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Political Roundup for November 15, 2017

Last night, Tim Keller (D) won easily in Albuquerque, Democrats picked up the deep-red OK-SD-37 while the GOP held two other seats, and Ashley Trantham (R) won SC-LD-28 outright while SC-LD-99 will head to a runoff in two weeks.

As Roy Moore is plotting how to go after younger women with this level of media scrutiny to take Australia legalizing gay marriage off his mind, it is time for today’s political roundup:

Alabama Senate

FOX 10 News / Strategy Research:  The latest poll finds that Alabama voters have been mildly impacted by finding out that their “divine” hero former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R-Pedophile) maintains a 49-43 lead over former US Attorney Doug Jones (D-Lucky).  We can only hope that the poll is overestimating Moore’s support and underestimating the decency of Alabama voters.

RNC:  The RNC cut “Dirty Roy” off by terminating its joint fundraising agreement.  The RNC is evaluating what to do to salvage this race.

Trump:  President Trump (Himself) faces an interesting dilemma regarding Dirty Roy.  Does he push Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) to run as a write-in?  Does he even get involved?

Sessions:  Speaking of Trump’s Attorney General (are they on good or bad terms?), Sessions says he has no reason to doubt Dirty Roy’s accusers.

Senate:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said that if Alabama decides to send Dirty Roy to Washington the Senate will promptly expel Dirty Roy.  Arguably expelling Alabama from the Union should be up for debate if they send Dirty Roy to Washington.

Congress/National

IN-Sen:  Businessman Terry Henderson (R) quit the Republican primary for US Senate.  Henderson deserves props for being honesty and admitting he could not raise money.

OH-16:  State Representative Tom Patton (RINO) dropped out of the race to replace Representative John Renacci (R), whose running for Governor.  Patton says he is dropping out due to a family emergency.

NJ-Sen:  The jury in the trial of Senator Robert Menendez (D) for corruption is deadlocked.  It is not clear if the jury is really deadlocked or just trying to drag this out as long as possible to stop Governor Chris Christie (R) from appointing a replacement.

States / International

Australia:  Over 60% of Australians who took part in a non-binding survey voted for same-sex marriage.   Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Coalition), who called the survey to pressure conservatives in the Coalition, said that same sex marriage will be legalized by Christmas.  Almost 80 percent of voters took part including the Prime Minister, who voted YES.

PA-Gov:  State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) confirmed he will run against Governor Tom Wolf (D).  Turzai’s entry into the race is a bit of a surprise at this point.  State Senator Scott Wagner (R), the de facto leader of Senate Republicans, has been viewed as the only serious candidate.  Turzai’s entry will complicate Wagner’s run except to the extent Turzai is splitting the vote with 2 other candidates from Allegheny County, consultant Paul Mango and attorney Laura Ellsworth.

Albuquerque Mayoral Runoff Preview & Liveblog

10:01 ET- Apparently via twitter ground reports are saying that Ikley-Freeman has won.

9:59 ET- With 3 precincts left, Ikley-Freeman (D) is up by 7 votes (!!!)

9:55 ET- Ikley-Freeman (D) up 75 votes with 80% in.

9:51 ET- 75% in and the Dem is up 22 votes.

9:47 ET- 65% in, O’Hara’s lead has expanded to 14 votes.

9:35 ET- And Albuquerque is even more of a snoozer than we expected. Keller is up 63-37 in the early vote and I don’t even feel the need to continue to liveblog. In Oklahoma, the GOP has held SD-45 and LD-76, while Brian O’Hara (R) is up by 13 votes in SD-37 with half reporting.

9:30 ET- Legislative results: Ashley Trantham (R) has won SC-LD-28 outright. Nancy Mace (R) appears to have missed 50% by 35 votes and will head to a runoff with Mark Smith (R) in SC-LD-99. All 3 Oklahoma races are close and not fully reported.

Albuquerque Results

Today there is a mayoral election in Albuquerque as well as a few legislative specials. Polls close at 9 ET and we will have a liveblog for Albuqerque in this thread.

Albuquerque Mayor: Albuquerque, America’s 32nd-largest city, has a population of 550K which is roughly 50% Hispanic and 45% White. Albuquerque covers the bulk of its metro area, including poor, largely Hispanic urban areas in the central and southeastern parts of the city, middle-class Hispanic areas in the southwest, and middle-class white areas in the northwest and northeast. Some wealthier suburbs sit outside the city limits; as a result, Albuquerque proper is medium-blue with a PVI of D+8 as of 2008. This year, the mayoral seat is open as two-term incumbent Richard Berry (R) is stepping down. While Berry had generally been popular as mayor for most of his term, there is some consensus that the city has taken a turn for the worse in recent years, particularly with a spiking crime rate. State Auditor Tim Keller (D) came in first in the October primary with 39%. Previously a legislator from the central part of the city, Keller has high name recognition of the candidates and strong Dem establishment support. Keller, a mainstream liberal, has a strong support base among the high-turnout white progressive community that allowed him to slightly outperform expectations in the primary. Another Democrat, who was more moderate but endorsed Keller for the runoff, took 16% in the primary, meaning that Keller essentially just has to coalesce Democrats to win. Keller’s rival is city councilman Dan Lewis (R) came in second in the primary with 23%. Lewis is a mainstream establishment conservative; he has significant support among establishment Republicans and a base in his middle-class council district on the northwest side. However, Lewis is fighting against relatively tough terrain, Keller’s higher name recognition, and Berry’s declining popularity. Lewis has also been hurt by an internecine rivalry with Gov. Susana Martinez’s (R) network, who is opposed to Lewis for personal reasons. Keller has led in polls by a margin of around 10 points (a margin that has even been growing in recent weeks) and thus looks like close to a prohibitive favorite.

Special Elections:  There are also five special elections today. Three are special general elections in Oklahoma. All are for deep-red seats and all three Republicans should be favored, but given Democrats’ absurdly strong overperformances in multiple Oklahoma specials this year, upsets are possible in all three races. OK-SD-37 is an R+21 seat covering the suburban southwestern part of Tulsa west of the Arkansas River and the suburbs of Jenks and Sand Springs. Ex-Jenks councilman and congressional staffer Brian O’Hara (R) should be favored over activist Allison Ikley-Freeman (D). OK-SD-45 is another R+21 seat covering some poor neighborhoods south of downtown OKC and wrapping southwest around the Airport to deep-red southwestern exurbs near Mustang. Realtor Paul Rosino (R) should be favored over police dispatcher Steven Vincent (D). Finally, OK-LD-76 is an R+18 seat covering most of the western half of Broken Arrow in the Tulsa suburbs. Retired cop Ross Ford (R) should be favored over teacher Chris Vanlandingham (D). The other two are special primaries in South Carolina. SC-LD-28 is an R+16 seat covering Greenville’s outer southern suburbs, at the southern tip of Greenville County. Four Republicans are facing off: realtor Ashley Thrantham (R), hospital administrator Krystal Blume (R), farmer Bill Welch (R), and firefighter Jonathan Smith (R). Trantham looks like the very slight front-runner to me, but any of the four could move on to a runoff or even win outright. No Democrats are running. The other seat is SC-LD-99, an R+12 seat connecting upscale Charleston suburbs along the northeast part of I-526 from Hanahan to northern Mt. Pleasant. The clear front-runner is businesswoman and 2014 US Senate candidate Nancy Mace (R). Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel military college, fell flat in her 2014 run against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R); however, she seems to be having better luck in this race as she has lapped the field in fundraising. She will likely finish a comfortable first, but will probably be held to a runoff. Mace’s three rivals are all running serious campaigns and could join her in a runoff. They are Mt. Pleasant councilman Mark Smith (R), congressional staffer Shawn Pinkston (R), and businessman Jarrod Brooks (R). Any could advance to a second round if one occurs. Democrats are running businesswoman Cindy Boatwright (D).

Political Roundup for September 13, 2017

Last Night:

Bill DeBlasio (D) easily won renomination in NYC, while all NYC Council incumbents and essentially all non-incumbent establishment favorites prevailed.

In Charlotte, councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) ousted incumbent Jennifer Roberts (D) without a runoff. In Cleveland, incumbent Frank Jackson (D) and councilman Zack Reed (D) advanced. In Toledo, incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) and Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) advanced. Incumbents Byron Brown (D) in Buffalo and Lovely Warren (D) in Rochester were renominated.

In other NY Races, State Sen. George Latimer (D) won in Westchester-CE, county commissioner Laura Curran (D) won in Nassau-CE, and State Rep. Steve McLaughlin (R) narrowly won in Rensselaer-CE. In the biggest upset of the night, university police chief Larry Zacarese (R) beat State Sen. Phil Boyle (R) for Suffolk-Sheriff.

In legislative specials, Democrats picked up OK-LD-46 by a wide margin as well as a state house seat in NH. McGee (R) and Rehner (D) advanced in MS-LD-102, while O’Hara (R) won the nomination in OK-SD-37.

Senate:

MI-Sen: Rep. Fred Upton (R) is apparently quietly considering a run for the seat of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (R). Upton, a centrist from a purple seat in southwest Michigan, has been termed-out as Energy and Commerce chair but is not ready to retire. Upton could face a tough primary if Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie (R) pulls the trigger on a run for this seat; however, if Ritchie stays out, Upton would be a strong favorite against the little-known Republicans in the race already.

VA-Sen: Former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina (R) will not run for the Senate seat of Tim Kaine (D). Prince William CE and self-hating Yankee Corey Stewart (R) now looks like the strong favorite for the nomination.

Governor:

AK-Gov, AK-LG: State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) surprisingly announced yesterday that he is ending his gubernatorial run due to an unspecified health condition. Ex-State Sen. Charlie Huggins (R), a former State Senate president who retired in 2016, stepped in the same day to fill the breach. State Rep. Mike Chenault (R) also filed to run for a spot on the GOP ticket, though he has left his options open for either a Governor or LG run in the shotgun-wedding primary. Dem-backed incumbent Bill Walker (I) may also face opposition from a Democrat like Ex-Sen. Mark Begich (D) or State Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D).

IL-Gov, IL-LG: After his prior choice of running mate, Chicago councilman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D), was forced to withdraw over his support for the anti-Israel BDS movement, Biss has now chosen State Rep. Litesa Wallace (D) of Rockford as his new LG choice. Wallace could be a way for Biss to curry some favor with State House Speaker Mike Madigan (D), who is thought to favor wealthy businessman JB Pritzker (D) in this crowded primary.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) says she will decide on a run for Governor by the end of September. Collins would likely be a strong favorite in a general election if she were to run, but she may face difficulty from her right in the GOP primary.

MI-Gov: As expected, AG Bill Schuette (R) has launched his campaign for Governor. Schuette has had a long political career, beginning with a Congressional stint in the 80s, a Senate loss in 1990, a State Senate stint in the 90s and a judicial stint in the 2000s before two terms as AG. He is thought to be a slight front-runner in the GOP primary against antiestablishment conservative State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) and physician Jim Hines (R); Schuette’s most serious likely rival, LG Brian Calley (R), has not yet declared for this race but is widely though certain to run.

House:

NY-15: Outgoing NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) is rumored to be considering a run for this South Bronx-based Congressional seat, where incumbent Jose Serrano (D) is thought to be considering retirement. Mark-Viverito hails from Spanish Harlem in Manhattan, but has represented part of the Bronx. State Sen. Jose Serrano Jr. (D), State Rep. Michael Blake (D), and NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres (D) are thought to all be interested as well.

PA-11: 2016 AG candidate Joe Peters (R) is exploring an entry into this crowded primary for the Harrisburg-to-Lackawanna Valley red seat. Peters would join State Rep. Stephen Bloom (R), Corbett admin official Dan Meuser (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R) in the primary.

PA-15: Two new candidates are in this race. State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R) will run for Congress, potentially creating a more establishment-friendly option to take on State Rep. Justin Simmons (R), whose entry into the race pushed Rep. Charlie Dent (R) out of seeking re-election. Lehigh County commissioner Bill Leiner (D) also announced a run, potentially giving Dems a credible option for the light-red Lehigh Valley open seat.

TN-6: Rep. Diane Black (R) is considering resigning her House seat early as she runs for Governor. If Black resigns quickly a special could be triggered for this deep-red central Tennessee seat. Former state Agriculture Commissioner John Rose (R) and State Rep. Judd Matheny (R) are in the race, and talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R) is considering a run.

TX-32: Obama aide Lillian Salerno (D) has become the third former Obama admin official in the race, joining Colin Allred (D) and Ed Meier (D). Allred, a former NFL player, so far looks like the DCCC’s choice recruit to take on Rep. Pete Sessions (R) in this Hillary-won north Dallas seat.

WV-1: Attorney Ralph Baxter (D), who runs a large law firm based in San Francisco but “lives” in Wheeling, is set to announce a run against Rep. David McKinley (R) in this deep-red northern WV seat. Baxter has been mentioned for several races before but looks set to pull the trigger this cycle; he faces long odds as this historically-D seat has become more Republican up and down the ballot.

State & Local:

ID-AG: AG Lawrence Wasden (R) will run for re-election, and will not give up his seat to run for Governor or ID-1.

MA-LG: Obama White House aide Quentin Palfrey (D), who now works as an administrator at MIT, has become the first Democrat into this shotgun-wedding LG primary.

MO-Aud: Attorney and former university regent David Wasinger (R) will run for Auditor, entering the race after State House Speaker David Richardson (R) abruptly declined a bid. Local official Kristy Apprill (R) is also considering a run.

NV-AG: State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D) will run for AG, giving Dems a top-tier recruit for this seat, which is expected to be open as incumbent Adam Laxalt (R) is seen as near-certain to run for Governor. Laxalt’s top deputy, ex-State Rep. Wes Duncan (R), is likely to run for this seat.

DC-Mayor: AG Karl Racine (D) will not run for mayor, likely meaning that incumbent Muriel Bowser (D) will have a relatively easy ride to a second term next year.

Seattle-Mayor: Mayor Ed Murray (D) abruptly resigned yesterday after a fifth person, his cousin, accused him of prior sexual molestation when the cousin was a minor. Murray had declined to run for re-election after several others revealed underage sexual molestation allegations. The open seat election this November is between establishment liberal ex-US Attorney Jenny Durkan (D) and ultra-left city planner Cary Moon (D).

September 12 NYC & More Primary Preview

Because of the busy day we had yesterday we’re re-upping the preview of today’s races in case you haven’t seen it.

Tomorrow is the second-busiest election day of the fall. New York City is the star of the show, with all major city offices up. But there are also 5 other big mayoral elections in Charlotte, Cleveland, Toledo, Buffalo, and Rochester, plus a number of other local elections across New York State and legislative specials in Oklahoma and Mississippi. Poll closing times are as follows: NC & OH – 7:30 ET || MS & OK – 8 ET || NYS – 9ET. Our Liveblog will start tomorrow at 7:30 ET. The Mayoral races are above the fold – flip over for County Executive, DA, Sheriff, and NYC Council races!

NYC-Mayor (D): The big race tomorrow, albeit a drama-free one, is the partisan primary for Mayor of New York City. New York City is of course the nation’s largest city by far, with a population of 8.5M, and extensive home-rule powers without equal among American cities. As a result, the Mayor of New York is really more like the nation’s 51st Governor than any other Mayor, and fittingly it is elected in traditional partisan races. NYC is, of course, solidly Democratic: it has a PVI of D+29 (2016) and a multi-ethnic population that breaks down roughly 45% White, 20% each Hispanic and Black, and 10% Asian.

Bill de Blasio

Incumbent Bill de Blasio (D) is seeking a second term. If you’re reading this blog you probably don’t need me to recount the various trials and tribulations of DeBlasio’s mayoralty, but DeBlasio’s four years in office have been a mixture of some high-profile embarrassments and failures: a significant rise in homeless living on the streets, poor response to snowstorms, massive maintenance problems with the subway, small up tick in crime and a crazy vendetta against the Central Park horse carriage system. DeBlasio has also been the focus of an expanding investigation into his campaign finance operation, specifically a scheme to funnel money to state candidates, but so far that investigation has not borne significant fruit. Additionally, like many of his predecessors, DeBlasio transparently harbors higher ambitions, but in this case that may be working to his benefit. Through his term, he has never hesitated to use his position to cast himself as a national left-wing hero – and in that respect the election of Trump was an enormous gift to him. Instead of getting a seriously contested race on his vulnerabilities as an administrator, DeBlasio’s use of the bully pulpit to preach left-wing causes (and prepare for a 2020 Presidential run) has largely insulated him from a viable primary challenge.

Sal Albanese

All “A” and “B” list Dem candidates surprisingly declined to take on DeBlasio, leaving just one even remotely serious Democrat running against him. That rival is 90s-era ex-city councilman Sal Albanese (D). Albanese represented Brooklyn’s middle-class Bay Ridge area in the 80s and 90s before losing a 1997 mayoral primary. Albanese left politics before reappearing to make an asterisk-level run in the 2013 mayoral primary. This year, Albanese was able to raise enough to force DeBlasio to debate. But few voters remember Albanese’s fight for left-wing progressive policies during the Giuliani administration and his lower-middle-class white-ethnic persona is a poor fit for the city’s Democrats, so he seems likely to draw only protest votes – I would guess at most drawing a third of the vote. However, Albanese’s vote share could be a good indicator of generic anti-DeBlasio Democratic sentiment that might indicate to 2021 aspirants whether to start running toward or away from the DeBlasio legacy.

Nicole Malliotakis

An equally easy challenge for DeBlasio awaits in the general from State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R). Malliotakis is considered a rising star on NYC’s thin GOP bench, ousting a Democratic incumbent from a purple Staten Island and Brooklyn district in 2010. Due to her youth (she is 37), Greek-Cuban background, and proven political skills, she is considered likely to climb the ladder at some point, topping lists of potential successors for Staten Island’s State Senate and Congressional seats when they come open; this mayoral run is most likely about banking name rec for a bid of that nature down the line. However, Malliotakis is not independently wealthy and has little pre-existing name recognition, meaning her chances to outperform the Generic R baseline this year (especially to the level needed to be competitive in ultra-blue NYC) are slim.

Bo Dietl

A sideshow in the general is retired detective and Arby’s pitchman Bo Dietl (I), who was laughed out of a GOP primary bid before continuing a non-serious campaign as an Indie; he will likely take a few percentage points of anti-DeBlasio votes from Malliotakis. All in all, DeBlasio remains on course to a depressingly easy re-election. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D.

Charlotte-Mayor (D): The second-biggest election today is the partisan primaries for Mayor of Charlotte. Charlotte is America’s 17th-largest city; it has a population just shy of 850K that breaks down as roughly 50% White, 35% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It had a PVI of D+13 (2008), though it has probably trended left since then. Charlotte proper covers all of both the urban and first-ring suburban portions of its metro area, making it among the nation’s most diverse cities from a socioeconomic standpoint. The city is roughly circular and might be best thought of as divided into four pie slices of north, south, east and west. The southern quarter of the city is quite wealthy and was staunchly Republican until 2016. The northern and western quarters are mostly black, with poorer areas near downtown and black-middle-class areas along the edges. The eastern quarter is racially very diverse, again with poorer areas near downtown and middle-class areas farther out. In today’s Mayoral race, five Democrats are running, but only three are serious; if no one cracks 40%, the top two finishers will head to a runoff in four weeks.

Incumbent Jennifer Roberts (D) won her first term two years ago, and has had a tumultuous first term as mayor. Roberts had been a mainstream to moderate liberal in her prior role on the county commission, but she has recast herself as a staunch progressive in the mayor’s office. Her brief tenure has been marked by a long-running clash with the state legislature over the city’s bill to regulate transgender bathroom use, which triggered the national brouhaha over the state’s HB2. The incident estranged Roberts from the council, as she was an advocate of continuing the standoff when the council ultimately negotiated a settlement with the legislature, and that dynamic has contributed to a poor working relationship. Additionally, Charlotte was hit by riots last year in response to a police shooting, for which Roberts was criticized for a lackluster response. Roberts is seeking to win a second term by coalescing the liberal base and harnessing her name recognition; her best shot at a win is probably by clearing the 40% mark and avoiding a potentially perilous runoff with one of her two more moderate rivals. But her tenure has been controversial enough that even being boxed out of a runoff is a possibility. City councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) is somewhat more centrist than Roberts; overall Lyles, a longtime council veteran, is a mainstream black establishment liberal. More than ideology though, the main difference between the two is temperament. Lyles is considered much more easygoing than Roberts and has a better relationship with the council; as a result, she has received significant establishment support. Lyles has also garnered the endorsement of the Charlotte Observer. Her inoffensive nature leaves Lyles in a good position to win a runoff if one occurs; however, her low-energy style and lack of a committed base could leaver her boxed out in the first round. State Sen. Joel Ford (D) is the most centrist candidate in the field. Ford is a moderate Democrat, particularly on social issues. That has given him bipartisan support, even receiving donations from several Republicans in the legislature – were this a non-partisan race, he would be well-positioned to win GOP votes. Within the Dem party though, he still has a strong base in the black community, particularly among more middle-class blacks, and name recognition from representing a quarter of the city in the legislature. Roberts would most likely prefer to face Ford in a runoff and make the race a referendum on her socially liberal views. Two other non-serious Democrats are running and could serve to lower the odds of anyone cracking 40%. Overall each of the three candidates has a chance to advance to a runoff – or even to crack 40% and win outright – and any winner or pairing shouldn’t be particularly surprising.

The Dem primary winner will head on to a November general election with city councilman Kenny Smith (R), who faces two non-serious Some Dudes in his primary. Smith is a conservative from the wealthy southern part of the city, and is clearly to the right of most candidates Republicans have put up for the seat in recent years. Thus, due to the lean of the city, he is generally considered a long-shot to beat any of the Democrats. However, he is definitely a credible candidate, outpacing all the Democrats in fundraising, and could have a small chance to win, particularly if Roberts is renominated. More likely though is that Smith may be someone to watch for a state legislature or NC-9 campaign in the future.

Cleveland-Mayor: Cleveland is America’s 51st-largest city, with a population of 385K that breaks down roughly 50% Black and 40% White. It has a PVI of D+33 (2008). Cleveland has a split personality between its two halves: the eastern half of the city is overwhelmingly black and generally very poor (the gentrified urban areas of the east side near Case University almost entirely sit outside the city limits), while the western half of the city is mostly lower-middle-class blue-collar white areas, with some Hispanic pockets. The mayoral primary is today in a California-Rules Top Two format. Incumbent Frank Jackson (D) is seeking a fourth term. Jackson, a moderate liberal, has been fairly popular as mayor, winning fairly easy re-elections in 2009 and 2013. His position as an African-American from the east side with significant crossover appeal to west side whites has left him hard to challenge. But this year, Jackson dabbled with retirement before deciding to run again, and that seems to have opened up the floodgates for challengers. He now faces eight challengers, seven of them notable. Overall Jackson should be a lock to come in first, but how strong his showing is may determine how contentious the race in November becomes. Three east side black candidates are taking on Jackson from the left. City councilman Jeff Johnson (D) is considered the slight front-runner among Jackson’s challengers, particularly due to his strong support from the SEIU. Johnson is on the second act of his political career; his prior tenure on the council and State Senate ended in the late 90s with a conviction and 15-month sentence for shaking down convenience store owners. Though Ohio law prohibits those convicted of bribery from holding office, Johnson was able to return to the city council through a ridiculous loophole: he was convicted of extortion, not bribery (world of difference, right!). City councilman Zack Reed (D) is similarly a biting critic of Jackson from the left. However, he trails Johnson in labor support, and like Johnson he has his own legal history to deal with in the form of three DUIs. Reed’s campaign has been energetic and he could make the second slot, or he and Johnson could bump heads and allow a more centrist candidate to come in second. The third candidate on the left, Eric Brewer (D), who previously served as mayor of the slumburb of East Cleveland, is staking out a claim as the farthest left candidate in the field and strikes some black-nationalist themes; he is a longer-shot. Four other candidates are centrist or center-right. State Rep. and 2009 candidate Bill Patmon (D) was a city councilman in the 90s. After a string of losses in the 2000s, he was able to make a comeback by winning a safe State House seat, representing a big chunk of the east side, in 2010. Patmon, who is black, is a moderate, but mostly notable as a gadfly; his campaign is not very serious, but he could take second on name rec. Nonprofit exec Brandon Chrostowski (I) has a very interesting story: he runs a well-regarded French restaurant that doubles as a job-training program for ex-cons. Chrostowski is running on a centrist platform and his fundraising has been enough to be credible. Two Republicans are also in the race. Businessman Tony Madalone (R) runs a T-shirt company, and at age 32 has rising-star potential. As the most serious right-of-center candidate, he may have some chance to make the runoff based on conservative votes. However, Madalone’s chances to advance are complicated by another Republican, 2009 candidate and nonprofit exec Robert Kilo (R), who has surprisingly fundraised enough to be a factor, but whose staunch conservatism is a poor fit for the deep-blue city. A non-serious Some Dude is also in the race. Overall any of the seven have some chance to advance with Jackson, with Johnson and Reed having the best shots. However, all will probably face an uphill race in November unless Jackson seriously underperforms.

Toledo-Mayor: Toledo is America’s 71st-largest city, with a population of 275K that breaks down as roughly 65% White and 25% Black. It has a PVI of D+21 (2008). Toledo remains mostly a blue-collar white city, with some working- and middle-class black neighborhoods near the center of town. Like Cleveland, it is using a California-Rules Top Two format for its mayoral primary. There are three serious candidates, two Dems and one Republican. Incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) won a special election in 2015 after being appointed to fill a vacancy. Hicks-Hudson is a mainstream black liberal. Her base in the black community, incumbency, and Dem establishment support were enough for her to win a plurality in the fractured, winner-take-all 2015 contest, and CW is that she is likely to come in first again tomorrow. However, she has been hit for continuing problems with the city’s water system, and this year’s race, in which a majority will be eventually necessary, may be tougher for her. Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) is Hicks-Hudson’s better-funded rival. Kapszukiewicz is a blue-collar type moderate liberal who has been best known for importing Michigan’s Land Bank concept (in which the county confiscates distressed tax-delinquent properties, knocks them down, and re-sells the land). Kapszukiewicz is likely to have a base of white Democrats, but he risks being boxed out by his rivals’ more coherent bases. Councilman Tom Waniewski (R) is the third candidate in the race. Waniewski represents a middle-class suburban area on the northwest side, and is a mainstream to moderate conservative. He has been underfunded relative to Kapszukiewicz, but he does have a ready-made base of Republicans and voters in his council district. A perennial candidate is also running. Overall the CW seems to be betting on Hicks-Hudson and Kapszukiewicz advancing, but the three candidates seem relatively evenly-matched and it’s very possible for Waniewski to box out either. Any candidate getting more than about 40% here would be at least a mild surprise, and regardless of the pairing most expect the general to be competitive.

Buffalo-Mayor (D): Buffalo has a population of 255K that breaks down as roughly 50% White, 35% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It has a PVI of D+28 (2008). The city can be thought of as divided into 3 equal pie slices away from downtown; the southeastern part of the city is lower-middle-class blue-collar whites, the northeastern part of the city is largely poor blacks, and the northwestern part of the city is a diverse mix of some multi-ethnic poor neighborhoods, some lower-middle class white areas, and some more upscale white areas. Incumbent Byron Brown (D) is seeking a fourth term. Brown is a mainstream liberal who has been considered a rising star in Dem circles; he was even considered a short-lister for the Senate appointment that went to Sen. Kirsten Gillirband (D). As Mayor, Brown has been reasonably successful in slowing the city’s decline. He has built an electoral alliance of black voters and upscale whites, with crossover support from blue-collar whites, that has been powerful in a Democratic primary – and only seems to be getting moreso as downscale whites slowly defect to the GOP. As a result, he retains establishment support and is a strong favorite for re-election, though he faces two challengers from left and right. City comptroller Mark Schroeder (D) is Brown’s more serious rival. Schroeder is a moderate Democrat who is popular among his southside base. He was considered likely to give Brown a strong challenge, but it hasn’t really panned out that way; Brown has some crossover support among the blue-collar voters that would be Schroeder’s base and there is little sense that Schroeder has appeal to blacks or upscale voters. As a result, he is considered likely to finish well behind Brown. The third candidate in the race is county commissioner Betty Jean Grant (D). Grant has a strong base among liberals in the black community, one that allowed her to come within 200 votes of winning a State Senate seat in a 2012 primary. However, her campaign is running on a shoestring budget and her appeal outside of the black community is low, so Grant is likely to finish a distant third. A recent poll had Brown securing an outright majority of the vote, so it would be a shock to say the least if either Schroeder or Grant could even come close, let alone defeat him. Republicans are not contesting this seat after their prior nominee dropped out.

Rochester, NY-Mayor (D): Rochester has a population of 210K that breaks down as roughly 45% White, 35% Black, and 15% Hipanic. It has a PVI of D+29 (2008). Rochester is shaped like a “6”; much of the central part of the city is taken up by the “Fatal Crescent” of poor, high-crime, black-plurality neighborhoods wrapping around the north and west sides of downtown. The remaining southeast quarter is mostly upscale urban white areas, and the city also has a small northwest tail of middle-class white suburbs. Incumbent Lovely Warren (D) won her first term in 2013 in a shocking upset by galvanizing minority and left-wing voters against the prior incumbent. Warren has been a staunch liberal in office, and her tenure has not had any particularly glaring failures. But there is a general sense that the city’s slow decline has continued unabated. Furthermore, while Warren has significant establishment ties and received the official party endorsement, there is a large bloc of more moderate Democrats that has never warmed to her. Monroe County commissioner James Sheppard (D), a former city police chief, is Warren’s main competitor. Sheppard is a more moderate liberal and was supported by the faction of the party that backed Warren’s predecessor. Historically there has been, a major divide between the black and white establishments in Rochester; while both Sheppard and Warren are of African-American descent, most of Warren’s establishment backers are black and most of Sheppard’s establishment backers are white. A third wheel in the race is former TV anchor and 2016 State House candidate Rachel Barnhart (D). Barnhart challenged an incumbent in a 2016 State House primary, which did not endear her to the local establishment, but she does have high name recognition and a base in the white liberal community as the most progressive candidate. She is considered something of a long-shot, but may draw a significant number of votes. It’s unclear who Barnhart hurts more; while Warren is the more left-wing candidate, Sheppard seems to have more white support, so defections to Barnhart may wind up being close to a wash. A fourth non-serious Democrat is also running. Overall, the significant split in establishment support means that there is no clear favorite between Warren and Sheppard. Amazingly enough, this year Republicans are putting up their first credible candidate in memory for this race. County commissioner Tony Micciche (R) represents the suburban northwest tail of the city. Micciche is a credible candidate but likely stands little chance against any of the Democrats barring a DGLB; the bid is probably more about gaining name rec for a countywide, legislative, or congressional run down the line.

State Legislative Special Elections: There are 3 legislative specials this week: one Louisiana-Rules Top Two race, one general, and one primary. The general is for OK-LD-46, an R+6 (2016) seat covering western Norman. Businessman and professor Darrin Chambers (R) and 2016 nominee Jacob Rosencrants (D) are facing off; due to Dems’ strong streak in special elections recently, especially in Oklahoma, I would consider Rosencrants a slight favorite to pick up the seat. The primary is for OK-SD-37, an R+21 (2016) seat covering the suburban southwestern part of Tulsa west of the Arkansas River and the suburb of Sand Springs. 7 Republicans are facing off. Rep. Jim Bridenstine staffer and ex-Jenks city councilman Brian O’Hara (R), local judge Jay McAtee (R), Sand Springs councilman and 2016 candidate Brian Jackson (R),  manager Phil Nollan (R), husband of a sitting State Rep.,  local GOP official Nicole Nixon (R), and two Some Dudes. I would peg O’Hara as the slight front-runner, but any of the five I named have a chance to win. The primary winner will face Dem activist Allison Ikley-Freeman (D) in a November general. There is also a Louisiana Rules Top Two race for MS-LD-102, an R+9 (2008) seat covering the western part of Hattiesburg. Democrats have gone all-in on this race for social worker Kathryn Rehner (D), who is likely to finish first. She faces three Republicans, former congressional staffer Missy McGee (R), attorney Corey Ferraez (R), and retired civil servant Casey Mercier (R); McGee looks like the slight front-runner among the Republicans. It seems like a coin-flip whether Rehner can flip the seat tomorrow or whether the race will head to a runoff.

Flip over for other County-level and NYC Races!

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Political Roundup for August 9th, 2017

About Last night, Democrat Phil Miller won IA-LD-28 by a 54% to 44% margin. Trump won seat 58% to 37%. In MO-LD-50 Sara Walsh (R) won by a narrower than expected 52% to 48% margin. In MO-SD-28 Republican State Rep. Sandy Crawford won.

In primaries, Marquette councilwoman Sara Cambensy (D) won the primary for MI-LD-109 with 37 percent of the vote. She will face Republican Rich Rossway in General Election. Tenisha Yancey (D) won the primary for the Safe D MI-LD-1, and Spartanburg councilman Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) won the primary for the Safe D SC-LD-31. Businessman Paul Rosino (R) prevailed in OK-SD-45, while retired cop Ross Ford (R) narrowly won in OK-LD-76 over the prior incumbent’s widow. Ford will face teacher Chris Vanlandingham (D) in the general.

President:

Kasich: An American Research Group poll has Gov. John Kasich leading President Trump in a hypothetical New Hampshire Republican presidential primary 52% to 40%.  Unfortunately ARG did not do a three way poll of a hypothetical primary in which John Kasich plays spoiler allowing Trump to win again with 40% of the vote.

Governor:

CO-Gov: State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) has found a novel way around Colorado’s restrictive campaign finance laws that limits donations to $1,150. Stapleton is holding off announcing his run for governor in order to raise unlimited cash for a super PAC-style group called Better Colorado Now. Stapleton’s situation highlights the problems with restrictive campaign finance laws that encourages the outsourcing the cost of running a political campaign to outside third party political groups.

FL-Gov: Despite serious questions that arose, a Florida grand jury has cleared Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum of criminal liability after an investigation into his use of a city-funded email program used to send private and political messages.

KS-Gov: Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) made it official and announced that he will run for Governor in 2018. Colyer is poised to takeover as Governor of Kansas when current Gov. Sam Brownback (R) finally gets confirmed to be ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Running for a full term as a sitting governor should give Colyer a leg up in the Republican primary where he could face a crowded field that includes Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer (who entered the race earlier this week), businessman Wink Hartman, former state senator Jim Barnett and entrepreneur Ed O’Malley

NY-Gov: Oh, Miranda! Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is taking the threat of a Cynthia Nixon primary challenge serious enough to offer to sit down with her and discuss education issues. Nixon meanwhile declined to rule out a bid for Governor during an appearance she made on the Today Show.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) may want to do some more polling before deciding if she wants to run for Governor. According to a PPP poll of a potential GOP primary former LePage health commissioner Mary Mayhew would lead Collins in a hypothetical matchup, 44 percent to 33 percent. Collins would score just a mere 28% against a hypothetical “someone else”. We would advice taking this poll with a very big grain of salt as it is common practice to release polls like this to either motivate or demotivate a potential candidate from running.

TX-Gov: Texas Democrats still do not have a candidate for governor. No major Democrat has shown any interest in losing challenging Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) who has nearly $41 million in his campaign account and strong approval ratings. So far only former “International Mr. Leather” Jeffrey Payne (D) has announced his intentions to run.

VA-Gov: A new poll released by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University shows Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) with a slight 42% to 37% edge over Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race. Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra gets 6% in this matchup while 13% are undecided.

WY-Gov: Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) confirmed she will not run for Governor. Incumbent Gov. Matt Mead (R) is term limited and many people had thought Lummis would be a shoo-in to succeed him. Without Lummis running the field here seems to be wide open.

Senate:

AL-Sen: President Donald J. Trump (R) has endorsed appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) ahead for the upcoming special election. Assuming President Trump doesn’t start a nuclear war between now and August 15th this should help Sen. Strange bigly.

IN-Sen: ICYMI, fourth-term Rep. Todd Rokita (R) will join the primary for Sen. Joe Donnelly’s (D) Senate seat. We had full coverage of this yesterday.

MI-Sen: Kid Rock (R) has made it official! Robert Richie aka “Kid Rock” has left his two-decade affiliation with the Warner Music Group and signed on with Music City’s BBR Music record label. He is also contemplating a US Senate run.

NV-Sen: A Strategic National poll has  Sen. Dean Heller (R) leading perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian in a Republican primary by a 38% to 34% margin win 27% undecided. Of course this poll was taken before the Senate Leadership Fund PAC put any money into reminding Nevada voters about Tarkanian’s $17 million bankruptcy and other less than flattering business dealings.

VA-Sen: Nothing says you are a man of the people and a real Virginian more than flying out to the Hamptons and having a $10,800 a head fundraiser at the mansion summer home of New York Giants co-owner Jon Tisch, which is why Sen. Tim Kaine (D) plans to spend the last week in August on the South Fork of Long Island, NY raising some serious money.

WI-Sen: The NRSC has launched radio ads in the Wausau and La Crosse markets attacking Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) over an opioid scandal in Wisconsin Veterans Administration Hospital that Sen. Baldwin tried to help sweep under the rug.

WV-Sen: Sen. Joe Manchin doesn’t “give a s–t” if his liberal voting record costs him re-election.

House:

KY-6: Politico Magazine looks at Democrats fetish for getting behind the candidacy of US veterans. The latest example of this in in KY-6 where long shot formerly unknown Air Force pilot Amy McGrath was able to raise over $200,000 in 36 hours thanks to a viral video of her talking about serving as a combat pilot. McGrath faces State Sen. Reggie Thomas (D) in the primary. Both Donald Trump and Mitt Romney won KY-6 by double digits and Rep. Andy Barr (R) cruised to an easy 22 point win in 2016.

MT-AL: Newly elected Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) will get his first Democrat challenger. Some dude attorney John Heenan (D) announced he will run for Congress.

NJ-11: After the DCCC’s top recruit Assemblyman John McKeon (D) announced that he would not run for Congress, Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) announced he is “officially exploring” a run for the seat held by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R). Donald Trump won this district by 1 point in 2016 and Frelinghuysen cruised to an easy 20 point victory in a seat that his ancestors have represented in one capacity or another since 1720.

NY-19: A pro-Obamacare group has launched a new digital ad aimed at freshman Rep. John Faso (R). No word on how much they intend to spend on the hit job digital ad.

OH-16: Former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (R) recently met with the NRCC about a possible run for the seat Rep. Jim Renacci (R) is vacating to run for governor. 28 year old heir force state Rep.Christina Hagan (R) and State Rep. Tom Patton (RINO) are currently running for this seat.

TN-2: Financial advisor Brad Fullington (R) has become the third Republican to enter the open race for the safe R seat of retiring Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R). Fullington is not nearly as well known as  Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and State Rep. Jimmy Matlock who are also seeking the GOP nomination.

WI-4: Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski (D) is considering challenging Rep. Gwen Moore (D) in a Democrat primary next year. Moore has not faced a serious challenge in years and easily defeated felon and (former state Senator) Gary George in her last two primary elections.

State, Local & Other:

Syracuse-Mayor: The September 12th Democrat primary for mayor of Syracuse has narrowed from 7 candidates to 3. Democrat organization endorsed City Councilor Joe Nicoletti, City Auditor Marty Masterpole and NY State Dept of Labor official and former Dean of Students at Syracuse University Juanita Perez Williams made the ballot while 4 others either dropped out, couldn’t get enough signatures or had enough of their nominating petition signatures invalidated by challenges to be knocked off the ballot (an art form in NY State). Syracuse has not elected a GOP mayor since 2001 and 55% of voters are Democrats, so the winner of the Democrat primary will be the favorite in November.

Detroit & Kenya Preview & Open Thread

Today there are a handful of minor elections: 8 legislative specials, an international race, and a meaningless mayoral race in Detroit. There isn’t enough to liveblog today, but here is an open thread to discuss any of these races.

Detroit: Today is the primary for Mayor of Detroit, but it’s not exactly interesting. Detroit has a population of around 675K (which is still dropping, though not quite as precipitously as it has been) that is roughly 85% Black, with a small Mexican community on the southwest side and a few white hipsters downtown. It had a PVI of D+44 (2008). This race is a California-Rules Top Two primary, so with only two serious candidates, today is essentially a straw poll for November’s real election. Incumbent Mike Duggan (D) is the first white mayor of the city since the 70s. Duggan is a typical machine hack liberal, but he has done a decent job of slowing the city’s freefall and even reversing the decline in some neighborhoods. Clearing that low bar is enough to make him a huge favorite for re-election to a second term. Duggan’s rival, State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of Detroit’s polarizing 70s and 80s era mayor of the same name, is running to his left, accusing Duggan of not paying enough attention to the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Polls generally show Duggan leading Young by around 2:1, and it looks like that will be close to today’s result as well. Six other non-serious candidates are on the ballot, including four felons.

Kenya: The east African nation of Kenya is also holding its presidential election today. Kenya is a nation of 48M with a land area slightly smaller than Texas. Like many third-world democracies, Kenya’s politics are more clan- and personality-based than ideological. The two candidates for president are incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and Ralia Odinga, his rival in the previous election. Both are wealthy and descendants of some of the nation’s founding leaders, and their families have dominated the nation for much of the time since independence. Polling shows Odinga with a slight lead; regardless of the result, observers are considering post-election violence to be likely between the nation’s various clans.

Legislative Specials: There are also 8 legislative specials at stake across 5 states: 3 generals, 4 primaries, and a primary runoff.
IA-LD-82 is probably the first legit shot for a contested R pickup in a legislative special this year. At stake is a formerly D-held R+12 (2016) seat covering much of the college town of Fairfield and rural areas to the south along the MO border. A pair of school board presidents, Phil Miller (D) and Travis Harris (R) are facing off. This is a very Trumpist area, but the seat voted for Obama in 2012. Between the new lean of the seat and the energized Dem base, I would say there is no clear favorite.
MO-SD-28 is an R+21 (2012) seat covering a broad swath of rural areas north of Springfield, from Lebanon to Sedalia. State Rep. Sandy Crawford (R) should be heavily favored over retired teacher Al Skalicky (D) for the seat.
MO-LD-50
is an R+13 (2012) seat covering the southern edge of the Columbia area and rural areas between Columbia and Jefferson City. Democrats have gone all-in on this seat on behalf of attorney and state legislative staffer Michaela Skelton (D), a cousin of ex-Rep. Ike (D). Skelton is facing lobbyist and GOP official Sara Walsh (R), who has the lean of the seat on her side but has trailed in fundraising. There is no clear favorite overall.
MI-LD-1 is a D+25 (2016) seat covering the wealthy northern half of the Grosse Pointes, the lower-middle-class suburb of Harper Woods, and the desperately poor northeast corner of Detroit. 11 Democrats are facing off; the primary winner will be the prohibitive favorite in the general. 2016 candidate and attorney Pam Sossi (D), who took over a third of the vote against the indicted prior incumbent in last year’s primary, is probably the front-runner this time with a more white-heavy electorate and fractured field. Two other 2016 candidates, congressional staffer Washington Youngson (D) and teacher Keith Hollowell (D), are also running. The other candidates in the race are Justin Johnson (D), the brother of indicted State Sen. Bert (D), school board member Tenisha Yancey (D), zoning board member Gowana Mancill Jr (D), attorneys Kirkland Garey (D) and Sandra Bucciero (D), and three Some Dudes. Sossi, Yancey, Mancil, and Johnson are considered the major candidates.
MI-LD-109 is a formerly-D-held R+3 (2016) seat covering the central Upper Peninsula from Marquette to Manistique. Four Democrats are facing off for the open seat. Marquette councilwoman and 2016 candidate Sara Cambensy (D) looks like the slight front-runner as she has name recognition from her prior run, but Marquette County commissioner Joe Derocha (D) has stronger establishment support. Two others, Sen. Debbie Stabenow staffer Jeremy Hosking (D) and Limestone Twp. councilman Tom Curry (D), also seem serious. The winner will face former school board president Richard Rossway (R).
OK-SD-45 is an R+21 (2016) seat covering some poor neighborhods south of downtown OKC and wrapping southwest around the Airport through deep-red southwestern exurbs near Mustang. Former State Highway Patrol chief Kerry Pettingill (R) looks like the slight favorite, but businessmen Duane Smith (R) and Paul Rosino (R) also seem serious. Attorney Scott Harris (R), physician Diane Means (R), businessman Brian Walters (R), and a Some Dude all look like longer shots. For Democrats, police dispatcher Steven Vincent (D) is the clear favorite over Noah Ynclan (D), who has no establishment support after revelations of a 2013 domestic violence conviction.
OK-LD-76 is an R+18 (2016) seat covering most of the western half of Broken Arrow in the Tulsa suburbs. Shelly Brumbaugh (R), widow of the prior Rep., is the clear favorite for the primary, but she faces four other Republicans. 2014 candidate Cliff Johns (R) seems like her most serious rival, but businessman Jess Guthrie (R), retired cop Ross Ford (R), and teacher Brian Elliott (R) are also in the race. Teachers Chris Vanlandingham (D) and Forest Mayer (D) are facing off for the Dem nomination; there is no clear favorite on that side.
SC-LD-31 is a D+23 (2016) seat covering central and western Spartanburg. Two Democrats are heading to a primary runoff: Spartanburg city councilor Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) and NAACP official Mo Abusaft (D). Henderson-Myers led Abusaft 39-32 two weeks ago and looks like a slight front-runner, but an upset is possible. The primary winner will be a prohibitive favorite in the general.

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.

Political Roundup for July 12, 2017

As it becomes clearer that Donald Trump, Jr. is not the brightest of the President’s children and everyone starts wondering if other elements of the Russia hysteria are true, it is time for today’s roundup:

Special Elections

Last night, Democrats continued their streak of strong performances in Oklahoma special elections as the Democrats picked up 2 legislative seats from the sex scandal / unpopular school budget cut plagued Republicans.  Michael Brooks (D) won SD-44 and Karen Gaddis (D) won HD-75.  In the HD-46 primary, Darin Chambers (R) and Jacob Rosencrants (D) will move on; The general is scheduled for September 12 in HD-46.

President/National

Sanders:  Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist Property Magnet) is stumping in Trump territory trying to drive support for Obamacare.  Sanders made stops in West Virginia and Kentucky to push the agenda of the Democratic Party being the true champion of working class voters.

Trump-Progressive Anger:  One of my favorite authors, Victor Davis Hanson looks at how President Trump has earned such a robust and borderline unhinged reaction from the left with his agenda.

Congress

August Recess: The Senate has cancelled its August recess in a prelude to potential deals happening on several fronts including healthcare and judicial nominations.  Being stuck in DC in August has to be one of the worst things imaginable.

More August Recess:  Senator Ted Cruz (R) does not want the Senate to recess until a healthcare bill is passed.  It sounds like Cruz wants to stay in DC for awhile.

Human Rights Campaign: The Human Rights Campaign plans to made a $26 million push in 2018.  The pro-sexual orientation equality group will focus on Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada and supporting candidates who support the group’s ideals.  Just another drop in the bucket of endless financing.

IN-Sen:  Real Clear Politics looks at Senator Joe Donnelly’s (D) reelection odds.  RCP provides some good insight that Donnelly’s win was not just tied to running against a Republican who said stupid stuff about abortion.

Obamacare:  Making promises to destroy Obamacare for 6 years and failing to do so can have some grave consequences for Republicans.  Something has to be done or the consequences will be dire for inaction.

PA-16:  Christina Hartman (D) will make a second run against Representative Lloyd Smucker (R) in 2018.  Smucker defeated Hartman by almost 11 points in 2016.

States/Other

Pennsylvania:  In a state where corruption ebbs and flows in the news, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a bill creating an independent Office of Inspector General to root out various forms of fraud and waste.  Whether the Office takes this form or not will depend on whether Governor Tom Wolf (D-Just Lets Bills Pass) will veto it or not.  Wolf has raised his ire regarding the bill, but has not said whether he will veto or not.  The bill received enough votes initially for a override to be possible.

Brooks-Upper Middle Class:  For the fodder of our occasional discussions on socio-economic factors impact elections, David Brooks (Burkian Liberal) wrote a very interesting piece on how the upper-middle class is essentially ruining America.  As someone who is upper-middle class, but came from a lower-middle class background, I do sympathize with points he makes on a number of fronts.

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