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Political Roundup for October 11th, 2017

After President Trump singlehandedly redefined the IQ bell curve yesterday in proving his vast intellectual superiority to Rex Tillerson, Mensa proudly folded up its operations. It had a good run, but the defunct organization knows the country is in the most capable hands.

Last night, Republicans held FL-LD-44, while the following combinations advanced in mayoral elections in North Carolina:
Raleigh: Nancy McFarlane (I) 49 – Charles Francis (D) 37
Greensboro: Nancy Vaughan (D) 61 – Diane Moffett (D) 22
Durham: Steve Schewel (D) 51 – Farad Ali (D) 29
Fayetteville: Mitch Colvin (D) 45 – Nat Robertson (R) 32


Duh: The failing New York Times shares the obvious: ultra mature President Donald Trump’s super not petty and totally provoked fight with outgoing US Senator and Liddle Man Bob Corker (R) isn’t endangering his legislative agenda.

Big, Beautiful Wall: Speaking of the American Great Wall… According to the very dishonest AP, many people are saying that they don’t like the Donald’s proposed wall. They also disapprove of his plan to deport the “dreamers.”

Chicago Demographics: According to The Economist, without the Big, Beautiful Wall soon to Make America Great Again, Hispanics have eclipsed African-Americans to become Chicago’s second-largest ethnic group. Until recently, they were long ignored by the C[r]ook County Democratic machine.

God’s Waiting Room: The Wall Street Journal reports that real estate developers are looking to shake Boca Raton, Florida’s reputation as “God’s waiting room.” Given the perennial swing state’s very troubling age gap, these sorts of things are always worth keeping an eye on, especially when they reflect potential larger trends.

Russians and Fake News: The New York Times highlights the ingenious method by which clever, Russian-run accounts fanned the flames of controversy on both sides in 2016: anger. This quote really says it best: “One of the most powerful weapons that Russian agents used to reshape American politics was the anger, passion, and misinformation that real Americans were broadcasting across social media platforms.”

GA-Redistrict: Sore loser and ex-US AG Eric Holder has filed a lawsuit against Georgia’s mid-decade redraw of its State House districts because…if Section 5 were in effect, he believes that preclearance would have been denied. Yes, really. Sad!


2018 Senate Cycle: According to Politico, some Democrats have begun to believe they can win the US Senate. The article points out, however, that the map is still very unfavorable. Even if Jabba the Hutt Steve Bannon’s deplorables succeed in their primary challenges, most will still win their generals.

AL-Sen: Former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) has released his first TV ad ahead of his matchup with Goliath Roy Moore (R). In his intro spot, Jones attacks the dysfunction in Washington and casts himself as a pragmatist who will cross party lines to accomplish something. Considering the “burn it all down” mentality of the Republican primary voters who supported God’s Gift to the World, Jones’ is sure to be the best possible strategy…

CA-Sen/Democrats: After ancient US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D) surprise re-election announcement, Politico highlights the rift among the California Democrats. The Democratic establishment, including US Senator Kamala Harris, back Feinstein. Yet, bold progressives like Congressmen Ro Khanna and Ted Liu are trying to get Congresswoman Barbara Lee or Robert Reich to challenge Feinstein.

WA-08: Seattle’s Crosscut, one of the best local news sites in America, breaks down State Senator Dino Rossi’s (R) likely uphill battle to keep Washington’s ever-changing 8th district in GOP hands.

The States

IL-AG: Former state and federal prosecutor Sharon Fairley has just filed for AG. In pressing responsibilities for a state prosecutor, the courageous candidate pledges to be a constant thorn in POTUS’ side. Fairley joins State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D) and State Rep. Scott Drury (D) in the primary race; a fourth possible Dem, McHenry CE Jack Franks (D), announced yesterday he would not run.

California First: The New York Times looks back at California’s Prop 187. Like some of the hardline immigration policies being pushed now, the referendum polled well in 1994. However, the article explains something we know all too well: Prop 187 ultimately destroyed the CA-GOP as demographics shifted. But, surely, things will be different this time!

TX-Gov: Greg Abbott, with or without an opponent, is looking to increase his support among Wise Latinas/os.

VA-Gov: Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) plans to campaign for Low Energy Ralph Northam (D) in Virginia this weekend.

Places where Donald Trump isn’t President

Catalan Independence: Despite some controversy surrounding the Spanish province’s independence vote, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont wasted no time in signing a declaration of independence from Spain.

NC Mayors Preview & Liveblog

Results: News & Observer

9:35 ET- It appears most of the vote is in. We may update again later if something significant changes, but here are the current results… pretty bad night for Republicans and center-right candidates overall.
Raleigh: McFarlane (I) 48 Francis (D) 38
Greensboro: Vaughan (D) 61 Moffatt (D) 22
Durham: Schewel (D) 50 Ali (D) 31
Fayetteville: Colvin (D) 43 Robertson (R) 33

9:10 ET- Legislative primaries: McClure (R) has won in FL-LD-58, and Vargas (D) has won in MA-LD-3rd Essex.

8:55 ET- Results reporting has slowed to a crawl, but so far no substantive changes in any of the races.

8:34 ET – Looks like McFarlane will finish just below the 50% needed to win outright; she’s at 48-38 over Francis. Schewel and Ali are advancing with 52 and 29 in Durham, and Vaughan and Moffett (D) will likely advance in Greensboro as they are at 59 and 26 respectively. Colvin is still (surprisingly) in the overall lead in Fayetteville, leading Robertson (R) 45-32.

7:50 ET- Colvin (D) is dominating the absentee vote in Fayetteville with 54%. Schewel (D) is at 52% in Durham, Vaughan (D) is on course for an uneventful win with 62% in Greensboro, and McFarlane (I) is just below the 50% mark needed to win outright with 49.3%.

7:30 ET- Polls have now closed across North Carolina.

7:20 ET- FL-LD-44 has been called for Olszweski (R), 56-44.

Four cities in North Carolina have mayoral elections today. Polls close at 7:30 ET; we will have a brief liveblog in this thread tonight. There are also elections in Liberia and a couple legislative specials in Florida and Massachusetts.

Raleigh-Mayor: The biggest mayoral election today is in Raleigh. The state capital has a population of 450K 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. Unlike the other three races today, Raleigh’s election uses Louisiana Rules Top Two, so 50% is enough to win outright. 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) is 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 observers generally do consider Francis likely to be a significant threat to the incumbent. A third candidate, mortgage broker and 2012 county commission candidate Paul Fitts (R), has some GOP support but isn’t running a particularly serious campaign. CW is that he is likely to come in third, but there is a small chance he could come in second on GOP votes. Generally, CW is that McFarlane will come in first but be held below 50% and head to a runoff with Francis; McFarlane could garner GOP support in the second round and will probably still be favored. However, there are also chances for McFarlane to overperform on name rec and her prior popularity and wrap things up today, or conversely for high liberal turnout to propel Francis to a first-place finish.

Greensboro-Mayor: Greensboro has a population of 290K that breaks down as roughly 45% White, 40% Black, and 10% Hispanic; the south and east sides are mostly black while the northwest part of the city is mostly upscale whites. It has a PVI of D+16 (2008). Three candidates are running for Mayor, two Democrats and one Republican, in a California Rules Top Two format; the top two will advance even if one passes 50%. Incumbent Nancy Vaughan (D) is seeking her third two-year term. Vaughan is a mainstream white liberal who has been relatively popular in her tenure. This year, she has two opponents, one from the left and one from the right, but both are little-known political novices. Businessman John Brown (R) has significant Republican establishment support and could make the runoff by garnering votes among the third or so of Greensboro’s voters that are right-of-center. However, Brown is a staunch conservative and has little crossover appeal to Dems, meaning he will probably advance but have little shot next month. A third candidate, pastor Diane Moffett (D), is also somewhat serious. Moffett is the only black candidate in the race and running slightly to the left of Vaughan. However, she doesn’t have much establishment support, and thus looks like a long-shot to beat out Brown for second. If she does, she will likely face a similarly uphill climb against Vaughan. Regardless of her general election rival, Vaughan is likely to pass 50% today and be the clear favorite in the November general election.

Durham-Mayor: The college town of Durham has a population of 260K, which breaks down as roughly 40% each White and Black and 15% Hispanic. Durham is socioeconomically divided east-west; the east side is largely poor blacks, while the west side is mostly upscale white liberals, with Duke as its main economic driver. Both groups are solidly Democratic; the city has a PVI of D+27 (2008). The open-seat race this year is in a California-Rules Top Two format, though it is unlikely to matter as no member of the 6-way field is in strong position to top 50%. Ex-councilman and Airport board member Farad Ali (D) is the most prominent black candidate. Ali is a business-friendly black establishment liberal in the mold of the outgoing incumbent, and seems to have the most support from the city’s establishment. Ali’s main rival, councilman Steve Schewel (D), is the only white candidate in the race and running to Ali’s left. Schewel is a fairly typical upscale white progressive who founded the city’s alternative newspaper before entering politics. But he isn’t the farthest-left candidate in the field; that would be musician Pierce Freelon (D). Freelon is a staunch left-winger, spouting all sorts of SJW priorities and declaring intersectionality the basis of his campaign. Being both black and left-wing, Freelon seems likely to draw significant numbers of votes from both Ali and Schewel. It is possible that Freelon boxes out one of the two top candidates, but he seems more likely than not to finish third. Three other Some Dudes seem less serious. Schewel and Ali advancing is thought to be the most likely outcome, but Freelon could have a chance to box one of them out. A general election between Ali and Schewel is likely to be highly competitive, though either will probably be favored over Freelon should he advance.

Fayetteville-Mayor: The race with the biggest partisan implications is in Fayetteville. It has a population of 200K, which breaks down as 45% White, 40% Black, and 10% Hispanic; however, a significant part of that population is ultra-low-turnout active duty Fort Bragg soldiers. The city has a PVI of D+10 (2008). Incumbent Nat Robertson (R) is seeking a third two-year term in this year’s California-Rules Top two race. Robertson, a moderate conservative, has won two tough races and seems to be reasonably popular. However, Fayetteville is a Democratic and fairly inelastic city, and Robertson seems likely to get a tough challenge once again this time, as two sitting city councilors are seeking the seat. Robertson looks likely to finish a clear first, and may clear 50%. As there isn’t a huge amount of ideological daylight between his rivals, Robertson’s score is an important thing to watch, as it may be predictive of his November vote share. Councilmen Mitch Colvin (D) and Kirk DeViere (D) are seeking the chance to take on Robertson. Colvin, the council’s president, is a mainstream black establishment liberal, and has the stronger connections to the local establishment. DeViere, a white first-term councilman and veteran, is a moderate liberal who has been considered a rising star. There doesn’t seem to be a clear favorite between the two, and either could have the chance to move on to the general. Simply because the Democrats voting are likely to be black-majority, I’d peg Colvin as a slight front-runner, but DeViere could easily prevail. A non-serious Some Dude is also running. Odds are regardless of who comes in second, Colvin and DeViere’s vote shares will sum near-totally, so today’s vote shares can be thought of as also a good straw poll for the November real thing.

Legislative Specials: There is one general election and three primaries this week, two in Florida and two in Massachusetts. The lone general is for FL-LD-44, an R-held D+2 (2016) seat covering southwest Orlando suburbs between Disney World and the Florida’s Turnpike. Ex-Winter Garden councilman Bobby Olszewski (R) is facing off with manager Eddy Dominguez (D), who entered the race as a replacement nominee just three weeks ago. Because Democrats pulled a late candidate switch, Dominguez is not on the ballot – instead, in a “punch Foley for Joe” type situation, Dominguez will get the votes that are cast for the name of prior nominee Paul Chandler. Because of Dominguez’s late start and Olszewski’s strong campaign, Olszewski is generally considered the favorite. However, this year, in a seat this purple, no Democrat can be counted out, and strong liberal turnout could allow Dominguez to surprise. The Florida primary is for FL-LD-58, an R+6 (2016) seat covering eastern Tampa suburbs in northeast Hillsborough County from Plant City to Thonotosassa. The GOP primary is hotly contested, between a pair of businesspeople, Lawrence McClure (R) and Yvonne Fry (R). Both have advantages: McClure has outraised Fry and has the NRA endorsement, while Fry is backed by the outgoing incumbent and has a big endorsement from AG Pam Bondi (R). The race has become nasty, but overall McClure looks like a slight favorite. The primary winner will face 2016 nominee Jose Vasquez-Figueroa (D) in a December general. MA-LD-1st Berkshire is a D+17 (2016) rural seat around Williamstown and North Adams at the northwest corner of the state. Ex-North Adams Mayor John Barrett (D), North Adams councilwoman Lisa Blackmer (D), Kevin Towle (D), a staffer to the late previous Rep., and Stephanie Bosley (D), daughter of a retired prior Rep., are all in the race; there is no clear favorite and any of the four could win. The primary winner will be a prohibitive favorite over 2016 State Senate nominee Christine Canning (R) in the general. Finally, MA-LD-3rd Essex is a D+7 (2016) seat covering most of Haverhill in the Merrimack valley. Two Democrats are facing off. Liberal Haverhill councilman Andy Vargas (D), a 24-year old Dominican immigrant, has more establishment support and seems a slight favorite over school board member Paul Magliocchetti (D), a Conservadem who took 16% as an Indie in a 2012 State Senate run, but an upset may be possible. The winner will face school board member and 2012/14 State Senate nominee Shaun Toohey (R) in a November general.

Liberia: The west African nation of Liberia is the first of 8 nations holding elections this month. Liberia is a largely-Christian nation of 4.6M in the southern part of West Africa, roughly the size of Ohio in area. Liberia was founded (and run for much of the 19th and 20th centuries) by black immigrants from the US and their descendants. It has long retained close ties with America; however, a series of civil wars, coups, and dictatorships ravaged the country from 1980 to 2005. Since then Liberia has gradually become a relatively free democracy, albeit one with an immature civil society and rampant extreme poverty (and being the center of the Ebola outbreak didn’t help either). Like most third-world countries, pols’ ideologies are poorly-defined, and politics is more based on personalities and clan ties than issue positions. This year, there are six major candidates for the presidency, but two front-runners. CW is that neither will clear 50% and they will head on to a runoff. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is standing down this year; CW is that her Vice President, Joseph Boakai, is likely to head to a runoff with former soccer star and current Senator George Weah, who lost the first modern free election to Johnson-Sirleaf in 2005. Four other candidates, former Senator and 2011 candidate Charles Brumskine, Senator and former guerilla fighter Prince Johnson, former local mayor Benoni Urey, and former Coca-Cola executive Alex Cummings, could each potentially snag a runoff spot.

Political Roundup for September 13, 2017

Last Night:

Bill DeBlasio (D) easily won renomination in NYC, while all NYC Council incumbents and essentially all non-incumbent establishment favorites prevailed.

In Charlotte, councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) ousted incumbent Jennifer Roberts (D) without a runoff. In Cleveland, incumbent Frank Jackson (D) and councilman Zack Reed (D) advanced. In Toledo, incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) and Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) advanced. Incumbents Byron Brown (D) in Buffalo and Lovely Warren (D) in Rochester were renominated.

In other NY Races, State Sen. George Latimer (D) won in Westchester-CE, county commissioner Laura Curran (D) won in Nassau-CE, and State Rep. Steve McLaughlin (R) narrowly won in Rensselaer-CE. In the biggest upset of the night, university police chief Larry Zacarese (R) beat State Sen. Phil Boyle (R) for Suffolk-Sheriff.

In legislative specials, Democrats picked up OK-LD-46 by a wide margin as well as a state house seat in NH. McGee (R) and Rehner (D) advanced in MS-LD-102, while O’Hara (R) won the nomination in OK-SD-37.


MI-Sen: Rep. Fred Upton (R) is apparently quietly considering a run for the seat of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (R). Upton, a centrist from a purple seat in southwest Michigan, has been termed-out as Energy and Commerce chair but is not ready to retire. Upton could face a tough primary if Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie (R) pulls the trigger on a run for this seat; however, if Ritchie stays out, Upton would be a strong favorite against the little-known Republicans in the race already.

VA-Sen: Former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina (R) will not run for the Senate seat of Tim Kaine (D). Prince William CE and self-hating Yankee Corey Stewart (R) now looks like the strong favorite for the nomination.


AK-Gov, AK-LG: State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) surprisingly announced yesterday that he is ending his gubernatorial run due to an unspecified health condition. Ex-State Sen. Charlie Huggins (R), a former State Senate president who retired in 2016, stepped in the same day to fill the breach. State Rep. Mike Chenault (R) also filed to run for a spot on the GOP ticket, though he has left his options open for either a Governor or LG run in the shotgun-wedding primary. Dem-backed incumbent Bill Walker (I) may also face opposition from a Democrat like Ex-Sen. Mark Begich (D) or State Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D).

IL-Gov, IL-LG: After his prior choice of running mate, Chicago councilman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D), was forced to withdraw over his support for the anti-Israel BDS movement, Biss has now chosen State Rep. Litesa Wallace (D) of Rockford as his new LG choice. Wallace could be a way for Biss to curry some favor with State House Speaker Mike Madigan (D), who is thought to favor wealthy businessman JB Pritzker (D) in this crowded primary.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) says she will decide on a run for Governor by the end of September. Collins would likely be a strong favorite in a general election if she were to run, but she may face difficulty from her right in the GOP primary.

MI-Gov: As expected, AG Bill Schuette (R) has launched his campaign for Governor. Schuette has had a long political career, beginning with a Congressional stint in the 80s, a Senate loss in 1990, a State Senate stint in the 90s and a judicial stint in the 2000s before two terms as AG. He is thought to be a slight front-runner in the GOP primary against antiestablishment conservative State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) and physician Jim Hines (R); Schuette’s most serious likely rival, LG Brian Calley (R), has not yet declared for this race but is widely though certain to run.


NY-15: Outgoing NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) is rumored to be considering a run for this South Bronx-based Congressional seat, where incumbent Jose Serrano (D) is thought to be considering retirement. Mark-Viverito hails from Spanish Harlem in Manhattan, but has represented part of the Bronx. State Sen. Jose Serrano Jr. (D), State Rep. Michael Blake (D), and NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres (D) are thought to all be interested as well.

PA-11: 2016 AG candidate Joe Peters (R) is exploring an entry into this crowded primary for the Harrisburg-to-Lackawanna Valley red seat. Peters would join State Rep. Stephen Bloom (R), Corbett admin official Dan Meuser (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R) in the primary.

PA-15: Two new candidates are in this race. State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R) will run for Congress, potentially creating a more establishment-friendly option to take on State Rep. Justin Simmons (R), whose entry into the race pushed Rep. Charlie Dent (R) out of seeking re-election. Lehigh County commissioner Bill Leiner (D) also announced a run, potentially giving Dems a credible option for the light-red Lehigh Valley open seat.

TN-6: Rep. Diane Black (R) is considering resigning her House seat early as she runs for Governor. If Black resigns quickly a special could be triggered for this deep-red central Tennessee seat. Former state Agriculture Commissioner John Rose (R) and State Rep. Judd Matheny (R) are in the race, and talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R) is considering a run.

TX-32: Obama aide Lillian Salerno (D) has become the third former Obama admin official in the race, joining Colin Allred (D) and Ed Meier (D). Allred, a former NFL player, so far looks like the DCCC’s choice recruit to take on Rep. Pete Sessions (R) in this Hillary-won north Dallas seat.

WV-1: Attorney Ralph Baxter (D), who runs a large law firm based in San Francisco but “lives” in Wheeling, is set to announce a run against Rep. David McKinley (R) in this deep-red northern WV seat. Baxter has been mentioned for several races before but looks set to pull the trigger this cycle; he faces long odds as this historically-D seat has become more Republican up and down the ballot.

State & Local:

ID-AG: AG Lawrence Wasden (R) will run for re-election, and will not give up his seat to run for Governor or ID-1.

MA-LG: Obama White House aide Quentin Palfrey (D), who now works as an administrator at MIT, has become the first Democrat into this shotgun-wedding LG primary.

MO-Aud: Attorney and former university regent David Wasinger (R) will run for Auditor, entering the race after State House Speaker David Richardson (R) abruptly declined a bid. Local official Kristy Apprill (R) is also considering a run.

NV-AG: State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D) will run for AG, giving Dems a top-tier recruit for this seat, which is expected to be open as incumbent Adam Laxalt (R) is seen as near-certain to run for Governor. Laxalt’s top deputy, ex-State Rep. Wes Duncan (R), is likely to run for this seat.

DC-Mayor: AG Karl Racine (D) will not run for mayor, likely meaning that incumbent Muriel Bowser (D) will have a relatively easy ride to a second term next year.

Seattle-Mayor: Mayor Ed Murray (D) abruptly resigned yesterday after a fifth person, his cousin, accused him of prior sexual molestation when the cousin was a minor. Murray had declined to run for re-election after several others revealed underage sexual molestation allegations. The open seat election this November is between establishment liberal ex-US Attorney Jenny Durkan (D) and ultra-left city planner Cary Moon (D).

September 12 NYC & More Primary Liveblog

Results: Charlotte (NC BoE) || Cleveland (WJW-TV) || NYC (NYC BoE) || NYC (NYT) || Buffalo (BoE) || Rochester (BoE) || Nassau, NY (BoE) || Rensselaer, NY (BoE) || Westchester, NY (BoE) || Toledo (WTOL-TV)

10:55 ET- One last update; Cleveland is half in. Jackson is at 39, with Reed leading Johnson 19-15 for the second slot. This will conclude our liveblog for the night.

10:52 ET- Latimer has won 64-36 in Westchester. Laura Curran has won in Nassau. Rensselaer is too close to call and may head to a recount; McLaughlin is up 51-49.

10:50 ET- Brown has won 51-35 in Buffalo. Hicks-Hudson and Kapszukiewicz have advanced with 42 and 32 respectively in Toledo.

9:48 ET- Potential upset alert in Buffalo. Byron Brown (D) is up on Mark Schroeder (D) just 46-40 with 25% in.

9:46 ET- In Toledo, Hicks-Hudson is up 46-30 on Kapszukiewicz with Waniewski at 24. Rochester is a snoozer as incumbent Lovely Warren (D) is up 63-20 with over half in.

9:45 ET- For the NYC Council, all incumbents have won and essentially all establishment favorites have prevailed as well, though Margaret Chin (D) in CD-1 has had a very close shave with a 47-44 win.

9:33 ET- Latimer is up 62-38 for Westchester County Exec (D). Eric Gonzalez (D) has won a full term as Brooklyn DA.

9:25 ET- Incumbent Lovely Warren (D) has a commanding lead in Rochester with 62%.

9:23 ET- It looks like McGee (R) and Rehner (D) will advance in MS-LD-102, with McGee leading 41-29 and Rs taking the rest.

9:21 ET- Hicks-Hudson is at 53 in Toledo with Kapszukiewicz second, up 27-19.

9:17 ET- Looks like DeBlasio will have about 70%.

9:15 ET- Democrats have easily picked up OK-LD-46.

9:02 ET- DeBlasio is leading Albanese 68-19 in the first votes.

9:00 ET- Polls have closed in New York.

8:58 ET- Early vote is in for Toledo. Hicks-Hudson is well in first, with Kapszukiewicz leading Waniewski for second.

8:50 ET- A quarter is in and I’m just about ready to call Charlotte for Lyles; she is holding that 47-37 lead on Roberts.

8:40 ET- First results in from Cleveland, finally. In the early vote, Jackson is at 43%, with Reed leading Johnson 19-17 for second and Chrostowski at 10; no one else is above 3.

8:30 ET- About 10% in and Lyles is still up 47-37.

8:20 ET- Toledo’s results will be delayed because of a server crash.

8:00 ET- Polls have closed for special elections in MS and OK.

7:45 ET- Lyles is up 47-37 on Roberts in the early vote for Charlotte.

7:30 ET- Polls have now closed in Charlotte, Cleveland, and Toledo.


September 12 NYC & More Primary Preview

Because of the busy day we had yesterday we’re re-upping the preview of today’s races in case you haven’t seen it.

Tomorrow is the second-busiest election day of the fall. New York City is the star of the show, with all major city offices up. But there are also 5 other big mayoral elections in Charlotte, Cleveland, Toledo, Buffalo, and Rochester, plus a number of other local elections across New York State and legislative specials in Oklahoma and Mississippi. Poll closing times are as follows: NC & OH – 7:30 ET || MS & OK – 8 ET || NYS – 9ET. Our Liveblog will start tomorrow at 7:30 ET. The Mayoral races are above the fold – flip over for County Executive, DA, Sheriff, and NYC Council races!

NYC-Mayor (D): The big race tomorrow, albeit a drama-free one, is the partisan primary for Mayor of New York City. New York City is of course the nation’s largest city by far, with a population of 8.5M, and extensive home-rule powers without equal among American cities. As a result, the Mayor of New York is really more like the nation’s 51st Governor than any other Mayor, and fittingly it is elected in traditional partisan races. NYC is, of course, solidly Democratic: it has a PVI of D+29 (2016) and a multi-ethnic population that breaks down roughly 45% White, 20% each Hispanic and Black, and 10% Asian.

Bill de Blasio

Incumbent Bill de Blasio (D) is seeking a second term. If you’re reading this blog you probably don’t need me to recount the various trials and tribulations of DeBlasio’s mayoralty, but DeBlasio’s four years in office have been a mixture of some high-profile embarrassments and failures: a significant rise in homeless living on the streets, poor response to snowstorms, massive maintenance problems with the subway, small up tick in crime and a crazy vendetta against the Central Park horse carriage system. DeBlasio has also been the focus of an expanding investigation into his campaign finance operation, specifically a scheme to funnel money to state candidates, but so far that investigation has not borne significant fruit. Additionally, like many of his predecessors, DeBlasio transparently harbors higher ambitions, but in this case that may be working to his benefit. Through his term, he has never hesitated to use his position to cast himself as a national left-wing hero – and in that respect the election of Trump was an enormous gift to him. Instead of getting a seriously contested race on his vulnerabilities as an administrator, DeBlasio’s use of the bully pulpit to preach left-wing causes (and prepare for a 2020 Presidential run) has largely insulated him from a viable primary challenge.

Sal Albanese

All “A” and “B” list Dem candidates surprisingly declined to take on DeBlasio, leaving just one even remotely serious Democrat running against him. That rival is 90s-era ex-city councilman Sal Albanese (D). Albanese represented Brooklyn’s middle-class Bay Ridge area in the 80s and 90s before losing a 1997 mayoral primary. Albanese left politics before reappearing to make an asterisk-level run in the 2013 mayoral primary. This year, Albanese was able to raise enough to force DeBlasio to debate. But few voters remember Albanese’s fight for left-wing progressive policies during the Giuliani administration and his lower-middle-class white-ethnic persona is a poor fit for the city’s Democrats, so he seems likely to draw only protest votes – I would guess at most drawing a third of the vote. However, Albanese’s vote share could be a good indicator of generic anti-DeBlasio Democratic sentiment that might indicate to 2021 aspirants whether to start running toward or away from the DeBlasio legacy.

Nicole Malliotakis

An equally easy challenge for DeBlasio awaits in the general from State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R). Malliotakis is considered a rising star on NYC’s thin GOP bench, ousting a Democratic incumbent from a purple Staten Island and Brooklyn district in 2010. Due to her youth (she is 37), Greek-Cuban background, and proven political skills, she is considered likely to climb the ladder at some point, topping lists of potential successors for Staten Island’s State Senate and Congressional seats when they come open; this mayoral run is most likely about banking name rec for a bid of that nature down the line. However, Malliotakis is not independently wealthy and has little pre-existing name recognition, meaning her chances to outperform the Generic R baseline this year (especially to the level needed to be competitive in ultra-blue NYC) are slim.

Bo Dietl

A sideshow in the general is retired detective and Arby’s pitchman Bo Dietl (I), who was laughed out of a GOP primary bid before continuing a non-serious campaign as an Indie; he will likely take a few percentage points of anti-DeBlasio votes from Malliotakis. All in all, DeBlasio remains on course to a depressingly easy re-election. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D.

Charlotte-Mayor (D): The second-biggest election today is the partisan primaries for Mayor of Charlotte. Charlotte is America’s 17th-largest city; it has a population just shy of 850K that breaks down as roughly 50% White, 35% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It had a PVI of D+13 (2008), though it has probably trended left since then. 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. In today’s Mayoral race, five Democrats are running, but only three are serious; if no one cracks 40%, the top two finishers will head to a runoff in four weeks.

Incumbent Jennifer Roberts (D) won her first term two years ago, and has had a tumultuous first term as mayor. Roberts had been a mainstream to moderate liberal in her prior role on the county commission, but she has recast herself as a staunch progressive in the mayor’s office. Her brief tenure has been marked by a long-running clash with the state legislature over the city’s bill to regulate transgender bathroom use, which triggered the national brouhaha over the state’s HB2. The incident estranged Roberts from the council, as she was an advocate of continuing the standoff when the council ultimately negotiated a settlement with the legislature, and that dynamic has contributed to a poor working relationship. Additionally, Charlotte was hit by riots last year in response to a police shooting, for which Roberts was criticized for a lackluster response. Roberts is seeking to win a second term by coalescing the liberal base and harnessing her name recognition; her best shot at a win is probably by clearing the 40% mark and avoiding a potentially perilous runoff with one of her two more moderate rivals. But her tenure has been controversial enough that even being boxed out of a runoff is a possibility. City councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) is somewhat more centrist than Roberts; overall Lyles, a longtime council veteran, is a mainstream black establishment liberal. More than ideology though, the main difference between the two is temperament. Lyles is considered much more easygoing than Roberts and has a better relationship with the council; as a result, she has received significant establishment support. Lyles has also garnered the endorsement of the Charlotte Observer. Her inoffensive nature leaves Lyles in a good position to win a runoff if one occurs; however, her low-energy style and lack of a committed base could leaver her boxed out in the first round. State Sen. Joel Ford (D) is the most centrist candidate in the field. Ford is a moderate Democrat, particularly on social issues. That has given him bipartisan support, even receiving donations from several Republicans in the legislature – were this a non-partisan race, he would be well-positioned to win GOP votes. Within the Dem party though, he still has a strong base in the black community, particularly among more middle-class blacks, and name recognition from representing a quarter of the city in the legislature. Roberts would most likely prefer to face Ford in a runoff and make the race a referendum on her socially liberal views. Two other non-serious Democrats are running and could serve to lower the odds of anyone cracking 40%. Overall each of the three candidates has a chance to advance to a runoff – or even to crack 40% and win outright – and any winner or pairing shouldn’t be particularly surprising.

The Dem primary winner will head on to a November general election with city councilman Kenny Smith (R), who faces two non-serious Some Dudes in his primary. Smith is a conservative from the wealthy southern part of the city, and is clearly to the right of most candidates Republicans have put up for the seat in recent years. Thus, due to the lean of the city, he is generally considered a long-shot to beat any of the Democrats. However, he is definitely a credible candidate, outpacing all the Democrats in fundraising, and could have a small chance to win, particularly if Roberts is renominated. More likely though is that Smith may be someone to watch for a state legislature or NC-9 campaign in the future.

Cleveland-Mayor: Cleveland is America’s 51st-largest city, with a population of 385K that breaks down roughly 50% Black and 40% White. It has a PVI of D+33 (2008). Cleveland has a split personality between its two halves: the eastern half of the city is overwhelmingly black and generally very poor (the gentrified urban areas of the east side near Case University almost entirely sit outside the city limits), while the western half of the city is mostly lower-middle-class blue-collar white areas, with some Hispanic pockets. The mayoral primary is today in a California-Rules Top Two format. Incumbent Frank Jackson (D) is seeking a fourth term. Jackson, a moderate liberal, has been fairly popular as mayor, winning fairly easy re-elections in 2009 and 2013. His position as an African-American from the east side with significant crossover appeal to west side whites has left him hard to challenge. But this year, Jackson dabbled with retirement before deciding to run again, and that seems to have opened up the floodgates for challengers. He now faces eight challengers, seven of them notable. Overall Jackson should be a lock to come in first, but how strong his showing is may determine how contentious the race in November becomes. Three east side black candidates are taking on Jackson from the left. City councilman Jeff Johnson (D) is considered the slight front-runner among Jackson’s challengers, particularly due to his strong support from the SEIU. Johnson is on the second act of his political career; his prior tenure on the council and State Senate ended in the late 90s with a conviction and 15-month sentence for shaking down convenience store owners. Though Ohio law prohibits those convicted of bribery from holding office, Johnson was able to return to the city council through a ridiculous loophole: he was convicted of extortion, not bribery (world of difference, right!). City councilman Zack Reed (D) is similarly a biting critic of Jackson from the left. However, he trails Johnson in labor support, and like Johnson he has his own legal history to deal with in the form of three DUIs. Reed’s campaign has been energetic and he could make the second slot, or he and Johnson could bump heads and allow a more centrist candidate to come in second. The third candidate on the left, Eric Brewer (D), who previously served as mayor of the slumburb of East Cleveland, is staking out a claim as the farthest left candidate in the field and strikes some black-nationalist themes; he is a longer-shot. Four other candidates are centrist or center-right. State Rep. and 2009 candidate Bill Patmon (D) was a city councilman in the 90s. After a string of losses in the 2000s, he was able to make a comeback by winning a safe State House seat, representing a big chunk of the east side, in 2010. Patmon, who is black, is a moderate, but mostly notable as a gadfly; his campaign is not very serious, but he could take second on name rec. Nonprofit exec Brandon Chrostowski (I) has a very interesting story: he runs a well-regarded French restaurant that doubles as a job-training program for ex-cons. Chrostowski is running on a centrist platform and his fundraising has been enough to be credible. Two Republicans are also in the race. Businessman Tony Madalone (R) runs a T-shirt company, and at age 32 has rising-star potential. As the most serious right-of-center candidate, he may have some chance to make the runoff based on conservative votes. However, Madalone’s chances to advance are complicated by another Republican, 2009 candidate and nonprofit exec Robert Kilo (R), who has surprisingly fundraised enough to be a factor, but whose staunch conservatism is a poor fit for the deep-blue city. A non-serious Some Dude is also in the race. Overall any of the seven have some chance to advance with Jackson, with Johnson and Reed having the best shots. However, all will probably face an uphill race in November unless Jackson seriously underperforms.

Toledo-Mayor: Toledo is America’s 71st-largest city, with a population of 275K that breaks down as roughly 65% White and 25% Black. It has a PVI of D+21 (2008). Toledo remains mostly a blue-collar white city, with some working- and middle-class black neighborhoods near the center of town. Like Cleveland, it is using a California-Rules Top Two format for its mayoral primary. There are three serious candidates, two Dems and one Republican. Incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) won a special election in 2015 after being appointed to fill a vacancy. Hicks-Hudson is a mainstream black liberal. Her base in the black community, incumbency, and Dem establishment support were enough for her to win a plurality in the fractured, winner-take-all 2015 contest, and CW is that she is likely to come in first again tomorrow. However, she has been hit for continuing problems with the city’s water system, and this year’s race, in which a majority will be eventually necessary, may be tougher for her. Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) is Hicks-Hudson’s better-funded rival. Kapszukiewicz is a blue-collar type moderate liberal who has been best known for importing Michigan’s Land Bank concept (in which the county confiscates distressed tax-delinquent properties, knocks them down, and re-sells the land). Kapszukiewicz is likely to have a base of white Democrats, but he risks being boxed out by his rivals’ more coherent bases. Councilman Tom Waniewski (R) is the third candidate in the race. Waniewski represents a middle-class suburban area on the northwest side, and is a mainstream to moderate conservative. He has been underfunded relative to Kapszukiewicz, but he does have a ready-made base of Republicans and voters in his council district. A perennial candidate is also running. Overall the CW seems to be betting on Hicks-Hudson and Kapszukiewicz advancing, but the three candidates seem relatively evenly-matched and it’s very possible for Waniewski to box out either. Any candidate getting more than about 40% here would be at least a mild surprise, and regardless of the pairing most expect the general to be competitive.

Buffalo-Mayor (D): Buffalo has a population of 255K that breaks down as roughly 50% White, 35% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It has a PVI of D+28 (2008). The city can be thought of as divided into 3 equal pie slices away from downtown; the southeastern part of the city is lower-middle-class blue-collar whites, the northeastern part of the city is largely poor blacks, and the northwestern part of the city is a diverse mix of some multi-ethnic poor neighborhoods, some lower-middle class white areas, and some more upscale white areas. Incumbent Byron Brown (D) is seeking a fourth term. Brown is a mainstream liberal who has been considered a rising star in Dem circles; he was even considered a short-lister for the Senate appointment that went to Sen. Kirsten Gillirband (D). As Mayor, Brown has been reasonably successful in slowing the city’s decline. He has built an electoral alliance of black voters and upscale whites, with crossover support from blue-collar whites, that has been powerful in a Democratic primary – and only seems to be getting moreso as downscale whites slowly defect to the GOP. As a result, he retains establishment support and is a strong favorite for re-election, though he faces two challengers from left and right. City comptroller Mark Schroeder (D) is Brown’s more serious rival. Schroeder is a moderate Democrat who is popular among his southside base. He was considered likely to give Brown a strong challenge, but it hasn’t really panned out that way; Brown has some crossover support among the blue-collar voters that would be Schroeder’s base and there is little sense that Schroeder has appeal to blacks or upscale voters. As a result, he is considered likely to finish well behind Brown. The third candidate in the race is county commissioner Betty Jean Grant (D). Grant has a strong base among liberals in the black community, one that allowed her to come within 200 votes of winning a State Senate seat in a 2012 primary. However, her campaign is running on a shoestring budget and her appeal outside of the black community is low, so Grant is likely to finish a distant third. A recent poll had Brown securing an outright majority of the vote, so it would be a shock to say the least if either Schroeder or Grant could even come close, let alone defeat him. Republicans are not contesting this seat after their prior nominee dropped out.

Rochester, NY-Mayor (D): Rochester has a population of 210K that breaks down as roughly 45% White, 35% Black, and 15% Hipanic. It has a PVI of D+29 (2008). Rochester is shaped like a “6”; much of the central part of the city is taken up by the “Fatal Crescent” of poor, high-crime, black-plurality neighborhoods wrapping around the north and west sides of downtown. The remaining southeast quarter is mostly upscale urban white areas, and the city also has a small northwest tail of middle-class white suburbs. Incumbent Lovely Warren (D) won her first term in 2013 in a shocking upset by galvanizing minority and left-wing voters against the prior incumbent. Warren has been a staunch liberal in office, and her tenure has not had any particularly glaring failures. But there is a general sense that the city’s slow decline has continued unabated. Furthermore, while Warren has significant establishment ties and received the official party endorsement, there is a large bloc of more moderate Democrats that has never warmed to her. Monroe County commissioner James Sheppard (D), a former city police chief, is Warren’s main competitor. Sheppard is a more moderate liberal and was supported by the faction of the party that backed Warren’s predecessor. Historically there has been, a major divide between the black and white establishments in Rochester; while both Sheppard and Warren are of African-American descent, most of Warren’s establishment backers are black and most of Sheppard’s establishment backers are white. A third wheel in the race is former TV anchor and 2016 State House candidate Rachel Barnhart (D). Barnhart challenged an incumbent in a 2016 State House primary, which did not endear her to the local establishment, but she does have high name recognition and a base in the white liberal community as the most progressive candidate. She is considered something of a long-shot, but may draw a significant number of votes. It’s unclear who Barnhart hurts more; while Warren is the more left-wing candidate, Sheppard seems to have more white support, so defections to Barnhart may wind up being close to a wash. A fourth non-serious Democrat is also running. Overall, the significant split in establishment support means that there is no clear favorite between Warren and Sheppard. Amazingly enough, this year Republicans are putting up their first credible candidate in memory for this race. County commissioner Tony Micciche (R) represents the suburban northwest tail of the city. Micciche is a credible candidate but likely stands little chance against any of the Democrats barring a DGLB; the bid is probably more about gaining name rec for a countywide, legislative, or congressional run down the line.

State Legislative Special Elections: There are 3 legislative specials this week: one Louisiana-Rules Top Two race, one general, and one primary. The general is for OK-LD-46, an R+6 (2016) seat covering western Norman. Businessman and professor Darrin Chambers (R) and 2016 nominee Jacob Rosencrants (D) are facing off; due to Dems’ strong streak in special elections recently, especially in Oklahoma, I would consider Rosencrants a slight favorite to pick up the seat. The primary is for OK-SD-37, an R+21 (2016) seat covering the suburban southwestern part of Tulsa west of the Arkansas River and the suburb of Sand Springs. 7 Republicans are facing off. Rep. Jim Bridenstine staffer and ex-Jenks city councilman Brian O’Hara (R), local judge Jay McAtee (R), Sand Springs councilman and 2016 candidate Brian Jackson (R),  manager Phil Nollan (R), husband of a sitting State Rep.,  local GOP official Nicole Nixon (R), and two Some Dudes. I would peg O’Hara as the slight front-runner, but any of the five I named have a chance to win. The primary winner will face Dem activist Allison Ikley-Freeman (D) in a November general. There is also a Louisiana Rules Top Two race for MS-LD-102, an R+9 (2008) seat covering the western part of Hattiesburg. Democrats have gone all-in on this race for social worker Kathryn Rehner (D), who is likely to finish first. She faces three Republicans, former congressional staffer Missy McGee (R), attorney Corey Ferraez (R), and retired civil servant Casey Mercier (R); McGee looks like the slight front-runner among the Republicans. It seems like a coin-flip whether Rehner can flip the seat tomorrow or whether the race will head to a runoff.

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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!


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.


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 July 31st, 2017


Moulton: Weeks ago I predicted that there would be yet more long thinkpieces about Democrats who have no shot whatsoever at garnering their party’s nomination for President in 2020, yet would get coverage to drive clicks for lazy journalists. Well, it’s happened again, and much sooner than I thought. The offender this time is once again the normally-awesome Politico Magazine, one of the few sources for long-form political pieces that aren’t meditations on how everything is racist and misogynistic (I’m looking at you, Slate). This time their subject is Rep. Seth Moulton (D) of Massachusetts. Moulton is an impressive rising star within the party. To be fair, he could very well be President one day. He’s good looking, charismatic, and has a military background. He’s fairly moderate and speaks well. None of that changes the fact that you can’t win a Presidential nomination as a mostly-unknown House member in the age of mass primaries. Moulton is impressive, interesting, and worth covering, but this presidential click-bait nonsense is already getting out of hand more than two years before the Iowa caucuses.


MI-Sen: For the first time in a while, we have a new edition of your favorite head-scratching and shrugging gameshow, Dueling Polls! MIRS commissioned a poll from Target Insyght that shows Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) leading musician and expletive connoisseur Kid Rock (R) 50-42. However, a poll from the right-leaning pollster Trafalgar has the blue-collar balladeer leading the senator 49-46. The second poll also finds that Mr. Rock would have a commanding lead in the Republican primary were he to seek the nomination.

WV-Sen: Here’s a great piece by David Byler over at RealClear explaining why Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is getting multiple top-tier challengers despite being in pretty good shape for reelection. Politicians are generally ambitious, and if a state is very red or very blue, there’s often a bottleneck of talented politicians in the dominant party (especially if the state has few congressional districts). When you  have a winnable office that’s somehow still held by the other party, oftentimes a lot of talented politicians from the dominant party will crawl all over each other because they’re ambitious and/or they think the state’s lean will carry them to victory without having to wait for another member of their party to retire.

FL-23: I feel bad for Carla Spalding (R). She’s Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s (D) Republican opponent for 2018. Spalding is trying to make hay of the recent strangeness involving the congresswoman’s IT guy who has been arrested for various cybercrime against members of Congress and their staff, but it shouldn’t effect the outcome of the election one iota. Even if good ole DWS screwed up royally when she hired this guy, the district is just too Democratic for her to lose barring allegations of personal wrongdoing on her part.

IL-06: Naperville Councilwoman and bookmonger Becky Anderson (D) has declared against Rep. Peter Roskam (R). She’s decidedly C-list. However, there are already five other Democrats in the primary. crazier things have happened than a municipal official winning a crowded primary with a small plurality. As to whether she can beat Roskam, the district moved to the left in 2016, but was originally designed as a Republican votesink. Anything can happen, especially if there’s a wave, but Roskam is popular and a strong campaigner.


CT-Gov: This is getting ridiculous. State Sen. Toni Boucher (R) has announced her candidacy for Governor in Connecticut. That’s fine, except that she’s one of about a jillion candidates who are considering or have announced to run as a Republican to succeed the retiring and  unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D). Look guys, having good choices in a primary is great, but a clowncar with lots of mudslinging is only going to help make it harder for the GOP to win a blue state like Connecticut.

OH-Gov: Speaking of clown cars, he Republican primary for the Buckeye State’s highest office would seem to have a confirmed driver. That man is AG and former Sen. Mike DeWine, and it’s not even close. The results show a 42-18-11-5 race with SoS John Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and Rep. Jim Renacci behind define in that order. It’s a Tarrance poll for an outside group, so caveat emptor, but it’s not surprising given the former senator’s long history in statewide politics.


CT-SoS: While most of the action is in the Republican gubernatorial primary, the Nutmeg State does have other offices up for election in 2018. Among them is Secretary of State, a position for which businesswoman Karen Cusick (D) has just announced. Cusack is the first into the race on the Democratic side and will likely get the jump on fundraising. A Republican could beat her if the gubernatorial contest goes well, but right now she looks like the favorite to be the new SoS.

ID-Treas: Restauranteur Tom Kealey (R) has announced his candidacy for Treasurer. I can’t find out whether or not he belongs to either the otter faction of the Labrador faction, but either way he’s likely to have company in the primary due both to factional infighting and the bottleneck effect.

MD-PG-CE: The tantamount-to-election Democratic primary for Prince George’s County Executive is heating up quickly. A few notable names have already entered, but they face stiff competition now that State’s Attorney (DA) Angela Alsobrooks has entered the race. It’s by no means a done deal, but DAs tend to be strong candidates and generally get a lot of free airtime.

Bailey, NC-Mayor: The small town of Bailey, NC has a problem: no one wants to be it’s next mayor. The town of 569 outside of Raleigh had enough candidates file for city council seats, but no one filed to lead the city after the current mayor announced his retirement. The filing deadline has been extended, but with such a small pool of possible office-seekers, who knows if anyone will bite?


Pakistan: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan has been forced to resign after the country’s supreme court ruled that he was ineligible for the office due to investigations into possible corruption. He also cannot compete in next year’s elections. Sharif was a crusader against the power of the country’s military, and this likely strengthens their hand. Opponents of the military will have to find a new standard-bearer if they wish to retain control of parliament.

Political Roundup for July 11, 2017

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State & Local:

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

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

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

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

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