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Political Roundup for October 16, 2017

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

Senate:

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

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

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

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

Governor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

House:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Offices:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Races:

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

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

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

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

Political Roundup for 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 October 6, 2017

Senate:

MO-Sen: Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) has taken another step towards getting in the race. A “Hawley Victory Committee” organization was filed with the FEC this week. The NRSC is also listed as a joint fundraising committee in the filing-a typical move for a campaign getting ready to launch. 3 other Republicans are currently running-2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen, retired Air Force pilot and University of Central Missouri Aviation Department assistant dean Tony Monetti, and Navy veteran Courtland Sykes.

TN-Sen: If you missed our special post on it yesterday, there was big news in this race as Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced he would not run, followed soon by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) getting into the race. With Haslam and Peyton Manning out, Blackburn appears to be the frontrunner for now.

House:

AZ-9: As expected, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) has announced he plans to run for Congress. Stanton, who is in his 2nd term as mayor has been expected to run for another office, although he had been looking at a statewide office. Stanton will be the overwhelming favorite on the Democratic side, although might not clear the field completely. Biologist Talia Fuentes was already in the race before Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) announced her plans to run for the US Senate. Former House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D) has been considered a possible candidate, but many think he won’t run against Stanton. Because of Arizona’s resign to run law, Stanton will have to resign as mayor, although he won’t have to leave office until he submits his election petitions, which are due May 30. A special election will then be held to complete Stanton’s term through 2019.

CO-2: Businessman and gun control advocate Ken Toltz has announced he is running in the Democratic primary for this open seat. Toltz had been exploring a run ever since Rep. Jared Polis (D) announced he was giving up the seat to run for governor, but said Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas motivated him in part to finally join the race. Toltz ran for Congress before in 2000 as the Democratic nominee in CO-6, losing by 12 points to then Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), a campaign in which he made gun control a major part of his platform in the wake of the Columbine shooting. Toltz is the 2nd Democrat to join the race in as many days-Nederland Mayor Kristopher Larsen joined the race on Wednesday. They join former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse, former Boulder County Democratic party Chairman Mark Williams, and minister Howard Dotson in the race on the Democratic side. No Republican has yet announced plans to run in the blue district.

CO-7: The last major challenger to Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) has dropped out. Dan Baer, formerly ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has dropped out of the race. Baer had been the last holdout to stay in the race after Perlmutter reversed course and decided to run for re-election to Congress after previously deciding to run for governor, a race he dropped out of, and then deciding he would just retire from politics. State Sens. Andy Kerr (D) and Dominick Moreno (D) and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D) dropped out of the race soon after Perlmutter got back in, but Baer stayed in, boosted by an impressive fundraising haul.

MA-3: State Rep. Juana Matias (D) is joining what is becoming a very crowded race to succeed Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). Other Democrats running are state Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D), Dan Koh, former chief of staff to Boston mayor Marty Walsh, Cambridge city councilor Nadeem Mazan, Lori Trahan, a former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Marty Meehan (D), and former Democratic LG nominee Steve Kerrigan. State Sen. Eileen Donoghue (D) is considering running as well. Rick Green, a businessman and founder of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, became the first Republican to join the race on Wednesday.

MI-11: Businessman and lawyer Dan Haberman is joining the Democratic primary race for this open seat. Haberman joins former Obama Administration auto task force official Haley Stevens, and Fayrouz Saad, former head of the Office of Immigrant Affairs for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Businesswoman Lena Epstein, who previously had been running for US Senate and former state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R) are running on the Republican side; state Sen. Marty Knollenberg (R) and state Rep. Laura Cox (R) , among others are considering getting in as well.

NH-2: Dr. Stewart Levenson, former chairman of the Department of Medicine at Manchester’s VA Hospital and who was involved in a whisteblower complaint about the facility, is running for Congress as a Republican. Levenson joins former state Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) with businessman David McConville possibly joining as well in the race to face Rep. Annie Kuster (D).

PA-18: State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R) entered the race yesterday to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who now has announced his resignation, effective Oct. 21. A special election will be held sometime next year to fill the seat. Reschenthaler seems to be the favorite among party insiders, although state Sen. Kim Ward (R) has announced she is running too. State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) will possibly run as well.

TN-7: If you missed the special post on it yesterday, after Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) announced her candidacy for US Senate, state Sen. Mark Green (R) followed by announcing his candidacy for her congressional seat, completing a winding political journey this year. Green had declared his intention to run for governor early in the year, a race he dropped out of after being nominated to be Secretary of the Army-but he dropped out of contention for that post after Democrats criticized some comments he had made in the past. He decided not to restart his candidacy for governor, but had been encouraged to challenge Sen. Bob Corker (R) before Corker decided to retire. Green now becomes the early frontrunner, but other Republicans are expected to run for the deep red seat.

Governor/state offices:

SC-Gov: State Rep. James Smith (D) yesterday became the first Democrat to announce a run for governor. Smith had been the only Democrat known to even be looking at the race. 4 Republicans are running-Gov. Henry McMaster (R), LG Kevin Bryant (R), former state Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton, and party-switching former D LG Yancey McGill (R).

FL-CFO: State Sen. Tom Lee (R) is running for Chief Financial Officer. Lee will be challenging appointed incumbent Jimmy Patronis (R) in the Republican primary. Patronis was appointed to the post in June by Gov. Rick Scott (R) after former CFO Jeff Atwater (R) resigned to become CFO of Florida Atlantic University. Lee was the Republican nominee for CFO in 2006, losing by 7 points to Democrat Alex Sink.

LA-Treas.: Dueling polls by two of the Republican candidates in the upcoming Oct. 14 primary show themselves ahead of the group of Republicans in the race. State Rep. John Schroder (R) and former Gov. Bobby Jindal administration official Angele Davis both have released polls showing them making the runoff with lone Democratic candidate Derrick Edwards. Interestingly, the third major Republican candidate, state Sen. Neil Riser (R), finishes in second among the Republicans in both polls with Davis in third in Schroder’s poll, and Schroder in third in Davis’s poll. Edwards leads all candidates in both polls, but should be a heavy underdog to whichever Republican emerges from the primary.

MI-AG: State House Speaker Tom Leonard (R) has announced he is running for Attorney General. Leonard joins state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R) in the GOP primary. Former US Attorney Pat Miles and attorney Dana Nassel are running on the Democratic side. Nominees will be decided at party conventions after next year’s August primary.

Political Roundup for September 29, 2017

Senate:

AZ-Sen: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) announced her long-expected bid for Senate last night. Click for our full coverage of the race and Great Mentioner for the now-open AZ-9.

MO-Sen: While everyone still waits for AG Josh Hawley (R) to enter the race, another Republican is entering. Courtland Sykes is running as a strong supporter of President Trump and an admirer of Steve Bannon. Sykes is actually from Arkansas, and just recently moved to Missouri. He worked on the staff of Rep. Bruce Westerman (R) from last year to early this year. He joins former 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen in the Republican race.

NV-Sen: Rep. Dina Titus (D) will not run for Senate and will instead run for re-election to Congress. Titus had been publicly exploring running for Senate and had expressed some disappointment after Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) quickly became the favorite candidate of the DSCC, former Sen. Harry Reid (D), and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D).

TN-Sen: Peyton Manning (R) is denying interest in running for the seat left open by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R) saying he is giving “zero consideration” to running and says he has “zero interest in being a politician”. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) confirmed he is thinking about running, but will take some time weighing a run. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) is expected to enter the race soon. Former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) is considering as well and says he will decide by the end of the week whether to run. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke (D) is considering a run as well. Attorney James Mackler is currently the only Democrat running.

House:

CA-24: Businessman and rancher Justin Fareed (R) is making his third run for this seat. Fareed narrowly lost to Chris Mitchum (R) for the 2nd place in the 2014 primary to face Rep. Lois Capps (D) and won 2nd place in the 2016 primary, losing to now-Rep. Salud Carbajal (D) 53-47 in the general election. Carbajal is running for re-election; civil engineer Michael Erin Woody (R) is the only other candidate in the race.

CO-2: Gun control advocate Shannon Watts (D) will not run for Congress. Watts, who runs the gun control advocacy organization Moms Demand Gun Sense in America had been considering getting in the race and was thought to be a possibly strong candidate as the only woman in the race and because of her large social media following. Former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse (D), former Boulder County Democratic Party chairman Mark Williams and Howard Dotson, a minister are running for the Democratic nomination. Ken Toltz, another gun control advocate and failed Democratic nominee in CO-6 in 2000 is also considering running. No Republicans have yet signaled an interest in running.

Governor:

AK-Gov: Businessman Scott Hawkins (R) is joining the race for governor. Hawkins joins former State Senate President Charlie Huggins and self-employed businessman Michael Sheldon in the Republican primary. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) was running but has suspended his campaign. Gov. Bill Walker (I) is running for re-election.

IA-Gov: Another candidate is joining the race for governor. This time though it’s a Republican. Boone city councilman and former Iowa State Patrol communications manager Steven Ray is running. He joins Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett in the GOP primary. Ray is not related to former Gov. Robert Ray (R), who served as governor from 1969-83. 7 Democrats are running in the Democratic primary.

ME-Gov: State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) has officially entered the race for governor. Mason had planned to roll out his campaign a few weeks ago, but those plans were put off after the sudden death of his mother, state Rep. Gina Mason (R). Mason joins former State Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Mayhew and state House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R) in the Republican primary. Sen. Susan Collins (R) is also considering getting in the race.

NH-Gov: Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky (D) has announced he will not run for governor. Volinsky was encouraged to run by people on the left-he served as legal counsel for Sen. Bernie Sanders in his 2016 NH Primary run, and was a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He will instead run for re-election to his Executive Council seat. Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is the only Democrat so far who has announced a bid to face Gov. Chris Sununu (R).

NC-Gov. 2020: Former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is not closing the door on trying to return to his old job in 2020. McCrory, who recently started a daily hosting segment in a Charlotte radio station, said he would consider another run down the road, but said it’s way too early to decide now, and he wouldn’t make any decision until after the 2018 midterm elections. McCrory has been the Republican nominee for governor in the last 3 elections, losing by 3 points in 2008, winning a solid 12 point victory in 2012, and losing narrowly his re-election bid last year. LG Dan Forest (R) is thought to be a likely candidate in 2020.

Other:

Steve Scalise: Rep. Steve Scalise (R) yesterday made his first appearance in the House chamber since the June attack which seriously wounded him. He entered the chamber on crutches to a thunderous standing ovation and then gave a speech.

Political Roundup for September 5, 2017

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

Senate:

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

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

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

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

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

Governor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

House:

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

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

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

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

State & Local:

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

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

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

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

Political Roundup for August 17, 2017

First off, huge congratulations are in order to our hardworking friends at Decision Desk HQ on their new deal to provide election data to BuzzFeed!

Governor:

AK-Gov: 2006 candidate and businessman John Binkley (R) is exploring another run for Governor. Binkley, who was a State Senator in the 80s before coming in second to Palin in the 2006 primary, would join State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) if he entered the race. Gov. Bill Walker (I) is expected to have Democratic support in his bid for a second term.

HI-Gov: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) has acknowledged that rumors that she is considering a gubernatorial bid are true. Hanabusa criticized Ige’s lack of major initiatives during his tenure, but such a bid would still be surprising as both Hanabusa and Ige are considered to hail from the Asian-dominated machine faction of the HIDP.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: A pair of Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidates have announced running mates for the team primary to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). Uber-wealthy businessman and establishment (read: Mike Madigan) favorite JB Pritzker (D) has chosen State Rep. Juliana Stratton (D) of Chicago’s South Side as his #2, while bold progressive Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D) has chosen Cairo (pop. 2K) Mayor Tyrone Coleman (D) as his running mate. Four others, Heir Force Col. Chris Kennedy (D), State Sen. Daniel Biss (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), have not chosen running mates.

Congress:

MO-Sen: State Rep. Marsha Haefner (R) of the southern St. Louis suburbs is considering a run for the Senate seat of Claire McCaskill (D), joining fellow termed-out State Rep. Paul Curtman (R) as declaring interest in the race. Both Haefner and Curtman, who have said that they would have run for MO-2 had Rep. Ann Wagner (R) entered the Senate race, seem unlikely to have much chance at the nomination if AG Josh Hawley (R), who is being heavily recruited, enters. Hawley got a preemptive endorsement this week from another prospective rival, State Treasurer Eric Schmitt (R).

CA-50: The FBI has raided the offices of Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr.’s (R) campaign consultants and treasurer amid an investigation into Hunter. There are insinuations that Hunter illegally used campaign money for personal purposes, which led to him repaying $60K to his campaign fund.

IA-4: Spencer (pop. 11K) councilwoman Leann Jacobsen (D) will run against Rep. Steve King (R). King, a polarizing conservative, sits in a seat that was formerly light-red but stampeded right in 2016. King has also beaten back several strong challengers.

MA-3: State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) is the first person considering a bid for the open seat of Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). This strongly-Dem Merrimack Valley and MetroWest seat is expected to draw a crowded Dem primary.

NJ-11: Woodland Park (pop. 12K) Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) has announced his candidacy for the seat of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R), joining Passaic County commissioner John Bartlett (D) and former federal prosecutor Mike Sherrill (D) in the primary. This historically-red exurban seat trended strongly left in 2016.

NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) may try to run against Rep. Dan Donovan (R) as a third-party candidate on the conservative line. Grimm, who was forced out of office due to an indictment over tax issues, is a favorite of one of Staten Island’s two warring GOP machines, that of ex-Rep. Guy Molinari (R). Donovan is not strongly identified with either the Molinari faction or its rival, that of ex-Rep. Vito Fossella (R), and that combined with his strong personal popularity makes him likely a prohibitive favorite in the GOP primary. However, a third-party Grimm bid could make this light-red seat more competitive in the general.

TN-2: State GOP official Ken Gross (R) will run for this open Knoxville-area seat. Gross says he intends to run on a “shoestring budget”, which likely means he will be a long-shot. Knox CE Tim Burchett (R) is considered the clear front-runner here, while State Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R) and businessman Brad Fullington (R) are also in the race.

State Offices:

CO-AG: Former state and federal prosecutor Amy Padden (D) is the latest candidate into this crowded primary. Padden joins State Rep. Joe Salazar (D), law school dean Phil Weiser (D), prosecutor Michael Dougherty (D), and attorney Brad Levin (D) in the primary. AG Cynthia Coffman (R) may seek re-election or run for Governor; Rep. Ken Buck (R) has been considered a possible candidate if Coffman chooses to vacate the seat.

CO-Treas: Routt County DA Brett Barkey (R) is the latest candidate into this crowded GOP primary. Interestingly, Barkey is the second candidate from his tiny remote county in the state’s northwest in this race, joining Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn (R). They join State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) and State Reps. Justin Everett (R) and Polly Lawrence (R) in the contest; State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is considered the likely Dem nominee.

GA-Ins Comm: Jim Beck (R), former CoS to retiring incumbent Ralph Hudgens (R), has filed to seek his old boss’s seat. Nonprofit exec Cindy Zeldin (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

NM-Lands Comm: State Sen. George Munoz (D) will run for the open Lands Commissioner seat. Munoz joins what is becoming a crowded primary of ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) and nonprofit exec Garrett VeneKlasen (D), who has the backing of Sen. Martin Heinrich (D). Incumbent Aubrey Dunn (R) is running for NM-2 and no Republicans have as yet declared interest in the seat.

NV-Treas: Ex-Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers (R), who lost his bid for re-election earlier this year over parochial land-use issues, will run for State Treasurer. Beers is the first candidate into the race, which is expected to be open; incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is considered likely to run for Governor.

OK-Lab Comm: A pair of candidates have entered the race for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner, as Cathy Costello (R) announced she would seek the seat. Costello is the widow of ex-Labor Commissioner Mark (R), who was killed by their mentally disturbed son in 2015, and sought the interim appointment that went to placeholder Melissa McLawhorn-Houston (R). She joins State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R), who upgraded her candidacy from “considering” to “in” last week.

OK-Supt: Campaign finance charges against Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister (R) that were filed last fall have been abruptly dropped without explanation. Hoffmeister was alleged to have improperly coordinated with outside groups to run attack ads against then-incumbent Janet Barresi (R), whom she defeated in the 2014 primary.

SC-AG: South Carolina AG Alan Wilson (R) is in hot water after emails from 2014 surfaced in connection with the ongoing scandal around lobbyist Richard Quinn (R). Wilson allegedly consulted Quinn on how to remove a special prosecutor from the corruption investigation as the course of the investigation was beginning to target some of Wilson’s close allies.

TX-Supreme Court: This is a worthwhile long read on Texas State Supreme Court Justice Don Willett (R), who is a far bigger star than his low-profile position would indicate because of his mix of strong political skills (exemplified by his very popular @justicewillett twitter) and solid legal scholarship. Willett is rumored to be in the running for a federal court seat (possibly even a long-shot SCOTUS pick) or for the Texas AG job if indicted incumbent Ken Paxton (R) leaves it.

Local Races:

Jersey City-Mayor: Ex-State Rep. Charles Mainor (D) will not run for Jersey City Mayor and is dropping down to a city council race. The decision leaves the race a two-man affair between incumbent Steve Fulop (D) and attorney Bill Matsikoudis (D); Fulop is considered a potential US Senate candidate should he win re-election.

Raleigh-Mayor: The Wake County Democratic Party has given its official endorsement to attorney Charles Francis (D) in his bid to unseat mayor Nancy McFarlane (I). McFarlane, a left-of-center Indie, has received the endorsement in her prior re-election bids; she still has significant Dem establishment support against Francis in the October race.

Anne Arundel, MD-CE: County Commissioner John Grasso (R) will challenge incumbent Anne Arundel CE Steve Schuh (R) in next year’s primary. Grasso is upset about an appointment to the county’s liquor board…a decision that Schuh had no control over. Thus, this primary challenge seems likely to be somewhat quixotic. The decision also takes Grasso out of a (likely equally quixotic) primary run against popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

Political Roundup for August 3, 2017

Polling Update: Tonight is our final night of calling for our poll of the Republican special election primary for US Senate in Alabama. We are targeting to have the results of the poll ready to be published on Monday but there is a chance we could have it sooner so be sure to check in with us tomorrow! As a reminder our polls are unlike any other organization or news source since they are 100% funded by crowdsourced donations and put together by volunteer political junkies for political junkies. We still need your help to cover the cost of this effort! If you would like to help and to be a part of this poll please go to our donation page: https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and contribute to our poll fund today!

President:

Patrick: Barack Obama’s inner circle is urging former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to run for President in 2020. Since leaving the Governorship Patrick has been raking in the big bucks at Bain Capital.

Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been touring around the country and has hired Democratic pollster Joel Benenson to conduct research for the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative. Benenson is a former top adviser to President Barack Obama and the chief strategist to Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign. In January Zuckerberg hired David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama’s 2008 presidential run, as president of policy and advocacy for the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative. Ken Mehlman, who ran President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, also sits on the board.

Governor:

CO-Gov: Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (D) is exploring a run for governor. Lynne was appointed Lt Governor in May of 2016. When she was appointed to her post Lynne stated that she had no ambitions to replace term limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). Clearly someone with lots of ambition to be governor is not above lying about those ambitions to get the job she wants. Rep. Jared Polis, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy and businessman Noel Ginsburg are also running on the Democrat side.

NY-Gov: Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) is considering a primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) next year. Miner is termed out of her current office and will be without a job next year. Miner was once a close ally of Gov. Cuomo. Cuomo picked her to serve as co-chairman of the state Democratic party in 2012 but she left the post after a falling out with Cuomo over her criticism of his policies. Former one-term Hudson Valley state Sen. Terry Gipson (D) is also considering a primary challenge to Cuomo. On the GOP side, another Syracusian, State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R), is considering a run. DeFrancisco was kept out of the Majority Leader’s job through Cuomo’s intervention on behalf of his intraparty rival, State Sen. John Flanagan (R).

OK-Gov: Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R) is leading the money race in the quest to become the next governor of Oklahoma. Lamb has raised more than $2 million which is significantly more than any of the other 13 candidates currently running. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (R) reported raising $181,000 while former State Attorney General Drew Edmondson is the top fundraiser among the four Democrats in the race collecting $300,211 so far.

TN-Gov: Rep. Diane Black (R) will run for Governor. This will open R+26 TN-06. We had full coverage on this yesterday.

Senate:

AL-Sen: Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund super PAC is up with $435,000 in TV ads attacking Judge Roy Moore (R) for raking in over $1 million in salary from his own charity The Foundation for Moral Law. You can see the ad HERE. The Senate Leadership PAC which is supporting appointed incumbent Luther Strange (R) had been focusing their fire on Rep. Mo Brooks (R).

IN-Sen: State Rep. Mike Braun (R) is assembling a campaign team and will announce his Senate candidacy in the next week or so. Rep. Luke Messer (R) entered the race last week while Rep. Todd Rokita (R) and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill are also looking at running. Democrat incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly is viewed as one of the more vulnerable Democrats next year.

MA-Sen: In the all important hunt for Curt Schilling’s endorsement state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) seems to have won out over Fran Drescher’s ex-husband Shiva Ayyadurai (R). Not sure if any of this means anything in terms of beating Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) but as the last Republican to hold this seat would say, Bqhatevwr!

MI-Sen: Kid Rock’s ex-girlfriend Sheryl Crow has written a song about his potential senate run. The song entitled  “Dude I’m Still Alive” features catchy lyrics like  “At least the guy’s not 90 / In his 32nd term / but a pole in the Lincoln bedroom / is bound to make some people squirm.” No word yet if Sheryl plans to write a song about John James.

MO-Sen: Looks like the GOP will get its man! Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) will announce he will open an exploratory committee to run for Senate on Friday. Hawley is the GOP’s top recruit to take on vulnerable Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has wisely turned down the job of heading the Heritage Foundation. After the internal discord there that lead to Jim DeMint getting pushed out, Sasse was smart to say “No thanks”.

NJ-Sen: Just a friendly reminder we are less than five weeks away from the start of Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial.

House:

IA-3: Former US Treasury Department economist Austin Frerick (D) has become the 7th Democrat to enter race vs Rep. David Young (R). If no candidate gets more than 35% of the vote in the primary the results are thrown out and a convention will pick the Democrat nominee. This is how David Young won the GOP nomination in his first run for office.

MD-6: State Sen. Roger Manno (D) and businessman David Trone (D) have entered the race for Democrat Rep. John Delaney’s now open seat. Manno is the Maryland Senate majority whip and Trone spend more than $13 million of his own money on his campaign for the 8th Congressional District last year. They joins Maryland House Majority Leader C. William “Bill” Frick (D) and Del. Aruna Miller (D) in the race for the Democrat nomination.

NY-11: Army veteran some dude Max Rose is the fifth Democrat to announce a challenge to Rep. Daniel Donovan (R). He joins some dude former cop Mike Decillis, some dude bond trader Zach Emig, some dude retired boxer Boyd Melson and some dude Michael DeVito Jr. in seeking the Democrat nomination. Unlike most of the other Democrat challengers Rose has actually lives in Staten Island (albeit only for the last 2 years). As is the way in New York politics the local party bosses will probably sort this out and narrow the field as to who will earn the right to lose to Dan Donovan.

NY-21: Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, who ran for Congress in 2014 and 2016, announced he will not run again in 2018. Funiciello received 11% of the vote in 2014 and 4.4% in 2016 in elections that Republican Elise Stefanik easily won with 55.2% of the vote and 63%.

PA-1: Millennial Nonprofit Executive Omar Woodard (D) might primary Democrat party boss Rep. Bob Brady. Woodward is black and Brady is white. PA-1 is minority-majority with Whites making up 40% of the district, Blacks 35% and Hispanics 16%. Brady is currently under federal investigation for allegedly bribing a potential primary opponent $90,000 not to run. No word yet on how much cash Brady is offering Woodward to forgo his campaign.

PA-4: Rev. George Scott (D) has launched a campaign for the Democrat nomination to challenge Rep. Scott Perry (R) in this R+11 district.

TX-23: Former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones (D) has launched a run vs Rep. Will Hurd (R) in what is probably the only truly competitive congressional district under the current lines in Texas (there is an outstanding federal court challenge to Texas congressional lines). Although Jones is the first major Democrat to announce former Obama official Judy Canales, former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings, and former Rep. Pete Gallego are considering running as well.

VA-10: Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) primary opponent perennial candidate Shak Hill has been posting articles about penis enlargement and proper techniques for prostate milking on his website throughout the summer. While we are not sure that this will be a successful campaign strategy it is good to remember that it will be 2018 so who the heck knows anymore.

State, Local & Other:

AK-LG: State Sen. Gary Stevens (R) is the first candidate running in the shotgun-wedding primary for Lt. Governor. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) is as of yet the only significant declared gubernatorial candidate for Republicans.

AR-SoS: 2014 nominee Susan Inman (D) is running again for the open seat. She lost to term limited incumbent Mark Martin by 25 points in 2014 and lost a bid for Arkansas HD-32 in 2016 by 13 points.

CO-Treas: State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) is the fourth Republican to announce a run for Treasurer. He joins fellow state lawmakers Justin Everett and Polly Lawrence and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn into the GOP primary. Current state Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) is term-limited and is expected to jump into the Colorado governor’s race. The only Democrat to announce a run so far is state Rep. Steve Lesbock.

Mobile, AL- Mayor: Incumbent Mayor Sandy Stimpson (R) leads ex-Mayor Sam Jones (D) 53-43; Stimpson’s lead comes from getting close to a quarter of the black vote in the roughly half-black, half-white city. The election is August 22nd.

Birmingham, AL-Mayor: Incumbent Mayor William Bell (D) is on pace to win outright with 54% in the latest poll. Former Auburn football player Chris Woods (D) is a distant 2nd at almost 17%. Assistant city attorney and Birmingham Board of Education member Randall Woodfin (D) is close behind in 3rd at 14%, with no other candidates above 10% in voter support.

NYC-Mayor: Mayor Bill deBlasio has asked for $2.9 million in taxpayer money to fund his primary campaign against two little known Democrat opponents who have raised barely $124,000 in campaign cash. This is clearly a much better use of government money than fixing the damn subways.

Political Roundup for July 24th, 2017

Big Picture

Black Turnout: Steve Phillips over at the New York Times makes a great point; Democrats lost in 2016 partially because of a plummet in black turnout from 2012 levels, and they’re still ignoring it. Recent investigations have shown that the group that’s most fired-up against Trump and the GOP are white liberals. That surely helps with youth turnout a bit (though today’s young whites are ridiculously Republican for being young people), but it does nothing to address the problem of black turnout. Hispanic turnout isn’t an issue, or at least it wasn’t in 2016, but without Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, a key Democratic bloc is back to pre-2008 levels of participation. If Democrats can solve that problem, then 2018 looks pretty good for them. If they can’t solve it, then there’s no telling if uber-turnout from already-high-turnout white liberals will carry the day for them.

Congress

AZ-Sen: State Sen. Kelli Ward (R-Star Chamber) has really outdone herself this time. She called on the cancer-stricken Sen. John McCain (R) to resign. If she just wanted him to have more energy and time to live out what is likely to be his last months, or maybe she wanted Arizona to have more consistent representation, that would be one thing. But no, that’s not the reason she gave. She wants him to resign because she believes that she’ll then be his obvious replacement. No words…

MI-Sen: I’d rather have Sen. Kid Rock (R) than Sen. Kelli Ward (R). Tim Alberta over at Politico doesn’t actually think that’s such a crazy scenario. He points out that while there’s quite a bit of great opposition research material on Robert Ritchie, he also has a unique and authentic appeal. He combines libertarian social views with a populist, working class aesthetic. If I were a Democrat, that would secretly scare the living crap out of me.

MO-Sen: It seems that the Show Me State Kabuki Theatre will be open for a few more months, as former Sen. John Danforth (R) says that AG Josh Hawley (R) is running, but won’t announce until September or October.

IN-02:  Buried in this informative-to-the-layman-but-obvious-to-us piece about the DCCC possibly ‘targeting’ (read: throwing darts at a board of fairly safe seats) Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) is an interesting tidbit; the D-trip is polling the race. That’s extra-interesting, because if they’re polling here, they’re probably doing a batch of the suckers. It will be really interesting to see which ones they do and don’t release pretty soon to generate activist/candidate interest in the race and media hits.

PA-06/PA-07: New Politics, a supposedly nonpartisan organization that works to elect veterans and ‘national service alumni,’ whatever the hell that means, has decided to kick off the 2018 cycle… by endorsing two Democrats in adjoining districts. They’ve endorsed Chrissy Houlahan (D), who is a veteran and is running against Rep. Ryan Costello (R) in PA-06. Interestingly they also endorsed Paul Perry (D), who is a teacher whose parents are veterans and is running against Rep. Patrick Meehan (D). I don’t know about y’all, but I smell a rat here. My guess is that some Democrat or other thought ‘what if we had an organization that endorsed the ‘helping professions’ that we like to shovel money into, but that also added veterans and called itself nonpartisan to maintain an air of legitimacy?’ I have no proof, but I’d lay odds that that’s what this is.

Governor

NJ-Gov: The headline on this Marist poll is about hated Gov. Chris Christie (R) is. That’s fair enough, but the interesting thing about the poll is that it actually shows better numbers than usual for gubernatorial hopeful Lt. Gov Kim Guadagno (R)… in that she’s only losing to former Goldman guy Phil Murphy (D) 54-33. Ouch.

WI-Gov: Well, crap. After whiffing early on in their recruitment efforts, Badger State Democrats have scored a top recruit in Superintendent Tony Evers. Evers is elected statewide to the nonpartisan office, but it was well-known that he was a Democrat. I’d still give Gov. Scott Walker (R) the edge because his approvals aren’t terrible and Wisconsin is still the political equivalent of the Somme, but his reelection is going to be a bit harder now.

State/Local

CA-Democrats: After a bitter convention fight and an even more bitter disputation of the 62-vote result, Eric Bauman has been confirmed as Chairman of the California Democratic Party. Cue the conspiracy theories from the Bernie crowd. I doubt that Kimberly Ellis is going away.

Denver-School Board:  We here at RRH like to get down in the weeds of local politics when possible (ask me sometime about a certain township trustee in rural Indiana). Ward Leaders in Philly aside, this is about as local as it gets. The Denver teacher’s union is pissed; really pissed. They’ve spent the last several cycles losing races to reform-minded progressive candidates (full disclosure; my second cousin was one of those reformers) who are definitely lefties but care more about the children actually getting an education than whether or not the teachers can live in the nicer planned community when they retire to Florida. The union is now clearing field the for its chosen candidates, something it hadn’t always done before. I’m not sure that it will do them any good, but we’ll see.

PA-Commonwealth Court: Christine Fizzano Cannon (R), who is already a lower-court judge, has received the endorsement of the construction unions in her bid to become a Commonwealth Court judge. This is a good reminder that unlike in the story above, not all unions are necessarily left-wing (especially private ones).

International

Alberta: Well, it seems that hatred of the other side really does heal all wounds. After the schism on the right in the Canadian province of Alberta allowed the socialist NDP to take 60% of the provincial seats there with 41% of the vote, the two parties have reunited. Wildrose (actual conservatives) and the Progressive Conservatives (moderates) have each voted more than 95% in favor of merging as the United Conservative Party. Wildrose has likely succeeded in moving the conversation to the right, as it aimed to do. Since both parties combined for over 50% of the vote in 2015 (which was historically low), I don’t see how they lose the next election barring another schism or an economic boom.

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