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Political Roundup for December 11th, 2017

Check back at 3pm Eastern today for our preview of tomorrow’s mess in Alabama.

Big Picture

Campaign Finance: This is a must-read article. Apparently, most of the justification for the John Doe investigations against prominent Republicans and conservative groups in Wisconsin that have played out and then been litigated themselves over the past few years was a misinterpretation of campaign finance law. One mistake by one bureaucrat upended the lives and breached the privacy of dozens of people. If you’re still not interested, know this: files found in the basement of a state agency were labeled ‘Opposition Research.’ If you made this stuff up, you’d be accused of lazy writing.

Redistricting: It looks like we’re going for a Double Decision, folks. SCOTUS has combined the lawsuit against Maryland’s Rorschach-esque congressional map with the lawsuit against Wisconsin’s cleaner-but-still-gerrymandered congressional map. Stay tuned for another exciting episode of Anthony Kennedy: Philosopher-King.

Superdelegates: It looks like the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating process is about to get more, well, democratic. The party’s ‘Unity Commission’ has come up with a plan to cut the number of superdelegates down to members of Congress and a few other party elders. I’m skeptical that this will mollify the Berniebros (they’re generally not the compromising type), but hey it should work well as long as Democrats are united in opposition. Expect to have this fight all over again the next time there’s a contested nomination without a Republican president in office.

Congress

AL-Sen: For days before tomorrow’s special Senate election, Creepy Roy (R-McConaughey’s character in Dazed And Confused) has been nowhere to be found. This is a classic run-out-the-clock tactic when you have a candidate who’s winning, but is known for saying outlandish things. The race has been moving in Moore’s direction over the last few weeks as the initial shock of the allegations against him fades.

AZ-Sen/AZ-08: Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) says that he’s not interested in running for the House seat that Rep. Trent Franks (R) is vacating due to allegations of not having boundaries, but that he’s considering running for Senate. I’m actually not completely horrified by this idea, because he could very well split the Crazy Unelectable Person vote with State Sen. Kelli Ward (R) and allow Rep. Martha McSally (R) to prevail in the primary.

AR-02: State Rep. Clarke Tucker (D) may be nosing around the race against Rep. French Hill (R), if a report about a poll being conducted is accurate. Tucker represents a district in Little Rock that goes from downtown all the way out to the small town of Roland (it’s designed to elect a moderately liberal white Democrat, which is what Tucker is). He’d be wave insurance no doubt, but he’s one of Arkansas Democrats’ few rising stars. I’d watch him closely even if he doesn’t jump into this race.

AZ-02: Tucson businesswoman Lea Marquez-Peterson (R) is being floated by local party grandees to replace Rep. Martha McSally (R). The district swung from R+3 in 2012 to D=2 in 2016, so this should be a marquee race unless there’s a wave.

MI-13: After the resignation of longtime Congresscritter John Conyers (D-Bernie’s Place in the Hamptons), there was an expectation of a swift special election. Instead, the seat will sit vacant until it’s filled by the result of the 2018 midterm election and a simultaneous special election for the last two months Conyers’ term. State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D) joined the race for this seat last Friday, joining fellow State Sen. Ian Conyers (D) and John Conyers III (D).

Governor

NY-Gov: Former Erie County CE Joel Giambra (R) is exploring a bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). who’s seeking a third term next year. Buffalo isn’t a small place, but you have to wonder whether the NYGOP will ever be able to take the governor’s mansion back if they can’t even get someone better than a former county official from a secondary metro area.

State/Local

CA-AD-45: In yet another gust of Pervnado, California Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Encino Man) has now resigned his seat after being accused of pleasuring himself in front of a woman at a party in Las Vegas. I guess what happens there doesn’t really stay there. Anyway, this opens up his safely blue San Fernando Valley seat, and the Democratic primary will likely get very crowded.

CO-SD-34: A State Senate candidate in Denver seems to be a pioneer in political advertising. Alan Kennedy-Shaffer (D) is running in a clown car primary for this safely Democratic seat, and has decided to target stoners with ads on the walls of dispensaries. Apparently the checkout lines are often slow (I wonder why), so customers should have ample time to read the ads while waiting to buy their kush or chronic. I’d say it’s a bit odd to target a group that is notorious for having low voting rates, but hey, someone has to be the first to try. I guess we’ve found our guinea pig.

MN-HD-62A/MN-HD-62B: Here’s an interesting one for you; both state representatives from this state senate district in southern Minneapolis are retiring at the same time (interestingly, both are also lesbians). I expect the primaries for these seats to get fierce, as there’s been a lot of political and social turmoil in the southern part of the city lately (at least by Minneapolis standards). Expect both seats to pick especially-lefty lefties; there’s no question of the dish, only the flavor.

Political Roundup for December 7th, 2017

Deviants

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

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

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

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

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

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

Normal Senate

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

Normal Governor

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

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

Normal House

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

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

Political Roundup for December 6th, 2017

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

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

President/the Bigger Picture

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

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

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

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

Congress

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

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

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

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

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

The States

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

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

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

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

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

MI-13: Rep. John Conyers (D) Resigns (Updated)

Update 12/5: Conyers has resigned and endorsed his ne’er-do-well 27-year old son John Conyers III (D) to succeed him.

Original post 11/29:

We don’t have independent confirmation yet, but a Detroit TV station says perverted Rep. John Conyers (D) will announce in January he will retire from MI-13 after twenty-seven terms. Conyers is still planning to serve out his current term and won’t resign. However, those things could have a way of changing if the pervnado vortex intensifies any further. Conyers’s decision opens up the safely Democratic MI-13, which covers the central part of Detroit as well as some largely white blue-collar suburbs to the west in central Wayne County.  The seat is 55% black and has a PVI of D+32.

As the first truly Detroit-based Open Seat in 26 years, this seat is liable to draw a very, very crowded primary. The place to start the Great Mentioner is probably with ex-Rep. Hansen Clarke (D), a former Conyers staffer who made the poor decision to not take on his old boss in a 2012 primary and instead lost primary races for the Oakland County heavy MI-14 in both 2012 and 2014. It’s unclear how much Clarke’s star has dimmed since his loss, but he has represented a big part of the seat and could be a credible contender. Other prior congressional candidates who could make a run here are ex-State Reps. Shanelle Jackson (D) and Alberta Tinsley-Talaibi (D), and Detroit city official Melvin Hollowell (D), who challenged Conyers back in the 90s and just left his city job. Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey (D) ran respectably against Conyers in 2016, but her botched handling of the 2016 general election led to her almost losing her re-election bid last year, so she might not be a strong candidate. Another Detroit city official worth watching is Abul El-Sayed (D), who is looking like an also-ran in his current gubernatorial bid. Wayne County Commissioner and ex-State Sen. Martha Scott (D) has run for the House multiple times before, but as an octogenarian is probably unlikely to run or be a serious candidate if she does.

From the legislature, the obvious name to watch is Conyers’s nephew, State Sen. Ian Conyers (D), though his family name probably isn’t the asset it was a year ago. Another Heir Force candidate is State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), who was just flattened in a Mayoral bid. State Sen. Morris Hood (D), ex-State Sen. Tupac Hunter (D), and around a dozen current or recent former State Reps. are worth watching as well. From local office, there is the entire Detroit city council, as well as Wayne County Exec Warren Evans (D), Sheriff Benny Napoleon (D), and DA Kym Worthy (D). Most of the county commission is also worth a mention.

We can’t discount the prospect of a non-black candidate from the suburbs winning a fractured primary. State Sen. David Knezek (D) followed exactly that route to win his black-majority Senate seat; county commissioner, ex-State Sen., and 2012 candidate Glenn Anderson (D) could also take that route, as could State Sen. Hoonyung Hopgood (D) and multiple State Reps.

Political Roundup for December 1, 2017

Senate:

UT-Sen: It appears that as much as Utah voters don’t want Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) to run again, they’ll still vote for him as long as they know he is a Republican and his opponent is a Democrat. Polls have shown that more than 3/4ths of Utahns don’t want him to run for an 8th term, and a September poll commissioned by Utahpolicy.com and conducted by Dan Jones & Asssociates caught attention by showing him losing by 11 points to Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson (D). But that poll did not identify the candidates by party affiliation. A new poll that does give the candidates’ party affiliations shows Hatch with a 15 point lead, 50-35% over Wilson. Mitt Romney however does much better in a potential matchup, leading Wilson by 51 points, 72-21%.

WV-Sen: Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy Co., is running for the Republican nomination for US Senate. His company owned a mine that was involved in a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners, and he was convicted for conspiracy to violate federal mine laws relating to the explosion, and served a year in prison last year. Blankenship claims that the conviction was political and that he was innocent. He joins AG Patrick Morrisey (R) and Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) in the GOP primary. A big stumbling block to his candidacy is that as part of conviction, he is prohibited from leaving Nevada, where he currently resides until May of next year. The primary will be held on May 8.

House:

Conyers: Although Rep. John Conyers (D) says he won’t resign, there is mounting pressure on him to do so, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D) now saying he should resign. One aspect of a possible Conyers resignation is that it would make Rep. Don Young (R) of Alaska the Dean of the House. Young would be the first Republican in nearly 85 years to hold the title-the first since Rep. Gilbert Haugen (R) of Iowa held the title from 1928-1933.

NJ-5: Warren County Freeholder Jason Sarnoski (R) will not run for Congress. Sarnoski had formed an exploratory committee to consider running for the Republican nomination to take on Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D). Two other Republicans are in the race-former Bogota Mayor and unsuccessful gubernatorial and US Senate candidate Steve Longean and former Cresskill Councilman John McCann.

NY-24: After previously ruling out a run, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) is reconsidering running against Rep. John Katko (R) next year. Miner, who is leaving office at the end of the year, has been heavily recruited to run. Miner cited Katko’s vote for the GOP’s tax bill as making her reconsider. She has also been considering whether to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) from the left in next year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary.

PA-10: Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko (R) is challenging Rep. Tom Marino (R) in next year’s Republican primary. McLinko cited the opioid crisis and the 60 Minutes report that caused Marino to withdraw his name to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy as reasons for running.

PA-11: Mike Marsicano, a former Hazleton mayor who was the 2016 Democratic nominee, will run for this seat again. Marsicano lost to Rep. Lou Barletta (R) by 27 points last year. Barletta is running for US Senate. Marsicano was unopposed for the nomination last year, but will have opposition this time. Former state agriculture secretary Denny Wolff and Air Force veteran Robert Alan Howe are running for the Democratic nomination while Luzerne County Councilman Tim McGinley is also considering running. State Rep. Stephen Bloom (R), former state revenue secretary Dan Meuser, businessman Andrew Lewis and Berwick Councilman Andrew Schecktor are running for the Republican nomination while former deputy state Attorney General Joe Peters is considering running.

TX-6: Rep. Joe Barton (R) announced his retirement yesterday-check our post about it yesterday with a Great Mentioner on who may run to succeed him.

TX-29: State Rep. Carol Alvarado (D) announced yesterday that she will not run for Congress. Alvarado was considered to be a potentially strong contender for the seat. She joins state Rep. Armando Walle (D) as candidates declining bids in recent days. As more potentially strong candidates decide not to run, state Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) seems to be the clear frontrunner. Reflecting this situation, retiring Rep. Gene Green (D) also endorsed Garcia yesterday.

State offices:

AZ-Treas.: State Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee (R) announced on Wednesday she will run for State Treasurer. Yee will face Arizona Corporation Commission chairman Tom Forese in the Republican primary. Current Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R), isn’t running for re-election and has been nominated to a post with NASA. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will appoint DeWit’s successor.

CO-Treas./CO-Leg.: A Democrat is drafting legislation to expel a fellow Democrat from the state House. State Rep. Matt Gray (D) is planning to submit his proposal to the House when they reconvene in January to expel state Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) after he was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, including another state representative. Lebsock, who is also running for State Treasurer, has refused calls for him to resign. Expulsion of a member requires a two-thirds vote of the chamber, and has only happened once before in Colorado history.

NM-Aud.: State Auditor Tim Keller (D) has resigned and will be sworn in as mayor of Albuquerque today. Gov. Susana Martinez (R) will appoint Keller’s replacement, likely giving the state another Republican statewide officeholder at least until the end of the term next year. Applications are being accepted through today, but there is no timetable on naming a replacement.

PA-LG: Yet another candidate is getting in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor. State Rep. Madeleine Dean (D) announced Wednesday that she is running. She is the 4th major Democrat to take on incumbent LG Mike Stack (D). The others are Braddock Mayor John Fetterman (D), Chester County Commissioner Kathy Cozzone (D), and Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman (D).

International:

Australia: The first of two by-elections this month in the House of Representatives will be held this Saturday. The by-elections were scheduled because two members were forced to resign their seats after a High Court ruling that barred people with dual citizenship from serving in the Parliament. This Saturday’s election occurs in the New South Wales seat of New England, where National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce will attempt to regain his seat. Joyce is expected to be returned relatively easily. The elections hold unusual importance as the absence of two Coalition members has left the governing Coalition temporarily without a majority and forces them to rely on confidence and supply agreements with two independents.

Political Roundup for November 30th, 2017

Welcome to the roundup y’all.

Senate

AL-Sen: A new JMC poll in the marquee US Senate race in Alabama (who’da thunk we’d say that about a general election in Alabama two months ago?) has Moore (R) leading Jones (D) 48%-43%, which follows a trend in some recent polls of Moore bouncing back a bit from the sting of the initial reveal of his predatory behavior years before.

More AL-Sen: President Trump is considering breaking ranks with Senate Republicans to back a robocall, texting, and email effort (so low cost and marginal, but still) targeting Doug Jones (D) in the Senate race. While I guess this is an attempt to give Trump plausible deniability by not completely putting his name on the effort, his public remarks about Jones and Moore kind of stand for themselves.

AZ-Sen, AZ-Treas: Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) is being nominated for a position at NASA. DeWit was talked up as a potential challenger to Sen. Jeff Flake (R) when he was still running for reelection, and his name was still floating for the open seat as well. Chem Trail Kelli is already running for Republicans, with Reps. McSally and Salmon the two biggest names tossed around.

Governor

OH-Gov, OH-LG: Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has pulled a massive coup by forming a gubernatorial ticket with Secretary of State Jon Husted, who looks set to transfer his own campaign (and, perhaps more importantly, 7-figure campaign warchest) into a bid for Lieutenant Governor on DeWine’s ticket.

House

MI-13: Rep. John Conyers apparently plans to announce his resignation in January. We have the Great Mentioner for his successor in this Detroit-based seat in last night’s writeup of the news.

TX-6: Things are looking down for Rep. Joe Barton (R), who is presently holding off on filing for reelection amidst scandal over a nude photo leaking online. Among the folks lining up to call for him to retire are the Chairman of the Tarrant County GOP and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Star-Telegram further reports a recent meeting of 20 local party leaders (mostly women) discussing his potential reelection; Barton said at the meeting he has hired a consulting firm to conduct an internal poll and see where things stand before he decides to retire or not.

PA-1: Rep. Bob Brady (D) may get off on some of his federal charges due to the simple reason that the statute of limitations has run out on many of the alleged crimes. There are still other charges floating around in the ether though, but all things equal, a corrupt pol probably wants to face less corruption charges than more. Take the win while you can Brady!

NH-1: A lot of endorsements from local officials for Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D) in his bid for this open congressional seat ahead of his official Dec. 13th kickoff event.

PA-8: Former (Mike) Fitzpatrick staffer Valerie Mihalek is now primarying Rep. (Brian) Fitzpatrick (R), brother of Mike.

NJ-2: The NRCC is still recruiting candidates in one of our toughest attempts at a hold this cycle in NJ-2, where Dems got their ideal recruit for this open seat in State Sen. Jeff Van Drew. Among the politicians the NRCC has met with are Atlantic city Mayor Don Guardian, who won a mayoral term back in 2013 but lost reelection in 2017; former Assemblyman Vincent Polistina; and Hammonton Councilor Mike Torrissi.

State and Local

MN-SD-54: Republicans have a strong candidate for the special election for this Cottage Grove seat in former State Rep. Denny McNamara. This is also a welcome development because it may help keep State Rep. Keith Franke, who was previously considering his own bid, ensconced in his own swing seat as Republicans brace themselves for an impending Democratic wave in the collar counties in 2018. Former State Rep. and Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham (DFL) is already in the race. The special election here was triggered by State Sen. Dan Schoen (DFL), who just resigned over a number of harassment accusations.

TX-Ag Comm: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) drew a primary challenge from lobbyist Trey Blocker. Blocker had been rumored to run for awhile, and back in June he loaned himself $750,000 to get the campaign started. Miller has a propensity to draw unforced bad headlines, and this may be the most interesting statewide primary Republicans have in Texas. Not sure if that is a point in favor of a Blocker-Miller race or an indictment of just how sleepy the Texas primaries are statewide this cycle.

NH-Leg: After two rounds of balloting, it seems likely that State Rep. Gene Chandler (R) has defeated more conservative opposition to return to the vacant speaker’s helm in the chaotic New Hampshire House of Representatives. I say “seems likely” because a handful of firebrand legislators submitted blank ballots in an attempt to prolong the vote by denying Chandler his majority. Chandler, who was once censured by the House in his prior tenure as Speaker, won in part thanks to a pledge to only serve out the remainder of Speaker Shawn Jasper’s term in the post.

Atlanta-Mayor: Opinion Savvy has conducted a poll for the local Fox affiliate of the Atlanta mayoral contest that shows a tight race between City Councilors Mary Norwood (I) (39%) and Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) (42%) in the December 5th runoff. Norwood, a white moderate, also just recently picked up the support of former City Council President and third place finisher in the first round Cathy Woolard (D), the only prominent white liberal in the first round.

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