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Political Roundup for November 30th, 2017

Welcome to the roundup y’all.

Senate

AL-Sen: A new JMC poll in the marquee US Senate race in Alabama (who’da thunk we’d say that about a general election in Alabama two months ago?) has Moore (R) leading Jones (D) 48%-43%, which follows a trend in some recent polls of Moore bouncing back a bit from the sting of the initial reveal of his predatory behavior years before.

More AL-Sen: President Trump is considering breaking ranks with Senate Republicans to back a robocall, texting, and email effort (so low cost and marginal, but still) targeting Doug Jones (D) in the Senate race. While I guess this is an attempt to give Trump plausible deniability by not completely putting his name on the effort, his public remarks about Jones and Moore kind of stand for themselves.

AZ-Sen, AZ-Treas: Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) is being nominated for a position at NASA. DeWit was talked up as a potential challenger to Sen. Jeff Flake (R) when he was still running for reelection, and his name was still floating for the open seat as well. Chem Trail Kelli is already running for Republicans, with Reps. McSally and Salmon the two biggest names tossed around.

Governor

OH-Gov, OH-LG: Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has pulled a massive coup by forming a gubernatorial ticket with Secretary of State Jon Husted, who looks set to transfer his own campaign (and, perhaps more importantly, 7-figure campaign warchest) into a bid for Lieutenant Governor on DeWine’s ticket.

House

MI-13: Rep. John Conyers apparently plans to announce his resignation in January. We have the Great Mentioner for his successor in this Detroit-based seat in last night’s writeup of the news.

TX-6: Things are looking down for Rep. Joe Barton (R), who is presently holding off on filing for reelection amidst scandal over a nude photo leaking online. Among the folks lining up to call for him to retire are the Chairman of the Tarrant County GOP and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Star-Telegram further reports a recent meeting of 20 local party leaders (mostly women) discussing his potential reelection; Barton said at the meeting he has hired a consulting firm to conduct an internal poll and see where things stand before he decides to retire or not.

PA-1: Rep. Bob Brady (D) may get off on some of his federal charges due to the simple reason that the statute of limitations has run out on many of the alleged crimes. There are still other charges floating around in the ether though, but all things equal, a corrupt pol probably wants to face less corruption charges than more. Take the win while you can Brady!

NH-1: A lot of endorsements from local officials for Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D) in his bid for this open congressional seat ahead of his official Dec. 13th kickoff event.

PA-8: Former (Mike) Fitzpatrick staffer Valerie Mihalek is now primarying Rep. (Brian) Fitzpatrick (R), brother of Mike.

NJ-2: The NRCC is still recruiting candidates in one of our toughest attempts at a hold this cycle in NJ-2, where Dems got their ideal recruit for this open seat in State Sen. Jeff Van Drew. Among the politicians the NRCC has met with are Atlantic city Mayor Don Guardian, who won a mayoral term back in 2013 but lost reelection in 2017; former Assemblyman Vincent Polistina; and Hammonton Councilor Mike Torrissi.

State and Local

MN-SD-54: Republicans have a strong candidate for the special election for this Cottage Grove seat in former State Rep. Denny McNamara. This is also a welcome development because it may help keep State Rep. Keith Franke, who was previously considering his own bid, ensconced in his own swing seat as Republicans brace themselves for an impending Democratic wave in the collar counties in 2018. Former State Rep. and Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham (DFL) is already in the race. The special election here was triggered by State Sen. Dan Schoen (DFL), who just resigned over a number of harassment accusations.

TX-Ag Comm: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) drew a primary challenge from lobbyist Trey Blocker. Blocker had been rumored to run for awhile, and back in June he loaned himself $750,000 to get the campaign started. Miller has a propensity to draw unforced bad headlines, and this may be the most interesting statewide primary Republicans have in Texas. Not sure if that is a point in favor of a Blocker-Miller race or an indictment of just how sleepy the Texas primaries are statewide this cycle.

NH-Leg: After two rounds of balloting, it seems likely that State Rep. Gene Chandler (R) has defeated more conservative opposition to return to the vacant speaker’s helm in the chaotic New Hampshire House of Representatives. I say “seems likely” because a handful of firebrand legislators submitted blank ballots in an attempt to prolong the vote by denying Chandler his majority. Chandler, who was once censured by the House in his prior tenure as Speaker, won in part thanks to a pledge to only serve out the remainder of Speaker Shawn Jasper’s term in the post.

Atlanta-Mayor: Opinion Savvy has conducted a poll for the local Fox affiliate of the Atlanta mayoral contest that shows a tight race between City Councilors Mary Norwood (I) (39%) and Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) (42%) in the December 5th runoff. Norwood, a white moderate, also just recently picked up the support of former City Council President and third place finisher in the first round Cathy Woolard (D), the only prominent white liberal in the first round.

Political Roundup for November 17, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: A new Fox News poll shows Roy Moore (R) trailing Doug Jones by 8 points, 50-42. This is the 2nd poll in as many days to show Moore trailing by a significant margin. The election is still 3 1/2 weeks away, so we will see more polls, but for now it appears that the scandal is sinking in with the electorate.

Sex scandals not involving Roy Moore: Sen. Al Franken (D) has been accused by Leeann Tweeden, currently a radio news anchor in Los Angeles of groping and kissing her without her consent while on a USO tour in 2006. Franken was the headliner act as a comedian, while Tweeden served as an emcee. Franken has apologized for his behavior in a picture that accompanied the story but also said he doesn’t remember everything the same way she did. He says he will cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation into the matter.

Other scandal-plagued senators: A mistrial was declared yesterday in the corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez (D). Justice Department officials are reviewing the case to decide whether to put him back on trial, and the Ethics Committee may take up the case as well.

RI-Sen: Former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Flanders is running for the Republican nomination for US Senate. Flanders says he voted for Donald Trump, and liked his goals, but says he doesn’t have to “run with him” and support everything he does. Flanders joins state Rep. Robert Nardolillo (R) in the race to face Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D).

TN-Sen: Conservative activist Andy Ogles dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for Senate on Wednesday. When Ogles got in the race in September, he expected to be a conservative, populist alternative to Sen. Bob Corker (R). But after Corker decided not to seek re-election and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) entered the race, he saw his chances of winning all but vanish.

House:

NH-1: State Rep. Mindi Messmer (D) announced yesterday she is running for Congress. Messmer joins a Democratic primary that includes Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D), former state AFl-CIO head Mark McKenzie, former Stafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati, and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Eddie Edwards are running for the GOP nomination.

PA-15: Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries (R) is joining the Republican nomination for Congress. Pries joins a race that includes state Reps. Ryan Mackenzie (R) and Justin Simmons (R) and Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein (R). Pries is currently the only candidate from the west side of the district while the other 3 come from the east side.

TN-7: Country music songwriter Lee Thomas Miller announced this week he is running for Congress. Miller had been rumored as a possible candidate. He is currently the only candidate to challenge state Sen. Mark Green (R), who got in the race immediately after Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) announced she was running for US Senate.

TX-29: Two candidates have already announced they are running for this seat after Rep. Gene Green (D) announced his retirement on Monday. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) entered the race on Tuesday, as did state Rep. Armando Walle (D). Former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia (D) is also considered likely to run, and others may get in the race.

VA-2: Virginia Beach Democratic Party chairman Dave Belote is dropping out of the race for Congress. Belote says he is dropping out to help his father care for his ailing mother. Belote was the first Democrat to challenge Rep. Scott Taylor (R). 3 other Democrats are still in the race, businesswoman and 2016 nominee Shawn Brown, who lost to Taylor by 23 points, retired construction company owner Garry Hubbard, and schoolteacher Karen Mallard.

Governor:

CT-Gov: LG Nancy Wyman (D) will not run for governor next year. Speculation had been that Wyman would likely not run, but she had repeatedly refused to declare her intentions. She would have been the biggest name in the Democratic primary, but her ties to unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D) could have been a liability. Without Wyman in the race, there is no clear favorite in the Democratic primary. Democrats running or exploring a run include former West Hartford Mayor Jonathan Harris, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, former prosecutor Chris Mattei, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, former Wall Street finance executive Dita Bhargava, and former state veterans affairs commissioner Sean Connolly. A large field of Republicans are running too.

GA-Gov: Businessman Clay Tippins has officially entered the race for the GOP nomination for governor. Tippins, also a former Navy SEAL, has never run for office before and joins a race with experienced officeholders. Other candidates include LG Casey Cagle (R), Sec. of State Brian Kemp (R), and state Sens. Hunter Hill (R) and Michael Williams (R).

Political Roundup for November 10, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: As most people have no doubt heard by now, GOP nominee Roy Moore has been accused in a Washington Post story of having a sexual encounter with a 14-year old girl back in 1979 when Moore was a 32-year old assistant DA in Etowah County. Many, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and NRSC Chairman Sen. Cory Gardner (R) have said Moore needs to drop out of the race if the allegations are true(Moore is denying the allegations). However, it is too late to replace Moore on the ballot. Although, some have pointed out that was what we were told when New Jersey Democrats wanted to replace  scandal-plagued Rep. Robert Torricelli (D) on the ballot for US Senate in 2002 with former Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), and the state’s Democratic-dominated judiciary essentially looked the other way. But, barring some similar legal maneuver(and getting Moore to agree to drop out, which may be even tougher), Republicans may be stuck with Moore and hoping that voters believe Moore’s denials or look past something that happened nearly 40 years ago(which, this being deep-red Alabama, wouldn’t be a total surprise).

PA-Sen/PA-LG: Businessman Jeff Bartos has dropped out of the US Senate race, and will instead run for LG, working in tandem with the gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. Scott Wagner (R). Bartos’s exit from the race helps Rep. Lou Barletta (R), as he was the strongest opponent still in the race. Barletta now only faces minor opposition in the GOP primary.

House:

HI-1: State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D) became the 2nd person to join this race on Wednesday. She joins state Rep. Kaniela Ing (D), who announced a bid earlier this week. Party-switching state Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R->D) and AG Doug Chin (D) have indicated an interest in running as well.

NV-3: Michelle Mortensen, a consumer reporter for a Las Vegas TV station, is leaving that job to run in the Republican primary for Congress. She joins state Sen. Scott Hammond (R), former state Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman (R) and former Clark County Republican Party chairman Dave McKeon in the Republican primary. Philanthropist and 2016 NV-4 congressional candidate Susie Lee is currently the only Democrat running.

NH-1: Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D) has joined the race for this open seat. Pappas was recruited by national Democrats for the seat, and likely starts as the frontrunner. He joins former state AFL-CIO president Mark McKenzie, former Obama Administration Pentagon official Maura Sullivan, former Strafford County District Attorney Lincoln Soldati, and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke in the Democratic primary. State Rep. Mindi Messmer (D) and Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard are also considering. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former law enforcement official Eddie Edwards are running on the Republican side, with former NH GOP Vice Chairman Matt Mayberry considering. Trump won this district 48-45 last year.

TX-2: State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R) is the first person to jump into the race for this now-open seat. Roberts is in his first term representing a district in northwest Harris County. TX-2 lies wholly within Harris County, snaking around the northeast, north, northwest and west parts of the county.

TX-21: State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) has announced he is running for Congress. Isaac joins retired CIA operations officer Eric Burkhart as the only candidates to announce a run so far. Isaac doesn’t actually live in the district, but part of his state House district overlaps the congressional district.

VA-6: Two Republicans wasted no time in announcing campaigns in the wake of yesterday’s retirement announcement by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R). State Del. Ben Cline (R) and attorney and RNC member Cynthia Dunbar have both jumped in the race. Cline has represented a seat in Rockbridge County since 2002 and was re-elected easily on Tuesday. Other Republicans are expected to get in the race. Two potential Democratic candidates have already taken themselves out of the running. Former TV news anchor Chris Hurst had been recruited by national Democrats to run, but he instead ran for the House of Delegates and defeated an incumbent Republican on Tuesday. Del. Sam Rasoul (D), who took 37% against Goodlatte as the Democratic nominee in 2008, the best showing for a Democrat in the district since Goodlatte’s first election in 1992, had been considered a possible candidate, but will not run.

WV-3: WV Republican Party chairman Conrad Lucas, is running for Congress. Lucas joins a Republican primary that includes state House Majority Whip Carol Miller (R), state Del. Rupie Phillips (R), and physician Ayne Amjad. Democrats have a primary between state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D), Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, and Tri-State Transit Authority CEO Paul Davis.

Governor/state offices:

CO-Gov: Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) entered the already crowded GOP primary for governor yesterday. She joins 8 other Republicans currently in the race, including Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, investment banker Doug Robinson(nephew of Mitt Romney), and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), who just joined the race last week. Brauchler, however is now considering dropping out of the race and running for AG(more on that below).

NY-Gov: Little surprise, but after his loss in the Westchester County Executive race on Tuesday, Rob Astorino has announced he will not run for governor next year. Astorino, who was the 2014 Republican nominee, had been talking about making another run.

CO-AG: Now that the Attorney General position is open, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, is now considering dropping out of the governor’s race and running for AG instead, seeing his possibilities in the governor’s race fading as the race becomes more crowded. One person who will not be running for AG is Rep. Ken Buck (R), who had said earlier in the year that he might run if Coffman didn’t run for re-election. Buck announced on Wednesday that he will instead run for re-election to Congress. Other Republicans who have expressed interest in running include state Rep. Cole Wist (R) and 2014 CO-2 Republican nominee George Leing.

TX-AG: Austin-based attorney Justin Nelson (D) is running for Attorney General. He is the first person to announce a challenge to AG Ken Paxton (R). He is part of a law firm that specializes in high-stakes civil litigation and is also the founder and former president of One Nation One Vote, a nonprofit organization pushing for eliminating the Electoral College and going to a national popular vote.

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 24, 2017

First, there is a single legislative special primary today. SC-LD-56 is an R+17 (2016) seat covering most of the inland suburbs of Myrtle Beach along State Route 31. Retired TV news anchor Tim McGinnis (R) looks like the front-runner for the seat due to his high name recognition, but chiropractor Dwyer Scott (R) has self-funded and also seems serious. College student Adam Miller (R) seems less serious. Either McGinnis or Scott could win, or the two could advance to a runoff in two weeks if Miller holds both below 50. No Democrats are running.

President:

Cuban: Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban has stated that if he runs for president in 2020 he would “probably” do so as a Republican. However, this is probably not the “Cuban” presidential candidate most Republicans were hoping for.

Governor:

IL-Gov: Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) rode a Harley and criticized state Boss House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) as he officially announced his run for a second term. Rauner released a two-minute video with him riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and promising to fight for Illinois.

NY-Gov: NY Mets owner and Ponzi scheme magnet Fred Wilpon has donated $65,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) re-election campaign as he lobbies the state for approval of an arena for the NY Islanders at the Belmont Race track because this is how business is done in New York State.

RI-Gov: State Rep. Patricia Morgan becomes the first Republican to enter the race to challenge incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo  (D) in 2018. Morgan is one of eleven GOP members of the 75 member Rhode Island state House and enters the race for governor with about $90,000 in her campaign account. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and former Rep. Joseph Trillo are also considering a run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

VA-Gov: Republican Ed Gillespie’s new ad hits Democrat Ralph Northam for supporting the automatic restoration of voting rights to felons that would make it easier for them to get guns and serve on juries. The ad is part of Gillespie’s tough on crime message that seems straight out of old GOP playbooks.

Senate:

CA-Sen: State Senate leader Kevin de León (D) has $3.8 million in his state campaign account that cannot be rolled into his federal account as he seeks to take on Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D). Political strategists Maclen Zilber and Dave Jacobson have created a super PAC called A Progressive California to help support De León but it is unclear if he can transfer money from his state committees to the PAC. The legal issue may have to be resolved by federal authorities or courts as federal law restricts contributions by candidates to super PACs that support them.

MA-Sen: Republican John Kingston allegedly asked Beth Lindstrom to drop out of the Republican primary during a meeting they had last month. Kingston claimed he would be a better senate candidate against incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Faux Cherokee Nation) and allegedly offered to help Lindstrom with a congressional campaign for the MA-3 seat that Niki Tsongas is vacating or a challenge to US Senator Edward Markey’s re-election in 2020. Massachusetts state law prohibits a candidate for elected office to give another candidate anything of value in exchange for not running in the same race and Lindstrom clearly leaked this story to the Boston Globe as a way of ratf**king Kingston’s campaign. Conservative state Representative Geoff Diehl, self-promoter Shiva Ayyadurai and 2013 senate candidate Gabriel Gomez are also seeking the GOP nomination for the uphill task of unseating Warren.

MI-Sen: Former Trump White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is in regular contact with musician Kid Rock (R) about a potential Senate run.

MS-Sen:  If Sen. Thad Cochran (R) resigns from the Senate early who would Gov. Phil Bryant (R) would appoint a temporary replacement? Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) is believed to be the most likely option but Rep. Gregg Harper (R) and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) could also be possibilities. Reeves has been planning a run for Governor in 2019 so taking a Senate appointment could shake up that race. If Cochran leaves office before Nov. 6 it would prompt a special, nonpartisan election within 100 days and if he leaves office after Nov 6th it would trigger a special, nonpartisan election in November 2018 to serve out the remainder of his term which will expire at the end of 2020.

OH-Sen: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) says the White House is full of “Goldman Sachs executives” and “white supremacists” which if true is probably just as bad as a US Senate full of wife beaters.

House:

CA-24: Republican Justin Fareed is back and will make his third run for this congressional seat. Fareed lost to Rep. Salud Carbajal (D) by 7 points in 2016 and did not make it to the top two in 2014. Fareed has raised more than $215,000 for his campaign.

MS-4: Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes (R) is “strongly considering” a primary challenge of Rep. Steven Palazzo (R). Hewes, 55, has been mayor of Gulfport since 2013 and formerly served in the state Senate from 1992 to 2012 and was president pro tem, the second-ranking position in the Senate, from 2008-2012. Hewes also ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2011.

NH-1: Illinois native Obama administration official Maura Sullivan (D), who was originally recruited to run in IL-6, is exploring a run for Congress from her new home of New Hampshire. I guess there is no better way to see a state for the first time than by travelling around it campaigning for public office.

OH-12: Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien (R) has become the first Republican candidate to announce a run for the seat Rep.  Pat Tiberi (R) intents to resign from in January.

PA-18: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has set Tuesday March 13th as the date for the special election to replace ex-Rep. Tim Murphy (R). Under Pennsylvania law nominees will be picked through party conventions rather than primaries. Donald Trump won this seat 58% to 39% in 2016.

VA-10: Dumb viral videos work! Some dude Army vet Dan Helmer’s (D) campaign for Congress has taken off after he released a painfully bad to watch “Top Gun” themed ad in September. Helmer’s campaign account has $397,941 cash on hand which is a a lot more than Democrat rivals state Sen. Jennifer Wexton ($255,075) or former Obama administration official Alison Friedman ($241,857) have on hand. The winner of the Democrat primary will face Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) who has a history as a strong campaigner and winning elections in a swing district.

WI-3: Retired Army veteran Steve Toft (R) announced he will challenge Rep. Ron Kind next year. Kind had the good fortune to run unopposed in 2016 when his district swung from 55-44 for Obama in 2012 to 49-45 for Trump.

State, Local & Other:

Houston-Bond Measure: Lift Up Houston plans on running $250,000 worth of broadcast TV ads supporting the five bond measures on the ballot this November. The 30 second ads features Mayor Sylvester Turner urging Houstonians to go into debt to pay for pension reforms and “public improvements”.

CO-Broomfield Ballot issue 301: The Vote No on 301 supporters have raised more than $344,000 to fight this November’s ballot issue 301 which would restrict the presence of oil and gas industrial operations in Broomfield, CO.

NY-Westchester County Executive: Democrat George Latimer has released an internal poll showing him with a 1-percentage point lead over Republican incumbent Rob Astorino. If a 1 point lead is the best Latimer can show in his press release/poll there is a good chance Astorino is leading this race.

Political Roundup for October 20, 2017

Senate:

CA-Sen: Left-wing online news host Cenk Uygur is considering getting into the US Senate race. Uygur is cofounder of the left-wing Young Turks Network and hosts the Young Turks show. It was reported last week that his cohost Ana Kasparian was considering running as well, but it’s expected that both won’t run. Uygur would represent another candidate on the left, joining State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D) as candidates running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from the left.

TN-Sen: A good article here from a Democrat about why former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) would be a longshot to be elected to the Senate even if he represents the Democrat’s best chance. Bredesen was the last Democrat to win statewide when he was easily re-elected governor in 2006, but the state’s politics have moved significantly towards the Republican side since then. When Bredesen was last on the ballot in 2006, Democrats held 5 of the state’s 9 US House seats, they controlled the State House and Republicans held the State Senate by the narrowest of margins. Now Republicans hold 7 of the 9 US House seats and control both houses of the Legislature by huge margins. As the article states, now “having a “D” by one’s name is tantamount to electoral doom”. The article compares the situation to that of Bob Kerrey, who had been highly successful electorally in Nebraska in being elected governor and two terms as US senator, but things had changed a lot in the state since he had left office and he lost by 15 points in a comeback attempt in 2012. The article even suggests that Bredesen would have a better chance being elected as an independent than as a Democrat.

House:

IN-4: State Rep. Jim Baird (R) is in for the Republican primary for this open seat. He joins Diego Morales, a former aide to Gov. Mike Pence (R), former state Rep. Steve Braun (R) and Army veteran Jared Thomas in the Republican primary.

NH-1: Ex-Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati (D) has entered the Democratic primary for this open seat. Soldati is the first Democrat to get in the race after Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) announced her retirement last week. Other Democrats are still considering the race. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former state Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Eddie Edwards are in on the Republican side.

NY-24: Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) has announced she will not run for Congress. Miner had been the most high profile candidate considering a run against Rep. John Katko (R). Small business entrepreneur Anne Messenger and Syracuse University professor Dana Balter are currently running in the Democratic primary.

OH-12: We are starting to get a picture of who is and isn’t interested in running to replace Rep. Pat Tiberi (R). Yesterday, State Sens. Kevin Bacon (R) and Jay Hottinger (R) both indicated they are interested but have not made final decisions. State Rep. Rick Carfagna (R) says he is “certainly considering” the race as well. Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R), who dropped out of the race for State Treasurer this week, says he is deferring comment on the race for now. State Rep. Andrew Brenner (R) is not interested and is running for a state Senate seat and author J.D. Vance, who was considered as a possible candidate for US Senate also says he is not interested. State Sen. Kris Jordan (R) and state Rep. Mike Duffey (R) could not be reached for comment on if they are interested. One candidate, Iraq War veteran Brandon Grisez, was already running in the Republican primary before Tiberi announced his resignation on Wednesday.

PA-15: Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein (R) has entered the Republican nomination for the open seat of retiring Rep. Charlie Dent (R). Nothstein, who is also a former gold medal Olympic cyclist joins State Reps. Justin Simmons (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R) in the GOP race. Lehigh County Commissioner Bill Leiner (D) and pastor Greg Edwards are in on the Democratic side. Northampton County DA John Morganelli (D) and community activist Alan Jennings are also considering entering the Democratic primary as well.

TN-7: Franklin Mayor Ken Moore (R) is considering getting into the Congressional race. He says he’ll decide within the next two weeks whether to get in the race. State Sen. Mark Green (R) is already in the race and has nabbed the endorsement of the Club For Growth. Moore is seen as possibly a more palatable alternative for the more moderate, business-style Republicans than the conservative Green. Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller (R) is also considering getting in the race.

State & Local:

FL-Gov: Billionaire real-estate investor Jeff Greene is considering joining the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. Greene has run for office before, finishing 2nd in the 2010 Democratic primary for US Senate. No candidate has really caught fire with Democratic voters yet-a poll last month showed 44 % of Democrats undecided while wealthy trail attorney John Morgan, who is not yet running lead the named candidates with 23%. Former Rep. Gwen Graham (D) led the declared candidates with 16% with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and businessman Chris King in single digits. Recognizing this, Greene doesn’t feel rushed to make a decision soon.

IL-AG: Jesse Ruiz, an attorney and former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education is joining the Democratic field for Attorney General. He joins state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), state Rep. Scott Drury (D) and Sharon Fairly, former head of Chicago’s police oversight agency in the Democratic primary. Former Miss America and congressional candidate Erika Harold is running on the Republican side. Current AG Lisa Madigan (D) is retiring.

RI-AG: State Rep. Robert Craven (D) has announced he will not run for Attorney General. This may clear the Democratic field for former US Attorney Peter Neronha, the only announced candidate so far. Current AG Peter Kilmartin (D) is term limited.

WI-LG: Former state Rep. Mandela Barnes (D) is “strongly considering” getting into the Democratic race for Lieutenant Governor. Barnes is the first prominent Democrat to express a run for the office. Political newcomer Robert Louis Slamka is currently the only Democrat to file to run for LG.

International:

New Zealand: New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters has made his choice, and he will take his party into coalition with Labour, bringing Labour into government for the first time since 2008. 37 year old Jacinda Ardern will be the new prime minister. NZ First will be a formal coalition partner with Labour, while the Greens will have a confidence and supply agreement with them. This is despite National winning the most votes and the most seats, meaning that for the first time since New Zealand went to the mixed-member proportional system in 1996, the party that won the most votes and seats will not be in the government. National had their vote share cut and their seat total reduced by 2 after special votes were counted a couple of weeks after the September election, but National still held 56 seats, more than the 54 seats combined between Labour and the Greens. Labour-NZ First and the Greens will have 63 seats, while National and ACT New Zealand will have 57 seats.

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