Our second roundup of the new year! Strange to think that hundreds of roundups are posted to RRH Elections in the course of any given year.
Hillary: Like many past presidential candidates and presidents, Hillary Clinton was asked about aliens. She told a reporter that “I think we may have been [visited already]. We don’t know for sure.” I think she should should have just referenced this infamous meme.
Polling: Today’s 538 reading discusses the difference between state and national polling. The teaser:
Just as during the 2012 general election, state polls and national polls disagree. And our advice this year is the same as it was then: Trust the state polls. In fact, there’s evidence the national polls may be a negative indicator once you control for the state-level survey results. If you’re a candidate who wants to win one of the first two contests, you’d rather have good state polls and bad national polls than good state and good national polls.
Rubio: The Florida Senator is down in the polls at third place, so naturally his super PAC is running negative ads against
Donald Trump Ted Cruz Chris Christie? Yep, eyeing Christie’s recent rise in New Hampshire, the Rubio PAC will run TV and online ads against Christie as “a major part of an ongoing multi-million dollar buy in New Hampshire over the next couple of weeks.” If Rubio’s best path is as the establishment savior who happens to be tolerable for a sufficient number of conservatives to win the nod, I guess Christie has to go. Of course, that also means the Christie support can’t just migrate over to someone like Kasich instead, but that will be a problem for another day.
Rand: One of the three Rand Paul Super PACs, the CATO-backed Purple PAC, is finally purchasing ads for Rand. The $500k television buy will air in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids media markets. While Purple PAC was never a sanctioned outside group and its importance was overstated in the media, its reluctance to spend on behalf of its “impure” libertarian champion caused a nice little media sideshow to accentuate Paul’s slide in the polls.
The other two PACs won’t provide much air power either though. Concerned American Voters is focused on field operations, while America’s Liberty PAC (the officially sanctioned Super PAC) has had to deal with two of its major figures fighting bribery accusations from the Ron Paul 2012 campaign.
CA-Pres: The Field Poll finds a battle in California between Trump and Cruz, with the mogul leading the Texas Senator 25%-23% and Rubio trailing at 13%. So far crosstabs haven’t been published, but I’d be interested to see the geographic distribution of these voters.
Delegate Allocations: Josh Putnam continues his must-read quadrennial series on Republican delegate allocation rules by state.
NH-Sen: In the pending titanic Senate duel in the Granite State, both Governor Maggie Hassan (D) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) raised over $2m in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, Ayotte has the benefit of a big warchest ($6m) as a sitting senator.
CT-Sen: Charles Gasparino in the NY Post says a Kudlow run is all but inevitable.
Party insiders say former Wall Street economist and free-market evangelist Larry Kudlow is all but certain to challenge Blumenthal in November. Kudlow tells me “stay tuned” — but indications are he’s been assembling a campaign staff and preparing to announce a decision.
In December, Kudlow supporters formed a 527 group, and the CNBC pundit made the rounds in DC last month as well.
IN-Gov: Gov. Mike Pence (R) is sitting on a $6.8m warchest headed into 2016, raising $3.5m over the last six months. Meanwhile, Democrat John Gregg fell just short of $2m raised and has $3.5m on hand.
UT-Gov / UT-Sen: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) wants to take a “serious, serious look” at running for Governor in 2020 when his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is termed out. He also said he no longer had interest in the US Senate, knocking him out of the running for Hatch’s (possibly open?) seat in 2018.
WV-Gov: Dynastic scion and US Attorney Booth Goodwin filed his precandidacy papers last Thursday to begin raising money for a gubernatorial campaign. Goodwin recently resigned his US Attorney post to focus on the campaign. The move will throw Goodwin head-on into the path of billionaire Jim Justice, who announced his own Democratic campaign for the open seat last May.
AZ-1: Veteran and 2014 AZ-9 nominee Wendy Rogers (R) is making noise about a possible congressional bid… in open AZ-1. Rogers didn’t really impress in her first bid, pulling 41% against a second-term incumbent on competitive turf. Glancing at her Twitter, she seems to be a fan of Trump and Cruz. Republicans have a crowded field, including Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, ex-SoS Ken Bennett, State House Speaker David Gowan, and 2014 candidate Gary Kiehne.
CT-5 / CT-Gov: Fresh off a landslide reelection and a new Republican supermajority on the town council, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart is getting chatter about a run for higher office. She has ruled out a run for Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s always just out of reach seat this year, but she rule out a 2018 gubernatorial run. As Stewart noted during her inauguration, “There hasn’t been a Republican super-majority on the common council since the days of Mayor Thomas Meskill – or should I say, Governor Meskill.” Two-time Republican nominee Tom Foley is already considering another gubernatorial run.
TN-3: Rep. Chuck Fleischman may have finally dodged a significant primary, with Senate Speaker Pro Tem Bo Watson opting against a run against the incumbent. Fleischman has struggled in past Republican primaries, originally securing the seat in a clown car primary in 2010 and barely defeating Weston Wamp 51%-49% in 2014. Wamp has already said he will not run again.
VA-5: Two new developments in this race. First, technology executive Michael Del Rosso (R) announced a campaign. However, the second probably overshadows it, with State Senator Bill Stanley opting against a run. According to fellow mod and VA-5 resident BostonPatriot, Stanley would have been the frontrunner if he ran. Instead, so far State Senator Tom Garrett is in the best position in the (still nascent) race.
WA-7: ICYMI yesterday, Rep. Jim McDermott (D) announced his retirement from his very liberal Seattle-based seat. Check out our Great Mentioner of the possible candidates in the link.
State and Local
Chicago-Mayor: Sounding like a father chastising his son, Governor Bruce Rauner (R) told reporters he was “very disappointed” in how Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has handled the McDonald case and resulting reform efforts. Although a Chicago Democrat introduced a measure to allow local recalls of mayors like Rahm in the State House, that body has a strong Democratic majority (along with the Senate) and is run by entrenched
Strongman Speaker Mike Madigan. Further, the bill would need 2/3rds support in both chambers.
PA-Lackawanna County: Fun shenanigans in Pennsylvania, where a newly elected county commission has a kind of Republican working majority with the founder of the Scranton Tea Party and an R -> D -> ??? Charlie Crist-style incumbent. Said incumbent, Patrick O’Malley, unexpectedly split with his Democratic colleague to oust the expected choice for the commission’s chief of staff, who literally already had her name on the door. Something, something, measuring drapes?
TX-Leg: One of the loudest conservative rabble-rousers in the Texas legislature is Jonathan Stickland, a Paulite antiestablishmentarian . He is embroiled in a primary with Bedford pastor and Rick Perry appointee Scott Fisher, and the race is already turning negative. Fisher’s campaign tracked down old online forum posts from the early 2000s where Stickland denies the possibility of spousal rape, solicited advice on how to grow his own marijuana, and asking for advice on how to beat workplace drug tests. Stickland has largely avoided the media since the brouhaha, but did admit to the Quorum Report that the claims were true but “by the Grace of God, my past sins are forgiven.” Relatedly, back in 2011 Stickland said he was pro-gay marriage on Facebook, despite later having his spokesman tell the Tribune that he was “one of the biggest advocates for traditional marriage in Texas.” Former Gov. Rick Perry has already endorsed Fisher.
WV-Auditor: Administration Secretary Jason Pizatella (D) will run for the open Auditor position this year.
WV-Leg: State Sen. Daniel Hall (D -> R) has finally resigned to take a state-level lobbying gig with the NRA, prompting one major headache of a question: should the (Democratic) governor appoint a Republican or Democrat to replace Hall? Of course Hall was a Republican, but at the time of his election he was a Democrat. The matter may head to court, since state law is a bit contradictory on the subject. Hall’s post-2014 party-switch handed the Senate over to the Republicans , so the question will determine the chamber’s partisan control.
Koch Brothers: Politico takes another dive into Kochworld and the umbrella of organization under Freedom Partners. Inefficiencies between Koch-backed organizations continue, and the grassroots army promised by AFP remains to be built. Nevertheless, the sheer scale of the well-funded effort and its corporate approach to auditing and recognizing its own shortcomings are both quite impressive.
FL-redistrict: Senate districts will be randomly renumbered today. Besides the pain for people like us, there is one real-world impact.
Senators who are assigned odd numbers would run for four-year terms in the fall and senators in even-numbered districts would run for two-year terms, followed by four-year terms in 2018 if they’re not termed out by then. Those “even” senators would potentially serve an additional two years for a total of 10 years, under the Florida system of electing senators to staggered terms.
With term limits in play, the new numbers will also change some senators’ career paths. May the odds be ever in their favor. Or not. Some fresh faces might be nice too.
Today is our first special of the year, for RI-SD-11, a formerly R-held D+5 seat based around Portsmouth on the northern part of Aquidneck (Rhode) Island and including some other nearby island and mainland communities. This race is looking more likely than not to be a D pickup; Portsmouth councilman James Seveney (D) has the support of the outgoing Republican Senator, and seems to be a significant favorite over 2002 LG nominee John Pagliarini (R). However, the lean of the seat isn’t insurmountable and Pagliarini could pull an upset with the right turnout pattern.