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Political Roundup for December 7th, 2017

Deviants

MN-Sen: After allegations #7 and #8 of unwanted groping dropped yesterday, Sen. Al Franken announced that he will have a press conference today where he is expected to resign (although his office was waffling on Twitter last night). This Star Tribune article cites some unnamed sources pointing to Lt. Gov. Tina Flint Smith as a caretaker appointment until the November 2018 special election. Read our full write-up from last night in the link. Also, our friend Miles Coleman has some neat Minnesota maps in honor of the likely resignation, including a precinct map of Frankenś first 2008 Minnesota Senate race, a map of AG Lori Swansonś strong reelection win in 2014, and a comparison of same-sex marriage vote in 2012 with Trumpś 2016 statewide performance.

AL-Sen: More evidence of Republican US Senate nominee Roy Moore dating way-too-younger women. He also may have dated his wife while she was still married, which is not a huge deal (she had just separated with her husband) but does point to plenty of hypocrisy from the holier-than-thou Moore. At this point it is hard to see how new allegations hurt Moore particularly without a new wave of media coverage, as voters know the basic story and have to decide if they deny the evidence or accept it and vote accordingly.

MI-13: The elder Rep. Conyers endorsed his son, John Conyers III, for his seat as he resigned. However, the New York Times yesterday revealed that the younger Conyers was arrested just this last February for stabbing his girlfriend. With this, the elder Conyers’ sexual harassment (see this latest creepy bit), and Monica Conyers´ ethics problems, this family has had a rough track record the last few years.

TX-27: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know Farenthold said he will repay the settlement money taxpayers had to foot to settle his sexual harassment lawsuit. But this article on the victim, his former communications director, and her resulting blacklisting after going public with Farentholdś behavior is pretty brutal. How does Barton get forced out by local Republicans but Farenthold gets to keep his seat?

NV-4: More details of unwanted advances on a campaign staffer from freshman Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D).

MA-Leg: State Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D) is taking a leave of absence from his leadership position after a Boston Globe investigation turned up four instances of sexual assault or harassment involving his husband. Three different senators have openly declared their interest in Rosenbergś job, ¨should it become open.¨ These leadership races normally develop behind closed doors, but then again, so do sexual harassment scandals. Normal procedure has been kind of thrown out the window on Beacon Hill.

Normal Senate

TN-Sen: A big get for Democrats looking to recruit for a likely wave election. Former Governor Phil Bredesen began calling donors yesterday to tell them he will in fact run in the open US Senate race. Bredesen crushed his last gubernatorial race, which incidentally is the last time Tennessee has had a competitive US Senate race. Can a strong, relatively moderate candidate separate himself in a state like Tennessee nowadays? Weĺl find out.

Normal Governor

KS-Gov: 2014 US Senate candidate Greg Orman (I) has set up an exploratory bid for Governor, making the road harder for whatever Democrat emerges out of their own primary of B-listers (when Orman ran in 2014, it was as the de facto Democratic nominee; he came up short with 43% of the vote).

TX-Gov: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) announced a gubernatorial campaign yesterday. This sets up an ideological primary between her (a progressive, lesbian, and Hispanic sheriff in a county that has turned blue) and Mark White, the son of former Gov. Andrew White who is fine with being called a moderate Republican or a conservative Democrat. This announcement also opens her seat up.

Normal House

MI-9: Two Democratic candidates announced yesterday for this open seat. The first was Andy Levin, who works in the energy industry but whose main claim for office is being a member of the heir force as the son of outgoing incumbent Rep. Sander Levin (D). The second candidate is State Sen. Steve Bieda.

RIP: Former Rep. John Anderson (R-IL), who ran as a liberal independent for President against Reagan and Carter in 1980, died Sunday at 95. He took almost 7% of the vote in that bid after polling much higher earlier in the campaign.

Political Roundup for December 6th, 2017

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

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

President/the Bigger Picture

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

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

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

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

Congress

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

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

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

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

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

The States

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

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

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

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

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

Atlanta Mayoral Preview & Liveblog

Results: AP (GA) || Cedar Rapids Gazette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7:00 ET- Polls have closed in Georgia.

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

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

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

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

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

Political Roundup for December 5th, 2017

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

Governor:

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

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

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

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

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

Senate:

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

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

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

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

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

House:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State, Local & Other:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017 General Election Previews, Part 1: Legislatures & Miscellany

Today we are kicking off our 3-part general election preview series, with legislative races and miscellaneous other contests (mostly at the county level, but also the NYC Council). Part 2 tomorrow will cover Mayors and Part 3 on Monday will cover marquee races in NJ, VA, and NYC.

VA State House: The Virginia House of Delegates is generally considered to be the highest-profile chamber up this year. Republicans hold a whopping 66-34 majority in the House, but the map is starting to look like something of a dummymander as Hillary carried 51 of the 100 seats. That situation combined with the energized Dem base has led Democrats to be very hopeful for gains here, and a large number of races are seriously contested. There are around 25-30 seats that are at least somewhat competitive, almost all of them R-held. However, given the huge GOP advantage you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone other than the most optimistic Dem partisan who thinks Dems have more than a tiny chance of taking the chamber. CW seems to be betting on a high single-digit D gain as the most likely outcome, with D+5 or less a good night for Republicans and D+10 or more a good night for Democrats. Because not one but two other truly excellent previews of these races have been written already, I’m not going to duplicate them, but rather I will simply link to Geoffrey Skelley’s writeup from UVA as well as Miles Coleman’s 6-part series at DDHQ. FWIW, they’re both worth a read for comparison purposes, as Skelley seems to forecast somewhat smoother sailing for Republicans than Coleman.

UVA Crystal Ball || DDHQ1 || DDHQ2 || DDHQ3 || DDHQ4 || DDHQ5 || DDHQ6

County Races: There are also 10 miscellaneous county-level races worth a mention, most of them county executive races across New York State.

Nassau, NY-CE: Nassau County covers a swath of central Long Island and remains the archetypal microcosm of American suburbia. While mostly middle-class suburbs, it does have some poorer pockets, particularly in Hempstead and Freeport, and some very wealthy pockets along the North Shore. Nassau has a population of 1.3M and a PVI of D+2 (2016), though one can not talk about Nassau without mentioning its legendary Republican Machine (side note: THIS is among the best pieces of political writing ever. If you haven’t read it do so.) For generations Nassau County has been dominated by a machine of hackish RINOs who have held onto power at all (figurative and literal) cost. The County Executive’s job is open this year after incumbent Ed Mangano (R), as archetypal a Nassau machine hack as they come, was indicted on corruption charges. Democrats are enthusiastic about their chances to take the seat back (though, it should be said that they were also enthusiastic about beating Mangano in 2013, which ended in a surprisingly easy Mangano victory). Attempting to hold the seat for the GOP is ex-State Sen. and 2016 NY-3 nominee Jack Martins (R). Martins, a well-regarded former Mineola mayor and State Senator from a purple seat, is considered a strong nominee for the GOP, though his congressional run last year fell flat amid anti-Trump sentiment in his upscale district. At the local level though, Martins has proved adept at using his machine backing. Martins has picked up a number of surprising endorsements, including from many labor groups – not only the more conservative public safety unions, but several typically liberal civil service unions as well. Martins’s rival is county commissioner Laura Curran (D). Curran has been a mainstream liberal on the commission, but has been on mediocre terms with the local machine. That profile seemed a good one for Democrats this year hoping to cast the race as a referendum on Trump and Mangano. The big question in this race is whether Martins’s local establishment support and crossover appeal can counterbalance the greater trends in favor of Curran, and right now there is no obvious answer. The two have fundraised essentially equally, and each has released an internal with themselves in the lead by roughly 5 points, with the one public poll showing a 2-point edge for Martins. Needless to say, overall there appears to be no clear favorite.

Fulton, GA-CE: Fulton County is an oddly-shaped snake that covers the city of Atlanta 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 (2016). Three candidates are squaring off in a special election to fill the seat of John Eaves (D), who resigned to run for Atlanta Mayor; it is in a Louisiana Rules Top Two format. 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. Republicans are also seriously contesting this seat, with a credible contender in Sandy Springs councilman and former congressional staffer Gabriel Sterling (R). Sterling is a moderate conservative and considered a rising star in the party. Though he is facing tough terrain, Republicans held this seat as recently as 2006. Turnout differences and crossover support thus mean Sterling’s chances should not be discounted. There is no clear favorite in this race; a runoff seems likely and any two could advance.

Westchester, NY-CE: Westchester County covers NYC’s northern suburbs between the Hudson River and Long Island Sound. It is wealthy for the most part and the bulk of the county consists of some of the nation’s most upscale suburbs. However, it also includes some poor urban areas in Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Mount Vernon, among others, and a few scattered more lower-middle-class pockets. It has a population of 975K and has been trending left for some time, reaching a PVI of D+16 (2016). Incumbent Rob Astorino (R) won this seat in a considerable upset in 2009. Astorino is a staunch conservative by the standards of the NYC suburbs, but his tenure as county executive has proven successful, especially in his favorable resolution of a long-running fight between the county and HUD over affordable housing options. Astorino has also been successful at not raising property taxes (though they are still by far the highest in the nation). Unsurprisingly, he has been considered a rising star in broader GOP circles, especially after an easy win over a credible rival in 2013. He received the GOP nomination for Governor in 2014 and is seen as certain to consider a second bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in 2018. That position as a potential Cuomo rival, as well as strong anti-Trump sentiment in the county, has led Democrats to become more enthusiastic about taking him out this year. State Sen. George Latimer (D) is the Democratic choice to take on Astorino. Latimer, a mainstream liberal, was considered a strong candidate, as he has won several tough elections and locked down a purple State Senate seat. This year, Latimer’s biggest help is from the deep-blue lean of the county and the highly energized state of the upscale liberal base (which comprises a huge portion of the Westchester electorate.) However, Latimer’s campaign has suffered a string of embarrassing headlines in recent weeks. First, it came out that Latimer owes $48K in back property taxes. Then it came out that Latimer missed a key Senate vote for a vacation… with his mistress, a local judge with whom the married Latimer has been having a longtime (and not so secret) affair. And if that wasn’t enough, Latimer’s car registration has also been revoked over unpaid parking tickets (and yeah, he’s still driving the car anyway). These embarassing issues for Latimer have gotten plenty of exposure, as Astornio has dramatically outspent Latimer. With the deep-blue lean of the county and energized liberal base counteracting Astorino’s strong personal brand and Latimer’s weak campaign, overall there appears to be no clear favorite.

Rockland, NY-CE: Rockland is a D+2 (2016) county of 325K in the northwest NYC suburbs. Rockland is mostly middle-class suburban areas with two major exceptions: Spring Valley and Haverstraw are poor slumburbs, while the west-central part of the county is the center of a huge and rapidly growing Orthodox Jewish enclave. Said Orthodox community has caused a number of contentious issues in the county with its rapid growth, insular ways, and strong political influence by bloc voting for chosen candidates. Incumbent Ed Day (R) is seeking a second term. Day has been more adversarial toward the Orthodox community than most pols, which meant his 2013 victory in spite of their opposition was a significant upset. But conversely, that means Day was able to get a significant amount of Dem crossover support. His tenure as County Executive has been regarded as generally successful, and Democrats only recruited a “C” lister into this race in prosecutor Maureen Porette (D). Porette is a relatively standard-issue liberal who seems an unpolished candidate for the relatively high-profile race. Day is a fairly strong favorite, but there is a possibility Porette could build an unlikely coalition of the bloc vote and high liberal turnout to pull the upset.

Orange, NY-CE: Orange County is an R+4 (2016) county of 375K in the mid-Hudson valley. It stretches from Newburgh and West Point to Middletown and Port Jervis, covering a mix of small towns and exurbs. Incumbent Steve Neuhaus (R), a fairly typical establishment moderate-conservative, is seeking a second term. Democrats are running business consultant and veteran Pat Davis (D), who seems “C” list. As this area, like almost all of Upstate NY, tends to be more Republican down-ballot and large portions of the Dem base here are lower-turnout minorities, Neuhaus looks like a fairly substantial favorite. However, there is a chance high liberal enthusiasm this year could lead to an upset.

Rensselaer, NY-CE: Rensselaer County covers the city of Troy and the middle-class eastern suburbs of the Albany metro area; it has a population of 160K and a PVI of R+2 (2016); however, the county has a strong Republican heritage and Democrats have rarely mounted serious campaigns for this seat. As such, State Rep. Steve McLaughlin (R) is the front-runner for the open seat. A firebrand conservative, McLaughlin explored runs for multiple offices in the last few years without pulling the trigger. He has also used his powerless State House minority seat as a bully pulpit for scathing criticism of Gov. Cuomo (If you are not following Steve McLaughlin on Twitter you are really missing out). Needless to say, this profile has not endeared him to the moderate and transactional local Republican machine. However, he narrowly won a hard-fought and nasty primary against the machine choice, and has since received grudging support from the machine; he thus looks like a moderate favorite. Dems are running  nonprofit exec Andrea Smyth (D), who seems rather “C” list, but might have a slight chance to pull the upset if leftover wounds from the primary and high liberal enthusiasm combine.

King, WA-CE: King County, covering Seattle and most of its suburbs, is the 13th-largest county in the US, with a population just a hair over 2M. It has a PVI of D+23 (2016). This race is fairly boring; incumbent Dow Constantine (D), a mainstream liberal who is considered likely to run for Governor in 2020, is seeking a third term. Constantine took 78% in the primary and faces only token opposition from perennial candidate Bill Hirt (R), who has run non-serious campaigns for the State House twice and for Governor in 2016.

Philly-DA: Philadelphia also has a DA election. Philadelphia has a population of 1.5M and a PVI of D+33 (2016). Public Defender Larry Krasner (D) won a plurality victory with heavy Soros backing in the primary. Krasner is a favorite of the SJW set and promises to pursue left-wing soft-on-crime initiatives as DA. He remains the strong favorite to take the office; however, he is facing a credible Republican in prosecutor Beth Grossman (R). Grossman has had some notable crossover support from moderates as well as the endorsement of the police union, which gives her a small but not totally zero chance of pulling an upset — notably, though Philly hasn’t elected a GOP mayor in 70 years, it elected Republican DAs as recently as the 80s and DINOs have occupied the DA’s office since. However, due to Philly’s deep-blue lean and the energized liberal base Krasner looks like a very strong favorite. Philly City Comptroller is also up; mayoral aide Rebecca Rynhart (D) looks like a prohibitive favorite.

Suffolk, NY- DA & Sheriff: Suffolk County covers the eastern half of Long Island; it has a population of around 1.5M and a PVI of R+4 (2016). Both the DA and Sheriff seats are open; the county D and R machines have typically been on very amiable terms and divided the seats between them – since 2001, Republicans haven’t mounted a serious run for DA and Democrats have not mounted a serious campaign for Sheriff. The pattern looks set to repeat this year, though to not quite the same extent. For DA, Police Commissioner Tim Sini (D) had looked like a very strong favorite over former prosecutor Ray Perini (R), though the indictment of the outgoing Dem incumbent could give Perini a narrow opening. For Sheriff, University police chief Larry Zacarese (R) won a shocking upset in the GOP primary over a machine-backed State Senator and now looks like the favorite in the general election. Zacarese is now the favorite over Errol Touolon (D), an official in New York City’s NYPD who has lost races for a State Senate and a county commission seat by large margins. Toulon was a last-minute entry for Dems after their prior nominee dropped out and doesn’t look particularly serious, but could have a tiny chance with high liberal turnout.

Douglas County, CO School Board: There are also key school board elections in Douglas County, an R+10 county of 300K covering wealthy exurbs and rural areas south of Denver. The main issue is an attempt to establish a school choice voucher program, which was struck down by the State Supreme Court as violating the state’s Blaine Amendment prohibiting public spending on religious schools. The school board appealed to SCOTUS and the case has been remanded to the state in light of the recent Trinity Lutheran ruling that invalidated certain restrictions on religious groups receiving state funds. Here’s where the election comes in: the current board has a 4-3 majority in favor of continuing to pursue the voucher program. The current majority has all decided to stand down and they are backing a slate of new candidates known as “Elevate Douglas County”. Conversely, the anti-voucher side (branding itself “Community Matters”) says it will end the lawsuit if it gets a majority. The three anti-voucher incumbents are not up this year, meaning that if one of the four seats up flips the program will end. The race has attracted national attention and money and there is no clear favorite between the slates. Note: RRH Elections strongly supports the Elevate Douglas County slate.

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Political Roundup for October 18, 2017

Last night, Democrats held MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk by a smaller than expected 47-43 margin. Now as polling seems to indicate that Alabama might go blue while Virginia might go red, but New Jersey remains solidly anti-Christie, it is time for today’s roundup:

Presidential/National

Soros:  George Soros (Bane of Right) has transferred $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations in an effort to free up even more funds for political purposes, which should not be much different than prior behavior.

Subsidies:  Senators Lamar Alexander (R?) and Patty Murray (D) have reached an agreement on restoring Obamacare subsidies for 2 years in exchange for loosing Obamacare restrictions imposed upon the states.  It is not clear that such a compromise will get a vote in either chamber even though President Trump supports.

Trump/McCain:  President Trump (R?) and Senator John McCain (Maverick War Hero) are going back and forth on nationalism.  McCain started the latest round of the Trump / McCain feud by attacking Trump’s brand of nationalism.

Congress

AL-Sen:  Think Progress has thrown a tsunami of cold water on Fox News’s Senate poll showing the race a dead heat.

MI-11:  State Representative Tim Greimel (D) will be the fourth Democrat to enter the race to replace retiring Representative Dave Trott (R).  Greimel was the state House Minority Leader between 2013 and 2016.

PA-10:  Representative Tom Marino (R-Big Pharma) has withdrawn his name for nomination to be Drug Czar after the press did its job an exposed him being in the pocket of opioid manufacturers in the pharma industry.  Marino should be concerned in this district as its been ravaged by the opioid crisis.

States

VA-Gov: Monmouth – Gillepsie 48 Northam 47, Christopher Newport Northam 48 Gillepsie 44

NJ-Gov: Fairleigh Dickinson and Fox News – Murphy 48 Guadagno 33

NJ-Legislature:  The latest on whats happening with the Democratic legislative leadership battles and any potential gains the Democrats might make in the Legislature this year.  It sounds like the lower house remains up for grabs between the North and South Jersey Democrats while there is little belief the Democrats will pick up any seats.

NJ-SD-3:  State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Norcross) is being outspent on the PAC front by the NJEA whose backing RINO Fran Grenier against Sweeney because he has spoken out against the NJEA’s outrageous behavior/demands.

International

Japan: The center-right (sort of)/ statist Liberal Democratic Party is on its way to a massive landslide.  The LDP is on pace to win approximately 2/3 of the seats in the lower house, which is near an all-time record for Prime Minister Abe’s LDP.

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