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Political Roundup for December 6th, 2017

Well, the President of the United States and the RNC have both officially endorsed a sexual predator for a US Senate seat. Political participation these days feels like a game of Russian Roulette in which every chamber of the revolver is loaded.

Last Night, Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) won the Atlanta Mayor’s race by 1% (759 votes), Brad Hart (R) held Cedar Rapids Mayor for the GOP, and Robb Pitts (D) was elected Fulton County, GA Executive. Republicans picked up a State Senate seat in MA-SD-Worcester & Middlesex with Dean Tran (R), Wendy Carillo (D) took CA-LD-51, and the Dems easily held PA-LD-133. Margaret Good (D) won the nomination in FL-LD-72. Georgia Democrats elected in D-on-D runoffs Jen Jordan (D) in SD-6, Nikema Williams (D) in SD-39, Kim Schofield (D) in LD-60, and Bee Nguyen (D) in LD-89.

President/the Bigger Picture

The Great Sort (or not?): The Economist analyzes recent data regarding American political attitudes from Pew Research. It finds that, while the partisan gap regarding the role of government has widened, Americans broadly agree at an unprecedented level on two electorally influential notions: 1) homosexuality should be accepted, and 2) immigration is a positive force. The magazine also claims that, despite many theses to the contrary, Americans have not been moving to certain areas to be around fellow members of their political party.

Blame Canada (or at least Eastern Europe): ICYMI, President Trump re-tweeted anti-Muslim videos last week (surprise!). Fittingly, ABC‘s Nightline was inspired to take a look at the alarming popularity of white nationalism among the European youth (particularly within the former USSR). With Generation Y being split between the alt-right and Corbynism, our children and grandchildren are all screwed.

The Donald and the GOP: Totally loyal lifelong conservative Republican Donald Trump will definitely be loyal to the GOP. He won’t try destroying it, even if it doesn’t do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

The President’s Taxes (no, not like that): Lyin’ Quinnipiac finds that 53% of Americans disapprove of the GOP’s efforts to update the tax code. Just 29% support them. For context, the pollster notes that those numbers are more dreadful than both Obamacare and Clinton’s tax hikes upon their first times being polled.

Congress

AL-Sen: The RNC has decided to go on a second date with God’s Gift to the World Roy Moore (R-His Selective Conceptions of Morality) after daddy lowered his shotgun barrel.

More AL-Sen: Clearly not attracted the idea of having a child predator in the Senate, Republican Senator Jeff Flake (R-Mesa) did the only thing he could do when Steve Bannon (“R”-his Alt Reich) decided to “gift” a trojan horse to the party: he donated to Democrat Doug Jones (D-Birmingham).

#LockHimUp: Doug Jones told a crowd at a Mobile rally that False Prophet Roy Moore (R-Gadsden Mall) belongs in jail, not the US Senate.

MI-13: US Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) is retiring to spend more time creeping on nurses at the old folks home. Accordingly, his Detroit West Side/Downriver/Western Wayne County seat is open for the first time since the court-ordered 1964 redistricting.

TX-05/TX HD-04: State Rep Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) has thrown his ten-gallon hat into the ring in the race to replace outgoing Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas).

The States

CA-Gov: Looking to shore up the moonbat vote, bold progressive State Treasurer John Chiang (D-Los Angeles) is attacking Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-San Francisco). Why? Obviously because Newt Gingrich praised his his 2013 book, Citizenville, for advocating the improvement of government through technology. Of course, Chiang neglected that several prominent Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, also praised Newsom’s book.

CT-Gov: Connecticut Democrats will need to find a new governor next year; incumbent Dannel Malloy (D-Stamford) has realized that the only election he would win these days is a Bob Saget look-alike contest. Accordingly, Nutmeg State Democrats held a symposium at which bold progressives were able to quiz prospective candidates. What purpose did the gathering serve? Attendees used it to discern which contender is the most #woke on pressing issues: the #fightfor15 and hosing the rich.

IL-Gov: Courtesy of pro-life warrior and Madigan stooge Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R-Winnetka) is currently locked in a war on two fronts: his social right and his fiscal left. Rauner did not mince words in blasting his primary opponent as a “fringe candidate who betrayed our party.”

The F—ing Golden Governor: Ostensibly to settle questions about campaign finance law, several prominent Democrats in Illinois’ congressional delegation have asked SCOTUS to look into the sentence of disgraced ex-governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Federal Prison).

Harry Lewis and the News: ICYMI, PA State Rep. Harry Lewis (R) will retire from his Coatesville-based, Clinton +24 State House seat at the end of his term. The seat moves to Safe D.

Atlanta Mayoral Preview & Liveblog

Results: AP (GA) || Cedar Rapids Gazette

11:50 ET-Bottoms has a 759 vote lead with 100% of precincts counted. The margin is close enough however that she has not been declared the winner

11:15 ET-A huge vote dump in Atlanta puts Bottoms ahead 51-49 with 90% counted.

10:38 ET-Results for Atlanta are starting to come in-Norwood leads 52-48 with 13% of precincts counted.

10:00 ET- I’m going to cut bait on Atlanta as there is literally nothing coming in. If other mods are around later the post may be updated, otherwise check back for results in tomorrow’s roundup.

9:55 ET- And Cedar Rapids has been called for Hart.

9:50 ET- 38/45 in for Cedar Rapids, Hart is up to a 54-46 lead.

9:45 ET- Still basically zilch from Atlanta. In Cedar Rapids, Brad Hart (R) is leading Monica Vernon (D) 53-47 with 28/45 precincts in.

9:00 ET- Can’t find results yet but people are saying on twitter that Dean Tran (R) has picked up MA-SD-Worcester & Middlesex. In less exciting legislative news, Democrats have easily held PA-LD-133 and Good (D) has won the primary in FL-LD-72.

8:45 ET- Norwood has won the early vote in DeKalb, covering a little under half the white-liberal east side, 62-38.

7:00 ET- Polls have closed in Georgia.

Today there is an election for Mayor of Atlanta as well as for county executive in Fulton County, which covers most of the city. Plus there is a mayoral election in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a few legislative specials. Atlanta polls close at 7p ET and we will have a brief liveblog in this thread.

Atlanta Mayor: Atlanta’s mayoral race is the big contest today, and a highly competitive one. The city has a population of 475K, roughly 50% Black and 40% White, and a PVI of D+29. Atlanta has four major socioeconomic areas, which are conveniently clustered around the north, south, east, and west parts of the city. The northern part of the city is known as Buckhead, a wealthy urban to inner suburban neighborhood that has historically been the origin and piggybank of the Georgia GOP, though it has been trending left recently. The eastern part of the city, which includes the downtown area, is a historically-black area that has become gentrified in recent years and is now largely upscale liberal whites. The western part of the city is overwhelmingly black and largely poor, though it does have some middle-class areas near the western edge. Finally, the southern part of the city is also overwhelmingly black, but more middle-class, though it does have some poor areas closer to downtown. Councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) came in first in the preliminary round with 27% and was initially thought the clear favorite in the runoff. Lance-Bottoms is a mainstream black establishment liberal, and she came in surprisingly strong in the primary despite a highly fractured field with many ideologically-similar candidates. In particular, she was dramatically boosted by the endorsement of outgoing incumbent Kasim Reed (D) and the support of his network, which allowed her to dominate the first-round vote on the south and west sides. In the runoff, she has casting herself as the true Democrat in the race and the champion of the city’s black vote, a playbook that worked for Reed 8 years ago, and she has like Reed received strong state and national Dem establishment support. Lance-Bottoms’s runoff opponent is the same as Reed’s was, councilwoman and 2009 candidate Mary Norwood (I). Norwood lost the 2009 runoff to Reed in a squeaker by 714 votes. That 2009 campaign featured extensive campaigning from the state Democratic party on Reed’s behalf, casting the white Norwood as a closet Republican. That characterization is sincerely overblown; to the extent Norwood’s ideology can be identified, it’s probably best described as Bloombergish pro-business centrism. But directly opposite Bloomberg, Norwood is unapologetically small-ball in focus, eschewing major initiatives of any type in favor of a focus on local and neighborhood concerns. In a city where right-of-center candidates don’t have any real shot, that means Norwood is a natural fit for the city’s GOP minority and upscale Buckhead residents. But she came in second in November with a somewhat weaker than expected 21%, and there weren’t obvious reservoirs of Norwood voters among the eliminated candidates, who were generally more liberal. Thus, Lance-Bottoms had been pegged as a very strong favorite. However, Norwood’s campaign has had a very good few weeks since the primary. While Lance-Bottoms has been endorsed by just one of the six eliminated candidates (who got 4%), Norwood has picked up three major endorsements: from white liberals Cathy Woolard (D) and Peter Aman (D) and black mainstream liberal city council president Caesar Mitchell (D). Their three vote shares together total 37% in addition to Norwood’s own 21%. Norwood also got an important endorsement from black 2000s-era ex-Mayor Shirley Franklin (D). It seems as though Lance-Bottoms’s ties to Reed are proving a double-edged sword, as the runoff has pushed many anti-Reed Democrats out of the woodwork and into the Norwood camp. To pull the upset, Norwood will likely need white liberals on the east side to move to her, and some crossover appeal from middle-class blacks; the Woolard, Aman, and Mitchell endorsements suggest that route is significantly more viable than it seemed just a couple weeks ago. Polls have been very close and it now seems like either could win.

Fulton, GA-CE: The other big election is also in the Atlanta area, for the Fulton County Exec post. Fulton County is an oddly-shaped snake that covers almost all of the city of Atlanta (except a small part of the east side) as well as two large chunks of suburbs in the north-central and southwest parts of the metro. It has a black plurality and a PVI of D+19. Two Dems are contesting the runoff. The slight front-runner looks like ex-county commissioner and 2014 CE candidate Robb Pitts (D). A longtime local pol, Pitts, who is black, served on the Atlanta council before losing a 2001 mayoral bid. He then won a swingy white-majority commission seat and held it through several competitive races. Pitts is a somewhat moderate liberal with mavericky tendencies; he has habitually voted against county budgets on the commission. Pitts’s intraparty rival is State Rep. Keisha Waites (D). Waites is also a mainstream liberal with some moderate tendencies. Her main difference with Pitts is generally style, as she is a much more easygoing type of pol. Pitts led the first round 38-34 with the remainder of the vote going to a Republican, so he looks like a very slight favorite in the second round; however, Waites could easily surprise.

Cedar Rapids, IA-Mayor: I’ll also say a few words about the mayoral runoff in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city, is smaller city than we normally cover (130K), but today’s race is interesting enough to mention. The city, which is 90% white and has an agribusiness-based economy, has a PVI of D+10. The Mayor’s seat is open as incumbent Ron Corbett (R) is running for Governor, and today there is a D vs. R runoff. Councilwoman and 2016 IA-1 nominee Monica Vernon (D) led the 8-way first round in November with 30%. She is squaring off against attorney Brad Hart (R), who took 20%, taking second place by just 64 votes. Both Vernon and Hart are attempting to run as moderates; the race is hotly contested and could go either way. Because of the lean of the city and energized D base I would call Vernon a slight favorite, but Hart has strong establishment support and could prevail as well.

Today is also a busy day for legislative specials, with eight seats up in five states, a trio of generals in California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, a primary in Florida, and four D-on-D runoffs in Georgia.
CA-LD-51 is a D+36 seat covering the northeast part of LA proper, including the middle-class Hispanic Eagle Rock and Mount Washington areas, along with some poorer heavily Hispanic areas around Dodger Stadium and the monolithically Hispanic slumburb of East LA. This is the seat vacated by now-US Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D). 2017 CA-34 candidate Wendy Carillo (D) is the front-runner. Carillo got some buzz for her story of being a former illegal immigrant, and has some far-left support in this race. She led the first round 22-19 over 2012 candidate and zoning board member Luis Lopez (D), who took 40% in the 2012 general against Gomez. Both candidates have significant establishment support, but the fault lines are somewhat interesting. Carillo’s backing seems to come from unions (she got a key early endorsement from the SEIU) and the network around State Senate Pres. Kevin DeLeon (D), who represents the area. Carillo secured big endorsements from DeLeon and Gomez. Lopez’s backing, conversely, seems to come from the more socially-liberal and moderate elements in the party, including several LA city councilors and social liberal groups like Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club. As Carillo’s side of the party would seem to be stronger in this poor, heavily Hispanic district, I’d peg her as a slight favorite, but Lopez could surprise, especially if white turnout is high.
MA-SD-Worcester & Middlesex is a D+3 seat around Fitchburg and Leominster along with some nearby exurban and rural areas. Leominster councilwoman Sue Chalifoux-Zephir (D), an establishment liberal, looks like a moderate favorite over Fitchburg councilman Dean Tran (R), who narrowly lost a House special in 2016, and a credible centrist Indie in Leominster councilwoman Claire Freda (I), though an upset by either Tran or Freda is within the realm of possibility.
PA-LD-133 is a D+4 seat covering inner suburbs immediately north and east of Allentown as well as the western (Lehigh County) part of Bethlehem. Jeanne McNeill (D), widow of the prior incumbent, is the strong favorite over perennial candidate David Molony (R), who was the nominee for this seat in the last 4 general elections.
FL-LD-72 is the lone primary, for an R+3 seat covering eastern Sarasota proper and most of its suburbs. Attorney Margaret Good (D) has the strongest establishment support and looks like a moderate favorite over businesswoman Ruta Jounari (D), who is attempting to run to the left on a BernieBro platform. The winner will face James Buchanan (R), not the President but the son of Rep. Vern (R), in a competitive February general.
GA-SD-6 is a formerly R-held D+7 seat (though Romney carried it) covering the wealthy Buckhead neighborhood of northern Atlanta and parts of the mostly-upscale suburbs of Sandy Springs to the north and Vinings and Smyrna to the west. The race is a guaranteed Dem pickup as five Republicans split the vote and allowed two Dems to advance. Attorney Jen Jordan (D) has the strongest Dem establishment support, including endorsements from Daily Kos and Jon Ossoff, and took first place in November with 24%. She faces dentist and 2016 nominee Jaha Howard (D), who lost this seat by a much smaller than expected 4-point margin last year and took second with 22% in November. Howard is slightly more moderate and probably picks up a majority of the GOP vote, so he is probably the slight favorite in the runoff.
GA-SD-39 is a black-majority D+36 seat stretching an absurd bacon strip from upscale black-majority suburbs west of Hartsfield Airport (among the nation’s wealthiest black-majority areas) through poor urban ghettoes west of downtown Atlanta, and finishing in upscale white liberal areas of Buckhead. State Dem official Nikema Williams (D), a member of the GADP’s top leadership, led legislative staffer Linda Pritchett (D), who lost a State House primary by 60 votes in 2016, by a 35-32 margin in November. There is no clear favorite in the runoff.
GA-LD-60 is a D+42 seat covering black-majority inner suburban areas immediately east of Hartsfield airport. Nonprofit exec Kim Schofield (D) led charter school exec and former school board candidate Deandre Pickett (D) 36-35 in the first round; there is no clear favorite in the runoff.
GA-LD-89 is a D+43 seat covering the black-majority inner suburban southwest corner of DeKalb County near Gresham Park. Strangely enough, the runoff is between two Asian-American candidates. Nonprofit exec Bee Nguyen (D) surprisingly led the first round 40-34 over attorney Sachin Vargese (D), who had stronger  establishment support. I would peg Nguyen as a slight favorite.

Political Roundup for October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween Everyone!  We are one week away from the biggest election day in 2017.  May the odds ever be in your favorite candidate’s favor!

President / National

Republican Wing of United Russia:  Former Trump campaign chairman and international political consultant Paul Manafort, together with business associate Richard Gates, have been charged by Special Counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller (R-House of Bush) in a money laundering scheme involving the use of banks in Cyprus (another place frequented by friends of United Russia) to hide receipt of funds for services rendered to Ukrainians working to restore the glory days of the Russian Empire or Soviet Union.  No word if the Spetsnaz GRU plans on extracting Manafort or if the Russians would accept him in a prisoner swap.

Democratic Wing of United Russia:  Cold Warrior Mueller is also going after Democrats who had no issues getting in bed with the Ukrainian lackeys of United Russia.  Tony Podesta has resigned from his namesake lobbying firm due to the pending perp walk he will be making.  Maybe the Trump administration and Clinton clan can get together and blame Mueller’s Cold Warrior prosecutions on him being an establishment Republican.

Obamacare/Tax Reform:  Senator Orrin Hatch (R) says that an Obamacare individual mandate repeal might be include in the yet to be presented tax reform bill.  Ironically this is the only thing holding Obamacare up from completely collapsing.

ABA/Trump:  One of President Trump’s judicial nominees has run afoul of a certain left-wing legal group known as the American Bar Association.  Leonard Steven Grasz, former Deputy Chief Attorney General for Nebraska, is an experienced litigator who has fought numerous cases at the Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court level during his 11 year tenure, but it appears that is not good enough for the ABA whose deemed him not qualified for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Grasz’s offense appears to supporting pro-life legislation (oh the horror).

Congress

PA-18:  It appears the insider driven primary process is causing more headaches for the Democrats than the Republicans in the race to replaced disgraced former Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Abortions for Mistresses Only).  The Westmoreland Democratic Party and its leadership is being sued by Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cerilli (D) because she wants them to appoint several dozen committee members who will support her nomination while the Westmoreland Democratic Party along with the other county parties in PA-18 don’t want to have a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-coal candidate to challenge the Republicans.

FL-27:  Speaking of disgusting behavior, Miami Beach City Commissioner and Democratic congressional candidate Kristen Rosen Gonzalez (D) has accused Rafael Velasquez (D), a progressive activist and city commission candidate endorsed by Gonzalez, of “Harvey Weinsteining” her two weeks ago.  Velasquez refutes the claims and has provided text messages of the two being friendly last week.  This is after the Florida Democratic Party chairman resigned last week because of an affair and this seat featuring a Republican candidate claiming to have been abducted by space aliens.

States

PA-Lt. Governor:  Braddock Mayor John Fetterman (D-Bold Progressive!) is in the final stages of planning a run against Lt. Governor Mike Stack (D – Unendorsed).  Fetterman, possibly the most covered small city mayor on RRHElections, is essentially the Bernie Sanders of the Mon Valley and would be a formidable challenger to the ethically-challenged state trooper abusing Stack in the shotgun primary.

PA-Election Fraud:  PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D-What office is open next?) and Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley Hodge (D?) charged four elections officials for misbehaving in the 197th House District special election.  Sounds like the standard shady behavior we would expect in the poorest part of Philadelphia when the Democratic candidate got thrown off the ballot and had to run as a write-in.  The fact that Shapiro went after the Philly machine speaks volumes to how weak the machine has become.

Political Roundup for September 11th, 2017

Our own John Henrik Gilhuus has an excellent preview of today’s national elections in Norway, and it’s a great read. John will also be liveblogging the results here after polls close at 3 PM Eastern. Separately, at noon ET we will also have a preview of tomorrow’s NYC Primary and many other local elections around the country.

And now, as we remember those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on this day in 2001, here’s some electoral news to get your day started right.

President

Hillary: Well, it’s official. Breaking the hearts of Trumpistas and angry feminists everywhere (such a rare combination that I can’t even think of a joke for it), Hillary Clinton has declared that she’ll never be a candidate for office again. This is a pretty significant admission, as being the First Woman President(TM) has pretty much been her singular goal for the last fifty years.

Congress

AL-Sen: It looks like the Curse of the Appointed Senator will claim another victim. Southeast Research went into the field and found that in the upcoming special election Republican primary runoff, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R-Jeezus) leads appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R-Trump) 52-36.

MI-Sen: Songsmith Robert Richie, aka Kid Rock (R) is sounding more and more like a candidate for office, albeit an unconventional one. At a recent concert, Ritchie gave a stump speech of sorts on a wide variety of political and cultural topics. He did tone it down a bit from his usual X-rated topics to merely R-rated profanity, but if he does eventually run, it’s going to be one wild ride.

IN-09: This is pretty much just a Democratic campaign press release, but it highlights something pretty interesting about how the post-2016 Democratic Party is changing. The candidate who put out the release against Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R) has no real shot at winning the GE. However, as evidenced by his prominently-featured endorsement by the Indianapolis chapter of the Bernie-affiliated group Our Revolution, the more lefty elements of the party are being a lot more open about their socialist leanings these days. If such a group gains traction within the party, it will likely effect candidate selection and messaging for years to come.

Governor

FL-Gov: Buried in this piece on a poll of Sunshine State political insiders is a very interesting opinion: nearly two-thirds believe that Big Law Guy John Morgan (D-The Nearest Ambulance), who is widely thought to be a candidate for Governor, will not actually run. That’s food for thought, and likely good news for former Rep. Gwen Graham (D).

FL-Gov-Continued: Oops! Gadfly State Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Jack Latvala (R) was reportedly very angry at local officials for shutting down the Tampa area due to Hurricane Irma because it interfered with his kickoff fundraiser. Latvala is known for his fiery temper, among other attributes. It often makes him popular in certain quarters. This time, though, he stepped in it big time.

IL-Gov: In something of a companion piece to the IN-09 article above, State Sen. and gubernatorial hopeful Daniel Biss (D) has found a replacement running mate after having to jettison his original one for that official’s support of the anti-Israel BDS movement. The previous running mate was a Chicago Alderman, whereas this one is a State Rep. from Rockford. Biss is a progressive darling (watch John Green’s previous promotion of him as evidence), but even he is feeling the heat from some quarters for making the switch. Biss is unlikely to get the nomination, though, as support seems to be coalescing behind Rich Guy JB Pritzker (D).

State/Local

JeffCo-School Board: The biennial knife fight for control of Colorado’s second-largest school district is once again upon us, and the district’s superintendent is worried that the contests will be just as nasty as they have been in previous elections. In particular, he’s worried that employees of the school district (read: members of the teachers’ union) will allow the contest to carry-over into the workplace. I’m really glad that I don’t have this guy’s job.

NC-Redistrict: Tarheel Republican legislators have filed over 2,000 pages of paperwork that they say proves that they tried to use the newly-redrawn legislative maps to screw over the Democrats as much as possible while also not breaking county integrity rules that the court suddenly decided superseded established VRA standards. I guess if you’re the NC Democrats, this kind of puts you in a weird spot. What do you do, complain that the new maps DON’T screw you over? Eh, I guess that they’ll just scream ‘racists!’ like they usually do.

NH-Voter Fraud: Oy, I’m not sure what to think of this one. On the one hand, it’s kind of disturbing that several thousand voters who registered and voted on E-Day 2016 may not actually live in the state. On the other hand, NH House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R) and the Washington Times are probably blowing this out of proportion, as even if a significant number of them were not NH residents, a decent number also probably voted for Trump and Ayotte.

NV-AG: Ahead of an expected run for his boss’ job, Nevada’s No. 2 prosecutor has departed his job for a berth at a prominent private firm. Wes Duncan (R), right-hand man to AG and gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt (R) is getting in some time in the private sector as he ramps-up his nascent campaign. Duncan, who is only 36, is also a Major in the USAF’s JAG Corps.

PA-HD-70: State Representative Dan McNeill (D) has died. McNeill was a local character well-known for his stature and booming voice. He was part of a dying breed of blue-collar, mostly white ethnic Catholic, urban machine Democrats. The race to replace him will have most of its action on the Democratic side of things, as the district is safe for Team Blue. The most interesting point will be whether a strong Puerto Rican candidate runs against whomever the local machine fields.

Political Roundup for April 6, 2017

Polling Update:  We are currently polling the GA-6 Special Election.  We are still accepting donations and anyone who donates $10 will receive early access to the poll. So please click HERE to donate!

Now for today’s roundup as I am preparing for more April showers…

President / National

Bannon:  Senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon (Nationalist) threatened to resign over conflicts with Trump’s son-in-law and go-to adviser Jared Kushner, but Bannon decided to stay after pressure from Bannon fan and Republican mega donoer Rebekah Mercer.  The Kushner / Bannon battle lines are clearly appearing now.

SCOTUS:  The Trump administration is planning for the next Supreme Court vacancy to come down the pike.  As Neil Gorsuch is about to be placed on the Supreme Court using the nuclear option, all eyes are on Supreme Court Justice and our benevolent dictator Anthony Kennedy and whether he will retire at the end of this term.

Congress

GA-6:  Jon Ossoff (D-His girlfriend’s crash pad one district over) has raked in the cash in is special election Bold Progressive Resistance attempt to take down the Republican Party in the northern suburbs of  Atlanta.  He raised $8.3 million and has $2.1 million on hand.  The left leaning faction of the Political Staffer / Consultant Industrial  Complex are enjoying what appears to be a low 40s affair for Ossoff.

More-GA-6:  The Hill looks at the crowded Republican field and who might get to take on Ossoff in the runoff.

UT-4:  RRH favorite Representative Mia Love (R) will receive a Bold Progressive challenge from Marla Mott-Smith.  Mott-Smith appears to be focused on pushing single-payer and stopping efforts to transfer land management to the state level.  This should be an easy threat for Love to dispatch.

WATN:  Former Congressman Steve Stockman (Libertarian) is pleading non-guilty in his corruption trial and is also claiming he is broke.  The federal Magistrate Judge overseeing his case will appointment an attorney.  One must wonder if he pushed to eliminate federally funded legal aid programs.

Filibuster:  Speaking of using the nuclear option, Politico points out that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is not doing anything new, but just finishing up the work started by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D- Wherever there is a TV Camera)

States

GA-Gov:  Adviser to Vice President Mike Pence (R) Nick Ayers is considering a run for Georgia Governor.  Ayers is deeply connected with the political establishment in Georgia including former Governor and soon to be Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue (R).  Ayers has also played leadership roles in various pro-Trump groups.

PA-WATN:  Former State House Speaker John Perzel (RINO-Northeast Philly) won’t have to pay $1 million in restitution to the Commonwealth.  The Superior Court tossed the penalty, but kept his guilty verdict for various forms of political corruption intact.

Political Roundup for March 21, 2017

First off, today’s lone election is one of the craziest we’ve seen in a long time. At stake is PA-LD-197, a D+45 (2012), 51% Hispanic/40% Black seat around Hunting Park and Temple Hospital in the heart of the ghettos of North Philly. In spite of these lopsided numbers, the special election is highly competitive, because the only candidate on the ballot is a Republican, medical office manager Lucinda Little (R). The prior machine stooge Democratic nominee was thrown off the ballot for residency violations (he actually lives in Bucks County and water bills showed he used less than one flush a month at his North Philly “home”) and the Dems were unable to replace him. So there is a decent chance this seat, where Democrats have a 17:1 registration advantage, could flip. Democrats are running a write-in campaign, for civil servant Emilio Vasquez (D), a typical machine hack. With ultra-low turnout essentially certain (I would be surprised if more than 2500 total votes were cast in this election), there is a good chance machine backing could get him over the line. But there are other write-ins, most notably 2012 Green Party VP nominee Cheri Honkala (G), a longtime local left-wing activist/publicity-seeker who is actually running the most serious campaign of all candidates (raising over $30K) and could actually have a chance to win given her high name recognition. There are also about half a dozen other Democrats running write-in campaigns that could splinter the vote. So this vote could go any way; right now I’d peg it as a three-way tossup between Little, Honkala, and Vasquez, but given that 1000 votes will likely be enough to win, there’s even a possibility of someone coming out of nowhere. Indeed, we may not know the winner for a while as there is likely to be protracted legal action over write-in ballots. And for those of you who take Trump seriously and literally, this is one to watch: the odds of at least some fraud in this race are huge IMO, given the miniscule number of votes, the question of how to write-in candidates, a large non-English-speaking electorate, and the beyond-shaky history of Philadelphia elections. If you’re interested in more detail on this race, the local blog Philadelinquency has a good comprehensive rundown of this crazy sideshow.

Now the rest of the day’s news:

Senate:

AL-Sen: A hearing has been set for April 12 in Auditor Jim Ziegler’s (R) lawsuit to force Gov. Robert Bentley (R) to hold the special election for the US Senate immediately rather than in November 2018. The spirit of the law seems to suggest a special election should be held immediately, but Bentley’s office argued that the Governor had discretion to delay the contest. Appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) is considered the strong favorite to finish the term.

IN-Sen: Add Rep. Jim Banks (R) to the list of candidates considering a run against Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). Banks, a somewhat antiestablishment-leaning first-term Rep. from the Fort Wayne area, joins fellow house members Luke Messer (R) and Todd Rokita (R) in considering runs. While the other two appear to be actively laying groundwork, Banks seems to be just in the “not ruling it out” stage, but Banks’s antiestablishment profile could give him a relatively clear lane against the more establishment-flavored Messer and Rokita.

NJ-Sen: SCOTUS has rejected Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D) request to hear his appeal of his indictment on corruption charges, meaning that the Senator will head to trial in September. Menendez is still pledging to seek re-election in 2018, but a conviction would obviously change those plans. Though then again, this is New Jersey…

TN-Sen ’20: It’s often hard to tell what “Celebrity X is thinking about running for office!” stories are for real and which are just clickbait, so salt to taste, but there are rumors flying that Peyton Manning (R) is considering a run to succeed Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) should the latter retire in 2020 as expected.

Governor:

IL-Gov: State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) is the newest candidate into the race to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). Biss is an upscale liberal from Evanston who ran an abortive bid for Comptroller last year but deferred to now-Comptroller and Madigan attack dog Susana Mendoza (D). He joins wealthy businessmen JB Pritzker (D) and Chris Kennedy (D), Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D), and downstate local superintendent Bob Daiber (D) in the crowded primary. Regardless of the Dem nominee, the race will likely be decided by the unstoppable force/immovable object clash of personalities between the uber-wealthy Rauner and State House Dictator Speaker Mike Madigan (D).

NY-Gov: 2010 Comptroller nominee Harry Wilson (R) is considering a bid for Governor in 2018. Wilson, a suburban moderate with Upstate roots who narrowly lost the 2010 race despite the deadweight of the polarizing Carl Paladino (R) atop the statewide ticket, could be a formidable contender. At least five other Republicans, Westchester CE and 2014 nominee Rob Astorino (R), ex-Rep. Richard Hanna (R), State Senate President John Flanagan (R), Dutchess CE Marc Molinaro (R), and Paladino, are also thought to be considering the race. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is seeking a third term but may face primary opposition.

TN-Gov: State Sen. Mae Beavers (R) is officially exploring a bid for Governor; the suburban Nashville lawmaker is known as a staunch conservative and could split the anti-establishment vote with fellow State Sen. Mark Green (R), a declared candidate but also a rumored possibility for Trump’s Army Secretary. Gov. Haslam administration official Randy Boyd (R) is the other Republican in the race, but many others, including State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), are considering. Ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) is in on the Dem side, while State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D) is considering.

House:

CA-34: Well, it looks like we have a rival to Brianna Wu for the congressional candidate living embodiment of just about everything sane people can hate about SJWism. Obama White House staffer Alejandra Campoverdi (D) is one of the multitude of also-rans in this race seeking to advance to a runoff with the heavily-favored State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D). Campoverdi thus far hasn’t been getting a whole lot of traction, and thus anyone watching the race had no reason to know or care that she once posed for the pornographic magazine Maxim. But she now has published an essay in Cosmo saying she wants people to get over it, which will of course get her plenty of additional SJW victim cred in her very-left wing downtown LA seat. I tend to be of the philosophy that I could care less what you do with your life as long as I don’t have to hear about it, and I wish more people would take that to heart.

GA-6: Clout Research (Wenzel) has a new poll out, showing former congressional staffer Jon Osoff (D) jumping out to a lead with 41 as the only serious Dem in the field. Ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) and Johns Creek councilman Bob Gray (R) are tied for the second runoff spot with 16% each. Republicans combine to lead the combined Democratic total 48-44, a narrower-than-expected margin in this historically-Republican district. Democrats appear to be stacking all their chips on Osoff for a win in the next few months, bypassing other specials in Montana, KS-4, and SC-5.

WATN: Ex-Rep. Steve Stockman (R), who represented southeast suburban Houston from 1994 to 96 and then again represented the current TX-36 from 2012 to 2014, was indicted last week on charges of running a phony charity for his personal use.

State & Local:

CA-Supt: 2014 candidate and charter-school executive Marshall Tuck (D) is mounting a second bid for the office he lost narrowly three years ago to incumbent Tom Torlakson (D). Tuck, a moderate, faced strong opposition from teachers’ unions in his first bid, and will likely be a target of their fire again for the open seat; however, his name recognition from 2014 could prove quite valuable in standing out from the field without an incumbent to take on.

CO-AG: Boulder DA Stan Garnett (D) is mounting a second bid for the office of AG, which he lost as the 2010 nominee. Garnett, a staunch liberal, will face State Rep. Joe Salazar (D), who is also very liberal, in the primary to take on first-term incumbent Cynthia Coffman (R).

GA-SoS: SoS Brian Kemp (R) has not officially kicked off his expected run for Governor, but a candidate is already lining up to succeed him. State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R) of Gwinnett County has become the first candidate to declare interest in the seat, but says he will only run if Kemp follows through on his bid for Governor. Brockway seems likely to be a strong contender for the post.

IA-SoS: Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert (D) is considering a run against SoS Paul Pate (R). Weipert is the first Democrat to publicly consider a run against Pate, who is likely to seek a third term (second consecutive) in the post after a term in the 90s.

NE-SoS: Nebraska SoS John Gale (R) will retire and not seek a fifth full term in 2018. State Sen. John Murante (R) and former elected state school board member Bob Evnen (R) have been mentioned as possible candidates for the open seat.

NM-Lands Comm: Ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) is mounting a rematch against the man who defeated him by 704 votes in 2014, incumbent Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R). Powell’s career has had more than its share of ups and downs: he lost the 1986 gubernatorial election as his first entry into politics, was appointed Lands Commissioner and elected for two terms from 1993 to 2002, lost a primary for his old job in 2006 before winning a third term in 2010, and then losing in a shock upset three years ago as non-incumbent Democrats were carrying three of the five row offices. As a result, it’s hard to peg how strong a candidate he will be.

SD-AG: Lawrence County (pop.25K) DA John Fitzgerald (R) has become the second candidate into this open seat race, joining 2014 Senate candidate Jason Ravnsborg (R). Incumbent Marty Jackley (R) is running for Governor.

WI-AG: Former federal prosecutor Josh Kaul (D), son of 2000s-era ex-AG Peg Lautenschlager (D), is considering a run for his mom’s old job against incumbent Brad Schimel (R). Lautenschlager’s legacy was tarnished by a DUI conviction while the sitting AG, which caused her to lose a primary for a second term in 2006.

WI-Supt: Incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers (D) has released his first ad ahead of the election in two weeks. Evers’s spot attacks his opponent, local superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), for a harebrained scheme Holtz apparently hatched to give his primary opponent a high-paying job in the Superintendent’s office in exchange for dropping out of the race. Holtz, who has raised little, is probably unlikely to air ads of his own.

NYC-Mayor: Councilman Eric Ulrich (R), who represents a deep-blue district in Ozone Park, Queens, won’t run for Mayor this year, and will seek re-election. Ulrich’s decision leaves well-funded developer Paul Massey (R) as the most likely GOP nominee. Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D) is likely to be renominated for a second term but may face primary opposition.

NV-Municipal: Here’s a good rundown of the key municipal elections going on in Las Vegas and its suburbs two weeks from today. The most exciting race at stake appears to be one of three city council races in Las Vegas, district 6. There, ex-State Rep. and 2016 NV-3 candidate Michelle Fiore (R), a polarizing libertarian-conservative known for her at times over-the-top support for anti-government causes, is facing off with the wife of the outgoing Democratic incumbent for a swingy council seat. The piece also has information about the two other council races in Las Vegas and Mayoral races in the suburbs of North Las Vegas and Henderson.

Miscellany:

Blogosphere: Sad news that Jon Richards, editor of the excellent blog Georgiapol.com, has been moved to hospice care for Stage 4 cancer. Our thoughts are with him and his family.

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