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Political Roundup for November 13, 2017

Over the weekend in PA-18, State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) took the GOP nomination. Democrats will nominate their contender this coming Sunday. Also check below for our preview of today’s election in Somaliland (where and/or what the heck is that, you ask?… read on).

Now, after a week in which I am reduced to not giving a f* about what happens to the broader GOP while resolving to spend the next year hoping and praying that Larry Hogan will not be doomed by a massive wave, it is time for today’s Roundup…

Briefing: New Nominees for our Anthony Weiner Award for Pervert of the Year:

AL-Sen: A former Roy Moore colleague said that it was “common knowledge” he was interested in high school girls when they worked together as prosecutors. Over the weekend, multiple polls have come out showing the race between Moore and ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) is a dead heat; in particular, one from JMC Analytics has Jones up 46-42.

CO-Treas: State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is under fire for allegedly sexually harassing a fellow lawmaker, State Rep. Faith Winter (D). Lebsock had looked like the Dem front-runner for the open Treasurer seat, but fellow State Rep. Dave Young (D) entered the race last week (perhaps getting tipped off about the allegations?) and now looks likely to be the Dems’ consensus pick. Democratic leaders are now calling for Lebsock’s resignation.

CA-SD-32: State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D) repeatedly attempted to get a young woman interviewing for a staffer job to come home with him to “review her resume”. Mendoza is the roommate of fellow State Sen. and US Senate candidate Kevin DeLeon (D).

CA-LD-26: State Rep. Devon Mathis (R) is under investigation by police for allegedly digitally penetrating a staffer.

MN-SD-54, MN-LD-22B: Two Minnesota legislators are also under fire for harassment. State Rep. Erin Maye-Quade (D) claims she was harassed by both State Sen. Dan Schoen (D) and State Rep. Tony Cornish (R). Allegations against Schoen were also leveld by multiple other women, and allegations against Cornish have been brought by a lobbyist.

Now, in non-perversion news:

Governor:

CA-Gov, CA-Sen: Ex-Rep. Doug Ose (R), who served three terms representing suburban Sacramento in the 90s and 2000s before a failed comeback bid in CA-7 in 2014, is now considering a run for Governor. Ose’s entry as a third Republican would likely completely ensure that two Democrats (and neither of the other two Rs, businessman John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R)) make the general election. But Ose may not need to enter to ensure that: a new USC/LA Times Poll shows LG Gavin Newsom (D) leading the gubernatorial race with 31%, with ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) taking the second slot with 21%. Allen and Cox are banging heads to split the GOP vote with 15% and 11% respectively. Two longer-shot Dems, State Treasurer John Chiang (D) and ex-Superintendent Delaine Eastin (D), are at 12% and 4% respectively. For the Senate race, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) holds a strong lead over State Sen. Kevin DeLeon (D), who is challenging her from the left. Feinstein leads 58-31 in the two-way race.

MN-Gov: Woodbury (pop. 68K) Mayor Mary Guiluiani-Stevens (R) has reserved domain names pertaining to a gubernatorial run, but is so far tight-lipped on her intentions. The mayor of the large eastern Twin Cities suburb would join a crowded field of Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Sen. David Osmek (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and ex-State Rep. and ex-MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R). State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) and ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) are also thought to be considering.

TX-Gov: Democrats continue to cast about for a sacrificial lamb to take on Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The latest name considering making a late entry here is Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D). Valdez is little-known outside of her county, but seems a significantly more credible candidate than investor Andrew White (D), who is the current Dem front-runner on little other than being the son of 80s-era ex-Gov. Mark (D).

Senate:

MA-Sen: Businessman, self-proclaimed “inventor of e-mail”, and Fran Drescher’s ex Shiva Ayyadurai is leaving the crowded GOP primary to take on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) and running as an Independent. Ayyadurai, a firebrand conservative, was an amusing sideshow in the race but had little institutional support as the primary field filled up with three more connected and traditional candidates, Romney aide Beth Lindstrom (R), State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R), and businessman John Kingston (R). Needless to say, none of these candidates pose a threat to Warren in the general.

NJ-Sen: A juror was dismissed from the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Mendendez (D) last week for a previously-planned vacation; jury deliberations will now start from scratch today. The excused juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, said (quite colorfully) that she was a firm “not guilty” vote, but the jury was deadlocked and she expected an ultimate hung jury.

KY-Sen ’22: Sen. Rand Paul (R) has apparently been told that federal charges will be filed against Rene Boucher, a neighbor who attacked Paul and broke four of his ribs last week. Prosecutors likely believe the attack was politically motivated, while Boucher’s attorney says that it was due to a non-sepcific “trivial dispute”.

House:

KY-6: Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D) is considering a run against Rep. Andy Barr (R). Gray would likely be Democrats’ top recruit for the medium-red seat, as he carried the district in his 2016 Senate run against Sen. Rand Paul (R). However, Gray’s profile as a well-known liberal may make the race more difficult.

TX-21: State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) is the first candidate into the race for Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R) open San Antonio to Austin seat. Isaac represents about 20% of the district and could be a front-runner, but the field for this red seat that swung against Trump could grow significantly.

VA-6: Andy Parker (D), father of Alison Parker, a journalist who was murdered on live TV, is considering a run for this open congressional seat. Alison’s boyfriend Chris Hurst (D) was elected last week to a purple State House seat in the Blacksburg area. Parker would face a much tougher bid for the very conservative district; State Rep. Ben Cline (R) and RNC official Cynthia Dunbar (R) are already in what is expected to be a crowded GOP primary.

State & Local:

FL-AG: State Rep. Ross Spano (R) of suburban Tampa is the latest Republican considering an entry into this primary. Spano would join front-running retired judge Ashley Moody (R), who also hails from Tampa Bay, and fellow State Reps. Jay Fant (R) and Frank White (R). Little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D) is the only Dem in the race.

GA-PSC: Deal Admin official Tricia Pridemore (R), who lost the 2014 primary for the congressional GA-11, is now running for an open seat on the Public Service Commission. The 5-member, all-GOP board is elected statewide for staggered 6-year terms.

IL-Comp, IL-Treas: Illinois Republicans have found two “C” list candidates to fill out their Row Officer ticket. Ex-State Rep. and 2014 IL-11 nominee Darlene Senger (R) will challenge Comptroller Susana Mendoza (R) and Orland Park councilman Jim Dodge (R) will challenge Treasurer Mike Frerichs (D). Both incumbent Democrats are heavy favorites for re-election in the blue state. They join former congressional candidate Erika Harold (R) for the open AG seat and Grundy DA Jason Helland (R) for SoS as the ILGOP’s presumptive Row Officer slate.

MS-LG: Vicksburg (pop. 23K) Mayor George Flaggs (D) is considering a run for LG in 2019. The moderate Flaggs says he may run as a Democrat or switch parties and run as a Republican. Incumbent Tate Reeves (R) is widely expected to either run for Governor or score an appointment to the Senate seat of Sen. Thad Cochran (R) should the latter resign soon, as expected; SoS Delbert Hosemann (R) and State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) have also been connected with LG runs, but much will depend on how the Cochran musical chairs play out.

NV-Treas: Financial planner Derek Uehara (R) is running for State Treasurer, joining ex-Las Vegas councilman Bob Beers (R) in the primary. No Democrats have as of yet declared for this seat, which is open as incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is running for Governor.

Howard, MD-CE: County Commissioner Calvin Ball (D) is running for County Executive in my home county against incumbent Allan Kittleman (R). Ball is a top-tier recruit for Dems in this blue suburban Baltimore county, heavy with upscale liberals, that continues to trend left despite my best efforts. (sigh)

PA-Redistrict: The State Supreme Court has agreed to fast-track a Democratic challenge to the state’s congressional map, placing it on a timeline that could lead to new maps in time for the 2018 elections. A new map would likely flip at least one of three competitive GOP-held districts in the Philly suburbs, PA-6, 7, and 8, and potentially make a couple other districts, most likely the open GOP-held PA-15 and the Dem held Trump-voting PA-17, more competitive.

International:

Today, continuing our commitment to bringing you coverage of elections in places you didn’t even know existed, there is an election in Somaliland, which might be best characterized as an accident of diplomacy. Calling it a de facto nation would be selling it short: in every arena but international status, Somaliland is a more of a nation than a sizeable fraction of the world’s recognized nations. It has a population of 3.5M, occupying what is internationally recognized as (theoretically) the northwest part of Somalia along the south shore of the Gulf of Aden. However, that international recognition is a diplomatic fiction, as the dysfunctional-at-best Somali government hasn’t had the slightest bit of control (or even influence) over the area for over 25 years. Somaliland broke off when the nation’s central government disintegrated in 1991 and hasn’t looked back, but the desire to not further hurt the legitimacy of the fledgling-to-nonexistent Mogadishu government has led all other countries to hold back from recognizing Somaliland’s obvious independence. Making its lack of international recognition even stranger is that Somaliland would under normal circumstances be one of both Africa’s and the Islamic World’s biggest success stories. It is a relatively stable and democratic nation (at least by the global region’s low standards), with a functioning central government and economy, and a free politics and civil society that easily surpass a majority of Africa’s recognized nations. Today, the presidential election is open as the incumbent is peacefully standing down, and there is a lively competition between the country’s three strong parties, which are well-developed enough to even have rudimentary ideologies instead of being mere personality or clan vehicles. All of the three parties have large caucuses in parliament and are running credible candidates, who even had a televised debate last month. Furthermore, all three candidates at least appear to be relatively pro-Western and within democratic norms. The candidate of the incumbent party is Musa Behi, who serves as the party’s chair. He is facing public works minister Faysal Warabe and parliament speaker Abdiraman Irro. It’s hard to handicap this race, but Behi seems to be the candidate of the capital’s establishment and military, Irro seems to have the strongest ties to rural traditional clan leaders, and Warabe seems to be closest to a Western-style social democrat. Behi seems to be the front-runner, but it’s hard to say for sure.

Political Roundup for August 17, 2017

First off, huge congratulations are in order to our hardworking friends at Decision Desk HQ on their new deal to provide election data to BuzzFeed!

Governor:

AK-Gov: 2006 candidate and businessman John Binkley (R) is exploring another run for Governor. Binkley, who was a State Senator in the 80s before coming in second to Palin in the 2006 primary, would join State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) if he entered the race. Gov. Bill Walker (I) is expected to have Democratic support in his bid for a second term.

HI-Gov: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) has acknowledged that rumors that she is considering a gubernatorial bid are true. Hanabusa criticized Ige’s lack of major initiatives during his tenure, but such a bid would still be surprising as both Hanabusa and Ige are considered to hail from the Asian-dominated machine faction of the HIDP.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: A pair of Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidates have announced running mates for the team primary to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). Uber-wealthy businessman and establishment (read: Mike Madigan) favorite JB Pritzker (D) has chosen State Rep. Juliana Stratton (D) of Chicago’s South Side as his #2, while bold progressive Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D) has chosen Cairo (pop. 2K) Mayor Tyrone Coleman (D) as his running mate. Four others, Heir Force Col. Chris Kennedy (D), State Sen. Daniel Biss (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), have not chosen running mates.

Congress:

MO-Sen: State Rep. Marsha Haefner (R) of the southern St. Louis suburbs is considering a run for the Senate seat of Claire McCaskill (D), joining fellow termed-out State Rep. Paul Curtman (R) as declaring interest in the race. Both Haefner and Curtman, who have said that they would have run for MO-2 had Rep. Ann Wagner (R) entered the Senate race, seem unlikely to have much chance at the nomination if AG Josh Hawley (R), who is being heavily recruited, enters. Hawley got a preemptive endorsement this week from another prospective rival, State Treasurer Eric Schmitt (R).

CA-50: The FBI has raided the offices of Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr.’s (R) campaign consultants and treasurer amid an investigation into Hunter. There are insinuations that Hunter illegally used campaign money for personal purposes, which led to him repaying $60K to his campaign fund.

IA-4: Spencer (pop. 11K) councilwoman Leann Jacobsen (D) will run against Rep. Steve King (R). King, a polarizing conservative, sits in a seat that was formerly light-red but stampeded right in 2016. King has also beaten back several strong challengers.

MA-3: State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) is the first person considering a bid for the open seat of Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). This strongly-Dem Merrimack Valley and MetroWest seat is expected to draw a crowded Dem primary.

NJ-11: Woodland Park (pop. 12K) Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) has announced his candidacy for the seat of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R), joining Passaic County commissioner John Bartlett (D) and former federal prosecutor Mike Sherrill (D) in the primary. This historically-red exurban seat trended strongly left in 2016.

NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) may try to run against Rep. Dan Donovan (R) as a third-party candidate on the conservative line. Grimm, who was forced out of office due to an indictment over tax issues, is a favorite of one of Staten Island’s two warring GOP machines, that of ex-Rep. Guy Molinari (R). Donovan is not strongly identified with either the Molinari faction or its rival, that of ex-Rep. Vito Fossella (R), and that combined with his strong personal popularity makes him likely a prohibitive favorite in the GOP primary. However, a third-party Grimm bid could make this light-red seat more competitive in the general.

TN-2: State GOP official Ken Gross (R) will run for this open Knoxville-area seat. Gross says he intends to run on a “shoestring budget”, which likely means he will be a long-shot. Knox CE Tim Burchett (R) is considered the clear front-runner here, while State Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R) and businessman Brad Fullington (R) are also in the race.

State Offices:

CO-AG: Former state and federal prosecutor Amy Padden (D) is the latest candidate into this crowded primary. Padden joins State Rep. Joe Salazar (D), law school dean Phil Weiser (D), prosecutor Michael Dougherty (D), and attorney Brad Levin (D) in the primary. AG Cynthia Coffman (R) may seek re-election or run for Governor; Rep. Ken Buck (R) has been considered a possible candidate if Coffman chooses to vacate the seat.

CO-Treas: Routt County DA Brett Barkey (R) is the latest candidate into this crowded GOP primary. Interestingly, Barkey is the second candidate from his tiny remote county in the state’s northwest in this race, joining Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn (R). They join State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) and State Reps. Justin Everett (R) and Polly Lawrence (R) in the contest; State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is considered the likely Dem nominee.

GA-Ins Comm: Jim Beck (R), former CoS to retiring incumbent Ralph Hudgens (R), has filed to seek his old boss’s seat. Nonprofit exec Cindy Zeldin (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

NM-Lands Comm: State Sen. George Munoz (D) will run for the open Lands Commissioner seat. Munoz joins what is becoming a crowded primary of ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) and nonprofit exec Garrett VeneKlasen (D), who has the backing of Sen. Martin Heinrich (D). Incumbent Aubrey Dunn (R) is running for NM-2 and no Republicans have as yet declared interest in the seat.

NV-Treas: Ex-Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers (R), who lost his bid for re-election earlier this year over parochial land-use issues, will run for State Treasurer. Beers is the first candidate into the race, which is expected to be open; incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is considered likely to run for Governor.

OK-Lab Comm: A pair of candidates have entered the race for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner, as Cathy Costello (R) announced she would seek the seat. Costello is the widow of ex-Labor Commissioner Mark (R), who was killed by their mentally disturbed son in 2015, and sought the interim appointment that went to placeholder Melissa McLawhorn-Houston (R). She joins State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R), who upgraded her candidacy from “considering” to “in” last week.

OK-Supt: Campaign finance charges against Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister (R) that were filed last fall have been abruptly dropped without explanation. Hoffmeister was alleged to have improperly coordinated with outside groups to run attack ads against then-incumbent Janet Barresi (R), whom she defeated in the 2014 primary.

SC-AG: South Carolina AG Alan Wilson (R) is in hot water after emails from 2014 surfaced in connection with the ongoing scandal around lobbyist Richard Quinn (R). Wilson allegedly consulted Quinn on how to remove a special prosecutor from the corruption investigation as the course of the investigation was beginning to target some of Wilson’s close allies.

TX-Supreme Court: This is a worthwhile long read on Texas State Supreme Court Justice Don Willett (R), who is a far bigger star than his low-profile position would indicate because of his mix of strong political skills (exemplified by his very popular @justicewillett twitter) and solid legal scholarship. Willett is rumored to be in the running for a federal court seat (possibly even a long-shot SCOTUS pick) or for the Texas AG job if indicted incumbent Ken Paxton (R) leaves it.

Local Races:

Jersey City-Mayor: Ex-State Rep. Charles Mainor (D) will not run for Jersey City Mayor and is dropping down to a city council race. The decision leaves the race a two-man affair between incumbent Steve Fulop (D) and attorney Bill Matsikoudis (D); Fulop is considered a potential US Senate candidate should he win re-election.

Raleigh-Mayor: The Wake County Democratic Party has given its official endorsement to attorney Charles Francis (D) in his bid to unseat mayor Nancy McFarlane (I). McFarlane, a left-of-center Indie, has received the endorsement in her prior re-election bids; she still has significant Dem establishment support against Francis in the October race.

Anne Arundel, MD-CE: County Commissioner John Grasso (R) will challenge incumbent Anne Arundel CE Steve Schuh (R) in next year’s primary. Grasso is upset about an appointment to the county’s liquor board…a decision that Schuh had no control over. Thus, this primary challenge seems likely to be somewhat quixotic. The decision also takes Grasso out of a (likely equally quixotic) primary run against popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

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