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PA-10:  Representative Tom Marino (R-Big Pharma) has withdrawn his name for nomination to be Drug Czar after the press did its job an exposed him being in the pocket of opioid manufacturers in the pharma industry.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

Political Roundup for October 17, 2017

First, there is a single legislative special today. MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk is a D+5 (2016) seat stretching from Seekonk in suburban Providence to Medfield in Boston’s southwest suburbs. Foxborough councilman and Sanders campaign staffer Paul Feeney (D) is facing off with legislative staffer Jacob Ventura (R) and retired investigative reporter Joe Shortsleeve (I), a former DINO who has high name recognition. Due to the lean of the seat and the energized D base, Feeney looks like a moderate favorite, but with three credible candidates this race could theoretically go any way.

Now, onto the news!

National:

Tax-returns: Governor Jerry Brown (Sane D-CA) has vetoed a bit of legislation that would force Presidential candidates to submit their tax returns to the public to appear on the ballot in the state. Brown rightly pointed out that this could easily set precedence for states requiring far more revealing things to be made public, and that individual states should not be able to regulate federal elections in this way. Expect the next CA Governor to not be as reasonable when it comes to finding petty ways to snipe at Trump.

Trump-Approval: An Emerson poll has Trump doing . . . pretty well for Trump, sitting at a 44/50 approval rating. They also polled 2020 match-ups, and found Biden ahead of Trump by around 10 points, but Warren effectively tied with him.

2020: Tulsi Gabbard has been spotted making the rounds in Iowa. At a recent Iowa Democrats campaign event, both Gabbard and Rep. John Delaney (who has already announced a run) talked in vaguely positive platitudes about coming together as a country, in what is probably a dry run for a possible 2020 campaign message. Honestly, both are probably far too centrist to actually win a national D primary these days, but Gabbard has such an astoundingly odd political profile that I kind of want her to run regardless, just to see what happens.

Congress:

AR-Sen: There are rumors flying that Senator Tom Cotton (R) might be tapped as the next director of the CIA. This is a curious prospect, as Cotton is widely expected to have his sights set firmly on the presidency, and a job in the Trump Administration seems like a less useful stepping stone towards that than just staying on as a 2+ term Senator in uber-safe Arkansas. We’ll have to see, though with some of the other stories coming out today the NRSC might not want to defend even more unexpectedly open seats in 2018.

CA-36: The GOP has another candidate running for the chance to take on 3-term Democrat Raul Ruiz in this Eastern-Riverside-County seat. Republican Dan Ball, a local news anchor, announced his run yesterday. He joins Actress Kimberlain Brown in the race for the second slot to Ruiz in California’s top-2 system, but Ruiz has beaten tougher opponents than both of them in worse years than 2018 is shaping out to be, so he’s probably still secure.

FL-27: Well this is . . . unexpected. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera (R), one of the GOP candidates running to succeed retiring Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) in this Cuban seat covering most of Miami, has stated that she believes she was abducted by aliens when she was 7. Needless to say, this does not bode well for her chances in what is easily the Democrat’s best 2018 flip target, even assuming she makes it out of the Cuban Machine primary.

MI-9: Sandy Levin (D) is still apparently undecided on whether or not he wants to run for re-election to his Suburban Detroit seat. While Levin is probably safe if he runs again in this rapidly diversifying seat covering Upscale-Yuppie Liberals in Southeastern Oakland County and Union Dems in Southern Macomb County, the GOP could realistically make a play for an open seat that moved quite a bit towards Trump last year.

MI-11: Kerry Bentivolio, a man who is either the most or second-most accidental Congressman ever depending on where you put Joseph Cao on the list, is running for this seat again as a Republican. Bentivolio has been a perennial candidate even before accidentally being the only guy left on the ticket in 2012 after the McCotter fiasco, and is probably not going to be a serious threat to win this seat again as several other Republicans are running and more may get in the race. Rep. David Trott (R) is retiring.

MS-Sen: Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), no stranger to health scares, will apparently be unable to make back to Washington due to health concerns. This robs the Senate GOP of a crucial vote needed to pass their tax reform plan (not to mention the chair of the Senate Appropriations committee), and also raises the increasingly likely possibility that Cochran will be unable to serve out the remainder of his term, opening up another GOP seat that the party will have to play defense in. Expect Cochran’s 2014 primary opponent Chris McDaniels—who is already making noise about primarying Mississippi’s other Republican Senator—to jump at the easier chance to make it into the Senate after losing a nail bitter back in 2014.

NJ-Sen: Despite a brief indication to the contrary, all of the corruption and bribery charges against Senator Menendez (D-NJ) are going to trial. Given that its more or less an open secret that he is guilty, this means that it is possible that Lame-duck GOP Governor Chris Christie will get to appoint his successor, if only for a few months. Given that Christie is in full-on IDGAF mode after being spurned by Trump, no one has any idea who he would appoint or why.

TN-Sen: Former Governor Phil Bredesen (D), last seen winning a landslide re-election in normally blood-red Tennessee in 2006, is considering running for the now-open Senate seat. Bresden is pretty much the only Democrat who could make a race in what is arguably the most reliably Republican state East of the Mississippi, but is probably going to suffer the same fate that Bill Weld did in Massachusetts when he tried to transform “Popular Moderate opposite-party Governor” into a Senate career—Federal Politics give individuals much less room to maneuver personally than state-level ones. Given that Tennessee has only gotten redder since Bresden retired in 2010, this race is probably Likely R at worst for the GOP, even if he does run.

Other:

Calgary-Mayor: Incumbent Naheed Nenshi, who made waves in 2010 as the first Muslim to win mayorship of a major Western city, has won re-election narrowly over former Progressive-Conservative party leader Bill Smith. Nenshi is famous for coming out of nowhere with his oddly post-partisan and social-media-based “Purple Campaign” in 2010, and has governed as an eccentric centrist since then. He coasted to re-election with 73% of the vote in 2013 (the mayoral terms were extended from 3 years to 4 during his tenure), but faced a stiff challenge this year from Smith, who was benefiting from a change-focused campaign in a city hit hard by falling oil prices. If you ever wanted to know what a Muslim, Centrist Obama would look like, Nenshi is probably your guy.

Immigration: The Census Bureau has released updated and detailed numbers about America’s Immigrants. We’re well on our way to passing the previous-high of 14.7% of Americans having been born in a foreign country, and are expected to hit that number sometime in the early 2020s. Of note is that America’s Immigrants are diversifying rapidly, with immigration from Mexico slowing, but being more than made up for by surges from medium and smaller-sized countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Burma, Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya. We’ve gotten almost an entire Congressional district’s worth of new Immigration from China and India each since 2010, and we’re on track to have gotten one from non-Mexican Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020 as well.

Quebec: Quebec’s government has revived an effort to require women’s faces to be uncovered to use public services, such as riding a bus. The move is stated to be a part of Quebec PM’s Couillard’s effort to enforce the “neutrality of the state” in religious affairs, but is being widely panned as a naked pandering to Quebecois’ anti-Muslim tendencies.

NC Mayors Preview & Liveblog

Results: News & Observer

9:35 ET- It appears most of the vote is in. We may update again later if something significant changes, but here are the current results… pretty bad night for Republicans and center-right candidates overall.
Raleigh: McFarlane (I) 48 Francis (D) 38
Greensboro: Vaughan (D) 61 Moffatt (D) 22
Durham: Schewel (D) 50 Ali (D) 31
Fayetteville: Colvin (D) 43 Robertson (R) 33

9:10 ET- Legislative primaries: McClure (R) has won in FL-LD-58, and Vargas (D) has won in MA-LD-3rd Essex.

8:55 ET- Results reporting has slowed to a crawl, but so far no substantive changes in any of the races.

8:34 ET – Looks like McFarlane will finish just below the 50% needed to win outright; she’s at 48-38 over Francis. Schewel and Ali are advancing with 52 and 29 in Durham, and Vaughan and Moffett (D) will likely advance in Greensboro as they are at 59 and 26 respectively. Colvin is still (surprisingly) in the overall lead in Fayetteville, leading Robertson (R) 45-32.

7:50 ET- Colvin (D) is dominating the absentee vote in Fayetteville with 54%. Schewel (D) is at 52% in Durham, Vaughan (D) is on course for an uneventful win with 62% in Greensboro, and McFarlane (I) is just below the 50% mark needed to win outright with 49.3%.

7:30 ET- Polls have now closed across North Carolina.

7:20 ET- FL-LD-44 has been called for Olszweski (R), 56-44.

Four cities in North Carolina have mayoral elections today. Polls close at 7:30 ET; we will have a brief liveblog in this thread tonight. There are also elections in Liberia and a couple legislative specials in Florida and Massachusetts.

Raleigh-Mayor: The biggest mayoral election today is in Raleigh. The state capital has a population of 450K which breaks down as 55% White, 30% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It has a PVI of D+11 (2008), though that has likely shifted well to the left over the last decade. The city is relatively diverse socioeconomically, with white liberals on the west side, upscale white moderates in the northern part of the city, and a mixture of lower and middle-income blacks on the east side. Unlike the other three races today, Raleigh’s election uses Louisiana Rules Top Two, so 50% is enough to win outright. Incumbent Spanky Nancy McFarlane (I) is seeking a fourth two-year term. McFarlane is a moderate, business-friendly liberal who has generally had the support of the Dem establishment. She has been quite popular as mayor and has generally cruised to her first two re-elections over token GOP opposition. However, Raleigh has been shifting strongly left in recent years with an influx of minorities and upscale liberals. And this year, McFarlane is facing a much more serious challenge, from her left rather than right. Attorney Charles Francis (D) is running to McFarlane’s left, striking SJW notes in contrast to McFarlane’s business liberalism. This year, Francis has the official endorsement of the Wake County Democratic Party, which has previously gone to McFarlane. Francis has also outraised the incumbent, and has backing from some big names in the area’s Democratic establishment (including the heads of liberal polling firm PPP). Many more moderate Dems are still backing McFarlane, but observers generally do consider Francis likely to be a significant threat to the incumbent. A third candidate, mortgage broker and 2012 county commission candidate Paul Fitts (R), has some GOP support but isn’t running a particularly serious campaign. CW is that he is likely to come in third, but there is a small chance he could come in second on GOP votes. Generally, CW is that McFarlane will come in first but be held below 50% and head to a runoff with Francis; McFarlane could garner GOP support in the second round and will probably still be favored. However, there are also chances for McFarlane to overperform on name rec and her prior popularity and wrap things up today, or conversely for high liberal turnout to propel Francis to a first-place finish.

Greensboro-Mayor: Greensboro has a population of 290K that breaks down as roughly 45% White, 40% Black, and 10% Hispanic; the south and east sides are mostly black while the northwest part of the city is mostly upscale whites. It has a PVI of D+16 (2008). Three candidates are running for Mayor, two Democrats and one Republican, in a California Rules Top Two format; the top two will advance even if one passes 50%. Incumbent Nancy Vaughan (D) is seeking her third two-year term. Vaughan is a mainstream white liberal who has been relatively popular in her tenure. This year, she has two opponents, one from the left and one from the right, but both are little-known political novices. Businessman John Brown (R) has significant Republican establishment support and could make the runoff by garnering votes among the third or so of Greensboro’s voters that are right-of-center. However, Brown is a staunch conservative and has little crossover appeal to Dems, meaning he will probably advance but have little shot next month. A third candidate, pastor Diane Moffett (D), is also somewhat serious. Moffett is the only black candidate in the race and running slightly to the left of Vaughan. However, she doesn’t have much establishment support, and thus looks like a long-shot to beat out Brown for second. If she does, she will likely face a similarly uphill climb against Vaughan. Regardless of her general election rival, Vaughan is likely to pass 50% today and be the clear favorite in the November general election.

Durham-Mayor: The college town of Durham has a population of 260K, which breaks down as roughly 40% each White and Black and 15% Hispanic. Durham is socioeconomically divided east-west; the east side is largely poor blacks, while the west side is mostly upscale white liberals, with Duke as its main economic driver. Both groups are solidly Democratic; the city has a PVI of D+27 (2008). The open-seat race this year is in a California-Rules Top Two format, though it is unlikely to matter as no member of the 6-way field is in strong position to top 50%. Ex-councilman and Airport board member Farad Ali (D) is the most prominent black candidate. Ali is a business-friendly black establishment liberal in the mold of the outgoing incumbent, and seems to have the most support from the city’s establishment. Ali’s main rival, councilman Steve Schewel (D), is the only white candidate in the race and running to Ali’s left. Schewel is a fairly typical upscale white progressive who founded the city’s alternative newspaper before entering politics. But he isn’t the farthest-left candidate in the field; that would be musician Pierce Freelon (D). Freelon is a staunch left-winger, spouting all sorts of SJW priorities and declaring intersectionality the basis of his campaign. Being both black and left-wing, Freelon seems likely to draw significant numbers of votes from both Ali and Schewel. It is possible that Freelon boxes out one of the two top candidates, but he seems more likely than not to finish third. Three other Some Dudes seem less serious. Schewel and Ali advancing is thought to be the most likely outcome, but Freelon could have a chance to box one of them out. A general election between Ali and Schewel is likely to be highly competitive, though either will probably be favored over Freelon should he advance.

Fayetteville-Mayor: The race with the biggest partisan implications is in Fayetteville. It has a population of 200K, which breaks down as 45% White, 40% Black, and 10% Hispanic; however, a significant part of that population is ultra-low-turnout active duty Fort Bragg soldiers. The city has a PVI of D+10 (2008). Incumbent Nat Robertson (R) is seeking a third two-year term in this year’s California-Rules Top two race. Robertson, a moderate conservative, has won two tough races and seems to be reasonably popular. However, Fayetteville is a Democratic and fairly inelastic city, and Robertson seems likely to get a tough challenge once again this time, as two sitting city councilors are seeking the seat. Robertson looks likely to finish a clear first, and may clear 50%. As there isn’t a huge amount of ideological daylight between his rivals, Robertson’s score is an important thing to watch, as it may be predictive of his November vote share. Councilmen Mitch Colvin (D) and Kirk DeViere (D) are seeking the chance to take on Robertson. Colvin, the council’s president, is a mainstream black establishment liberal, and has the stronger connections to the local establishment. DeViere, a white first-term councilman and veteran, is a moderate liberal who has been considered a rising star. There doesn’t seem to be a clear favorite between the two, and either could have the chance to move on to the general. Simply because the Democrats voting are likely to be black-majority, I’d peg Colvin as a slight front-runner, but DeViere could easily prevail. A non-serious Some Dude is also running. Odds are regardless of who comes in second, Colvin and DeViere’s vote shares will sum near-totally, so today’s vote shares can be thought of as also a good straw poll for the November real thing.

Legislative Specials: There is one general election and three primaries this week, two in Florida and two in Massachusetts. The lone general is for FL-LD-44, an R-held D+2 (2016) seat covering southwest Orlando suburbs between Disney World and the Florida’s Turnpike. Ex-Winter Garden councilman Bobby Olszewski (R) is facing off with manager Eddy Dominguez (D), who entered the race as a replacement nominee just three weeks ago. Because Democrats pulled a late candidate switch, Dominguez is not on the ballot – instead, in a “punch Foley for Joe” type situation, Dominguez will get the votes that are cast for the name of prior nominee Paul Chandler. Because of Dominguez’s late start and Olszewski’s strong campaign, Olszewski is generally considered the favorite. However, this year, in a seat this purple, no Democrat can be counted out, and strong liberal turnout could allow Dominguez to surprise. The Florida primary is for FL-LD-58, an R+6 (2016) seat covering eastern Tampa suburbs in northeast Hillsborough County from Plant City to Thonotosassa. The GOP primary is hotly contested, between a pair of businesspeople, Lawrence McClure (R) and Yvonne Fry (R). Both have advantages: McClure has outraised Fry and has the NRA endorsement, while Fry is backed by the outgoing incumbent and has a big endorsement from AG Pam Bondi (R). The race has become nasty, but overall McClure looks like a slight favorite. The primary winner will face 2016 nominee Jose Vasquez-Figueroa (D) in a December general. MA-LD-1st Berkshire is a D+17 (2016) rural seat around Williamstown and North Adams at the northwest corner of the state. Ex-North Adams Mayor John Barrett (D), North Adams councilwoman Lisa Blackmer (D), Kevin Towle (D), a staffer to the late previous Rep., and Stephanie Bosley (D), daughter of a retired prior Rep., are all in the race; there is no clear favorite and any of the four could win. The primary winner will be a prohibitive favorite over 2016 State Senate nominee Christine Canning (R) in the general. Finally, MA-LD-3rd Essex is a D+7 (2016) seat covering most of Haverhill in the Merrimack valley. Two Democrats are facing off. Liberal Haverhill councilman Andy Vargas (D), a 24-year old Dominican immigrant, has more establishment support and seems a slight favorite over school board member Paul Magliocchetti (D), a Conservadem who took 16% as an Indie in a 2012 State Senate run, but an upset may be possible. The winner will face school board member and 2012/14 State Senate nominee Shaun Toohey (R) in a November general.

Liberia: The west African nation of Liberia is the first of 8 nations holding elections this month. Liberia is a largely-Christian nation of 4.6M in the southern part of West Africa, roughly the size of Ohio in area. Liberia was founded (and run for much of the 19th and 20th centuries) by black immigrants from the US and their descendants. It has long retained close ties with America; however, a series of civil wars, coups, and dictatorships ravaged the country from 1980 to 2005. Since then Liberia has gradually become a relatively free democracy, albeit one with an immature civil society and rampant extreme poverty (and being the center of the Ebola outbreak didn’t help either). Like most third-world countries, pols’ ideologies are poorly-defined, and politics is more based on personalities and clan ties than issue positions. This year, there are six major candidates for the presidency, but two front-runners. CW is that neither will clear 50% and they will head on to a runoff. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is standing down this year; CW is that her Vice President, Joseph Boakai, is likely to head to a runoff with former soccer star and current Senator George Weah, who lost the first modern free election to Johnson-Sirleaf in 2005. Four other candidates, former Senator and 2011 candidate Charles Brumskine, Senator and former guerilla fighter Prince Johnson, former local mayor Benoni Urey, and former Coca-Cola executive Alex Cummings, could each potentially snag a runoff spot.

Political Roundup for September 20th, 2017

As evidenced by the fact that someone in my North Philadelphia neighborhood actually took a minute out of their day yesterday to scrape and peel the John Kasich sticker off of my car, reality really has become stranger than an episode of Showtime’s Shameless.

Last night, Foxborough councilman Paul Feeney (D) and legislative staffer Jacob Ventura (R) won primaries for MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk. The two will head to a general next month with retired investigative reporter Joe Shortsleeve (I).

President

2020: Democrats are clearly ready to defeat the Donald (R?) at all costs ahead of their 2020 presidential primary pileup. The succeeding failing New York Times reports that, while Bernie Sanders (“I”) plans a “very far left” approach, potential frontrunner Elizabeth Warren (D) will merely run a “far left” campaign.

Democrats’ Lurch off the Left Coast: Politico reports that many Democrats are now wondering if the recent wave of virtue signaling support of Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan could distract from their efforts to fight another attempt at repealing Obamacare.

Congress:

AL-Sen: Senate candidate and God’s Gift to the World Roy Moore (R) doubled down on his “red and yellow” comments from earlier in the week in a presidential series of tweets.

More AL-Sen: Both Mike Pence (R) and the Donald (R?) will be campaigning for Luther Strange in Alabama.

TN-Sen: Despite recent friction between the two men, Roll Call reports that the Donald (R?) has urged Senator Bob Corker (R) to seek a third term.

MI-6/MI-Senate: Ahead of a likely US Senate bid, everyone’s second-favorite Upton and Whirlpool heir Fred (R) was named a Michigander of the Year by the generally-conservative Detroit News for his bipartisan dealmaking in the midst of the bipartisan opening of the seventh seal.

Governors/State:

Democrats/State Attorneys General: Still smarting from the Duchess of Chappaqua’s 2016 loss, some leaders of the ever-strategic Democrats have yet another plan to “avenge” the would-have-been First Woman President™’s defeat by… recruiting as many female attorney general candidates as possible. Yes, really.

IL-Gov/IL-AG: North Shore State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) has dropped his gubernatorial bid to pursue the state AG position after the surprise retirement of incumbent Dictator Heiress and Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D). Drury was the only State Rep to oppose Fearless Leader Mike Madigan’s re-election bid to the speakership, and he earns major kudos from this Illinois expat for that stand.

More IL-AG: In addition to Drury, the Chicago Tribune has a Great Mentioner on others considering this now open race.

NJ-Gov: Highlighting their desperation for any victory in the age of the Donald, the Democrats are going all out in this Safe D race by sending in top fundraiser Barack Obama to stump for Phil Murphy (D), according to The Hill.

More NJ-Gov: The RGA has released a 15-second ad attacking Phil Murphy by implying that he wants to raise New Jersey’s already-high taxes, a development sure to shock Garden State voters.

TX-Gov: While Governor Greg Abbott (R) lacked a signature issue, Texas Tribune explains that Hurricane Harvey gave him the political cover to move away from the hard right direction he had reluctantly taken on the urging of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R). If this sounds strange, remember that the Texas Lieutenant Governor is arguably more powerful than the Governor.

More TX-Gov/TX-20: Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) reiterated yesterday that he has no plans to run for governor. Castro (not that one, as far as we know…) will seek re-election to the US House.

Local Races:

Urban Renewal/Detroit-Mayor: The Economist lays out Detroit’s improvements under Mike Duggan as a case study of tough love. It’s shocking what happens when voters elect a leader who tells them things that they don’t want to hear after decades of electing politicians who said anything to gain power.

Seattle-Mayor: Interim Mayor Bruce Harrell, clearly not touched, says that he does not intend to serve the rest of his disgraced predecessor’s term.

Political Roundup for September 19th, 2017

First off, there is a single legislative special primary today. MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk is a D+5 (2016) seat stretching from Seekonk in suburban Providence to Medfield in Boston’s southwest suburbs. Two Democrats and Four Republicans are running. For Dems, Foxborough councilman and Sanders campaign operative Paul Feeney (D) and legislative staffer Ted Phillips (D) are facing off. Feeney is more of a blue-collar liberal while Phillips is a bit more upscale in sensibilities; there is no clear favorite. For Republicans, Baker admin official Mike Berry (R) has the most GOP establishment support and looks like the front-runner. Berry faces three other credible candidates in Chamber of Commerce official Harry Brousaides (R), legislative staffer Jacob Venura (R), and 2014/16 State House candidate Tim Hempton (R), who could each pull the upset. Waiting in the general is well-known retired TV investigative reporter Joe Shortsleeve (I), a former DINO who could have enough name recognition to make it an authentic three-way race or even pull an upset win.

Senate

AL-Sen: A JMC Analytics poll of likely voters shows Roy Moore keeping his large lead over Attorney General and Trump endorsee Luther Strange 47%-39%. This is actually an improvement for Strange, who trailed in the last JMC poll 51%-32%.

Governor

VA-Gov: Two new polls in the Virginia gubernatorial race. One survey shows Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie 44%-39% with Libertarian Cliff Hyra at 3%. However, the Princeton Survey Research Associates International poll surveys “Virginia adults,” without even a voter screen. Meanwhile, a Suffolk University poll of likely voters shows the race tied between Northam and Gillespie at 42% with Hyra at 3% again. We rate this seat Lean Democrat.

MD-Gov: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has joined the Democratic field to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (R). The list of other Democratic candidates, lazily grabbed from the article: “Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, former NAACP leader Ben Jealous, state Sen. Richard Madaleno, technology entrepreneur and author Alec Ross, lawyer Jim Shea and Krish Vignarajah, a former policy director for first lady Michelle Obama.” We rate this seat Lean Republican.

House

MN-1: 2014 and 2016 Republican nominee Jim Hagedorn won the endorsement of two notable former congressmen: Reps. John Kline and Gil Gutknecht. The endorsements continue a continuous run of former Minnesota Republican officeholders backing Hagedorn this cycle. State Sen. Carla Nelson (R) has also been rumored to be strongly considering a run, and her Facebook page’s name recently changed from “Carla Nelson for State Senate” to just “Carla Nelson.”

UT-3: Dan Jones is re-running their poll of UT-3 mentioned in yesterday’s roundup with a full sample from the district instead of a subset from their statewide poll. The reasoning was complaints from third party candidate Jim Bennett, who barely missed the threshold for debate participation with his 6% showing in the survey.

VA-10: One of Rep. Barbara Comstock’s 1,000 opponents is sticking out. Democrat and veteran Dan Helmer sticks out for a terrible ad where he sings bad karaoke to Comstock about not holding town hall meetings. Pretty sure he won’t be her opponent.

MI-11: A lot of movement in Rep. Dave Trott (R)’s suddenly open seat. First off, State Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R). Second, Lena Epstein (R) dropped down from the Senate race to this House bid. State Rep. Klint Kesto also plans to run. The article has a Great Mentioner of other candidates on both sides of the aisle. We previously ranked this seat Lean R when Trott was still in the race. Click here for some of yesterday’s discussion of the candidates on RRH Elections.

NY-24: Syracuse professor Dana Balter (R) is in the race against Rep. John Katko (R). While several other Democrats are considering runs in this swing seat that Katko surprisingly locked down over the last two cycles, Onondaga Community College board chair Anne Messenger is already in.

NY-27: Veteran Erin Cole (D) is out after a short-lived campaign. While Rep. Chris Collins is one of the least threatened Republican congressmen in New York, county Democratic leaders have still interviewed a number of potential candidates.

RIP: Longtime former congressman Bill Goodling (R) of Pennsylvania has passed away at the age of 89.

State and Local

TX-leg: Former State Rep. Steve Toth has the support of 30 former and current Republican State Representatives in his comeback bid. Toth left the chamber after a failed primary challenge to Rep. Kevin Brady, the Ways & Means Committee Chairman in Congress. While Toth would be expected to receive significant Freedom Caucus and allied endorsements, there are a few Straus allies that surprisingly make the list like State Reps. JM Lozano and Jason Isaac.

TX-leg: On the other side of the aisle, State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D) gains another reprieve as the Travis County DA holds off on felony charges of fraud with new information in the case. She still faces two misdemeanor charges.

International

Spain: Spanish federal government authorities are attempting to stifle campaigning in the Catalonian-led independence referendum on October 1st. Besides seizing campaign materials from the pro-independence side, the government is also threatening to arrest Carles Puigdemont, the regional government head, and other government officials supporting the referendum.

Iceland: Iceland’s Parliament has been set to dissolve October 27th; elections will be held October 28th.

 

Political Roundup for August 23rd, 2017

Fellow teachers, welcome back to school! Everyone else, welcome back to your roundup.

Last night, Sandy Stimpson (R) won re-election outright in Mobile with 58%, while school board member Randall Woodfin (D) surprisingly outpaced incumbent Birmingham Mayor William Bell (D) by a 41-37 margin; Woodfin and Bell will head to an October runoff. Dawn Euer (D) won RI-SD-13 as expected, though she underperformed Hillary’s margin unlike most D special election candidates this year.

Senate

AZ-Sen: Things are rough between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the President. Besides Trump’s public criticism of McConnell and Senate procedures, McConnell is also facing off against Trump in the Arizona Senate Republican primary. McConnell, for his part, is rallying the Republican Senate caucus to support their embattled colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake.

More AZ-Sen: In a new poll from Republican public affairs firm HighGround, Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is in big trouble. First, he trails former State Sen. Kelli Ward 28%-43% in the Republican primary. Then, if Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) pulls the trigger on a run, Flake would trail her 33%-41% in the general election. In contrast, Ward would trail Sinema by only one point with a ton of undecideds, at 31%-32%.

Flake has the unpopularity of previous party-flippers like Lieberman and Specter of the past decade among his own party’s voters- without ever flipping parties. President Trump previously tweeted his support of Ward. With numbers like this, I wonder if we could see a retirement from Flake to prevent a Ward primary victory.

MI-Sen: Come for the shout-out from Harry Enten describing RRH Elections as “well-informed, well-intentioned amateurs trying to break into the [polling] industry.” Then, stay read his takedown of a fake poll from “Delphi Analytica” that briefly excited the political world about a possible lead for a Kid Rock campaign in the Michigan Senate race.

Governor

MN-Gov: State Sen. Dave Osmek (R) has announced a gubernatorial bid. While Osmek will have some legislative endorsements, he starts overshadowed by Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson within the Republican primary. After all, Johnson’s base overlaps with Osmek’s turf in the southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Further, Johnson occupies a similar libertarian/conservative ideological space as Johnson. Osmek’s website also starts out in uniquely rough shape, telling donors on the day of his announcement to either send a physical check or wait for Paypal to go up. Couldn’t he have just thrown up a Piryx account real fast and changed it later?!? Also, apparently http://osmekforgovernor.com redirects to a hit piece against the candidate.  For a hilarious take on the state of the gubernatorial race, see this tweet

VA-Gov: A new Roanoke College poll of likely voters finds Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) leads Ed Gillespie (R) 43%-36%, with another 4% for the Libertarian candidate.

CA-Gov: Apparently some “Democratic fundraisers and political operatives” are not excited by the always inevitable but finally happening gubernatorial bid of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) or former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign. In their place, they want some dude named Scooter Braun to run. He apparently manages some famous singers, including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Kanye West. I’m not even going to run down the list of recent celebrity candidates in the last few years, ok?

AK-Gov: Incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) have officially filed for reelection as a joint ticket again. They are not running on the Democratic ticket, so now the Alaska Democratic Party needs to figure out some way to legally keep anyone else from trying to snag that ballot line by filing for the primary. A lawsuit has been filed by the party to attempt to allow the pair to run in the party primary without actually running under the party’s affiliation.

WI-Gov: State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) is officially in, joining a bunch of B- and C-list Democratic candidates who are either actually in the race (state Rep. Dana Wachs, businessman Andy Gronik) or considering it (State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin). A full Great Mentioner is included at the bottom of the article.

House

TX-3: State Sen. Van Taylor (R) continues his march into this open congressional seat, officially filing to run now that Texas’ special state legislative session is complete. Our friend Miles at DDHQ will eventually get around to profiling this race, so stay tuned.

TX-16: El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D) will likely announce her congressional campaign this Saturday at an event. Escobar has been considering a bid for some time, and she will join El Paso ISD Trustee Dori Fenenbock and two other candidates in the Democratic primary. This seat is open with Rep. Beto O’Rourke running for Senate against Ted Cruz. Escobar already secured prominent backers like the outgoing incumbent, Rep. Joaquin Castro, and actress Eva Longoria.

AL-5: State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R) will run against incumbent Rep. Mo Brooks in the Republican primary here. Brooks is coming off a third-place finish in the special election for US Senate in Alabama. Although he cracked 40% in his own district in the three-way race, Holtzclaw probably sees an opening after Brooks was bloodied by ads that accused him of being insufficiently pro-Trump.

State and Local

TX-SD-8: A rare showdown in this open seat Republican primary between two red meat conservatives. On the one side is Philip Huffines, the self-funding Dallas County GOP Chairman and twin brother of State Sen. Don Huffines. On the other is Angela Paxton, wife of embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton starts out with some legislative support that would otherwise be assumed to go to Huffines, including from Freedom Caucus members and State Reps. Matt Shaheen and Jeff Leach. The divide may be geographic rather than ideological, with another state representative explaining her support with the statement, “She’s Collin County.”

MA-Leg: State Rep. Susannah Whipps is abandoning the GOP to sit as an independent legislator. No word on her committee assignments yet.

Political Roundup for June 28, 2017

Last night, Cindy Friedman (D), CoS to the late prior incumbent, won a primary for MA-SD-4th Middlesex, while endorsed Republican Jon Jacobsen (R) prevailed in IA-LD-22.

Senate:

NV-Sen: Ralston says that Rep. Dina Titus (D) has told him she is polling the Senate race, as a potential prelude to an entry into the primary to take on Sen. Dean Heller (R). Should Titus enter it would set up a potential tough primary collision with fellow Rep. Jacky Rosen (D), who is far less politically experienced than Titus.

MT-Sen: Judge Russell Fagg (R) is exploring a bid against Sen. Jon Tester (D). Fagg is the latest lower-tier candidate to consider a run here, joining State Sen. Al Olszewski (R) and storage executive Troy Downing (R).

TN-Sen, TN-2: Knox CE Tim Burchett (R), who is termed out of his current post, is considering a run for Senate or House. If he runs, he could potentially face an uphill race against a longtime incumbent in either primary, as Sen. Bob Corker (R) and Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R) have not yet indicated any intention to retire. However, if either Corker or Duncan steps down, Burchett could be a top-tier candidate for either seat.

WI-Sen: Trucking executive Nicole Schneider (R) will not run against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), citing family concerns. No Republicans have entered this race as of yet, but State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) is the name most-commonly connected with a bid.

Governor:

KS-Gov, KS-4: State Senate President Susan Wagle (R), one of the few Republicans who has pull on both sides of the KSGOP’s moderate/conservative chasm, is considering a run for either Governor or Congress in 2018. Should she seek the House seat, she would challenge incumbent Ron Estes (R), whose underwhelming victory in this year’s special has fueled talk of a primary challenger. If she enters the Governor’s race, she would join a crowded primary field of SoS Kris Kobach (R), ex-State Sen. and 2006 nominee Jim Barnett (R), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R), and businessman Wink Hartman (R).

MI-Gov: Physician Jim Hines (R) became the first candidate to file for this race yesterday, tuning in an impressive number of signatures. The effort could suggest that Hines, who is basically of a “Some Dude” profile, may be serious enough to be a real contender in this race against multiple bigger-name candidates. LG Brian Calley (R), AG Bill Schuette (R), and antiestablishment-friendly State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) are expected to run on the GOP side; ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) currently looks like the front-runner for Dems.

RI-Gov: Ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R) has entered the race for Governor, becoming the first candidate into the race on the GOP side. Trillo, a vocal Trump supporter who retired from the State House in 2016, may face a primary with Cranston Mayor and 2014 nominee Alan Fung (R). Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) may face primary opposition on the Dem side.

House:

ID-1: State Rep. Luke Malek (R) is considering a run for the seat of Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Raul Labrador (R). Malek hails from Coeur D’Alene in the panhandle, potentially giving him a geographic base in the primary. Ex-State Sen. and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher (R) is considered the front-runner for this seat, with 80s-era ex-LG David Leroy (R) also in the race.

NY-22: In a somewhat surprising move, State Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) has quickly pulled the trigger on a run for this medium-red seat. Brindisi was heavily recruited to run for the open seat in 2016, but demurred; he will now run against freshman incumbent Claudia Tenney (R). This Binghamton and Utica based seat trended strongly right last year but Tenney fell short of a majority due to a centrist independent candidate; Brindisi’s entry likely keeps this race as a high-tier target for Dems in 2018.

State & Local:

NH-State House: State Rep. Brandon Phinney has switched from Republican to Libertarian, giving the Libertarian party 3 members of the NH State House (out of 400), and thus their largest caucus in a legislative chamber in memory.

MD-Prince George’s-CE: State Sen. Anthony Muse (D), a moderate Democrat who challenged US Sen. Ben Cardin (D) in the 2012 primary, is running for Prince George’s County Executive. Incumbent Rushern Baker (D) is running for Governor.

MD-Baltimore-CE: Ex-State Rep. John Olszewski (D) is running for Baltimore County Executive, becoming the first candidate into what could be a crowded primary with county commissioner Vicki Almond (D) and state Sen. Jim Brochin (D). Olszewski has a base in the blue-collar Dundalk area. Antiestablishment conservative State Rep. Pat McDonough (R) and Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer (R) are considering runs on the GOP side. Incumbent Kevin Kamenetz (D) is termed-out and widely expected to run for Governor.

Political Roundup for June 26, 2017

First off, there are two legislative specials tomorrow, one primary and one general. The primary is in MA-SD-4th Middlesex, a D+14 (2016) seat stretching from Arlington to Billerica (bill-rick-uh, or bill-UH-rick-uh if you really want the authentic cockney-townie mispronunciation) in the northwest suburbs of Boston. State Rep. Sean Garballey (D) and Cindy Friedman (D), CoS to the late prior incumbent, are facing off; both are establishment liberals and there is no clear favorite between the two. A third candidate, state school board member Mary Ann Stewart (D), seems like a longer-shot. No Republicans are seeking the seat. The general is for IA-LD-22, an R+19 (2016) seat covering Omaha exurbs and rural areas east of Council Bluffs. Banker and local GOP official Jon Jacobsen (R) looks like at least a slight favorite over Carol Forristall (R), widow of the prior incumbent, who lost her bid for the GOP endorsement and is instead running as an Indie, and a Libertarian Some Dude. Dems have no one on the ballot after their candidate failed to turn his paperwork in on time, though he is running as a write-in. Now the rest of the day’s news –

Senate:

ND-Sen: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) is undecided on whether to seek a second term this cycle, saying that being in the Senate is “a hard life.” Should Heitkamp retire the seat would be a likely GOP pickup; if she runs again she would likely face a competitive general election, possibly against Rep. Kevin Cramer (R).

VT-Sen: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D) and his wife Jane have retained lawyers, as they are now under FBI investigation. The investigation centers on alleged fraud in Jane Sanders’s mismanagement of a now-shuttered College where she was president. Jane Sanders allegedly falsified descriptions of the college’s donor base and finances when seeking a large loan, and Bernie may have used his influence to lobby for the loan arrangement.

Governor:

AL-Gov: State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) is the latest Republican to explore an entry into this increasingly crowded primary. Zeigler had a reputation as a gadfly before winning the Auditor post over several little-known rivals; however, he has raised his profile since becoming Auditor with aggressive investigations of various scandals surrounding ex-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) that eventually forced the latter’s resignation. Zeigler says has not made a decision to enter the race and may seek a second term as Auditor. Should he enter the race, Zeigler would face Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington (R), minister Scott Dawson (R), and businessman Joshua Jones (R), with PSC chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R) also seen as likely to enter. Incumbent Kay Ivey (R) has not yet indicated if she will seek a full term. Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

CO-Gov: Kent Thiry (R), the CEO of the dialysis company Davita, is exploring a run for Governor. Thiry, who has donated to both parties, would likely run as a centrist and would likely self-fund his bid. He would join Arapahoe DA George Brauchler (R) and two other self-funding businessmen, ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R) and Romney relative Doug Robinson (R), in the GOP primary; State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) is also seen as likely to enter. Reps. Jared Polis (D) and Ed Perlmutter (D), ex-State Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D), and State Sen. Mike Johnston (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

FL-Gov: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) says that though the FBI is now investigating corruption in Tallahassee city government, he is not personally under investigation. This setback is the latest in a string of embarrassing headlines for Gillum, including campaign finance woes and improper use of government email. Gillum is facing ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D) and businessman Chris King (D) in the Dem primary, with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D) and wealthy trial lawyer John Morgan (D) considering runs. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is in the race on the GOP side.

IL-Gov: Five Democrats seeking to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) appeared before the important Cook County Dem machine meeting on Thursday. Businessman JB Pritzker (D), considered the establishment favorite (read: the choice of State Dictator House Speaker Mike Madigan (D)) because of his immense wealth, played to the part by dutifully asking for machine backing. Fellow businessman and Heir Force Col. Chris Kennedy (D) used his speech to argue for no endorsement and attempting to cast himself as an outsider. Three other Democrats, State Sen. Daniel Biss (D), Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), mostly seemed to use the meeting as a chance to boost their name recognition, while a sixth, State Rep. Scott Drury (D), skipped the meeting entirely.

More IL-Gov: In what could present a headache for Rauner, former pro wrestler Jon Stewart (L) will run for Governor as a Libertarian. Stewart definitely sounds like a Republican in all but name, as he was a vocal Trump supporter and once hired Kellyanne Conway to run his campaign for the State House as a Republican in the 90s. It’s unclear how much traction Stewart might get – or how many votes he might win from people thinking he’s “the other” Jon Stewart, as a school in Utah did in 2006 when they booked him for a fundraising gala.

KS-Gov: Businessman and ex-State Rep. Mark Hutton (R) is considering an entry into this primary. Hutton, who says he would try to bridge the moderate-conservative chasm within the KSGOP but who has generally been more identified with the moderate wing, retired from the legislature in 2016. Hutton would face SoS Kris Kobach (R/C), ex-State Sen. and 2006 nominee Jim Barnett (R/M), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R/M), and businessman Wink Hartman (R/C) in the primary; LG Jeff Colyer (R/C) is also thought to be considering a run. Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) and ex-State Rep. Josh Svaty (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

MD-Gov: Attorney Jim Shea (D) is the latest little-known Democrat seeking to try his luck in the primary to take on popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Shea is a former chair of a large law firm and university regent, so he may be well-connected. He joins Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D), ex-NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous (D), and businessman and Hillary aide Alec Ross (D) in vying to take on Hogan.

OH-Gov: In a move that surprised no one, AG Mike DeWine (R) announced his run for Governor over the weekend. DeWine, a former Senator before scoring a comeback as AG in 2010, looks like a slight front-runner in a titanic four-way primary against LG Mary Taylor (R), Rep. Jim Renacci (R), and SoS Jon Husted (R). Democrats have a four-way primary of their own between ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), State Sen. Tony Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D).

House:

CO-2, CO-3: State Sen. Kerry Donovan (D) will not run for Congress this cycle. Donovan had been mentioned as a potential candidate for both the open deep-blue CO-2, where her primary home is, and the medium-red CO-3 of Rep. Scott Tipton (R), where her family owns a ranch and a large part of her Senate seat is based. 2014 SoS nominee Joe Neguse (D) looks like the front-runner in a potentially crowded field for CO-2, while Democrats do not as of yet have strong prospects to take on Tipton.

IL-12: St. Clair County DA Brendan Kelly (D) is rumored to be considering a run against Rep. Mike Bost (R), and has attracted the interest of the DCCC.  This downscale MetroEast and Little Egypt district zoomed right last year but has some strong Democratic heritage; as DA of the district’s largest county, Kelly could be a formidable candidate. Several Some Dude Dems are in the race to take on Bost.

SC-1: Attorney Joe Cunningham (D) will run against Rep. Mark Sanford (R) in this medium-red Charleston area district. Cunningham seems to be well-connected; he is also receiving some buzz for his particularly blunt upfront stance that he will not vote for Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker if elected. Sanford was expected to face a serious primary challenge as well, but both of his erstwhile challengers have since dropped out.

UT-3: Attorney Tanner Ainge (R), son of Boston Celtics President Danny, wasn’t registered to vote in Utah when he filed as a candidate for Congress in May. Ainge returned to Utah in November of last year after six years in Illinois and California, and says he forgot to re-register when he returned to the state. Ainge will face Provo Mayor John Curtis (R), who is under fire for his past as a Democrat, and ex-State Rep. and convention winner Chris Herrod (R) in the August 15 primary.

State & Local:

AL-LG: State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R) of rural northeast Alabama has joined the race for LG, joining State Sen. Rusty Glover (R) and elected state school board member Mary Scott Hunter (R) in the primary. Hunter was also the recipient of a scathing internal report from the school board last week. The report alleges that Hunter conspired with the sitting interim state Superintendent and several staffers in a months-long campaign to spread false innuendo about Craig Pouncey, an applicant for the appointed Superintendent job. Hunter disputes the report’s accuracy.

FL-CFO: CFO Jeff Atwater (R) is resigning this week, and Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) choice to replace him is ex-State Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R) of Panama City. Scott is set to announce the appointment today at Patronis’s restaurant; Patronis says he will run for a full term in 2018, though it’s still too early to say if he will face primary opposition. Ex-State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) is likely to be the Dem nominee for this post in 2018.

GA-LG: State Sen. Rick Jeffares (R) runs a water and sewer contracting company which has received a large amount of state business. The business dealings are completely legal as Georgia law permits legislators to receive state contracts as long as they are received through a blinded open-bidding process. However, if Jeffares moves from his part-time legislative post to the LG slot, the issue might become thornier. Jeffares says that the LG spot is part-time, permitting him to continue his company’s state business, but he has not made a decision on whether to continue his business if he wins. Jeffares is facing State Senate President David Shaffer (R) and State Rep. Geoff Duncan (R) in this primary.

IL-SoS: SoS Jesse White (D) is considering going back on his intention to retire in 2018. White, 82, has admitted he is considering seeking a sixth term but has not finalized a decision either way. The popular White would likely be a prohibitive favorite against any opposition if he ran again.

KS-SoS: State Rep. Keith Esau (R) will run for the open SoS seat, joining Sedgwick County clerk and KSGOP chair Kelly Arnold (R) in the GOP primary. Esau, who hails from the Kansas City suburbs, is generally identified with the KSGOP’s Conservative faction.

LA-PSC-2: Here’s one we missed. Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R) resigned last month to take a job in the Trump administration, leaving his Public Service Commission seat open. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has appointed ex-State Rep. Damon Baldone (D) to the seat, giving Democrats a 3-2 majority in the body. There will be a special election for the seat later this year. Baldone will seek to keep the position, while orthopedic surgeon Craig Greene (R) has also announced he will run for the seat.

Knox, TN-CE: Sheriff JJ Jones (R) has ended his 2018 campaign for Knox County Executive, leaving County commissioner Bob Thomas (R) and former professional wrestler Glenn “Kane” Jacobs (R) as the only major candidates in this open-seat race.

St. Paul, MN-Mayor: The state bureau of investigation has concluded its investigation of city councilman Dai Thao (D) and has referred the matter to prosecutors. Thao allegedly met with a lobbyist in April and requested a campaign contribution in exchange for support of a measure. Thao is seeking the open Mayoral seat this year against ex-councilman and Gov. Dayton Admin official Melvin Carter (D), ex councilwoman Pat Harris (D), and ex-school board member Tom Goldstein (D). Carter is considered the front-runner; incumbent Chris Coleman (D) is retiring to run for Governor in 2018.

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