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Political Roundup for November 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, in non-perversion news:

Governor:

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

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

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

Senate:

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

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

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

House:

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

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

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

State & Local:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International:

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

Political Roundup for October 23, 2017

Over the weekend, the populist ANO party won a large plurality in the Czech Republic, while Japanese PM Shinzo Abe of the LDP kept his large majority. Now today’s news:

Poll Quick-Hits

AL-Sen: Moore (R) 51 Jones (D) 40 (Strategy Research)
UT-3: Curtis (R) 46 Allen (D) 19 Bennett (I) 9 (Dan Jones)
UT-4: Love (R) 48 McAdams (D) 42 (Dan Jones)
Boston-Mayor: Walsh (D) 58 Jackson (D) 19 (WGBH)

Governor:

CA-Gov, CA-Supt: Gubernatorial front-runner LG Gavin Newsom (D) has picked up the endorsement of the powerful California Teachers’ Union. The move was expected as Newsom’s most prominent rival, ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), has been close to education-reform interests. The teachers’ union also unsurprisingly endorsed State Rep. Tony Thurmond (D) for Superintendent over charter school executive and 2014 candidate Marshall Tuck (D). Across the aisle, State Rep. Chad Mayes (R) is considering a run for Governor. Mayes was the Assembly minority leader until being forced out earlier this year over an affair and his vote for a cap-and-trade bill. If he runs for Governor, Mayes would stake out a niche to the left of the Republicans in the race, gadflyish (but wealthy) businessman John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R); however, a third Republican in the field could enhance the chances of a D-on-D general. Just from the undertones here, I think that may be Mayes’s intention as there seems to be some bitterness over his ouster.

ME-Gov: State Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R) is the latest candidate into this absurdly crowded race. Thibodeau, who has generally been a moderate in office, joins fellow State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), State Rep. Ken Fredette (R), and LePage Admin official Mary Mayhew (R) in the GOP primary; Democrats have an even more crowded field and three Indies are also running.

NY-Gov: Dutchess CE Marc Molinaro (R) has become the first candidate to take a concrete step towards challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), as he has opened up a campaign committee. Molinaro, who is in his second term leading the purple midsized Hudson Valley county, is apparently in discussions for a unity ticket with another Republican considering the race, State Rep. Brian Kolb (R). Several other Republicans, including Westchester CE and 2014 nominee Rob Astorino (R), State Sens. John Flanagan (R) and John DeFrancisco (R), ex-Rep. Richard Hanna (R), 2010 nominee Carl Paladino (R), and 2010 comptroller nominee Harry Wilson (R) are in various stages of exploring the race.

OH-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D) looks set to run for Governor. O’Neill will be having an announcement this weekend on his plans, and speculation is he will become the fifth candidate into this primary. O’Neill, the only statewide-elected Democrat in state government, would join Ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D) in the race.

RI-Gov, RI-LG: LG Dan McKee (D) will announce “plans for his political future” in two weeks. McKee, a moderate, is facing a primary to his left from State Rep. Aaron Regunberg (D), and there is increasing speculation that he may decide to take on fellow moderate Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) in the gubernatorial primary. So far no notable Democrats have stepped up to take on Raimondo, though several, including ex-Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (D), are considering.

VA-Gov, VA-LG: In an incident that might give new meaning  to the term “whitewashing”, the campaign of LG Ralph Northam (D) is being criticized for printing flyers that delete African-American LG nominee Justin Fairfax (D) from the statewide Dem ticket while promoting white running-mates Northam and AG Mark Herring (D). Northam’s campaign says the deletion was due to a union opposing Fairfax for his opposition to a pipeline project.

Congress:

TN-Sen: Ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) entered the Senate race over the weekend, potentially setting up a competitive primary with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R). Fincher will likely take a more moderate tack relative to Blackburn in the primary, calling himself “results oriented” and seeking to carry on the moderate mantle of retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R). A third candidate, physician Rolando Toyos (R), who operates eye clinics in both Memphis and suburban Nashville, is also considering a Senate run. Toyos ran unsuccessfully for a Shelby County commission seat in 2010, but may be able to self-fund this race. He would still be a long-shot in the primary against Blackburn and Fincher.

NH-2: State Rep. Steve Negron (R) has become the latest Republican into the primary to take on Rep. Annie Kuster (D). Negron, a first-term legislator, joins ex-State Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) and physician Stuart Levinson (R) in the primary for this light-blue seat covering the western part of the state.

PA-18: Two more candidates have entered the special election race. For the GOP, State Rep. Jason Ortitay (R) has entered. Ortitay, considered a rising star, is the only Republican candidate from the Washington County portion of the district. He joins a trio of other legislators, State Sens. Kim Ward (R) and Guy Reschenthaler (R) and State Rep. Rick Saccone (R). On the Dem side, prosecutor Connor Lamb (D) has entered the race, joining Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli (D), ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D), and Bush 43 admin official Pam Iovino (D) in the race.

TX-20: Ex-Rep. Quico Canseco (R), who represented TX-23 for one term from 2010 to 2012, is mounting a comeback bid; however, he will not take on now-Rep. Will Hurd (R) in the swingy 23rd. Instead, Canseco will take on Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) in the medium-blue 20th covering the western half of urban San Antonio. Republicans have not seriously contested this district in memory, but the seat is not incredibly Democratic; it includes a large chunk of purple suburban territory in the northwest part of the city. That said, Castro is a big name and Canseco’s candidate skills from his prior races might be generously described as mediocre. Combined with the lean of the seat and the environment, it seems unlikely this race will be very competitive.

State Offices:

AL-Ag Comm: State Sen. Gerald Dial (R) is running for the open Agriculture Commissioner seat, joining two little-known candidates in the GOP primary. Incumbent John McMillan (R) is running for Governor.

DE-AG: Tim Mullaney (D), a former US Marshall who served as CoS for the AG’s office under Beau Biden (D) before his death, will now run for the open seat. Biden’s successor, Matt Denn (D), is not seeking a second term; Mullaney is the first candidate to declare interest in the race.

LA-Treas: The state ethics board is considering whether to waive a fine against Derrick Edwards (D) for not filing campaign finance reports on time. Edwards, who is quadriplegic, says problems with finding the proper speech-to-text software were responsible for his late filing. Edwards is not running a serious campaign and considered all but certain to lose next month’s runoff to ex-State Rep. John Schroeder (R).

MI-SoS: As expected, 2010 nominee and law professor Jocelyn Benson (D) will make another run for Secretary of State. Benson is not expected to face significant opposition for the Democratic convention endorsement. Republicans have a fairly crowded field for this race with no obvious front-runner.

NM-LG: Dona Ana County commissioner Billy Garrett (D) will run for LG in the shotgun-wedding primary, becoming the latest entry into a crowded field. State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) and ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) look like the front-runners in this primary.

Local Races:

St. Petersburg-Mayor: In shades of Bridgegate, Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) is under fire from African-American entrepreneur Elihu Brayboy. Brayboy says that after he publicly endorsed ex-Mayor Rick Baker’s (R) comeback bid against Kriseman, the city began stonewalling the approval process on a development project Brayboy is pursuing. The hotly-contested runoff between Kriseman and Baker is in two weeks, and Baker has been counting in part on his exceptional crossover appeal in the black community to prevail.

Durham-Mayor: Retiring incumbent Bill Bell (D) has endorsed ex-councilman Farad Ali (D) in the November runoff for his seat. Ali, who is like Bell a business-friendly black moderate liberal, trailed white moonbat Steve Schewel (D) by a larger-than-expected 51-29 margin in the primary two weeks ago.

Fontana, CA-Mayor: Councilman Jesse Sandoval (D) will run for mayor next year, and he has picked up some key establishment endorsements. Sandoval looks likely to face incumbent Acquanetta Warren (R) for the top job in this deep-blue, Hispanic majority Inland Empire city of 200K.

Baltimore, MD-CE: State Sen. Jim Brochin (D) is running for county executive. Brochin, a moderate who is not on great terms with the area’s Dem establishment, will face ex-State Rep. John Olszewski (D) and county commissioner Vicki Almond (D) in the primary for the top job in this medium-blue county covering most of Baltimore’s suburbs. Brochin’s decision also opens up his somewhat swingy Towson area State Senate seat, which will likely be a GOP target. Republicans have a primary between Hogan admin official Al Redmer (R) and antiestablishment-friendly State Rep. Pat McDonough (R).

Political Roundup for October 16, 2017

Over the weekend, for LA-Treasurer, Derrick Edwards (D) and John Schroeder (R) advanced. As Republicans took ~2/3 of the vote and Edwards is not running a serious campaign, Schroeder is the prohibitive favorite in the mid-November runoff (as an aside, check out Miles Coleman’s MAP of the results) For LA-PSC-2, RINO surgeon Craig Greene won outright. In New Orleans, Cantrell (D) and Charbonnet (D) advanced. Finally, for LA-LD-58, Brass (D) won outright, while in LA-LD-77, Manness (R) and Wright (R) advanced. In Austria, Sebastian Kurz of the center-right OVP won about a third of the vote, outpacing the nationalist FPO and social-democratic SPO. It’s uncertain which of the FPO or SPO will join the OVP in coalition. In Kyrgyzstan, the candidate of the incumbent government, Soroonbai Jeenbekov, won the presidency without a runoff.

Senate:

CA-Sen: State Senate President Kevin DeLeon (D) will challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from the left.  DeLeon and Feinstein are well-positioned to advance to the general election, but defeating the popular and long-serving incumbent from the left in a general election among all voters (including Republicans) seems quite the tall order.

MO-Sen, MO-Aud: State Rep. Paul Curtman (R), who had been running a little-noticed Senate campaign, will instead drop out and explore a run for Auditor. AG Josh Hawley (R) entered the race last week and looks like the prohibitive GOP primary favorite to take on vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Appointed incumbent Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) has somewhat strangely so far not attracted serious GOP opposition.

MT-Sen: Judge Russell Fagg (R) has become the latest candidate into the primary to take on Sen. Jon Tester (D). Fagg joins front-running State Auditor (Insurance Commissioner) Matt Rosendale (R), State Sen. Al Olzewski (R), and storage company exec Troy Downing (R).

ND-Sen: Ex-Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Berg (R) is considering a rematch with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), who upset him for the open seat in 2012. As Berg’s last campaign was considered deeply subpar there isn’t a whole lot of enthusiasm for a comeback bid. State Sen. Tom Campbell (R) is in the race, while Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt (R) are thought to still be considering runs.

Governor:

AL-Gov: As expected, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) will enter the primary for Governor. Maddox, who is considered a rising star, will face opposition from ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) in the Dem primary. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is facing a crowded field of primary opponents, most notably Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), who raised over $1M in the month of September.

AZ-Gov: In what looks like as clear-cut a case of sour grapes as it gets, former Ducey administration official Tim Jeffries (R) is considering a primary run against his former boss, Gov. Doug Ducey (R). Jeffries was ousted from his state cabinet post last year amid reports of improper firing of employees and misuse of state resources. Jeffries seems unlikely to be a serious threat to Ducey in the primary.

ID-Gov: The Kootenai County GOP committee has passed a resolution blasting developer and gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist (R) for his donations to Democrats. Ahlquist notably donated to 2014 Dem gubernatorial nominee AJ Balukoff (D); he says the donation was because Balukoff was a personal friend but he voted for his rival, Gov. Butch Otter (R). Ahlquist is running as something of a moderate third wheel in this primary between LG Brad Little (R), the candidate of the IDGOP’s establishment, socially-conservative faction, and Rep. Raul Labrador (R), the candidate of the IDGOP’s antiestablishment, fiscally-conservative faction. Ironically, Ahlquist could wind up facing Balukoff if he wins the GOP primary, as Balukoff is thought to be considering a second run.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R), of DuPage County in the Chicago suburbs, is considering a challenge to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in the GOP primary after Rauner signed an abortion-funding bill. Ives would be at a massive fundraising disadvantage to Rauner but could win the primary on grassroots enthusiasm. Should she make it to the general though, the conservative Ives would have little chance in the general in the deep-blue state. Across the aisle, local superintendent Bob Daiber (D) announced his LG choice, social worker Jonathan Todd (D). Daiber is the last of the four serious Dem contenders to pick a running mate.

KS-Gov: 2014 Senate candidate Greg Orman (I) is considering a run for Governor, once again as an Independent. The decision would be very good news for Republicans. Orman did surprisingly well in 2014 as the de facto Democrat in the Senate race. But running as an Indie in a race where there is likely to be a credible Democrat would likely mean a split in the center and center-left vote that would hand an easy win to the GOP nominee by way of the state’s large conservative base. Both Republicans and Democrats have crowded fields here.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) will not run for Governor. Though Collins would have likely been a strong front-runner for the Governorship, she is likely to stay a more key national figure as a swing vote in the Senate. This decision also removes (for now) the prospect of a difficult GOP hold for this Senate seat in 2020 without Collins, though it does lower Republicans’ odds of retaining the Governorship. The GOP primary currently consists of State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), State Rep. Ken Fredette (R), and LePage administration official Mary Mayhew (R). A fourth candidate may enter soon, as businessman and 2010 Indie candidate Shawn Moody (R) has joined the GOP and is exploring a run as well. Democrats have an even more crowded field and three credible Indies are also running.

MN-Gov, MN-LG: Rep. Tim Walz (D) has picked State Rep. Peggy Flanagan (D) as his running mate. Walz is so far considered the slight front-runner for the DFL endorsement, but he faces a crowded field of Auditor Rebecca Otto (D), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D), and State Reps. Erin Murphy (D), Tina Leibling (D), and Paul Thissen (D). Walz is the first candidate on either side to commit to an LG pick.

OR-Gov: Happy Valley mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R), who narrowly lost a State House race last year, will not run for Governor. Chavez-DeRemer was the last major GOP candidate still exploring the race. Her exit likely means that State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) will not face serious primary opposition for the right to take on Gov. Kate Brown (D).

PA-Gov: Well-connected attorney Laura Ellsworth (R) will seek the GOP nomination to take on Gov. Tom Wolf (R). Ellsworth, a partner at the high-powered Jones Day mega-law firm, could potentially be an establishment choice in the primary against antiestablishment-leaning State Sen. Scott Wagner (R), though she will likely have to contend for that niche with businessman Paul Mango (R).

SC-Gov: A second Democrat has entered this race. Consultant and nonprofit exec Phil Noble (D), who ran a Democratic primary campaign for LG in 1994, will take on State Rep. James Smith (D) in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster (R) faces Haley admin official Catherine Templeton (R), LG Kevin Bryant (R), and ex-LG Yancey McGill (R) in the GOP primary.

TX-Gov: Democrats have a slightly more credible prospect to take on popular Gov. Greg Abbott (R), as ex-Balch Springs (pop. 25K) mayor Cedrick Davis (D) will run for Governor. Former mayor of a smallish Dallas slumburb would ordinarily not be a credible candidate resume in a state as big as Texas. However, Democrats are running out of options in this race with the filing deadline under two months away, so there’s a chance Davis may get a serious look. The only other candidate in the race besides Davis is gay-bar owner Jeffrey Payne (D).

WI-Gov: Ex-WIDP chair Matt Flynn (D) is the latest candidate into this increasingly crowded primary to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R). Flynn joins State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D), State Rep. Dana Wachs (D), businessman Andy Gronik (D), and nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D) in the race.

House:

CA-7: Physician Yona Barash (R), a Holocaust survivor as an infant who later immigrated to the US from Israel, is running against Rep. Ami Bera (D). Bera has won a string of hard-fought victories over credible GOP candidates in this light-blue suburban Sacramento seat.

IN-2: Healthcare executive Mel Hall (D) will run for this medium-red seat, giving Democrats a credible candidate to take on Rep. Jackie Walorski (R). This seat has trended strongly right in the last decade but might be still be in play in a Democratic wave.

MA-9: Convenience store executive Peter Tedeschi (R), who ran the large regional Tedeschi’s convenience store chain before selling it to 7-eleven, is running for Congress and will announce later this month. The district isn’t specified but it’s almost certainly the light-blue Cape Cod and South Shore/South Coast MA-9 of Rep. Bill Keating (D). Tedeschi seems a solid candidate and Gov. Charlie Baker (R) will almost certainly carry the seat, but defeating an incumbent Democrat in Massachusetts (for any office) is all but impossible, so this is likely to be an uphill race.

MI-6: George Franklin (D), a former university regent and lobbyist for Kellogg’s cereal, will run for this light-red southwest Michigan seat. Longtime incumbent Fred Upton (R) has been popular in the district, but he is currently considering a run for Senate, which would make this race a high-level Dem pickup opportunity if open.

MI-11: Plymouth Twp. supervisor and ex-State Rep. Kurt Heise (R) has announced a bid for this light-red suburban Detroit open seat. Heise joins State Rep. Klint Kesto (R), ex-State Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R), and businesswoman Lena Epstein (R) in the GOP primary; Dems also have a crowded field.

NY-1: Suffolk County commissioner Kate Browning (D) is running for the House seat of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Browning, an Irish immigrant with ties to the union-backed Working Families party, is likely to be the Dem establishment choice for this light-red eastern Long Island seat.

PA-18: Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli (D) has thrown her hat into the ring, joining ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D) and Bush 43 admin official Pam Iovino (D) (yes, you read that right – it was a cross-party appointment) in the race for the Dem endorsement. The GOP also has a trio of candidates, State Sens. Kim Ward (R) and Guy Reschenthaler (R) and State Rep. Rick Saccone (R). The special election to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R) in this medium-red south suburban Pittsburgh seat has not been scheduled but is likely to be early next year.

TN-7: Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller (R) is considering a run for this deep-red open seat. Miller has written songs for country stars Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley, among others. He also hails from the wealthy and high-turnout suburban Williamson County portion of the district. Miller is the first candidate to express interest in taking on the only declared candidate for this seat, State Sen. Mark Green (R). For his part, Green received an endorsement from the Club for Growth, potentially giving him a fundraising boost.

State Offices:

CT-Treas: Investor Thad Gray (R) is running for State Treasurer, becoming the first candidate into this race. Incumbent Denise Nappier (D) has not indicated her plans but is thought to be considering retirement; she won by a smaller-than-expected margin in 2014.

DE-Aud: Ex-State Rep. Dennis Williams (D), who lost primaries for his seat in 2014 and 2016, will run for State Auditor. 7-term incumbent Tom Wagner (R), one of two statewide elected Rs in Delaware, has not yet declared whether he will run again.

FL-AG: In what might be a record for shortest exploratory phase of a campaign, State Rep. Frank White (R) of Pensacola filed to run for AG last Friday – less than 24 hours after publicly declaring he was exploring the race. White joins front-running retired judge Ashley Moody (R) and State Rep. Jay Fant (R) in the primary. Little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D) is to date the only Dem in the race.

ID-LG: State Sen. Bob Nonini (R) is the latest candidate into this supremely crowded open-seat primary field. Nonini, who hails from the northern panhandle, joins fellow State Sen. Marv Hagedorn (R), State Rep. Kelley Packer (R), ex-State Rep. Janice McGeachin (R), and ex-IDGOP Chairman Steve Yates (R). Incumbent Brad Little (R) is running for Governor.

IL-AG: Kane County DA Joe McMahon (R) is considering a run for AG. McMahon has name recognition from his tenure as DA in a large suburban county and his serving as a special prosecutor in the Lacquan Macdonald police shooting incident. However, he would likely face an uphill run in the GOP primary, as former congressional candidate Erika Harold (R) has already sewn up most of the GOP establishment’s support. Across the aisle, parks commissioner Jesse Ruiz (D) is seen as likely to become the fourth candidate in this field, joining State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and Chicago city official Sharon Fairley (D).

IL-SoS: Grundy County DA Jason Helland (R) will run for Secretary of State, giving Republicans a credible candidate for this seat. Popular incumbent Jesse White (D) has said he will be seeking a sixth term and would be a prohibitive favorite if he runs, but there are rumors that White may pull a late retirement to try and clear the field for a hand-picked successor.

KS-Ins Comm: Ex-State Sen. and 2014 candidate Clark Shultz (R), who currently serves as the department’s #2 official, is preparing to make a second run for Insurance Commissioner. Shultz came in a very close third (by 4%) in the 2014 primary and would likely start a second bid as the front-runner for the seat. However, he left the door open to dropping out of the race should his boss, incumbent Ken Selzer (R), drop his bid for Governor and seek re-election. No other candidates have as yet declared interest in this seat.

NE-Treas: 2017 Omaha Mayoral candidate Taylor Royal (R), a twenty-something accountant who ran a quixotic self-funded bid based on bringing an NFL team to Omaha, will run for State Treasurer. Royal also notched a surprising endorsement from the woman he unsuccessfully tried to oust, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert (R). He joins State Sen. John Murante (R), who has the endorsement of Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), in the primary for this open seat.

Local Races:

Atlanta-Mayor: City councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) has notched a big endorsement from incumbent Kasim Reed (D). Lance-Bottoms is the closest candidate in the crowded field to Reed, so the move is no surprise; however, Reed’s support could help her stand out. Lance-Bottoms is in a tight race for the second runoff spot in this race; a number of liberal candidates are vying to advance to a December runoff with moderate councilwoman and 2009 candidate Mary Norwood (I).

Phoenix-Mayor: A pair of city councilors have thrown their hats into the ring for next year’s special election. Daniel Valenzuela (D) and Kate Gallego (D), ex-wife of US Rep. Ruben (D), have both declared their candidacies. Incumbent Greg Stanton (D) will need to resign next year to run for the AZ-9 seat of Rep. and Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema (D).

Prince George’s, MD-CE: Ex-Rep. Donna Edwards (D), who lost a US Senate primary in 2016, is trying for a comeback in a run for the open PG County Executive seat. Edwards starts with the highest name recognition in a field including DA Angela Alsobrooks (D), DINO State Sen. Anthony Muse (D), and Obama Admin official Paul Monteiro (D). However, Edwards has never been on great terms with the area’s Democratic establishment, which could be problematic if they coalesce around one of her rivals.

Shelby, TN-CE: State Sen. Lee Harris (D) is running for the County Executive post in Shelby County, covering Memphis. He joins ex-county commissioner Sidney Chism (D) in the primary. Shelby County is deep-blue but the GOP has had high levels of success countywide;  Three credible Republicans are running in County Trustee David Lenoir (R), Court Clerk Joy Touliatos (R), and County Commissioner Terry Roland (R).

Political Roundup for September 26, 2017

Today starting at 8ET we will have a liveblog of the Alabama Senate runoff. See our preview HERE for full details. The thread will open at 7ET for discussion of legislative specials in Florida and the mayoral race in Boston.

Senate:

MI-Sen: Rep. Fred Upton (R) attended the Mackinac Island GOP summit last week, and he appears to be moving closer to a run for the seat of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Two other Republicans are in the race, former supreme court justice Bob Young (R) and businessman John James (R).  At Mackinac, the betting among GOP insiders is that the big name hanging over this race, rock star Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie (R), will not ultimately enter the race. Additionally, a MRG poll has Stabenow up over Ritchie 52-34.

NJ-Sen: This is a worthwhile read on possible gaming out the possible Phil Murphy (D) appointees to the seat of Sen. Bob Menendez (D) should Menendez be convicted on the corruption charges for which he’s currently standing trial. The article seems to think that Reps. Donald Norcross (D) and Frank Pallone (D) are the most likely appointees, with ethically-questionable ex-Sen. Bob Torricelli (D) a possible wild-card. This article at least seems to think that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (D) is no longer interested in the seat, but that topic is still one under heated discussion. General betting seems to be that Menendez will be able to drag things out until after Gov. Chris Christie (R) leaves office at the end of the year.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Ex-State Rep. and 2010 LG nominee James Fields (D) is surprisingly running for Governor, after spending the summer exploring a run for LG. Fields looks like something of a long-shot in the primary, as he could face two better-known candidates. Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) is in the race and Tuscaloosa Mayor Scott Maddox (D) is considering and will make a decision by the end of the year.

HI-Gov: Kauai CE Ernest Carvalho (D) quietly announced a bid for Governor last week. Carvalho leads one of the state’s four populated counties, but Kauai contains just around 4% of the state’s population, making him likely to be a third wheel in this race. Incumbent David Ige (D) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) seem set for a titanic primary collision, and it seems unlikely Carvalho will be a major factor (except for perhaps siphoning off votes from Kauai).

KS-Gov: Ex-State Rep. Mark Hutton (R) has become the latest candidate into this crowded primary, joining SoS Kris Kobach (R), LG and Gov-designate Jeff Colyer (R), Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer (R), ex-State Sen. Jim Barnett (R), and businessman Wink Hartman (R) in the primary. Hutton seems likely to run more to the moderate side of the moderate/conservative chasm in the state party, along with Barnett and Selzer; Kobach, Colyer, and Hartman are considered conservatives. One more moderate, ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R), is also considering.

MD-Gov: Ex-AG Doug Gansler (D) will not enter the race to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (R), preferring to stay in the private sector. A recent poll from Goucher College showing Hogan with a 62/16 approval rating and up 52/41 against a generic challenger (not even a generic Democrat) may have played a part in his decision. Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz (D), Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D), and ex-NAACP chair Benjamin Todd Jealous (D) so far look like the major candidates in this race, though others are in this race.

RI-Gov: Ex-Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) is considering a comeback bid. The liberal popular Republican Senator turned unpopular Indie Governor turned asterisk-level 2016 Dem presidential candidate has made it clear he will run in the D primary, challenging Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) from the left, instead of as an Indie. Chafee, whose term as Governor was generally regarded as plagued by mismanagement, would likely be a far more preferable opponent for any Republican than the moderate Raimondo.

WI-Gov: State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) officially entered the race to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R) yesterday. Vinehout’s previous run in the 2012 recall didn’t amount to much, but she is still a credible candidate. Vinehout joins State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), State Rep. Dana Wachs (D), nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D), and businessman Andy Gronik (D) in the race; so far, CW has Evers as the front-runner.

House:

MA-3: Cambridge councilman Nadeem Mazen (D) is exploring a run for the open 3rd district seat, a Merrimack Valley area seat that comes nowhere near Cambridge. However, Mazen, who grew up in the district, does have name recognition as a rare Muslim elected official. Should he enter he will join State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh CoS Dan Koh (D) in the race, with several others considering.

NC-2: 2012/2016 LG nominee Linda Coleman (D), a former Gov. Perdue administration official who ran two credible statewide races against incumbent Dan Forest (R), is tackling another contest, the NC-2 seat of Rep. George Holding (R). The seat is based in the strongly-blue trending Raleigh suburbs, but includes enough rural territory to the east to make it a fairly strongly Republican seat. However, Coleman is a credible nominee and the seat is not bulletproof, so she may have a chance at the upset.

PA-15: Nonprofit exec Alan Jennings (D) is considering a run for this light-red Lehigh Valley open seat, joining Northampton DA John Morganelli (D) in considering this race. Two lesser-known Dems are in the race but seem unlikely to emerge with establishment support. Republicans have an increasingly bitter primary between State Reps. Ryan Mackenzie (R) and Justin Simmons (R).

WA-8: State Sen. Dino Rossi (R) will mount a bid for this open seat, based in the southeast Seattle suburbs. Local Republicans seem to be pegging Rossi, who lost three statewide runs by narrow margins in 2004, 2008, and 2010, as their top candidate. Rossi’s name recognition and cred with most of the area’s GOP establishment may to get him a free pass on the GOP side of the ledger in the top-two primary. However, this looks likely to be a very hard-fought general, as this seat is PVI-EVEN and has been trending left.

WV-1: Democrats may have a contested primary in this deep-red northern WV seat, as law professor and law school administrator Kendra Fershee (D) announced her run. Fershee will face San Francisco attorney Ralph Baxter (D) in the primary; either will face a very tough race for this deep-red and ultra-Trumpist seat against incumbent Rep. David McKinley (R).

State & Local:

AL-LG: Elected state school board member Mary Scott Hunter (R) will drop out of the LG race to run for State Senate in the Huntsville area. Hunter, an antiestablishment conservative, has been embroiled in a dispute with her fellow board members over a prior state superintendent that has not left her looking good; she was considered an underdog in the primary. PSC chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R), State Sen. Rusty Glover (R), and State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R) are in the race.

GA-SoS: Ex-Rep. John Barrow (D) is making a comeback attempt, though very much not in a race most were expecting. Barrow, who represented a conservative east-central Georgia seat until being swept out in the 2014 wave, will run for the open SoS seat. The decision is somewhat surprising as he likely could have had the gubernatorial nomination for the asking. Republicans have a crowded primary field for the seat; incumbent Brian Kemp (R) is running for Governor.

IL-AG, IL-SoS: The pieces are slowly moving into place for this race after incumbent Lisa Madigan (D) announced her intent not to run for re-election. Republicans seem to be circling the wagons around former congressional candidate and former Miss America Erika Harold (R). For Dems, State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D) and State Rep. Scott Drury (D) are in the race, along with the inspector/auditor of the Chicago Police, Sharon Fairley (D). Several other Dems are considering. One other candidate, State Sen. Mike Hastings (D), has announced he is considering runs for both AG and the SoS seat. Incumbent SoS Jesse White (D) is said to be running again, but Hastings is hedging his bets that White may pull a late retirement.

MA-LG: Comedian Jimmy Tingle (D) has entered the shotgun-wedding primary for Lt. Governor, becoming the first major candidate to enter the race to join the D primary winner in an uphill run against popular Gov. Charlie Baker (R) and LG Karyn Polito (R).

MI-AG: Ex-US Attorney Pat Miles (D) has filed for this convention race. Miles seems a credible candidate and so far looks like the front-runner for the Dem nod. State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R) is in the race on the GOP side, but others are considering.

MI-SoS: One Republican is in and one Republican is out of this convention race. State Sen. Mike Kowall (R) withdrew from the race, most likely to run for MI-11; in his stead, university regent Mary Treder-Lang (R) has entered. Treder-Lang joins township clerk Stan Grot (R) and Trump campaign operative Joseph Guzman (R) in the race. 2010 nominee and law professor Jocelyn Benson (D) is considered likely to make another run for Dems.

NV-SoS: State Rep. Nelson Arujo (D) has announced his run for SoS. Arujo seems likely to be the Dem establishment choice to take on incumbent Barbara Cegavske (R), who has said she will seek a second term.

OH-Treas: University regent and former Cincinnati Mayoral candidate Rob Richardson (D) has announced his campaign for Treasurer, filling out Dems’ statewide Row Officer bingo card with a slate of four credible candidates. Richardson joins ex-US Attorney Steve Dettelbach (D) for AG, State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) for SoS, and ex-US Rep. Zack Space (D) for Auditor; none are expected to face serious primaries. The GOP has a primary for this open seat between State Rep. Robert Sprague (R) and Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R).

RI-AG: Ex-US Attorney Peter Neronha (D) will run for AG. Neronha looks like the front-runner to succeed termed-out AG Peter Killmartin (D), though State Rep. Robert Craven (D) is also considering.

SD-AG: State Sen. Lance Russell (R) has become the fourth Republican into this convention race, joining deputy AG Charles McGuigan (R), Lawrence County DA John Fitzgerald (R), and 2014 Senate candidate Jason Ravnsborg (R).

Baltimore, MD-CE: A pair of Republicans have entered this open seat race. Antiestablishment State Rep. Pat McDonough (R), a Trumpulist, and establishement-friendly Hogan Admin official Al Redmer (R) have entered the race. McDonough starts with higher name recognition, but Redmer has Hogan’s endorsement and would likely be a stronger candidate in the large suburban county that went by large margins for Hogan in 2014 and Clinton in 2016.

Political Roundup for August 17, 2017

First off, huge congratulations are in order to our hardworking friends at Decision Desk HQ on their new deal to provide election data to BuzzFeed!

Governor:

AK-Gov: 2006 candidate and businessman John Binkley (R) is exploring another run for Governor. Binkley, who was a State Senator in the 80s before coming in second to Palin in the 2006 primary, would join State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) if he entered the race. Gov. Bill Walker (I) is expected to have Democratic support in his bid for a second term.

HI-Gov: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) has acknowledged that rumors that she is considering a gubernatorial bid are true. Hanabusa criticized Ige’s lack of major initiatives during his tenure, but such a bid would still be surprising as both Hanabusa and Ige are considered to hail from the Asian-dominated machine faction of the HIDP.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: A pair of Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidates have announced running mates for the team primary to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). Uber-wealthy businessman and establishment (read: Mike Madigan) favorite JB Pritzker (D) has chosen State Rep. Juliana Stratton (D) of Chicago’s South Side as his #2, while bold progressive Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D) has chosen Cairo (pop. 2K) Mayor Tyrone Coleman (D) as his running mate. Four others, Heir Force Col. Chris Kennedy (D), State Sen. Daniel Biss (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), have not chosen running mates.

Congress:

MO-Sen: State Rep. Marsha Haefner (R) of the southern St. Louis suburbs is considering a run for the Senate seat of Claire McCaskill (D), joining fellow termed-out State Rep. Paul Curtman (R) as declaring interest in the race. Both Haefner and Curtman, who have said that they would have run for MO-2 had Rep. Ann Wagner (R) entered the Senate race, seem unlikely to have much chance at the nomination if AG Josh Hawley (R), who is being heavily recruited, enters. Hawley got a preemptive endorsement this week from another prospective rival, State Treasurer Eric Schmitt (R).

CA-50: The FBI has raided the offices of Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr.’s (R) campaign consultants and treasurer amid an investigation into Hunter. There are insinuations that Hunter illegally used campaign money for personal purposes, which led to him repaying $60K to his campaign fund.

IA-4: Spencer (pop. 11K) councilwoman Leann Jacobsen (D) will run against Rep. Steve King (R). King, a polarizing conservative, sits in a seat that was formerly light-red but stampeded right in 2016. King has also beaten back several strong challengers.

MA-3: State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) is the first person considering a bid for the open seat of Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). This strongly-Dem Merrimack Valley and MetroWest seat is expected to draw a crowded Dem primary.

NJ-11: Woodland Park (pop. 12K) Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) has announced his candidacy for the seat of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R), joining Passaic County commissioner John Bartlett (D) and former federal prosecutor Mike Sherrill (D) in the primary. This historically-red exurban seat trended strongly left in 2016.

NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) may try to run against Rep. Dan Donovan (R) as a third-party candidate on the conservative line. Grimm, who was forced out of office due to an indictment over tax issues, is a favorite of one of Staten Island’s two warring GOP machines, that of ex-Rep. Guy Molinari (R). Donovan is not strongly identified with either the Molinari faction or its rival, that of ex-Rep. Vito Fossella (R), and that combined with his strong personal popularity makes him likely a prohibitive favorite in the GOP primary. However, a third-party Grimm bid could make this light-red seat more competitive in the general.

TN-2: State GOP official Ken Gross (R) will run for this open Knoxville-area seat. Gross says he intends to run on a “shoestring budget”, which likely means he will be a long-shot. Knox CE Tim Burchett (R) is considered the clear front-runner here, while State Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R) and businessman Brad Fullington (R) are also in the race.

State Offices:

CO-AG: Former state and federal prosecutor Amy Padden (D) is the latest candidate into this crowded primary. Padden joins State Rep. Joe Salazar (D), law school dean Phil Weiser (D), prosecutor Michael Dougherty (D), and attorney Brad Levin (D) in the primary. AG Cynthia Coffman (R) may seek re-election or run for Governor; Rep. Ken Buck (R) has been considered a possible candidate if Coffman chooses to vacate the seat.

CO-Treas: Routt County DA Brett Barkey (R) is the latest candidate into this crowded GOP primary. Interestingly, Barkey is the second candidate from his tiny remote county in the state’s northwest in this race, joining Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn (R). They join State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) and State Reps. Justin Everett (R) and Polly Lawrence (R) in the contest; State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is considered the likely Dem nominee.

GA-Ins Comm: Jim Beck (R), former CoS to retiring incumbent Ralph Hudgens (R), has filed to seek his old boss’s seat. Nonprofit exec Cindy Zeldin (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

NM-Lands Comm: State Sen. George Munoz (D) will run for the open Lands Commissioner seat. Munoz joins what is becoming a crowded primary of ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) and nonprofit exec Garrett VeneKlasen (D), who has the backing of Sen. Martin Heinrich (D). Incumbent Aubrey Dunn (R) is running for NM-2 and no Republicans have as yet declared interest in the seat.

NV-Treas: Ex-Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers (R), who lost his bid for re-election earlier this year over parochial land-use issues, will run for State Treasurer. Beers is the first candidate into the race, which is expected to be open; incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is considered likely to run for Governor.

OK-Lab Comm: A pair of candidates have entered the race for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner, as Cathy Costello (R) announced she would seek the seat. Costello is the widow of ex-Labor Commissioner Mark (R), who was killed by their mentally disturbed son in 2015, and sought the interim appointment that went to placeholder Melissa McLawhorn-Houston (R). She joins State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R), who upgraded her candidacy from “considering” to “in” last week.

OK-Supt: Campaign finance charges against Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister (R) that were filed last fall have been abruptly dropped without explanation. Hoffmeister was alleged to have improperly coordinated with outside groups to run attack ads against then-incumbent Janet Barresi (R), whom she defeated in the 2014 primary.

SC-AG: South Carolina AG Alan Wilson (R) is in hot water after emails from 2014 surfaced in connection with the ongoing scandal around lobbyist Richard Quinn (R). Wilson allegedly consulted Quinn on how to remove a special prosecutor from the corruption investigation as the course of the investigation was beginning to target some of Wilson’s close allies.

TX-Supreme Court: This is a worthwhile long read on Texas State Supreme Court Justice Don Willett (R), who is a far bigger star than his low-profile position would indicate because of his mix of strong political skills (exemplified by his very popular @justicewillett twitter) and solid legal scholarship. Willett is rumored to be in the running for a federal court seat (possibly even a long-shot SCOTUS pick) or for the Texas AG job if indicted incumbent Ken Paxton (R) leaves it.

Local Races:

Jersey City-Mayor: Ex-State Rep. Charles Mainor (D) will not run for Jersey City Mayor and is dropping down to a city council race. The decision leaves the race a two-man affair between incumbent Steve Fulop (D) and attorney Bill Matsikoudis (D); Fulop is considered a potential US Senate candidate should he win re-election.

Raleigh-Mayor: The Wake County Democratic Party has given its official endorsement to attorney Charles Francis (D) in his bid to unseat mayor Nancy McFarlane (I). McFarlane, a left-of-center Indie, has received the endorsement in her prior re-election bids; she still has significant Dem establishment support against Francis in the October race.

Anne Arundel, MD-CE: County Commissioner John Grasso (R) will challenge incumbent Anne Arundel CE Steve Schuh (R) in next year’s primary. Grasso is upset about an appointment to the county’s liquor board…a decision that Schuh had no control over. Thus, this primary challenge seems likely to be somewhat quixotic. The decision also takes Grasso out of a (likely equally quixotic) primary run against popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

Political Roundup for July 31st, 2017

President

Moulton: Weeks ago I predicted that there would be yet more long thinkpieces about Democrats who have no shot whatsoever at garnering their party’s nomination for President in 2020, yet would get coverage to drive clicks for lazy journalists. Well, it’s happened again, and much sooner than I thought. The offender this time is once again the normally-awesome Politico Magazine, one of the few sources for long-form political pieces that aren’t meditations on how everything is racist and misogynistic (I’m looking at you, Slate). This time their subject is Rep. Seth Moulton (D) of Massachusetts. Moulton is an impressive rising star within the party. To be fair, he could very well be President one day. He’s good looking, charismatic, and has a military background. He’s fairly moderate and speaks well. None of that changes the fact that you can’t win a Presidential nomination as a mostly-unknown House member in the age of mass primaries. Moulton is impressive, interesting, and worth covering, but this presidential click-bait nonsense is already getting out of hand more than two years before the Iowa caucuses.

Congress

MI-Sen: For the first time in a while, we have a new edition of your favorite head-scratching and shrugging gameshow, Dueling Polls! MIRS commissioned a poll from Target Insyght that shows Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) leading musician and expletive connoisseur Kid Rock (R) 50-42. However, a poll from the right-leaning pollster Trafalgar has the blue-collar balladeer leading the senator 49-46. The second poll also finds that Mr. Rock would have a commanding lead in the Republican primary were he to seek the nomination.

WV-Sen: Here’s a great piece by David Byler over at RealClear explaining why Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is getting multiple top-tier challengers despite being in pretty good shape for reelection. Politicians are generally ambitious, and if a state is very red or very blue, there’s often a bottleneck of talented politicians in the dominant party (especially if the state has few congressional districts). When you  have a winnable office that’s somehow still held by the other party, oftentimes a lot of talented politicians from the dominant party will crawl all over each other because they’re ambitious and/or they think the state’s lean will carry them to victory without having to wait for another member of their party to retire.

FL-23: I feel bad for Carla Spalding (R). She’s Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s (D) Republican opponent for 2018. Spalding is trying to make hay of the recent strangeness involving the congresswoman’s IT guy who has been arrested for various cybercrime against members of Congress and their staff, but it shouldn’t effect the outcome of the election one iota. Even if good ole DWS screwed up royally when she hired this guy, the district is just too Democratic for her to lose barring allegations of personal wrongdoing on her part.

IL-06: Naperville Councilwoman and bookmonger Becky Anderson (D) has declared against Rep. Peter Roskam (R). She’s decidedly C-list. However, there are already five other Democrats in the primary. crazier things have happened than a municipal official winning a crowded primary with a small plurality. As to whether she can beat Roskam, the district moved to the left in 2016, but was originally designed as a Republican votesink. Anything can happen, especially if there’s a wave, but Roskam is popular and a strong campaigner.

Governor

CT-Gov: This is getting ridiculous. State Sen. Toni Boucher (R) has announced her candidacy for Governor in Connecticut. That’s fine, except that she’s one of about a jillion candidates who are considering or have announced to run as a Republican to succeed the retiring and  unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D). Look guys, having good choices in a primary is great, but a clowncar with lots of mudslinging is only going to help make it harder for the GOP to win a blue state like Connecticut.

OH-Gov: Speaking of clown cars, he Republican primary for the Buckeye State’s highest office would seem to have a confirmed driver. That man is AG and former Sen. Mike DeWine, and it’s not even close. The results show a 42-18-11-5 race with SoS John Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and Rep. Jim Renacci behind define in that order. It’s a Tarrance poll for an outside group, so caveat emptor, but it’s not surprising given the former senator’s long history in statewide politics.

State/Local

CT-SoS: While most of the action is in the Republican gubernatorial primary, the Nutmeg State does have other offices up for election in 2018. Among them is Secretary of State, a position for which businesswoman Karen Cusick (D) has just announced. Cusack is the first into the race on the Democratic side and will likely get the jump on fundraising. A Republican could beat her if the gubernatorial contest goes well, but right now she looks like the favorite to be the new SoS.

ID-Treas: Restauranteur Tom Kealey (R) has announced his candidacy for Treasurer. I can’t find out whether or not he belongs to either the otter faction of the Labrador faction, but either way he’s likely to have company in the primary due both to factional infighting and the bottleneck effect.

MD-PG-CE: The tantamount-to-election Democratic primary for Prince George’s County Executive is heating up quickly. A few notable names have already entered, but they face stiff competition now that State’s Attorney (DA) Angela Alsobrooks has entered the race. It’s by no means a done deal, but DAs tend to be strong candidates and generally get a lot of free airtime.

Bailey, NC-Mayor: The small town of Bailey, NC has a problem: no one wants to be it’s next mayor. The town of 569 outside of Raleigh had enough candidates file for city council seats, but no one filed to lead the city after the current mayor announced his retirement. The filing deadline has been extended, but with such a small pool of possible office-seekers, who knows if anyone will bite?

International

Pakistan: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan has been forced to resign after the country’s supreme court ruled that he was ineligible for the office due to investigations into possible corruption. He also cannot compete in next year’s elections. Sharif was a crusader against the power of the country’s military, and this likely strengthens their hand. Opponents of the military will have to find a new standard-bearer if they wish to retain control of parliament.

Political Roundup for July 25, 2017

First off, today is a relatively big day for legislative specials, with 6 seats up across 5 states; there are 3 primaries, 2 general elections, and 1 Louisiana-Rules-Top-Two primary.

NH-SD-16 is the big general election, for a previously D-held R+1 (2016) seat covering northern Manchester and its northern suburbs.Ex-State Sen. David Boutin (R) is seeking to get the seat back that he retired from in 2016; he is facing Manchester councilman Kevin Cavanaugh (D). The special election is highly competitive. I would guess the energized Dem base this year probably makes Cavanaugh a slight favorite, but an upset is possible. DDHQ will be posting results of NH-SD 16 HERE!
MA-SD-4th Middlesex is a D+14 (2016) seat stretching from Arlington to Billerica in the northwest suburbs of Boston. Cindy Freidman (D), CoS to the late prior incumbent, is the prohibitive favorite over a Green candidate.
MS-LD-108 is a ~R+30 (2008) seat covering the bulk of the town of Picayune and nearby rural areas along the Pearl River at the Louisiana border. This race is in a Louisiana Rules Top-Two format with no parties listed on the ballot. Insurance agent and local GOP official Stacey Wilkes (R) looks like the clear favorite, but she could face a runoff with either manager Jerry Frazier (D) or businessman and libertarian activist Tavish Kelly (R), who ran an asterisk-level primary campaign for MS-4 in 2014.
FL-SD-40 is the big primary today. The seat is a previously R-held D+3 (2012, sadly I don’t have 2016 numbers, but it likely shifted strongly left) around Kendall in the southwest suburbs of Miami. Both sides have competitive primaries. Two perennial candidates are facing off on the Dem side; 2016 FL-26 candidate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (D) looks like the slight front-runner, as she has received more establishment support than R-turned-D ex-State Rep. and 2016 candidate Ana Rivas-Logan (D). On the GOP side, State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R) looks like the clear front-runner, as he has vacuumed up establishment support and lapped his rivals in fundraising. However, his main rival, 2000s-era ex-State Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla (R), may have greater name recognition and could win on that base. A third candidate, attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck (R), who ran an asterisk-level primary campaign for FL-26 in 2014, is running as the most antiestablishment conservative candidate, but looks like a third wheel.
FL-LD-116 is an R+7 (2012) seat around Kendall, vacated by the aforementioned Jose Felix Diaz. Former Rubio staffer and Jeb! campaign operative Jose Mallea (R) is facing off with attorney Daniel Perez (R). Both candidates have fundraised well and the race has become exceptionally nasty, with Perez being knocked for taking engagement photos in Cuba and Mallea being hit for not supporting Rubio in 2016 and not living in the district. Mallea has had greater fundraising and establishment support, so he looks like a slight favorite. The primary winner will face former Venezuelan anti-Chavista legislator (how’s that for a resume!) Gabriela Mayaudon (D).
SC-LD-31 is a D+23 (2016) seat covering central and western Spartanburg. Four Democrats are facing off: Spartanburg city councilors Jerome Rice (D) and Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D), NAACP official Mo Abusaft (D), and lab tech Angela Geter (D). Rice and Abusaft look like the front-runners, but Henderson-Myers is also serious. A pair of GOP candidates who ran in 2016 are squaring off for the right to lose again.

And now the rest of the day’s news –

Governor:

CT-Gov: Much like Iowa Democrats and Alabama Republicans, Connecticut Republicans can’t resist piling more ever-more names into this clown-car primary. The latest entry is municipal manager Michael Handler (R), who serves as both budget director for the city of Stamford and emergency-management director for the neighboring town of New Canaan. State Rep. Themis Klarides (R) also indicated interest in joining the race last week. Other Republicans in the race or considering it include (deep breath): ex-US Comptroller David Walker (R), State Rep. Pradad Srinivasan (R), Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (R), Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti (R), Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst (R), 2014 SoS nominee Peter Lumaj (R), and others. Democrats’ prospective field is nearly as crowded.

HI-Gov: Rumors are growing that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) will leave her House seat once again to make a statewide bid – in this case, taking on Gov. David Ige (D) in the Dem primary. The choice would be somewhat surprising, as Hanabusa and Ige generally hail from the same fiscally liberal/socially moderate machine faction of the HIDP. However, it seems that Ige’s very passive and low-key style has irked some insiders, who are now attempting to recruit Hanabusa into the race.

MD-Gov, Anne Arundel, MD-CE, MD-SD-32: Anne Arundel County commissioner John Grasso (R) is termed out in 2018 and had previously announced a run for the purple SD-32 in northern Anne Arundel. However, Grasso now says he is considering primary runs against Gov. Larry Hogan (R) or Anne Arundel CE Steve Schuh (R) instead. Grasso’s focus in mounting either likely quixotic run seems to be on Hogan’s decision to reappoint a member of the county liquor board. mmmkay….

MI-Gov: State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) of suburban Detroit made his gubernatorial campaign official over the weekend. Colbeck, an antiestablishment-leaning conservative, becomes the second official candidate of note into the race after physician Jim Himes (R). AG Bill Schuette (R) and LG Brian Calley (R) are considered likely to run as well.

MN-Gov: Ex-State Rep. and MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R) will run for Governor. Downey could have some significant party establishment backing at the convention, but joins a crowded field of Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and Ramsey County commissioner Blake Huffman (R). State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) is considering and would likely be the front-runner for the GOP nomination if he enters.

NV-Gov: Clark County commissioner Chris Giunchigliani (D) is considering a run for Governor; if she enters she would join her fellow commissioner Steve Sisolak (D) in the Dem primary. AG Adam Laxalt (R) and Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) are considered likely to run on the GOP side.

OR-Gov: State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) announced he is considering a run against Gov. Kate Brown (D) and will decide within the next few weeks. Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon who ran a competitive race against Brown for the SoS slot in 2012 before winning a purple State House seat in Bend, is considered one of the few rising stars on the ORGOP’s meager bench, along with SoS and 2014 nominee Dennis Richardson (R).

VA-Gov: Ex-RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) and LG Ralph Northam (D) are tied at 44 in a new Monmouth poll, suggesting some tightening of the race from prior surveys that had Northam up by high single to low double digits. Gillespie also starts the general election with a cash advantage over Northam. Both Northam and Gillespie raised a bit under $2M in June. But since Northam spent a lot to win his primary while Gillespie sleepwalked through his (nearly to his demise, eking out an unexpectedly close win), Gillespie leads Northam in Cash on Hand 3.3M-1.8M.

Congress:

WI-Sen: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D) will not run against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) as a Republican, and calls a group trying to “draft” him into the race a “scam PAC”. Clarke would have likely been a prohibitive favorite in a GOP primary because of his high profile but (ironically) might have had a tough time gaining crossover votes in a general election. State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) and 2012 candidate Eric Hovde (R) are the names most commonly connected with bids against Baldwin.

AZ-2: Ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) announced last week that she would carpetbag into this Tucson-area district and run against Rep. Martha McSally (R). Kirkpatrick has some name recognition in the area as her prior seat, AZ-1, extends into metro Tucson, and thus is likely to be Dems’ choice recruit for this purple seat.

WV-3: State Rep. Carol Miller (R) has entered this race, becoming the first truly credible candidate to seek this deep-red but historically-D Southern WV seat. Miller has a fairly strong record of consistently winning a seat in a 3-member Dem-leaning Huntington-area district. She joins ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Snuffer (R), whose prior bid wasn’t terribly impressive, in the race to replace Senate candidate Evan Jenkins (R). State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D) and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

State & Local:

AL-AG: Adoption attorney Sam McLure (R), who is active in the pro-life movement, will run for AG next year, joining appointed incumbent Steve Marshall (R), ex-US Attorney Alice Martin (R), and 2006 State Auditor candidate Chess Bedsole (R) in this crowded primary.

GA-Ins Comm: Democrats have a credible candidate for this open seat as nonprofit exec Cindy Zeldin (D) has entered the race. Several Republicans have indicated interest in this race as well.

NM-LG: State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) is the latest candidate into the crowded shotgun-wedding primary for LG. Padilla and ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) look like the serious candidates for this seat. The primary winner will be joined with the Dem gubernatorial primary winner as one ticket.

OK-Lab Comm: State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R) is exploring a run for Labor Commissioner, becoming the first candidate to declare interest in this open seat. Appointed incumbent Melissa McLawhorn-Houston (R) has declared she will not seek a full term.

LA-PSC-2: This piece is worth a read about how Gov. Jon Bel Edwards (D) wound up pointedly refusing to endorse his own appointee for this seat, D-turned-R ex-State Rep. Damon Baldone (R). Baldone is facing Edwards-endorsing physician Craig Greene (R) and antiestablishment conservative ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R).

Atlanta-Mayor: A new SUSA poll of this fall’s Atlanta Mayor race puts moderate city councilwoman and 2009 candidate Mary Norwood (D) as the clear front-runner; however, she takes just 27%. No other candidate in the 8-way field tops 10%, but most of the other candidates are running to Norwood’s left.

Jefferson, MO-CE: Incumbent Ken Waller (R) will not seek a third term as County Exec in this large suburban St. Louis county. State Rep. John McCaherty (R) will run to succeed him; Jefferson County is historically Dem-friendly but has stampeded right in the last 10 years.

NYC-CD-28: Councilman Ruben Willis (D) of southeast Queens was found guilty of corruption charges last week and expelled from office. Willis’s seat will remain vacant until the general election in November; two other Democrats had also been running for the seat. In other NYC news, HERE is a really good rundown of all the candidates for city office this year.

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.

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