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Political Roundup for December 11th, 2017

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

Big Picture

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

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

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

Congress

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

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

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

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

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

Governor

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

State/Local

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

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

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

Political Roundup for November 30th, 2017

Welcome to the roundup y’all.

Senate

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

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

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

Governor

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

House

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

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

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

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

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

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

State and Local

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

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

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

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

Political Roundup for November 28, 2017

There are three special election runoffs today, two in Mississippi and one in South Carolina. MS-SD-10 is a D-held ~R+2 rural seat around Senatobia and Holly Springs, just beyond the edge of the Memphis exurbs. This area tends to be far more Dem-friendly downballot and contains one of the few remaining Dixiecrat concentrations. Businessman Neil Whaley (R) led the first round 36-31 over Holly Springs Councilwoman Sharon Gipson (D); however, as three other Democrats took the remainder of the vote, Gipson looks like a moderately strong favorite in the second round. MS-LD-54 is an ~R+22 seat covering eastern Vicksburg and rural areas to the north. Insurance agent Kevin Ford (R) led physician Randy Easterling (R) 37-33; there is no clear favorite in the runoff. The third is a primary runoff, for SC-LD-99, an R+12 seat connecting upscale Charleston suburbs along the northeast part of I-526 from Hanahan to northern Mt. Pleasant. Businesswoman Nancy Mace (R) took 49.5% in the first election, missing an outright win by just 35 votes. She is now the clear favorite over Mt. Pleasant councilman Mark Smith (R), who took second with 27%. The winner will face businesswoman Cindy Boatwright (D) in the general.

Now as we try to sort out who is the real Antipope of the CFPB, it is time for the day’s news…

Senate:

AL-Sen: Republicans have a write-in candidate for this seat, but it’s not exactly a big name. Retired Marine Lee Busby (R), who served as vice-chief of staff to John Kelly when he was a general and has worked as a sculptor since leaving the service, is running as a write-in against ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) and ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R). Busby could be a vehicle for Moore-skeptical Republicans, but with his lack of any political experience and zero name recognition it’s hard to see him getting more than a few points. It’s unclear who he would draw more from as I would guess there may be as many soft Rs that have already defected to Jones as have been sticking with Moore. Trump announced yesterday he would not campaign with Moore.

MN-Sen: Sen. Al Franken (D) is resisting calls to step down, and said he is returning to his Senate work in a painfully awkward press conference yesterday.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst (R) is at the center of a messy family lawsuit. Herbst’s mother Deborah is suing Tim’s sister Amanda and her husband, alleging the two hacked into Deborah’s phone to look for evidence to use in a lawsuit against Tim. Amanda’s then-boyfriend, now-husband, Jesse Jablon, alleges he was fired as Trumbull’s interim city manager because of his relationship with Amanda. Jablon also accuses Tim of later spreading rumors that Jablon was a drug dealer. Tim does not deny that the relationship was problematic for Jablon’s prospects, saying that Jablon’s relationship with Amanda could have opened Tim up to charges of nepotism. Herbst is one of around 8 credible Republicans competing in this epic clown-car primary.

MI-Gov: LG Brian Calley (R) is expected to launch his gubernatorial campaign today. Calley will likely join front-running AG Bill Schuette (R), State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R), and physician Jim Hines (R) in the GOP primary. Democrats have a crowded primary field as well with ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) as the front-runner.

TX-Gov: With under two weeks before the filing deadline, Texas Democrats continue to cast about for a sacrificial lamb to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The latest little-known name to consider the race is Houston city councilman Dwight Boykins (D), who is officially exploring. Investor Andrew White (D), son of 80s-era ex-Gov. Mark (D), is the most serious candidate in the race so far, but another low “C” list Dem, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D), is also considering.

House:

ID-1: The Club for Growth has endorsed ex-State Sen. and 2014 Gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher (R) in the primary for this open seat. Fulcher, an antiestablishment conservative, is facing 80s-era ex-LG David Leroy (R) and State Reps. Luke Malek (R) and Christy Perry (R) in the primary for the safely Republican seat covering the libertarian-leaning western half of the state and northern panhandle.

IL-4: ICYMI, last night Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) announced he would not run for a fourteenth term; Cook County commissioner and 2015 Mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D) and Chicago councilman and abortive LG candidate Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D) are already thought to be preparing bids to succeed him. Click through for our full Great Mentioner and analysis of this ultra-Safe-D Chicago seat.

MT-AL: Reporter Ben Jacobs has sent a Cease and Desist letter to Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) accusing Gianforte of publicly misrepresenting the events of Gianforte’s May assault of Jacobs.

NH-2: Josh McElveen (R), a prominent former political reporter at the state’s largest TV station, is the latest Republican into the race to take on Rep. Annie Kuster (D). McElveen will face State Rep. Steve Negron (R) and physician Stewart Levenson (R); he likely starts with the highest name recognition and probably starts as the slight front-runner in the primary. Any Republican will face an uphill race against Kuster, a strong incumbent in the light-blue seat.

NJ-2: Democrats are about to land a major recruiting coup for this open R-held South Jersey purple seat, as State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D), who has easily held down a red State Senate seat, is set to kick off his campaign tomorrow. Van Drew is a truly “A” list recruit for Dems here, and his entry makes this race among the toughest holds for the GOP in 2018. Newly-elected State Sen. Chris Brown (R) is probably the GOP’s best prospect here after his surprisingly strong legislative win last month, though there is not yet indication he’s considering a bid.

SC-6: Ex-State Rep. and 2014 LG nominee Bakari Sellers (D) has announced he will run for the seat of Rep. James Clyburn “at some point.” Sellers, who is considered a rising star, stopped short of saying he would not challenge Clyburn in a primary. Clyburn, the third-ranking Dem in the House, is 77 but has given no indication of wanting to leave Congress by any means other than a stretcher. Should the seat come open, Sellers would likely be a strong candidate but potentially face a crowded primary.

TX-2: Two new candidates have entered the race for this suburban Houston open seat. Daniel Crenshaw (R), a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan, has joined the race and would seem to have the story to be a serious contender.  Healthcare executive David Balat (R) was originally planning a primary challenge to Rep. John Culberson (R) in TX-7 next door, but has decided to shift to the open seat as well. The two join State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R) and businessman Rick Walker (R) in the race.

TX-9: Rep. Al Green (D), who represents southern Houston and some multiracial southwest suburbs, is getting some fresh attention over a 2008 case of harassment allegations. Green had sex with a former staffer, Lucinda Daniels, who later filed suit for sexual harassment after Green began confronting her about her drug use. The two issued a rather cryptic statement yesterday saying that they “remain friends” and that no money was paid in the case.

TX-29: State Rep. Armando Walle (D) has aborted his run for Congress days after beginning it. It is looking more like State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) is the prohibitive favorite to take this heavily Hispanic deep-blue Houston seat.

State Offices:

AL-AG: Ex-AG Troy King (R) is running to get his old job back. King lost a re-election primary in 2010 to now-outgoing Sen. Luther Strange (R). He joins appointed incumbent Steve Marshall (R), ex-US Attorney Alice Martin (R), and 2006 State Auditor candidate Chess Bedsole (R) in the primary.

CT-AG: AG George Jepsen (D) announced yesterday he would not seek a third term. The low-key Jepsen would have been a prohibitive favorite for re-election. State Rep. William Tong (D) and prosecutor and gubernatorial candidate Chris Mattei (D) have been mentioned as potential candidates for the open seat. Republicans may seriously contest this race as Connecticut looks likely to be more-fertile-than-average ground for Republicans next year due to toxic Gov. Dan Malloy (D).

PA-LG: Lancaster County commissioner Craig Lehman (D) is the third significant candidate to take on LG Mike Stack (D) in the shotgun-wedding primary to run with Gov. Tom Wolf (D). You may recall that Stack is in hot water for abusing staffers at his state residence. Lehman joins Braddock Mayor and 2016 Senate candidate John Fetterman (D) and Chester County commissioner Kathy Cozzone (D) in the race.

MN-SD-54, MN-LD-23B: State Sen. Dan Schoen (D) and State Rep. Tony Cornish (R) have both resigned after being accused of sexual harassment. Schoen’s southeast exurban Twin Cities seat will likely be hotly-contested, while Cornish’s rural south-central MN seat should stay Republican barring something unexpected.

CA-LD-39: Following them out the door is another pervnado member, State Rep. Raul Bocanegra (D) of the heavily Hispanic eastern San Fernando Valley. Bocanegra’s seat is safely Democratic but could draw a crowded field of Dems.

Local Offices:

Atlanta-Mayor: Ahead of next week’s runoff, councilwoman Mary Norwood (I) has scored two significant endorsements. Businessman Peter Aman (D), the other white moderate in the first round, is backing Norwood, giving her two endorsements from defeated rivals who totaled 20% of the first-round vote. But the bigger deal is an endorsement from 2000s-era ex-Mayor Shirley Franklin (D), Norwood’s most prominent black endorser to date. Norwood is considered the underdog in the runoff after trailing 27-21 to councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D), a black establishment liberal who has the support of outgoing incumbent Kasim Reed (D) and a majority of the state’s Dem establishment.

Philly-Mayor ’19: Outgoing City Comptroller Alan Butkovitz (D) is hinting at a run against Mayor Jim Kenney (D) in 2019. Butkovitz is something of a maverick whose mediocre relationship with the local machine cost him his re-election bid this year, so he would likely face an uphill fight against Kenney.

Cook, IL-CE: Ex-Cook CE Todd Stroger (D) is running to get his old job back. Stroger was booted in the 2010 primary by now-incumbent Toni Preckwinkle (D). Stroger, who took under 14% in his re-election primary after a term marred by multiple sandals, is not likely to be a particularly strong challenger to Preckwinkle, who is unpopular due to her advocacy for a soda tax, which was so loathed that public outrage forced its repeal. Gadflyish ex-Chicago councilman Bob Fioretti (D) is also challenging Preckwinkle.

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:

Governor:

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).

Senate:

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”.

House:

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.

International:

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 February 15, 2017

Election News:  Republican Anne Neu won the Minnesota State House special election for seat 32B last night.  Democratic State Senator Bill Perkins won a vacant City Council seat in Harlem as well.  Now for the rest of the roundup…

President/National

Flyover Country:  In case some of our readers were wondering as they are worrying about President Trump from their homes on the respective flanks of the country, Trump is still popular in middle America.

Obamacare:  As I predicted months ago, the Republicans are running into serious internal issues regarding the repeal of Obamacare.  If a repeal happens at all, you got to wonder if it will take as long as it took the Democrats to pass Obamacare.

DNC:  Tom Perez claims to have enough votes to win the race for DNC Chairman.  A Perez win would continue Obama control of the DNC.

SBA:  Linda McMahon was confirmed as SBA Director.  She received strong support from both parties by today’s standards.

MI-Sen:  With a dearth of interested candidates, Republicans in Michigan are floating the idea of Kid Rock running for US Senate.  Crazy to think that Kid Rock as a candidate is not that far outside the realm of possibility.

States

Women:  The number of women in state legislative seats has reached 25% of the total membership with women controlling state legislative chambers also reaching an all time high.

Voting Laws:  As often seen in life, when your side cannot win on the merits, you challenge the rules.  Democrats are now focusing their political rage on the election rules as a source of their defeat.

International

UK:  Ahead of two key byelections, the Labour Party appears poised to lose two seats and potentially impair Jeremy Corbyn’s “leadership” of the Labour Party.

 

Political Roundup for February 14, 2017

Happy Love Day -er- Valentines Day. First off, there are two Special Elections to preview for today, one legislative and one for the NYC Council. The State House special this week is for MN-LD-32B, an R+8 (2012) seat in deep-red northeast Twin Cities exurbs along the Wisconsin border near Lindstrom. The seat is open after the 2016 election was invalidated, due to the prior incumbent’s residency violations. Anne Neu (R), a veteran MNGOP campaign operative, should be a clear favorite over 2014/2016 nominee and former Duluth city councilwoman Laurie Warner (D), especially as this seat likely moved right in 2016. However, Dems are targeting this race with a surprising amount of enthusiasm, and a surprise upset may be possible.

There is also a NYC Council Special for NYC-CD-9, a 60% BVAP, D+44 (2008) district basically coextensive with Central Harlem. NYC Council specials are in a non-partisan winner-take-all format. There are 9 Democrats and 1 Republican running, six of them serious and three with some chance to win. State Sen. Bill Perkins (D) is the clear front-runner, as he has represented the entire area in the Senate for a decade. However, Perkins has had a mavericky streak at times that has left him on mediocre terms with the Harlem machine. Transit union official Marvin Holland (D) looks like Perkins’s most serious competition. Holland has lapped the field (including Perkins) in fundraising and has strong labor support. However, his name recognition is poor and he has alienated some establishment figures with a very aggressive campaign (including trying to get almost all his rivals disqualified over petition technicalities). If Labor gets out the vote for him, Holland could pull the upset over Perkins’s name rec. The other candidate who could upset Perkins is former civil servant Larry-Scott Blackmon (D). Blackmon has surprisingly attracted a considerable amount of establishment support, including an endorsement from the previous council member, but doesn’t have Holland’s labor backing or Perkins’s name recognition. He also has received unflattering headlines for allegedly getting insiders to pull strings to keep him on the ballot in spite of an illegal party name. Thus, he looks like a long-shot. Two other Dems, Athena Moore (D), a staffer for the Manhattan Borough President, and Community Board member Charles Cooper (D), are both running serious campaigns and have a modicum of establishment backing, but look like very long-shots to come out on top. An interesting candidate who won’t win is social worker and businesswoman Dawn Simmons (R). Simmons is a credible candidate who has actually raised the third-most of the field, and received headlines for being endorsed by “Rent is Too Damn High” perennial candidate Jimmy McMillan (RITDH), but her party label (and thus her lack of Dem establishment support) will prevent her from taking more than a few percent here. The other four candidates, realtor Todd Stevens (D), attorney Pierre Gooding (D), businessman Donald Fields (D), and a Some Dude, seem to be non-serious. Overall this still looks like Perkins’s race to lose, as the establishment and anti-Perkins vote is split among enough candidates with low name rec to mean that Perkins’s name rec and machine should get him to a victory. However, that victory will probably be a low plurality one and Holland or Blackmon could pull the upset.

Now the rest of the day’s news….

President/National:

Natonal Security Adviser: Last Night Mike Flynn resigned as NSA over allegedly lying to Pence about his conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Retired admiral Robert Harward is apparently the front-runner to take over the job.

Treasury/VA: The Senate confirmed Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin and VA Sec. David Shulkin to their posts last night. Linda McMahon (SBA), Mick Mulvaney (OMB), Scott Pruitt (EPA), Wilbur Ross (Commerce), Ryan Zinke (Interior), Ben Carson (HUD), and Rick Perry (Energy) are all considered likely to go through before the end of the week.

Congress:

MA-Sen: State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) is considering a run against Sen. and cookbook author Elizabeth Warren (D). Diehl is a staunch conservative who represents a deep-red district by Bay State standards, so he’d likely stand little chance, but he does not have the polarizing image of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (R), who has some controversial statements and a failed video game company under his belt. Businessman Rick Green (R), who runs a conservative activist group as well, is also considering a run.

TX-Sen: Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) is considering a run for the seat of Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and will decide in the next 8 weeks. Castro joins fellow Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) in exploring this contest; Democrats may be feeling emboldened to take on Cruz after Hillary did better than expected in the Lone Star State, but the state’s huge size and inelastic nature presents a high hurdle.

GA-6: 8 candidates filed for HHS Secretary Tom Price’s (R) vacated congressional seat in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Four candidates are notable, State Sen. Judson Hill (R), ex-State Sens. Dan Moody (R) and Ron Slotin (D), and former congressional staffer Jon Osoff (D), who has had strong fundraising. Several others are expected to enter as well.

SC-5: Ex-SCGOP chair Chad Connelly (R) will run for the seat of OMB-director designate Mick Mulvaney (R); Connelly joins about a half-dozen other Republicans in the race for the deep-red seat. Connelly’s establishment ties could make him a credible contender and he looks likely to join State Reps. Tommy Pope (R) and Ralph Norman (R) in the first tier of contenders for this seat.

Governor, State & Local:

MA-Gov: 1994 LG nominee Bob Massie (D), a bold progressive netroots favorite, is considering a run against Gov. Charlie Baker (R). Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) and Gov. Deval Patrick admin official Jay Gonzales (D) have also been exploring bids here.

NJ-Gov: Former Saturday Night Live star Joe Piscopo (R) is doing “due dilligence” on a run for Governor of New Jersey, the clearest indication that the comedian is serious about exploring a bid. Piscopo would join LG Kim Guandagno (R) and State Rep. Jack Ciattarelli (R), along with some minor candidates, in the race for the nomination to succeed toxic Gov. Chris Christie (R). Former ambassador Jon Corzine Jr. Phil Murphy (D) is considered the likely Dem nominee and the favorite over any GOP contender.

MI-SoS: 2010 nominee and law school dean Jocelyn Benson (D) is considering a second bid for SoS in 2018. Benson would likely be the front-runner for the Dem nod if she ran, as her 2010 campaign was well-regarded by party insiders. State Sen. Mike Kowall (R) and State Rep. Lee Chatfield (R) are considering runs on the GOP side for the seat of termed-out incumbent Ruth Johnson (R).

PA-LG: Ex-State Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R) of Lancaster County is the first candidate to consider a run for LG. Pennsylvania uses the “shotgun wedding” system in which LGs and Governors run separately in the primaries but together in the general, which can create some chaotic LG races in which candidates have no idea who their running mates will be.

St. Petersburg-Mayor: Ex-St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker (R) has flirted with bids for multiple offices over the last couple years, including runs for FL-13, Florida Governor, and Attorney General, but now it looks like he may run for his old job, taking on incumbent St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) in this year’s election. Baker, who is well-regarded, would almost certainly be the GOP’s strongest candidate for the mayoral post.

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