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Political Roundup for December 4th, 2017

Big Picture

Professions: Here’s a cool breakdown of professions by party. It’s from FEC data, so the numbers will be fairly skewed in several ways. Still, it’s interesting to see the differences, especially between similar professions and among ones in the same industry.

Congress

AL-Sen: CBS commissioned a poll of the upcoming special Senate election in Alabama from YouGov and found Creepy Roy (R, unfortunately) ahead of former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) 49-43. Most polls recently have found Moore ahead by single digits, but turnout patterns will be crucial, as they are in any special election (and really, every election).

AR-Sen: It’s not official, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may be on the way out. If that happens, CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be his likely successor. Pompeo’s likely successor is rumored to be Sen. Tom Cotton (R). Finally, we get to the point of all this, which is that if those dominoes fall that way, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (R) may want to return to DC, this time in the upper chamber.

FL-Sen: In a contrast to much of his tenure in office, Gov. Rick Scott (R) seems to be pretty popular at the moment, or so says this poll by Saint Leo Uiversity. Scott’s favorables are over 60%, and the poll also finds him leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) by 10 (!) points. The undecided number in the poll is high, and we still have eleven months until the 2018 general election, but this has to be putting a smile on Scott’s face.

UT-Sen: I’m not quite sure why, but the country’s clumsiest political puppetmaster is contemplating backing Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) for another term against a nascent bid by former Presidential nominee and business wizard Mitt Romney (R). This might make sense, since Hatch has been instrumental in shepherding the tax reform package, except that he was looking to retire. I have to assume that Bannon is just trying to block Romney, but that seems somewhat risky in Romney-loving, Trump-disliking Utah. It seems risky for Hatch’s legacy as well. We’ll have to see how this one plays out over the next few months to get a clearer picture.

Trump Districts: Politico runs down the Democrats in Trump districts who are therefore vulnerable next year, and it’s a decent summation. I’ll just add that if there’s a Democratic wave, most of them should survive to be absolutely slaughtered a few cycles from now. The only district that I’m fairly sure will fall is the open MN-01.

MI-09: With the retirement of long-serving Rep. Sander Levin (D) over the weekend, speculation now turns to who will run to succeed him. Sander’s son Andy (D) is thought to be mulling a run, as is State Sen. Steve Bieda (D). On the Republican side of things, no major candidates are getting serious mentions yet. The district, based in the inner northern suburbs of Detroit, moved into theoretically competitive territory in 2016. However, Demorats are likely to hold onto it in 2018 and it may get eliminated in a few cycles due to reapportionment.

NV-04: One of Rep. Ruben Kihuen’s (D) former campaign workers has accused him of sexual harassment. The way things are going with allegations lately, this could see his northern Clark County-based district open up in 2018. Kihuen beat former Rep. Cresent Hardy (R) last year by four points. Hardy was once thought to be a probable one-term wonder wave baby, but the district actually moved two points rightward in 2018. A return to Congress for the Man from Mesquite no longer looks impossible, though the Democratic nominee should be favored.

TX-27: Rep. Blake Farenthold (R), he of the infamous footy pajamas photo, has been unmasked as the subject of a sexual harassment claim by a staffer that ended in an $84k settlement. This may boost the campaign of his primary challenger Michael Cloud (R), or it may attract more challengers.

Governor

AR-Gov: Well, Arkansas Democrats, once dominant in the Natural State, just can’t seem to catch a break. Not only have they lost both Senate seats, all four House seats, all statewide offices, and both chambers of the legislature, but now they’re even struggling to field a candidate for Governor. It had looked for a few days like they’d found one, but former State Rep. Jay Martin (D) has now taken his name out of consideration. I’m sure that someone will eventually file for the race, but it has to be embarrassing to put a name out publicly and then have that person publicly decline. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) will likely cruise to reelection with little opposition.

FL-Gov: The battle lines in the Sunshine State’s Democratic gubernatorial primary are finally starting to take shape. Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine (D) seems to have decided to take the corporate Democratic approach to raising the minimum wage, calling for regional differences in how much the wage is increased. Stay tuned for more differences appearing among the candidates as they jockey for different factions of the primary electorate.

State/Local

Aurora City Council: After a recount for a hotly-contested at-large seat on the Aurora, CO (pop. 325,000) city council, it appears that the more conservative candidate has won by 45 votes. However, it’s worth noting that progressives captured several seats on the once-red-but-now-blue city’s nonpartisan city council.

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 3rd, 2017

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of yesterday’s senseless massacre in Las Vegas. Our hope is that if politicians are crass enough to want to politicize yesterday’s tragedy they could at least talk about reforming America’s mental healthcare system. That might actually do some good and help people in need.

Elections do go on though – check back at noon for previews of today’s mayoral races in Albuquerque and Birmingham. Now today’s general news:

President:

Clinton: Yes the Clinton campaign really did stop polling battleground states at the end of the 2016 campaign! The only explanation we can think of for this political malpractice is that her campaign must have been managed by Russian agents.

Governor:

MI-Gov: Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (R) is listening. Calley kicked off a listening tour ahead of his expected campaign for governor. Attorney General Bill Schuette is considered the front runner for the GOP nomination and recently recieved the tweeted endorsement of President Donald Trump.

NJ-Gov: If a campaign falls in the woods and there’s no one around to hear it….. Yes there is a campaign for governor in New Jersey and yes no one is paying attention to it. New Jersey’s public financing system caps how much gubernatorial candidates can spend so the amount of paid media is limited and the free media is completely ignoring the race. Maybe the GOP should have tried harder to get Joe Piscopo to run. At least someone would have paid attention to him.

TX-Gov: Texas is turning Blue! Democrats just know they will win back the Texas governor’s mansion in 2018. Even though Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is very popular and sitting on a war chest of over $41 million and the leading Democrat in the race so far is leather aficionado Jeffrey Payne. Texas is turning Blue!

VA-Gov: After the massacre in Las Vegas the NRA has announced they are postponing the start of their $750,000 TV ad buy on behalf of Ed Gillespie (R) until October 10th. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pro-gun control group is spending $700,000 to help elect Democrat Ralph Northam.

Senate:

MI-Sen: Potential senate candidate Kid Rock (R) does not like the Detroit Metro Times’s coverage of him and has taken to social media to voice his displeasure (and yes his displeasure is safe for work!).

NJ-Sen: Testimony in the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D) revealed that the Senator got so angry at a bureaucrat he was trying to strong arm into helping Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen $8.9 billion Medicaid dispute that he hung up on him. The testimony revealed Menendez was uniquely focused on providing favors for the crooked doctor who provided Menendez with private jet flights, lavish vacations, pretty models and hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions.

WI-Sen: Despite recent rumors that he was considering jumping into the race, Rep. Sean Duffy (R) confirms that what he said in February still applies and that he will run for re-election in 2018 and will not run for Senate.

House:

LA-1: In case you missed it, this is the full 60 Minutes interview with Rep. Steve Scalise (R) in which he tells his harrowing ordeal after being shot in a politically motivated assassination attempt.

MN-1: Sen. Carla Nelson (R) has announced she is running for the open R+5 House seat Rep. Tim Waltz (D) is vacating to run for Governor. Nelson will face Jim Hagedorn in the GOP primary. Hagedorn is making his third bid for this seat after losing to Walz by less than 1 point in 2016 and 9 points in 2014.

NJ-7: Tom Malinowski (D), a former assistant secretary of state under President Barack Obama and a former senior director on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, is the latest Democrat to announced a challenge to Rep Leonard Lance (R) next year. Malinowski joins  Linda Weber, Lisa Mandelblatt,  Scott Salmon, Peter Jacob and Goutam Jois in seeking the Democrat nomination.

PA-1: Rep. Bob Brady’s (D) legal troubles could get a whole lot worse. Jimmie Moore, a former Philadelphia Municipal Court judge and one time Democrat primary challenger to Bob Brady, is co-operating with federal investigators and has admitted to concealing the $90,000 payment he alleges Brady gave him to drop out of the 2012 race for Congress. Moore has pleaded guilty to falsifying his campaign finance filings after dropping out of the race.

VA-7: Some dude former Marine pilot Dan Ward (D) raised over $260,000 last quarter continuing a trend of unknown Democrats in very uphill races raising an unbelievably large amount of money early. Rep. David Bratt was re-elected in 2016 by a 57.7% to 42.2% margin while Donald Trump was winning this district 51% to 44%. We are not sure if this is an indicator of something actually going on here or just the usual Democrat donor insane fetish for liberal military veteran candidates.

WI-1: Want more proof that Democrat donors are willing to throw their money out the window? Some dude perennial candidate Randy Bryce has raised over $1 million in the third quarter and has raised more than $1.5 million since entering the race in June. This is Bryce’s 4th run for elected office. Bryce lost a 2012 Democrat primary for state Assembly by 39 points, lost a 2014 election for state Senate by 23 points and lost a race for the Racine Unified School Board. So yes Democrats just threw $1.5 million at a guy who couldn’t get elected to his local school board to challenge Speaker Paul Ryan (R) who was re-elected in 2016 with 65% of the vote.

State, Local & Other:

NY SD-34: State Senate Democrats think they have found a candidate to primary Independent Democrat Conference leader Jeffrey Klein. Sen. Michael Gianaris, who heads the Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee, recently met with Alessandra Biaggi, the granddaughter of the corrupt late Rep. Mario Biaggi, about a primary challenge to Klein.

Detroit- Mayor: The first television ad backing Democrat Mayor Mike Duggan’s re-election bid will air Tuesday in Detroit.

WATN: Sadly for the Ohio GOP former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) will not be running for office in 2018. Rather Kucinich held a press conference on Monday to announce his endorsement of Issue 2, Ohio’s drug-pricing ballot issue.

VA-HD: Our friend Miles Coleman at DDHQ has released this excellent ratings and overview of next months House of Delegates elections in Virginia. We strongly recommend you check it out. It is really good stuff if you are trying to figure out which races to watch there.

Political Roundup for September 19th, 2017

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

Senate

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

Governor

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

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

House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State and Local

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

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

International

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

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

 

Political Roundup for July 28, 2017

House:

IN-6: State Sen. Mike Crider (R) wasted little time jumping into the race for this seat after Rep. Luke Messer (R) announced yesterday he is running for US Senate. Crider, who represents a small part of eastern Marion County and suburbs and rural areas to the east in Hancock and Shelby Counties, is the first person to join the race.

KS-3: Brent Welder, a labor lawyer who worked on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign last year, is running for Congress. He joins a list of 4 other Democrats, all of the some dude variety who have already announced bids for this seat. Jay Sidie, the 2016 nominee who came within 11 points of Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) last year, has said he plans to run again too.

MN-1: Olmsted County GOP Chairman Aaron Miller has decided not to run for Congress. Miller ran for the seat in 2014 and won the party’s endorsement, but lost to Jim Hagedorn in the primary. Hagedorn, who lost to Rep. Tim Walz (D) as the Republican nominee in 2014 and 2016, is the only Republican currently in the race for the now-open seat that Walz is giving up to run for governor. Three other Republicans, state Sen. Carla Nelson and state Reps. Nels Pierson and Joe Schomacker have expressed interest in running.

NM-1: Attorney Annie Chavez became the 8th Democrat yesterday to announce a run for this seat that Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D) is giving up to run for governor. In the crowded Democratic primary race thus far, the top fundraisers have been former University of New Mexico Law School associate dean Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and former state Democratic Party chair Debra Haaland. Haaland is attempting to become the first Native American woman in Congress. Former US Attorney Damon Martinez announced his campaign after the last reporting period.

NY-21: Russ Finley, a farmer and real estate agent and former member of the US bobsled team, plans to challenge Rep. Elise Stefanik (R) in the Republican primary. Finley has unsuccessfully run for State Assembly twice, once as a Conservative and once as a Republican. Finley was a strong supporter of Donald Trump last year, and helped organize rallies for him. He says he disagreed with Stefanik’s vote for the House’s Obamacare replacement and would have voted no and says the bill was “horrible”, although he didn’t get into any specifics.

Governor:

ME-Gov: Gov. Paul LePage (R) says he believes Sen. Susan Collins (R) will run for governor next year. Collins said earlier this year that she did not know whether she would run or not, and would make a decision by this fall.

NE-Gov: Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) does not yet have any Democratic challengers who have announced or are even publicly mulling a bid, but he has a Republican primary challenger. Krystal Gabel is running for the Republican nomination on a pro-marijuana legalization platform. Gabel has unsuccessfully run for a seat on an Omaha-area utilities board and earlier this year made an unsuccessful run for Omaha City Council. Gabel joins RINO state Sen. Bob Krist, who is running as an independent as the only announced challengers to Ricketts.

NJ-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee LG Kim Guadagno (R) has selected Woodcliff Lake Mayor Carlos Rendo as her running mate. Rendo is a Cuban immigrant who co-chaired Sen. Marco Rubio’s Republican presidential primary campaign in the state last year. Democratic nominee Phil Murphy selected former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D) as his running mate on Wednesday.

VT-Gov: Environmental activist James Ehlers has announced he plans to run for governor next year. Gov. Phil Scott (R) is expected to run for re-election, but has not yet announced his plans. Ehlers is the first Democrat so far to join the race.

State & Local:

FL-SD-40: Annette Taddeo, who just won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday for the special election for this seat, is being sued by American Express for nearly $38,000 in unpaid credit card debt from a translation company she owns. Taddeo, who has previously run unsuccessfully for FL-27 and as Charlie Crist’s running mate in 2014, touts her experience as a successful small business owner in her campaign literature. She claims the timing of the lawsuit is politically motivated.  She faces state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R) in the Sept. 26 special election.

NE-Treasurer: State Sen. John Murante (R) announced this week he is running for State Treasurer. Murante has been considered a likely candidate for higher office ever since winning his first term in the Legislature in 2012-he mulled a run for Congress last year before deciding against it. Murante is the state GOP establishment favorite for the race-both outgoing State Treasurer Don Stenberg (R) and State Auditor Charlie Janssen (R) were present at his announcement, and he is unlikely to receive any prominent opposition. Gadflyish (but wealthy) former Omaha Mayoral candidate Taylor Royal (R) is the other candidate connected with this race but has not yet decided for sure whether to run.

Political Roundup for July 11, 2017

First off, there are three special elections in Oklahoma today, one primary and two general. The first general election is for OK-SD-44, an R+13 (2012) seat covering lower-middle-class areas in southwest OKC near the airport. A pair of prior candidates are facing off – 2014 nominee Michael Brooks-Jiminez (D) and 2016 State House nominee Joe Griffin (R). Neither was particularly impressive in his prior run; Griffin has establishment connections and the lean of the seat on his side but Brooks-Jiminez has outraised him by 5 to 1 (!). Democrats have also had a very strong run in special elections – even before the 2016 general, as budget cuts that hit education hard energized the teachers’ union. However, the Dem base in this seat is mostly low-turnout Hispanics. So there is no clear favorite in this race. The other general is for OK-LD-75, an R+16 (2012) seat in eastern Tulsa north of Broken Arrow. Realtor Tressa Nunley (R) should be favored over 2016 nominee and teacher Karen Gaddis (D), as Nunley has both the lean of the seat and better fundraising on her side, but an upset may be very possible with high Dem turnout. The primary is for OK-LD-46, an R+12 (2012) seat covering western Norman. Three Republicans are facing off; businessman and university lecturer Darin Chambers (R) looks like the slight front-runner over retired cop Charlie Samples (R) and businessman Jimmy Shannon (R), but any of the three could prevail. The winner will face 2016 nominee Jacob Rosencrants (D) in the general.

Senate:

MO-Sen: Republicans have their first serious candidate into the race to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), but it definitely seems like a “C” list name for such a top-tier race. State Rep. Paul Curtman (R), who is termed-out of his exurban St. Louis seat in 2018, will run for the US Senate. Curtman was originally planning to run for MO-2 on the assumption that Rep. Ann Wagner (R) would seek the Senate seat, but when Wagner decided to run for re-election, Curtman decided to move up to the Senate race. Several more prominent Republicans, including AG Josh Hawley (R), are thought to be considering runs against the vulnerable McCaskill.

WV-Sen: As expected, AG Patrick Morrisey (R) announced his bid for Senate yesterday. Morrisey will face Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) in what could be a very competitive primary for the right to take on Sen. Joe Manchin (D). The fault lines seem to be that Jenkins is closer to establishment Republicans while Morrisey has more antiestablishment backing.

CO-Sen ’20, CO-2: Boulder DA and 2010 AG nominee Stan Garnett (D) will not run for Congress, saying he wants to finish his term as DA; Garnett endorsed 2014 SoS nominee Joe Neguse (D) for the seat. Garnett, however, will explore a run for US Senate in 2020, when Sen. Cory Gardner (R) will be up for re-election.

Governor:

AL-Gov: This GOP primary continues to get even more absurdly crowded, as State Sen. Bill Hightower (R) of the Mobile area is the latest candidate into the field. Hightower joins Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), Jefferson County commissioner David Carrington (R), minister Scott Dawson (R), and businessman Josh Jones (R). PSC Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R) and Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) are also considering runs, while Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not announced whether she will run for a full term. Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) are in or considering runs on the D side.

CO-Gov, CO-7: In a significant surprise, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) is dropping out of the gubernatorial race today – and will not seek a seventh term representing CO-7 either. Perlmutter’s hand was likely forced by the decision of fellow Rep. Jared Polis (D), who unlike Perlmutter is independently wealthy, to enter the race; Polis now looks like the clear front-runner for the D nod. Click for our full coverage of the decision.

IA-Gov: Former Gov. Vilsack CoS John Norris (D) is the latest Democrat into this crowded primary field. Norris joins State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), State Rep. Todd Prichard (D), ex-IADP chair Andy McGuire (D), ex-Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn (D), and 2014 State Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D) in the primary. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) is facing Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R) and Boone councilman Steven Ray (R) in the GOP primary.

ME-Gov: Appointed AG Janet Mills (D) will run for Governor. Mills, a former legislator, likely becomes a front-runner for the Dem nomination as she has been highly visible in office. She will face 2008 ME-1 candidate Adam Cote (D), lobbyist Betsy Sweet (D), and veteran Patrick Eisenhart (D) in the Dem primary; LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R) and appointed State Treasurer Teresea Hayes (I) are also in the race. Many others are considering, but one candidate is bowing out of consideration; ex-State Senate Majority Leader Justin Alfond (D) announced last week he would forgo a bid.

NM-Gov, NM-2: Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn (R) announced he would not run for Governor after Rep. Steve Pearce (R) entered the race yesterday. Dunn announced he was backing Pearce and considering a run for NM-2 instead, but is also keeping open the possibility of bids for re-election or a seat on the state Public Service Commission; Dunn says he will make a final decision by next week. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R), who ran a little-noticed primary campaign in 2010 as a Some Dude before winning his State Senate seat, is also considering an NM-2 bid.

SD-Gov: Ex-State Rep. and 2014 candidate Lora Hubbel (R) will mount a second bid for Governor. Hubbel, a gadflyish antiestablishment conservative who took a fifth of the vote against popular Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), seems likely to be little more than a third wheel in this primary against two “A” list contenders, Rep. Kristi Noem (R) and AG Marty Jackley (R). State Sen. Billie Sutton (D) is the likely Dem nominee.

WI-Gov: State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), who won re-election earlier this year by a large margin in a low-turnout non-partisan race, is considering a run for Governor. Evers could be a stronger choice to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R) than either of the other prominent Dems considering bids, left-wing Madison Mayor Paul Soglin (D) and little-known State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D).

House:

IL-13: Former Sen. Durbin staffer Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan (D) will seek the Dem nomination to challenge Rep. Rodney Davis (R). Dirksen-Londrigan may have establishment support from Dirksen’s network, but could face State Rep. Carol Ammons (D) in the primary. Davis has seemed entrenched in recent years as this purple seat covering the Springfield and Champaign areas has moved right.

MI-6: 2014/16 nominee Paul Clements (D) is running a third time against Rep. Fred Upton (R). Clements’s prior two runs against Upton were distinctly unimpressive, but he has received some national liberal support. This Kalamazoo-area purple seat has been trending right in recent years.

MI-8: Former DoD official Elissa Slotkin (D) will challenge Rep. Mike Bishop (R) in his light-red Lansing to exurban Detroit district. Slotkin, a former CIA agent, seems to have a good resume of national security experience, but has not lived in the district since childhood.

MN-1: Obama Defense official Dan Feehan (D) will seek Rep. Tim Walz’s (D) light-red open southern Minnesota seat. Feehan seems to have significant establishment support, but has essentially no ties to the seat (he grew up in the Twin Cities and spent the last few years in DC). He will face ex-State Sen. Vicki Jensen (D) and others in the Dem convention and/or primary. 2014/16 nominee Jim Hagedorn (R) is the only significant Republican in the race so far, but others are considering.

MO-2: Attorney Kelli Dunaway (D) will take on Rep. Ann Wagner (R) next year, and she has received the endorsement of 2016 nominee and ex-State Rep. Bill Otto (D). Democrats’ odds for this medium-red seat went down with Wagner deciding to run for re-election, but as an upscale suburban district it may still be a target.

NV-4: Las Vegas Councilman Stavros Anthony (R) will run for Congress against Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D) in this seat covering the northern suburbs of Las Vegas. Anthony, who just won re-election to his purple council seat, is a top-tier get for the GOP in this light-blue seat.

NM-1: Ex-US Attorney Damon Martinez (D) is the latest Dem into the race for this open medium-blue Albuquerque seat. Martinez has the profile to be a front-runner for the seat; he joins NMDP chair Deb Haaland (D), Albuquerque councilman Pat Davis (D), Edgewood councilman John Abrams (D), and others in this crowded primary.

NY-21: Ex-St. Lawrence County commissioner Tedra Cobb (D) will run for Congress, becoming the first candidate with elective experience in the race for the Dem nomination to take on Rep. Elise Stefanik (R). Stefanik’s odds of re-election in this light-red seat will once again be improved by the candidacy of 2014/2016 nominee Matt Funicello (G), who has routinely drawn significant vote shares.

NC-3: Craven County commissioner Scott Dacey (R) will challenge Rep. Walter Jones (R) in the GOP primary. Jones, by far the most moderate safe-seat Republican in the country, has turned back multiple GOP primary challenges in his rural eastern NC seat, though often by unimpressive margins. Dacey seems to be promising to be a more traditional conservative than Jones.

SD-AL: Democrats have a credible recruit for the open seat of Rep. Kristi Noem (R) in former judge Tim Bjorkman (D). Republicans have a primary here between SoS Shantel Krebs (R) and ex-Public Service Commissioner Dusty Johnson (R).

State & Local:

OK-Ins Comm: State Rep. Glen Mulready (R), a member of House leadership, has become the first candidate to declare a bid for Insurance Commissioner. Mulready looks likely to be front-runner for the post, which is open as incumbent John Doak (R) is termed out.

Raleigh-Mayor: Attorney Charles Francis (D) will run for mayor of Raleigh this October. Francis seems likely to run to the left of popular incumbent Nancy McFarlane (I), a center-left Indie who has generally run with Dem support in the non-partisan race.

San Bernardino-Mayor: City councilman John Valdiva (R) will run for Mayor next year, challenging incumbent Carey Davis (R), presenting the possibility of two Rs as the major candidates for mayor of the heavily Democratic city. Valdiva received an endorsement from ex-State Sen. Bob Dutton (R), now the county clerk, at his campaign kickoff.

Orange, FL-CE: Sheriff Jerry Demings (D), husband of US Rep. Val (D), will run for Orange County Executive next year. Incumbent Teresa Jacobs (R) is term-limited, and Demings looks likely to give Dems their best chance of taking over the top job in the large, blueing county covering most of the Orlando area..

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