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2017 General Election Previews, Part 2: Mayoral Races

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Political Roundup for November 1, 2017

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

Polling Quick-Hits:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governor:

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

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

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

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

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

Congress:

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

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

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

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

State Offices:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Offices:

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

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

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

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

Political Roundup for October 23, 2017

Over the weekend, the populist ANO party won a large plurality in the Czech Republic, while Japanese PM Shinzo Abe of the LDP kept his large majority. Now today’s news:

Poll Quick-Hits

AL-Sen: Moore (R) 51 Jones (D) 40 (Strategy Research)
UT-3: Curtis (R) 46 Allen (D) 19 Bennett (I) 9 (Dan Jones)
UT-4: Love (R) 48 McAdams (D) 42 (Dan Jones)
Boston-Mayor: Walsh (D) 58 Jackson (D) 19 (WGBH)

Governor:

CA-Gov, CA-Supt: Gubernatorial front-runner LG Gavin Newsom (D) has picked up the endorsement of the powerful California Teachers’ Union. The move was expected as Newsom’s most prominent rival, ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), has been close to education-reform interests. The teachers’ union also unsurprisingly endorsed State Rep. Tony Thurmond (D) for Superintendent over charter school executive and 2014 candidate Marshall Tuck (D). Across the aisle, State Rep. Chad Mayes (R) is considering a run for Governor. Mayes was the Assembly minority leader until being forced out earlier this year over an affair and his vote for a cap-and-trade bill. If he runs for Governor, Mayes would stake out a niche to the left of the Republicans in the race, gadflyish (but wealthy) businessman John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R); however, a third Republican in the field could enhance the chances of a D-on-D general. Just from the undertones here, I think that may be Mayes’s intention as there seems to be some bitterness over his ouster.

ME-Gov: State Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R) is the latest candidate into this absurdly crowded race. Thibodeau, who has generally been a moderate in office, joins fellow State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), State Rep. Ken Fredette (R), and LePage Admin official Mary Mayhew (R) in the GOP primary; Democrats have an even more crowded field and three Indies are also running.

NY-Gov: Dutchess CE Marc Molinaro (R) has become the first candidate to take a concrete step towards challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), as he has opened up a campaign committee. Molinaro, who is in his second term leading the purple midsized Hudson Valley county, is apparently in discussions for a unity ticket with another Republican considering the race, State Rep. Brian Kolb (R). Several other Republicans, including Westchester CE and 2014 nominee Rob Astorino (R), State Sens. John Flanagan (R) and John DeFrancisco (R), ex-Rep. Richard Hanna (R), 2010 nominee Carl Paladino (R), and 2010 comptroller nominee Harry Wilson (R) are in various stages of exploring the race.

OH-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D) looks set to run for Governor. O’Neill will be having an announcement this weekend on his plans, and speculation is he will become the fifth candidate into this primary. O’Neill, the only statewide-elected Democrat in state government, would join Ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D) in the race.

RI-Gov, RI-LG: LG Dan McKee (D) will announce “plans for his political future” in two weeks. McKee, a moderate, is facing a primary to his left from State Rep. Aaron Regunberg (D), and there is increasing speculation that he may decide to take on fellow moderate Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) in the gubernatorial primary. So far no notable Democrats have stepped up to take on Raimondo, though several, including ex-Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (D), are considering.

VA-Gov, VA-LG: In an incident that might give new meaning  to the term “whitewashing”, the campaign of LG Ralph Northam (D) is being criticized for printing flyers that delete African-American LG nominee Justin Fairfax (D) from the statewide Dem ticket while promoting white running-mates Northam and AG Mark Herring (D). Northam’s campaign says the deletion was due to a union opposing Fairfax for his opposition to a pipeline project.

Congress:

TN-Sen: Ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) entered the Senate race over the weekend, potentially setting up a competitive primary with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R). Fincher will likely take a more moderate tack relative to Blackburn in the primary, calling himself “results oriented” and seeking to carry on the moderate mantle of retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R). A third candidate, physician Rolando Toyos (R), who operates eye clinics in both Memphis and suburban Nashville, is also considering a Senate run. Toyos ran unsuccessfully for a Shelby County commission seat in 2010, but may be able to self-fund this race. He would still be a long-shot in the primary against Blackburn and Fincher.

NH-2: State Rep. Steve Negron (R) has become the latest Republican into the primary to take on Rep. Annie Kuster (D). Negron, a first-term legislator, joins ex-State Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) and physician Stuart Levinson (R) in the primary for this light-blue seat covering the western part of the state.

PA-18: Two more candidates have entered the special election race. For the GOP, State Rep. Jason Ortitay (R) has entered. Ortitay, considered a rising star, is the only Republican candidate from the Washington County portion of the district. He joins a trio of other legislators, State Sens. Kim Ward (R) and Guy Reschenthaler (R) and State Rep. Rick Saccone (R). On the Dem side, prosecutor Connor Lamb (D) has entered the race, joining Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli (D), ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D), and Bush 43 admin official Pam Iovino (D) in the race.

TX-20: Ex-Rep. Quico Canseco (R), who represented TX-23 for one term from 2010 to 2012, is mounting a comeback bid; however, he will not take on now-Rep. Will Hurd (R) in the swingy 23rd. Instead, Canseco will take on Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) in the medium-blue 20th covering the western half of urban San Antonio. Republicans have not seriously contested this district in memory, but the seat is not incredibly Democratic; it includes a large chunk of purple suburban territory in the northwest part of the city. That said, Castro is a big name and Canseco’s candidate skills from his prior races might be generously described as mediocre. Combined with the lean of the seat and the environment, it seems unlikely this race will be very competitive.

State Offices:

AL-Ag Comm: State Sen. Gerald Dial (R) is running for the open Agriculture Commissioner seat, joining two little-known candidates in the GOP primary. Incumbent John McMillan (R) is running for Governor.

DE-AG: Tim Mullaney (D), a former US Marshall who served as CoS for the AG’s office under Beau Biden (D) before his death, will now run for the open seat. Biden’s successor, Matt Denn (D), is not seeking a second term; Mullaney is the first candidate to declare interest in the race.

LA-Treas: The state ethics board is considering whether to waive a fine against Derrick Edwards (D) for not filing campaign finance reports on time. Edwards, who is quadriplegic, says problems with finding the proper speech-to-text software were responsible for his late filing. Edwards is not running a serious campaign and considered all but certain to lose next month’s runoff to ex-State Rep. John Schroeder (R).

MI-SoS: As expected, 2010 nominee and law professor Jocelyn Benson (D) will make another run for Secretary of State. Benson is not expected to face significant opposition for the Democratic convention endorsement. Republicans have a fairly crowded field for this race with no obvious front-runner.

NM-LG: Dona Ana County commissioner Billy Garrett (D) will run for LG in the shotgun-wedding primary, becoming the latest entry into a crowded field. State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) and ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) look like the front-runners in this primary.

Local Races:

St. Petersburg-Mayor: In shades of Bridgegate, Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) is under fire from African-American entrepreneur Elihu Brayboy. Brayboy says that after he publicly endorsed ex-Mayor Rick Baker’s (R) comeback bid against Kriseman, the city began stonewalling the approval process on a development project Brayboy is pursuing. The hotly-contested runoff between Kriseman and Baker is in two weeks, and Baker has been counting in part on his exceptional crossover appeal in the black community to prevail.

Durham-Mayor: Retiring incumbent Bill Bell (D) has endorsed ex-councilman Farad Ali (D) in the November runoff for his seat. Ali, who is like Bell a business-friendly black moderate liberal, trailed white moonbat Steve Schewel (D) by a larger-than-expected 51-29 margin in the primary two weeks ago.

Fontana, CA-Mayor: Councilman Jesse Sandoval (D) will run for mayor next year, and he has picked up some key establishment endorsements. Sandoval looks likely to face incumbent Acquanetta Warren (R) for the top job in this deep-blue, Hispanic majority Inland Empire city of 200K.

Baltimore, MD-CE: State Sen. Jim Brochin (D) is running for county executive. Brochin, a moderate who is not on great terms with the area’s Dem establishment, will face ex-State Rep. John Olszewski (D) and county commissioner Vicki Almond (D) in the primary for the top job in this medium-blue county covering most of Baltimore’s suburbs. Brochin’s decision also opens up his somewhat swingy Towson area State Senate seat, which will likely be a GOP target. Republicans have a primary between Hogan admin official Al Redmer (R) and antiestablishment-friendly State Rep. Pat McDonough (R).

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

President/Miscellaneous

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!

Congress

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.

Senate:

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.

Governor:

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.

House:

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).

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