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Political Roundup for November 10, 2017


AL-Sen: As most people have no doubt heard by now, GOP nominee Roy Moore has been accused in a Washington Post story of having a sexual encounter with a 14-year old girl back in 1979 when Moore was a 32-year old assistant DA in Etowah County. Many, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and NRSC Chairman Sen. Cory Gardner (R) have said Moore needs to drop out of the race if the allegations are true(Moore is denying the allegations). However, it is too late to replace Moore on the ballot. Although, some have pointed out that was what we were told when New Jersey Democrats wanted to replace  scandal-plagued Rep. Robert Torricelli (D) on the ballot for US Senate in 2002 with former Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), and the state’s Democratic-dominated judiciary essentially looked the other way. But, barring some similar legal maneuver(and getting Moore to agree to drop out, which may be even tougher), Republicans may be stuck with Moore and hoping that voters believe Moore’s denials or look past something that happened nearly 40 years ago(which, this being deep-red Alabama, wouldn’t be a total surprise).

PA-Sen/PA-LG: Businessman Jeff Bartos has dropped out of the US Senate race, and will instead run for LG, working in tandem with the gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. Scott Wagner (R). Bartos’s exit from the race helps Rep. Lou Barletta (R), as he was the strongest opponent still in the race. Barletta now only faces minor opposition in the GOP primary.


HI-1: State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D) became the 2nd person to join this race on Wednesday. She joins state Rep. Kaniela Ing (D), who announced a bid earlier this week. Party-switching state Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R->D) and AG Doug Chin (D) have indicated an interest in running as well.

NV-3: Michelle Mortensen, a consumer reporter for a Las Vegas TV station, is leaving that job to run in the Republican primary for Congress. She joins state Sen. Scott Hammond (R), former state Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman (R) and former Clark County Republican Party chairman Dave McKeon in the Republican primary. Philanthropist and 2016 NV-4 congressional candidate Susie Lee is currently the only Democrat running.

NH-1: Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D) has joined the race for this open seat. Pappas was recruited by national Democrats for the seat, and likely starts as the frontrunner. He joins former state AFL-CIO president Mark McKenzie, former Obama Administration Pentagon official Maura Sullivan, former Strafford County District Attorney Lincoln Soldati, and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke in the Democratic primary. State Rep. Mindi Messmer (D) and Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard are also considering. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former law enforcement official Eddie Edwards are running on the Republican side, with former NH GOP Vice Chairman Matt Mayberry considering. Trump won this district 48-45 last year.

TX-2: State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R) is the first person to jump into the race for this now-open seat. Roberts is in his first term representing a district in northwest Harris County. TX-2 lies wholly within Harris County, snaking around the northeast, north, northwest and west parts of the county.

TX-21: State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) has announced he is running for Congress. Isaac joins retired CIA operations officer Eric Burkhart as the only candidates to announce a run so far. Isaac doesn’t actually live in the district, but part of his state House district overlaps the congressional district.

VA-6: Two Republicans wasted no time in announcing campaigns in the wake of yesterday’s retirement announcement by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R). State Del. Ben Cline (R) and attorney and RNC member Cynthia Dunbar have both jumped in the race. Cline has represented a seat in Rockbridge County since 2002 and was re-elected easily on Tuesday. Other Republicans are expected to get in the race. Two potential Democratic candidates have already taken themselves out of the running. Former TV news anchor Chris Hurst had been recruited by national Democrats to run, but he instead ran for the House of Delegates and defeated an incumbent Republican on Tuesday. Del. Sam Rasoul (D), who took 37% against Goodlatte as the Democratic nominee in 2008, the best showing for a Democrat in the district since Goodlatte’s first election in 1992, had been considered a possible candidate, but will not run.

WV-3: WV Republican Party chairman Conrad Lucas, is running for Congress. Lucas joins a Republican primary that includes state House Majority Whip Carol Miller (R), state Del. Rupie Phillips (R), and physician Ayne Amjad. Democrats have a primary between state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D), Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, and Tri-State Transit Authority CEO Paul Davis.

Governor/state offices:

CO-Gov: Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) entered the already crowded GOP primary for governor yesterday. She joins 8 other Republicans currently in the race, including Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, investment banker Doug Robinson(nephew of Mitt Romney), and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), who just joined the race last week. Brauchler, however is now considering dropping out of the race and running for AG(more on that below).

NY-Gov: Little surprise, but after his loss in the Westchester County Executive race on Tuesday, Rob Astorino has announced he will not run for governor next year. Astorino, who was the 2014 Republican nominee, had been talking about making another run.

CO-AG: Now that the Attorney General position is open, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, is now considering dropping out of the governor’s race and running for AG instead, seeing his possibilities in the governor’s race fading as the race becomes more crowded. One person who will not be running for AG is Rep. Ken Buck (R), who had said earlier in the year that he might run if Coffman didn’t run for re-election. Buck announced on Wednesday that he will instead run for re-election to Congress. Other Republicans who have expressed interest in running include state Rep. Cole Wist (R) and 2014 CO-2 Republican nominee George Leing.

TX-AG: Austin-based attorney Justin Nelson (D) is running for Attorney General. He is the first person to announce a challenge to AG Ken Paxton (R). He is part of a law firm that specializes in high-stakes civil litigation and is also the founder and former president of One Nation One Vote, a nonprofit organization pushing for eliminating the Electoral College and going to a national popular vote.

Political Roundup for November 7th, 2017

Welcome to Election Day 2017! Our results liveblog will be up tonight as soon as polls close. Be sure to checkout our previews of today’s Marquee Races, Mayoral Races and Legislative races. Finally, to all our Republican friends remember to go out an vote today and to our Democrat friends today might be a great day to stay home and binge watch House of Cards before more Kevin Spacey revelations makes it too icky to watch.


Castro: Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro told a crowd at a Latino voters summit in San Antonio that he “might” run for President in 2020.


NY-Gov: Former state Sen. Terry Gipson (D) is moving forward with a primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Gipson has filed to create a campaign committee with will allow him to start raising funds for a potential run. Gipson served one term in the state senate representing the Poughkeepsie area from 2013 to 2014. Gipson lost a comeback bid in 2016 as well.

TX-Gov: After seeming to leave the door open to another potential run for Governor in 2018 Wendy Davis told a reporter that it would take “a brainwash” to get her to run again next year. Luckily for Texas Democrats we can’t imagine there is much there to wash. Mr. Leather International in 2009 (who also goes by the name Jeffrey Payne) is so far the Democrat front runner for Governor, although former Texas Governor Mark White’s son Andrew might give it a go for the Democrats.


IN-Sen: State Rep. Mike Braun (R) is going on the air with $324,000 worth of TV and radio ads. Braun is thought to be the third wheel in the GOP primary between Rep. Luke Messer and Rep. Todd Rokita but Braun is independently wealthy and is spending money early.


HI-1: State Rep. Kaniela Ing (D) has become the first Democrat to officially announce a run for this open D+17 seat. Ing is carpetbagging into this seat as his home district on Maui is in HI-2 (although that is less of an issue in Hawaii than in it can be in other places). Ing hails from the progressive side of the Democrat Party and endorsed Bernie Sanders for President in 2016.  State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D), the runner up in the 2014 primary, has also set up a campaign account to run, state Representative Beth Fukumoto (R, D) has formed an exploratory committee and Attorney General Doug Chin (D) is also thought to be interested in running. On the Republican side the bench of possible electable GOP candidates probably begins and ends with former Rep. Charles Djou.

TN-6: Former state Rep. Joe Carr (R) was considering another bid for this now open R+24 seat but has opted to run for the District 14 state Senate of Sen. Jim Tracy (R) instead. Tracy was just appointed by President Trump to a job in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a special election will be held to fill the state senate seat. Carr lost a primary challenge to Rep. Diane Black who is running for Governor next year.

State, Local & Other:

VA-House of Delegates: David Wasserman makes a very good argument that today’s House of Delegate elections in Virginia could be the best harbinger of of the 2018 mid-term elections.

Burlington, VT-Mayor: Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I) stepdaughter Carina Driscoll is considering following in her father’s footsteps and running for Mayor of Burlington. The election is set for March 2018.

NY-Constitutional Convention: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has joined pretty much all the powers that be in New York State with a vested interest in keeping the corrupt status quo in coming out against a constitutional convention. Every 20 years New Yorkers vote on weather to hold a constitutional convention in order to amend the state constitution. Cuomo has announced he will be voting “No”, while RRH’s Izengabe has announced he will be voting “Yes”.

WATN: Three time RRHelections Turkey of the Year award winner Anthony Weiner has reported to federal prison to begin serving his 21 month sentence for sending sexually explicit messages to a 15 year old child. We would make a joke but Anthony Weiner stopped being funny when he started to prey on children.

Political Roundup for November 3, 2017


AZ-Sen: Ex-state Sen. Kelli Ward (R) has received the endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul (R) for her Senate campaign. Ward is currently the only Republican running since the exit of Sen. Jeff Flake (R) from the race but others, including Rep. Martha McSally (R) and ex-Rep. Matt Salmon (R) are considering. Paul is the first Senator to endorse Ward.

TN-Sen: Rolando Toyos, an ophthamologist from Memphis, has entered the GOP nomination for US Senate. Toyos, a self-described conservative Republican, has self-funding ability, but seems like a long-shot against better known candidates Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R). Toyos has run for office before, unsuccessfully running in 2010 for a seat on the Shelby County Commission.


HI-1: State Rep. Beth Fukumoto (D) is considering running for this open seat. Fukumoto is a former Republican and actually served as House Republican Leader at the beginning of the year before being removed from her post in February after constant criticism of President Trump since last year. She left the Republican Party in March. State Sen. Donna Kim (D) is the only Democrat currently running, but many others are considering. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is running for governor.

MT-AL: Attorney Jared Pettinato is joining the crowded Democratic nomination race to face Rep. Greg Gianforte (R). Pettinato is the 6th Democrat to get in the race, joining State Rep. Tom Woods (D), former state Sen. Lynda Moss (D), former state Rep. Kathleen Williams (D), attorney John Heenan, and former land trust director Grant Kier. Former state Rep. Pat Noonan (D) is said to be considering getting in as well.

TN-7: Franklin Mayor Ken Moore (R) will not run for Congress. Moore had been considering getting in the race to succeed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R). Some had wanted him to run to present a more moderate, business-oriented alternative to conservative state Sen. Mark Green (R). Green is currently the only Republican in the race, although songwriter Lee Thomas Miller is likely to enter soon.

TX-5: State Sen. Bob Hall (R) will not run for Congress. Hall’s state Senate district overlaps most of the Congressional district and thus would have been a natural fit to run and received a lot of encouragement to do so, but Hall, who is 75 was thought unlikely to enter the race. He is instead running for re-election to his Senate seat.

TX-21: Rep. Lamar Smith is retiring next year. Check our special post yesterday for a Great Mentioner on who might run to succeed him. One potential candidate, retiring House Speaker Joe Straus (R) has already taken his name out of the running.

VA-10: Former federal prosecutor Paul Pelletier is getting in the crowded race to take on Rep. Barbara Comstock (R). Of the other 8 Democrats, the top tier in fundraising are anti-human trafficking activist Alison Friedman, Army veteran Dan Helmer, communications strategist Lindsey David Stover, and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D).

Governor/state offices:

ID-Gov: 2014 Democratic nominee A.J. Balukoff is running for governor again. Balukoff lost by 15 points to Gov. Butch Otter (R) 4 years ago. He seems likely to be the nominee again as no other Democrats are running or are known to be considering. As Otter is retiring, he will this time face the winner of a Republican primary between businessman Tommy Ahlquist, Rep. Raul Labrador (R) and Lieutenant Governor Brad Little (R).

DE-Treas. : State Treasurer Ken Simpler (R) will run for a second term next year. When Simpler won the office in 2014 he became the first non-incumbent Republican to win a statewide race since 1994. He is seen as a rising star in the state party and is considered a possible candidate for governor in 2020.

NV-AG: After his former boss Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R)  announced he was running for governor, former Assistant AG and state Assemblyman Wes Duncan (R) wasted little time getting into the race. Duncan had been considered a top candidate to become Assembly Speaker after Republicans took control of the chamber after the 2014 elections, but he instead left to work in the office of the then newly-elected AG. He will likely face state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D) in the general election.

TX-LG: Businessman Scott Milder is challenging LG Dan Patrick (R) in the Republican primary. Milder criticizes Patrick for his “antics” and identifies himself as a “rational conservative leader”. Milder is a former Rockwall City Councilman, but was defeated for re-election earlier this year. Mike Collier, who lost by 20 points as the Democratic nominee for State Comptroller in 2014, is running on the Democratic side.

Political Roundup for September 5, 2017

First off, there is a single legislative special today. SC-LD-113 is a D+19 (2016) seat covering a thin stripe of racially-mixed lower-middle-class suburbs of Charleston from North Charleston to Summerville. Trial lawyer Marvin Pendarvis (D), who is a close confidante of the area’s state Senator, looks like the clear favorite in the primary with a chance to win outright, but he also faces school board member Chris Collins (D) and marketing consultant Angela Hanyak (D), each of whom could potentially make a runoff. Two Republicans are facing off for the right to lose.


AL-Sen: This story looks at how ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) is not getting much national support for his Senate run in December, unlike several other Dem special election candidates from earlier this year. It seems in part due to Jones being more conscious of his red state and attempting to run as a conservative Democrat rather than a vanguard of the #resistance. As the runoff between appointed incumbent Luther Strange (R) and ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) consumes most of the oxygen for this month, Jones is attempting to fly under the radar and emerge as an acceptable alternative to the GOP nominee. Regardless of Jones’s national support or lack thereof, his odds are still long in the deep-red state.

More AL-Sen: Moore had an embarrassing moment late last week in which he appeared to have no idea what the DACA program was. It’s too early to say if this gaffe will have resonance but it’s certainly not a positive for him so close to the runoff.

AZ-Sen: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) is still “seriously considering” a run for Senate. Sinema is widely expected to run as she is considered to be Dems’ strongest possible recuit against vulnerable Sen. Jeff Flake (R). Ex-State Sen. Kelli Ward (R) is running against Flake in the primary.

IN-Sen: Another story is out corroborating allegations that Rep. Todd Rokita (R) is a bad boss to his staffers. The story has several nuggets of Rokita generally being a, for lack of a better word, jerk. For example, “a worker was booted from a staff meeting and instructed to clean Rokita’s vehicle, which included scrubbing the carpets” because a volunteer driver had BO. Rokita is facing fellow Rep. Luke Messer (R) in what is expected to be a tough primary for the right to take on Sen. Joe Donnelly (D).

MO-Sen: A new MOScout poll has AG Josh Hawley (R) leading incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 50-45. Hawley, who is in his first term as AG, is widely expected to run against McCaskill after being recruited by the entire GOP establishment.


HI-Gov: State Rep. Bob McDermott (R) has abruptly dropped out of the race for Governor after learning that another Republican is planning to run. Rumors are that candidate is State Rep. Andria Tupola (R), a moderate who, unlike the staunchly socially conservative McDermott, could be a credible general election candidate. Separately this weekend, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) surprisingly announced her intent to primary Gov. David Ige (D); click for our full recap on the decision and Great Mentioner for the now-open HI-1.

IL-Gov: State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) has lost an endorsement from Rep. Brad Schneider (D) with his choice of LG running mate, Chicago councilman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D). Ramirez-Rosa, 28, is a supporter of the anti-Israel BDS movement. Biss is facing businessmen J.B. Pritzker (D) and Chris Kennedy (D), Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D), state Rep. Scott Drury (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D) in the primary. Pritzker is generally considered the front-runner to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R).

ME-Gov: Jon Jenkins (I), who served as Mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn, as well as a term in the State Senate in the 90s, is considering an Indie bid. Jenkins would be the third credible Indie contender in this race, joining appointed State Treasurer Terry Hayes (I) and comedian Karmo Sanders (I). Dems and Republicans look set to have crowded primary fields as well, with ex-Gov. John Baldacci (D) and Sen. Susan Collins (R) among the highest-profile candidates considering.

MN-Gov: Ramsey County commissioner Blake Huffman (R) has dropped out of the race for Governor. 2014 nominee and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), State Sen. David Osmek (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and ex-State Rep. and MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R) remain in the GOP convention race, with several others, most notably State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R), considering. Democrats have a crowded field as well.

OH-Gov: Speculation is growing that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray (D) will step down to enter the race for Ohio Governor. Cordray, a former AG and State Treasurer, would likely become the front-runner for the Democratic nomination over the current crowded field of “B” and “C” listers. Ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. and 2014 State Treasurer nominee Connie Pillich (D) are in the Dem race already. Four Republicans are also running.

WI-Gov: Nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D) has entered the race for Governor. State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) is the front-runner for the nomination to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R), but State Rep. Dana Wachs (D) and businessman Andy Gronik (D) are also in the race.

KY-Gov ’19: Ex-State House Speaker and AG Greg Stumbo (D) is considering a run for Governor in 2019. Stumbo is a liberal who is known as a bare-knuckled political brawler but has proven himself convtroversial in his red state. AG Andy Beshear (D) is also thought to be considering a run; the primary winner will face incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R) in the general.


KS-2: Brownback admin official Antonio Soave (R), a former Italian semi-professional soccer player, is considered likely to run for this open Topeka-area seat. Soave currently lives in KS-3 but will move into the 2nd to run. He will join a crowded primary field of State Sens. Steve Fitzgerald (R) and Caryn Tyson (R), State Rep. Kevin Jones (R), and Basehor councilman Vernon Fields (R) in the GOP primary. Ex-state Rep. and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) is the likely Dem nominee for this medium-red seat.

OH-16: Former OSU football star Anthony Gonzalez (R) has filed to run for this open seat, joining moderate State Rep. Tom Patton (R) and Trumpist State Rep. Christina Hagan (R) in the race. Gonzalez has hired a former Rob Portman campaign operative as his campaign treasurer, suggesting he could have significant establishment support. The GOP field for this medium-red Cleveland and Akron suburban seat is likely to grow.

OK-1: Trump has tapped Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) to serve as NASA director, but the question over whether there will be a special for this Tulsa-area seat before the 2018 general is very much up in the air. Bridenstine would need to resign before the end of the year to allow a special to be held at all. With a primary runoff likely to be necessary, March is the earliest the special general could be held. And even for that, Bridenstine would need to vacate the seat on the likely-too-short-timeline of within the next few weeks. Click here for our full report and Great Mentioner on the seat. As a side note, by contrast, the situation in the other seat for which Trump has tapped a sitting Rep. (PA-10) is much easier. Rep. Tom Marino’s (R) administration position does not require Senate confirmation, and Pennsylvania does not have special primaries, meaning the seat could be up as quickly as this November.

PA-15: Rep. Charlie Dent (R) has revealed text messages from his primary challenger, State Rep. Justin Simmons (R) in which Simmons asked for Dent’s endorsement for re-election and expressed a desire to replace Trump as the GOP presidential nominee. Simmons is attempting to portray himself as a stronger Trump supporter than the moderate Dent in this light-red Lehigh Valley area seat.

State & Local:

HI-LG: State Sens. Josh Green (D) and Will Espero (D) have declared for LG, joining fellow State Sen. Jill Tokuda (D) and Maui CE Alan Arakawa (D) in the shotgun-wedding race. Espero might be someone to watch for a quick exit from the race, as he ran for HI-1 in 2014 and could try again now that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is running for Governor.

LA-PSC-2: Ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R) has secured the official endorsement of the state party in this race. Whitney is an antiesatblishment conservative who lost her 2015 re-election bid to a more moderate Republican. In this race, she is facing two RINOs for the deep-red seat, D-turned-R appointed incumbent Damon Baldone (R) and Gov. Edwards-endorsing surgeon Craig Greene (R).

Westchester, NY-CE: Incumbent Rob Astorino (R) has been sending out mailers to unaffiliated voters to get them to write his name in for the Reform Party nomination.  Astorino created the Reform Party as a vanity line (with the “Stop Common Core” name) for his 2014 gubernatorial run, but then lost control of it to talk radio host Curtis Sliwa. Sliwa’s organization has now endorsed Astornio’s most likely rival for re-election, State Sen. George Latimer (D). However, Astorino was able to force a primary, which is open to unaffiliated voters as well as the negligible number of Reform Party registrants.

Milwaukee, WI-Sheriff: Controversial DINO Sheriff David Clarke resigned last week without immediate explanation. It’s unclear if Clarke is in line for a Trump administration post or if he is headed to some sort of Cable TV gig.

HI-Gov: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is in

An unusually eventful labor day weekend churns on, as Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is giving up the House seat she returned to in 2016 to make another statewide run. This time, she will challenge incumbent Gov. David Ige (D). The decision is more than a little surprising for two reasons: first, while Ige’s popularity is middling, he is far from the toxic figure that his predecessor, ex-Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), was before he lost the 2014 primary. That Hanabusa would jump into the race is even more surprising, as both she and Ige hail from the same intra-party faction of the HIDP, a fiscally liberal, socially moderate heavily Asian group, rather than Abercrombie’s socially ultra-liberal, fiscally moderate faction backed mostly by Anglos. The decision to jump in now is even more surprising given that there is a small but real chance Sen. Mazie Hirono (D) will need to retire due to health issues, a seat for which Hanabusa would have been the prohibitive favorite. But for her Gov run, Hanabusa apparently has the backing of key insiders from the network of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), which could give her key support. The gripe with Ige seems to be mostly over style; in stark contrast to the combative Abercrombie, Ige is low-key and passive to a fault, which seems to have opened the door to gripes about a lack of major initiatives in his tenure. Between Hanabusa’s long tenure in public office and Ige’s incumbency, the primary is likely to be very hard-fought. Awaiting in the general is State Rep. Bob McDermott (R), a staunch social conservative who seems unlikely to be much of a threat to either Ige or Hanabusa in America’s bluest state.

The decision opens up HI-1, a D+17 seat covering the heart of urban Honolulu, for the fourth time in the last five cycles. The Dem primary is liable to be very hard-fought, and the place to start the Great Mentioner is with the people who have already run before: State Sens. Donna Mercado-Kim (D), Stanley Chang (D), and Will Espero (D), and Honolulu councilors Ikaika Anderson (D) and Joey Manahan (D). Espero has already announced a run for LG, but could easily switch to this race, as could another LG candidate, fellow State Sen. Jill Tokuda (D). Hawaii voters tend to not be sticklers for residency between the state’s two districts, so basically every member of Oahu’s massive D bench (including 6 other Honolulu city councilors, 13 State Senators, and 30 State Reps) could also be possibilities. Ex-Rep. Charles Djou (R) is probably the GOP’s only hope of making the race competitive; while Djou has come very close to taking this seat back in both 2012 and 2014, after 4 straight tough losses (including a Honolulu Mayor loss in 2016) he may be unlikely to try again.

Political Roundup for August 15, 2016

Hawaii Primary

Hawaii had its primary / first round elections Saturday.  In the biggest race, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and former Congressman Charles Djou have made the runoff for Honolulu City/County Mayor.  In addition, former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa won the Democratic nomination in HI-1 to replace the late Congressman Mark Takai.  KHON has all the election results from the 50th State.


RNC-Trump:  This is never a story you want to have to deny… the RNC has denied reports that it is considering cutting off funds to Donald Trump’s campaign.  Considering how non-existent his campaign has been, I am not sure anyone would notice a difference.

Landslide:  538 looks at what a Hillary Clinton (DLC) landslide might look like.  This is not pretty.

Wisconsin:  Governor Scott Walker (R) has deployed the Wisconsin National Guard in response to Saturday night’s riots in Milwaukee.  Eyes will be on Walker to see how he handles this unrest as he is rumored to be a potential Republican nominee candidate in 2020 after the Trump implosion.

Virginia: The Washington Post looks at how Virginia has gone from being a solid Republican state in presidential elections just 12 years ago to potentially being just as solid of a Democratic state in 2016.  The journey from red state to blue state in such a short period of time is being driven by stark demographic changes in the state and the respective parties coalitions, which are destroying the Republican Party.

Pennsylvania:  On Friday in Erie, Donald Trump stated the only way he would lose Pennsylvania is if the Democrats cheated.  As the Trump blame game rolls on.

More Pennsylvania: While Trump is vaguely identifying potential voter fraud in Philadelphia (if it really existed in large amounts why didn’t any of the Republican Attorneys General who ruled Pennsylvania for 32 years in a row prosecute anyone for it?), Trump’s bigger problem is that he is p*ssing off suburban Republicans in the Philly suburbs.  You almost think he wants Republicans in places like Chester County and central Bucks County to vote against him!

Georgia:  The Clinton campaign is now placing resources into Georgia.  Another state with lots of suburban Republicans who have a strong disdain for Donald Trump.


DCCC:  In case you missed it, Guccifer 2.0 released contact information for a substantial number of Democratic members of Congress.  This has led to a flurry of disgusting and obscene messages to members of Congress including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D).

More DCCC-Leak:  The Guccifer 2.0 hack has also shined light on how the DCCC researches candidates and the potential impact of such research on DCCC endorsement practices.

AZ-1:  Arizona Speaker David Gowan (R) has suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination.  Gowan dropped out and threw his support behind Gary Kiehne, a local businessman who he deemed the most conservative, because frontrunner Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (R) has too much baggage.   Current Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D) is running for US Senate against Senator John McCain (R).

KY-Sen:  In case you forgot, the Democratic opponent of Senator Rand Paul (R), Jim Gray, is gay.  Roll Call seems to have a hard time understanding why nobody cares one way or another regarding Gray’s sexual orientation in this increasingly sleepy Senate race.

PA-6: Democratic candidate Mike Parrish (D) has failed to file financial disclosure forms required in his congressional campaign.  Representative Ryan Costello (R) has had a good time attacking Parrish for his failure to submit such paperwork because Parrish has a long history of judgments against him personally in addition to a pending mortgage foreclosure action.  Maybe Parrish is taking the Trump route where giving the middle finger to creditors and rules is the appropriate way to live life!


Hawaii Primary Preview & Open Thread

Results: In a significant surprise, incumbent Kirk Caldwell (D) outpaced ex-Rep. Charles Djou (R) 44-43 for Honolulu Mayor; the two will head on to a November runoff. On the Big Island, it appears that ex-CE Harry Kim (I) has won outright. One State House incumbent lost, Jo Jordan (D) in LD-44, while another, Sam Kong (D) in LD-33 is behind by 11 votes.

Tomorrow Hawaii is holding its primary election. There isn’t a whole lot of interest at the state or national level, but two big local races are going on. Polls close at Midnight ET; as that means results will show up around 2-3AM ET Sunday morning, too late to liveblog, feel free to use this as an open thread. It will be bumped to the top of the main page Saturday and then updated with results Sunday morning. Flip over in this thread for legislative primary previews!

Honolulu-Mayor: The biggest race by far in Hawaii is for the mayoral seat in Honolulu. Honolulu, which covers the entire island of Oahu, has a population just a hair under 1M and a PVI of D+18, making it America’s 11th-largest city (though most canonical rankings of city population list it far lower by counting “Honolulu” as just the urban south-central portion, a census designation with no unique government). Three serious candidates are running for Mayor in a Louisiana Rules Top Two format; in the event one candidate gets 50% the race will end there, but otherwise two candidates will advance to a November general. Though the three candidates neatly represent right, center, and left on the ideological spectrum, the ideological coalitions here aren’t what you’d expect, as the race is a near single-issue referendum on Honolulu’s new subway system. A little background: Honolulu has ridiculous traffic congestion, and a new rail system is under construction to ease it. As you might expect, it has become an epic boondoggle, blowing its budget and timeline. The first phase of the railway connects the lower-middle-class western suburbs to an industrial area near Fort Shafter, coming nowhere near the city’s heart or its prime tourist areas. There is debate over whether to spend (a lot of) money extending the line through downtown to dense tourist areas to the east around Waikiki. This year the anti-rail candidate is Ex-Rep. Charles Djou (R); while Djou doesn’t propose stopping the parts of the system already under construction, he doesn’t favor spending more tax money on expanding the line. Djou is a strong candidate with proven ability to win D crossover votes and notably has the support of prominent rail opponent and 2012 candidate ex-Gov. Ben Cayetano (D). Between rail opponents and conservatives, Djou is likely to come in a clear first, and has a small shot of crossing 50%. However, he is more likely to head to a runoff. Advancing with Djou to a runoff, if it occurs, will be incumbent Kirk Caldwell (D). Caldwell is a mainstream liberal who has been one of the biggest backers of the rail plan. Caldwell is reasonably popular overall, but is relatively gung-ho about proceeding with the rail system and expanding it, which may be a tougher sell than 4 years ago when he won the 2012 election by making it an up/down referendum on building the system at all. The third candidate is ex-Mayor Peter Carlisle (I), a Bloomberg-type moderate who served as Mayor from 2010 to 2012. Carlisle is pro-rail but uneasy on the expansion, which has left him squeezed between Djou and Caldwell. Carlisle’s campaign has been poorly funded, but he has name recognition from his prior mayoral term that will net him a significant number of votes. However, much like in 2012, Carlisle is caught in the middle and will likely come in a distant third in the primary, with a possibility that he doesn’t even crack double-digits. If, as expected, Djou doesn’t cross 50%, the runoff between him and Caldwell will likely be a hard-fought slog over Carlisle’s supporters with no clear favorite.

Hawaii-CE: Another local election of importance in Hawaii is the open seat for the top job on the Big Island (aka the island of Hawaii, aka Hawaii County). Hawaii Island has a population of 200K and a deep-blue PVI of D+24, but the populace is overwhelmingly socially moderate machine Dems (as opposed to Bold Progressives, the HIDP’s other major faction). It is a non-partisan Louisiana Rules Top Two race with a November runoff if no one crosses 50%. Thirteen candidates are running, four of them serious, but only two have much chance to win. Ex-CE Harry Kim (I) served as County Exec from 2000 to 2008 and narrowly lost a comeback bid in 2012. Kim, a moderate liberal, is the clear favorite this time and probably the only candidate with a chance to cross 50%. However, odds are that the large field will hold him below 50%. Mayoral staffer Wally Lau (D) is slightly more liberal than Kim and will likely join Kim in a runoff if it occurs. However, Lau’s boss, outgoing incumbent Billy Kenoi (D), was recently indicted in an embezzlement scandal. That may damage Lau as well, possibly causing him to drop to third or for Kim to cross 50. Two other candidates are serious. Former county commissioner Pete Hoffman (D) is the most socially liberal candidate in the field and the candidate of the (mostly white) Bold Progressive faction of the HIDP. But as the Big Island is a heavily Asian machine faction stronghold, he seems like a long shot to advance. Finally, university regent Marlene Hapai (R) may draw a few scattered votes from conservatives, but is probably a long-shot to advance as well. For now it looks like the race is Kim’s to lose, in one round or two.

We should also mention two federal races, but as they contain absolutely zero suspense there’s not much point in giving them full blurbs. HI-Sen incumbent Brian Schatz (D) is overwhelmingly favored for a full term. 70s-era ex-State Sen. turned perennial candidate John Carroll (R) is probably favored for the worthless GOP nomination against three other perennial candidates. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D. HI-1 is a deep-blue seat that covers most of urban Honolulu. The seat is vacant from the death of Rep. Mark Takai; however, there isn’t much of a race to replace him. Ex-Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), who gave up this seat in 2014 to make an unsuccessful run for the Senate, is the prohibitive favorite to get her seat back. Six other Dems are running, but none are serious (90s-era ex-State Rep. Lei Ahu-Isa (D) is the only notable Hanabusa rival, but she isn’t running a serious campaign). Hanabusa should thus face no difficulty in the primary or general. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D.

Flip over for legislative primary previews!

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Political Roundup for July 21, 2016


Cruz:  Senator Ted Cruz (R) went full blown Taylor Swift on Donald Trump (Himself) last night during his prime time speech when he refused to expressly endorse Trump.  There is definitely some bad blood there that Trump is going to have to shake it off.

More Cruz:  Beyond Cruz’s speech, Politico has some instances of Cruz supporter defiance leading to conflict at the RNC.  While many in the establishment might not like Trump, they do enjoy going full blown Vichy if it means attaching Cruz supporters.

Walker:  Governor Scott Walker (R) endorsed Trump in his speech last night, but the speech was spent laying out all of Walker’s accomplishments.  Definitely an improvement over Cruz’s speech, but not that great for Trump.

Trump:  The Trump campaign reports $20 million cash on hand as of the end of June while Trump taking a $45 million writedown on a loan he made to the campaign.

Johnson-Bush:  Former Governor Gary Johnson (R running as L) alludes to having the support of former Governor Jeb Bush (R-Rubio Destroyer).  You have to wonder how many Republicans Johnson has the support of in secret at the moment and will be revealed in the future.


HI-1:  Representative Mark Takai (D) died yesterday after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.  Rest in peace Congressman.

Trump-Congress:  538 looks at the 7 levels of support for Donald Trump in Congress.

Texas Voter ID: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Texas voter identification law as being discriminatory.

UK – Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn launched his bid to remain as leader of the Labour Party this morning!


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