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Political Roundup for November 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, in non-perversion news:


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

State & Local:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Political Roundup for October 26th, 2017

Lots of gubernatorial news in today’s roundup.


AZ-Sen: Sen. Flake’s retirement yesterday is one of those situations where the incumbent stepping down may actually help Republicans, considering Flake’s eternally soft numbers and more recent loathing by Republican primary voters. Whereas Democrats before would have counted on either a bruised incumbent or far-right primary challenger, now they get to face a fresh face. This news is particularly bad for former State Sen. Kelli Ward, his would-be primary challenger who will now have to face viable conservatives in the primary. See our retirement announcement for a short Great Mentioner. One candidate, Rep. Paul Gosar (R), is already out.

Speaking of Ward, the McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund has announced a Counter-Reformation against Steve Bannon’s crusade to purge establishment Senators. They fired their first shots by calling Ward a “conspiracy theorist” and planning to tar Bannon as tied to white nationalists. The group’s social media also recently targeted Danny Tarkanian in NV-Sen, who is primarying vulnerable Sen. Dean Heller (R).


TX-Gov: Democrats may finally have a viable gubernatorial candidate in the form of Andrew White, son of former (and recently deceased) Governor Mark White (D). White, a Houston investor, called himself a “very conservative Democrat” and opposed bathroom bills in his first comments to media and said he will announce a decision officially in three to four weeks. Some Democrats are also courting Paul Quinn College (in southern Dallas) President Michael Sorrell.

TX-Gov / Leg: A bombshell for Texas politics dropped last night when Speaker Joe Straus (R) announced he would not run for reelection. Straus served as speaker for five terms, tying the record for length of time in that post. While Straus’ San Antonio seat nowadays should stay Republican, the real interest is twofold. First: will Straus choose to primary a statewide incumbent, particularly Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick or Gov. Greg Abbott? While Straus said he is “not one to close doors,” and failed to demur on a gubernatorial bid, he also said he is unlikely to appear on a ballot in 2018. If Straus’ name did appear this cycle, it would open up the chance that next March’s Republican primaries might not be as low turnout as expected. Second, who runs for Speaker? Straus filled a moderate void in Texas politics, and there will surely be more conservative candidates for Speaker than State Reps. Phil King and John Zerwas. Leaving with Straus is the powerful committee chairman Byron Cook, so we may see a flood of conservative legislation pass the 2019 legislative session.

UT-Gov: We have a poll for a 2020 gubernatorial race from Dan Jones with an odd format. They test something like a jungle primary with a bunch of Republicans and a Democratic candidate, presumably to save money on a series of ballot tests between the Democrat and differenet Republicans. Anyway, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) leads the pack with 24% over Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D), who recently elected to run against Rep. Mia Love (R) in Ut-4, with 20%; Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox with 11%; and Josh Romney, son of Mitt, at 9%. Chaffetz has said a decision on whether to run is years away for him but called it “a definite maybe.”

MN-Gov: After helming his successful Minnesota campaign last cycle, Sen. Marco Rubio (R) returns the favor by endorsing Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson’s gubernatorial bid. The Republican side of this open seat race is kind of on hold as people wait and watch if Speaker Kurt Daudt or former Gov. Tim Pawlenty toss their hat into the ring. One candidate, former MNGOP Chairman Keith Downey, chose the interesting decision to attack Rubio in response in his continuing efforts to make himself sound Trumpian or something (interesting because Minnesotans picked Rubio and tend to like their politics bland / Minnesota Nice- see Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Erik Paulsen, and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty for examples).

VA-Gov: In a pretty heated pitch to juice up their base’s turnout, Virginia Democrats’ latest mailer ties Gillespie to Trump and overlays both men’s pictures over a bunch of white nationalists in Charlottesville carrying tiki torches. The message? “Virginia gets to stand up to hate.”

RI-Gov: Former jewelry company CEO Giovanni Feroce is considering a Republican gubernatorial run. Meanwhile, former Cranston Mayor Allen Fung will run for Governor a second time this cycle after losing to Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) by four points in 2014.

State and Local

NC-Leg: State Rep. Bill Brisson of Bladen County switches from the Dems to the Republican Party. Brisson was a DINO but he held a very conservative seat in rural areas south and east of Fayetteville. His decision moves this seat from Tossup or Lean D to Likely or Safe R.

New Orleans-Mayor: After finishing in third place in the first round, Michael Bagneris (D) has endorsed City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (D) in the Nov. 18th runoff for New Orleans Mayor over former municipal court judge Desiree Charbonnet (D). Cantrell led the first round despite being outspent and now looks like a fairly strong favorite in the runoff.

Political Roundup for October 16, 2017

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Offices:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Races:

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

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

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

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

Political Roundup for September 25th, 2017

Check back this afternoon for our preview of tomorrow’s Alabama Senate runoff.


Hillary: Veteran pollster Stanley Greenberg fires back at the Clinton campaign horror-story book Shattered in this fairly lengthy blog post. It’s a great read if you’re a hardcore elections junkie.


AL-Sen: In a race that seems to have divided many party factions in strange ways, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson (yes, I did a mental double-take when I wrote that, because I’d honestly forgotten) has all but endorsed former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) in tomorrow’s Republican primary runoff for Jeff Sessions’ vacated Senate seat. Moore leads appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) in polling, though the race has tightened somewhat of late.

AL-Sen Continued: Speaking of tomorrow’s runoff, we have two last-minute polls of that race. A Gravis poll for the website Big League Politics has Moore leading Strange 48-40, while Optimus has Moore ahead 55-45.

WI-Sen: This is one of Politico Magazine’s awesome longform pieces. It details the rise of Kevin Nicholson (R), a candidate for Senate in Wisconsin who has come out of nowhere with big-money backing and charm to spare. I’m getting vibes of (a much more impressive) Trey Hollingsworth from this guy. It’s possible he could simply buy and charm his way to enough name rec to beat his main rival in the race to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R).

PA-17:  Tracking is something I’m sure a lot of politicians wish would go away. The newest inductee into that club is Rep. Matt Cartwright (D), who was recently filmed by a tracker while saying that he thinks John McCain will vote against Graham-Cassidy because ‘he’s staring death in the face.’ Why would a Republican organization bother tracking a Democratic member who sits in a historically-Democratic 55% Obama seat this early in the cycle, you might ask? Well, it’s because the district also gave President Trump 54%, and Cartwright only won by eight points in 2016 despite having a weak opponent.

Blue Dogs: Hey, it turns  out that the Blue Dogs are somehow inexplicably still around, and they’re even recruiting candidates. How cute. The candidates they’re endorsing in several districts are actually pretty good, but only Paul Davis in KS-03 and Jay Hulings in TX-23 have much of a chance of winning. I’m sure they’ll endorse a few more as the campaign develops, but these are probably most of their best prospects. This is a sign of life from the moderate wing of the Democratic party, but even if some of these guys win, I think it’ll probably be just a dead cat bounce for the Blue Dogs. The modern Democratic Party has little room for true moderates.


CO-Gov: After years of hemming and hawing about running for higher office, Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) has announced his run for Governor. Stapleton joins a crowded field on both sides of the aisle, but should be a formidable candidate in both the primary and general elections.

CO-Gov Continued/CO-06: Speaking of the Centennial State’s Republican gubernatorial primary, former Rep. and erstwhile Constitution Party gubernatorial nominee Tom Tancredo (R) is likely running for the office as well, and he doesn’t like people questioning his motives for doing so. Rep. Mike Coffman (R) said in an interview that he thought Tancredo was running because he was ‘bored.’ Tancredo, as you might expect, didn’t like this very much, and made it known publicly. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Coffman picked the fight on purpose to earn him more moderate cred ahead of 2018, when he faces a tough fight for reelection.

MI-Gov: In what may be the first instance ever of the endorsement of a glorified plumber mattering in a statewide race, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner and former Rep. Candice Miller (R) has announced her support of state AG Bill Schuette’s (R) campaign for Governor. Miller had previously been courted to run herself, but has now officially declined. The primary is crowded, but Schuette seems to be the early favorite.

MN-Gov: For a lot of candidates weighing a gubernatorial run in America’s little slice of Scandinavia, it’s put-up-or-shut-up time. Or rather, it’s that time if they want to abide by their party’s convention selections. State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) and AG Lori Swanson (D) are both thinking about ignoring their parties’ conventions. Another of several interesting tidbits is that former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) has so far refused to say whether or not he’ll run for his old job.


ME-HD-12: In a story as idiosyncratic as the state from which it is spawned, State Rep. Martin Grohman of Biddeford has left the Democratic Party to become an Independent… in a 70% Obama district. Grohman stated that he thinks that centrist Independents get more accomplished. To be fair, he and a small group of other Independents now hold sway over the chamber, but I’m sure the fact that he previously came decently close to losing a three-way race to an Independent has absolutely nothing to do with this switch…

NYC-Mayor: In a kind of that’s-great-but-it’s-still-ultimately-hopeless story, New York City mayoral candidate and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R) has qualified for $1.6 million in matching funds. This will allow her to somewhat compete on the airwaves. Also of note is that since Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D-Bold Progressive) is also accepting city matching funds (he gets about $400,000), he must now debate Malliotakis.


France: Well, it looks like prince really was just a frog. In the elections to the (somewhat irrelevant) French Senate this weekend, Les Republicans held their majority. Public dissatisfaction with centrist darling of the Economist-reading crowd President Emmanuel Macron is growing, and so far, the right is benefitting.

Political Roundup for September 12th, 2017

It’s Primary Day in NY! Check out our preview HERE and check back with us tonight at 7:30pm ET for our election results liveblog!


MN-Gov: Throw another name into the crowded GOP gubernatorial great mentioner. State Sen. Julie Rosen (R) confirmed she is considering a bid for governor.


AL-Sen: Emerson has Roy Moore leading appointed Sen. Luther Strange by a 40% to 26% margin ahead of the September 26th GOP runoff. Emerson polled the general election as well and found Moore leading Democrat Doug Jones by a very narrow 44% to 40% margin.

MI-Sen: Kid Rock took to Facebook to fire back at Rev. Al “Slim Shady” Sharpton after Sharpton’s extortion protest scam operation National Action Network announced they would protest upcoming Kid Rock concerts. Kid Rock wrote “I love black people”, “Sam Riddle is a piece of sh*t criminal” and encouraged everyone to Google him, “F*ck ANYONE who takes a knee or sits during our national anthem!”, that the Tweet gloating about Al Sharpton’s daughter getting arrested for assaulting a cab driver did not come from him and the story was “fake news” and that “I can’t wait to rock everyone’s socks off at LCA the next few weeks!”. Oh, yeah this will be a fun senate campaign if he runs!

ND-Sen: Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller (R) is considering a run for Senate against Democrat Sen. Heidi  Heitkamp. Miller has been heavily recruited by North Dakota GOP officials for weeks now but still has not made up her mind about running. State Senator Tom Campbell (R) is officially in the race and campaigning hard. Rep.  Kevin Cramer (R) is considering a run as well. State Rep. Rick Becker (R), former Congressman Rick Berg (R), and State Board of Higher Education member Kathy Neset (R) are also contemplating running for Senate. Miller is reportedly close with former Rep. Rick Berg so if she runs for Senate chance are Berg will not be seeking a rematch with Heitkamp.

NV-Sen: Donald Trump’s former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has met with perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (R) and promised him his full backing in his primary with Sen. Dean Heller (R).

TN-Sen: Sen. Bob Corker (R) is contemplating his future and is considering maybe retiring in 2018. Corker is the Chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee and was once considered for a spot in President Trump’s cabinet. Since then Corker’s had a falling out with Trump. Corker has faced questions from the Feds about possible insider trading regarding his investments in Tennessee-based REIT, CBL & Associates but since that story broke in early 2016 not much more has come out about it. Corker is sitting on more than $7 million in cash in his campaign account so he either has plenty of money on hand to fund his re-election or pay for his legal bills or a great slush fund for his next career as a lobbyist.

UT-Sen: If Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) decides to retire in 2018 sources say that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) will run for his senate seat.

WI-Sen: Wisconsin state Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) will not run for US Senate vs Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) and will back state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) instead.


MI-6: #FakeNews alert!!! Rep. Fred Upton (R) denies “The Failing New York Times” #FakeNews “report” and insists he has no plans to retire in 2018.

MI-11: In case you missed it, two term Rep. Dave Trott (R) will retire and will not seek re-election in 2018.

NJ-2: Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R) confirms to The Hill that he will seek re-election in 2018. Now let’s start the countdown until state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D) confirms he will not challenge Rep. Lobiondo.

PA-7: DelCo GOP fans can rest easy as Rep. Pat Meehan (R) confirms that he is not the the retirement watch list and that he will seek re-election in 2018.

PA-10: When Rep. Tom Marino takes over as Drug Czar local party GOP officials will pick the GOP candidate for the special election. Former president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and former chairman of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Keith Eckel (R) looks like the favorite to get the GOP nomination. Eckel is 70 years old. If Eckel passes Marino’s district director David Weber is also thought to be a likely candidate.

State, Local & Other:

NV-Lt Gov: Former two-term secretary of state Ross Miller (D) will most likely not run for Lt. Governor and will most likely defer to former state Treasurer Kate Marshall (D).

Political Roundup for September 5, 2017

First off, there is a single legislative special today. SC-LD-113 is a D+19 (2016) seat covering a thin stripe of racially-mixed lower-middle-class suburbs of Charleston from North Charleston to Summerville. Trial lawyer Marvin Pendarvis (D), who is a close confidante of the area’s state Senator, looks like the clear favorite in the primary with a chance to win outright, but he also faces school board member Chris Collins (D) and marketing consultant Angela Hanyak (D), each of whom could potentially make a runoff. Two Republicans are facing off for the right to lose.


AL-Sen: This story looks at how ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) is not getting much national support for his Senate run in December, unlike several other Dem special election candidates from earlier this year. It seems in part due to Jones being more conscious of his red state and attempting to run as a conservative Democrat rather than a vanguard of the #resistance. As the runoff between appointed incumbent Luther Strange (R) and ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) consumes most of the oxygen for this month, Jones is attempting to fly under the radar and emerge as an acceptable alternative to the GOP nominee. Regardless of Jones’s national support or lack thereof, his odds are still long in the deep-red state.

More AL-Sen: Moore had an embarrassing moment late last week in which he appeared to have no idea what the DACA program was. It’s too early to say if this gaffe will have resonance but it’s certainly not a positive for him so close to the runoff.

AZ-Sen: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) is still “seriously considering” a run for Senate. Sinema is widely expected to run as she is considered to be Dems’ strongest possible recuit against vulnerable Sen. Jeff Flake (R). Ex-State Sen. Kelli Ward (R) is running against Flake in the primary.

IN-Sen: Another story is out corroborating allegations that Rep. Todd Rokita (R) is a bad boss to his staffers. The story has several nuggets of Rokita generally being a, for lack of a better word, jerk. For example, “a worker was booted from a staff meeting and instructed to clean Rokita’s vehicle, which included scrubbing the carpets” because a volunteer driver had BO. Rokita is facing fellow Rep. Luke Messer (R) in what is expected to be a tough primary for the right to take on Sen. Joe Donnelly (D).

MO-Sen: A new MOScout poll has AG Josh Hawley (R) leading incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 50-45. Hawley, who is in his first term as AG, is widely expected to run against McCaskill after being recruited by the entire GOP establishment.


HI-Gov: State Rep. Bob McDermott (R) has abruptly dropped out of the race for Governor after learning that another Republican is planning to run. Rumors are that candidate is State Rep. Andria Tupola (R), a moderate who, unlike the staunchly socially conservative McDermott, could be a credible general election candidate. Separately this weekend, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) surprisingly announced her intent to primary Gov. David Ige (D); click for our full recap on the decision and Great Mentioner for the now-open HI-1.

IL-Gov: State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) has lost an endorsement from Rep. Brad Schneider (D) with his choice of LG running mate, Chicago councilman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D). Ramirez-Rosa, 28, is a supporter of the anti-Israel BDS movement. Biss is facing businessmen J.B. Pritzker (D) and Chris Kennedy (D), Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D), state Rep. Scott Drury (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D) in the primary. Pritzker is generally considered the front-runner to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R).

ME-Gov: Jon Jenkins (I), who served as Mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn, as well as a term in the State Senate in the 90s, is considering an Indie bid. Jenkins would be the third credible Indie contender in this race, joining appointed State Treasurer Terry Hayes (I) and comedian Karmo Sanders (I). Dems and Republicans look set to have crowded primary fields as well, with ex-Gov. John Baldacci (D) and Sen. Susan Collins (R) among the highest-profile candidates considering.

MN-Gov: Ramsey County commissioner Blake Huffman (R) has dropped out of the race for Governor. 2014 nominee and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), State Sen. David Osmek (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and ex-State Rep. and MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R) remain in the GOP convention race, with several others, most notably State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R), considering. Democrats have a crowded field as well.

OH-Gov: Speculation is growing that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray (D) will step down to enter the race for Ohio Governor. Cordray, a former AG and State Treasurer, would likely become the front-runner for the Democratic nomination over the current crowded field of “B” and “C” listers. Ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. and 2014 State Treasurer nominee Connie Pillich (D) are in the Dem race already. Four Republicans are also running.

WI-Gov: Nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D) has entered the race for Governor. State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) is the front-runner for the nomination to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R), but State Rep. Dana Wachs (D) and businessman Andy Gronik (D) are also in the race.

KY-Gov ’19: Ex-State House Speaker and AG Greg Stumbo (D) is considering a run for Governor in 2019. Stumbo is a liberal who is known as a bare-knuckled political brawler but has proven himself convtroversial in his red state. AG Andy Beshear (D) is also thought to be considering a run; the primary winner will face incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R) in the general.


KS-2: Brownback admin official Antonio Soave (R), a former Italian semi-professional soccer player, is considered likely to run for this open Topeka-area seat. Soave currently lives in KS-3 but will move into the 2nd to run. He will join a crowded primary field of State Sens. Steve Fitzgerald (R) and Caryn Tyson (R), State Rep. Kevin Jones (R), and Basehor councilman Vernon Fields (R) in the GOP primary. Ex-state Rep. and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) is the likely Dem nominee for this medium-red seat.

OH-16: Former OSU football star Anthony Gonzalez (R) has filed to run for this open seat, joining moderate State Rep. Tom Patton (R) and Trumpist State Rep. Christina Hagan (R) in the race. Gonzalez has hired a former Rob Portman campaign operative as his campaign treasurer, suggesting he could have significant establishment support. The GOP field for this medium-red Cleveland and Akron suburban seat is likely to grow.

OK-1: Trump has tapped Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) to serve as NASA director, but the question over whether there will be a special for this Tulsa-area seat before the 2018 general is very much up in the air. Bridenstine would need to resign before the end of the year to allow a special to be held at all. With a primary runoff likely to be necessary, March is the earliest the special general could be held. And even for that, Bridenstine would need to vacate the seat on the likely-too-short-timeline of within the next few weeks. Click here for our full report and Great Mentioner on the seat. As a side note, by contrast, the situation in the other seat for which Trump has tapped a sitting Rep. (PA-10) is much easier. Rep. Tom Marino’s (R) administration position does not require Senate confirmation, and Pennsylvania does not have special primaries, meaning the seat could be up as quickly as this November.

PA-15: Rep. Charlie Dent (R) has revealed text messages from his primary challenger, State Rep. Justin Simmons (R) in which Simmons asked for Dent’s endorsement for re-election and expressed a desire to replace Trump as the GOP presidential nominee. Simmons is attempting to portray himself as a stronger Trump supporter than the moderate Dent in this light-red Lehigh Valley area seat.

State & Local:

HI-LG: State Sens. Josh Green (D) and Will Espero (D) have declared for LG, joining fellow State Sen. Jill Tokuda (D) and Maui CE Alan Arakawa (D) in the shotgun-wedding race. Espero might be someone to watch for a quick exit from the race, as he ran for HI-1 in 2014 and could try again now that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is running for Governor.

LA-PSC-2: Ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R) has secured the official endorsement of the state party in this race. Whitney is an antiesatblishment conservative who lost her 2015 re-election bid to a more moderate Republican. In this race, she is facing two RINOs for the deep-red seat, D-turned-R appointed incumbent Damon Baldone (R) and Gov. Edwards-endorsing surgeon Craig Greene (R).

Westchester, NY-CE: Incumbent Rob Astorino (R) has been sending out mailers to unaffiliated voters to get them to write his name in for the Reform Party nomination.  Astorino created the Reform Party as a vanity line (with the “Stop Common Core” name) for his 2014 gubernatorial run, but then lost control of it to talk radio host Curtis Sliwa. Sliwa’s organization has now endorsed Astornio’s most likely rival for re-election, State Sen. George Latimer (D). However, Astorino was able to force a primary, which is open to unaffiliated voters as well as the negligible number of Reform Party registrants.

Milwaukee, WI-Sheriff: Controversial DINO Sheriff David Clarke resigned last week without immediate explanation. It’s unclear if Clarke is in line for a Trump administration post or if he is headed to some sort of Cable TV gig.

Political Roundup for August 23rd, 2017

Fellow teachers, welcome back to school! Everyone else, welcome back to your roundup.

Last night, Sandy Stimpson (R) won re-election outright in Mobile with 58%, while school board member Randall Woodfin (D) surprisingly outpaced incumbent Birmingham Mayor William Bell (D) by a 41-37 margin; Woodfin and Bell will head to an October runoff. Dawn Euer (D) won RI-SD-13 as expected, though she underperformed Hillary’s margin unlike most D special election candidates this year.


AZ-Sen: Things are rough between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the President. Besides Trump’s public criticism of McConnell and Senate procedures, McConnell is also facing off against Trump in the Arizona Senate Republican primary. McConnell, for his part, is rallying the Republican Senate caucus to support their embattled colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake.

More AZ-Sen: In a new poll from Republican public affairs firm HighGround, Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is in big trouble. First, he trails former State Sen. Kelli Ward 28%-43% in the Republican primary. Then, if Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) pulls the trigger on a run, Flake would trail her 33%-41% in the general election. In contrast, Ward would trail Sinema by only one point with a ton of undecideds, at 31%-32%.

Flake has the unpopularity of previous party-flippers like Lieberman and Specter of the past decade among his own party’s voters- without ever flipping parties. President Trump previously tweeted his support of Ward. With numbers like this, I wonder if we could see a retirement from Flake to prevent a Ward primary victory.

MI-Sen: Come for the shout-out from Harry Enten describing RRH Elections as “well-informed, well-intentioned amateurs trying to break into the [polling] industry.” Then, stay read his takedown of a fake poll from “Delphi Analytica” that briefly excited the political world about a possible lead for a Kid Rock campaign in the Michigan Senate race.


MN-Gov: State Sen. Dave Osmek (R) has announced a gubernatorial bid. While Osmek will have some legislative endorsements, he starts overshadowed by Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson within the Republican primary. After all, Johnson’s base overlaps with Osmek’s turf in the southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Further, Johnson occupies a similar libertarian/conservative ideological space as Johnson. Osmek’s website also starts out in uniquely rough shape, telling donors on the day of his announcement to either send a physical check or wait for Paypal to go up. Couldn’t he have just thrown up a Piryx account real fast and changed it later?!? Also, apparently redirects to a hit piece against the candidate.  For a hilarious take on the state of the gubernatorial race, see this tweet

VA-Gov: A new Roanoke College poll of likely voters finds Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) leads Ed Gillespie (R) 43%-36%, with another 4% for the Libertarian candidate.

CA-Gov: Apparently some “Democratic fundraisers and political operatives” are not excited by the always inevitable but finally happening gubernatorial bid of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) or former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign. In their place, they want some dude named Scooter Braun to run. He apparently manages some famous singers, including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Kanye West. I’m not even going to run down the list of recent celebrity candidates in the last few years, ok?

AK-Gov: Incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) have officially filed for reelection as a joint ticket again. They are not running on the Democratic ticket, so now the Alaska Democratic Party needs to figure out some way to legally keep anyone else from trying to snag that ballot line by filing for the primary. A lawsuit has been filed by the party to attempt to allow the pair to run in the party primary without actually running under the party’s affiliation.

WI-Gov: State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) is officially in, joining a bunch of B- and C-list Democratic candidates who are either actually in the race (state Rep. Dana Wachs, businessman Andy Gronik) or considering it (State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin). A full Great Mentioner is included at the bottom of the article.


TX-3: State Sen. Van Taylor (R) continues his march into this open congressional seat, officially filing to run now that Texas’ special state legislative session is complete. Our friend Miles at DDHQ will eventually get around to profiling this race, so stay tuned.

TX-16: El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D) will likely announce her congressional campaign this Saturday at an event. Escobar has been considering a bid for some time, and she will join El Paso ISD Trustee Dori Fenenbock and two other candidates in the Democratic primary. This seat is open with Rep. Beto O’Rourke running for Senate against Ted Cruz. Escobar already secured prominent backers like the outgoing incumbent, Rep. Joaquin Castro, and actress Eva Longoria.

AL-5: State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R) will run against incumbent Rep. Mo Brooks in the Republican primary here. Brooks is coming off a third-place finish in the special election for US Senate in Alabama. Although he cracked 40% in his own district in the three-way race, Holtzclaw probably sees an opening after Brooks was bloodied by ads that accused him of being insufficiently pro-Trump.

State and Local

TX-SD-8: A rare showdown in this open seat Republican primary between two red meat conservatives. On the one side is Philip Huffines, the self-funding Dallas County GOP Chairman and twin brother of State Sen. Don Huffines. On the other is Angela Paxton, wife of embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton starts out with some legislative support that would otherwise be assumed to go to Huffines, including from Freedom Caucus members and State Reps. Matt Shaheen and Jeff Leach. The divide may be geographic rather than ideological, with another state representative explaining her support with the statement, “She’s Collin County.”

MA-Leg: State Rep. Susannah Whipps is abandoning the GOP to sit as an independent legislator. No word on her committee assignments yet.

Political Roundup for August 8th, 2017

Welcome to today’s tardy roundup!


NV-Sen: Perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian has announced a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Dean Heller. The concerning thing here is that a recent poll found Tarkanian would lead Heller in a head-to-head matchup, 38%-34% (yes, a ton of undecideds from a not very venerable pollster, so salt!). Not a good development for Republicans in arguably the most likely to flip seat this Senate cycle. Meanwhile, a McConnell-linked Super PAC is set to flood the zone for Heller.

AL-Sen: Like our own survey of the race, a JMC Analytics poll finds former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore leading appointed Sen. Luther Strange and Rep. Mo Brooks. However, in this poll Brooks is closer to the rest of the pack, with Moore on top with 30% and Strange and Brooks trailing with 22% and 19%, respectively.

CT-Sen: After Sen. Richard Blumenthal voiced support for investigating possible Russian collusion in the last presidential election, President Trump laid into the Connecticut Democrat via his preferred medium of Twitter. Trump is probably one of the worst possible messengers here, calling Blumenthal a “phony Vietnam con artist” despite his own questionable Vietnam War draft deferments. Maybe Blumenthal will get a nice fundraising bump from being attacked by Trump, although he doesn’t have a reelection until 2022.


MN-Gov: Former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R) is considering a run for Governor. Koch was seen as something of a rising star until her 2011 affair with a Republican operative, which resulted in her ouster from leadership. Since then Koch became a lobbyist, hosts a popular bipartisan podcast, and owned a bowling alley (random assortment, I know!). Anyway, Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R) is the leader of a pack of lesser-known candidates at the moment, although people are waiting on House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt’s decision as well.

WI-Gov: State Rep. Dana Wachs (D) is running against Gov. Scott Walker (R) for Governor. Wachs joins businessman Andy Gronik in the Democratic primary, although a number of other Democrats including State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and Wisconsin Schools Superintendent Tony Evers are also considering runs. Wachs apparently plans to partially self-fund the bid.

TN-Gov: State Rep. and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh is running for Governor or Tennessee, setting up a contested Democratic statewide primary. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) is already running. One major fissure might be school choice, where Fitzhugh is more aligned with traditional unions and Dean supported charter schools as mayor. A Republican is still highly likely to win here, with Rep. Diane Black, House Speaker Beth Harwell, and State Sen. Mae Beavers as the most prominent GOP candidates in the race.


UT-3: Once-relevant Sarah Palin has endorsed Tanner Ainge in the Utah special congressional election to fill former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ seat in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, the Club for Growth has chosen State Rep. Chris Herrod for the primary. The CfG has the ability to throw serious money in this race, unlike Palin nowadays.

TX-23: Rep. Will Hurd (R) got his first viable Democratic opponent last week, former Air Force intelligence officer and US Trade Representative staffer Gina Ortiz Jones. Former Rep. Pete Gallego (D) is still considering a run, but it is unclear if the field will clear for him in this anti-Trump political cycle and coming off a defeat at Hurd’s hands..

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