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Political Roundup for November 28, 2017

There are three special election runoffs today, two in Mississippi and one in South Carolina. MS-SD-10 is a D-held ~R+2 rural seat around Senatobia and Holly Springs, just beyond the edge of the Memphis exurbs. This area tends to be far more Dem-friendly downballot and contains one of the few remaining Dixiecrat concentrations. Businessman Neil Whaley (R) led the first round 36-31 over Holly Springs Councilwoman Sharon Gipson (D); however, as three other Democrats took the remainder of the vote, Gipson looks like a moderately strong favorite in the second round. MS-LD-54 is an ~R+22 seat covering eastern Vicksburg and rural areas to the north. Insurance agent Kevin Ford (R) led physician Randy Easterling (R) 37-33; there is no clear favorite in the runoff. The third is a primary runoff, for SC-LD-99, an R+12 seat connecting upscale Charleston suburbs along the northeast part of I-526 from Hanahan to northern Mt. Pleasant. Businesswoman Nancy Mace (R) took 49.5% in the first election, missing an outright win by just 35 votes. She is now the clear favorite over Mt. Pleasant councilman Mark Smith (R), who took second with 27%. The winner will face businesswoman Cindy Boatwright (D) in the general.

Now as we try to sort out who is the real Antipope of the CFPB, it is time for the day’s news…

Senate:

AL-Sen: Republicans have a write-in candidate for this seat, but it’s not exactly a big name. Retired Marine Lee Busby (R), who served as vice-chief of staff to John Kelly when he was a general and has worked as a sculptor since leaving the service, is running as a write-in against ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) and ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R). Busby could be a vehicle for Moore-skeptical Republicans, but with his lack of any political experience and zero name recognition it’s hard to see him getting more than a few points. It’s unclear who he would draw more from as I would guess there may be as many soft Rs that have already defected to Jones as have been sticking with Moore. Trump announced yesterday he would not campaign with Moore.

MN-Sen: Sen. Al Franken (D) is resisting calls to step down, and said he is returning to his Senate work in a painfully awkward press conference yesterday.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst (R) is at the center of a messy family lawsuit. Herbst’s mother Deborah is suing Tim’s sister Amanda and her husband, alleging the two hacked into Deborah’s phone to look for evidence to use in a lawsuit against Tim. Amanda’s then-boyfriend, now-husband, Jesse Jablon, alleges he was fired as Trumbull’s interim city manager because of his relationship with Amanda. Jablon also accuses Tim of later spreading rumors that Jablon was a drug dealer. Tim does not deny that the relationship was problematic for Jablon’s prospects, saying that Jablon’s relationship with Amanda could have opened Tim up to charges of nepotism. Herbst is one of around 8 credible Republicans competing in this epic clown-car primary.

MI-Gov: LG Brian Calley (R) is expected to launch his gubernatorial campaign today. Calley will likely join front-running AG Bill Schuette (R), State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R), and physician Jim Hines (R) in the GOP primary. Democrats have a crowded primary field as well with ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) as the front-runner.

TX-Gov: With under two weeks before the filing deadline, Texas Democrats continue to cast about for a sacrificial lamb to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The latest little-known name to consider the race is Houston city councilman Dwight Boykins (D), who is officially exploring. Investor Andrew White (D), son of 80s-era ex-Gov. Mark (D), is the most serious candidate in the race so far, but another low “C” list Dem, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D), is also considering.

House:

ID-1: The Club for Growth has endorsed ex-State Sen. and 2014 Gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher (R) in the primary for this open seat. Fulcher, an antiestablishment conservative, is facing 80s-era ex-LG David Leroy (R) and State Reps. Luke Malek (R) and Christy Perry (R) in the primary for the safely Republican seat covering the libertarian-leaning western half of the state and northern panhandle.

IL-4: ICYMI, last night Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) announced he would not run for a fourteenth term; Cook County commissioner and 2015 Mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D) and Chicago councilman and abortive LG candidate Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D) are already thought to be preparing bids to succeed him. Click through for our full Great Mentioner and analysis of this ultra-Safe-D Chicago seat.

MT-AL: Reporter Ben Jacobs has sent a Cease and Desist letter to Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) accusing Gianforte of publicly misrepresenting the events of Gianforte’s May assault of Jacobs.

NH-2: Josh McElveen (R), a prominent former political reporter at the state’s largest TV station, is the latest Republican into the race to take on Rep. Annie Kuster (D). McElveen will face State Rep. Steve Negron (R) and physician Stewart Levenson (R); he likely starts with the highest name recognition and probably starts as the slight front-runner in the primary. Any Republican will face an uphill race against Kuster, a strong incumbent in the light-blue seat.

NJ-2: Democrats are about to land a major recruiting coup for this open R-held South Jersey purple seat, as State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D), who has easily held down a red State Senate seat, is set to kick off his campaign tomorrow. Van Drew is a truly “A” list recruit for Dems here, and his entry makes this race among the toughest holds for the GOP in 2018. Newly-elected State Sen. Chris Brown (R) is probably the GOP’s best prospect here after his surprisingly strong legislative win last month, though there is not yet indication he’s considering a bid.

SC-6: Ex-State Rep. and 2014 LG nominee Bakari Sellers (D) has announced he will run for the seat of Rep. James Clyburn “at some point.” Sellers, who is considered a rising star, stopped short of saying he would not challenge Clyburn in a primary. Clyburn, the third-ranking Dem in the House, is 77 but has given no indication of wanting to leave Congress by any means other than a stretcher. Should the seat come open, Sellers would likely be a strong candidate but potentially face a crowded primary.

TX-2: Two new candidates have entered the race for this suburban Houston open seat. Daniel Crenshaw (R), a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan, has joined the race and would seem to have the story to be a serious contender.  Healthcare executive David Balat (R) was originally planning a primary challenge to Rep. John Culberson (R) in TX-7 next door, but has decided to shift to the open seat as well. The two join State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R) and businessman Rick Walker (R) in the race.

TX-9: Rep. Al Green (D), who represents southern Houston and some multiracial southwest suburbs, is getting some fresh attention over a 2008 case of harassment allegations. Green had sex with a former staffer, Lucinda Daniels, who later filed suit for sexual harassment after Green began confronting her about her drug use. The two issued a rather cryptic statement yesterday saying that they “remain friends” and that no money was paid in the case.

TX-29: State Rep. Armando Walle (D) has aborted his run for Congress days after beginning it. It is looking more like State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) is the prohibitive favorite to take this heavily Hispanic deep-blue Houston seat.

State Offices:

AL-AG: Ex-AG Troy King (R) is running to get his old job back. King lost a re-election primary in 2010 to now-outgoing Sen. Luther Strange (R). He joins appointed incumbent Steve Marshall (R), ex-US Attorney Alice Martin (R), and 2006 State Auditor candidate Chess Bedsole (R) in the primary.

CT-AG: AG George Jepsen (D) announced yesterday he would not seek a third term. The low-key Jepsen would have been a prohibitive favorite for re-election. State Rep. William Tong (D) and prosecutor and gubernatorial candidate Chris Mattei (D) have been mentioned as potential candidates for the open seat. Republicans may seriously contest this race as Connecticut looks likely to be more-fertile-than-average ground for Republicans next year due to toxic Gov. Dan Malloy (D).

PA-LG: Lancaster County commissioner Craig Lehman (D) is the third significant candidate to take on LG Mike Stack (D) in the shotgun-wedding primary to run with Gov. Tom Wolf (D). You may recall that Stack is in hot water for abusing staffers at his state residence. Lehman joins Braddock Mayor and 2016 Senate candidate John Fetterman (D) and Chester County commissioner Kathy Cozzone (D) in the race.

MN-SD-54, MN-LD-23B: State Sen. Dan Schoen (D) and State Rep. Tony Cornish (R) have both resigned after being accused of sexual harassment. Schoen’s southeast exurban Twin Cities seat will likely be hotly-contested, while Cornish’s rural south-central MN seat should stay Republican barring something unexpected.

CA-LD-39: Following them out the door is another pervnado member, State Rep. Raul Bocanegra (D) of the heavily Hispanic eastern San Fernando Valley. Bocanegra’s seat is safely Democratic but could draw a crowded field of Dems.

Local Offices:

Atlanta-Mayor: Ahead of next week’s runoff, councilwoman Mary Norwood (I) has scored two significant endorsements. Businessman Peter Aman (D), the other white moderate in the first round, is backing Norwood, giving her two endorsements from defeated rivals who totaled 20% of the first-round vote. But the bigger deal is an endorsement from 2000s-era ex-Mayor Shirley Franklin (D), Norwood’s most prominent black endorser to date. Norwood is considered the underdog in the runoff after trailing 27-21 to councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D), a black establishment liberal who has the support of outgoing incumbent Kasim Reed (D) and a majority of the state’s Dem establishment.

Philly-Mayor ’19: Outgoing City Comptroller Alan Butkovitz (D) is hinting at a run against Mayor Jim Kenney (D) in 2019. Butkovitz is something of a maverick whose mediocre relationship with the local machine cost him his re-election bid this year, so he would likely face an uphill fight against Kenney.

Cook, IL-CE: Ex-Cook CE Todd Stroger (D) is running to get his old job back. Stroger was booted in the 2010 primary by now-incumbent Toni Preckwinkle (D). Stroger, who took under 14% in his re-election primary after a term marred by multiple sandals, is not likely to be a particularly strong challenger to Preckwinkle, who is unpopular due to her advocacy for a soda tax, which was so loathed that public outrage forced its repeal. Gadflyish ex-Chicago councilman Bob Fioretti (D) is also challenging Preckwinkle.

Political Roundup for November 16, 2017

Check back at 3pm for our previews of the weekend’s election in Louisiana and PA-18 D convention. Now as America becomes more “woke” to the perversion from sea to shining sea, it is time for today’s roundup.  In that spirit, we will have a section today devoted to naughty behavior obviously including lots about “Dirty Roy Moore”:

The Perverted News:

AL-Sen: It is bad when you have to send your attorney onto MSNBC to deny allegations that you have a thing for teenage girls.  It is even worse when your attorney makes bizarre statements about the host of the show and his ethnic background (by the way, Ali Velshi is from Canada).  This was in response to another victim of Dirty Roy Moore stepping forward to tell us he spent all that money on the Ten Commandments, but clearly did not understand some of them.

More AL-Sen:  Senator Luther Strange (R) knew of rumors of Dirty Roy Moore, but was unable to get the victims to go on the record.  Senator Strange does not know the first rule of dirty politics… have other people do the dirty work for you, specifically the press.

Even More AL-Sen:  The NRSC, the first organization to go full-blown Taylor Swift on Dirty Roy Moore, has released a poll showing Dirty Roy Moore down 12 points on Doug Jones (D).  There are some questions to be raised by this poll as polls in the field at the same time showed Moore slightly ahead not on the way to losing Alabama by double digits.

FLDS:  Hildale Utah has elected its first mayor whose not a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints.  Donia Jessop, a former FLDS member who still practices plural marraige with her husband and “sister wife”, defeated the incumbent FLDS mayor.  In addition, 3 non-FLDS members won city council seats meaning that theocracy is finally dead in the state of Utah.  Jessop plans on organizing a similar movement in Colorado City, Arizona to end the theocracy south of the Utah border.  Utah and Arizona have been taking measures (it was about time) to destabilize the festering bit of theocracy along their shared border.

OR-State Senate: State Senator Sara Gelser (D) has accused State Senator Jeff Kruse (R) of sexual assault and claims that Kruse has sexually assaulted over a dozen other women affiliated with the Oregon Senate.  Kruse denies the allegations and the Senate is investigating Oregon’s bout of perversion.

Philly-Sheriff:  Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams (D-Machine) faces an increasing number of sexual assault / harassment / intimidating claims.  Controller-Elect Rebecca Rhynhart (D-Not Machine) is going to audit the Sheriff’s Office for a number of reasons including Williams’ being a dirty man.

Now for the non-perverted news…

Congress/National

MA-Sen/MA-Gov:  Only in Massachusetts can a moderate Republican Governor and Bold Progressive Democratic Senator be cruising to reelection at the same time.  Governor Charlie Baker (R-Andyroo’s Hero) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) have high approval numbers and are cruising to reelection.

House GOP:  Members of the Republican Political Staffer Consultant Industrial Complex are worried that Republican members of the House of Representatives are not ready for a “blue wave” coming in 2018.  I tend to share their worry, but am not sure if there is anything they can do about it other than appropriate funds to build a time machine, go back in time, and rig the RNC rules to prevent a Trump nomination.

DNC:  Senator Tim Kaine (D) wants to eliminate the DNC super delegates for the 2020 nomination.  Kaine should look at how not having them hurt the Republican Party.

States

OH-Gov:  Speaking of Senator Warren, the guy who took the job originally meant for Seantor Warren, CFPB Director Richard Cordray (D-Bold Progressive), stepped down to run for Ohio Governor.  The financial services industry is having an all-night long bender to celebrate Cordray’s candidacy.

Michigan Senate:  Frequent commentator RepublicanMichigander published an excellent breakdown of the Michigan Senate outlook in 2018.  I recommend reading as all of Michigan’s senate seats are up for election next year.

California:  Apparently it is legal now for paid canvassers to harvest ballots in California because voters cannot be trusted with mailing their own ballots and picking the right candidates.  Vote by mail is obviously too difficult.  I wonder if soon there will be proposals to cancel elections and let the vanguard party select the leaders.

2017 General Election Previews, Part 2: Mayoral Races

Today we continue with Part 2 of our 3-part General Election Preview Series. Part 1 yesterday covered legislatures and county races, while Part 3 next Monday will cover the big-ticket races. Today we will focus on mayoral elections. The year after the presidential race is traditionally among the biggest times of the 4-year cycle for mayoral races, and 2017 is not an exception. Some two dozen big cities are electing mayors this year across 11 states. Most of the races are standard winner-take-all general elections, but there are also four Louisiana Rules Top Two races (denoted with LRTT) and two Ranked Choice Voting Races (denoted with RCV). Here we cover the races in cities above roughly 200K population, as well as two especially interesting smaller races. NYC (an office that behaves in practice more like a Governor than a Mayor) will be covered with the other Marquee Races on Monday. The mayoral races here are listed in descending population order.

Charlotte: Charlotte is America’s 17th-largest city; it has a population of 840K that breaks down as roughly 50% White, 35% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It had a PVI of D+13 (2008), and it has probably trended left since then; however, the GOP has done quite well in mayoral contests, losing narrowly in both 2013 and 2015. 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. City councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) is the Dem nominee and thought the favorite. Somewhat surprisingly, she ousted the incumbent mayor (without the need for a runoff) in the September primary. Overall Lyles, a longtime council veteran, is a mainstream black establishment liberal. Though Lyles is a staunch liberal, she is also considered much more easygoing in style than the outgoing incumbent and has a better relationship with the council. Her inoffensive nature and the blue (and getting bluer) lean of the city should leave Lyles in a strong position to win the partisan general election. Lyles’s rival is city councilman Kenny Smith (R). Smith is a mainstream conservative from the wealthy southern part of the city, and is clearly to the right of the moderates the GOP put up for the seat in prior cycles (though Smith has been tacking to the center for this campaign). Thus, due to the lean of the city, and Lyles’s non-polarizing nature, Smith has generally been considered a long-shot. However, he is definitely a credible candidate, fundraising well and running a strong campaign, and might have a chance to pull the upset. A poll this week interestingly had Lyles up by just 1 point, suggesting this race could be surprisingly competitive and Smith could have a stronger chance to win than the fundamentals suggest. If he falls short as expected, Smith is definitely someone to watch for a state legislature or NC-9 campaign in the near future.

Seattle: Seattle is America’s 18th-largest city and its fastest growing big city, with a population of around 705K. Its demographics break down as roughly 70% White and 15% Asian, with small but significant Black and Hispanic populations. The northern half of the city is overwhelmingly white and monolithically home to upscale leftists, while the southern half of the city is racially mixed and has some blue-collar pockets (though plenty of upscale leftists as well). Seattle has a PVI of D+32 (2008); it has a history (from not all that long ago) as a blue-collar industrial city, but in recent years it has quickly turned into something of a slightly watered-down San Francisco. And like San Francisco, politics in the city takes the form of a two-party system between left and far-left, mainstream/sane liberal candidates and ultra-left moonbats. The open-seat mayoral general election is between one member of each faction. Incumbent Ed Murray (D), a mainstream liberal, was thought to be headed toward an uneventful re-election, but his campaign was derailed by a  series of lawsuits alleging past sexual abuse. Ex-US Attorney Jenny Durkan (D) is the mainstream liberal choice and generally considered the overall front-runner; she led the first round with 28%. Durkan, who touts her status as the first openly-gay US Attorney, is a mainstream liberal by Seattle standards (though she would be considered pretty far left just about anywhere else). She has received the endorsement of outgoing Mayor Murray (though she has disavowed that after Murray’s scandal) as well as most of the Dem establishment’s support; she has also dominated the fundraising race. Durkan’s major liability is her close establishment ties, which are not endearing to far-left voters, as well as her top-down management style that may grate on Seattle’s relatively cordial political sensibilities. Durkan’s base is likely to be the same as Murray’s, establishment liberals, particularly on the north side. The two other establishment liberals in the primary took 21%. Durkan faces a far-left rival in urban planner Cary Moon (D). Moon has attempted to run as an upscale far-left outsider, along the lines of the successful 2009 campaign of ex-Mayor Mike McGinn (D). Like McGinn, Moon made her name opposing a freeway relocation project and seems to be casting herself as the champion of Seattle’s far-left community, especially the influential ultra-environmentalist bloc. She was helped to a second place finish in the primary with 18% by the endorsement of the city’s influential Stranger alternative weekly, narrowly beating out an even further-left (borderline neo-communist) candidate. Underscoring how much the city’s ultra-left-wing has grown in the last decade, the two other ultra-left candidates in the primary took 23%, for a net score of 49-41 in favor of the establishment candidates. Durkan looks like a very slight favorite due to her stronger position in the first round and the better performance of establishment liberals. However, Seattle’s far-left community is quite powerful and has overperformed in the past, and Moon could easily prevail.

Boston: Boston has a population of 675K and a PVI D+33 (2016), which breaks down as roughly 45% White, 25% Black, 20% Hispanic, and 10% Asian. In spite of Boston’s reputation as a student/hipster/upscale liberal town, most of those sit outside the city limits in Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline, and those within Boston are low-turnout and largely irrelevant in local elections. Instead, elections are dominated by moderate white ethnics: the city includes a huge section of high-turnout middle-class-white suburban territory in the southwest (West Roxbury) and some urban poor white ethnic neighborhoods. The only other real bloc in municipal elections is the minority community: Boston has a large Black community in the south-central part of the city, and a Hispanic community in East Boston. This year, incumbent Mayor Marty Walsh (D) is seeking a second term. Walsh is a union-backed white ethnic Dem who won a close race in 2013 and has been a mainstream to slightly moderate liberal in office. Walsh has been relatively popular and has long been considered a strong favorite for re-election; indeed, it was something of an open question whether he would get a serious challenger at all. Walsh did draw a serious rival, however, in councilman (not that) Tito Jackson (D), who represents the African-American heavy Roxbury neighborhood (which, PSA for those of you not from Boston, is a very different neighborhood from, and nowhere near, West Roxbury). Jackson is attempting to run to Walsh’s left, but he remains little-known outside his district and there isn’t an obvious reservoir of discontent with Walsh to tap into. As such, Walsh led the primary by a large 63-29 margin and looks like the prohibitive favorite in the general. It would likely be a shock if Jackson came close to toppling the incumbent.

Detroit: 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). 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. Duggan led Young 67-27 in the August preliminary round, and it would be surprising if the general election result winds up being significantly different.

Atlanta (LRTT): Atlanta has a population of 475K, roughly 50% Black and 40% White. It has a PVI of D+28 (2008). 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. There are 12 candidates for the open seat mayoral race this year, 8 of them serious. Councilwoman Mary Norwood (I) is the consistent front-runner in first-round polls. Norwood lost the 2009 runoff to now-incumbent Kasim Reed (D) 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 field with no serious right-of-center candidates, that means Norwood is a natural fit for the city’s GOP minority and upscale Buckhead residents, and she is likely to get a large margin in the high-turnout northern part of the city. However, polls have shown her in the 20s and she may find the runoff more difficult as the currently-fractured liberal vote coalesces. Councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) looks most likely to advance with Norwood. Lance-Bottoms has been surging in polls in the last few weeks, boosted by Reed’s endorsement and the support of his network. Like her mentor, Lance-Bottoms is an establishment liberal. She has benefited deeply from being seen as Reed’s handpicked successor, which has allowed her to stand out in a crowded field of similar candidates. She is likely preparing to use Reed’s 2009 playbook again in the runoff against Norwood, casting herself as the true Democrat in the race and the champion of the city’s black vote. There are seven other serious candidates in the race with the potential to upset the Norwood/Lance-Bottoms pairing. City official Peter Aman (D) has led the field in fundraising, and has been surging in polls in recent weeks. Aman, one of the three major white candidates in the race, has been taking aim at Norwood’s base, with an upscale moderate liberalism that seems deisgned to poach Buckhead votes from the left. Polls show the strategy may be working, as his vote share has gone up while Norwood’s has gone down in recent weeks, and there is a chance he could make the runoff or even take Norwood’s spot. Council President Caesar Mitchell (D) has citywide name recognition from his post and has also fundraised well. Mitchell is a moderate liberal with citywide name recognition from his post, and has been polling towards the front of the pack. Mitchell has also fundraised well, as he has a decent relationship with the business community, which could allow him to pull an upset and make the runoff. State Sen. Vincent Fort (D) is the most left-wing candidate in the field and has Bernie’s endorsement. Fort, who calls for making Atlanta a sanctuary city and for marijuana decriminalization, may be able to perform well with high left-wing enthusiasm. However, the black vote in Atlanta is generally fairly establishment-oriented, and Fort’s staunch leftism on both economic and social issues has left him on poor terms with establishment figures. As a result, he has been polling in the middle of the pack, though he has a decent chance to surprise if left-wing enthusiasm is higher than expected. Councilman Kwanza Hall (D) is a moderate liberal who may have some significant appeal to black middle-class voters. However, he has not really stood out in this field as his niche is overcrowded with bigger names like Lance-Bottoms and Mitchell. Thus, he has been polling towards the middle of the pack. That seems likely where he will finish barring a significant surprise. Ex-Council President Cathy Woolard (D) is the final white candidate in the race. However, unlike Norwood and Aman, Woolard is a staunch progressive. Woolard, who is openly gay, could draw a few points from white progressives on the east side, but has been at middling levels in polls as the white liberals in Atlanta are largely young and low-turnout, and Fort is also a home for their votes. Finally, Fulton CE John Eaves (D) was thought to be a strong candidate; however, his campaign has never really gotten off the ground. Eaves entered the race exceptionally late, after other candidates had long been campaigning hard. He is also an establishment black liberal, a niche in this field that is more than oversaturated, and thus he has been polling in low single digits. Overall, right now CW seems to be betting fairly strongly on Norwood and Lance-Bottoms advancing, though there are slight chances for Aman, Mitchell, Fort, Hall, and Woolard to pull an upset and snatch one of the runoff spots away.

Raleigh: North Carolina’s capital has a population of 460K which breaks down as 55% White, 30% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It has a PVI of D+11 (2008), though that has likely shifted well to the left over the last decade. The city is relatively diverse socioeconomically, with white liberals on the west side, upscale white moderates in the northern part of the city, and a mixture of lower and middle-income blacks on the east side. Incumbent Spanky Nancy McFarlane (I) is seeking a fourth two-year term. McFarlane is a moderate, business-friendly liberal who has generally had the support of the Dem establishment. She has been quite popular as mayor and has generally cruised to her first two re-elections over token GOP opposition. However, Raleigh has been shifting strongly left in recent years with an influx of minorities and upscale liberals. And this year, McFarlane is facing a much more serious challenge, from her left rather than right. Attorney Charles Francis (D) hass running to McFarlane’s left, striking SJW notes in contrast to McFarlane’s business liberalism. This year, Francis has the official endorsement of the Wake County Democratic Party, which has previously gone to McFarlane. Francis has also outraised the incumbent, and has backing from some big names in the area’s Democratic establishment (including the heads of liberal polling firm PPP). Many more moderate Dems are still backing McFarlane, but Francis was able to force a runoff by holding McFarlane below 50 in October. That said, the remainder of the vote went to a Republican (though he has somewhat strangely endorsed Francis) and Francis’s 48-38 deficit seems like a tough hill to climb. Thus, McFarlane looks like a moderate favorite for re-election, though there is still a possibility that high black and liberal turnout could allow Francis to pull the upset.

Flip over for much more!

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2017 General Election Previews, Part 1: Legislatures & Miscellany

Today we are kicking off our 3-part general election preview series, with legislative races and miscellaneous other contests (mostly at the county level, but also the NYC Council). Part 2 tomorrow will cover Mayors and Part 3 on Monday will cover marquee races in NJ, VA, and NYC.

VA State House: The Virginia House of Delegates is generally considered to be the highest-profile chamber up this year. Republicans hold a whopping 66-34 majority in the House, but the map is starting to look like something of a dummymander as Hillary carried 51 of the 100 seats. That situation combined with the energized Dem base has led Democrats to be very hopeful for gains here, and a large number of races are seriously contested. There are around 25-30 seats that are at least somewhat competitive, almost all of them R-held. However, given the huge GOP advantage you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone other than the most optimistic Dem partisan who thinks Dems have more than a tiny chance of taking the chamber. CW seems to be betting on a high single-digit D gain as the most likely outcome, with D+5 or less a good night for Republicans and D+10 or more a good night for Democrats. Because not one but two other truly excellent previews of these races have been written already, I’m not going to duplicate them, but rather I will simply link to Geoffrey Skelley’s writeup from UVA as well as Miles Coleman’s 6-part series at DDHQ. FWIW, they’re both worth a read for comparison purposes, as Skelley seems to forecast somewhat smoother sailing for Republicans than Coleman.

UVA Crystal Ball || DDHQ1 || DDHQ2 || DDHQ3 || DDHQ4 || DDHQ5 || DDHQ6

County Races: There are also 10 miscellaneous county-level races worth a mention, most of them county executive races across New York State.

Nassau, NY-CE: Nassau County covers a swath of central Long Island and remains the archetypal microcosm of American suburbia. While mostly middle-class suburbs, it does have some poorer pockets, particularly in Hempstead and Freeport, and some very wealthy pockets along the North Shore. Nassau has a population of 1.3M and a PVI of D+2 (2016), though one can not talk about Nassau without mentioning its legendary Republican Machine (side note: THIS is among the best pieces of political writing ever. If you haven’t read it do so.) For generations Nassau County has been dominated by a machine of hackish RINOs who have held onto power at all (figurative and literal) cost. The County Executive’s job is open this year after incumbent Ed Mangano (R), as archetypal a Nassau machine hack as they come, was indicted on corruption charges. Democrats are enthusiastic about their chances to take the seat back (though, it should be said that they were also enthusiastic about beating Mangano in 2013, which ended in a surprisingly easy Mangano victory). Attempting to hold the seat for the GOP is ex-State Sen. and 2016 NY-3 nominee Jack Martins (R). Martins, a well-regarded former Mineola mayor and State Senator from a purple seat, is considered a strong nominee for the GOP, though his congressional run last year fell flat amid anti-Trump sentiment in his upscale district. At the local level though, Martins has proved adept at using his machine backing. Martins has picked up a number of surprising endorsements, including from many labor groups – not only the more conservative public safety unions, but several typically liberal civil service unions as well. Martins’s rival is county commissioner Laura Curran (D). Curran has been a mainstream liberal on the commission, but has been on mediocre terms with the local machine. That profile seemed a good one for Democrats this year hoping to cast the race as a referendum on Trump and Mangano. The big question in this race is whether Martins’s local establishment support and crossover appeal can counterbalance the greater trends in favor of Curran, and right now there is no obvious answer. The two have fundraised essentially equally, and each has released an internal with themselves in the lead by roughly 5 points, with the one public poll showing a 2-point edge for Martins. Needless to say, overall there appears to be no clear favorite.

Fulton, GA-CE: Fulton County is an oddly-shaped snake that covers the city of Atlanta 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 (2016). Three candidates are squaring off in a special election to fill the seat of John Eaves (D), who resigned to run for Atlanta Mayor; it is in a Louisiana Rules Top Two format. 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. Republicans are also seriously contesting this seat, with a credible contender in Sandy Springs councilman and former congressional staffer Gabriel Sterling (R). Sterling is a moderate conservative and considered a rising star in the party. Though he is facing tough terrain, Republicans held this seat as recently as 2006. Turnout differences and crossover support thus mean Sterling’s chances should not be discounted. There is no clear favorite in this race; a runoff seems likely and any two could advance.

Westchester, NY-CE: Westchester County covers NYC’s northern suburbs between the Hudson River and Long Island Sound. It is wealthy for the most part and the bulk of the county consists of some of the nation’s most upscale suburbs. However, it also includes some poor urban areas in Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Mount Vernon, among others, and a few scattered more lower-middle-class pockets. It has a population of 975K and has been trending left for some time, reaching a PVI of D+16 (2016). Incumbent Rob Astorino (R) won this seat in a considerable upset in 2009. Astorino is a staunch conservative by the standards of the NYC suburbs, but his tenure as county executive has proven successful, especially in his favorable resolution of a long-running fight between the county and HUD over affordable housing options. Astorino has also been successful at not raising property taxes (though they are still by far the highest in the nation). Unsurprisingly, he has been considered a rising star in broader GOP circles, especially after an easy win over a credible rival in 2013. He received the GOP nomination for Governor in 2014 and is seen as certain to consider a second bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in 2018. That position as a potential Cuomo rival, as well as strong anti-Trump sentiment in the county, has led Democrats to become more enthusiastic about taking him out this year. State Sen. George Latimer (D) is the Democratic choice to take on Astorino. Latimer, a mainstream liberal, was considered a strong candidate, as he has won several tough elections and locked down a purple State Senate seat. This year, Latimer’s biggest help is from the deep-blue lean of the county and the highly energized state of the upscale liberal base (which comprises a huge portion of the Westchester electorate.) However, Latimer’s campaign has suffered a string of embarrassing headlines in recent weeks. First, it came out that Latimer owes $48K in back property taxes. Then it came out that Latimer missed a key Senate vote for a vacation… with his mistress, a local judge with whom the married Latimer has been having a longtime (and not so secret) affair. And if that wasn’t enough, Latimer’s car registration has also been revoked over unpaid parking tickets (and yeah, he’s still driving the car anyway). These embarassing issues for Latimer have gotten plenty of exposure, as Astornio has dramatically outspent Latimer. With the deep-blue lean of the county and energized liberal base counteracting Astorino’s strong personal brand and Latimer’s weak campaign, overall there appears to be no clear favorite.

Rockland, NY-CE: Rockland is a D+2 (2016) county of 325K in the northwest NYC suburbs. Rockland is mostly middle-class suburban areas with two major exceptions: Spring Valley and Haverstraw are poor slumburbs, while the west-central part of the county is the center of a huge and rapidly growing Orthodox Jewish enclave. Said Orthodox community has caused a number of contentious issues in the county with its rapid growth, insular ways, and strong political influence by bloc voting for chosen candidates. Incumbent Ed Day (R) is seeking a second term. Day has been more adversarial toward the Orthodox community than most pols, which meant his 2013 victory in spite of their opposition was a significant upset. But conversely, that means Day was able to get a significant amount of Dem crossover support. His tenure as County Executive has been regarded as generally successful, and Democrats only recruited a “C” lister into this race in prosecutor Maureen Porette (D). Porette is a relatively standard-issue liberal who seems an unpolished candidate for the relatively high-profile race. Day is a fairly strong favorite, but there is a possibility Porette could build an unlikely coalition of the bloc vote and high liberal turnout to pull the upset.

Orange, NY-CE: Orange County is an R+4 (2016) county of 375K in the mid-Hudson valley. It stretches from Newburgh and West Point to Middletown and Port Jervis, covering a mix of small towns and exurbs. Incumbent Steve Neuhaus (R), a fairly typical establishment moderate-conservative, is seeking a second term. Democrats are running business consultant and veteran Pat Davis (D), who seems “C” list. As this area, like almost all of Upstate NY, tends to be more Republican down-ballot and large portions of the Dem base here are lower-turnout minorities, Neuhaus looks like a fairly substantial favorite. However, there is a chance high liberal enthusiasm this year could lead to an upset.

Rensselaer, NY-CE: Rensselaer County covers the city of Troy and the middle-class eastern suburbs of the Albany metro area; it has a population of 160K and a PVI of R+2 (2016); however, the county has a strong Republican heritage and Democrats have rarely mounted serious campaigns for this seat. As such, State Rep. Steve McLaughlin (R) is the front-runner for the open seat. A firebrand conservative, McLaughlin explored runs for multiple offices in the last few years without pulling the trigger. He has also used his powerless State House minority seat as a bully pulpit for scathing criticism of Gov. Cuomo (If you are not following Steve McLaughlin on Twitter you are really missing out). Needless to say, this profile has not endeared him to the moderate and transactional local Republican machine. However, he narrowly won a hard-fought and nasty primary against the machine choice, and has since received grudging support from the machine; he thus looks like a moderate favorite. Dems are running  nonprofit exec Andrea Smyth (D), who seems rather “C” list, but might have a slight chance to pull the upset if leftover wounds from the primary and high liberal enthusiasm combine.

King, WA-CE: King County, covering Seattle and most of its suburbs, is the 13th-largest county in the US, with a population just a hair over 2M. It has a PVI of D+23 (2016). This race is fairly boring; incumbent Dow Constantine (D), a mainstream liberal who is considered likely to run for Governor in 2020, is seeking a third term. Constantine took 78% in the primary and faces only token opposition from perennial candidate Bill Hirt (R), who has run non-serious campaigns for the State House twice and for Governor in 2016.

Philly-DA: Philadelphia also has a DA election. Philadelphia has a population of 1.5M and a PVI of D+33 (2016). Public Defender Larry Krasner (D) won a plurality victory with heavy Soros backing in the primary. Krasner is a favorite of the SJW set and promises to pursue left-wing soft-on-crime initiatives as DA. He remains the strong favorite to take the office; however, he is facing a credible Republican in prosecutor Beth Grossman (R). Grossman has had some notable crossover support from moderates as well as the endorsement of the police union, which gives her a small but not totally zero chance of pulling an upset — notably, though Philly hasn’t elected a GOP mayor in 70 years, it elected Republican DAs as recently as the 80s and DINOs have occupied the DA’s office since. However, due to Philly’s deep-blue lean and the energized liberal base Krasner looks like a very strong favorite. Philly City Comptroller is also up; mayoral aide Rebecca Rynhart (D) looks like a prohibitive favorite.

Suffolk, NY- DA & Sheriff: Suffolk County covers the eastern half of Long Island; it has a population of around 1.5M and a PVI of R+4 (2016). Both the DA and Sheriff seats are open; the county D and R machines have typically been on very amiable terms and divided the seats between them – since 2001, Republicans haven’t mounted a serious run for DA and Democrats have not mounted a serious campaign for Sheriff. The pattern looks set to repeat this year, though to not quite the same extent. For DA, Police Commissioner Tim Sini (D) had looked like a very strong favorite over former prosecutor Ray Perini (R), though the indictment of the outgoing Dem incumbent could give Perini a narrow opening. For Sheriff, University police chief Larry Zacarese (R) won a shocking upset in the GOP primary over a machine-backed State Senator and now looks like the favorite in the general election. Zacarese is now the favorite over Errol Touolon (D), an official in New York City’s NYPD who has lost races for a State Senate and a county commission seat by large margins. Toulon was a last-minute entry for Dems after their prior nominee dropped out and doesn’t look particularly serious, but could have a tiny chance with high liberal turnout.

Douglas County, CO School Board: There are also key school board elections in Douglas County, an R+10 county of 300K covering wealthy exurbs and rural areas south of Denver. The main issue is an attempt to establish a school choice voucher program, which was struck down by the State Supreme Court as violating the state’s Blaine Amendment prohibiting public spending on religious schools. The school board appealed to SCOTUS and the case has been remanded to the state in light of the recent Trinity Lutheran ruling that invalidated certain restrictions on religious groups receiving state funds. Here’s where the election comes in: the current board has a 4-3 majority in favor of continuing to pursue the voucher program. The current majority has all decided to stand down and they are backing a slate of new candidates known as “Elevate Douglas County”. Conversely, the anti-voucher side (branding itself “Community Matters”) says it will end the lawsuit if it gets a majority. The three anti-voucher incumbents are not up this year, meaning that if one of the four seats up flips the program will end. The race has attracted national attention and money and there is no clear favorite between the slates. Note: RRH Elections strongly supports the Elevate Douglas County slate.

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Political Roundup for October 9th, 2017

Happy Columbus Day! If you’re a government employee, congratulations, you have the day off! If you’re just a normal person, then here’s some electoral news to take your mind off of what Jenny in HR is probably telling everyone that came up on your last evaluation.

Big Picture

FL: Florida is a state of counterbalancing political trends. On the one hand, you have Puerto Ricans pouring into Orlando. On the other hand, you have northern retirees pouring planned communities across the state. This article examines the latter by looking at the biggest such community, The Villages (Florida’s Friendliest Home Town! to anyone who’s watched a few hours of Fox News in the last decade). One thing that the article fails to note is the same company that built The Villages is planning an even bigger community near Panama City Beach.

Gerrymandering: This is one of those great longform pieces from Politico Magazine. In it, Jeff Greenfield discusses how many Democrats’ obsession with gerrymandering blinds them to the real state-level work that they must do if they wish to regain power.

Talkin’ Bout My Generation: Is the Republican Party in a downward spiral with young voters? No, it definitely isn’t, at least according to this WaPo article. What seems to have happened is that as younger voters have gotten less white, white young voters have gotten more Republican. There’s also some evidence that young blacks have gotten a bit more Republican, but the article doesn’t discuss that.

Congress

MI-Sen: Another week, another Kid Rock Senate poll. This one from Mitchell (not the most reputable pollster) Mr. Ritchie trailing Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) by eight points, 46-38.

MO-Sen: Former Trump Steve Bannon has been trying to meddle in some Senate primaries recently. Missouri AG Josh Hawley (R), who’s running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) next year, heard that he might be on the target list and called the snake himself to charm his way out of it. It remains to be seen whether the snake will go quietly into the basket.

WY-Sen: Speaking of Steve Bannon sticking his nose where it’s in danger of being chopped off, he’s playing in Wyoming as well. He’s reportedly recruiting Blackwater founder Erik Prince to primary Sen. John Barrasso (R). I highly doubt it will work (see Liz Cheney primarying Mike Enzi a few years ago), but we’ll keep an eye on it nonetheless.

MI-08: When you’re in the wilderness, a bunch of formerly appointed officials suddenly look like good candidates. Enter Ellissa Slotkin (D), an Obama-era DoD official who is now running for Congress in her native Michigan. Slotkin is running against Rep. Mike Bishop (R) in his Lansing-to-Troy seat, and she’s raising quite a lot of money for a seat like this and early in the cycle. She’s got about $370k CoH right now. That’s phenomenal, but remember, Bishop is popular and the seat is stably R+4. If there’s a wave, I could see it falling, but it’s not likely at this point. The materials are there, though.

PA-18: With Rep. Tim Murphy (R) adding ‘disgraced former’ to the front of his name last week, there’s liable to be a special election for his Pittsburgh-area seat. Our friend Miles Coleman over at DDHQ breaks down the district by the numbers and finds that it’s likely to stay in Republican hands because of trends in the area over the past two decades.

Governor

CA-Gov: Fun fact: in Berkeley, CA, the side of town housing the big university is the one LESS in favor of seizing the means of production. Why is this, might you ask? It’s because even though California is a very blue state, and even its college students are yet bluer, they’re still less leftist than America’s biggest CrazyTown, where Jill Stein came in second place last year. Anyway, the college itself has produced a useful poll of the upcoming gubernatorial blanket primary. The poll came out as 23-12-10-9-7-4 Newsom (D)-Villaraigosa (D)-Cox (R)-Allen (R)-Chiang (D)-Eastin (D). I have to think that this race is Lt. Gove Gavin Newsom’s to lose, and he’ll certainly come in first in Top Two.

State/Local

CO-Treas: Well, we know who the Republican nominee for Treasurer in Colorado is already. Incumbent Walker Stapleton (R) has decided to run for Governor, and State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R) has stepped right in and raised $90,000 already. That’s almost as much as Stapleton usually raises this time of the cycle. It more than quadruples her closest primary rival. This bodes well for the GOP holding onto the office, as there likely won’t be a bloody primary and Lawrence sounds like solid candidate who stays on-issue.

Erie-Mayor: Salena Zito thinks that the GOP might pick up the Mayor’s office in Erie, PA. I’m not convinced, but she makes a strong case. Pieces like this that focus on local races are often good reads, and this one is no exception.

Hopkins-Mayor: File this one under ‘dumbass.’ A candidate for Mayor in Hopkins, MN, an inner suburb of Minneapolis, is in hot water after after claiming that a new light rail project will bring in ‘riffraff,’ ‘ethnics,’ and shootings. however right he is about transit links sometimes bringing crime to the suburbs, this was exactly the wrong way to approach the subject. His campaign must surely be doomed after this.

Political Roundup for July 26th, 2017

Greetings from Montauk, where the hipster horde has finally largely disappeared into the Atlantic.

Last night’s results:
Democrat Kevin Cavanaugh held NH-SD-16
Republican Stacey Wilkes (R) won MS-LD-108 outright with no runoff
State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R) and perennial candidate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (D) advanced to the general in FL-SD-40
Attorney Daniel Perez (R) will face former Venezuelan legislator Gabriela Mayaudon in FL-LD-116
Spartanburg councilwoman Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) and NAACP official Mo Abusaft (D) head to a primary runoff in SC-LD-31

National

Democratic Strategy: Prominent DC Democrats courageously ventured just west of Loudoun County into rural Virginia to roll out their plan to lurch to the left on economic issues ahead of 2018. Democrats hope such a move will provide inroads into the white working class.

Youngstown Rally: Not content to merely rally among boys, 45 held a campaign event among the working men of hardscrabble Youngstown, Ohio.

Congress

Gerrymandering: The Economist introduces Ah-nuld’s crusade against gerrymandering. The governator likens politicians supportive of the practice to “girly men” who refuse to go to the gym.

US-AG/TX-Sen: Amid the rumors of Jeff Sessions’ days being numbered, Senator Green Eggs and Ham Ted Cruz (R) quickly shot down any rumors of accepting an offer to take the post.

Governor

NJ-Lt. Gov: Former Goldman Sachs executive and NJ Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy has named Assemblywoman and former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D) his lieutenant gubernatorial nominee. Simon adds gender and racial diversity, political experience, and a Trenton Rolodex to the ticket.

VA-Gov: Underscoring the need for a sole signature Democratic victory in the age of Trump, the DNC is sending money to Ralph Northam (D) in the medium blue state. Northam’s coffers drained during a bruising primary against nutroots wet dream Tom Perriello (D).
Local

Allentown-Mayor: Surprise! Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski (D) was charged yesterday in federal court in an alleged pay-to-play scheme. Pawlowski dropped out of the 2016 Democratic US Senate primary after federal agents raided his office.

Houston-Mayor: The Texas Supreme Court declined to expedite a case challenging the wording of a 2015 Houston city proposition which changed the term limits of the mayor from three two-year terms to two four-year terms.

Westchester: Westchester County has finally prevailed in a discriminatory zoning witch-hunt lawsuit filed by the Obama administration after HUD conceded the current zoning scheme’s legality. A decision against Westchester could have had political geography effects nationwide.

Places Not Lucky Enough to be America

The UK: Boris Johnson, on a trip to New Zealand, denies any infighting among the Tories.

Political Roundup for June 1, 2017

Good morning!  As we have one week to go until the UK General Election next Thursday, it is time for today’s roundup:

Presidential/National

Trump/Clinton:  President Donald Trump (R-Twitter) continues to enjoy mocking “Crooked Hillary Clinton” over her unwillingness to take responsibility for losing the presidency to all people, President Trump.  His comments come after Hillary recently had a venting session where she blamed everyone but herself.  I am surprised Trump is not goading her to run again.

Trump/Fundraising:  Trump Victory, the joint fundraising effort between the RNC and Trump presidential campaign, will be holding a $35,000 a guest fundraiser in Washington, D.C. on June 28.  This is the first joint fundraiser since Trump became president.

Bloomberg:  Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) thinks Trump has a 55% chance of winning reelection.  Bloomberg, who endorsed Clinton over Trump last year, thinks the Democrats don’t have a coherent strategy to defeat Trump just like Clinton lacked a convincing strategy on why she should win other than she is a woman and Trump is bad.

Biden:  Former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Wilmington/Scranton) is setting up a political action committee.  Some are seeing this as a means to run for President in 2020 when Biden will be in his late 70s.  Like Hillary, someone needs to tell Joe that the Democrats need new blood that was not alive when the Korean War was fought!

Congress

Spending Bill:  To avoid a potential government shutdown, congressional Republicans are looking at shoving the budget and spending bills through in an omnibus package before the summer recess.  There seems to be support for such a move across the ideological spectrum of the Republican Party.

OH-Sen:  Governor John Kaisch (RINO-Annoying) has found a Republican, Mike Gibbons, to challenge Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) for the Republican nomination.  Gibbons, a banker, is well known in Republican circles as a donor, but has never ran for office.

WV-1/WV-Sen:  Representative David McKinley (R) will seek reelection to the House of Representatives and will not run for US Senate.

States/Local

MA-Gov:  Governor Charlie Baker (R) is in a strong position for reelection in heavily Democratic Massachusetts.  Baker has god-like approval ratings and is aiming to raise $30 million to deter Democratic challengers.

MI-Gov:  Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel (DINO) and State Senator Patrick Colbeck (R) both may run for Governor.  Hackel is a strong favorite if he makes it to the general election, but would likely face a challenge in the Democratic primary for essentially being a Trump Republican and has also floated the possibility of an independent candidacy.  Colbeck is a favorite of some conservatives for his strong fight against unions even though he is from a heavily union area.

NJ-GovGovernor-Elect Phil Murphy (D-Goldman Sachs) has agreed to accept public financing in the general election, which will limit his campaign spending to $13.8 million in the general election.  Murphy has a huge fundraising advantage in the primary driven by approximately $16 million of the $20 million raised by him coming from personal loans.

VA-Gov:  Underdog Republican candidate Corey Stewart is using the Trump model to run for the Republican nomination for Governor of Virginia.  Low on cash, Stewart is focusing on the use of social media and talking about issues that worked for Trump including illegal immigration.  Not sure how this helps in the general election in Virginia though.

Philly-City Council:  Councilman At-Large David Oh (R) was seriously injured in a robbery attempt outside his southwest Philadelphia home last night.  We hope for a speedy recovery by Councilman Oh.

Political Roundup for May 17, 2017

Election Results:  Ralph Norman won the Republican primary runoff in SC-5 by a razor-thin margin, which will lead to a recount. Kay Kirkpatrick won the Georgia SD 32 runoff with a healthy 58% of the vote.   Wendy Brawley won the South Carolina HD 70 Democratic runoff.  Two non-machine candidates won the Democratic nominations in Philadelphia for District Attorney and Controller.  Lawrence Krasner (D-Bold Progressive) and Rebecca Rhyhart (D) will likely be the next District Attorney and Controller respectively.  Bill Peduto (D-Bike Lanes) is on his way to a second term as Mayor of Pittsburgh after winning the Democratic primary easily. Finally, in Los Angeles, councilman Gil Cedillo (D) won re-election and Monica Rodriguez (D) won an open seat.

The news a bit light as President Trump is sucking the oxygen out of our political circus with his growing dumpster.

President/National

Governed by a Child:  David Brooks (Scarsdale Republican) articulated what I have been saying for months about Trump in a recent NY Times piece… Trump is not an authoritarian, Nixon, populist or corporatist, but is nothing more than an infant leading the most powerful nation in human history incapable of exercising any form of self-control.  While I think Brooks comes off as a smug elitist at times, he is on point.

Watergate:  Senator John McCain (R-War Hero) is calling the level of “odd behavior” to put it mildly coming from the White House as reaching Watergate levels.  You need 2/3 to convict a president in an impeachment trial.  The Democrats have at least one Republican flirting with the idea.

Comey:  With an alleged memo floating around where former FBI Director James Comey noted that President Trump asked him to stop investigating  former DNI Director Flynn’s love affair with Mother Russia, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R) is going to subpoena said memo if it exists.

Democrats:  While the current occupants of the White House resemble a burning ship adrift, Democrats with presidential ambitions were dancing around down the street trying to appease potential decisionmakers in the anointing of a new Democratic champion if Hillary Clinton gives up her death grip on the Democratic Party.

Congress

Obamacare/Trumpcare/Moderatecare:  A bipartisan group of moderate senators is pushing a proposal to keep Obamacare afloat despite the respective caucus leaders engaging in taunts of the other saying their caucus is united.  It is not clear what the compromise bill will look like or whether it would ever make it to the floor for a vote.

NY-27:  Representative Chris Collins (R) faces an ethics inquiry into investments he made in an Australian biotech firm.  The Office of Congressional Ethics did not comment, but allegedly they are investigating Collins.

International

UK-Labour:  While the new Rome burns, the Labour Party wants to tax the British people at levels not seen since the time Clement Attlee was Prime Minister.

 

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