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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 August 7th, 2017

Congress

AL-Sen: Well, this is probably a bit embarrassing for the ALDP. A poll mentioned in this article shows that a Some Dude who happens to be named Robert Kennedy, Jr. (D) is leading former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) in the special election primary 49-26. ouch! Do we have another Alvin Greene situation on our hands? Finding out will likely be fun.

MN-Sen: Well, a lamb has been found for the altar. State Rep. Jim Newberger (R) has announced plans to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) in 2018. Though MN is a purple state, Klobuchar is one of the most popular senators in the country. Well, at least she won’t run unopposed.

OH-Sen: If you had any doubt that the candidacy of banker Mike Gibbons (R) was anything other than a Kasichworld endeavor, this should convince you: Gibbons has hired two of Kasich’s close associates to help run his campaign. Now this could simply be because Gibbons trusts Kasich’s recommendations, but there are rumors swirling that this whole campaign is an effort to stymie Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), with the general election against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) being an afterthought.

MN-08: Rep. Rick Nolan (D), who narrowly won reelection to his Trumpish district in northeastern Minnesota last year, has declared that he’s running for reelection. He says he’s ready to fight, though don’t ask him about it via email, because to Nolan, it’s still 1979.

SC-01: Right on cue, Rep. and former Gov. Mark Sanford (R-His Emotions) has a primary challenger. State Rep. Katie Arrington (R) has pulled papers and filed to challenge the Love Gov for his Charleston-based coastal congressional district. Somehow, though, I have to think that she won’t get the job done, seeing as no one else has managed to do it before now.

Governor

AK-Gov, AK-LG: It has now been confirmed publicly that Gov. Bill Walker (I) will run for reelection. He will likely once again have Democratic backing and will likely only face major opposition from whomever Republicans put up to run against him, as his Democratic LG Byron Mallot (D) will run with him again. Also in this story, it notes that ex-State Rep. Lynn Gattis (R) has become the second Republcian to file for LG, joining State Sen. Gary Stevens (R) in the shotgun-wedding primary. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) is the only notable Republican in the Governor’s race as of yet.

CO-Gov: With the exit of Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) from the gubernatorial contest, it seems that the CODP’s moderate faction is searching for a new standard-bearer. Well, they might have found one. Progressives are already attacking healthcare executive Donna Lynne (D), who is thinking of entering to take on Rep. Jared Polis (D). Polis is currently the prohibitive favorite in the primary. The moderates are apparently afraid of how much oil and gas companies will pour into the race to defeat Polis, who has a hard stance against fracking. Just when the race looked to have turned quite boring, it may be about to heat up again.

FL-Gov: State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) and State House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) are already sniping at each other ahead of the Sunshine State’s Republican gubernatorial primary. Who’s the real winner here? That would be Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R), who is already the frontrunner in that race and is mostly avoiding taking fire while the other two fight it out to be the main non-Putnam candidate.

KY-Gov: I have no clue why a Kansas paper was covering this, but it’s a good article. Over the weekend at Fancy Farm, Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls AG Andy Beshear and Senate Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins trotted-out their lines of attack on Gov, Matt Bevin and the Republican controlled legislature for 2019. There’s also a great line from Rep. James Comer (R).

NJ-Gov: We knew that Goldman alum Phil Murphy (D) was leading Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R). This poll confirms that, putting Murphy at a 14-point advantage, 42-28. What’s interesting though is how many undecideds there are. This race has flown under the radar nationally, but you’d think that wouldn’t be the case locally.

NY-Gov: Actress Cynthia Nixon (D) of ‘Sex and the City’ fame is reportedly considering challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) from the left in the Democratic primary. Personally I can’t wait for everyone’s old ‘Nixon for Governor’ signs to get dusted off. There’s probably a bunch of those just sitting in some Gran Torino-style holdout’s garage in a California barrio.

State/Local

CA-AD-63: Even though the party chairmanship is now settled, the progressive v.s moderate fight currently roiling the CADP rolls onward. After the single-payer healthcare bill was spiked by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D), the nurses’ union is threatening to recall him. Get the popcorn ready folks. This could be a good one.

KY-SD-31: It seems that some hanky-panky was going on in Pike County in 2016. It’s a complicated tale, but the upshot is that a PI hired by Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones (D) was harassing voters in eastern Pike County on primary day when jones had a challenger. Watch this one, because if Jones goes down for this the last of the old guard Kentucky Democrats may be cleared out for good.

McIntire-Turnout: What happens when no one votes? Well, the residents of the small Iowa town of McIntire are about to find out. None of the town’s 70 registered voters cast a ballot on Tuesday measures pertaining to the terms of the town’s mayor and councilmen. Not even the poll workers voted because they weren’t residents of the town. I think this is a sign that the town might just want to disincorporate.

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