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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.