Browsing Tag

mn-local

2017 General Election Previews, Part 2: Mayoral Races

Today we continue with Part 2 of our 3-part General Election Preview Series. Part 1 yesterday covered legislatures and county races, while Part 3 next Monday will cover the big-ticket races. Today we will focus on mayoral elections. The year after the presidential race is traditionally among the biggest times of the 4-year cycle for mayoral races, and 2017 is not an exception. Some two dozen big cities are electing mayors this year across 11 states. Most of the races are standard winner-take-all general elections, but there are also four Louisiana Rules Top Two races (denoted with LRTT) and two Ranked Choice Voting Races (denoted with RCV). Here we cover the races in cities above roughly 200K population, as well as two especially interesting smaller races. NYC (an office that behaves in practice more like a Governor than a Mayor) will be covered with the other Marquee Races on Monday. The mayoral races here are listed in descending population order.

Charlotte: Charlotte is America’s 17th-largest city; it has a population of 840K that breaks down as roughly 50% White, 35% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It had a PVI of D+13 (2008), and it has probably trended left since then; however, the GOP has done quite well in mayoral contests, losing narrowly in both 2013 and 2015. Charlotte proper covers all of both the urban and first-ring suburban portions of its metro area, making it among the nation’s most diverse cities from a socioeconomic standpoint. The city is roughly circular and might be best thought of as divided into four pie slices of north, south, east and west. The southern quarter of the city is quite wealthy and was staunchly Republican until 2016. The northern and western quarters are mostly black, with poorer areas near downtown and black-middle-class areas along the edges. The eastern quarter is racially very diverse, again with poorer areas near downtown and middle-class areas farther out. City councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) is the Dem nominee and thought the favorite. Somewhat surprisingly, she ousted the incumbent mayor (without the need for a runoff) in the September primary. Overall Lyles, a longtime council veteran, is a mainstream black establishment liberal. Though Lyles is a staunch liberal, she is also considered much more easygoing in style than the outgoing incumbent and has a better relationship with the council. Her inoffensive nature and the blue (and getting bluer) lean of the city should leave Lyles in a strong position to win the partisan general election. Lyles’s rival is city councilman Kenny Smith (R). Smith is a mainstream conservative from the wealthy southern part of the city, and is clearly to the right of the moderates the GOP put up for the seat in prior cycles (though Smith has been tacking to the center for this campaign). Thus, due to the lean of the city, and Lyles’s non-polarizing nature, Smith has generally been considered a long-shot. However, he is definitely a credible candidate, fundraising well and running a strong campaign, and might have a chance to pull the upset. A poll this week interestingly had Lyles up by just 1 point, suggesting this race could be surprisingly competitive and Smith could have a stronger chance to win than the fundamentals suggest. If he falls short as expected, Smith is definitely someone to watch for a state legislature or NC-9 campaign in the near future.

Seattle: Seattle is America’s 18th-largest city and its fastest growing big city, with a population of around 705K. Its demographics break down as roughly 70% White and 15% Asian, with small but significant Black and Hispanic populations. The northern half of the city is overwhelmingly white and monolithically home to upscale leftists, while the southern half of the city is racially mixed and has some blue-collar pockets (though plenty of upscale leftists as well). Seattle has a PVI of D+32 (2008); it has a history (from not all that long ago) as a blue-collar industrial city, but in recent years it has quickly turned into something of a slightly watered-down San Francisco. And like San Francisco, politics in the city takes the form of a two-party system between left and far-left, mainstream/sane liberal candidates and ultra-left moonbats. The open-seat mayoral general election is between one member of each faction. Incumbent Ed Murray (D), a mainstream liberal, was thought to be headed toward an uneventful re-election, but his campaign was derailed by a  series of lawsuits alleging past sexual abuse. Ex-US Attorney Jenny Durkan (D) is the mainstream liberal choice and generally considered the overall front-runner; she led the first round with 28%. Durkan, who touts her status as the first openly-gay US Attorney, is a mainstream liberal by Seattle standards (though she would be considered pretty far left just about anywhere else). She has received the endorsement of outgoing Mayor Murray (though she has disavowed that after Murray’s scandal) as well as most of the Dem establishment’s support; she has also dominated the fundraising race. Durkan’s major liability is her close establishment ties, which are not endearing to far-left voters, as well as her top-down management style that may grate on Seattle’s relatively cordial political sensibilities. Durkan’s base is likely to be the same as Murray’s, establishment liberals, particularly on the north side. The two other establishment liberals in the primary took 21%. Durkan faces a far-left rival in urban planner Cary Moon (D). Moon has attempted to run as an upscale far-left outsider, along the lines of the successful 2009 campaign of ex-Mayor Mike McGinn (D). Like McGinn, Moon made her name opposing a freeway relocation project and seems to be casting herself as the champion of Seattle’s far-left community, especially the influential ultra-environmentalist bloc. She was helped to a second place finish in the primary with 18% by the endorsement of the city’s influential Stranger alternative weekly, narrowly beating out an even further-left (borderline neo-communist) candidate. Underscoring how much the city’s ultra-left-wing has grown in the last decade, the two other ultra-left candidates in the primary took 23%, for a net score of 49-41 in favor of the establishment candidates. Durkan looks like a very slight favorite due to her stronger position in the first round and the better performance of establishment liberals. However, Seattle’s far-left community is quite powerful and has overperformed in the past, and Moon could easily prevail.

Boston: Boston has a population of 675K and a PVI D+33 (2016), which breaks down as roughly 45% White, 25% Black, 20% Hispanic, and 10% Asian. In spite of Boston’s reputation as a student/hipster/upscale liberal town, most of those sit outside the city limits in Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline, and those within Boston are low-turnout and largely irrelevant in local elections. Instead, elections are dominated by moderate white ethnics: the city includes a huge section of high-turnout middle-class-white suburban territory in the southwest (West Roxbury) and some urban poor white ethnic neighborhoods. The only other real bloc in municipal elections is the minority community: Boston has a large Black community in the south-central part of the city, and a Hispanic community in East Boston. This year, incumbent Mayor Marty Walsh (D) is seeking a second term. Walsh is a union-backed white ethnic Dem who won a close race in 2013 and has been a mainstream to slightly moderate liberal in office. Walsh has been relatively popular and has long been considered a strong favorite for re-election; indeed, it was something of an open question whether he would get a serious challenger at all. Walsh did draw a serious rival, however, in councilman (not that) Tito Jackson (D), who represents the African-American heavy Roxbury neighborhood (which, PSA for those of you not from Boston, is a very different neighborhood from, and nowhere near, West Roxbury). Jackson is attempting to run to Walsh’s left, but he remains little-known outside his district and there isn’t an obvious reservoir of discontent with Walsh to tap into. As such, Walsh led the primary by a large 63-29 margin and looks like the prohibitive favorite in the general. It would likely be a shock if Jackson came close to toppling the incumbent.

Detroit: Detroit has a population of around 675K (which is still dropping, though not quite as precipitously as it has been) that is roughly 85% Black, with a small Mexican community on the southwest side and a few white hipsters downtown. It had a PVI of D+44 (2008). Incumbent Mike Duggan (D) is the first white mayor of the city since the 70s. Duggan is a typical machine hack liberal, but he has done a decent job of slowing the city’s freefall and even reversing the decline in some neighborhoods. Clearing that low bar is enough to make him a huge favorite for re-election to a second term. Duggan’s rival, State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of Detroit’s polarizing 70s and 80s era mayor of the same name, is running to his left, accusing Duggan of not paying enough attention to the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Duggan led Young 67-27 in the August preliminary round, and it would be surprising if the general election result winds up being significantly different.

Atlanta (LRTT): Atlanta has a population of 475K, roughly 50% Black and 40% White. It has a PVI of D+28 (2008). Atlanta has four major socioeconomic areas, which are conveniently clustered around the north, south, east, and west parts of the city. The northern part of the city is known as Buckhead, a wealthy urban to inner suburban neighborhood that has historically been the origin and piggybank of the Georgia GOP, though it has been trending left recently. The eastern part of the city, which includes the downtown area, is a historically-black area that has become gentrified in recent years and is now largely upscale liberal whites. The western part of the city is overwhelmingly black and largely poor, though it does have some middle-class areas near the western edge. Finally, the southern part of the city is also overwhelmingly black, but more middle-class, though it does have some poor areas closer to downtown. There are 12 candidates for the open seat mayoral race this year, 8 of them serious. Councilwoman Mary Norwood (I) is the consistent front-runner in first-round polls. Norwood lost the 2009 runoff to now-incumbent Kasim Reed (D) in a squeaker by 714 votes. That 2009 campaign featured extensive campaigning from the state Democratic party on Reed’s behalf, casting the white Norwood as a closet Republican. That characterization is sincerely overblown; to the extent Norwood’s ideology can be identified, it’s probably best described as Bloombergish pro-business centrism. But directly opposite Bloomberg, Norwood is unapologetically small-ball in focus, eschewing major initiatives of any type in favor of a focus on local and neighborhood concerns. In a field with no serious right-of-center candidates, that means Norwood is a natural fit for the city’s GOP minority and upscale Buckhead residents, and she is likely to get a large margin in the high-turnout northern part of the city. However, polls have shown her in the 20s and she may find the runoff more difficult as the currently-fractured liberal vote coalesces. Councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) looks most likely to advance with Norwood. Lance-Bottoms has been surging in polls in the last few weeks, boosted by Reed’s endorsement and the support of his network. Like her mentor, Lance-Bottoms is an establishment liberal. She has benefited deeply from being seen as Reed’s handpicked successor, which has allowed her to stand out in a crowded field of similar candidates. She is likely preparing to use Reed’s 2009 playbook again in the runoff against Norwood, casting herself as the true Democrat in the race and the champion of the city’s black vote. There are seven other serious candidates in the race with the potential to upset the Norwood/Lance-Bottoms pairing. City official Peter Aman (D) has led the field in fundraising, and has been surging in polls in recent weeks. Aman, one of the three major white candidates in the race, has been taking aim at Norwood’s base, with an upscale moderate liberalism that seems deisgned to poach Buckhead votes from the left. Polls show the strategy may be working, as his vote share has gone up while Norwood’s has gone down in recent weeks, and there is a chance he could make the runoff or even take Norwood’s spot. Council President Caesar Mitchell (D) has citywide name recognition from his post and has also fundraised well. Mitchell is a moderate liberal with citywide name recognition from his post, and has been polling towards the front of the pack. Mitchell has also fundraised well, as he has a decent relationship with the business community, which could allow him to pull an upset and make the runoff. State Sen. Vincent Fort (D) is the most left-wing candidate in the field and has Bernie’s endorsement. Fort, who calls for making Atlanta a sanctuary city and for marijuana decriminalization, may be able to perform well with high left-wing enthusiasm. However, the black vote in Atlanta is generally fairly establishment-oriented, and Fort’s staunch leftism on both economic and social issues has left him on poor terms with establishment figures. As a result, he has been polling in the middle of the pack, though he has a decent chance to surprise if left-wing enthusiasm is higher than expected. Councilman Kwanza Hall (D) is a moderate liberal who may have some significant appeal to black middle-class voters. However, he has not really stood out in this field as his niche is overcrowded with bigger names like Lance-Bottoms and Mitchell. Thus, he has been polling towards the middle of the pack. That seems likely where he will finish barring a significant surprise. Ex-Council President Cathy Woolard (D) is the final white candidate in the race. However, unlike Norwood and Aman, Woolard is a staunch progressive. Woolard, who is openly gay, could draw a few points from white progressives on the east side, but has been at middling levels in polls as the white liberals in Atlanta are largely young and low-turnout, and Fort is also a home for their votes. Finally, Fulton CE John Eaves (D) was thought to be a strong candidate; however, his campaign has never really gotten off the ground. Eaves entered the race exceptionally late, after other candidates had long been campaigning hard. He is also an establishment black liberal, a niche in this field that is more than oversaturated, and thus he has been polling in low single digits. Overall, right now CW seems to be betting fairly strongly on Norwood and Lance-Bottoms advancing, though there are slight chances for Aman, Mitchell, Fort, Hall, and Woolard to pull an upset and snatch one of the runoff spots away.

Raleigh: North Carolina’s capital has a population of 460K which breaks down as 55% White, 30% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It has a PVI of D+11 (2008), though that has likely shifted well to the left over the last decade. The city is relatively diverse socioeconomically, with white liberals on the west side, upscale white moderates in the northern part of the city, and a mixture of lower and middle-income blacks on the east side. Incumbent Spanky Nancy McFarlane (I) is seeking a fourth two-year term. McFarlane is a moderate, business-friendly liberal who has generally had the support of the Dem establishment. She has been quite popular as mayor and has generally cruised to her first two re-elections over token GOP opposition. However, Raleigh has been shifting strongly left in recent years with an influx of minorities and upscale liberals. And this year, McFarlane is facing a much more serious challenge, from her left rather than right. Attorney Charles Francis (D) hass running to McFarlane’s left, striking SJW notes in contrast to McFarlane’s business liberalism. This year, Francis has the official endorsement of the Wake County Democratic Party, which has previously gone to McFarlane. Francis has also outraised the incumbent, and has backing from some big names in the area’s Democratic establishment (including the heads of liberal polling firm PPP). Many more moderate Dems are still backing McFarlane, but Francis was able to force a runoff by holding McFarlane below 50 in October. That said, the remainder of the vote went to a Republican (though he has somewhat strangely endorsed Francis) and Francis’s 48-38 deficit seems like a tough hill to climb. Thus, McFarlane looks like a moderate favorite for re-election, though there is still a possibility that high black and liberal turnout could allow Francis to pull the upset.

Flip over for much more!

Continue Reading

Political Roundup for November 1, 2017

Check back at noon for the first in our 3-part series of general election previews. Today we’ll be covering legislatures, county races, and the NYC Council. Part 2 tomorrow at 3 will cover Mayors, and part 3 on Monday will cover big-ticket races in NJ, VA, and NYC.

Polling Quick-Hits:

AL-Sen: The Senate Leadership Fund (R) has ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) up 56-39 on ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (R).

AZ-Sen (R): Data Orbital has ex-State Sen. Kelli Ward (R) at 28, Rep. Martha McSally (R) at 19, ex-Rep. Matt Salmon (R) at 10, and others in single digits.

NV-Sen (R): JMC Analytics has perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (R) up 44-38 on Sen. Dean Heller (R).

VA-Gov: WaPo has LG Ralph Northam (D) up 49-44 on ex-RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R).

Charlotte-Mayor: SUSA has councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) leading fellow councilman Kenny Smith (R) just 41-40; Lyles had been thought a heavy favorite.

Nassau, NY-CE: Siena has ex-State Sen. Jack Martins (R) up 43-41 on county commissioner Laura Curran (D). Internals for both candidates are also out: Martins has himself up 47-41, while Curran’s internal has her up 43-39.

Governor:

CA-Gov: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) announced Monday he would not run for Governor. Garcetti was the last major candidate considering a run here, and could have shaken up the race if he entered. It looks like the field is set with four serious Democrats, LG Gavin Newsom (D), Garcetti’s predecessor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), Treasurer John Chiang (D), and ex-Superintendent Delaine Eastin (D).

CO-Gov: Ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) is making his third bid for Governor, after losing a third-party run in 2010 and a primary bid in 2014. Tancredo, a polarizing figure known for his strident opposition to illegal immigration and occasional foot-in-mouth tendencies, will join a crowded primary field. Also in the GOP race are Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R), Arapahoe DA George Brauchler (R), and a pair of self-funding businessmen, ex-State Rep. Vic Mitchell (R) and Romney relation Doug Robinson (R), with AG Cynthia Coffman (R) thought to be considering.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R) has begun circulating petitions for a primary challenge to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), though she has not officially committed to a run. Ives, a second-term legislator from DuPage County, was incensed at Rauner’s signing of a bill permitting taxpayer-funded abortions. She could potentially harness social conservative enthusiasm to oust the incumbent. Unlike Rauner, however, Ives is not personally wealthy, and would likely find the general election very difficult in the large and deep-blue state. Ives has selected Rock Island County commissioner and ex-State Rep. Rich Morthland (R) as her running mate.

MI-Gov: Attorney Andy Levin (D) is considering a run for Governor. Levin’s only electoral foray was a 2006 State Senate bid that he lost by 700 votes, and he also held some minor positions in the Granholm administration. However, his biggest asset is his name: Levin is the son of MI-9 Rep. Sander (D) and nephew of ex-Sen. Carl (D), giving him instant statewide name recognition. Levin would face ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), businessmen Shri Thanedar (D) and Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit city official Abul El-Sayed (D) in the Dem primary. It seems possible Levin’s interest in this race may be more about raising his name recognition for an MI-9 bid if his father decides to retire.

OH-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D), the only Ohio Democrat holding a statewide state-level elected office, has joined the primary for Governor. O’Neill intends to remain on the court while campaigning until February (he is required to step down when petitions are due), which may be legally problematic as the court does not allow recusal from cases. O’Neill joins a quartet of other Dems, ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D), in the crowded Dem primary.

Congress:

NJ-Sen: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) has rested his defense case in his corruption trial. Menendez did not take the stand in his own defense, a move that could have been politically problematic for him even if he were acquitted. The jury is likely to begin deliberations by the end of the week.

FL-5: Rumors are flying that ex-Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown (D) is considering a primary challenge to first-term Rep. Al Lawson (D) in this Jacksonville-to-Tallahassee seat. Brown’s bid could be complicated if another Jacksonville Democrat, State Sen. Audrey Gibson (D), also decides to primary Lawson, as they would likely split the Jacksonville vote.

NH-1: State Rep. Mark McKenzie (D), a former state AFL-CIO chair,  is the latest candidate into this crowded race. McKenzie joins Obama admin offiical Maura Sullivan (D) and ex-Strafford DA Lincoln Soldati (D) in the race to fill the purple open seat of retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D); the GOP also has a crowded field.

TX-5: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) announced his retirement yesterday. Click for our full post and Great Mentioner for his R+16 Dallas-to-rural East Texas seat.

State Offices:

AZ-SoS: Oof, now this is about as damning an indictment you can get without actually being indicted. An investigation has found that SoS Michele Reagan (R) broke the law through sheer incompetence in office. Reagan was supposed to mail out the state-produced voter information pamphlets for a referendum in May 2016, but the pamphlets did not go out in time. However, there will be no punishment, as the criminal law requires willful neglect of duty, and this error “demonstrates poor or incompetent execution of the task, not a knowing omission of their duty.” Reagan’s staff apparently hid the technical error responsible for the missed mailing from her, but the investigation also found she was responsible for covering up the error for 19 days before admitting it publicly, time during which the referendum ballots were sent out and votes cast without the information pamphlet. Reagan is currently facing a primary challenge from State Sen. Steve Montenegro (R). Democrats are seriously contesting this seat as well, with State Sen. Katie Hobbs (D) and attorney and Dem operative Mark Gordon (D) squaring off in the primary.

CA-AG: Republicans have a mildly credible candidate for this race, as retired judge Steven Bailey (R) has announced a bid to take on appointed incumbent Xavier Becerra (D). Bailey has some GOP establishment support, but has no chance in the deep-blue state’s general given his lack of cash or name recognition. That said, it’s still good to know we will probably have a non-embarassing nominee, and Bailey could be a solid get for a legislative seat or CA-4 in the future.

CO-Treas: Two new candidates have entered this crowded field. For Republicans, businessman Brian Watson (R), who lost a State House race in 2012 but has proven fundraising ability, is the latest candidate into this crowded primary. Watson joins State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R), State Reps. Polly Lawrence (R) and Justin Everett (R), Routt DA Brett Barkey (R), and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn (R). On the Dem side, State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) now has a serious primary rival in fellow State Rep. Dave Young (D) of Greeley.

DE-AG: Tom Neuberger (R), a prominent attorney who has made his name suing the state on behalf of public employees, will run for AG. Neuberger most notably represented correctional officers alleging unsafe practices led to a prison riot at the state’s main prison in February. Neuberger could be a credible candidate for the GOP in this race. Former AG’s office CoS Tim Mullaney (D) is the only other  candidate in the race, but ex-AG Charles Oberly (D) and State Rep. Sean Lynn (D) are considering.

DE-Aud: Kathleen Davies (I), the former top deputy to State Auditor Tom Wagner (R), is running for her boss’s seat as an Independent. Davies could be a credible candidate, but there are allegations she was forced out of the office over misappropration of travel reimbursements. Wagner has not declared if he will seek an eighth term; ex-State Rep. Dennis Williams (D) is in the race for Dems.

FL-AG: State Rep. Sean Shaw (D) is considering a run for AG. Democrats have struggled to find a recruit for this race, with no candidate obviously making moves toward a bid so far. While Shaw, a first-term Rep. from a heavily Democratic Tampa seat, is not considered a top-tier prospect, he would likely be stronger than the only Dem in the race so far, little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D). The GOP has a 3-way primary between front-running retired judge Ashley Moody (R) and State Reps. Jay Fant (R) and Frank White (R).

FL-Ag Comm: Former Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) is dropping out of the race for Ag Commissioner and endorsing State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R). Paulson had some self-funding ability but little name rec or establishment support and was thus considered a long-shot. Caldwell is facing State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and ex-State Rep. Baxter Troutman (R) in the primary.

GA-PSC: Public Service Commission Chair Stan Wise (R) will not run for re-election next year. Seats on the 5-member, currently all-GOP, board are elected at-large for staggered 6-year terms.

KS-SoS: State Sen. Marci Francisco (D), who represents a deep-blue Lawrence seat, is considering a run for the open SoS post, becoming the first Dem to declare interest in this seat. Three Republicans are in the race, KSGOP chair and Sedgwick County commissioner Kelly Arnold (R) and State Reps. Keith Esau (R) and Scott Schwab (R).

LA-Treas: The State Democratic Party has belatedly endorsed attorney Derrick Edwards (D) in his November 18 Treasurer runoff. Edwards came in first in the October primary, but did not run a serious campaign and the three Republicans took 2/3 of the vote. State Rep. John Schroeder (R) is considered the prohibitive favorite in the runoff, but there is a theoretical chance high New Orleans turnout for the mayoral race and ultra-low turnout elsewhere could give a D-heavy enough electorate for Edwards to shock.

NM-AG: Immigration attorney Michael Hendricks (R), who had previously been exploring a run for the open congressional NM-1, will take on AG Hector Balderas (D). Balderas is considered a strong favorite for re-election in the medium-blue state.

OH-Aud: State House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R) will not run for Auditor, ending a few days of speculation that he would jump into the race. Rosenberger’s decision keeps the primary field clear for State Rep. Keith Faber (R), the former State Senate President. Ex-Rep. Zack Space (D) is the likely D nominee.

SC-AG: State Rep. Todd Atwater (R) is considering a primary challenge to AG Alan Wilson (R). Atwater is well connected, having spent over a decade as director of the state’s Medical Association and as a former gubernatorial and congressional staffer. Atwater would likely plan to hit Wilson on his close ties to indicted lobbyist Richard Quinn (R).

Local Offices:

Westchester, NY-CE: The hits just keep on coming for State Sen. George Latimer (D). After it came out that he owed $48K in back property taxes and missed a key legislative vote to take a vacation with his mistress, Latimer has had another embarrassment come out: his car registration has been suspended for unpaid parking tickets (and he is driving the car anyway). Latimer is in a closely-fought race with incumbent Rob Astorino (R) in this deep-blue county.

St. Paul-Mayor: Ex-councilman Pat Harris (D) is disavowing a mailer on his behalf from the city’s Police Union. The mailer attacks ex-councilman Mel Carter (D), thought to be Harris’s main rival in the 5-way race, for failing to secure guns at his home that were stolen in a robbery. Harris, who is the “moderate” in this extremely left-wing field, is disavowing the mailer as racist.

St. Petersburg-Mayor: Ex-Mayor Rick Baker (R) is going nuclear on his rival, incumbent Rick Kriseman (D). Baker is bringing up the history of Kriseman’s CoS, who propositioned a teenage girl while working as a substitute teacher in 2001. The runoff next week has been very hard-fought as the two were separated by just 70 votes in August.

Coroners: Finally, here’s an absolute must-read piece from mapmaker/consultant Matt Isbell on the election of Coroners. A surprising number of counties still elect their coroner, and the combination of a low-profile and technical office with an uninformed electorate can lead to some weird political stories.

Political Roundup for October 9th, 2017

Happy Columbus Day! If you’re a government employee, congratulations, you have the day off! If you’re just a normal person, then here’s some electoral news to take your mind off of what Jenny in HR is probably telling everyone that came up on your last evaluation.

Big Picture

FL: Florida is a state of counterbalancing political trends. On the one hand, you have Puerto Ricans pouring into Orlando. On the other hand, you have northern retirees pouring planned communities across the state. This article examines the latter by looking at the biggest such community, The Villages (Florida’s Friendliest Home Town! to anyone who’s watched a few hours of Fox News in the last decade). One thing that the article fails to note is the same company that built The Villages is planning an even bigger community near Panama City Beach.

Gerrymandering: This is one of those great longform pieces from Politico Magazine. In it, Jeff Greenfield discusses how many Democrats’ obsession with gerrymandering blinds them to the real state-level work that they must do if they wish to regain power.

Talkin’ Bout My Generation: Is the Republican Party in a downward spiral with young voters? No, it definitely isn’t, at least according to this WaPo article. What seems to have happened is that as younger voters have gotten less white, white young voters have gotten more Republican. There’s also some evidence that young blacks have gotten a bit more Republican, but the article doesn’t discuss that.

Congress

MI-Sen: Another week, another Kid Rock Senate poll. This one from Mitchell (not the most reputable pollster) Mr. Ritchie trailing Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) by eight points, 46-38.

MO-Sen: Former Trump Steve Bannon has been trying to meddle in some Senate primaries recently. Missouri AG Josh Hawley (R), who’s running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) next year, heard that he might be on the target list and called the snake himself to charm his way out of it. It remains to be seen whether the snake will go quietly into the basket.

WY-Sen: Speaking of Steve Bannon sticking his nose where it’s in danger of being chopped off, he’s playing in Wyoming as well. He’s reportedly recruiting Blackwater founder Erik Prince to primary Sen. John Barrasso (R). I highly doubt it will work (see Liz Cheney primarying Mike Enzi a few years ago), but we’ll keep an eye on it nonetheless.

MI-08: When you’re in the wilderness, a bunch of formerly appointed officials suddenly look like good candidates. Enter Ellissa Slotkin (D), an Obama-era DoD official who is now running for Congress in her native Michigan. Slotkin is running against Rep. Mike Bishop (R) in his Lansing-to-Troy seat, and she’s raising quite a lot of money for a seat like this and early in the cycle. She’s got about $370k CoH right now. That’s phenomenal, but remember, Bishop is popular and the seat is stably R+4. If there’s a wave, I could see it falling, but it’s not likely at this point. The materials are there, though.

PA-18: With Rep. Tim Murphy (R) adding ‘disgraced former’ to the front of his name last week, there’s liable to be a special election for his Pittsburgh-area seat. Our friend Miles Coleman over at DDHQ breaks down the district by the numbers and finds that it’s likely to stay in Republican hands because of trends in the area over the past two decades.

Governor

CA-Gov: Fun fact: in Berkeley, CA, the side of town housing the big university is the one LESS in favor of seizing the means of production. Why is this, might you ask? It’s because even though California is a very blue state, and even its college students are yet bluer, they’re still less leftist than America’s biggest CrazyTown, where Jill Stein came in second place last year. Anyway, the college itself has produced a useful poll of the upcoming gubernatorial blanket primary. The poll came out as 23-12-10-9-7-4 Newsom (D)-Villaraigosa (D)-Cox (R)-Allen (R)-Chiang (D)-Eastin (D). I have to think that this race is Lt. Gove Gavin Newsom’s to lose, and he’ll certainly come in first in Top Two.

State/Local

CO-Treas: Well, we know who the Republican nominee for Treasurer in Colorado is already. Incumbent Walker Stapleton (R) has decided to run for Governor, and State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R) has stepped right in and raised $90,000 already. That’s almost as much as Stapleton usually raises this time of the cycle. It more than quadruples her closest primary rival. This bodes well for the GOP holding onto the office, as there likely won’t be a bloody primary and Lawrence sounds like solid candidate who stays on-issue.

Erie-Mayor: Salena Zito thinks that the GOP might pick up the Mayor’s office in Erie, PA. I’m not convinced, but she makes a strong case. Pieces like this that focus on local races are often good reads, and this one is no exception.

Hopkins-Mayor: File this one under ‘dumbass.’ A candidate for Mayor in Hopkins, MN, an inner suburb of Minneapolis, is in hot water after after claiming that a new light rail project will bring in ‘riffraff,’ ‘ethnics,’ and shootings. however right he is about transit links sometimes bringing crime to the suburbs, this was exactly the wrong way to approach the subject. His campaign must surely be doomed after this.

Political Roundup for June 26, 2017

First off, there are two legislative specials tomorrow, one primary and one general. The primary is in MA-SD-4th Middlesex, a D+14 (2016) seat stretching from Arlington to Billerica (bill-rick-uh, or bill-UH-rick-uh if you really want the authentic cockney-townie mispronunciation) in the northwest suburbs of Boston. State Rep. Sean Garballey (D) and Cindy Friedman (D), CoS to the late prior incumbent, are facing off; both are establishment liberals and there is no clear favorite between the two. A third candidate, state school board member Mary Ann Stewart (D), seems like a longer-shot. No Republicans are seeking the seat. The general is for IA-LD-22, an R+19 (2016) seat covering Omaha exurbs and rural areas east of Council Bluffs. Banker and local GOP official Jon Jacobsen (R) looks like at least a slight favorite over Carol Forristall (R), widow of the prior incumbent, who lost her bid for the GOP endorsement and is instead running as an Indie, and a Libertarian Some Dude. Dems have no one on the ballot after their candidate failed to turn his paperwork in on time, though he is running as a write-in. Now the rest of the day’s news –

Senate:

ND-Sen: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) is undecided on whether to seek a second term this cycle, saying that being in the Senate is “a hard life.” Should Heitkamp retire the seat would be a likely GOP pickup; if she runs again she would likely face a competitive general election, possibly against Rep. Kevin Cramer (R).

VT-Sen: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D) and his wife Jane have retained lawyers, as they are now under FBI investigation. The investigation centers on alleged fraud in Jane Sanders’s mismanagement of a now-shuttered College where she was president. Jane Sanders allegedly falsified descriptions of the college’s donor base and finances when seeking a large loan, and Bernie may have used his influence to lobby for the loan arrangement.

Governor:

AL-Gov: State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) is the latest Republican to explore an entry into this increasingly crowded primary. Zeigler had a reputation as a gadfly before winning the Auditor post over several little-known rivals; however, he has raised his profile since becoming Auditor with aggressive investigations of various scandals surrounding ex-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) that eventually forced the latter’s resignation. Zeigler says has not made a decision to enter the race and may seek a second term as Auditor. Should he enter the race, Zeigler would face Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington (R), minister Scott Dawson (R), and businessman Joshua Jones (R), with PSC chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R) also seen as likely to enter. Incumbent Kay Ivey (R) has not yet indicated if she will seek a full term. Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

CO-Gov: Kent Thiry (R), the CEO of the dialysis company Davita, is exploring a run for Governor. Thiry, who has donated to both parties, would likely run as a centrist and would likely self-fund his bid. He would join Arapahoe DA George Brauchler (R) and two other self-funding businessmen, ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R) and Romney relative Doug Robinson (R), in the GOP primary; State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) is also seen as likely to enter. Reps. Jared Polis (D) and Ed Perlmutter (D), ex-State Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D), and State Sen. Mike Johnston (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

FL-Gov: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) says that though the FBI is now investigating corruption in Tallahassee city government, he is not personally under investigation. This setback is the latest in a string of embarrassing headlines for Gillum, including campaign finance woes and improper use of government email. Gillum is facing ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D) and businessman Chris King (D) in the Dem primary, with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D) and wealthy trial lawyer John Morgan (D) considering runs. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is in the race on the GOP side.

IL-Gov: Five Democrats seeking to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) appeared before the important Cook County Dem machine meeting on Thursday. Businessman JB Pritzker (D), considered the establishment favorite (read: the choice of State Dictator House Speaker Mike Madigan (D)) because of his immense wealth, played to the part by dutifully asking for machine backing. Fellow businessman and Heir Force Col. Chris Kennedy (D) used his speech to argue for no endorsement and attempting to cast himself as an outsider. Three other Democrats, State Sen. Daniel Biss (D), Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), mostly seemed to use the meeting as a chance to boost their name recognition, while a sixth, State Rep. Scott Drury (D), skipped the meeting entirely.

More IL-Gov: In what could present a headache for Rauner, former pro wrestler Jon Stewart (L) will run for Governor as a Libertarian. Stewart definitely sounds like a Republican in all but name, as he was a vocal Trump supporter and once hired Kellyanne Conway to run his campaign for the State House as a Republican in the 90s. It’s unclear how much traction Stewart might get – or how many votes he might win from people thinking he’s “the other” Jon Stewart, as a school in Utah did in 2006 when they booked him for a fundraising gala.

KS-Gov: Businessman and ex-State Rep. Mark Hutton (R) is considering an entry into this primary. Hutton, who says he would try to bridge the moderate-conservative chasm within the KSGOP but who has generally been more identified with the moderate wing, retired from the legislature in 2016. Hutton would face SoS Kris Kobach (R/C), ex-State Sen. and 2006 nominee Jim Barnett (R/M), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R/M), and businessman Wink Hartman (R/C) in the primary; LG Jeff Colyer (R/C) is also thought to be considering a run. Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) and ex-State Rep. Josh Svaty (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

MD-Gov: Attorney Jim Shea (D) is the latest little-known Democrat seeking to try his luck in the primary to take on popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Shea is a former chair of a large law firm and university regent, so he may be well-connected. He joins Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D), ex-NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous (D), and businessman and Hillary aide Alec Ross (D) in vying to take on Hogan.

OH-Gov: In a move that surprised no one, AG Mike DeWine (R) announced his run for Governor over the weekend. DeWine, a former Senator before scoring a comeback as AG in 2010, looks like a slight front-runner in a titanic four-way primary against LG Mary Taylor (R), Rep. Jim Renacci (R), and SoS Jon Husted (R). Democrats have a four-way primary of their own between ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), State Sen. Tony Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D).

House:

CO-2, CO-3: State Sen. Kerry Donovan (D) will not run for Congress this cycle. Donovan had been mentioned as a potential candidate for both the open deep-blue CO-2, where her primary home is, and the medium-red CO-3 of Rep. Scott Tipton (R), where her family owns a ranch and a large part of her Senate seat is based. 2014 SoS nominee Joe Neguse (D) looks like the front-runner in a potentially crowded field for CO-2, while Democrats do not as of yet have strong prospects to take on Tipton.

IL-12: St. Clair County DA Brendan Kelly (D) is rumored to be considering a run against Rep. Mike Bost (R), and has attracted the interest of the DCCC.  This downscale MetroEast and Little Egypt district zoomed right last year but has some strong Democratic heritage; as DA of the district’s largest county, Kelly could be a formidable candidate. Several Some Dude Dems are in the race to take on Bost.

SC-1: Attorney Joe Cunningham (D) will run against Rep. Mark Sanford (R) in this medium-red Charleston area district. Cunningham seems to be well-connected; he is also receiving some buzz for his particularly blunt upfront stance that he will not vote for Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker if elected. Sanford was expected to face a serious primary challenge as well, but both of his erstwhile challengers have since dropped out.

UT-3: Attorney Tanner Ainge (R), son of Boston Celtics President Danny, wasn’t registered to vote in Utah when he filed as a candidate for Congress in May. Ainge returned to Utah in November of last year after six years in Illinois and California, and says he forgot to re-register when he returned to the state. Ainge will face Provo Mayor John Curtis (R), who is under fire for his past as a Democrat, and ex-State Rep. and convention winner Chris Herrod (R) in the August 15 primary.

State & Local:

AL-LG: State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R) of rural northeast Alabama has joined the race for LG, joining State Sen. Rusty Glover (R) and elected state school board member Mary Scott Hunter (R) in the primary. Hunter was also the recipient of a scathing internal report from the school board last week. The report alleges that Hunter conspired with the sitting interim state Superintendent and several staffers in a months-long campaign to spread false innuendo about Craig Pouncey, an applicant for the appointed Superintendent job. Hunter disputes the report’s accuracy.

FL-CFO: CFO Jeff Atwater (R) is resigning this week, and Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) choice to replace him is ex-State Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R) of Panama City. Scott is set to announce the appointment today at Patronis’s restaurant; Patronis says he will run for a full term in 2018, though it’s still too early to say if he will face primary opposition. Ex-State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) is likely to be the Dem nominee for this post in 2018.

GA-LG: State Sen. Rick Jeffares (R) runs a water and sewer contracting company which has received a large amount of state business. The business dealings are completely legal as Georgia law permits legislators to receive state contracts as long as they are received through a blinded open-bidding process. However, if Jeffares moves from his part-time legislative post to the LG slot, the issue might become thornier. Jeffares says that the LG spot is part-time, permitting him to continue his company’s state business, but he has not made a decision on whether to continue his business if he wins. Jeffares is facing State Senate President David Shaffer (R) and State Rep. Geoff Duncan (R) in this primary.

IL-SoS: SoS Jesse White (D) is considering going back on his intention to retire in 2018. White, 82, has admitted he is considering seeking a sixth term but has not finalized a decision either way. The popular White would likely be a prohibitive favorite against any opposition if he ran again.

KS-SoS: State Rep. Keith Esau (R) will run for the open SoS seat, joining Sedgwick County clerk and KSGOP chair Kelly Arnold (R) in the GOP primary. Esau, who hails from the Kansas City suburbs, is generally identified with the KSGOP’s Conservative faction.

LA-PSC-2: Here’s one we missed. Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R) resigned last month to take a job in the Trump administration, leaving his Public Service Commission seat open. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has appointed ex-State Rep. Damon Baldone (D) to the seat, giving Democrats a 3-2 majority in the body. There will be a special election for the seat later this year. Baldone will seek to keep the position, while orthopedic surgeon Craig Greene (R) has also announced he will run for the seat.

Knox, TN-CE: Sheriff JJ Jones (R) has ended his 2018 campaign for Knox County Executive, leaving County commissioner Bob Thomas (R) and former professional wrestler Glenn “Kane” Jacobs (R) as the only major candidates in this open-seat race.

St. Paul, MN-Mayor: The state bureau of investigation has concluded its investigation of city councilman Dai Thao (D) and has referred the matter to prosecutors. Thao allegedly met with a lobbyist in April and requested a campaign contribution in exchange for support of a measure. Thao is seeking the open Mayoral seat this year against ex-councilman and Gov. Dayton Admin official Melvin Carter (D), ex councilwoman Pat Harris (D), and ex-school board member Tom Goldstein (D). Carter is considered the front-runner; incumbent Chris Coleman (D) is retiring to run for Governor in 2018.

Political Roundup for June 20, 2017

T’was the morn before specials,
And all through the districts,
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a – shoot, I didn’t think this one through for something to rhyme.

Anyway, it is special election day in the over-hyped GA-6 and likely snoozefest SC-5. Join us for our liveblog at 7 PM ET, and make sure to check our earlier preview here.

Senate

NV-Sen: By now you should have seen the news that freshman Rep. Jackie Rosen (D) will run for Senate against Sen. Dean Heller, one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents this cycle. Read through our post to find some Great Mentioner action.

Yesterday before this news a PPP (D) poll dropped showing generic D leading Heller 46%-39% (for context, this sample voted Hillary over Trump and Johnson 46%-43%-3%).

Governor

MN-Gov, St Paul Mayor: The Philando Castile verdict threw a monkey wrench into local DFL politics. Literally the morning after the verdict dropped, Democrats held the St Paul city convention. That meant some activists were out late occupying I-94 and showed up the next morning for some electioneering. The two Democratic candidates for governor with the closest ties to St Paul, State Rep. Erin Murphy and St Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, each dropped press releases on the subject. Murphy’s was more straight-forward, calling for changes in “use of force” laws, while Coleman’s was more political-speakish.

The decision also reverberates in the mayoral race, where candidates all condemned the verdict and one, embattled council member Dai Thao, actually brought a friend of Castile to speak for him. FWIW, no endorsement for mayor was dropped at the convention, with council member Melvin Carter leading the pack in balloting and a primary now on its way.

VA-Gov, VA-10: Our friend Miles Coleman at DDHQ explains why Corey Stewart’s Confederate revival campaign won in VA-10 in NoVa of all places with his trademark pretty maps. Stewart managed to consolidate some anti-Trump voters and benefited from low Republican primary turnout and a third wheel candidate sucking some of Gillespie’s oxygen from the room. For more on Stewart’s almost-upset, see this article in The Atlantic.

House

GA-6: A sampling of articles to read as E-day hits.

SC-5: Roll Call reminds us not to forget about today’s other special election, where a few national Dem leaders parachuted in but no money or real support for poor Archie Parnell (D). The article even catches one member of DCCC leadership not even knowing his name!

MN-3: Tonka Bay (pop. 1500) councilman Adam Jennings is the latest Democrat to file against Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in this affluent seat in the historically Republican southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Of course, if former State Sen. Terri Bonoff couldn’t do it riding a strong performance here from Hillary last cycle, hard to see how things change now.

WI-1: Ironworker Randy Bryce (D), who ran for local office in 2012, 2013, and 2014, is now running against Speaker Paul Ryan. While supporting candidates against the Speaker here is not as foolhardy as the hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown at Nancy Pelosi’s seat the last few years (see Dennis, John), Ryan still won with 55% in has last close-ish race in 2012, and he took over 60% the last two cycles. Still, credit where credit is due for this great web ad from Bryce. It opens with Ryan discussing tough options on health care and Bryce’s own mom’s struggles, and ends with Bryce offering to trade jobs with Ryan. Bravo for a good hit, though it’s only a web ad with his announcement.

NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) has a primary from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former Sanders organizer affiliated with Brand New Congress. I mainly linked this for the great reminder about how much Crowley’s career has been built through local party machines, which is worth a read if you have forgotten the details. The primary challenger herself seems over-hyped, but I always like to see good Democratic primaries and all that money pouring down the drain.

FL-18: 2016 Senate candidate (who lost to heir force Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic primary) Pam Keith is now going to run against freshman Rep. Brian Mast in this central Florida district. She had a nice resume last time around, but Murphy’s path was well-cleared by his dad’s large donations to Democratic candidates and committees.

Redistricting

WI-Redistrict: Not only did the Supreme Court take on the long-winding Democratic challenge to Republican state legislative redistricting, but they stayed the previous order to change the seats before the 2018 midterms. This means we get to see SCOTUS watch a parade of lawyers try to define gerrymandering for them, which should be fun since Wisconsin is not really the most egregious case to pick out. While it’s not unheard of for the court to issue a stay and then rule against it later, issuing such an order does make it that much more likely SCOTUS will uphold the current maps for Wisconsin. For more detail, see this article.

Miscellaneous

UT-Dem: Your rival party within your state hates their sitting president and has large numbers of defectors briefly willing to consider another candidate. Of course I talk about how Democrats should see the state of the GOP in Utah, where many young and devout Mormons couldn’t stomach President Trump. What is the Democratic response? Double-down of course, electing a Sanderista named Daisy Thomas as their new chairwoman. Apparently sexual harassment allegations were buzzing during the proceedings regarding a former candidate for the job.

TX-SD-10: A really neat analysis of straight ticket voting in Texas’ only real swing state senate district, formerly held by 2014 gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D) and now held by state Sen. Konni Burton (R). The article notes that the random selection of SD-10 for off-year elections markedly changed its electorate from a tossup presidential one to something closer to lean D in gubernatorial years.

 

Political Roundup for February 22, 2017

“If I was Governor, I’d sure find better things to do with my time. Like getting Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday back to separate paid holidays. Presidents’ Day. What a rip-off.”

Last night in WI-Supt, we saw a moderate surprise as Beloit local superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), the more conservative candidate, easily bested the more moderate John Humphries (R) for the right to take on incumbent Tony Evers (D). Evers, however, cruised overall, winning 2/3 of the vote, and will likely have little trouble in the general in April barring something unexpected.

President/National:

DNC Chair: NH Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley (D) dropped his bid for DNC chair over the weekend and will back Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D). Buckley was considered a longer-shot to win but still had a significant base of support. His endorsement probably doesn’t give Ellison a huge advantage in his competitive fight with co-front-runner Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez (D), but it probably does significantly hurt the chances of the third major candidate in the race, South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), who needs both Ellison and Perez to deadlock well short of a majority in order to have a shot. SC Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison (D) is the only other candidate with any significant support, but he seems a long-shot.

Senate:

MI-Sen: Buried in this Great Mentioner piece about possible challengers to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is the revelation that ex-State Sen. Randy Richardville (R), who held down a swingy district at the state’s southeast corner from 2006 to 2014, is considering the race and will decide “by this summer.” Stabenow has not definitively said whether she will seek re-election, but is expected to; many other Republicans are considering the race, though Richardville seems to be the most obviously serious. One potential candidate taking herself out of the running though is termed-out SoS Ruth Johnson (R), who seems to have her eye on a safely Republican State Senate seat in her home of exurban northern Oakland County instead.

NJ-Sen: George Norcross (D), the dictator of the southern half of the state, and his brother, Rep. Donald Norcross (D), have made their decision on whether to play nice with indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) or seek to push him out the door, and they’ve chosen the former. La Cosa Norcross will host a fundraiser for Menendez next month, which probably closes the door on Don running against him. It seems they are betting on Menendez either going down quickly with time for Don to enter the primary, surviving his trial, or not going down until after the election, triggering a special – a combined outcome with reasonable chance to happen but still a bet that’s not without risk. It’s unclear whether the other major candidate interested in the seat, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D), will make the same calculation. Menendez limping through the primary to a general election with a cloud over his head is probably the only chance Republicans have to make a serious play for this seat, but no Republicans have as yet indicated interest.

OH-Sen: State Sen. Matt Huffman (R) will not run for US Senate this cycle. Huffman had been mentioned as a potential more establishment-friendly alternative to the candidate already in the race to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), State Treasurer and 2012 nominee Josh Mandel (R), and had apparently already secured some donor commitments. However, Mandel’s head start (he has been more or less running continuously since 2015) could pose a daunting obstacle to someone with little name rec. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) is the only other major candidate thought to be considering the race.

WI-Sen: On the heels of Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R) announcement that he will not run for the Senate, State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) is considering a run. Vukmir has represented a district in deep-red Waukesha County for over a decade, which could give her a geographic base. With the only field-clearer (Duffy) out of the picture, the GOP primary to taken on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is expected to be very crowded.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Former Auburn Football Coach Tommy Tuberville (R) is considering a run for Governor. Tuberville, who has lived in Texas and Ohio since leaving Auburn in 2008, could have a dedicated base of fans in the state where College Football is perhaps taken most seriously of all – but coming from the state’s second most popular school (and arch-rival of its most popular) could be a handicap. Many other Republicans are considering the race, most notably LG Kay Ivey (R), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R), State Sens. Del Marsh (R) and Cam Ward (R), and ex-State Supreme Court Justice and 2010 candidate Roy Moore (R). Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell-Cobb (D) and State Rep. Craig Ford (D) are considering runs on the Dem side.

AR-Gov: Country radio host Bobby Bones (D/I?) had dinner with Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Monday. It’s unclear what the conversation entailed; Bones has been considering a challenge to Hutchinson, but it’s not clear how serious he is about such a bid, as his show is based out of Nashville, TN. Anyone will likely face a very uphill battle against the popular incumbent.

CO-Gov: Ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R), who served a term in the legislature a decade ago and has since become a prominent businessman and activist, will run for Governor and says he will self-fund $3M. Michell is the first GOP candidate to declare; State Sen. Mike Johnston (D) is in on the Democratic side and a large number of others from both parties are considering this race. Both primary fields are expected to be crowded.

FL-Gov: Two new candidates are considering this race on the Dem side, though neither sounds particularly serious about it. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) told Ebony that he is considering “what 2018 looks like” while self-funding 2010 Senate candidate Jeff Greene has been “talking to consultants”. Democrats’ major options here still look like ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D), and prominent trial lawyer John Morgan (D), though many others have expressed at least some interest. Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is the front-runner for the GOP nod.

KS-Gov: Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) has entered the race, giving Democrats a top-tier candidate here. Though Kansas is deep-red, Democrats sense an opening due to the extreme unpopularity of Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and the ongoing feud between moderate and conservative Republicans. Brewer, who led the state’s largest city from 2007 to 2015, may face ex-State Rep. and 2014 nominee Paul Davis (D) in the Dem primary. SoS Kris Kobach (R), LG Jeff Colyer (R), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R), and businessman and 2010 KS-4 candidate Wink Hartman (R) are considered the most likely candidates on the GOP side.

MN-Gov: State Sen. David Osmek (R), a staunch fiscal conservative, has indicated an interest in this race. Both sides’ conventions are likely to be crowded; Osmek could face any or all of State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R), 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), MNGOP Chair Keith Downey (R), State Sen. Michelle Benson (R), and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (R). On the D side, Auditor Rebecca Otto (D), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D), and State Rep. Erin Murphy (D) are already in the race, while LG Tina Smith (D), AG Lori Swanson (D), and Reps. Rick Nolan (D) and Tim Walz (D) are all thought to be interested.

WI-Gov: Rep. Ron Kind (D), whose western-Wisconsin prairie-populist House seat trended hard-right in 2016, is not ruling out a run for Governor. Gov. Scott Walker (R) is widely exprected to seek a third term; Kind would likely be Democrats’ strongest prospect given his two decades representing the swingy rural west of the state. Dane CE Joe Parisi (D) and State Sens. Jennifer Shilling (D) and Kathleen Vinehout (D) are other commonly-discussed names for the D side in this race, though no one has made strong moves as of yet.

House:

CA-34: An internal from FM3 for nonprofit exec Sara Hernandez (D) shows her in second place in this Louisiana-Rules Top Two Jungle primary, trailing State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) 20-9. However, there are a ton of undecideds and it’s unclear we can really say anything about the race for this deep-blue downtown LA seat from this poll besides Gomez likely being in first.

GA-6: We have a new poll from Clout Strategies (aka Wenzel) for this April Louisiana-Rules Top Two Jungle Primary. Congressional Staffer Jon Osoff (D) leads with 32, followed by ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) at 25 and no one else above 11. However, this poll has a few problems: first, it does not test the second non-Some Dude Democrat in the race, ex-State Sen. Ron Slotin (D), who has lost out on most establishment support but may draw a few points. Second, the demographics of this poll seem a bit off as it is almost entirely white and very old. So bottom line, salt to taste.

MT-AL: A group of county officials is asking the state to hold the special election to replace Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) by mail instead of through normal polling places to save money. A bill has been proposed in the State Senate and will be considered today; it would give individual counties the choice of running a standard poll or all-mail election. Assuming Zinke’s confirmation proceeds as planned a week from today, the special election is likely to be held on June 6; 2016 gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte (R) will likely face off with either ex-State Rep. and 2014 Senate nominee Amanda Curtis (D) or musician Rob Quist (D).

NJ-5: State Rep. Holly Schepisi (R), who was widely considered the GOP’s top choice to take on Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D), has said will likely not run for Congress this cycle (though she did leave the door open the smallest of cracks). This decision puts the GOP back to square one in this suburban seat, based in wealthy northern Bergen County, that narrowly backed Trump but trended left.

SC-1: Buried in this worthwhile longread on Rep. Mark Sanford (R) is the revelation that Ted Fienning (R), a veteran and businessman will run against him in the 2018 primary and seed his campaign with $250K of self-funding. The full article is worth a look; Sanford is certainly one of the most complex characters in DC and his willingness to cross Trump in service of fiscal conservatism could make him a key player over the next few years.

State Races:

FL-Ag Comm: State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) of southwest Florida is planning a run for Ag Commissioner. Should he enter, he will face State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) in the primary. No Democrats have as yet declared interest in this seat.

OK-AG: Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has appointed Secretary of State (an appointed position in OK) Mike Hunter (R) as the new Attorney General, replacing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (R). Hunter will most likely seek a full term in 2018.

IN-Supt ’20: The Indiana Senate has killed a bill that would transform the State Superintendent from an elected office to an appointed one under the purview of the Governor. Republicans had supported the change after then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) spent much of his term fighting with then-Superintendent Glenda Ritz (D), a staunch liberal. But last year Ritz was defeated by Jennifer McCormick (R), and so some of the partisan urgency was lost. A little under half the Senate’s Republicans decided to break ranks and join with Democrats to kill the proposal.

VA-LD-28: Virginia State House Speaker Bill Howell (R) of Stafford County in the DC exurbs will retire this year after a decade and a half as Speaker. Howell turned a narrow GOP majority into a dominant 66-34 one and was at times the key Republican figure in state Government when Democrats controlled the Governorship and Senate from 2007-09 and 2013-14. Howell will likely be succeeded as Speaker by Kirk Cox (R) of suburban Richmond.

AL-Redistrict: Alabama has started redistricting to unpack some black-majority legislative districts that courts have struck down as racial gerrymanders. General consensus is that there will be little more than minor tweaks to the lines.

Local Races:

Buffalo-Mayor: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) announced his campaign for a fourth term yesterday. Brown will likely be favored as he maintains most establishment support. Brown’s major challenger is mavericky city Comptroller Mark Schroeder (D).

Cincinnati-Mayor: The field is set for the Cincinnati Mayoral race; moderate incumbent John Cranley (D) will face two more liberal candidates in city councilwoman Yvette Simpson (D) and university board member Rob Richardson (D). The California-Rules Top Two primary is on May 2.

Detroit-Mayor: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) is broadly popular, and for a time it looked like he may not draw a significant challenger, but that changed as State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of the longtime 70s and 80s Mayor of the same name, entered the race. Young will likely run to the left of Duggan, the first white Mayor to lead Detroit since the 70s.

St. Louis-Mayor: A new Remington poll of the St. Louis Mayoral Primary in two weeks shows councilwoman Lyda Krewson (D), the most moderate and only serious white candidate, with a wide lead. Krewson takes 36% to 16% for left-wing favorite city Treasurer Tishaura Jones (D), 13% for council President Lewis Reed (D), a black establishment liberal, and 12% for left-wing councilman Antonio French (D). Councilman Jeffrey Boyd (D) brings up the rear among serious contenders with 4%.

International:

Ecuador: The Ecuadorean Presidential election has officially been called as heading to a runoff between left-wing ex-VP Lenin Moreno and center-right banker and 2013 presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso. Though Moreno led the first round by nearly 10 points, Lasso is considered a slight favorite in the April 2 runoff.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!