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Political Roundup for December 8, 2017

Senate:

ME-Sen: Gov. Paul LePage (R) has publicly ruled out running against Sen. Angus King (I) next year, but a Washington Post story on Wednesday states that President Trump had reached out to him to try to get him to run. However, LePage refuted the report yesterday, calling it “fake news” and “vile”.

MN-Sen: Sen. Al Franken (D), in a defiant speech yesterday defending himself against sexual harassment allegations, nevertheless did pledge to resign in “in the coming weeks”-making it unclear as to exactly when he plans to resign. No announcement of a replacement was made yesterday, but Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is said to be likely to appoint LG Tina Smith (D) as a placeholder who will not run for the seat in the special election which will be held next November.

TN-Sen: Former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) officially entered the Senate race today, giving Democrats their best hope in the deep red state. Bredesen was re-elected easily in his last run for office in 2006, sweeping all 95 counties in his re-election as governor. But the state has shifted considerably to the Republican side since then, with Republicans controlling 7 of the 9 US House seats, both US Senate seats, the governorship and overwhelming margins in both houses of the Legislature. So while Bredesen gives Democrats some hope, he still as an uphill battle. He also for now has to get past a primary, as attorney James Mackler is still in the race.

House:

AZ-8: Rep. Trent Franks (R) has announced he will resign after admitting to asking female staff members to act as a surrogate mother to bear his child. Rumors of “inappropriate behavior” are said to have been surrounding him for awhile, and may have scuttled a planned 2012 Senate run. See our Great Mentioner from yesterday for names of who may run to succeed him.

NV-4: Former Rep. Cresent Hardy (R) is considering running to regain his seat in light of sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and DCCC chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D) have both called on Kihuen to resign in light of the allegations. Kihuen says he won’t resign, but has not said if he will run for re-election. Hardy lost to Kihuen by 4 points last year. Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony (R) is currently running for the Republican nomination.

OH-12: State Sen. Troy Balderson (R) joined the race to succeed Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) yesterday. Balderson is the second big name to enter the Republican primary, joining Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien. Former Marine Brandon Grisez and real estate investor Jon Halverstadt have also announced plans to run. State Sen. Kevin Bacon (R) and business executive Cathy Lyttle are also considering bids. Ex-Franklin County Sheriff Zack Scott (D) is running for the Democrats.

TX-5: State Rep. Lance Gooden (R) will run for Congress to succeed retiring Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R). Gooden’s state House seat includes a significant portion of the congressional seat in Henderson and Kaufman counties. Former state Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R) and GOP fundraiser Bunni Pounds are also running-Hensarling has endorsed Pounds to succeed him.

Governor & state offices:

CT-Gov: Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (D) has formed an exploratory committee to run for governor. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D) is the only Democrat who has decided for sure to run-others exploring runs include former state Veteran’s Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, former state Sen. and West Hartford Mayor Jonathan Harris, and former Wall Street executive Dita Bhargava.

ID-Gov: State Rep. Paulette Jordan (D) has announced she will run for governor. Jordan is the only Native American currently in the Idaho Legislature. She will face businessman and 2014 Democratic nominee A.J. Balukoff in the Democratic primary.

NH-Gov: State Sen. Dan Feltes (D) is seriously considering running for governor. Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who finished a distant second in the 2016 Democratic primary, is the only Democrat currently running to take on Gov. Chris Sununu (R). Former Executive Councilor and unsuccessful 2016 Democratic nominee Colin Van Ostern is also considering running again.

OH-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill announced he will step down from the Court, but will stay in the Democratic primary for governor. O’Neill had previously said he would get out of the race if former Attorney General and federal CFPB director Richard Cordray got in the race, but now that Cordray is in the race, he has changed his mind. He will specify his date of resignation in a letter to Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor today.

WI-Gov: Yet another Democrat appears ready to get in the crowded Democratic primary for governor. Former state Rep. Kelda Roys (D) announced on Facebook that she is running and plans to make a formal announcement early next year. Roys served two terms in the state Assembly from 2009-2013, and lost in the 2012 Democratic primary for WI-2. Among the other Democrats running are state school Superintendent Tony Evers (D), former state Democratic Party chairman Matt Flynn, businessman Andy Gronik, union president and unsuccessful 2012 recall candidate for LG Mahlon Mitchell, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D), and state Rep. Dana Wachs (D).

GA-LG: Auto executive Sarah Riggs Amico is running for lieutenant governor. Amico is the first Democrat to announce a run. State Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R), former state Sen. Rick Jeffares (R), and former state Rep. Geoff Duncan (R) are running for the GOP nomination.

NM-LG: Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales (D) is considering running for lieutenant governor. State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) dropped out of the race this week amid sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him. State Sen. Howie Morales (D) also joined the race this week. Former state Democratic Party chairman Brian Colon, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Albuquerque this year, is also considering a run. 4 other Democrats are already in the race.

Political Roundup for December 5th, 2017

Check back at noon today for our preview and open thread for today’s mayoral election in Atlanta. We will start our liveblog at 7pm eastern.

Governor:

ME-Gov: Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) is considering a run for governor in 2018. Pingree has said she will decide by the end of the month whether to enter the race to succeed term limited Gov. Paul LePage (R).

MD-Gov, MD-LG: Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous (D) has picked former Maryland Democrat chair Susan Turnbull as his running mate. Jealous is facing Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz (D), Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D), and others in the primary to take on popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

OH-Gov: Richard Cordray (D) will announce his candidacy for Governor today in his hometown of Grove City, OH. This comes as a complete shock to us because based on his blatant politicization of the CFPB we had assumed Cordray had been running for governor for some time. Luckily for Cordray the Governor of Ohio doesn’t get to handpick his successor on his last day in office. That is a power Cordray believes should only be saved for unelected directors of powerful and unaccountable bureaucratic federal agencies.

SC-Gov, SC-LG: Businessman John Warren (R) is considering a run for governor. If he runs Warren would be the fifth Republican in the race joining incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill , Catherine Templeton and Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant. Meanwhile, McMaster has chosen upstate Some Dudette businesswoman Pamela Evette (R) as his running mate; the state is switching from separate election to Team Primaries for LG this cycle.

TX-Gov: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) says she’s still considering a run for governor, but that reports that she has resigned to run for governor are false. With incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R) sitting on over $41 million in cash and sporting sky high approval ratings Valdez may want to keep her day job and let Mr. Leather International be the sacrificial lamb instead.

Senate:

AL-Sen: With the Flight 93 election taken to its logical conclusion Roy Moore (R) leads Doug Jones by a 49% to 46% margin with write-in candidate Lee Busby at 5% in the latest Emerson College poll. President Donald J. Trump has gone all in in his support of alleged child molester Roy Moore because in 2017 we are long past the point in which anything matters anymore.

AL-Sen: Debbie Wesson Gibson has shared more evidence of the relationship she had with Roy Moore (R) when she was a 17 year old high school student and he was a 34 year old man. Gibson released a handwritten graduation card from Moore to her and recounted her experiences dating Moore in the early 1980s. After telling Sean Hannity that he remembered Gibson as a “good girl” Moore has backtracked and begun publicly claiming he did “not know any of these women”. It was this lie that prompted Gibson to come forward with more evidence of their relationship. In response to the latest evidence that Roy Moore dated underage girls the Republican National Committee has resumed their support of Moore because nothing matters anymore.

ND-Sen: State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt (R) has decided not to run for Senate. Schmidt was heavily recruited to run by the Club for Growth. They even released poll in September that showed Schmidt leading incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) by a 4 point 48% to 44% margin. Last week Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller (R) also declined to run for Senate. So far state Sen. Tom Campbell is the only Republican in the race but Rep. Kevin Cramer could also switch the the senate race. Former Rep. Rick Berg, who narrowly lost to Heitkamp in 2012, is also considering a run.

NJ-Sen: Former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer Michael Starr Hopkins is exploring a primary challenge to defendant sitting Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Menendez recently escaped justice with a hung jury in his first federal corruption trial. Federal prosecutors plan to re-try him in 2018.

UT-Sen: Donald Trump is reportedly going all out to convince Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) to seek re-election in 2018. Apparently Trumpworld thinks an 83 year old Orrin Hatch would be easier to control than a principled Sen. Mitt Romney (R) unafraid to speak his mind as he does here.

House:

CO-3: Attorney and Glenwood Springs City official Karl Hanlon (D) is in and will take on State Rep. Diane Mitch-Busch (D) in the primary for the right to face Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in this R+6 seat.

HI-1: Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin (D) has entered the race for the open D+17 seat Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is vacating to run for governor. Martin will join state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim and state Rep. Kaniela Ing in seeking the Democrat nomination.

MA-3: Banker and former Cambodian refugee Bopha Malone (D) is in and now we have 12 Democrats running to replace Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) in this D+9 seat! Luckily for the Democrats Massachusetts doesn’t have California top two style jungle primary so the clown car is unlikely to hurt them all that much.

NC-2: Distillery owner Sam Searcy is dropping out of the Democratic primary for this R+7 seat held by Rep. George Holding (R) and will run for the state Senate instead. The wealthy Searcy has been self funding his campaign. Tech executive Ken Romley and former state Rep. Linda Coleman are both still seeking the Democrat nomination.

TX-6: Tarrant County Assessor Ron Wright (R) has filed to run for the R+9 seat photogenic Rep. Joe Barton (R) is retiring from. Wright once served as Barton’s chief of staff.

TX-21: Bexar GOP chair Robert Stovall has announced he is running to replace retiring Rep. Lamar Smith (R) in this R+10 seat. State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) is so far the only other prominent candidate for the seat.

TX-29: Riceland Health Care CEO Tahir Javed (D) filed papers to run for the D+19 seat of retiring Rep. Gene Green (D). Javed joins state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, Dominique Michelle Garcia, teacher Hector Morales, and attorney Roel Garcia in seeking the Democrat nomination.

PPP-Polling: A new poll from PPP shows Gene Ric (D) leading Republican incumbents in CA-25, IA-1, CO-6, VA-10, ME-2 and NY-24. Now all Democrats need to do is find one person named “Gene Ric” who lives in each of these six districts and convince them to run for Congress.

WATN: Former Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) has been sentenced to five years in prison for funneling money into a sham charity she looted.

RIP: Former Rep. John Anderson has passed away at age 95. Anderson was a Rockefeller Republican from Illinois who served 20 years in the House and ran an Independent campaign for President in 1980 and won just under 7% of the vote.

State, Local & Other:

CT-AG: State Rep. William Tong (D) is exploring a bid for the open Attorney General spot and ex-State Rep. John Shaban (R) is in. Meanwhile, there’s some chatter about changing the 10-year practicing law requirement, which makes it one of the strictest offices in the nation to qualify for.

MN-AG: St. Paul City attorney Samuel Clark (D), a former Klobuchar aide, is considering a run for Attorney General. He would join Dayton admin official Mike Rothman (D), State Rep. Debra Hillstrom (D) and ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D).

NM-Auditor: Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has picked Bernalillo County commissioner and unsuccessful 2017 Albuquerque Mayoral candidate Wayne Johnson (R) to fill the Auditor’s seat for the rest of the term. Tim Keller (D) resigned as Auditor last Thursday after he was elected to become the new Mayor of Albuquerque; State Rep. Bill McCamley (D) is in the race for Dems.

NM-LG: Former independent Albuquerque mayoral candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes has changed her voter registration to Republican and will seek the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor next year. Holmes’ announcement comes after former state Indian Affairs Secretary Kelly Zunie withdrew from the race, leaving the Republican Party without a potential candidate. Zunie had tax and residency problems. Rep. Steve Pearce is the only Republican currently running for governor in the shotgun-wedding primary.

ND-SoS: GOP official Will Gardner (R) is primarying longtime incumbent Alvin Jaeger (R), who has announced he will seek an eighth term.

NV-Treas: Ex-State Rep. Andrew Martin (D), who lost a race for Comptroller in the 2014 wave, is running for the open Treasurer seat; incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is running for Governor.

OH-Treas: 2006 nominee and ex-Ashtabula County Auditor Sandy O’Brien (R) is running again for Treasure. O’Brien probably doesn’t have much chance against State Rep. Robert Sprague (R) in the primary, as she has lost multiple primaries and only won in ’06 against an incumbent closely tied to the toxic Gov. Taft. Former Cincinnati Mayoral candidate Rob Richardson (D) is the likely D nominee.

MA-State Senate President: Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D) is temporarily stepping down from his position after bombshell sexual misconduct allegations against his husband Bryon Hefner have come to light.

CA-AD 45: Yuck! Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D) is allegedly one sick SOB!

Atlanta-Mayor: Ahead of today’s mayoral runoff election a new Channel 2 Action News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows City Councilwoman has Mary Norwood (I) at 51.3 percent and Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) at 45.1 percent.

Political Roundup for November 21, 2017

Today at 3pm, check back for our 7th annual Turkey of the Year Awards!

Today’s Pervert Update:

MI-13: Late last night news broke that Rep. John Conyers (D) settled a sexual harassment complaint in 2015. The complaint alleges Conyers harassed multiple staffers, attempted to fire a staffer because she was unattractive, and had women flown with taxpayer money to pleasure him. Conyers, who would become Judiciary Chair if Dems take over the house, is widely believed to have been suffering from severe dementia for the last decade.

MN-Sen ’20 (or earlier): The drip-drip of harassment allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D) that we all knew was coming has officially started. A second woman is alleging Franken groped her, this time at the Minnesota State Fair while he was in office in 2010. For his part, Franken says that he is doing a lot of “reflecting“. Mmmkay. One hopes it’s not the kind involving a mirror.

NM-Gov, NM-LG: This is an excellent case in point of why the “shotgun wedding” style of LG candidates running in separate primaries and combining to one ticket for the general can cause big problems. Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D), the front-runner for the Gov nomination, is calling on the previous front-runner to be her LG, State Sen. Michael Padilla (D), to drop out after several women claimed he harassed them while serving as a city official in Albuquerque a decade ago. Padilla is facing ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) and Dona Ana County commissioner Billy Garrett (D), among others in the LG primary, while Lujan-Grisham is the front-runner for the Gov nod over State Sen. Joe Cervantes (D) and media exec Jeff Apodaca (D), son of 70s-era Gov. Jerry (D).

OH-Gov: ICYMI last week, State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D) kicked off his gubernatorial campaign with a strange facebook post that can only be described as an epic case of TMI. O’Neill states he was “sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females,” and states that he once “made passionate love in the hayloft of her parents’ barn.” O’Neill is facing four other Democrats, ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D), in the primary. Republicans have a crowded field as well.

CA-LD-39: State Rep. Raul Bocanegra (D) of the eastern San Fernando Valley will not seek re-election in 2018 and will resign at the end of next year’s legislative session amid escalating sexual harassment allegations.

OH-LD-87: Much, much more is coming out about just how disgusting recently-resigned State Rep. Wes Goodman (R) was.

FL-Dems: FLDP chair Stephen Bittel (D) has resigned after six women accused him of leering at them and other creepy behavior.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (D) is considering a run for Governor after LG Nancy Wyman (D) declined a bid and left the field bereft of “A” list Democrats. Bronin’s name recognition would likely start as the highest in the Dem field, but the state capital’s continuing budget and socioeconomic woes would provide great fodder for his opponents. Bronin would join three “B” listers, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), Malloy admin officials Jonathan Harris (D) and Sean Connolly (D), and prosecutor Chris Mattei (D), in the race to replace unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D). Republicans have an even more crowded field.

ME-Gov: 2010 Indie candidate Shawn Moody (R), who took a significant number of votes and fourth place in 2010 on a center-right platform, is preparing another run. Moody, who joined the GOP last month, is taking a step to prove his Republican bona fides by tapping several members of Gov. Paul LePage’s (R) staff, most notably including LePage’s daughter Lauren, for his expected bid. Moody would face LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R), State Sens. Mike Thibodeau (R) and Garrett Mason (R), and State Rep. Ken Fredette (R) in the GOP primary. Democrats have a crowded field and three credible centrist Indies are in the race in appointed State Treasurer Teresea Hayes (I), well-known comedian Karmo Sanders (I), and ex-State Sen. Jon Jenkins (I), who also served as Mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn.

MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D), who has self-funded his way into being a serious contender for this race, is being hit with a fraud suit for allegedly inflating the value of his company to investors. Thanedar is facing front-running ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), executive Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit city official Abul El-Sayed (D) in this primary. Republicans also have a competitive primary with AG Bill Schuette (R) as the front-runner.

More NM-Gov, NM-LG: In addition to Dems’ struggles with State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) in the LG primary (see pervert update above), Rep. Steve Pearce (R) is also having some trouble with running mates. Martinez admin official Kelly Zunie (R), who was looking like the presumptive LG nominee for Republicans, has dropped out herself amid allegations that she doesn’t meet the state’s 5-year residency requirement. Zunie moved to the state from Utah in 2014, and has also been hit for having some tax problems in Utah. Pearce also got some more bad news in that Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R) is considering a bid for Governor as a Libertarian… after already having endorsed Pearce. Dunn recently dropped out of the primary for Pearce’s NM-2 House seat amid rumors of a feud with Gov. Susana Martinez (R), though Dunn was looking like the front-runner for the House seat.

OK-Gov: State Auditor Gary Jones (R) kicked off his expected bid for Governor last week. Jones joins LG Todd Lamb (R), OKC Mayor Mick Cornett (R), ex-State Rep. Dan Fisher (R), and ex-US Attorney and 2002 Indie candidate Gary Richardson (R) in the crowded GOP primary. Ex-AG Drew Edmondson (D) is the likely Dem nominee in what seems likely to be a competitive general.

Congress:

AZ-Sen: OH Predictive Insights has a poll of the race with ex-State Sen. Kelli Ward (R) leading Rep. Martha McSally (R) in the primary 42-34 and both narrowly trailing Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) in the general.

NE-Sen: PPP (D) has an internal for Lincoln councilwoman Jane Raybould (D) that shows her trailing Sen. Deb Fischer (R) 42-31; however, it’s likely a some of the “undecideds” are Republicans who oppose Fischer from the right.

UT-Sen: Nonprofit exec Boyd Matheson (R), a former CoS to Sen. Mike Lee (R), will not run for the seat of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R). Matheson would have likely faced an uphill run against either Hatch or Mitt Romney (R), who is seen as likely to run if Hatch retires.

CA-52: Energy executive Michael Allman (R) is running for this seat on a platform that can only be described as taking pandering to its extreme conclusion. Allman says if elected he will set up a system to turn his vote on every bill into an online referendum, where district residents can cast votes for their opinion on the bill, and Allman will vote in accordance with the result even if he disagrees. I give him credit for originality, though I think it’s an idea that would be open to a lot of mischief if implemented. Allman is one of several little-known Republicans seeking to try a very uphill run against Rep. Scott Peters (D) in this blue (and getting bluer) San Diego seat.

State & Local:

IA-Aud: Prosecutor Rob Sand (D) will run for AG. Sand seems a reasonably credible challenger incumbent Mary Mosiman (R), who is considered likely to seek a second full term.

MN-AG: Appointed state Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman (D) has resigned to run for AG, joining State Rep. Debra Hillstrom (D) and ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) in the race for the seat of AG Lori Swanson (D). Swanson has not indicated her plans but is widely considered likely to run for Governor.

NM-Aud: State Rep. Bill McCamley (D) of suburban Las Cruces will run for State Auditor, an office that is now vacant after incumbent Tim Keller (D) was elected Mayor of Albuquerque. Gov. Susana Martinez (R) will make an appointment to fill the seat for the rest of Keller’s term.

NM-Lands Comm: Ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) has dropped his bid to get back the office he lost in 2014 after being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune condition that leads to severe muscle weakness (but does not affect life expectancy). Powell has endorsed a new candidate who entered the race in his stead, State Rep. Stephanie Garcia-Richard (D) of Los Alamos. Garcia-Richard will face nonprofit exec Garrett VeneKlasen (D), who has the backing of Sen. Martin Heinrich (D), in the Dem primary. Incumbent Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R) has not revealed his plans (see NM-Gov blurb above).

NE-PSC-1: Two Republicans are seeking the Lincoln-area 1st district seat on the state’s 5-member Public Service Commission. Scott Smathers (R), director of a pro-second amendment group, and ex-Cass County commissioner Ron Nolte (R) have filed to seek the seat of incumbent Frank Landis (R). Landis has not announced his intentions but is generally expected to retire.

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 August 21, 2017

Turn around, bright eyes, and fly your LearJet back from Nova Scotia to look at the roundup.

Senate:

AL-Sen: A JMC Poll has Sen. Luther Strange (R) in deep trouble in the runoff, losing to ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) 51-32.

AZ-Sen: Trump signaled support in a tweet last week for ex-State Sen. Kelli Ward’s (R) primary bid against Sen. Jeff Flake (R). But anti-Flake forces in the White House are not pleased, as they had been meeting with State Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) and ex-AZGOP chair Robert Graham (R), who are both seen as stronger candidates than the gadflyish Ward.

NJ-Sen: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) goes on trial next month, and Democrats are already laying the groundwork to try and keep him in office if he is convicted. If Menendez resigns or is expelled by the end of the year, Gov. Chris Christie (R) will get to appoint his replacement – and likely give Republicans another seat for a year. But if Menendez can stick it out for a few more months, Phil Murphy (D) will likely become Governor and keep the seat in Democratic hands. The complication of this is, of course, that Democrats would need to defend a convicted felon staying in the Senate… but of course, this is New Jersey.

Governor:

CA-Gov: State Treasurer John Chiang (D) is under fire for the fact that several developers won tax breaks from committees he oversees after donating to him. Both Chiang and the developers say that the tax breaks were awarded based on objective formulae, but the amount of donations to Chiang is far higher than those to previous officeholders in his position. Chiang faces LG Gavin Newsom (D), ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), ex-State Superintendent Delaine Eastin (D), businessman John Cox (R), and State Rep. Travis Allen (R) in this top-two race.

KS-Gov: State Rep. Jim Ward (D), the House minority leader, has become the latest candidate to run for Governor. Ward joins ex-Wichita Mayor Greg Brewer (D) and ex-state Rep. Josh Svaty (D) in what is becoming the most crowded KS Dem primary in memory. Republicans have an even more crowded field.

NY-Gov: NYC councilman Jumaane Williams (D) of Brooklyn is considering a potential primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Williams, a staunch leftist, could have an opening to Cuomo’s left and potentially draw significant votes in the general if he were to mount a campaign on the left-wing Working Families Party line.

More NY-Gov: 2010 nominee Carl Paladino (R) was kicked off the Buffalo School Board for allegedly leaking confidential board business. Paladino, a brash antiestablishment conservative who has long been known for outrageous statements, has been one of several Republicans considering runs for Governor.

SC-Gov: State Sen. Tom Davis (R), a libertarian-leaning conservative from Beaufort, is considering a run for Governor and will make a decision by Labor Day. Davis would join a fairly crowded field taking on Gov. Henry McMaster (R)’s bid for a full term, including Haley admin official Catherine Templeton (R), LG Kevin Bryant (R), and ex-LG Yancey McGill (R). A pair of Democrats, State Reps. Justin Bamberg (D) and James Smith (D), have acknowledged they are considering the race.

WI-Gov: Ex-State Rep. and 2012 WI-2 candidate Kelda Roys (D) is considering a run for Governor. Many Democrats, most notably State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), have been considering bids against Gov. Scott Walker (R).

WV-Gov, WV-SD-4, WATN: Gov. Jim Justice (R) has fired his CoS, 2014 WV-2 nominee Nick Casey (D). Casey, a former state Dem chair, was fired because of his close ties to Democrats, which no longer made sense after Justice switched parties. His replacement will be State Sen. Mike Hall (R) of Putnam County.

House:

CA-24: 2016 nominee Justin Fareed (R) has filed for a rematch in this medium-blue Central Coast seat. Fareed will face off again with freshman Rep. Salud Carbajal (D).

CA-48: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) continues to not really understand what the whole being a swing-district congressman thing is about. Rohrabacher, who is known for his ties to miscellaneous foreign kooks and his favorable statements toward Putin, visited Julian Assange at his London embassy hideout to discuss the Wikileaks Russian Email dump last year.

FL-27: LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) will not seek this downtown-Miami area open House seat, or any other office, in 2018. Lopez-Cantera was seen by national Republicans as one of the better shots to hold this seat, Democrats’ #1 House pickup opportunity. Dade County commissioner Bruno Barreiro (R) and Miami school board member Raquel Regalado (R) are in the race; Dems have a crowded field, but State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) has been considered the front-runner.

MA-3: As expected, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh CoS Daniel Koh (D) will step down to pursue a run for Rep. Niki Tsongas’s open seat. Koh joins State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) in considering a run.

NM-2: 2008 candidate, ex-Hobbs Mayor, and ex-NMGOP chair Monty Newman (R) will make a second bid for this seat. Newman joins Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn (R) and State Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) in the primary for this medium-red southern NM seat.

OK-1: Rumors are circulating that Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) is going to be named NASA director in the next few weeks. Bridenstine has already announced he will not run again, but a resignation would trigger a special in his (likely Safely red) seat covering the bulk of metro Tulsa.

PA-11: Rep. Lou Barletta (R) has not yet made his bid to run against Sen. Bob Casey (D) official, but a quartet of Republicans are already saying they will seek this seat if he vacates it: State Reps. Stephen Bloom (R) and Tarah Toohil (R), former state official and current LG candidate Dan Meuser (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R). The fairly red Harrisburg to Wilkes-Barre area seat should stay in GOP hands.

TX-23: Prosecutor Jay Hulings (D), who has ties to the Castro brothers, will run against Rep. Will Hurd (R) in this swing district. Ex-Rep. Pete Gallego (D) has announced he will try for a third matchup with Hurd but Democrats seem to be moving on from him after Gallego’s 2014 and 2016 losses.

State & Local:

CT-SoS: SoS Denise Merrill (D) announced she would run for re-election, putting an end to rumors that she would retire or run for Governor.

FL-CFO: State Sen. Tom Lee (R) abruptly and surprisingly announced he would run for CFO last week. Lee, of suburban Tampa, has decent name recognition and a sizeable campaign account, which could make him a formidable challenger to appointed incumbent Jimmy Patronis (R). Patronis has so far played it coy on whether he will seek a full term, but has opened a campaign committee. A little-known former state legislator from the Panama City area, Patronis is a favorite of Gov. Rick Scott (R) but has little brand of his own, which could make him vulnerable in a primary. Ex-State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) is considered the likely D nominee.

MI-AG: Attorney Dana Nessel (D), who led one of the SSM lawsuits consolidated into Obergefell, is running for Attorney General, becoming the first candidate on either side to declare definitive interest in the seat. The nominees will be decided by convention; incumbent Bill Schuette (R) is termed-out and considered likely to run for Governor.

NM-LG: Martinez Admin official Kelly Zunie (R) will run for LG in this shotgun-wedding primary. Zunie, who is of Native American descent, previously ran the state’s Indian Affairs department. She is the first Republican into the race, and may have enough establishment support to clear the field. Rep. Steve Pearce (R) is considered the favorite for the gubernatorial nomination.

NV-LG: LG Mark Hutchinson (R) has announced he will not seek a second term – or any other office – in 2018. Ex-SoS Ross Miller (D) quickly announced he is considering a run for the open seat.

MO-SD-14: Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D) is resisting calls from her resignation after she posted and deleted a facebook post calling for Trump’s assassination.

Redistricting:

NC House: Republicans released their draft NC House plan on Saturday. Click for the map; here are my tentative-guess ratings for the seats:
Likely R: 2, 9, 16, 46, 51, 59, 93, 98, 119
Lean R: 25, 35, 36, 37, 61, 62, 103, 104, 105
Tossup: 1 (the only R-held Tossup), 12, 22, 40, 66
Lean D: 24, 44
Likely D: 7, 47, 48, 115, 116
Safe D Pickup: 8

NC Senate: Republicans also released a draft NC Senate plan on Sunday. Click for the map; here are my tentative-guess ratings for the seats:
Likely R: 11, 18, 27, 39
Lean R: 1, 7, 9, 13, 17, 19, 41
Likely D: 5
Safe D pickup: 15
And also major kudos to King Hushpuppy for essentially nailing the map ahead of time.

Political Roundup for July 25, 2017

First off, today is a relatively big day for legislative specials, with 6 seats up across 5 states; there are 3 primaries, 2 general elections, and 1 Louisiana-Rules-Top-Two primary.

NH-SD-16 is the big general election, for a previously D-held R+1 (2016) seat covering northern Manchester and its northern suburbs.Ex-State Sen. David Boutin (R) is seeking to get the seat back that he retired from in 2016; he is facing Manchester councilman Kevin Cavanaugh (D). The special election is highly competitive. I would guess the energized Dem base this year probably makes Cavanaugh a slight favorite, but an upset is possible. DDHQ will be posting results of NH-SD 16 HERE!
MA-SD-4th Middlesex is a D+14 (2016) seat stretching from Arlington to Billerica in the northwest suburbs of Boston. Cindy Freidman (D), CoS to the late prior incumbent, is the prohibitive favorite over a Green candidate.
MS-LD-108 is a ~R+30 (2008) seat covering the bulk of the town of Picayune and nearby rural areas along the Pearl River at the Louisiana border. This race is in a Louisiana Rules Top-Two format with no parties listed on the ballot. Insurance agent and local GOP official Stacey Wilkes (R) looks like the clear favorite, but she could face a runoff with either manager Jerry Frazier (D) or businessman and libertarian activist Tavish Kelly (R), who ran an asterisk-level primary campaign for MS-4 in 2014.
FL-SD-40 is the big primary today. The seat is a previously R-held D+3 (2012, sadly I don’t have 2016 numbers, but it likely shifted strongly left) around Kendall in the southwest suburbs of Miami. Both sides have competitive primaries. Two perennial candidates are facing off on the Dem side; 2016 FL-26 candidate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (D) looks like the slight front-runner, as she has received more establishment support than R-turned-D ex-State Rep. and 2016 candidate Ana Rivas-Logan (D). On the GOP side, State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R) looks like the clear front-runner, as he has vacuumed up establishment support and lapped his rivals in fundraising. However, his main rival, 2000s-era ex-State Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla (R), may have greater name recognition and could win on that base. A third candidate, attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck (R), who ran an asterisk-level primary campaign for FL-26 in 2014, is running as the most antiestablishment conservative candidate, but looks like a third wheel.
FL-LD-116 is an R+7 (2012) seat around Kendall, vacated by the aforementioned Jose Felix Diaz. Former Rubio staffer and Jeb! campaign operative Jose Mallea (R) is facing off with attorney Daniel Perez (R). Both candidates have fundraised well and the race has become exceptionally nasty, with Perez being knocked for taking engagement photos in Cuba and Mallea being hit for not supporting Rubio in 2016 and not living in the district. Mallea has had greater fundraising and establishment support, so he looks like a slight favorite. The primary winner will face former Venezuelan anti-Chavista legislator (how’s that for a resume!) Gabriela Mayaudon (D).
SC-LD-31 is a D+23 (2016) seat covering central and western Spartanburg. Four Democrats are facing off: Spartanburg city councilors Jerome Rice (D) and Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D), NAACP official Mo Abusaft (D), and lab tech Angela Geter (D). Rice and Abusaft look like the front-runners, but Henderson-Myers is also serious. A pair of GOP candidates who ran in 2016 are squaring off for the right to lose again.

And now the rest of the day’s news –

Governor:

CT-Gov: Much like Iowa Democrats and Alabama Republicans, Connecticut Republicans can’t resist piling more ever-more names into this clown-car primary. The latest entry is municipal manager Michael Handler (R), who serves as both budget director for the city of Stamford and emergency-management director for the neighboring town of New Canaan. State Rep. Themis Klarides (R) also indicated interest in joining the race last week. Other Republicans in the race or considering it include (deep breath): ex-US Comptroller David Walker (R), State Rep. Pradad Srinivasan (R), Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (R), Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti (R), Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst (R), 2014 SoS nominee Peter Lumaj (R), and others. Democrats’ prospective field is nearly as crowded.

HI-Gov: Rumors are growing that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) will leave her House seat once again to make a statewide bid – in this case, taking on Gov. David Ige (D) in the Dem primary. The choice would be somewhat surprising, as Hanabusa and Ige generally hail from the same fiscally liberal/socially moderate machine faction of the HIDP. However, it seems that Ige’s very passive and low-key style has irked some insiders, who are now attempting to recruit Hanabusa into the race.

MD-Gov, Anne Arundel, MD-CE, MD-SD-32: Anne Arundel County commissioner John Grasso (R) is termed out in 2018 and had previously announced a run for the purple SD-32 in northern Anne Arundel. However, Grasso now says he is considering primary runs against Gov. Larry Hogan (R) or Anne Arundel CE Steve Schuh (R) instead. Grasso’s focus in mounting either likely quixotic run seems to be on Hogan’s decision to reappoint a member of the county liquor board. mmmkay….

MI-Gov: State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) of suburban Detroit made his gubernatorial campaign official over the weekend. Colbeck, an antiestablishment-leaning conservative, becomes the second official candidate of note into the race after physician Jim Himes (R). AG Bill Schuette (R) and LG Brian Calley (R) are considered likely to run as well.

MN-Gov: Ex-State Rep. and MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R) will run for Governor. Downey could have some significant party establishment backing at the convention, but joins a crowded field of Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and Ramsey County commissioner Blake Huffman (R). State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) is considering and would likely be the front-runner for the GOP nomination if he enters.

NV-Gov: Clark County commissioner Chris Giunchigliani (D) is considering a run for Governor; if she enters she would join her fellow commissioner Steve Sisolak (D) in the Dem primary. AG Adam Laxalt (R) and Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) are considered likely to run on the GOP side.

OR-Gov: State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) announced he is considering a run against Gov. Kate Brown (D) and will decide within the next few weeks. Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon who ran a competitive race against Brown for the SoS slot in 2012 before winning a purple State House seat in Bend, is considered one of the few rising stars on the ORGOP’s meager bench, along with SoS and 2014 nominee Dennis Richardson (R).

VA-Gov: Ex-RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) and LG Ralph Northam (D) are tied at 44 in a new Monmouth poll, suggesting some tightening of the race from prior surveys that had Northam up by high single to low double digits. Gillespie also starts the general election with a cash advantage over Northam. Both Northam and Gillespie raised a bit under $2M in June. But since Northam spent a lot to win his primary while Gillespie sleepwalked through his (nearly to his demise, eking out an unexpectedly close win), Gillespie leads Northam in Cash on Hand 3.3M-1.8M.

Congress:

WI-Sen: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D) will not run against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) as a Republican, and calls a group trying to “draft” him into the race a “scam PAC”. Clarke would have likely been a prohibitive favorite in a GOP primary because of his high profile but (ironically) might have had a tough time gaining crossover votes in a general election. State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) and 2012 candidate Eric Hovde (R) are the names most commonly connected with bids against Baldwin.

AZ-2: Ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) announced last week that she would carpetbag into this Tucson-area district and run against Rep. Martha McSally (R). Kirkpatrick has some name recognition in the area as her prior seat, AZ-1, extends into metro Tucson, and thus is likely to be Dems’ choice recruit for this purple seat.

WV-3: State Rep. Carol Miller (R) has entered this race, becoming the first truly credible candidate to seek this deep-red but historically-D Southern WV seat. Miller has a fairly strong record of consistently winning a seat in a 3-member Dem-leaning Huntington-area district. She joins ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Snuffer (R), whose prior bid wasn’t terribly impressive, in the race to replace Senate candidate Evan Jenkins (R). State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D) and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

State & Local:

AL-AG: Adoption attorney Sam McLure (R), who is active in the pro-life movement, will run for AG next year, joining appointed incumbent Steve Marshall (R), ex-US Attorney Alice Martin (R), and 2006 State Auditor candidate Chess Bedsole (R) in this crowded primary.

GA-Ins Comm: Democrats have a credible candidate for this open seat as nonprofit exec Cindy Zeldin (D) has entered the race. Several Republicans have indicated interest in this race as well.

NM-LG: State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) is the latest candidate into the crowded shotgun-wedding primary for LG. Padilla and ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) look like the serious candidates for this seat. The primary winner will be joined with the Dem gubernatorial primary winner as one ticket.

OK-Lab Comm: State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R) is exploring a run for Labor Commissioner, becoming the first candidate to declare interest in this open seat. Appointed incumbent Melissa McLawhorn-Houston (R) has declared she will not seek a full term.

LA-PSC-2: This piece is worth a read about how Gov. Jon Bel Edwards (D) wound up pointedly refusing to endorse his own appointee for this seat, D-turned-R ex-State Rep. Damon Baldone (R). Baldone is facing Edwards-endorsing physician Craig Greene (R) and antiestablishment conservative ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R).

Atlanta-Mayor: A new SUSA poll of this fall’s Atlanta Mayor race puts moderate city councilwoman and 2009 candidate Mary Norwood (D) as the clear front-runner; however, she takes just 27%. No other candidate in the 8-way field tops 10%, but most of the other candidates are running to Norwood’s left.

Jefferson, MO-CE: Incumbent Ken Waller (R) will not seek a third term as County Exec in this large suburban St. Louis county. State Rep. John McCaherty (R) will run to succeed him; Jefferson County is historically Dem-friendly but has stampeded right in the last 10 years.

NYC-CD-28: Councilman Ruben Willis (D) of southeast Queens was found guilty of corruption charges last week and expelled from office. Willis’s seat will remain vacant until the general election in November; two other Democrats had also been running for the seat. In other NYC news, HERE is a really good rundown of all the candidates for city office this year.

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