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.