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Political Roundup for November 13, 2017

Over the weekend in PA-18, State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) took the GOP nomination. Democrats will nominate their contender this coming Sunday. Also check below for our preview of today’s election in Somaliland (where and/or what the heck is that, you ask?… read on).

Now, after a week in which I am reduced to not giving a f* about what happens to the broader GOP while resolving to spend the next year hoping and praying that Larry Hogan will not be doomed by a massive wave, it is time for today’s Roundup…

Briefing: New Nominees for our Anthony Weiner Award for Pervert of the Year:

AL-Sen: A former Roy Moore colleague said that it was “common knowledge” he was interested in high school girls when they worked together as prosecutors. Over the weekend, multiple polls have come out showing the race between Moore and ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) is a dead heat; in particular, one from JMC Analytics has Jones up 46-42.

CO-Treas: State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is under fire for allegedly sexually harassing a fellow lawmaker, State Rep. Faith Winter (D). Lebsock had looked like the Dem front-runner for the open Treasurer seat, but fellow State Rep. Dave Young (D) entered the race last week (perhaps getting tipped off about the allegations?) and now looks likely to be the Dems’ consensus pick. Democratic leaders are now calling for Lebsock’s resignation.

CA-SD-32: State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D) repeatedly attempted to get a young woman interviewing for a staffer job to come home with him to “review her resume”. Mendoza is the roommate of fellow State Sen. and US Senate candidate Kevin DeLeon (D).

CA-LD-26: State Rep. Devon Mathis (R) is under investigation by police for allegedly digitally penetrating a staffer.

MN-SD-54, MN-LD-22B: Two Minnesota legislators are also under fire for harassment. State Rep. Erin Maye-Quade (D) claims she was harassed by both State Sen. Dan Schoen (D) and State Rep. Tony Cornish (R). Allegations against Schoen were also leveld by multiple other women, and allegations against Cornish have been brought by a lobbyist.

Now, in non-perversion news:


CA-Gov, CA-Sen: Ex-Rep. Doug Ose (R), who served three terms representing suburban Sacramento in the 90s and 2000s before a failed comeback bid in CA-7 in 2014, is now considering a run for Governor. Ose’s entry as a third Republican would likely completely ensure that two Democrats (and neither of the other two Rs, businessman John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R)) make the general election. But Ose may not need to enter to ensure that: a new USC/LA Times Poll shows LG Gavin Newsom (D) leading the gubernatorial race with 31%, with ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) taking the second slot with 21%. Allen and Cox are banging heads to split the GOP vote with 15% and 11% respectively. Two longer-shot Dems, State Treasurer John Chiang (D) and ex-Superintendent Delaine Eastin (D), are at 12% and 4% respectively. For the Senate race, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) holds a strong lead over State Sen. Kevin DeLeon (D), who is challenging her from the left. Feinstein leads 58-31 in the two-way race.

MN-Gov: Woodbury (pop. 68K) Mayor Mary Guiluiani-Stevens (R) has reserved domain names pertaining to a gubernatorial run, but is so far tight-lipped on her intentions. The mayor of the large eastern Twin Cities suburb would join a crowded field of Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Sen. David Osmek (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and ex-State Rep. and ex-MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R). State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) and ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) are also thought to be considering.

TX-Gov: Democrats continue to cast about for a sacrificial lamb to take on Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The latest name considering making a late entry here is Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D). Valdez is little-known outside of her county, but seems a significantly more credible candidate than investor Andrew White (D), who is the current Dem front-runner on little other than being the son of 80s-era ex-Gov. Mark (D).


MA-Sen: Businessman, self-proclaimed “inventor of e-mail”, and Fran Drescher’s ex Shiva Ayyadurai is leaving the crowded GOP primary to take on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) and running as an Independent. Ayyadurai, a firebrand conservative, was an amusing sideshow in the race but had little institutional support as the primary field filled up with three more connected and traditional candidates, Romney aide Beth Lindstrom (R), State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R), and businessman John Kingston (R). Needless to say, none of these candidates pose a threat to Warren in the general.

NJ-Sen: A juror was dismissed from the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Mendendez (D) last week for a previously-planned vacation; jury deliberations will now start from scratch today. The excused juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, said (quite colorfully) that she was a firm “not guilty” vote, but the jury was deadlocked and she expected an ultimate hung jury.

KY-Sen ’22: Sen. Rand Paul (R) has apparently been told that federal charges will be filed against Rene Boucher, a neighbor who attacked Paul and broke four of his ribs last week. Prosecutors likely believe the attack was politically motivated, while Boucher’s attorney says that it was due to a non-sepcific “trivial dispute”.


KY-6: Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D) is considering a run against Rep. Andy Barr (R). Gray would likely be Democrats’ top recruit for the medium-red seat, as he carried the district in his 2016 Senate run against Sen. Rand Paul (R). However, Gray’s profile as a well-known liberal may make the race more difficult.

TX-21: State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) is the first candidate into the race for Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R) open San Antonio to Austin seat. Isaac represents about 20% of the district and could be a front-runner, but the field for this red seat that swung against Trump could grow significantly.

VA-6: Andy Parker (D), father of Alison Parker, a journalist who was murdered on live TV, is considering a run for this open congressional seat. Alison’s boyfriend Chris Hurst (D) was elected last week to a purple State House seat in the Blacksburg area. Parker would face a much tougher bid for the very conservative district; State Rep. Ben Cline (R) and RNC official Cynthia Dunbar (R) are already in what is expected to be a crowded GOP primary.

State & Local:

FL-AG: State Rep. Ross Spano (R) of suburban Tampa is the latest Republican considering an entry into this primary. Spano would join front-running retired judge Ashley Moody (R), who also hails from Tampa Bay, and fellow State Reps. Jay Fant (R) and Frank White (R). Little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D) is the only Dem in the race.

GA-PSC: Deal Admin official Tricia Pridemore (R), who lost the 2014 primary for the congressional GA-11, is now running for an open seat on the Public Service Commission. The 5-member, all-GOP board is elected statewide for staggered 6-year terms.

IL-Comp, IL-Treas: Illinois Republicans have found two “C” list candidates to fill out their Row Officer ticket. Ex-State Rep. and 2014 IL-11 nominee Darlene Senger (R) will challenge Comptroller Susana Mendoza (R) and Orland Park councilman Jim Dodge (R) will challenge Treasurer Mike Frerichs (D). Both incumbent Democrats are heavy favorites for re-election in the blue state. They join former congressional candidate Erika Harold (R) for the open AG seat and Grundy DA Jason Helland (R) for SoS as the ILGOP’s presumptive Row Officer slate.

MS-LG: Vicksburg (pop. 23K) Mayor George Flaggs (D) is considering a run for LG in 2019. The moderate Flaggs says he may run as a Democrat or switch parties and run as a Republican. Incumbent Tate Reeves (R) is widely expected to either run for Governor or score an appointment to the Senate seat of Sen. Thad Cochran (R) should the latter resign soon, as expected; SoS Delbert Hosemann (R) and State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) have also been connected with LG runs, but much will depend on how the Cochran musical chairs play out.

NV-Treas: Financial planner Derek Uehara (R) is running for State Treasurer, joining ex-Las Vegas councilman Bob Beers (R) in the primary. No Democrats have as of yet declared for this seat, which is open as incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is running for Governor.

Howard, MD-CE: County Commissioner Calvin Ball (D) is running for County Executive in my home county against incumbent Allan Kittleman (R). Ball is a top-tier recruit for Dems in this blue suburban Baltimore county, heavy with upscale liberals, that continues to trend left despite my best efforts. (sigh)

PA-Redistrict: The State Supreme Court has agreed to fast-track a Democratic challenge to the state’s congressional map, placing it on a timeline that could lead to new maps in time for the 2018 elections. A new map would likely flip at least one of three competitive GOP-held districts in the Philly suburbs, PA-6, 7, and 8, and potentially make a couple other districts, most likely the open GOP-held PA-15 and the Dem held Trump-voting PA-17, more competitive.


Today, continuing our commitment to bringing you coverage of elections in places you didn’t even know existed, there is an election in Somaliland, which might be best characterized as an accident of diplomacy. Calling it a de facto nation would be selling it short: in every arena but international status, Somaliland is a more of a nation than a sizeable fraction of the world’s recognized nations. It has a population of 3.5M, occupying what is internationally recognized as (theoretically) the northwest part of Somalia along the south shore of the Gulf of Aden. However, that international recognition is a diplomatic fiction, as the dysfunctional-at-best Somali government hasn’t had the slightest bit of control (or even influence) over the area for over 25 years. Somaliland broke off when the nation’s central government disintegrated in 1991 and hasn’t looked back, but the desire to not further hurt the legitimacy of the fledgling-to-nonexistent Mogadishu government has led all other countries to hold back from recognizing Somaliland’s obvious independence. Making its lack of international recognition even stranger is that Somaliland would under normal circumstances be one of both Africa’s and the Islamic World’s biggest success stories. It is a relatively stable and democratic nation (at least by the global region’s low standards), with a functioning central government and economy, and a free politics and civil society that easily surpass a majority of Africa’s recognized nations. Today, the presidential election is open as the incumbent is peacefully standing down, and there is a lively competition between the country’s three strong parties, which are well-developed enough to even have rudimentary ideologies instead of being mere personality or clan vehicles. All of the three parties have large caucuses in parliament and are running credible candidates, who even had a televised debate last month. Furthermore, all three candidates at least appear to be relatively pro-Western and within democratic norms. The candidate of the incumbent party is Musa Behi, who serves as the party’s chair. He is facing public works minister Faysal Warabe and parliament speaker Abdiraman Irro. It’s hard to handicap this race, but Behi seems to be the candidate of the capital’s establishment and military, Irro seems to have the strongest ties to rural traditional clan leaders, and Warabe seems to be closest to a Western-style social democrat. Behi seems to be the front-runner, but it’s hard to say for sure.

RRH Elections 2016 General Election Preview Series, Part 10: Senate Races

Today we finish off our Preview Series with the 34 US Senate races. We will have a final ratings update tomorrow.

Here is the full schedule:

Part 1: Northeast Legislatures
Part 2: Midwest Legislatures
Part 3: Sunbelt Legislatures
Part 4: Western Legislatures
Part 5: Local Elections and Public Service Commissioners
Part 6: Western House Races
Part 7: Eastern House Races
Part 8: Western Governor and Row Officer Races
Part 9: Eastern Governor and Row Officer Races
Part 10 (Friday, November 4): Senate Races

Continue Reading

Political Roundup for October 25th, 2016


Clinton: She’s already essentially measuring the drapes, and showing plenty of signs that she has no intention of keeping her promises to the Sanderistas about corporate and trade policy.

Da Governator: Ahnuld has said that if he could, he would have run for President this year. I can’t say I’d have been unhappy if he did/could, because a man most famous for collapsing the shell of the CAGOP in on itself while sporting an atrocious favorability rating and a baby momma scandal would still probably be an above average candidate in our 2016 field. He’d at least have been funny to watch flame out.

Talk-Media: In one of the more amusing political articles I’ve read in a while, a bunch of GOP insiders are gearing up to pin the blame for Trump and the 2016 loss on the “Conservative Media Groups” like Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, etc. The reasoning is that these mean people have become so influential with America’s right-wing population that they have displaced the normal media party organs and have caused them to lose control of the party’s messaging, therefore leading to Trump beating all the GOP’s “reasonable” candidates. The funniest part is that they are (in classic “Summer of Trump” fashion) either expecting Trump’s likely November loss to somehow get all these voters back to listening to them so they don’t have to change a thing, or taking a more active approach and . . . criticizing them. Because the Jeb Bush strategy of calmly explaining to Trump voters how his candidacy is harming his chance at the family office the Conservative movement worked so well. Its also quite hilarious to see a bunch of GOP media men try to bust out a “the marketplace should punish failure” analogy without a hint of irony after losing the argument over the party’s future to Donald freaking Trump. Lee Atwater is probably rolling in his grave knowing that these chumps are his successors.

Trump: In a revelation that will come as a shock to people numbering in the high single-digits, the celebrity real estate mogul used to have coke-fueled risqué parties back when that was what every rich New Yorker did with all their 80’s money.


KY-Sen: Rand Paul’s campaign has been running low on funds, mostly because he spent the overwhelming majority of all the money he’s raised in his 6 years in the Senate on his aborted Presidential bid. This has allowed Jim Gray to out-raise him this year, and has started releasing polls showing him surprisingly competitive in the state.

MI-8: Obama has endorsed Suzanna Shkreli for congress. It’s kind of surprising move, given that Obama has been essentially invisible in office for the better part of a year now and the Democrats have a better chance of flipping about 50 other seats than this one, but I guess someone finally reminded Obama that Congress is supposed to still be important to running the country. Honest question—what Democrat running for Congress right now would people NOT expect Obama to endorse? By 2016 I’m think everyone just sort of assumes that to start with. Its not like Obama has a distinct ideological profile within the Democratic party.

PA-Sen: The last of the Pennsylvania Senate Debates was yesterday, and featured more of the usual—Toomey attacking McGinty for her dishonest ads, and McGinty attacking Toomey for waffling on who he plans to support for President.

State & Local:

FL-Hurricane: Approximately 108,000 more people registered in the court-ordered extra registration period following the devastating Hurricane Matthew.

IL-Ballot-Access: David Gill’s lawsuit about the vast disparity between requirements for signatures for Independent candidates to get on the ballot versus GOP/Dem ones is still mulling along in the courts.

NY-Gov: Richard Hanna, most famous for being the sort of “Moderate Republican” that tries to ensure the GOP loses his house seat after he retires, has apparently been approached by NY Republicans to recruit him to run for the Governor’s office in 2018. They think he’d be a great candidate in the overwhelmingly D New York state, but bemoan the fact that the party he’s spent the last 2 years trying to screw over might not want him as their candidate.

Nassau-Machine: Ed Mangano (R-County Executive) suddenly decided while under federal corruption charges, to retroactively accept a huge cost-of-living raise. Because at this point the jig is up and you might as well squeeze every penny you can out of the office before they haul you away in handcuffs. Speaking of which . . .

PA-AG: It’s about damn time.

Travis-County-Commissioner: This is a surprisingly effective ad for this local race. The nerd in me approves of this concept, and I’m honestly wondering if we’ll see copycats in the future.

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!


Afternoon Polling Roundup for August 8, 2016

A scheduling note: Polling Roundups will be published on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 3PM ET this week, and consistently on that schedule through the end of primary season.


McClatchy/Marist: Clinton 48 Trump 33

Fox News: Clinton 49 Trump 39

Reuters: Clinton 42 Trump 39

Morning Consult: Clinton 46 Trump 37

WaPo/ABC: Clinton 50 Trump 42

YouGov/CBS: Arizona: Trump 44-42, Nevada: Clinton 43-41, Virginia: Clinton 49-37.

Georgia: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has Hillary up 44-40 in Georgia.


Generic Ballot: NBC/WSJ gives Dems a 47-43 lead on the GCB.

FL-Sen: Suffolk has Marco Rubio (R) in decent shape for re-election, holding double-digit leads on both Reps. Patrick Murphy (D) and Alan Grayson (D) and beating Carlos Beruff (R) 62-12 in the GOP primary.

GA-Sen: That same AJC poll showing Clinton up 4 in Georgia has Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) leading businessman Jim Barksdale (D) 48-42.

KY-Sen: Harper (R) says Sen. Rand Paul (R) leads Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D) 50-38.

NH-Sen: WBUR/MassInc has Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) opening up a 10-point lead on Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), aided by Clinton’s 15-point margin over Trump in the state.

WI-1: Ahead of tomorrow’s primary, Remington Research (R) has Paul Ryan up 80-14 on primary challenger Paul Nehlen (R). Click Here for our recaps of tomorrow’s races.

Political Roundup for August 2nd, 2016

Reminder that we have primaries in Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, and Washington tonight. Come back for our liveblog at 8p ET, and reread our previews of all the races right here.


Trump: The Republican nominee’s fundraising struggles are bad enough that we could see real consequences on the results.

Some scenarios that experienced Republican hands are starting to consider: States where Hillary Clinton has dozens of extra campaign offices versus Trump — or an extra 100 staffers. Or where teams do not have enough warm bodies to keep pace during early voting. Or where field organizers have to deputize volunteers to handle what is traditionally done by paid professionals. Or where aides have to effectively ignore media markets beyond the major cities since the bank account dipped so low.

The field aspect is particularly interesting. Normally field efforts from rival campaigns kind of neutralize each other and are drowned out by the noise of other ground efforts in the field. However, in some places the lack of a Trump presence at all and diminished size of the RNC Victory program mean us nerds can see the real true impact of field without much outside interference. Nice for political science, bad for Republicans.

Cruz: In the wake of his call for Republicans to vote their conscience. it has now become clear that Sen. Ted Cruz’s donor problems extend much further than the generous Mercer family.

Stein / Turner: Former Ohio State Sen. and Bernie Sanders surrogate Nina Turner (D -> G?) has been offered a spot on the Green Party ticket and is considering taking the nomination. Stein and the Greens have been desperate to get some of the Bernie Bros’ enthusiasm to rub off on their long-declining minor party, degraded by years of infighting with supporters of Ralph Nader and some inept national campaigns.


PA-Sen: Billionaire gun control enthusiast and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) may be practically a Democrat, but he still endorses the token Republican. His latest endorsement goes to Sen. Pat Toomey (R), who sponsored legislation that would have expanded background checks to buy guns. We’ll see what kind of outside money (if any) Bloomberg puts in to help Toomey though, and if the ads are on salient issues (ie, not gun control). If this is just the Bloomberg name, well, that’s not very useful.

KY-Sen-20: As of now, Sen. Mitch McConnell says there is a “great likelihood” he will run for reelection way out in 2020. Of course, his continued relevance and position as Majority Leader kind of requires him to say that, and four years is a long time to reconsider.


MO-Gov: An interesting read from Politico on the Missouri gubernatorial race with a focus on former Speaker Catherine Hanaway (R) and the effect of Ferguson on her four-way primary. The tone and wording of the piece are a little too strident in how it portrays the resulting protests, but the reporting itself is detailed.


KS-1: Another preview of today’s hottest House primary between Rep. Tim Huelskamp and physician Roger Marshall. Huelskamp made a lot of enemies in the process of earning enough ire from then-Speaker Boehner to get kicked off the Ag committee, which has led to a whole host of groups to oppose him.

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Livestock Association
  • National Sorghum Producers
  • Ending Spending Action Fund (ie, the Ricketts family)

A lot of the spending in this race is happening through outside groups, and Huelskamp has his own allies (chief among them the Club for Growth). Still, that’s a lot of heavy hitters to focus on an incumbent.

MN-2: Oooh boy. This primary between party-endorsed former radio host Jason Lewis (R) and businesswoman Darlene Miller is getting bitter. Miller’s camp is throwing the kitchen sink at Lewis, going after him for defending secession, supporting the idea that states should be free to legalize heroin, and supporting the Iran deal (yeah, Lewis is a bit libertarian). Meanwhile, Lewis allies in the local party have censured a pair of legislative Miller endorsers (State Reps. Pat Garofalo and Drew Christiansen) for breaking the endorsement, and the campaign claims Miller is basically a Democrat for being on Obama’s nonpartisan jobs council and receiving accolades from the Clinton Global Initiative. Meanwhile, former State Sen. John Howe receives the Star Tribune endorsement as the negative attacks fly between the other two candidates. The primary is next Tuesday.

WI-1: What’s Speaker Paul Ryan’s reward for playing ball and supporting the Republican nominee at the RNC? Why, praise from said nominee for his primary opponent back home, Paul Nehlen, of course. Trump’s grudges never die. Like Minnesota, Wisconsin’s primary is next Tuesday.

State and Local

MN-Leg: OGGoldy is out with his preview of state legislative races in Greater Minnesota before the primary (metro is forthcoming). As a former Minnesota Republican myself, I can vouch for their general accuracy- it’s a must read!


TX-Redistrict: Tired of waiting for their long-shelved redistricting lawsuit to proceed, lawyers are asking for a schedule to ensure a ruling drops in time to actually matter for even the 2018 elections.

Political Roundup for July 25th, 2016

Welcome back to the roundup this week!  The DNC starts tonight, so keep an eye out for our continued convention coverage tonight. Further, say a prayer for Ft. Myers.


IL-Pres: In a Republican internal statewide Illinois poll discussed below, Hillary led Trump, Johnson, and Stein 46%-33%-5%-3%. In case you were getting any ideas.

UT-Pres: Crazy numbers from a congressional candidate’s internal poll on the presidential race in Utah’s fourth congressional district. Apparently Trump “led” with 29% over Hillary with 27% and Johnson (!!!) with 26%. Of course, this is one district in an abnormally Trump-hating area without any outside verification, but the article notes that an independent poll is incoming soon.

Cruz: The Mercers, some of the top donors to Sen. Ted Cruz’s super PAC network during his presidential bid, dropped some serious shade on the Texan for his refusal to publicly endorse Trump. They called his decision “both regrettable and revealing.” This probably makes it harder for those donors to hop back on board in 2020, eh?

Bloomberg: In case you somehow thought Bloomberg would support Trump, no, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is obviously supporting Hillary Clinton and even got a nice DNC speaking slot out of it.


IL-Sen: A new poll from Basswood Research for Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R) super PAC (so internal- salt!) finds the incumbent leading Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) 42%-40%. We rate this seat Lean D, so movement like this toward the Republcian would be quite noteworthy. The article speculates the numbers may be due to an ad buy from Kirk earlier in the summer, but it could just as easily be that this is the only poll we saw among many the group conducted that fit the polling average better.

KY-Sen: Finally, we have a political campaign putting the popularity of Pokemon Go to work. The first is for Sen. Rand Paul, whose interns arranged the effort. Of course, most of the visiting voters were fairly non-political, but the free press alone made it worth it.

WA-Sen: A nice article on the Washington Senate race, where former state Republican Chairman Chris Vance has successfully laid claim to the moderate mantle. However, as of the last FEC report he had not yet cracked $300k in fundraising, compared to over $11 million for opponent and incumbent Sen. Patty Murray. Hard to come back from that mismatch. We rate this seat Safe D.


CA-17: Ro Khanna (D) had to walk a tightrope on this one. Locked in a same-party general election race with Rep. Mike Honda (D), Khanna has the problem of too much support. Specifically, it looks awkward to other Democrats when a major donor like Peter Thiel (who normally gives to Republicans but also supports Khanna) gets up at the RNC and proclaims his Republican-ness. However, Khanna’s press release to address critics is smart, praising progress for the LGBT community regardless of the party label and spinning it back to his opponent with some soaring rhetoric. He still might not be able to get away with this tactic if this were before the top two primary, but now Khanna can more openly leverage Republican support in the general election race between him and another Democrat.

FL-23: By now, I’m sure you have heard the news that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is out as DNC Chairwoman, taking a consolation prize on the Clinton campaign on the way out the door. She fell victim to Bernie Bros, who in their vindictive fury to take down “the establishment” probably didn’t realize the bigger fish have long been shopping for a way to get rid of her. Anyway, being forced to step down (in the wake of the DNC email hack being released, she was facing a Sanderista vote on the convention floor) is a really bad round of press that may embolden opponents in her own race, where she faces law professor and Sanderista Tim Canova. Canova, fwiw, will have Bernie come stump for him soon. More information on the race (pre-resignation) here.

MN-8: Apparently the change already happened a month ago, but Stewart Mills now has his third campaign manager of the cycle. John Eloranta, the new pick, was a staffer on the 2014 campaign. Switching teams campaign is never fun; however, a timely switch can salvage a faltering campaign (see Rep. Pete Gallego in TX-23 in 2012 for one good example). Anyway, we rate this seat Lean D at the moment.

TN-4: Always embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais is in the midst of a Republican primary fight with Grant Starrett. So what do you do when you’re Starrett and everyone knows you’re ethically challenged? Hit harder.

DesJarlais charges that Starrett is using his parents’ money to “buy” a rural Tennessee congressional seat. He began airing an ad this month that parodied the old TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” It labeled Starrett as “Mr. California” and a “California trust-fund millionaire” who is using “inherited fortune and out-of-state cash to join the club in Washington.”

In contrast, Starrett refuses to explicitly call out the incumbent for his past indiscretions. Instead, he seems to be trying to have his cake and eat it too, staying “above the fray” by focusing hard on abortion and, nudge nudge wink wink, look at Desjarlais’ personal record on abortion– it ain’t the votes that are the problem. Get too clever with your messaging and it may sail right over people’s heads.

UT-4: An internal from Mia Love’s (R) campaign (salt!) finds the incumbent leading repeat opponent Doug Owens (D) 51%-36%. Most polls show a much closer race though. As noted above, an independent poll coming soon may help clarify this race. We currently rate it Likely R.

State and Local

TX-Leg: The election of precinct chairs for HD-146 will occur Saturday, August 6th. The seat opened after State Rep. Borris Miles (D) won himself a state Senate seat at a similar meeting of Democratic precinct chairs.

Maricopa County Sheriff: An independent poll by Republican pollster Lincoln Media Group finds polarizing longtime Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) actually trailing Democrat Paul Penzone 42%-45%. The poll did come up with a sample of over 2,000 though in a one day sample, so caveats apply.

TX-Land Commissioner: With all the talk about Jeb possibly supporting Johnson and W staying out of it, it’s easy to forget only one Bush remains in office with a bright political future: George P Bush, Texas Land Commissioner. This article focuses on how no Bush family members attended the RNC for the first time in decades, including George P. However, George P could be inoculated by a marriage of convenience, considering Ted Cruz’s call for conscience votes at the RNC. George P continues to lead fundraising efforts for the Texas Victory program (the euphemistic title of Republican field efforts across the country, generally).

Political Roundup for Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Good morning to all, and happy International Museum Day.

We had an eventful night last night.  Trump won Oregon on the GOP side.  Clinton won Kentucky on the Democratic side.  And Sanders won Oregon on the Democratic side, in a valiant effort to keep the presidential primary process going.

In other notable news… Oregon Democratic Governor won her primary for re-election.  She’ll face physician Bud Pierce (R) in the general election.  2015 Gov candidate and ex-State Ag Commissioner James Comer (R) won the primary in KY-1.  Rand Paul easily won his primary in the Kentucky primary for the Senate race.  He’ll face Democrat Jim Gray–the openly gay mayor of Lexington, who has an interesting bio–in the general election. In OR-5, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D) will face pro-life group head Colm Willis (R). For Oregon SoS, State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) and Ex-State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R) will face off. State Treasurer Ted Wheeler (D) easily won the race for Mayor of Portland. And for OR-Sen, Republicans bypassed both of their credible sacrificial lambs in favor of a perennial candidate.

Presidential News:

AZ-2016:  Trump is up by 4 points in a head to head against Hillary this November, says PPP.  The 45-41 lead comes despite Trump only taking 68% of GOP voters.  That number will likely go up.

GA-2016:  Trump up 3 in Georgia.  Red states are coming home for Trump!

Trump-2016:  Melania confirms, once and for all, that her husband Donald Trump is not Hitler.

Nate Silver:  Nate Silver of has eaten a lot of crow for diminishing Trump’s chances of winning.  At various points during the campaign, Silver said Trump had as little as a 2% ora a 5% chance of winning the nomination.  Of course, those numbers aren’t zero percent.  So maybe Silver was right all along, and the unlikely happened.

Chris Christie:  There is very little chance that Trump will name Christie as a VP unless the Bridge Gate scandal is both concluded and resolved favorably for Christie in the next 2 months.  There are more delays, however.

Sanders-Clinton:  We have some rare infighting on the Democratic side, where Sanders supporters are railing at Clinton’s heavy-handed tactics, and Clinton’s surrogates and other Democrats are attacking Sanders.  Hopefully this results in some hurt feelings down the road.


AZ-Sen:  PPP is trying to spin their latest poll as ominous news for McCain, but actually I’m seeing a split Republican field in the primary, and a 6-point lead in the general over Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.  With Trump sucking up every news cycle, it’s going to be hard to separate this race from the top of the ticket, and Trump is moving in the right direction in Arizona.

CO-Sen:  The train has come off the rails for former State Representative Jon Keyser, who apparently turned in at least one signature of a dead person.  At this point, local insiders consider Keyser to be finished.  He can certainly forget about a Gardner endorsement any time soon.  His support likely moves toward Daryl Glenn and Robert Blaha.

NV-Sen:  GOP candidate Joe Heck is expanding his campaign and opening a Reno office.

PA-Sen:  Although rumor has it that the Koch brothers will be scaling back their political activity in 2016, that won’t stop them from pulling out the stops to save Pat Toomey.

FL-Sen:  Democrat Alan Grayson is going after fellow Democrat Patrick Murphy, on the basis that Murphy voted to establish the Benghazi Committee in the House to investigate the circumstances of the tragedy there.  Murphy, in turn, says he only voted for the committee because he wanted to clear Hillary Clinton’s name.  That’s worth a nice laugh.


FL-18:  Likely Democratic candidate Randy Perkins is forswearing fundraising, calling it disgusting and appalling.  From here on out, he’ll be self-funding his campaign.  In a race with a crowded GOP field, having the Democrat look like he’s trying to buy the race with his own funds probably doesn’t hurt the GOP.


TSA:  Here’s an interesting piece on the drawbacks of having the Transportation Security Authority.  As Obama officials talk about unionization, the real question is whether the TSA should exist at all.

Antonin Scalia Law School:  After potentially involving the Virginia Attorney General, it turns out that George Mason University will be able to change the name of its law school after all, since the change is merely “honorific,” and not a “complex” change.

Gay wedding cakes:  Colorado can force religious bakers to make wedding cakes for gay couples.

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