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Political Roundup for November 16, 2017

Check back at 3pm for our previews of the weekend’s election in Louisiana and PA-18 D convention. Now as America becomes more “woke” to the perversion from sea to shining sea, it is time for today’s roundup.  In that spirit, we will have a section today devoted to naughty behavior obviously including lots about “Dirty Roy Moore”:

The Perverted News:

AL-Sen: It is bad when you have to send your attorney onto MSNBC to deny allegations that you have a thing for teenage girls.  It is even worse when your attorney makes bizarre statements about the host of the show and his ethnic background (by the way, Ali Velshi is from Canada).  This was in response to another victim of Dirty Roy Moore stepping forward to tell us he spent all that money on the Ten Commandments, but clearly did not understand some of them.

More AL-Sen:  Senator Luther Strange (R) knew of rumors of Dirty Roy Moore, but was unable to get the victims to go on the record.  Senator Strange does not know the first rule of dirty politics… have other people do the dirty work for you, specifically the press.

Even More AL-Sen:  The NRSC, the first organization to go full-blown Taylor Swift on Dirty Roy Moore, has released a poll showing Dirty Roy Moore down 12 points on Doug Jones (D).  There are some questions to be raised by this poll as polls in the field at the same time showed Moore slightly ahead not on the way to losing Alabama by double digits.

FLDS:  Hildale Utah has elected its first mayor whose not a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints.  Donia Jessop, a former FLDS member who still practices plural marraige with her husband and “sister wife”, defeated the incumbent FLDS mayor.  In addition, 3 non-FLDS members won city council seats meaning that theocracy is finally dead in the state of Utah.  Jessop plans on organizing a similar movement in Colorado City, Arizona to end the theocracy south of the Utah border.  Utah and Arizona have been taking measures (it was about time) to destabilize the festering bit of theocracy along their shared border.

OR-State Senate: State Senator Sara Gelser (D) has accused State Senator Jeff Kruse (R) of sexual assault and claims that Kruse has sexually assaulted over a dozen other women affiliated with the Oregon Senate.  Kruse denies the allegations and the Senate is investigating Oregon’s bout of perversion.

Philly-Sheriff:  Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams (D-Machine) faces an increasing number of sexual assault / harassment / intimidating claims.  Controller-Elect Rebecca Rhynhart (D-Not Machine) is going to audit the Sheriff’s Office for a number of reasons including Williams’ being a dirty man.

Now for the non-perverted news…

Congress/National

MA-Sen/MA-Gov:  Only in Massachusetts can a moderate Republican Governor and Bold Progressive Democratic Senator be cruising to reelection at the same time.  Governor Charlie Baker (R-Andyroo’s Hero) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) have high approval numbers and are cruising to reelection.

House GOP:  Members of the Republican Political Staffer Consultant Industrial Complex are worried that Republican members of the House of Representatives are not ready for a “blue wave” coming in 2018.  I tend to share their worry, but am not sure if there is anything they can do about it other than appropriate funds to build a time machine, go back in time, and rig the RNC rules to prevent a Trump nomination.

DNC:  Senator Tim Kaine (D) wants to eliminate the DNC super delegates for the 2020 nomination.  Kaine should look at how not having them hurt the Republican Party.

States

OH-Gov:  Speaking of Senator Warren, the guy who took the job originally meant for Seantor Warren, CFPB Director Richard Cordray (D-Bold Progressive), stepped down to run for Ohio Governor.  The financial services industry is having an all-night long bender to celebrate Cordray’s candidacy.

Michigan Senate:  Frequent commentator RepublicanMichigander published an excellent breakdown of the Michigan Senate outlook in 2018.  I recommend reading as all of Michigan’s senate seats are up for election next year.

California:  Apparently it is legal now for paid canvassers to harvest ballots in California because voters cannot be trusted with mailing their own ballots and picking the right candidates.  Vote by mail is obviously too difficult.  I wonder if soon there will be proposals to cancel elections and let the vanguard party select the leaders.

2017 General Election Previews, Part 1: Legislatures & Miscellany

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

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

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

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

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

Fulton, GA-CE: Fulton County is an oddly-shaped snake that covers the city of Atlanta as well as two large chunks of suburbs in the north-central and southwest parts of the metro. It has a black plurality and a PVI of D+19 (2016). Three candidates are squaring off in a special election to fill the seat of John Eaves (D), who resigned to run for Atlanta Mayor; it is in a Louisiana Rules Top Two format. The slight front-runner looks like ex-county commissioner and 2014 CE candidate Robb Pitts (D). A longtime local pol, Pitts, who is black, served on the Atlanta council before losing a 2001 mayoral bid. He then won a swingy white-majority commission seat and held it through several competitive races. Pitts is a somewhat moderate liberal with mavericky tendencies; he has habitually voted against county budgets on the commission. Pitts’s intraparty rival is State Rep. Keisha Waites (D). Waites is also a mainstream liberal with some moderate tendencies. Her main difference with Pitts is generally style, as she is a much more easygoing type of pol. Republicans are also seriously contesting this seat, with a credible contender in Sandy Springs councilman and former congressional staffer Gabriel Sterling (R). Sterling is a moderate conservative and considered a rising star in the party. Though he is facing tough terrain, Republicans held this seat as recently as 2006. Turnout differences and crossover support thus mean Sterling’s chances should not be discounted. There is no clear favorite in this race; a runoff seems likely and any two could advance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flip over for the NJ Legislature, NYC Council Races, and Legislative Specials!

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Political Roundup for October 12th, 2017

Check back at 3p ET this afternoon for our preview of this weekend’s Louisiana Primaries.

President

Murphy: Alas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) will go on raising money off gun control and not run for President. Of course this early is like the beginning of a spy movie where you have to trust nobody because the premise sets up people going back on their word.

Senate

CA-Sen: Billionaire environmentalist financier Tom Steyer (D) is looking at a challenge of Sen. Diane Feinstein from the left. California’s top-two primary opens the door to these kind of intra-party challenges destined to take place among a general election electorate. Meanwhile, far-left Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) has declined to run for Senate against Dianne Feinstein, an institution in California politics, despite the urging of fellow Rep. Rho Khanna. State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D) also looks like a no at a campaign against Feinstein from the left. Feinstein has already racked up endorsements from a wide range of Democratic officials since announcing her reelection on Monday, including LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Sen. Kamala Harris.

AL-Sen: Roy Moore (R) previously said he drew no salary from his work with his charity “The Foundation for Moral Law;” however, he collected over $1 million from the organization over five years. Incredibly, when the organization couldn’t afford the salary they gave him a stake in a historic building they own. The organization also had two of his children on the payroll at one point. Moore faces former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) in this special election.

NJ-Sen: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) may yet squirm out of his dicey legal situation.

Governor

MI-Gov: State Sen. Pat Colbeck (R) has been stripped of all his committee assignments since launching a gubernatorial bid. Apparently the harsh move was in response to Colbeck appearing at a fundraiser in Senate Majority Leader Arian Meekhof’s district without notifying the rival politician. Seems like a minor faux pas compared to the severity of the response. Colbeck is running to the right in this race and will likely be overshadowed in the Republican primary by Attorney General Bill Schuette and the possible bid of Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley.

TN-Gov: After the House passed her budget bill, Rep. Diane Black (R) can take a victory lap and focus on her gubernatorial bid in this open seat. She is holding onto her committee chairmanship as budget negotiations continue with the Senate.

House

PA-13: Rep. Brendan Boyle (D) suddenly became many Republicans’ favorite congressman when he recently opined on the sport of soccer. “Run around for 90 minutes.
Flop when barely touched. Score 1 goal at most. Do I got it?,” Boyle tweeted, adding a winky face before he concluded the diatribe.

MN-8: Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL) is on the receiving end of a primary challenge from FBI counterterrorism analyst Leah Phifer. Phifer doesn’t sound overtly liberal on a lot of issues, but she is on one key issue in the 8th: the Polymet mining project. Nolan is liberal, but even he is not brazen enough to vote that far against his district. Phifer’s take on this issue could drive a nice wedge in the primary, and the race already has Green Skip Sandman returning for a repeat third party campaign to split those votes in the general. St Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber (R) is running on the Republican side in this swingy, Lean D seat. More from Aaron Brown.

NH-1: John DiStaso analyzes the newly open swing seat here, where real political junkies were starved of another Guinta v Shea-Porter matchup. Democrats interested in the seat include: former Somersworth mayor and former Strafford County attorney Lincoln Soldati and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D), and State Reps. Mark McKenzie (D) and Mindi Messmer (D).

NH-2: State Rep. Steve Negron (R) has picked up some legislative endorsements out of Nashua, which makes it sound like the outcome of his “exploring” this race is pretty likely.

State and Local

MI-Leg: Former State Rep. and felon Brian Banks (D)just resigned his seat last February over his latest charges, so naturally he is now…. running for a promotion to State Senate? Some politicians have some grand audacity.

TX-leg: A few updates.

  • HD-128: State Rep. Briscoe Cain received a boost to his reelection when Black Lives Matter shut down a speech of his at Texas Southern University, giving the conservative facing a Republican primary challenge from Baytown City Councilman Terry Sain a nice bogeyman to campaign against.
  • SD-13: State Sen. Borris Miles(D) survived an armed robbery last night.
  • HD-6: House leadership may have found a candidate to take on Freedom Caucus member Matt Schaefer in former State Rep. Ted Kamel of Tyler.

NH-Leg: Gov. Sununu (R) plans to nominate Speaker Shawn Jasper (R) to be the Commissioner of Agriculture, leaving a gaping hole for House leadership. Jasper would resign once confirmed for the post. Remember, Jasper has dueled a conservative insurgency since usurping his present post, so the move is sure to create a competitive race for a replacement.

Political Roundup for August 9th, 2017

About Last night, Democrat Phil Miller won IA-LD-28 by a 54% to 44% margin. Trump won seat 58% to 37%. In MO-LD-50 Sara Walsh (R) won by a narrower than expected 52% to 48% margin. In MO-SD-28 Republican State Rep. Sandy Crawford won.

In primaries, Marquette councilwoman Sara Cambensy (D) won the primary for MI-LD-109 with 37 percent of the vote. She will face Republican Rich Rossway in General Election. Tenisha Yancey (D) won the primary for the Safe D MI-LD-1, and Spartanburg councilman Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) won the primary for the Safe D SC-LD-31. Businessman Paul Rosino (R) prevailed in OK-SD-45, while retired cop Ross Ford (R) narrowly won in OK-LD-76 over the prior incumbent’s widow. Ford will face teacher Chris Vanlandingham (D) in the general.

President:

Kasich: An American Research Group poll has Gov. John Kasich leading President Trump in a hypothetical New Hampshire Republican presidential primary 52% to 40%.  Unfortunately ARG did not do a three way poll of a hypothetical primary in which John Kasich plays spoiler allowing Trump to win again with 40% of the vote.

Governor:

CO-Gov: State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) has found a novel way around Colorado’s restrictive campaign finance laws that limits donations to $1,150. Stapleton is holding off announcing his run for governor in order to raise unlimited cash for a super PAC-style group called Better Colorado Now. Stapleton’s situation highlights the problems with restrictive campaign finance laws that encourages the outsourcing the cost of running a political campaign to outside third party political groups.

FL-Gov: Despite serious questions that arose, a Florida grand jury has cleared Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum of criminal liability after an investigation into his use of a city-funded email program used to send private and political messages.

KS-Gov: Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) made it official and announced that he will run for Governor in 2018. Colyer is poised to takeover as Governor of Kansas when current Gov. Sam Brownback (R) finally gets confirmed to be ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Running for a full term as a sitting governor should give Colyer a leg up in the Republican primary where he could face a crowded field that includes Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer (who entered the race earlier this week), businessman Wink Hartman, former state senator Jim Barnett and entrepreneur Ed O’Malley

NY-Gov: Oh, Miranda! Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is taking the threat of a Cynthia Nixon primary challenge serious enough to offer to sit down with her and discuss education issues. Nixon meanwhile declined to rule out a bid for Governor during an appearance she made on the Today Show.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) may want to do some more polling before deciding if she wants to run for Governor. According to a PPP poll of a potential GOP primary former LePage health commissioner Mary Mayhew would lead Collins in a hypothetical matchup, 44 percent to 33 percent. Collins would score just a mere 28% against a hypothetical “someone else”. We would advice taking this poll with a very big grain of salt as it is common practice to release polls like this to either motivate or demotivate a potential candidate from running.

TX-Gov: Texas Democrats still do not have a candidate for governor. No major Democrat has shown any interest in losing challenging Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) who has nearly $41 million in his campaign account and strong approval ratings. So far only former “International Mr. Leather” Jeffrey Payne (D) has announced his intentions to run.

VA-Gov: A new poll released by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University shows Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) with a slight 42% to 37% edge over Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race. Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra gets 6% in this matchup while 13% are undecided.

WY-Gov: Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) confirmed she will not run for Governor. Incumbent Gov. Matt Mead (R) is term limited and many people had thought Lummis would be a shoo-in to succeed him. Without Lummis running the field here seems to be wide open.

Senate:

AL-Sen: President Donald J. Trump (R) has endorsed appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) ahead for the upcoming special election. Assuming President Trump doesn’t start a nuclear war between now and August 15th this should help Sen. Strange bigly.

IN-Sen: ICYMI, fourth-term Rep. Todd Rokita (R) will join the primary for Sen. Joe Donnelly’s (D) Senate seat. We had full coverage of this yesterday.

MI-Sen: Kid Rock (R) has made it official! Robert Richie aka “Kid Rock” has left his two-decade affiliation with the Warner Music Group and signed on with Music City’s BBR Music record label. He is also contemplating a US Senate run.

NV-Sen: A Strategic National poll has  Sen. Dean Heller (R) leading perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian in a Republican primary by a 38% to 34% margin win 27% undecided. Of course this poll was taken before the Senate Leadership Fund PAC put any money into reminding Nevada voters about Tarkanian’s $17 million bankruptcy and other less than flattering business dealings.

VA-Sen: Nothing says you are a man of the people and a real Virginian more than flying out to the Hamptons and having a $10,800 a head fundraiser at the mansion summer home of New York Giants co-owner Jon Tisch, which is why Sen. Tim Kaine (D) plans to spend the last week in August on the South Fork of Long Island, NY raising some serious money.

WI-Sen: The NRSC has launched radio ads in the Wausau and La Crosse markets attacking Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) over an opioid scandal in Wisconsin Veterans Administration Hospital that Sen. Baldwin tried to help sweep under the rug.

WV-Sen: Sen. Joe Manchin doesn’t “give a s–t” if his liberal voting record costs him re-election.

House:

KY-6: Politico Magazine looks at Democrats fetish for getting behind the candidacy of US veterans. The latest example of this in in KY-6 where long shot formerly unknown Air Force pilot Amy McGrath was able to raise over $200,000 in 36 hours thanks to a viral video of her talking about serving as a combat pilot. McGrath faces State Sen. Reggie Thomas (D) in the primary. Both Donald Trump and Mitt Romney won KY-6 by double digits and Rep. Andy Barr (R) cruised to an easy 22 point win in 2016.

MT-AL: Newly elected Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) will get his first Democrat challenger. Some dude attorney John Heenan (D) announced he will run for Congress.

NJ-11: After the DCCC’s top recruit Assemblyman John McKeon (D) announced that he would not run for Congress, Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) announced he is “officially exploring” a run for the seat held by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R). Donald Trump won this district by 1 point in 2016 and Frelinghuysen cruised to an easy 20 point victory in a seat that his ancestors have represented in one capacity or another since 1720.

NY-19: A pro-Obamacare group has launched a new digital ad aimed at freshman Rep. John Faso (R). No word on how much they intend to spend on the hit job digital ad.

OH-16: Former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (R) recently met with the NRCC about a possible run for the seat Rep. Jim Renacci (R) is vacating to run for governor. 28 year old heir force state Rep.Christina Hagan (R) and State Rep. Tom Patton (RINO) are currently running for this seat.

TN-2: Financial advisor Brad Fullington (R) has become the third Republican to enter the open race for the safe R seat of retiring Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R). Fullington is not nearly as well known as  Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and State Rep. Jimmy Matlock who are also seeking the GOP nomination.

WI-4: Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski (D) is considering challenging Rep. Gwen Moore (D) in a Democrat primary next year. Moore has not faced a serious challenge in years and easily defeated felon and (former state Senator) Gary George in her last two primary elections.

State, Local & Other:

Syracuse-Mayor: The September 12th Democrat primary for mayor of Syracuse has narrowed from 7 candidates to 3. Democrat organization endorsed City Councilor Joe Nicoletti, City Auditor Marty Masterpole and NY State Dept of Labor official and former Dean of Students at Syracuse University Juanita Perez Williams made the ballot while 4 others either dropped out, couldn’t get enough signatures or had enough of their nominating petition signatures invalidated by challenges to be knocked off the ballot (an art form in NY State). Syracuse has not elected a GOP mayor since 2001 and 55% of voters are Democrats, so the winner of the Democrat primary will be the favorite in November.

Detroit & Kenya Preview & Open Thread

Today there are a handful of minor elections: 8 legislative specials, an international race, and a meaningless mayoral race in Detroit. There isn’t enough to liveblog today, but here is an open thread to discuss any of these races.

Detroit: Today is the primary for Mayor of Detroit, but it’s not exactly interesting. Detroit has a population of around 675K (which is still dropping, though not quite as precipitously as it has been) that is roughly 85% Black, with a small Mexican community on the southwest side and a few white hipsters downtown. It had a PVI of D+44 (2008). This race is a California-Rules Top Two primary, so with only two serious candidates, today is essentially a straw poll for November’s real election. Incumbent Mike Duggan (D) is the first white mayor of the city since the 70s. Duggan is a typical machine hack liberal, but he has done a decent job of slowing the city’s freefall and even reversing the decline in some neighborhoods. Clearing that low bar is enough to make him a huge favorite for re-election to a second term. Duggan’s rival, State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of Detroit’s polarizing 70s and 80s era mayor of the same name, is running to his left, accusing Duggan of not paying enough attention to the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Polls generally show Duggan leading Young by around 2:1, and it looks like that will be close to today’s result as well. Six other non-serious candidates are on the ballot, including four felons.

Kenya: The east African nation of Kenya is also holding its presidential election today. Kenya is a nation of 48M with a land area slightly smaller than Texas. Like many third-world democracies, Kenya’s politics are more clan- and personality-based than ideological. The two candidates for president are incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and Ralia Odinga, his rival in the previous election. Both are wealthy and descendants of some of the nation’s founding leaders, and their families have dominated the nation for much of the time since independence. Polling shows Odinga with a slight lead; regardless of the result, observers are considering post-election violence to be likely between the nation’s various clans.

Legislative Specials: There are also 8 legislative specials at stake across 5 states: 3 generals, 4 primaries, and a primary runoff.
IA-LD-82 is probably the first legit shot for a contested R pickup in a legislative special this year. At stake is a formerly D-held R+12 (2016) seat covering much of the college town of Fairfield and rural areas to the south along the MO border. A pair of school board presidents, Phil Miller (D) and Travis Harris (R) are facing off. This is a very Trumpist area, but the seat voted for Obama in 2012. Between the new lean of the seat and the energized Dem base, I would say there is no clear favorite.
MO-SD-28 is an R+21 (2012) seat covering a broad swath of rural areas north of Springfield, from Lebanon to Sedalia. State Rep. Sandy Crawford (R) should be heavily favored over retired teacher Al Skalicky (D) for the seat.
MO-LD-50
is an R+13 (2012) seat covering the southern edge of the Columbia area and rural areas between Columbia and Jefferson City. Democrats have gone all-in on this seat on behalf of attorney and state legislative staffer Michaela Skelton (D), a cousin of ex-Rep. Ike (D). Skelton is facing lobbyist and GOP official Sara Walsh (R), who has the lean of the seat on her side but has trailed in fundraising. There is no clear favorite overall.
MI-LD-1 is a D+25 (2016) seat covering the wealthy northern half of the Grosse Pointes, the lower-middle-class suburb of Harper Woods, and the desperately poor northeast corner of Detroit. 11 Democrats are facing off; the primary winner will be the prohibitive favorite in the general. 2016 candidate and attorney Pam Sossi (D), who took over a third of the vote against the indicted prior incumbent in last year’s primary, is probably the front-runner this time with a more white-heavy electorate and fractured field. Two other 2016 candidates, congressional staffer Washington Youngson (D) and teacher Keith Hollowell (D), are also running. The other candidates in the race are Justin Johnson (D), the brother of indicted State Sen. Bert (D), school board member Tenisha Yancey (D), zoning board member Gowana Mancill Jr (D), attorneys Kirkland Garey (D) and Sandra Bucciero (D), and three Some Dudes. Sossi, Yancey, Mancil, and Johnson are considered the major candidates.
MI-LD-109 is a formerly-D-held R+3 (2016) seat covering the central Upper Peninsula from Marquette to Manistique. Four Democrats are facing off for the open seat. Marquette councilwoman and 2016 candidate Sara Cambensy (D) looks like the slight front-runner as she has name recognition from her prior run, but Marquette County commissioner Joe Derocha (D) has stronger establishment support. Two others, Sen. Debbie Stabenow staffer Jeremy Hosking (D) and Limestone Twp. councilman Tom Curry (D), also seem serious. The winner will face former school board president Richard Rossway (R).
OK-SD-45 is an R+21 (2016) seat covering some poor neighborhods south of downtown OKC and wrapping southwest around the Airport through deep-red southwestern exurbs near Mustang. Former State Highway Patrol chief Kerry Pettingill (R) looks like the slight favorite, but businessmen Duane Smith (R) and Paul Rosino (R) also seem serious. Attorney Scott Harris (R), physician Diane Means (R), businessman Brian Walters (R), and a Some Dude all look like longer shots. For Democrats, police dispatcher Steven Vincent (D) is the clear favorite over Noah Ynclan (D), who has no establishment support after revelations of a 2013 domestic violence conviction.
OK-LD-76 is an R+18 (2016) seat covering most of the western half of Broken Arrow in the Tulsa suburbs. Shelly Brumbaugh (R), widow of the prior Rep., is the clear favorite for the primary, but she faces four other Republicans. 2014 candidate Cliff Johns (R) seems like her most serious rival, but businessman Jess Guthrie (R), retired cop Ross Ford (R), and teacher Brian Elliott (R) are also in the race. Teachers Chris Vanlandingham (D) and Forest Mayer (D) are facing off for the Dem nomination; there is no clear favorite on that side.
SC-LD-31 is a D+23 (2016) seat covering central and western Spartanburg. Two Democrats are heading to a primary runoff: Spartanburg city councilor Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) and NAACP official Mo Abusaft (D). Henderson-Myers led Abusaft 39-32 two weeks ago and looks like a slight front-runner, but an upset is possible. The primary winner will be a prohibitive favorite in the general.

Political Roundup for May 10, 2017

Last Night, Incumbent Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert (R) defeated ex-State Sen. Heath Mello (D) 53-47, prompting sighs of relief from Kos that a pro-life Democrat didn’t win high office. In South Korea, Moon Jae-In of the center-left easily won the presidency, while in British Columbia, the center-right Liberals appear to have won a 43-41 lead over the NDP, but with Greens taking 3 seats neither has a majority. Finally, Republican Zack Taylor (R) held OK-LD-28 by a much-narrower-than-expected 2-point margin, while Tressa Nunley (R) and Karen Gaddis (D) advanced to the general for OK-LD-75.

And now here is your non-Comey news for today…

Governor:

ID-Gov, ID-1: Rep. Raul Labrador (R) announced his run for Governor of Idaho yesterday. Click to go to our full post on the race.

IL-Gov: Here’s a good profile of the tightrope State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) has to walk in taking on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) while a member of the legislature. Being in the legislature, of course, means that Biss is tied to unpopular State House Dictator Speaker Mike Madigan (D), his largest campaign donor, but political necessity means that Biss has to criticize Madigan on the campaign trail. Biss faces a crowded Dem primary with uber-wealthy businessman and 1998 IL-9 candidate JB Pritzker (D), heir force Col. Chris Kennedy (D), local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D), and potentially others.

MD-Gov: State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D), a moonbat from Montgomery County, becomes the second “C” list Democrat to announce a run against popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in the deep-blue state, joining Hillary staffer Alec Ross (D). Many other “B” and “C” list Democrats are considering runs.

NM-Gov: Rep. Steve Pearce (R) is considering a run for Governor. Pearce, who represents the southern half of the state, would likely be a favorite in the primary, but his conservative profile may be as tough a sell statewide as it was in his disastrous 2008 Senate bid.

OH-Gov: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) will run for Governor, joining ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D) and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D) in this crowded Dem primary. Republicans have an equally crowded field.

Congress:

FL-27: State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) will run for Ros-Lehtinen’s central Miami seat. Rodriguez has won two hard-fought legislative races for seats overlapping this one and currently represents 2/3 of the seat; needless to say, he looks likely to be Dems’ top choice here unless popular local superintendent Alberto Carvalho (D) runs. Dade County commissioner Bruno Barriero (R) is in the race on the GOP side, though with Dems getting an “A” lister this tough race looks like it is getting even tougher to hold.

IL-10: Ex-Rep. Bob Dold (R) will not seek a third rematch with Rep. Brad Schneider (D) in this formerly-swingy but now deep-blue North Shore seat. Dold, who was abnormally strong in this area, probably takes this seat off the board for Republicans by not running. However, attorney Jeremy Wynes (R) appears set to try his luck on a bid.

MN-3: Dean Phillips (D), a wealthy businessman, will run against Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in this very swingy but historically-R suburban Minneapolis seat. Paulsen has proven very strong as he easily beat a touted Dem recruit in State Sen. Terri Bonoff (D) in 2016.

State Offices:

FL-AG: State Rep. Jay Fant (R) of Jacksonville has become the first candidate to file for the AG race. This race has been in suspended animation for a while while candidates wait on whether AG Pam Bondi (R) will take a Trump admin job and allow Gov. Rick Scott (R) to appoint her replacement. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) and State Senate Pres. Joe Negron (R) are also considered potential candidates.

GA-LG: State Sen. David Shafer (R) has filed to run for LG, making him the first major candidate into this open seat race. Shafer, who is in Senate leadership and considered an LG run in 2010, is likely to be a front-runner in the primary.

GA-Supt: Two Democrats are considering runs for this post against incumbent Richard Woods (R), National PTA president Otha Thornton (D) and state teachers’ union president Sid Chapman (D).

RIP: Michigan State Rep. John Kivela of the Marquette area has committed suicide after his second drunk-driving arrest in three years.

Local Offices:

NYC-Mayor, NYC-Comp: Pastor and former congressional candidate Michael Faulnkner (R) will drop his run for Mayor and seek the Comptroller’s office against incumbent Scott Stringer (D). Faulkner has no shot in the deep-blue city at such a low-profile office against a non-controversial incumbent, but it’s just as hopeless as taking on two better-known candidates, developer Paul Massey (R) and State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R) in the Mayoral Primary, so why not?

Seattle-Mayor: Incumbent Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) has abruptly dropped his re-election bid just days before the filing deadline after several other accusers have come forward alleging prior sexual abuse. The establishment progressive Murray was set to face far-left moonbat ex-Mayor Mike McGinn (D) and others in the August primary, but now the field seems likely to expand dramatically, with State Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D) entering the race and ex-US Attorney Jenny Durkan (D) also apparently set to enter.

St. Petersburg-Mayor: 2000s-era ex-Mayor Rick Baker (R) will seek to get his old job back against first-term incumbent Rick Kriseman (D) in this year’s race. Baker, who had been considering a run for Governor, is popular in his hometown and will likely be a formidable opponent for Kriseman.

MD-Frederick-CE: Regina Williams (R), the county’s former budget director, will become the first Republican to announce a run against CE Jan Graham (D) in this purple but historically-R county. County commissioner Kirby Delauter (R) and State Rep. Kathy Afzali (R) are also considered potential candidates against Graham.

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