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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 October 13, 2017

Senate:

MT-Sen: In an unusual twist, a husband and wife have both joined the race for US Senate, with each running in separate primaries. James Dean, a financial advisor is running in the Republican primary, while Sarah Dean, a fashion designer is running in the Democratic primary. Neither has ever run for political office before. Sarah Dean is the first Democrat to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the primary, while James Dean joins state Sen. Al Olszewski (R), State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) and businessmen Troy Downing and Ron Murray in the Republican primary. Yellowstone County district judge Russell Fagg, who retires from the bench today, is also considering running in the Republican primary.

TN-Sen: Ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) is seriously considering joining the GOP primary for Senate. Fincher, who retired last year after serving 3 terms in the House, recognizes the uphill battle he would seem to have against Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), but he says he’s used to a challenge. One point in his favor is that he has $2.3 million leftover in his campaign account from his runs for Congress that he could use for a Senate run. He says he plans to make a decision soon, but didn’t give a specific date.

UT-Sen: Boyd Matheson, head of the Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based conservative think tank, and former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee (R), is considering running against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), if Hatch runs for re-election. Matheson met with former White House strategist Steve Bannon in Washington last week about the possibility of running. Bannon said Matheson had set up an exploratory committee for a possible run, although Matheson said there is currently no such committee and there is no specific deadline when he plans to announce a possible run.

House:

CA-36: Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a former soap opera actress who now is an avocado grower and also owns an interior design company, is running for Congress as a Republican. Pelzer, who appeared on the soap operas “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” spoke in support of Donald Trump at last year’s Republican National Convention. Former Palm Springs TV news anchor Dan Ball has also discussed a possible run as a Republican as well. Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) is running for re-election.

FL-6: As Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) decides whether to run for re-election or possibly run for governor, one candidate isn’t waiting for DeSantis to decide. John Ward, a multi-millionaire business investor and Navy veteran has announced he is running in the Republican primary as a pro-Trump outsider. Nancy Soderberg, a former National Security Council official and an Ambassador at the United Nations for the Clinton Administration is running as a Democrat.

GA-6: Former Atlanta TV news anchor Bobby Kaple is planning to run for Congress as a Democrat. Kaple says he left his job last month as a morning and noon news anchor for the local CBS affiliate in preparation for a run. Jon Ossoff (D), who lost to Rep. Karen Handel (R) in a June special election has not decided whether to run again. Kaple says he plans to run whether or not Ossoff does-and points out he resides in the district, unlike Ossoff.

MT-AL: State Rep. Tom Woods (D) has joined the Democratic primary for Congress. Woods is the first candidate with political experience to run, joining attorney John Heenan and nonprofit director Grant Kier in the Democratic primary.

NM-2: Andrew Salas, former adjutant general of the New Mexico National Guard, is running for the Republican nomination for Congress. He joins a race without a clear frontrunner after the recent surprising departure of state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, Jr. (R) from the race to replace Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who is running for governor. Also running in the Republican primary are state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R), former Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman, and pharmacist Jack Volpato. Salas is making his first bid for political office, although his wife Martha Salas is currently chairwoman of the Socorro County Board of Commissioners.

PA-8: Lawyer Dean Malik is challenging Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) in the Republican primary. Malik planned to run in 2016, but says he was pushed aside and forced to drop out after Fitzpatrick joined the race to fill the seat left open by his brother, former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R). Malik is criticizing Fitzpatrick for not being supportive enough of President Trump’s agenda.

PA-11: Businessman Andrew Lewis has announced he is running for the Republican nomination for this open seat. He joins state Rep. Stephen Bloom (R) and former state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser in the GOP primary. Also, Denny Woolf, former state agriculture secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell (D) from 2003-2009 has put his name in for the Democratic nomination. Woolf joins Air Force veteran Alan Howe in the Democratic primary.

Governor & state offices:

IL-Gov: The first Democrat to run for governor has become the first major candidate to drop out. Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar (D) has left the race, citing fundraising difficulties. Pawar’s exit could help state Sen. Daniel Biss (D), with whom Pawar had been battling for support from progressives and supporters of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Businessmen J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy are battling for support from the establishment, Hillary Clinton-supporting wing of the party. Although Biss could benefit from his support, Pawar says he has no plans to endorse any of the other candidates at this time. but won’t rule it out later.

ME-Gov: State Sen. Mark  Dion (D) is joining the most crowded primary race in the country, for the Democratic nomination for governor. Dion is also a former 3 term sheriff of Cumberland County, which includes the state’s largest city of Portland. He is one of 10 Democrats running in the primary-other major candidates include AG Janet Mills (D), state Sen. James Boyle (D) and former state House Speaker Mark Eves (D). Sen. Susan Collins (R) is expected to announce today whether she will join the list of Republicans running. Republicans already in the race are former state Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew, State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) and state House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R).

MD-Gov: Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a consulting firm owner, is joining the very crowded Democratic primary for governor. Although Cummings is a political novice herself, she has a well-known last name as the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D). Cummings is the 8th person to run for the Democratic nomination to face Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Other major candidates running include Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz (D), state Sen. Richard Madaleno (D), and former NAACP head Benjamin Todd Jealous.

RI-Gov: Former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson (D) is challenging Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) in the Democratic primary. Dickinson recognizes that his bid is a longshot, but wants to provide competition to the governor and provide an alternative. If he doesn’t win the nomination, he says he would be inclined to support Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) if he runs again and wins the Republican nomination.

FL-AG: State Rep. Frank White (R) is considering running for Attorney General. White is in his first term in the Florida House. Two other Republicans are already in the race-former state Rep. Jay Fant (R) and former Hillsborough County District Judge Ashley Moody. Both have already begun fundraising and  have raised six figure sums.

Political Roundup for October 5th, 2017

President

Cuban: Mark Cuban isn’t saying if he will run for President, but if he ran, this is how he would do it.

Governor

VA-Gov: A Washington Post – Schar School poll finds Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie 53%-40% among likely voters, with Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra back at 4%. While most polling has shown a Northam lead, this is his largest lead in recent public polls.

ME-Gov: An internal poll for Sen. Susan Collins (R) by Hans Kaiser shows the senator has 75%-19% approval ratings among Maine voters. While the poll has been confirmed as authentic, apparently the specific results are not available (which is never encouraging with a leak). Supposedly Collins “leads her next closest competitor [Mary Mayhew] in the Republican primary by a better than 3:1 margin and two other competitors by even larger margins.” The poll also found her above 50% against any Democrat in the general election.

MD-Gov: A Mason-Dixon poll finds almost half of Democrats approve of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s job performance, but only 25% of those voters would actually vote for him against a Democratic candidate. While this is a solid number of ticket splitters for Hogan, it shows that a lot of his bipartisan appeal is soft and movable. Hogan led all Democratic opponents by varying margins, the smallest of which was 7 points against Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker. He also led Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz by 13 points, former NAACP head Ben Jealous by 16 points, and State Sen. Richard Madaleno by 16 points, with the differences largely a function of name recognition. Baker also led the Democratic primary, with 28% over Kamenetz’ 11% and Jealous’ 10%.

NJ-Gov: In which Kim Guadagno (R) tries to use a four month old internal poll with no real numbers released to say she still has a chance.

Senate

ME-Sen: Apparently the same internal poll for Collins described above also tested a LePage-King race. There, the Independent Senator (King) led the Governor (LePage, R) with more than 60% of the vote.

House

PA-18: ICYMI, ethically challenged Rep. Tim Murphy (R) will retire at the end of this term thanks to his reprehensible hypocrisy and actions. See our Great Mentioner in the link for candidates, and then cross-apply those names with Roll Call’s list.

MN-1: State Sen. Carla Nelson (R) is running for Congress. Nelson is something of a polarizing figure within the party, with fundraising ability but not much sympathy from conservative activists. Unfortunately for Nelson, her planned announcement on Monday was overshadowed by the Las Vegas shooting. Instead of her planned speech, she acknowledged the purpose of the event to announce her campaing and declined to take questions from the press. One question lingers if Nelson would abide by the Republican convention endorsement, but why would she bother if she has better odds in a primary? In other news, State Rep. Nels Pierson (R), who represents a rural seat on the outskirts of Rochester, is out of this race. As an aside, Heather Carlson of the Rochester Post Bulletin is the person to follow to keep up with this open seat race, where she’s been tracking candidates and their endorsements.

UT-3: Mitt Romney yesterday endorsed Provo Mayor John Curtis, the Republican nominee in Utah’s 3rd congressional district special election. Normally Romney endorsing a Republican wouldn’t be incredibly newsworthy, but it’s probably not worth leaving things to chance with how Democratic-leaning special elections lately have been and the son of a former Republican US Senator running on a third party line. The Romney endorsement is something of a seal of approval for Mormon voters in Utah, with whom the former Massacusetts Governor is incredibly popular. The endorsement also wasn’t necessarily a done deal; with how anti-Trump Romney has sounded since the presidential election, he always had the option to just stay silent.

NY-11: A match for the ages? Steve Bannon is supporting former Rep. and felon Michael Grimm, in his Republican primary challenge to successor and Rep. Dan Donovan.

State and Local

TX-AG: Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial is delayed a third time until next year. At this rate, he may be reelected until we see any movement on his securities fraud case. This time, the delay was over a dispute over attorneys’ fees for the prosecution.

Political Roundup for October 4, 2017

Last night, Randall Woodfin (D) ousted incumbent Birmingham Mayor William Bell (D) by a shocking 20-point spread, Albuquerque proceeded to a runoff between State Auditor Tim Keller (D) at 39% and councilman Dan Lewis (R) at 23%.  Missy McGee (R) held the purple MS-LD-102 by an impressive 2:1 margin, while CA-LD-51 heads to a runoff between Wendy Carillo (D) and Luis Lopez (D).

Senate:

AL-Sen: JMC Analytics has Roy Moore (R) leading Doug Jones (D) 48-40. Generic R beats Generic D by a surprisingly small 49-45 margin.

TN-Sen: Gov. Bill Haslam (R) re-iterated that he is considering a run for the open US Senate seat of Sen. Bob Corker (R). Should Haslam enter, he would likely be a favorite over all comers in the primary and general election. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) is thought to be ready to run, and would be the favorite in a Haslam-less race, but she may be delaying her decision until Haslam’s intentions are known.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Add another “B” list name to the Democratic mix for this race: Malloy admin official Sean Connolly (D) is stepping down and rumored to be considering a gubernatorial run. Connolly would join Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), fellow Malloy admin official Jonathan Harris (D), and prosecutor Chris Mattei (D) in the race. LG Nancy Wyman (D) is also thought to be exploring a run and would be the primary front-runner if she entered. Republicans have an even more crowded field.

IL-Gov: Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) somewhat surprisingly signed a controversial bill last week enabling public funding of abortion through Medicaid. As you might expect, socially conservative Republicans are up in arms and there is talk of a primary challenge to the Governor. State Rep. Peter Breen (R) delivered a particularly stinging critique, saying “I’ve had a front-row seat to a governor that is unable to adequately and competently administer Illinois government. He is now lying to us. And so at that point, I can’t support someone like that.” It’s widely believed that State Dictator House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) pushed the bill to put Rauner in an impossible position, with signing it giving him a primary headache and vetoing it being a major problem in the socially liberal state for the general. Should Rauner lose the primary, Republicans’ odds of holding this seat likely to near zero, and likely Dem nominee and Madigan sugar daddy businessman JB Pritzker (D) will likely be the favorite to take the seat. Rauner appears to be betting the general election optics of this move are worth the primary headache.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) will announce next week if she will run for Governor. The popular Collins would be a near-prohibitive favorite in a general election if she ran, but she may face difficulties getting through a GOP primary for her moderation. LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R), State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), and State Rep. Ken Fredette (R) are in the GOP primary already; over a half-dozen Dems and three credible Indies are also in the race.

NJ-Gov: Emerson has Goldman Sachs exec Phil Murphy (D) up 46-35 on LG Kim Guadagno (R), a smaller margin than most recent surveys. Monmouth has a pretty similar 51-37 lead for Murphy. New Jersey is a fairly inelastic state and Murphy is unlikely to have crossover appeal, so some tightening of this race from the gaudy 30-point Murphy leads of prior polls is probably in the cards.

RI-Gov: Moderate Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has her first primary challenger, Paul Roselli (D), head of a nonprofit local park group. Roselli has gained notoriety for his opposition to a proposed powerplant in his hometown, but seems like a “C” list opponent for Raimondo. Unpopular liberal ex-Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (D) is also considering a run against Raimondo in the primary. Three Republicans, 2014 nominee and Cranston Mayor Alan Fung (R), State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R), and ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R), are in the race.

SD-Gov: AG Marty Jackley (R) launched his expected gubernatorial campaign yesterday. Jackley joins Rep. Krsti Noem (R) in what is expected to be a hard-fought titanic primary collision. State Sen. Billie Sutton (D) is the likely Dem nominee.

TN-Gov: Sen. Bob Corker (R) says he “can’t imagine” running for Tennessee Governor, a statement that is not quite Shermanesque but pretty close to it. Republicans have a crowded primary field of Rep. Diane Black (R), State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), State Sen. Mae Beavers (R), and businessmen Randy Boyd (R) and Bill Lee (R); Corker, however, would likely be the front-runner if he were to enter.

House:

FL-18: Obama admin official Lauren Baer (D) is running against first-term Rep. Brian Mast (R). Baer would be the second person in a same-sex marriage in Congress if elected; this light-red Treasure Coast seat trended right last year while Mast picked it up for the GOP.

IL-15: State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R) is not running for re-election and is apparently in contention for Ambassador to Kenya. However, McCarter is keeping his options open to making a second bid against Rep. John Shimkus (R), whom he primaried from a fiscal conservative angle in 2016. McCarter took 40% against Shimkus last cycle in this deep-red rural downstate seat and would be a formidable candidate in a rematch.

ME-2: Heir Lucas St. Clair (D) is carpetbagging from Portland into this rural northern Maine seat to run against Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R). St. Clair is the son of Roxanne Quimby, a co-founder of Burt’s Bees cosmetics. Quimby is also notable for having donated a large estate to the federal government to create a national monument, an effort St. Clair spearheaded. St. Clair joins State Rep. Jared Golden (D) as a major candidate in the primary to take on Poliquin. As a side note, this rural northern Maine seat is exactly the kind of place where a trust fund baby carpetbagging in will play well, right?

MA-3: Cambridge councilman Nadeem Mazen (D) will carpetbag into this deep-blue Merrimack Valley based district to seek the open seat. Mazen, who grew up in the seat, would be the third Muslim member of Congress if elected. He joins a crowded primary of State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D), 2014 LG nominee Steve Kerrigan (D), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh CoS Daniel Koh (D), and businessman Abhijit Das (D).

NH-1: 2010 gubernatorial nominee John Stephen (R) will not take on Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in 2018. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and cop Eddie Edwards (R) appear to be the serious prospects in the race to take on Shea-Porter.

NH-2: Businessman David McConville (R), who heads a prominent local fiscal conservative group and served as campaign manager for a gubernatorial candidate last year, is considering a run against Rep. Annie Kuster (D). McConville, who intends to run as a hard-edged fiscal conservative, would face ex-State Rep. and 2016 candidate Jack Flanagan (R) for the right to take on the popular Kuster in this light-blue seat.

NJ-11: Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) will not run for Congress, and has endorsed prosecutor Mike Sherill (D). Sherill looks like the Democratic front-runner to take on Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) in this historically-Republican wealthy suburban seat that trended left last year.

NM-2: State Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R), who was looking like the front-runner for this seat, has abruptly aborted his bid. It’s unclear why Dunn decided to drop out or whether he will instead seek a second term as Lands Commissioner, though there are rumors that a feud with Gov. Susana Martinez (R) (or her svengali, Jay McCleskey) may have played a role. State Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) and ex-Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman (R) are in the race for this open medium-red southern NM seat; Newman is thought to have the backing of Martinez. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R) is also considering.

NY-1: State Rep. Fred Thiele (I), an Independence Party member who is a de facto Democrat, will not seek the D nomination to take on Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Thiele had been considered Dems’ choice recruit for this race. Suffolk county commissioner Kate Browning (D) looks like Dems’ new top prospect to take on the popular Zeldin in this light-red eastern Long Island seat.

NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) officially kicked off his comeback bid this weekend. Grimm’s prior tenure in Congress ended with his resignation on tax charges; now, he is attempting to oust his successor, Rep. Dan Donovan (R) from the right in the primary. Grimm’s criminal record and Donovan’s popularity will likely make that a tough order, though Grimm could still cause significant problems for Donovan by continuing to the general election in this light-red Staten Island based seat on the Conservative third-party line.

NY-23: Running store owner Ian Golden (D) is putting a new-spin on the time-honored “walk across the district” publicity stunt by launching a 450-mile (literal) run across this large Southern Tier seat. The move could help Golden gain name rec in the crowded field of little-known candidates vying to take on Rep. Tom Reed (R) in this medium-red seat.

PA-1: Testimony at the trial of former judge and 2012 Jimmie Moore (D) is pointing a very incriminating finger at Rep. Bob Brady (D). In case you haven’t been following the story, here’s a recap: Moore, who is black, started to run a potentially credible primary challenge in 2012 against Brady, the white boss of the Philly Dem machine, in this racially-mixed district. Moore then later inexplicably dropped his bid, and quickly thereafter received a $90K payment from Brady. The cover story was that the cash was payment for “polling data”, but Moore admitted the obvious in a plea agreement – that it was a thinly-disguised bribe to get him out of the race. Brady has not yet been charged, but it’s hard not to see some charges coming down the pipeline for him.

PA-11: State Sen. John Yudchiak (D) will not run for this conservative Harrisburg-to-Wilkes-Barre open seat, eschewing the uphill race to stay in the State Senate. Four Republicans, State Rep. Steven Bloom (R), Corbett admin official Dan Meuser (R), Berwick councilman Andrew Shecktor (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R), are in the race or considering.

PA-15: Appointed Allentown city solicitor Susan Wild (D) will run for this light-red open seat, possibly giving Democrats their first credible candidate here. Several other Dems, including Northampton DA John Morganelli (D), are considering; Republicans are set to have a bloody primary between State Reps. Justin Simmons (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R).

PA-16: Dentist Gary Wegman (D), who ran an abortive bid for this light-red Lancaster-area seat in 2016, will mount another bid this year for the seat of now-incumbent Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R). 2016 nominee and nonprofit Christina Hartman (D) is also in the primary for a second round.

PA-18: Now this is a bombshell. Texts have been released strongly implying Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who is publicly pro-life, asked his mistress to get an abortion and privately disavowed his own pro-life views. Murphy previously admitted the affair, but this is the first sense that there is more to the story. The abortion issue could be a big problem for Murphy in his socially conservative district; he joins Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) in the pro-life abortion promoters’ caucus. Importantly, unlike DesJarlais, whose transgressions occured several years before his first election to Congress, the texts here are from this summer, meaning Murphy is at least likely to get a serious primary challenger. Ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D) is running for the Dems in this race.

UT-4: Salt Lake CE Ben McAdams (D) is considering a challenge to Rep. Mia Love (R). Trump did horribly in this suburban seat, scoring below 40%, but Love still won against her touted opponent by a 12-point margin. That said, this is the only House seat in Utah Dems could be competitive in and McAdams would definitely be a top-tier candidate.

State & Local:

AZ-SoS: Attorney and Dem operative Mark Gordon (D) is running for SoS. Gordon, who has not run for office but seems well-connected, joins State Sen. Katie Hobbs (D) in the primary for this seat. Incumbent Michele Reagan (R) is widely considered highly vulnerable due to her mismanagement of the office and is facing a tough primary with State Sen. Steve Montenegro (R).

IL-AG: Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti (D), who has become a minor celebrity for his twitter commentary on the Russia investigation, is considering a run for AG. Mariotti would join State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and Chicago Police official Sharon Fairley (D) in this primary, with several other Dems considering. Former congressional candidate and Miss America Erika Harold (R) is the likely GOP nominee for this open seat.

Atlanta-Mayor: Survey USA for WXIA-TV has a poll of this year’s Atlanta Mayoral race, with moderate councilwoman Mary Norwood (D) taking a large lead at 28%. Fellow councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) has moved into second place with 15%, with councilman Ceasar Mitchell (D) at 10% and four other serious candidates in single digits. In the likely event no candidate tops 50% in the November jungle primary, the top two finishers will head on to a December runoff.

New Orleans-Mayor: Clarus for WWL-TV has this race (a week from Saturday) looking close to a 3-way tossup, with City councilwoman Latoya Cantrell (D) at 27% and retired judges Desiree Charbonnet (D) and Michael Bagneris (D) at 26% and 19% respectively. A different poll of the race had Bagneris on top. The top two finishers in the first round will advance to a mid-November runoff.

Louisville-Mayor: Councilwoman Angela Leet (R) will run for mayor next year, taking on incumbent Greg Fischer (D), who is seeking a third term. Leet seems likely to be a credible opponent for Fischer in the light-blue city.

Cook, IL-CE: County commissioner Richard Boykin (D) will not take on County Executive Toni Preckwinkle (D) in the primary. Preckwinkle, who was previously highly popular, is now thought to be at least somewhat vulnerable due to her support of a new soda tax (which Boykin opposed). However, a loss for Boykin would hurt his prospects at the job he really wants (the IL-7 congressional seat when Rep. Danny Davis (D) retires) so the decision makes sense for him. It’s possible that Preckwinkle will not get a serious primary challenger now, though there is still definitely room for one as the soda tax is deeply unpopular even among Dems.

Political Roundup for September 29, 2017

Senate:

AZ-Sen: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) announced her long-expected bid for Senate last night. Click for our full coverage of the race and Great Mentioner for the now-open AZ-9.

MO-Sen: While everyone still waits for AG Josh Hawley (R) to enter the race, another Republican is entering. Courtland Sykes is running as a strong supporter of President Trump and an admirer of Steve Bannon. Sykes is actually from Arkansas, and just recently moved to Missouri. He worked on the staff of Rep. Bruce Westerman (R) from last year to early this year. He joins former 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen in the Republican race.

NV-Sen: Rep. Dina Titus (D) will not run for Senate and will instead run for re-election to Congress. Titus had been publicly exploring running for Senate and had expressed some disappointment after Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) quickly became the favorite candidate of the DSCC, former Sen. Harry Reid (D), and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D).

TN-Sen: Peyton Manning (R) is denying interest in running for the seat left open by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R) saying he is giving “zero consideration” to running and says he has “zero interest in being a politician”. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) confirmed he is thinking about running, but will take some time weighing a run. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) is expected to enter the race soon. Former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) is considering as well and says he will decide by the end of the week whether to run. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke (D) is considering a run as well. Attorney James Mackler is currently the only Democrat running.

House:

CA-24: Businessman and rancher Justin Fareed (R) is making his third run for this seat. Fareed narrowly lost to Chris Mitchum (R) for the 2nd place in the 2014 primary to face Rep. Lois Capps (D) and won 2nd place in the 2016 primary, losing to now-Rep. Salud Carbajal (D) 53-47 in the general election. Carbajal is running for re-election; civil engineer Michael Erin Woody (R) is the only other candidate in the race.

CO-2: Gun control advocate Shannon Watts (D) will not run for Congress. Watts, who runs the gun control advocacy organization Moms Demand Gun Sense in America had been considering getting in the race and was thought to be a possibly strong candidate as the only woman in the race and because of her large social media following. Former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse (D), former Boulder County Democratic Party chairman Mark Williams and Howard Dotson, a minister are running for the Democratic nomination. Ken Toltz, another gun control advocate and failed Democratic nominee in CO-6 in 2000 is also considering running. No Republicans have yet signaled an interest in running.

Governor:

AK-Gov: Businessman Scott Hawkins (R) is joining the race for governor. Hawkins joins former State Senate President Charlie Huggins and self-employed businessman Michael Sheldon in the Republican primary. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) was running but has suspended his campaign. Gov. Bill Walker (I) is running for re-election.

IA-Gov: Another candidate is joining the race for governor. This time though it’s a Republican. Boone city councilman and former Iowa State Patrol communications manager Steven Ray is running. He joins Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett in the GOP primary. Ray is not related to former Gov. Robert Ray (R), who served as governor from 1969-83. 7 Democrats are running in the Democratic primary.

ME-Gov: State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) has officially entered the race for governor. Mason had planned to roll out his campaign a few weeks ago, but those plans were put off after the sudden death of his mother, state Rep. Gina Mason (R). Mason joins former State Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Mayhew and state House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R) in the Republican primary. Sen. Susan Collins (R) is also considering getting in the race.

NH-Gov: Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky (D) has announced he will not run for governor. Volinsky was encouraged to run by people on the left-he served as legal counsel for Sen. Bernie Sanders in his 2016 NH Primary run, and was a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He will instead run for re-election to his Executive Council seat. Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is the only Democrat so far who has announced a bid to face Gov. Chris Sununu (R).

NC-Gov. 2020: Former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is not closing the door on trying to return to his old job in 2020. McCrory, who recently started a daily hosting segment in a Charlotte radio station, said he would consider another run down the road, but said it’s way too early to decide now, and he wouldn’t make any decision until after the 2018 midterm elections. McCrory has been the Republican nominee for governor in the last 3 elections, losing by 3 points in 2008, winning a solid 12 point victory in 2012, and losing narrowly his re-election bid last year. LG Dan Forest (R) is thought to be a likely candidate in 2020.

Other:

Steve Scalise: Rep. Steve Scalise (R) yesterday made his first appearance in the House chamber since the June attack which seriously wounded him. He entered the chamber on crutches to a thunderous standing ovation and then gave a speech.

Political Roundup for September 13, 2017

Last Night:

Bill DeBlasio (D) easily won renomination in NYC, while all NYC Council incumbents and essentially all non-incumbent establishment favorites prevailed.

In Charlotte, councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) ousted incumbent Jennifer Roberts (D) without a runoff. In Cleveland, incumbent Frank Jackson (D) and councilman Zack Reed (D) advanced. In Toledo, incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) and Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) advanced. Incumbents Byron Brown (D) in Buffalo and Lovely Warren (D) in Rochester were renominated.

In other NY Races, State Sen. George Latimer (D) won in Westchester-CE, county commissioner Laura Curran (D) won in Nassau-CE, and State Rep. Steve McLaughlin (R) narrowly won in Rensselaer-CE. In the biggest upset of the night, university police chief Larry Zacarese (R) beat State Sen. Phil Boyle (R) for Suffolk-Sheriff.

In legislative specials, Democrats picked up OK-LD-46 by a wide margin as well as a state house seat in NH. McGee (R) and Rehner (D) advanced in MS-LD-102, while O’Hara (R) won the nomination in OK-SD-37.

Senate:

MI-Sen: Rep. Fred Upton (R) is apparently quietly considering a run for the seat of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (R). Upton, a centrist from a purple seat in southwest Michigan, has been termed-out as Energy and Commerce chair but is not ready to retire. Upton could face a tough primary if Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie (R) pulls the trigger on a run for this seat; however, if Ritchie stays out, Upton would be a strong favorite against the little-known Republicans in the race already.

VA-Sen: Former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina (R) will not run for the Senate seat of Tim Kaine (D). Prince William CE and self-hating Yankee Corey Stewart (R) now looks like the strong favorite for the nomination.

Governor:

AK-Gov, AK-LG: State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) surprisingly announced yesterday that he is ending his gubernatorial run due to an unspecified health condition. Ex-State Sen. Charlie Huggins (R), a former State Senate president who retired in 2016, stepped in the same day to fill the breach. State Rep. Mike Chenault (R) also filed to run for a spot on the GOP ticket, though he has left his options open for either a Governor or LG run in the shotgun-wedding primary. Dem-backed incumbent Bill Walker (I) may also face opposition from a Democrat like Ex-Sen. Mark Begich (D) or State Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D).

IL-Gov, IL-LG: After his prior choice of running mate, Chicago councilman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D), was forced to withdraw over his support for the anti-Israel BDS movement, Biss has now chosen State Rep. Litesa Wallace (D) of Rockford as his new LG choice. Wallace could be a way for Biss to curry some favor with State House Speaker Mike Madigan (D), who is thought to favor wealthy businessman JB Pritzker (D) in this crowded primary.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) says she will decide on a run for Governor by the end of September. Collins would likely be a strong favorite in a general election if she were to run, but she may face difficulty from her right in the GOP primary.

MI-Gov: As expected, AG Bill Schuette (R) has launched his campaign for Governor. Schuette has had a long political career, beginning with a Congressional stint in the 80s, a Senate loss in 1990, a State Senate stint in the 90s and a judicial stint in the 2000s before two terms as AG. He is thought to be a slight front-runner in the GOP primary against antiestablishment conservative State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) and physician Jim Hines (R); Schuette’s most serious likely rival, LG Brian Calley (R), has not yet declared for this race but is widely though certain to run.

House:

NY-15: Outgoing NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) is rumored to be considering a run for this South Bronx-based Congressional seat, where incumbent Jose Serrano (D) is thought to be considering retirement. Mark-Viverito hails from Spanish Harlem in Manhattan, but has represented part of the Bronx. State Sen. Jose Serrano Jr. (D), State Rep. Michael Blake (D), and NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres (D) are thought to all be interested as well.

PA-11: 2016 AG candidate Joe Peters (R) is exploring an entry into this crowded primary for the Harrisburg-to-Lackawanna Valley red seat. Peters would join State Rep. Stephen Bloom (R), Corbett admin official Dan Meuser (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R) in the primary.

PA-15: Two new candidates are in this race. State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R) will run for Congress, potentially creating a more establishment-friendly option to take on State Rep. Justin Simmons (R), whose entry into the race pushed Rep. Charlie Dent (R) out of seeking re-election. Lehigh County commissioner Bill Leiner (D) also announced a run, potentially giving Dems a credible option for the light-red Lehigh Valley open seat.

TN-6: Rep. Diane Black (R) is considering resigning her House seat early as she runs for Governor. If Black resigns quickly a special could be triggered for this deep-red central Tennessee seat. Former state Agriculture Commissioner John Rose (R) and State Rep. Judd Matheny (R) are in the race, and talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R) is considering a run.

TX-32: Obama aide Lillian Salerno (D) has become the third former Obama admin official in the race, joining Colin Allred (D) and Ed Meier (D). Allred, a former NFL player, so far looks like the DCCC’s choice recruit to take on Rep. Pete Sessions (R) in this Hillary-won north Dallas seat.

WV-1: Attorney Ralph Baxter (D), who runs a large law firm based in San Francisco but “lives” in Wheeling, is set to announce a run against Rep. David McKinley (R) in this deep-red northern WV seat. Baxter has been mentioned for several races before but looks set to pull the trigger this cycle; he faces long odds as this historically-D seat has become more Republican up and down the ballot.

State & Local:

ID-AG: AG Lawrence Wasden (R) will run for re-election, and will not give up his seat to run for Governor or ID-1.

MA-LG: Obama White House aide Quentin Palfrey (D), who now works as an administrator at MIT, has become the first Democrat into this shotgun-wedding LG primary.

MO-Aud: Attorney and former university regent David Wasinger (R) will run for Auditor, entering the race after State House Speaker David Richardson (R) abruptly declined a bid. Local official Kristy Apprill (R) is also considering a run.

NV-AG: State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D) will run for AG, giving Dems a top-tier recruit for this seat, which is expected to be open as incumbent Adam Laxalt (R) is seen as near-certain to run for Governor. Laxalt’s top deputy, ex-State Rep. Wes Duncan (R), is likely to run for this seat.

DC-Mayor: AG Karl Racine (D) will not run for mayor, likely meaning that incumbent Muriel Bowser (D) will have a relatively easy ride to a second term next year.

Seattle-Mayor: Mayor Ed Murray (D) abruptly resigned yesterday after a fifth person, his cousin, accused him of prior sexual molestation when the cousin was a minor. Murray had declined to run for re-election after several others revealed underage sexual molestation allegations. The open seat election this November is between establishment liberal ex-US Attorney Jenny Durkan (D) and ultra-left city planner Cary Moon (D).

Political Roundup for September 8, 2017

Senate

WI-Sen: State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) announced yesterday she is joining the race for the Republican nomination for US Senate. She joins businessman Kevin Nicholson in the race to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). Vukmir is stressing her deep roots in Wisconsin GOP circles, contrasting her background with that of Nicholson, who once served as president of the College Democrats of America and spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. Businessman Eric Hovde, who finished 2nd to ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in the 2012 Republican Senate primary, says he will decide in early October whether to run again.

Governor:

AL-Gov: The long awaited announcement by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) about her plans has come, and she is running for election to a full term next year. She joins an already crowded race with 7 other Republicans running, including Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington, Agricuulture Commissioner John McMillan, and state Sen. Bill Hightower, who officially joined the race on Wednesday.

CO-Gov: LG Donna Lynne (D) officially announced her campaign for governor yesterday. Lynne had already filed her candidacy last month, but this was the first time she formally announced publicly that she would run. Lynne said when she was appointed LG last year that she did not plan to run for governor next year. Those plans changed as the leftward tilt of the other Democrats running became apparent. Also running are Rep. Jared Polis (D), ex-state Sen. Mike Johnston (D), former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy and businessman Noel Ginsburg, all but Ginsburg are liberals. After Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) dropped his bid, some supporters of Perlmutter started asking Lynne to reconsider her previous decision not to run, seeing the need for a prominent moderate candidate to run.

CT-Gov: State Sen. Toni Boucher (R) is joining a long list of Republicans running or considering running for governor. Boucher filed the papers for an exploratory committee in June, but is now becoming more serious about a potential run, kicking off her campaign this month with a fundraiser. 3 Republicans are running, with 6 others, including Boucher having formed exploratory committees.

ME-Gov: The Republican leaders of both the state House and Senate are now running for governor as State House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R) announced a run on Wednesday, joining Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) who announced on Tuesday that he was running. Mason had planned to kick off his campaign formally on Wednesday, but postponed it after his mother, state Rep. Gina Mason (R) died unexpectedly. The two join former Department of Health and Human Services commissioner Mary Mayhew in the race. More candidates, including Sen. Susan Collins (R) may join the race on the Republican side. 9 Democrats have already formally announced candidacies.

MI-Gov: Next year’s gubernatorial race could be very competitive if the right Democrat runs according to a new poll. The poll by EPIC-MRA shows AG Bill Schuette (R) and former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer tied at 37 % each. The poll also tested Schuette against attorney Geoffrey Fieger, and Schuette lead 43%-33% in that matchup. Whitmer is already in the race, Fieger, who lost as the Democratic nominee in 1998 to then Gov. John Engler (R) 62-38, is not currently running, but has said he is considering entering the race. AG Bill Schuette (R) is not running yet, but is expected to enter the race soon.

OR-Gov: House Minority Leader Mike McLane (R) said on Wednesday that he will not run for governor. A group of Republicans had tried to get McLane to enter the race. State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) is the only Republican currently running.

SC-Gov: State Sen. Tom Davis (R) will not run for governor next year. He says the timing wasn’t right and he feels he could be more effective in the Legislature. He also may have found it difficult to break into a race where three serious candidates are already running and raising money-Gov. Henry McMaster (R), former state cabinet secretary Catherine Templeton, and LG Kevin Bryant (R). Also running in the Republican primary is party switcher ex-LG Yancey McGill (D), but he is not expected to be competitive. No Democrats are running yet, but state Rep. James Smith (D) is expected to join the race this month.

State & Local:

AK-LG: State Sen. Kevin Meyer (R) filed to run for Lieutenant Governor yesterday. He is the third Republican to run, joining state Sen. Gary Stevens (R) and former state Rep. Lynn Gattis (R). Alaska uses the “shotgun wedding” approach where governor and lieutenant governor candidates run separately in the primary but as a team in the general election.

MA-LG: Former Obama White House advisor Quentin Palfrey will run for lieutenant governor. Palfrey is the first Democrat to announce a bid. Massachusetts also uses the “shotgun wedding” approach for governor and lieutenant governors.

MO-Aud.: State House Speaker Todd Richardson (R) said Wednesday he will not run for State Auditor next year. Richardson had been considered a likely candidate to run for the office. State Auditor is the only statewide executive office that Republicans do not currently hold-current State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) was appointed by then Gov. Jay Nixon (D) in 2015 to replace Republican Tom Schweich after he committed suicide. Galloway is running for election to a full term. It is not known who will run now as no other Republicans were known to be planning a run.

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