obviously because Newt Gingrich praised his his 2013 book, Citizenville, for advocating the improvement of government through technology. Of course, Chiang neglected that several prominent Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, also praised Newsom’s book.

CT-Gov: Connecticut Democrats will need to find a new governor next year; incumbent Dannel Malloy (D-Stamford) has realized that the only election he would win these days is a Bob Saget look-alike contest. Accordingly, Nutmeg State Democrats held a symposium at which bold progressives were able to quiz prospective candidates. What purpose did the gathering serve? Attendees used it to discern which contender is the most #woke on pressing issues: the #fightfor15 and hosing the rich.

IL-Gov: Courtesy of pro-life warrior and Madigan stooge Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R-Winnetka) is currently locked in a war on two fronts: his social right and his fiscal left. Rauner did not mince words in blasting his primary opponent as a “fringe candidate who betrayed our party.”

The F—ing Golden Governor: Ostensibly to settle questions about campaign finance law, several prominent Democrats in Illinois’ congressional delegation have asked SCOTUS to look into the sentence of disgraced ex-governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Federal Prison).

Harry Lewis and the News: ICYMI, PA State Rep. Harry Lewis (R) will retire from his Coatesville-based, Clinton +24 State House seat at the end of his term. The seat moves to Safe D.

Atlanta Mayoral Preview & Liveblog

Results: AP (GA) || Cedar Rapids Gazette

11:50 ET-Bottoms has a 759 vote lead with 100% of precincts counted. The margin is close enough however that she has not been declared the winner

11:15 ET-A huge vote dump in Atlanta puts Bottoms ahead 51-49 with 90% counted.

10:38 ET-Results for Atlanta are starting to come in-Norwood leads 52-48 with 13% of precincts counted.

10:00 ET- I’m going to cut bait on Atlanta as there is literally nothing coming in. If other mods are around later the post may be updated, otherwise check back for results in tomorrow’s roundup.

9:55 ET- And Cedar Rapids has been called for Hart.

9:50 ET- 38/45 in for Cedar Rapids, Hart is up to a 54-46 lead.

9:45 ET- Still basically zilch from Atlanta. In Cedar Rapids, Brad Hart (R) is leading Monica Vernon (D) 53-47 with 28/45 precincts in.

9:00 ET- Can’t find results yet but people are saying on twitter that Dean Tran (R) has picked up MA-SD-Worcester & Middlesex. In less exciting legislative news, Democrats have easily held PA-LD-133 and Good (D) has won the primary in FL-LD-72.

8:45 ET- Norwood has won the early vote in DeKalb, covering a little under half the white-liberal east side, 62-38.

7:00 ET- Polls have closed in Georgia.

Today there is an election for Mayor of Atlanta as well as for county executive in Fulton County, which covers most of the city. Plus there is a mayoral election in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a few legislative specials. Atlanta polls close at 7p ET and we will have a brief liveblog in this thread.

Atlanta Mayor: Atlanta’s mayoral race is the big contest today, and a highly competitive one. The city has a population of 475K, roughly 50% Black and 40% White, and a PVI of D+29. Atlanta has four major socioeconomic areas, which are conveniently clustered around the north, south, east, and west parts of the city. The northern part of the city is known as Buckhead, a wealthy urban to inner suburban neighborhood that has historically been the origin and piggybank of the Georgia GOP, though it has been trending left recently. The eastern part of the city, which includes the downtown area, is a historically-black area that has become gentrified in recent years and is now largely upscale liberal whites. The western part of the city is overwhelmingly black and largely poor, though it does have some middle-class areas near the western edge. Finally, the southern part of the city is also overwhelmingly black, but more middle-class, though it does have some poor areas closer to downtown. Councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) came in first in the preliminary round with 27% and was initially thought the clear favorite in the runoff. Lance-Bottoms is a mainstream black establishment liberal, and she came in surprisingly strong in the primary despite a highly fractured field with many ideologically-similar candidates. In particular, she was dramatically boosted by the endorsement of outgoing incumbent Kasim Reed (D) and the support of his network, which allowed her to dominate the first-round vote on the south and west sides. In the runoff, she has casting herself as the true Democrat in the race and the champion of the city’s black vote, a playbook that worked for Reed 8 years ago, and she has like Reed received strong state and national Dem establishment support. Lance-Bottoms’s runoff opponent is the same as Reed’s was, councilwoman and 2009 candidate Mary Norwood (I). Norwood lost the 2009 runoff to Reed in a squeaker by 714 votes. That 2009 campaign featured extensive campaigning from the state Democratic party on Reed’s behalf, casting the white Norwood as a closet Republican. That characterization is sincerely overblown; to the extent Norwood’s ideology can be identified, it’s probably best described as Bloombergish pro-business centrism. But directly opposite Bloomberg, Norwood is unapologetically small-ball in focus, eschewing major initiatives of any type in favor of a focus on local and neighborhood concerns. In a city where right-of-center candidates don’t have any real shot, that means Norwood is a natural fit for the city’s GOP minority and upscale Buckhead residents. But she came in second in November with a somewhat weaker than expected 21%, and there weren’t obvious reservoirs of Norwood voters among the eliminated candidates, who were generally more liberal. Thus, Lance-Bottoms had been pegged as a very strong favorite. However, Norwood’s campaign has had a very good few weeks since the primary. While Lance-Bottoms has been endorsed by just one of the six eliminated candidates (who got 4%), Norwood has picked up three major endorsements: from white liberals Cathy Woolard (D) and Peter Aman (D) and black mainstream liberal city council president Caesar Mitchell (D). Their three vote shares together total 37% in addition to Norwood’s own 21%. Norwood also got an important endorsement from black 2000s-era ex-Mayor Shirley Franklin (D). It seems as though Lance-Bottoms’s ties to Reed are proving a double-edged sword, as the runoff has pushed many anti-Reed Democrats out of the woodwork and into the Norwood camp. To pull the upset, Norwood will likely need white liberals on the east side to move to her, and some crossover appeal from middle-class blacks; the Woolard, Aman, and Mitchell endorsements suggest that route is significantly more viable than it seemed just a couple weeks ago. Polls have been very close and it now seems like either could win.

Fulton, GA-CE: The other big election is also in the Atlanta area, for the Fulton County Exec post. Fulton County is an oddly-shaped snake that covers almost all of the city of Atlanta (except a small part of the east side) as well as two large chunks of suburbs in the north-central and southwest parts of the metro. It has a black plurality and a PVI of D+19. Two Dems are contesting the runoff. The slight front-runner looks like ex-county commissioner and 2014 CE candidate Robb Pitts (D). A longtime local pol, Pitts, who is black, served on the Atlanta council before losing a 2001 mayoral bid. He then won a swingy white-majority commission seat and held it through several competitive races. Pitts is a somewhat moderate liberal with mavericky tendencies; he has habitually voted against county budgets on the commission. Pitts’s intraparty rival is State Rep. Keisha Waites (D). Waites is also a mainstream liberal with some moderate tendencies. Her main difference with Pitts is generally style, as she is a much more easygoing type of pol. Pitts led the first round 38-34 with the remainder of the vote going to a Republican, so he looks like a very slight favorite in the second round; however, Waites could easily surprise.

Cedar Rapids, IA-Mayor: I’ll also say a few words about the mayoral runoff in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city, is smaller city than we normally cover (130K), but today’s race is interesting enough to mention. The city, which is 90% white and has an agribusiness-based economy, has a PVI of D+10. The Mayor’s seat is open as incumbent Ron Corbett (R) is running for Governor, and today there is a D vs. R runoff. Councilwoman and 2016 IA-1 nominee Monica Vernon (D) led the 8-way first round in November with 30%. She is squaring off against attorney Brad Hart (R), who took 20%, taking second place by just 64 votes. Both Vernon and Hart are attempting to run as moderates; the race is hotly contested and could go either way. Because of the lean of the city and energized D base I would call Vernon a slight favorite, but Hart has strong establishment support and could prevail as well.

Today is also a busy day for legislative specials, with eight seats up in five states, a trio of generals in California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, a primary in Florida, and four D-on-D runoffs in Georgia.
CA-LD-51 is a D+36 seat covering the northeast part of LA proper, including the middle-class Hispanic Eagle Rock and Mount Washington areas, along with some poorer heavily Hispanic areas around Dodger Stadium and the monolithically Hispanic slumburb of East LA. This is the seat vacated by now-US Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D). 2017 CA-34 candidate Wendy Carillo (D) is the front-runner. Carillo got some buzz for her story of being a former illegal immigrant, and has some far-left support in this race. She led the first round 22-19 over 2012 candidate and zoning board member Luis Lopez (D), who took 40% in the 2012 general against Gomez. Both candidates have significant establishment support, but the fault lines are somewhat interesting. Carillo’s backing seems to come from unions (she got a key early endorsement from the SEIU) and the network around State Senate Pres. Kevin DeLeon (D), who represents the area. Carillo secured big endorsements from DeLeon and Gomez. Lopez’s backing, conversely, seems to come from the more socially-liberal and moderate elements in the party, including several LA city councilors and social liberal groups like Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club. As Carillo’s side of the party would seem to be stronger in this poor, heavily Hispanic district, I’d peg her as a slight favorite, but Lopez could surprise, especially if white turnout is high.
MA-SD-Worcester & Middlesex is a D+3 seat around Fitchburg and Leominster along with some nearby exurban and rural areas. Leominster councilwoman Sue Chalifoux-Zephir (D), an establishment liberal, looks like a moderate favorite over Fitchburg councilman Dean Tran (R), who narrowly lost a House special in 2016, and a credible centrist Indie in Leominster councilwoman Claire Freda (I), though an upset by either Tran or Freda is within the realm of possibility.
PA-LD-133 is a D+4 seat covering inner suburbs immediately north and east of Allentown as well as the western (Lehigh County) part of Bethlehem. Jeanne McNeill (D), widow of the prior incumbent, is the strong favorite over perennial candidate David Molony (R), who was the nominee for this seat in the last 4 general elections.
FL-LD-72 is the lone primary, for an R+3 seat covering eastern Sarasota proper and most of its suburbs. Attorney Margaret Good (D) has the strongest establishment support and looks like a moderate favorite over businesswoman Ruta Jounari (D), who is attempting to run to the left on a BernieBro platform. The winner will face James Buchanan (R), not the President but the son of Rep. Vern (R), in a competitive February general.
GA-SD-6 is a formerly R-held D+7 seat (though Romney carried it) covering the wealthy Buckhead neighborhood of northern Atlanta and parts of the mostly-upscale suburbs of Sandy Springs to the north and Vinings and Smyrna to the west. The race is a guaranteed Dem pickup as five Republicans split the vote and allowed two Dems to advance. Attorney Jen Jordan (D) has the strongest Dem establishment support, including endorsements from Daily Kos and Jon Ossoff, and took first place in November with 24%. She faces dentist and 2016 nominee Jaha Howard (D), who lost this seat by a much smaller than expected 4-point margin last year and took second with 22% in November. Howard is slightly more moderate and probably picks up a majority of the GOP vote, so he is probably the slight favorite in the runoff.
GA-SD-39 is a black-majority D+36 seat stretching an absurd bacon strip from upscale black-majority suburbs west of Hartsfield Airport (among the nation’s wealthiest black-majority areas) through poor urban ghettoes west of downtown Atlanta, and finishing in upscale white liberal areas of Buckhead. State Dem official Nikema Williams (D), a member of the GADP’s top leadership, led legislative staffer Linda Pritchett (D), who lost a State House primary by 60 votes in 2016, by a 35-32 margin in November. There is no clear favorite in the runoff.
GA-LD-60 is a D+42 seat covering black-majority inner suburban areas immediately east of Hartsfield airport. Nonprofit exec Kim Schofield (D) led charter school exec and former school board candidate Deandre Pickett (D) 36-35 in the first round; there is no clear favorite in the runoff.
GA-LD-89 is a D+43 seat covering the black-majority inner suburban southwest corner of DeKalb County near Gresham Park. Strangely enough, the runoff is between two Asian-American candidates. Nonprofit exec Bee Nguyen (D) surprisingly led the first round 40-34 over attorney Sachin Vargese (D), who had stronger  establishment support. I would peg Nguyen as a slight favorite.

Political Roundup for December 5th, 2017

Check back at noon today for our preview and open thread for today’s mayoral election in Atlanta. We will start our liveblog at 7pm eastern.

Governor:

ME-Gov: Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) is considering a run for governor in 2018. Pingree has said she will decide by the end of the month whether to enter the race to succeed term limited Gov. Paul LePage (R).

MD-Gov, MD-LG: Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous (D) has picked former Maryland Democrat chair Susan Turnbull as his running mate. Jealous is facing Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz (D), Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D), and others in the primary to take on popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

OH-Gov: Richard Cordray (D) will announce his candidacy for Governor today in his hometown of Grove City, OH. This comes as a complete shock to us because based on his blatant politicization of the CFPB we had assumed Cordray had been running for governor for some time. Luckily for Cordray the Governor of Ohio doesn’t get to handpick his successor on his last day in office. That is a power Cordray believes should only be saved for unelected directors of powerful and unaccountable bureaucratic federal agencies.

SC-Gov, SC-LG: Businessman John Warren (R) is considering a run for governor. If he runs Warren would be the fifth Republican in the race joining incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill , Catherine Templeton and Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant. Meanwhile, McMaster has chosen upstate Some Dudette businesswoman Pamela Evette (R) as his running mate; the state is switching from separate election to Team Primaries for LG this cycle.

TX-Gov: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) says she’s still considering a run for governor, but that reports that she has resigned to run for governor are false. With incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R) sitting on over $41 million in cash and sporting sky high approval ratings Valdez may want to keep her day job and let Mr. Leather International be the sacrificial lamb instead.

Senate:

AL-Sen: With the Flight 93 election taken to its logical conclusion Roy Moore (R) leads Doug Jones by a 49% to 46% margin with write-in candidate Lee Busby at 5% in the latest Emerson College poll. President Donald J. Trump has gone all in in his support of alleged child molester Roy Moore because in 2017 we are long past the point in which anything matters anymore.

AL-Sen: Debbie Wesson Gibson has shared more evidence of the relationship she had with Roy Moore (R) when she was a 17 year old high school student and he was a 34 year old man. Gibson released a handwritten graduation card from Moore to her and recounted her experiences dating Moore in the early 1980s. After telling Sean Hannity that he remembered Gibson as a “good girl” Moore has backtracked and begun publicly claiming he did “not know any of these women”. It was this lie that prompted Gibson to come forward with more evidence of their relationship. In response to the latest evidence that Roy Moore dated underage girls the Republican National Committee has resumed their support of Moore because nothing matters anymore.

ND-Sen: State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt (R) has decided not to run for Senate. Schmidt was heavily recruited to run by the Club for Growth. They even released poll in September that showed Schmidt leading incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) by a 4 point 48% to 44% margin. Last week Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller (R) also declined to run for Senate. So far state Sen. Tom Campbell is the only Republican in the race but Rep. Kevin Cramer could also switch the the senate race. Former Rep. Rick Berg, who narrowly lost to Heitkamp in 2012, is also considering a run.

NJ-Sen: Former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer Michael Starr Hopkins is exploring a primary challenge to defendant sitting Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Menendez recently escaped justice with a hung jury in his first federal corruption trial. Federal prosecutors plan to re-try him in 2018.

UT-Sen: Donald Trump is reportedly going all out to convince Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) to seek re-election in 2018. Apparently Trumpworld thinks an 83 year old Orrin Hatch would be easier to control than a principled Sen. Mitt Romney (R) unafraid to speak his mind as he does here.

House:

CO-3: Attorney and Glenwood Springs City official Karl Hanlon (D) is in and will take on State Rep. Diane Mitch-Busch (D) in the primary for the right to face Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in this R+6 seat.

HI-1: Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin (D) has entered the race for the open D+17 seat Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is vacating to run for governor. Martin will join state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim and state Rep. Kaniela Ing in seeking the Democrat nomination.

MA-3: Banker and former Cambodian refugee Bopha Malone (D) is in and now we have 12 Democrats running to replace Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) in this D+9 seat! Luckily for the Democrats Massachusetts doesn’t have California top two style jungle primary so the clown car is unlikely to hurt them all that much.

NC-2: Distillery owner Sam Searcy is dropping out of the Democratic primary for this R+7 seat held by Rep. George Holding (R) and will run for the state Senate instead. The wealthy Searcy has been self funding his campaign. Tech executive Ken Romley and former state Rep. Linda Coleman are both still seeking the Democrat nomination.

TX-6: Tarrant County Assessor Ron Wright (R) has filed to run for the R+9 seat photogenic Rep. Joe Barton (R) is retiring from. Wright once served as Barton’s chief of staff.

TX-21: Bexar GOP chair Robert Stovall has announced he is running to replace retiring Rep. Lamar Smith (R) in this R+10 seat. State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) is so far the only other prominent candidate for the seat.

TX-29: Riceland Health Care CEO Tahir Javed (D) filed papers to run for the D+19 seat of retiring Rep. Gene Green (D). Javed joins state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, Dominique Michelle Garcia, teacher Hector Morales, and attorney Roel Garcia in seeking the Democrat nomination.

PPP-Polling: A new poll from PPP shows Gene Ric (D) leading Republican incumbents in CA-25, IA-1, CO-6, VA-10, ME-2 and NY-24. Now all Democrats need to do is find one person named “Gene Ric” who lives in each of these six districts and convince them to run for Congress.

WATN: Former Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) has been sentenced to five years in prison for funneling money into a sham charity she looted.

RIP: Former Rep. John Anderson has passed away at age 95. Anderson was a Rockefeller Republican from Illinois who served 20 years in the House and ran an Independent campaign for President in 1980 and won just under 7% of the vote.

State, Local & Other:

CT-AG: State Rep. William Tong (D) is exploring a bid for the open Attorney General spot and ex-State Rep. John Shaban (R) is in. Meanwhile, there’s some chatter about changing the 10-year practicing law requirement, which makes it one of the strictest offices in the nation to qualify for.

MN-AG: St. Paul City attorney Samuel Clark (D), a former Klobuchar aide, is considering a run for Attorney General. He would join Dayton admin official Mike Rothman (D), State Rep. Debra Hillstrom (D) and ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D).

NM-Auditor: Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has picked Bernalillo County commissioner and unsuccessful 2017 Albuquerque Mayoral candidate Wayne Johnson (R) to fill the Auditor’s seat for the rest of the term. Tim Keller (D) resigned as Auditor last Thursday after he was elected to become the new Mayor of Albuquerque; State Rep. Bill McCamley (D) is in the race for Dems.

NM-LG: Former independent Albuquerque mayoral candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes has changed her voter registration to Republican and will seek the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor next year. Holmes’ announcement comes after former state Indian Affairs Secretary Kelly Zunie withdrew from the race, leaving the Republican Party without a potential candidate. Zunie had tax and residency problems. Rep. Steve Pearce is the only Republican currently running for governor in the shotgun-wedding primary.

ND-SoS: GOP official Will Gardner (R) is primarying longtime incumbent Alvin Jaeger (R), who has announced he will seek an eighth term.

NV-Treas: Ex-State Rep. Andrew Martin (D), who lost a race for Comptroller in the 2014 wave, is running for the open Treasurer seat; incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is running for Governor.

OH-Treas: 2006 nominee and ex-Ashtabula County Auditor Sandy O’Brien (R) is running again for Treasure. O’Brien probably doesn’t have much chance against State Rep. Robert Sprague (R) in the primary, as she has lost multiple primaries and only won in ’06 against an incumbent closely tied to the toxic Gov. Taft. Former Cincinnati Mayoral candidate Rob Richardson (D) is the likely D nominee.

MA-State Senate President: Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D) is temporarily stepping down from his position after bombshell sexual misconduct allegations against his husband Bryon Hefner have come to light.

CA-AD 45: Yuck! Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D) is allegedly one sick SOB!

Atlanta-Mayor: Ahead of today’s mayoral runoff election a new Channel 2 Action News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows City Councilwoman has Mary Norwood (I) at 51.3 percent and Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) at 45.1 percent.

Political Roundup for November 30th, 2017

Welcome to the roundup y’all.

Senate

AL-Sen: A new JMC poll in the marquee US Senate race in Alabama (who’da thunk we’d say that about a general election in Alabama two months ago?) has Moore (R) leading Jones (D) 48%-43%, which follows a trend in some recent polls of Moore bouncing back a bit from the sting of the initial reveal of his predatory behavior years before.

More AL-Sen: President Trump is considering breaking ranks with Senate Republicans to back a robocall, texting, and email effort (so low cost and marginal, but still) targeting Doug Jones (D) in the Senate race. While I guess this is an attempt to give Trump plausible deniability by not completely putting his name on the effort, his public remarks about Jones and Moore kind of stand for themselves.

AZ-Sen, AZ-Treas: Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) is being nominated for a position at NASA. DeWit was talked up as a potential challenger to Sen. Jeff Flake (R) when he was still running for reelection, and his name was still floating for the open seat as well. Chem Trail Kelli is already running for Republicans, with Reps. McSally and Salmon the two biggest names tossed around.

Governor

OH-Gov, OH-LG: Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has pulled a massive coup by forming a gubernatorial ticket with Secretary of State Jon Husted, who looks set to transfer his own campaign (and, perhaps more importantly, 7-figure campaign warchest) into a bid for Lieutenant Governor on DeWine’s ticket.

House

MI-13: Rep. John Conyers apparently plans to announce his resignation in January. We have the Great Mentioner for his successor in this Detroit-based seat in last night’s writeup of the news.

TX-6: Things are looking down for Rep. Joe Barton (R), who is presently holding off on filing for reelection amidst scandal over a nude photo leaking online. Among the folks lining up to call for him to retire are the Chairman of the Tarrant County GOP and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Star-Telegram further reports a recent meeting of 20 local party leaders (mostly women) discussing his potential reelection; Barton said at the meeting he has hired a consulting firm to conduct an internal poll and see where things stand before he decides to retire or not.

PA-1: Rep. Bob Brady (D) may get off on some of his federal charges due to the simple reason that the statute of limitations has run out on many of the alleged crimes. There are still other charges floating around in the ether though, but all things equal, a corrupt pol probably wants to face less corruption charges than more. Take the win while you can Brady!

NH-1: A lot of endorsements from local officials for Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D) in his bid for this open congressional seat ahead of his official Dec. 13th kickoff event.

PA-8: Former (Mike) Fitzpatrick staffer Valerie Mihalek is now primarying Rep. (Brian) Fitzpatrick (R), brother of Mike.

NJ-2: The NRCC is still recruiting candidates in one of our toughest attempts at a hold this cycle in NJ-2, where Dems got their ideal recruit for this open seat in State Sen. Jeff Van Drew. Among the politicians the NRCC has met with are Atlantic city Mayor Don Guardian, who won a mayoral term back in 2013 but lost reelection in 2017; former Assemblyman Vincent Polistina; and Hammonton Councilor Mike Torrissi.

State and Local

MN-SD-54: Republicans have a strong candidate for the special election for this Cottage Grove seat in former State Rep. Denny McNamara. This is also a welcome development because it may help keep State Rep. Keith Franke, who was previously considering his own bid, ensconced in his own swing seat as Republicans brace themselves for an impending Democratic wave in the collar counties in 2018. Former State Rep. and Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham (DFL) is already in the race. The special election here was triggered by State Sen. Dan Schoen (DFL), who just resigned over a number of harassment accusations.

TX-Ag Comm: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) drew a primary challenge from lobbyist Trey Blocker. Blocker had been rumored to run for awhile, and back in June he loaned himself $750,000 to get the campaign started. Miller has a propensity to draw unforced bad headlines, and this may be the most interesting statewide primary Republicans have in Texas. Not sure if that is a point in favor of a Blocker-Miller race or an indictment of just how sleepy the Texas primaries are statewide this cycle.

NH-Leg: After two rounds of balloting, it seems likely that State Rep. Gene Chandler (R) has defeated more conservative opposition to return to the vacant speaker’s helm in the chaotic New Hampshire House of Representatives. I say “seems likely” because a handful of firebrand legislators submitted blank ballots in an attempt to prolong the vote by denying Chandler his majority. Chandler, who was once censured by the House in his prior tenure as Speaker, won in part thanks to a pledge to only serve out the remainder of Speaker Shawn Jasper’s term in the post.

Atlanta-Mayor: Opinion Savvy has conducted a poll for the local Fox affiliate of the Atlanta mayoral contest that shows a tight race between City Councilors Mary Norwood (I) (39%) and Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) (42%) in the December 5th runoff. Norwood, a white moderate, also just recently picked up the support of former City Council President and third place finisher in the first round Cathy Woolard (D), the only prominent white liberal in the first round.

Political Roundup for November 28, 2017

There are three special election runoffs today, two in Mississippi and one in South Carolina. MS-SD-10 is a D-held ~R+2 rural seat around Senatobia and Holly Springs, just beyond the edge of the Memphis exurbs. This area tends to be far more Dem-friendly downballot and contains one of the few remaining Dixiecrat concentrations. Businessman Neil Whaley (R) led the first round 36-31 over Holly Springs Councilwoman Sharon Gipson (D); however, as three other Democrats took the remainder of the vote, Gipson looks like a moderately strong favorite in the second round. MS-LD-54 is an ~R+22 seat covering eastern Vicksburg and rural areas to the north. Insurance agent Kevin Ford (R) led physician Randy Easterling (R) 37-33; there is no clear favorite in the runoff. The third is a primary runoff, for SC-LD-99, an R+12 seat connecting upscale Charleston suburbs along the northeast part of I-526 from Hanahan to northern Mt. Pleasant. Businesswoman Nancy Mace (R) took 49.5% in the first election, missing an outright win by just 35 votes. She is now the clear favorite over Mt. Pleasant councilman Mark Smith (R), who took second with 27%. The winner will face businesswoman Cindy Boatwright (D) in the general.

Now as we try to sort out who is the real Antipope of the CFPB, it is time for the day’s news…

Senate:

AL-Sen: Republicans have a write-in candidate for this seat, but it’s not exactly a big name. Retired Marine Lee Busby (R), who served as vice-chief of staff to John Kelly when he was a general and has worked as a sculptor since leaving the service, is running as a write-in against ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) and ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R). Busby could be a vehicle for Moore-skeptical Republicans, but with his lack of any political experience and zero name recognition it’s hard to see him getting more than a few points. It’s unclear who he would draw more from as I would guess there may be as many soft Rs that have already defected to Jones as have been sticking with Moore. Trump announced yesterday he would not campaign with Moore.

MN-Sen: Sen. Al Franken (D) is resisting calls to step down, and said he is returning to his Senate work in a painfully awkward press conference yesterday.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst (R) is at the center of a messy family lawsuit. Herbst’s mother Deborah is suing Tim’s sister Amanda and her husband, alleging the two hacked into Deborah’s phone to look for evidence to use in a lawsuit against Tim. Amanda’s then-boyfriend, now-husband, Jesse Jablon, alleges he was fired as Trumbull’s interim city manager because of his relationship with Amanda. Jablon also accuses Tim of later spreading rumors that Jablon was a drug dealer. Tim does not deny that the relationship was problematic for Jablon’s prospects, saying that Jablon’s relationship with Amanda could have opened Tim up to charges of nepotism. Herbst is one of around 8 credible Republicans competing in this epic clown-car primary.

MI-Gov: LG Brian Calley (R) is expected to launch his gubernatorial campaign today. Calley will likely join front-running AG Bill Schuette (R), State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R), and physician Jim Hines (R) in the GOP primary. Democrats have a crowded primary field as well with ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) as the front-runner.

TX-Gov: With under two weeks before the filing deadline, Texas Democrats continue to cast about for a sacrificial lamb to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The latest little-known name to consider the race is Houston city councilman Dwight Boykins (D), who is officially exploring. Investor Andrew White (D), son of 80s-era ex-Gov. Mark (D), is the most serious candidate in the race so far, but another low “C” list Dem, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D), is also considering.

House:

ID-1: The Club for Growth has endorsed ex-State Sen. and 2014 Gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher (R) in the primary for this open seat. Fulcher, an antiestablishment conservative, is facing 80s-era ex-LG David Leroy (R) and State Reps. Luke Malek (R) and Christy Perry (R) in the primary for the safely Republican seat covering the libertarian-leaning western half of the state and northern panhandle.

IL-4: ICYMI, last night Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) announced he would not run for a fourteenth term; Cook County commissioner and 2015 Mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D) and Chicago councilman and abortive LG candidate Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D) are already thought to be preparing bids to succeed him. Click through for our full Great Mentioner and analysis of this ultra-Safe-D Chicago seat.

MT-AL: Reporter Ben Jacobs has sent a Cease and Desist letter to Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) accusing Gianforte of publicly misrepresenting the events of Gianforte’s May assault of Jacobs.

NH-2: Josh McElveen (R), a prominent former political reporter at the state’s largest TV station, is the latest Republican into the race to take on Rep. Annie Kuster (D). McElveen will face State Rep. Steve Negron (R) and physician Stewart Levenson (R); he likely starts with the highest name recognition and probably starts as the slight front-runner in the primary. Any Republican will face an uphill race against Kuster, a strong incumbent in the light-blue seat.

NJ-2: Democrats are about to land a major recruiting coup for this open R-held South Jersey purple seat, as State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D), who has easily held down a red State Senate seat, is set to kick off his campaign tomorrow. Van Drew is a truly “A” list recruit for Dems here, and his entry makes this race among the toughest holds for the GOP in 2018. Newly-elected State Sen. Chris Brown (R) is probably the GOP’s best prospect here after his surprisingly strong legislative win last month, though there is not yet indication he’s considering a bid.

SC-6: Ex-State Rep. and 2014 LG nominee Bakari Sellers (D) has announced he will run for the seat of Rep. James Clyburn “at some point.” Sellers, who is considered a rising star, stopped short of saying he would not challenge Clyburn in a primary. Clyburn, the third-ranking Dem in the House, is 77 but has given no indication of wanting to leave Congress by any means other than a stretcher. Should the seat come open, Sellers would likely be a strong candidate but potentially face a crowded primary.

TX-2: Two new candidates have entered the race for this suburban Houston open seat. Daniel Crenshaw (R), a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan, has joined the race and would seem to have the story to be a serious contender.  Healthcare executive David Balat (R) was originally planning a primary challenge to Rep. John Culberson (R) in TX-7 next door, but has decided to shift to the open seat as well. The two join State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R) and businessman Rick Walker (R) in the race.

TX-9: Rep. Al Green (D), who represents southern Houston and some multiracial southwest suburbs, is getting some fresh attention over a 2008 case of harassment allegations. Green had sex with a former staffer, Lucinda Daniels, who later filed suit for sexual harassment after Green began confronting her about her drug use. The two issued a rather cryptic statement yesterday saying that they “remain friends” and that no money was paid in the case.

TX-29: State Rep. Armando Walle (D) has aborted his run for Congress days after beginning it. It is looking more like State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) is the prohibitive favorite to take this heavily Hispanic deep-blue Houston seat.

State Offices:

AL-AG: Ex-AG Troy King (R) is running to get his old job back. King lost a re-election primary in 2010 to now-outgoing Sen. Luther Strange (R). He joins appointed incumbent Steve Marshall (R), ex-US Attorney Alice Martin (R), and 2006 State Auditor candidate Chess Bedsole (R) in the primary.

CT-AG: AG George Jepsen (D) announced yesterday he would not seek a third term. The low-key Jepsen would have been a prohibitive favorite for re-election. State Rep. William Tong (D) and prosecutor and gubernatorial candidate Chris Mattei (D) have been mentioned as potential candidates for the open seat. Republicans may seriously contest this race as Connecticut looks likely to be more-fertile-than-average ground for Republicans next year due to toxic Gov. Dan Malloy (D).

PA-LG: Lancaster County commissioner Craig Lehman (D) is the third significant candidate to take on LG Mike Stack (D) in the shotgun-wedding primary to run with Gov. Tom Wolf (D). You may recall that Stack is in hot water for abusing staffers at his state residence. Lehman joins Braddock Mayor and 2016 Senate candidate John Fetterman (D) and Chester County commissioner Kathy Cozzone (D) in the race.

MN-SD-54, MN-LD-23B: State Sen. Dan Schoen (D) and State Rep. Tony Cornish (R) have both resigned after being accused of sexual harassment. Schoen’s southeast exurban Twin Cities seat will likely be hotly-contested, while Cornish’s rural south-central MN seat should stay Republican barring something unexpected.

CA-LD-39: Following them out the door is another pervnado member, State Rep. Raul Bocanegra (D) of the heavily Hispanic eastern San Fernando Valley. Bocanegra’s seat is safely Democratic but could draw a crowded field of Dems.

Local Offices:

Atlanta-Mayor: Ahead of next week’s runoff, councilwoman Mary Norwood (I) has scored two significant endorsements. Businessman Peter Aman (D), the other white moderate in the first round, is backing Norwood, giving her two endorsements from defeated rivals who totaled 20% of the first-round vote. But the bigger deal is an endorsement from 2000s-era ex-Mayor Shirley Franklin (D), Norwood’s most prominent black endorser to date. Norwood is considered the underdog in the runoff after trailing 27-21 to councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D), a black establishment liberal who has the support of outgoing incumbent Kasim Reed (D) and a majority of the state’s Dem establishment.

Philly-Mayor ’19: Outgoing City Comptroller Alan Butkovitz (D) is hinting at a run against Mayor Jim Kenney (D) in 2019. Butkovitz is something of a maverick whose mediocre relationship with the local machine cost him his re-election bid this year, so he would likely face an uphill fight against Kenney.

Cook, IL-CE: Ex-Cook CE Todd Stroger (D) is running to get his old job back. Stroger was booted in the 2010 primary by now-incumbent Toni Preckwinkle (D). Stroger, who took under 14% in his re-election primary after a term marred by multiple sandals, is not likely to be a particularly strong challenger to Preckwinkle, who is unpopular due to her advocacy for a soda tax, which was so loathed that public outrage forced its repeal. Gadflyish ex-Chicago councilman Bob Fioretti (D) is also challenging Preckwinkle.

Political Roundup for November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels. Roundups will resume next Monday; we will have open threads throughout the weekend and a policy thread tomorrow.

President:

Trump: In his latest effort to flush money down the toilet Billionaire Tom Steyer’s $20 million dollars anti Donald Trump campaign will put up large “Impeach President Donald Trump” billboards in Times Square in the key swing state of New York. Steyer would probably have a higher probability of success if he spent that $20 million on building a time machine so he could travel back in time and pay Hillary Clinton to actually campaign in Wisconsin, Michigan and rural Pennsylvania.

Governor:

ME-Gov: One day after we reported Maine businessman Shawn Moody (R) was contemplating a run for governor, Moody has made it official and thrown his hat in the ring. Moody ran for governor as an independent in 2010 and took about 5% of the vote.

MI-Gov: Heir Force cadet Andy Levin (D) had been toying with the idea of running for governor but has decided not to run. Our theory was Andy was just floating his name for Governor to raise his profile enough to make it seem less nepotistic when he eventually tries to take over his father’s House seat which he pointedly did not rule out a run for if his Dad, Rep. Sandy Levin (D), retires.

Senate:

AL-Sen: Doug Jones (D) is on the air with a new ad that quotes Ivanka Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby (R) condemning Roy Moore (R-Gadsden mall). Jones should have plenty of money to put ads like this on the air as he reportedly has been raising about $250,000 a day since the allegations about Moore came out.

AL-Sen: It looks like the GOP is throwing in the towel on finding a write-in candidate to run in Alabama. Although we here at RRH are still holding out hope Nick Saban decides to make a go of it! The acceptable of Roy Moore as our candidate means the GOP is throwing in the towel on the AL-Sen election and resigned to supporting an alleged child molester and as a result having a Democrat represent Alabama in the US Senate until Jan 2021. With this in mind President Donald Trump threw some support Roy Moore’s way by saying “we don’t need a liberal Democrat in that seat,” and that Moore “totally denies” the allegations of molesting teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Although it might have been more presidential if Trump simply quoted JFK and said “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much”.

House:

NJ-11: Bloomfield Mayor Mike Venezia (D) is taking a “hard look” at challenging Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) in this R+3 district. Currently Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill, Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett and counselor Tamara Harris are angling for the Democrat nomination. Venzia, a machine Democrat, could be a step up in terms of quality for the Democrats.

OH-16: State Rep. Christina Hagan (R) has landed the endorsement of former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka in her race for the open R+8 seat Rep. Jim Renacci (R) is vacating to run for Governor. The 28 year old Hagan has been a member of the Ohio House of Representatives since she was appointed to the seat her father once held when she was 22 years old and in college. Most of the local GOP establishment is backing former NFL wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez in the GOP primary.

PA-1: Because not every scandal can be about sex, Rep. Robert Brady (D) is now confirmed to be under FBI investigation for false statements, conspiracy and campaign fraud for allegedly bribing a potential Democrat primary challenger $90,000 to drop out.

TX-23: Emily’s List is backing Gina Ortiz Jones in the Democrat primary over Castro brother BFF Jay Hulings for the right to face two term Rep. Will Hurd (R) in this R+1 seat. Hopefully this Democrat primary will be get very expensive and very nasty.

VA-6: Rockingham County Clerk of Court Chaz Haywood (R) announced he is running for this open R+13 seat of retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R). Haywood joins state Rep. Ben Cline and Cynthia Dunbar in seeking the GOP nomination.

State, Local & Other:

PA-Lt Gov: Because a person would have to be crazy to give up a free mansion full of state employees to verbally abuse, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack III (D) has announced his intention to run for re-election. Stack, the scandal plagued scion of a Northeast Philadelphia political family, will face small town trust fund Mayor John Fetterman (D) in the Democrat primary.

CT-Lt-Gov: New Fairfield (pop. 14k) Mayor Susan Chapman (R) is considering a run for Lt. Governor in the shotgun-wedding primary. State Sen Joe Markey (R) is already running for the GOP nomination.

Atlanta, GA- Mayor: Council Pres. Caesar Mitchell (D) is endorsing Mary Norwood (I) over Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D). This is the first major endorsement for Norwood, who is looking like the underdog as the Democrat establishment consolidates their support around Keisha Lance-Bottoms.

NYC-Mayor: Because it is never too soon to start the Wall Street Journal looks at the early jockeying for the 2021 New York City mayoral race.

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