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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.

 

SC-5 & Pennsylvania Liveblog

Results: SC-5  (AP) || SC-5 (DDHQ)  || PA (AP)  || GA-Senate 32(Cobb)  GA-Senate 32(Fulton)

10:15 ET – I am going to call it an evening as the only outstanding races of interest are PA-Superior Court (Republican Primary) and PA-Commonwealth Court (Democratic Primary).   We will have an open thread from here on regarding the Los Angeles races.

9:47 ET – Philly machine death watch… Krasner gets the check for DA and Rhynhart gets the check for Controller.

9:45 ET – With another dump in GA Senate 32, I am going to call it for Kilpatrick (R) with 89% in from Cobb and 100% in from Fulton.

9:37 ET – We might be seeing the first signs of the death of the Philadelphia Democratic machine as two candidates not considered machine candidates are winning DA and Controller with 57% in.

9:33 ET – Cobb has dumped 50% of the precincts as Kilpatrick remains up 58-42 in Cobb, which means that Kilpatrick is up by approximately 56% to 44%.  This looks like Kilpatrick will hold this for the Republicans.

9:30 ET – All of Fulton has been counted in GA-Senate 32 and Kilpatrick remains up by about 10%.  Cobb still has 72% of its precincts to report.

9:30 ET – Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto (D-Bike Lane) has received the check with 66% of the vote with 50% counted.

9:25 ET – Bold Progressive Philly DA candidate Lawrence Krasner (D) is out to a 16 point lead with 42% in.

9:10 ET – Back to GA Senate 32… Kilpatrick remains up with 28% in from Cobb and only early votes in Fulton.

9:08 ET – Norman has won the SC-5 Republican runoff.

9:06 ET – In Pennsylvania, it appears the Democratic endorsed candidate for Commonwealth Court, Todd Eagen, is polling 4th right now.

8:48 ET – Norman is up by approximately 400 votes with 51 precincts remaining.

8:42 ET – Norman is down to 1% lead over Pope, but the remaining precincts are in Pope favoring York County.

8:40 ET – Pope and Norman are within 10 votes of each other with 2/3 in.

8:27 ET – Norman has taken the lead in SC-5 according to DDHQ.

8:15 ET – There appears to be a glimmer of hope for Norman in SC-5 as the results continue to narrow and his areas are just starting to heavily report.

8:07 ET – Pope’s lead is narrowing as 1/3 of the results are in. Pope leads by 4%.

8:03 ET – In Georgia State Senate District 32, Kilpatrick (R) leads Triebsch (D) 58% to 42% as the first results roll in.

8:00 ET – Pennsylvania has closed.

7:50 ET – With 7% in, Pope leads Norman 58% to 42% in SC-5.

7:41 ET – Turnout is supposedly low in the Pennsylvania primaries today, which close at 8pm Eastern.  I was the 14th Republican to vote and 25 voter overall in my ward at 915 AM.

7:33 ET – Ryan_in_SEPA here for the liveblog.  Pope still has a 60 vote lead as the early vote starts being counted.

7:30 ET- I will be turning this over to Ryan_in_SEPA for the rest of the night.

7:19 ET- Pope is now up 54-46 with York early votes coming in.

7:13 ET- Norman leads pope 69-66 in the first early votes.

7:00 ET- Polls have now closed in SC-5 and Georgia.

SC-5 Runoff & Pennsylvania Primary Preview

Tomorrow there is a congressional runoff in South Carolina as well as a mayoral race in Pittsburgh and assorted other contests across Pennsylvania, along with a pair of LA City Council runoffs. Poll closing times are as follows in ET: 7- SC-5 & Georgia || 8- Pennsylvania || 11 – Los Angeles. Our liveblog will start at 7ET tomorrow, but first we are previewing the races here:

SC-5 Runoff (R): Today there is a GOP primary runoff in SC-5; This seat is the former seat of OMB director Mick Mulvaney (R) and covers the north-central part of the state. The biggest bulk of the population is in the Charlotte suburbs, but the seat also contains a swath of rural areas from Sumter to the outskirts of the Charlotte and Spartanburg metros. The seat has a PVI of R+10 (2016). Facing off this week are a pair of state Reps who basically tied in the first round, being separated by just 0.3%, or a little over 100 votes. As you might guess, that means that the runoff is set to be highly competitive.

Tommy Pope

Ralph Norman

State Rep. Tommy Pope (R) narrowly took first place over his rival, fellow State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who unlike Pope resigned to run. Pope and Norman have generally been regarded as far more alike than different: they have represented districts a few miles away from each other in the Charlotte suburbs and have generally been mainstream conservatives in the State House. The differences in the first round mostly came down to emphasis; Pope tends to focus more on public safety while Norman is more focused on economics.

However, in the runoff, an ideological fissure seems to have opened, with Pope becoming the establishment choice and Norman taking up the anti-establishment mantle. Pope is the third-ranking Republican in the State House and has received outside support from the Chamber of Commerce. Conversely, Norman has said he would consider joining the Freedom Caucus and has received support from the Club for Growth and Erick Erickson. But don’t let the newfound buzz around this race from both sides cause you make a mountain out of that difference; both would overall qualify as mainstream conservatives and I would expect their hypothetical House records to be substantively identical.

There is no clear favorite in the runoff and most observers expect it to be very close. Norman has been better-funded (thanks to self-funding), and did better than expected in the first round. He has also picked up the endorsement of fourth-place finisher Chad Connelly (R), while the third-place candidate has not endorsed. So CW is that Norman may have a bit of momentum, and most observers would probably tilt the race to him ever-so-slightly. However, a victory for Pope would be wholly unsurprising as well. The winner will face Goldman Sachs tax attorney Archie Parnell (D) in the general; the seat has been a low priority for Dems but there is a chance that may change ahead of the June 20 general. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

Legislative Specials: Also in SC, there is also one special election this week. SC-LD-70 is a D+22 (2012) majority-black seat covering rural areas between Columbia and Sumter and a small piece of southeastern Columbia proper. School board member and 2016 State Senate candidate Wendy Brawley (D), who has the support of the late former incumbent’s family, led farmer Heath Hill (D), the only serious white candidate, 40-24 in the first round. Thus Brawley looks like the clear favorite in the runoff. Another state legislative special going on today is the runoff for GA-SD-32, an R+20 (2012), but likely much D-friendlier by 2016 numbers, seat in eastern Cobb County in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Attorney Christine Treibsch (D) led Physician Kay Kirkpatrick (R) 24-21 in April (when the election was consolidated with the high turnout GA-6 race). But Republicans took 60% of the vote in the preliminary, so Kirkpatrick should be favored unless Democrats are exceptionally motivated. The unusual date (even I thought this runoff was going to be with the GA-6 runoff on 6/20) may benefit Treibsch by lowering turnout and giving more weight to energized Dems.

Pittsburgh-Mayor: Pennsylvania is also holding its primary election tomorrow; in addition to the local and judicial races Ryan_in_SEPA will preview below, there is a Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh. No Republicans are running so the winner will have a free ride. Pittsburgh is a city of 305K that is roughly 70% White and 25% Black; it had a PVI of D+22 in 2008. Incumbent Bill Peduto (D) is a bold progressive, and a favorite of that growing and high-turnout constituency. He has had a generally successful tenure as mayor, continuing the city’s transformation into a bona-fide urban cultural center from a gritty steel town. As a result, he looks like a very strong favorite for a second term against two challengers – it would be surprising if he did not take a strong majority of the vote tomorrow. Peduto’s main rival, city councilwoman Darlene Harris (D), is a somewhat more moderate Democrat, but she does have some real establishment support; surprisingly, Harris came closer than expected to beating Peduto for the county Dem party’s endorsement. However, Harris is known as a bit of a gadfly (posting photos of herself riding an elephant, and once accosting a bicyclist she says was not in the right lane). She also hasn’t been running a particularly professional campaign, as she doesn’t even have a website; thus, she looks likely to finish a distant second. Seminary dean John Welch (D) has been trying to get to Peduto’s left on economics; while he has a base in the black community, there isn’t a lot of room to Peduto’s left flank, and Welch’s conservative social positions make poaching white progressive support a long-shot. Thus, CW is that he is likely to come in third. Overall, anything besides an easy Peduto win would probably be shocking.

LA City Council: Two races on the LA City council will head to runoffs this week.
LAX-CD-1 is a heavily Hispanic seat that stretches from MacArthur Park near downtown northeast to the middle-class Hispanic Mount Washington area. Incumbent Gil Cedillo (D) was surprisingly sent to a runoff, falling short of the 50% mark by less than a point. Cedillo was known as “one bill Gil” in the state legislature for his single-minded pursuit of drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens, and unsurprisingly poor Hispanics are his core constituency. It looked like he might have a real fight on his hands with his runoff opponent, bike store owner Joe Bray-Ali (D). Bray-Ali was running on an anti-car hipsterish platform which might have played well with high-turnout white yuppies in the gentrifying district. But Bray-Ali’s campaign was torpedoed when he was unmasked as a racist internet troll, which led to the abrupt withdrawal of all his establishment endorsements. Cedillo now looks like the overwhelming favorite for re-election.
LAX-CD-7 is the only open race on the council this year. The seat is based in the largely poor and heavily Hispanic northeast quarter of the San Fernando Valley around Sylmar and Pacoima, but the remote middle-class white suburban neighborhood of Sunland-Tujunga makes up about a quarter of the district’s population, and will likely punch far above its weight in a low turnout race. City public works board member Monica Rodriguez (D) led city council staffer Karo Torossian (D) 30-17 in the first round. Both candidates have establishment support; Rodriguez is closely tied to Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), while Torossian has support from his boss, a councilor for a neighboring district, and the endorsement of the third-place finisher. Based on the first round results and the seat’s Hispanic majority, Rodriguez is most likely a mild favorite, but there is a decent possibility Torossian could surprise.

Thanks to Ryan_in_SEPA for the Pennsylvania previews below:

Pennsylvania voters will be going to the polls to determine nominees for various statewide judicial positions including Supreme Court, Superior Court and Commonwealth Court and numerous county and municipal races.

Supreme Court: Neither party faces a contested primary for Supreme Court as Republican nominee and interim Justice Sallie Mundy is running for a full term against Democratic challenger Dwayne Woodruff.  Chief Justice Thomas Saylor (R) and Justice Debra Todd (D) are running for retention in November.

Superior Court:  Both parties have five contestants for four nomination slots to move onto the November general election.  The Pennsylvania Republican Party endorsed Lancaster DA Craig Stedman, and Common Pleas Court Judges Paula Patrick (Philadelphia), Wade Kagarise (Blair), and Emil Giordano (Northampton) while Magistrate Judge Mary Murray (Allegheny) is running without the state party endorsement.   The Pennsylvania Democratic Party endorsed interim Superior Court Judge Geoff Moulton, Common Pleas Court Judges Debbie Kunselman (Beaver), Maria McLaughlin (Philadelphia), and Carolyn Nichols (Philadelphia) while former Senior Deputy Attorney General William Caye II is running without the state party endorsement.  Judge Jacqueline Shogan (R) is running for retention in November.  The endorsed candidates are heavily favored to clear the primary and head to the general election.

Commonwealth Court: Each party has two nomination slots being contested today.  The Republicans will not have a contested primary as Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Cannon (Delco) and municipal attorney Paul Lalley (Allegheny) are the only Republican candidates.  The Democrats are having quite the contest as there are 6 candidates running with only one, attorney Tom Eagen (Lackawanna), being the only one to receive the official backing of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.  Interim Judge Joseph Cosgrove (Luzerne), State Representative Bryan Barbin (Cambria), Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler (Philadelphia), and attorneys Timothy Barry and Irene Clark are running without the state party endorsement.  Commonwealth Court is down in the weeds so its anyone’s guess, but I suspect that Eagen and Ceisler win the Democratic nomination.

Municipal Elections:  Voters across the Commonwealth will be voting in various county, municipal and school broad elections.  The most prominent municipal/county race is the primary for Philadelphia District Attorney, which involves the replacing of disgraced Bold Progressive turned DINO turned standard corrupt Democrat District Attorney Anthony Williams.  In a race that has garnered national attention with George Soros dropping significant cash behind attorney Lawrence Krasner (Bold Progressive).  Other prominent candidates on the Democratic side include former Deputy Mayor Rich Negrin (Police), former Deputy District Attorney and AUSA Joe Khan (Rendell-NOW), former Deputy Attorney General Michael Untermeyer (Lots of Advertising), former Deputy DA Tariq El-Shabazz (Tax Cheat), and former Deputy DA John O’Neil (Some Dude) and former Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni (Some Dudette) seeking the Democratic nomination.  Former Deputy District Attorney Beth Grossman is running unopposed for the Republican nomination.  Before Soros’ donation to Krasner, I rated this as a 3 way between Negrin, Khan and Untermeyer.  Now it is a 4 way battle for the Democratic nomination as the machine has stayed out of the race.  Philadelphia City Controller is somewhat competitive as Controller Alan Butkovitz, whose seeking a third term, is receiving a spirited challenge from former Philadelphia Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Rhyhart for the Democratic nomination.  Otherwise this primary season has been surprisingly quiet.

Political Roundup for February 13, 2017

Saturday in KS-4, Democrats shockingly nominated attorney Jim Thompson (D), a total Some Dude, over ex-State Treasurer Dennis McKinney (D), who was heavily favored going in. With zero name rec and no obvious self-funding ability, Thompson will be a very decided underdog to State Treasurer Ron Estes (R) in the April general election for this deep-red Wichita-area seat, which we currently rate as Safe R.

President/National:

Polling: Even some liberals seem to be tiring of PPP (D)’s long-standing practice of asking Republicans joke polling questions designed to make them look bad. HuffPo has called out PPP for asking a question on the “Bowling Green Massacre” that implied (to those not closely attuned to the news) that the fictional event made up by Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway was reality.

DNC Chair: Under two weeks ahead of the vote, neither of the front-runners to lead the DNC, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D) or ex-US Labor Sec. Tom Perez (D), is anywhere close to a majority, which could open up the door for another candidate like South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttgieg (D) to come up the middle.

Kasich: He is starting a SuperPAC, which may be a prelude to a possible Trump primary challenge in 2020.

Senate:

CA-Sen: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), the Senate’s oldest member at 83, will hold a kick-off fundraiser for her 2018 re-election bid next month. This is as good a time to as any to remind you that holding fundraisers and proclaiming your intent to run again does not necessarily preclude a late retirement.

PA-Sen: State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) of suburban Pittsburgh will run for the seat of Sen. Bob Casey (D). Saccone seems a credible “C” lister, but as 1 of 203 State Reps. the PA GOP will likely continue searching for someone with a bigger profile.

Governor:

IL-Gov: Bob Daiber (D), a local schools superintendent in the downstate suburban St. Louis area, is running for Governor. Daiber doesn’t really seem to have the profile to compete in the large state where most of the Dem primary base is in Chicago, so he seems a long-shot at best. Daiber joins businessman and heir force candidate Chris Kennedy (D) and Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D) in the race.

IA-Gov: 2014 State Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D) will run for Governor, joining another “C” list Democrat, former state cabinet official Rich Leopold (D). Several other Democrats, all relatively little-known, are considering runs for the seat of Governor-designate Kim Reynolds (R).

NV-Gov: State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R), an antiestablishment conservative, is considering a run for Governor. He would likely face AG Adam Laxalt (R), who himself has some antiestablishment tendencies, in the primary. Schwartz would likely start at a major deficit to Laxalt in financial resources and institutional support.

House:

CA-34: The state Democratic party gave its official endorsement to State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) for this deep-blue downtown-LA based seat. Gomez is the only prominent elected official in the race, and thus the clear front-runner in April’s special. However, he faces a huge number of lesser-known candidates that may force a runoff.

NV-3: Ex-Rep. Joe Heck (R) will cash out to the lobbying world and will not run against Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) in 2018. However, Heck did not rule out another bid down the line.

NC-5: Democrats may have a non-Some Dude candidate to run against Rep. Virginia Foxx (R) in Winston-Salem councilwoman DD Adams (D). This Winston-Salem based seat also includes some deep-red territory in the northwest part of the state, making it deeply Republican overall; thus, Adams is probably unlikely to make it competitive.

State Row Officers:

AL-AG: Gov. Bentley has appointed Marshall County DA Steve Marshall (R) to Sen. Luther Strange’s (R) vacated AG seat. Marshall is expected to seek a full term in 2018; it’s unclear if he will face credible primary opposition, but a half-dozen other Republicans also interviewed with Bentley for the job.

FL-CFO: Florida CFO Jeff Atwater (R), who had already announced he would not run for anything upon being termed out in 2018, will step down after the legislative session to take an administrative job at Florida Atlantic University. The decision isn’t a huge surprise as Atwater had been looking for an exit ramp from politics since 2015, exploring several different university and appointed positions while passing on overtures to mount campaigns for Senate last cycle and Governor in 2018. Nevertheless, his decision to leave early will allow Gov. Rick Scott to make an appointment to his seat. The blog FloridaPolitics has a Great Mentioner of the more than half-dozen names Scott could pick, all of whom could also be candidates for the seat in 2018. State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) has been considered the most likely Dem candidate for this race, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) and ex-Rep. Fratrick Murphy (D) have also been mentioned.

LA-Treas: Two candidates entered the race for this fall’s special election last week; State Rep. Julie Stokes (R) of suburban New Orleans announced she is in, while State Sen. Neil Riser (R) of the rural northeast part of the state leaked a memo that he is about to enter. They join State Rep. John Schroeder (R) in what is expected to be a very crowded jungle primary. Appointed incumbent Ron Henson (R) has not announced if he intends to stand for election.

WI-Supt: Incumbent State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) has a large financial lead over his rivals, school administrator John Humphries (R) and Beloit local schools superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), though that’s mostly due to his rivals being broke rather than Evers being flush. The California-Rules Top Two primary for this race is a week from tomorrow with a general in April in which Evers is expected to be favored over Humphries.

Local Elections:

Pittsburgh-Mayor: Councilwoman Darlene Harris (D) has filed to run against Mayor Bill Peduto (D) in the May primary. Harris, a mavericky Dem who has clashed with Peduto’s liberal agenda, is Peduto’s only major challenger.

Corpus Christi-Mayor: Ex-councilman Chad Magill (D) will drop out of the race for Mayor in May’s special election. Three major candidates are seeking the seat, ex-Mayor Nelda Martinez (D), councilman Joe McComb (R), and ex-councilman Mark Scott (R).

Westchester, NY-CE: State Sen. George Latimer (D) and State Rep. Tom Abinati (D) are considering runs against Westchester CE Rob Astorino (R), who is seeking a third term in the deep-blue county this year. Defeating Astorino is a priority of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), as Astorino was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 2014 and is likely to run for Governor again in 2018 if he wins re-election. Latimer and Abinati would each be a top-tier candidate against Astorino.

Philadelphia-DA: Philly DA Seth Williams (D) has announced he will not seek re-election this year, apologizing for bringing “embarassment and shame” to his office in a gifts scandal, which has resulted in a federal probe that is apparently nearing completion (and will probably result in charges). Williams allegedly accepted gifts from attorneys with cases he was prosecuting, among other penny-ante corruption. The Dem primary for this seat, which is tantamount to election in ultra-blue Philly, is in May.

Political Roundup for October 18th, 2016

President:

Clinton: It seems like the Clinton campaign is tepidly trying to expand the Presidential map, with some feeler money going into Arizona and Texas.

Josh Barro: The notably “Centrist” “Republican” has formally announced that Trump has caused him to leave the GOP and join the Democrats. I’m not sure Trump can afford to lose many more Obama voters if he wants to make headway in Upper Manhattan.

Trump-Wisconsin: Trump is spending a noticeable amount of time in Wisconsin bashing Paul Ryan and the other members of the state party that have refused to support him. It’s worth reminding people that had the GOP “Dumped Trump” at the convention, he would have been spending four months doing this non-stop, and the GOP would probably be looking at triple-digit losses in the house as Trump’s supporters fully abandon the party down-ticket (Not to mention an even bigger Presidential loss).

Trump-TV: Trump’s son-in-law has reportedly approached some media people about setting up a “TrumpTV” in the likely event that Trump loses the Presidential election next month. Such a move would pour cold water on the (ludicrous, IMO) beliefs that Trump is going to go away quietly after November, and that the GOP will just purge all of his supporters and then act like he never existed, though actually getting a “TrumpTV” network off the ground is harder than it sounds.

Waiting for Trumpocalypse: It seems that Trumpocalypse will not be coming today, but surely tomorrow. After all, there is nothing to be done. Such is politics, I suppose.

Congress:

NY-4: A story came out recently that the Republican running for this Hempstead-based Long Island Congressional District was arrested for Domestic Battery in 2010 while vising his ex-girlfriend and their daughter. Not that this seat was on anyone’s radar this year, but this probably removes any hope the GOP had of a surprise upset in a theoretically-winnable D+3ish seat.

FL-Sen: The first FL-Sen debate was last night, and broadly followed the pattern of Murphy continuing to insist that the debate be about Donald Trump as opposed to him or Rubio, with Rubio taking shots at Murphy’s resume “exaggerations” and utter lack of accomplishments in the House. Rubio also pledged to serve a full 6-year term in the Senate if elected, which he will probably stick with right up until he doesn’t want to anymore.

State & Local:

CA-Gov-18: Tom Steyer is already laying the foundations for a possible 2018 run for Governor. The Billionaire Environmentalist Mega-donor will face stiff competition from a number of Democrats eager to claim the top prize in California’s musical-chairs political system, but Steyer’s staking himself out as the true Progressive candidate, and can self-fund to a level that would make Meg Whitman blush. I initially was going to brush him off, given that he’d be already running against some of CA’s biggest names (in some cases officially, already), but given how CA’s Progressives are hungering for some real change (Jerry Brown is, believe it or not, a relatively moderate Democrat by CA’s standards, who’s been squashing some of the Progressive’s stupider ideas), I wouldn’t put it past him to ride his way to an upset on a massive pile of cash. It’s not like he’s lacking in Moonbat Street Cred after all, and if the Biz-Libs go for Newsom, the Hispanics go for Villaraigosa, and the Asians go for Chiang, Steyer might be able to ride CA’s Coastal Moonbats to the Governorship.

CT-Gov: Mark Boughton (R), the Danbury mayor who flirted with running for Governor in 2014 before backing out, has all-but announced he is making another attempt at the office.

Lackawanna-DA: Local Attorney Mark Powell has announced that he plans on running for the Lackawanna District Attorney’s office next year, in an attempt to break the GOP’s 4-plus-decades-long hold on the office.

MI-State-House: In a move that has become surprisingly common despite being really, really stupid, Democratic 106th House district candidate Robert Kennedy admitted to having torn down some of his opponent’s campaign signs. Because nothing says “I deserve to be your elected representative” more than petty vandalism.

MIGOP: MI Republican Party Grassroots vice-chair Wendy Day was removed from office after pointedly refusing to support Trump, taking the Cruz (@July 20th-Sept 23rd) position of “Voting her conscience”. Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel basically told Day to suck it up and do her job, and after Day refused and then refused to resign, McDaniel officially vacated her position in the party.

MO-Gov: Koster (D) has begun attacking Greitens (R) over a $1.9Million check from a PAC called “Seal for Truth” that Greitens received during the GOP primary, as the group missed an October 15th deadline requirement for revealing its donors.

WA-Gov: Democrats are up with their first negative spot in this race, attacking Bill Bryant in the “axe murderer” style of attack ads that’s become almost cliché nowadays. This is mostly just due diligence as no one thinks Jay Inslee is in serious danger of losing, especially with the RGA preoccupied on half a dozen more promising races elsewhere.

WATN: Louisiana PSC Clyde Holloway passed away at age 72 last night. Holloway was one of the people who helped build the LAGOP up from the post-Solid-South ashes, and had a long (if sporadic) political career in the state.

Political Roundup for September 23, 2016

President:

Trump: It is less than 50 days until the election and Donald Trump’s television advertisements have all but vanished. It has been over a week since the Trump campaign has paid to run a TV ad in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This begs the question of what the heck is Donald Trump spending all the campaign cash he is raising on? We know that Trump’s campaign has spent at least $8.2 million on business owned by Trump and his family (see here). The eventual post-election FEC investigation into Trump’s campaign spending could be a major scandal and a major embarrassment to the GOP.

Hillary: It must be nice to have Russian oligarchs, Saudi princes and Wall Street investment banks shower millions of dollars on you for giving speeches. Bill and Hillary Clinton just shelled out $1.16 million to buy the house next door to their Chappaqua mansion to use as a guest house for staff and visitors (because who doesn’t have a $1.16 million guest house on their estate). I guess when you are running for President against Donald Trump you don’t even need to make a pretense of being an average American.

Cruz: Ted Cruz is apparently taking bids on his conscience. Politico is out with a story claiming Ted Cruz is considering endorsing the man who claimed his father murdered JFK. I have to believe these stories where planted by people trying to troll Cruz because there is no way he could be politically stupid enough to endorse Donald Trump now after the stunt he pulled at the Republican National Convention.

Governor:

NH-Gov: Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate William Weld has made two donations to Republican Chris Sununu’s gubernatorial campaign.

NY-Gov: Federal corruption charges were filed against two close aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and six other people. The sweeping corruption charges are a result of an investigation from the office of  US Attorney Preet Bharara into the Buffalo Billions project. This is a devastating blow to the governor’s innermost circle and a repudiation of how Gov. Cuomo’s prized upstate economic development programs were managed. And if you are wondering why an investigation of a Buffalo development project was run out of the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan, the US Attorney for the Western District of New York is William Hochul who is the husband of New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul (D).

Senate:

AK-Sen: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead and former Sen. Mark Begich (D) is still not running for Senate. Begich made a big to-do about releasing a statement on Thursday about his political plans only to announce that he would not run a write-in campaign for Senate against Sen Lisa Murkowski (Write-in R). Murkowski is facing a 4 way re-election campaign against Democrat Ray Metcalfe,  independent Margaret Stock (who is running with lots of Democrat support) and Libertarian Joe Miller who beat Murkowski in the 2010 GOP primary. On the bright side Begich little publicity stunt should help him with his current career as a Washington lobbyist.

FL-Sen: The NRSC points out in Spanish that Patrick Murphy lied about about his resume. “Patrick Murphy si es un contador pero de cuentos” is a really cute line. Wish there was a good English equivalent of that Spanish play on words.

IL-Sen: The judge overseeing the Downstate retaliation lawsuit against Democrat senate candidate Tammy Duckworth has set an October 5th date for both sides to talk. Two former employees of Duckworth at the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs have sued claiming Duckworth tried to fire one of them and gave the other a bad review that cost her raises after they complained about Duckworth’s leadership at the VA home, where they work. Duckworth’s politicization of her work at the VA at the behest of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has become an issue in the Senate campaign and has been features in ads by Sen Mark Kirk (see here).

MO-Sen: Republican Sen Roy Blunt’s latest TV ad features lots of people assembling guns and makes the point that anyone can learn how to assemble a gun but what’s important is how you stand on the issues.

MT-AL: In sad news Libertarian candidate Michael Fellows was killed in a car crash this week. Fellows had run for office every year since 1996, when he ran for a seat in the Montana House. He ran for Congress in 1998, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010; for Secretary of State in 2000, and for the Montana Supreme Court in 2012. He was unsuccessful every time. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family.

NV-Sen: Freedom Partners is spending $1.2 million on TV ads to remind voters that as Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto ignored numerous request to investigate a guardianship program that exploited and abused seniors.

PA-Sen: Freedom Partners Action Fund has released a new ad attacking Democrat Katie McGinty for supporting “special interest profits for her and higher taxes for you”.

WA-Sen: Sen. Patty Murray is clearly not sweating her re-election campaign against Republican Chris Vance. Murray has transferred $1 million from her campaign account to the DSCC.

House:

FL-18: Democrat congressional candidate Randy Perkins is kind of a dick. Perkins had a meltdown over his double-amputee Republican opponent Brian Mast citing his military service as qualifying him to serve in Congress. Perkins actually had the gall to ask a man who lost both his legs fighting for his country to tell him “why the sacrifices and the services that you have provided for this country make you capable of solving issues?” Perkins also accused Mast (who once again lost both of his legs serving his country in Afghanistan) of not being a man for standing behind ads put out by the NRCC which Perkins took issue with. In Perkins world making money off of ripping off taxpayers during national disasters qualifies you for Congress but losing both your legs fighting for your country does not. Perkins is clearly trying to take Alan Grayson’s place as the biggest a-hole in Florida politics.

NH-1: Despite the best efforts of the New Hampshire Democratic Party former Democrat and Bernie Sanders supporter Shawn O’Connor will officially be on the ballot as an Independent candidate. O’Connor originally intended to run in the primary as a Democrat but pulled out after Democrat Party officials sandbagged his campaign in favor of former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.  O’Connor could draw progressive votes on the left away from Shea-Porter and could give Republican Rep. Frank Guinta a slightly better shot at re-election in this R+1 district.

NY-3: Tom Suozzi, you’re no Jack Kennedy! Democrat candidate Tom Suozzi released a new TV ad in which he compared himself JFK. Unless Tom Souzzi was referring to using dead voters to win (see here) I’m not sure the analogy holds.

NY-21: In a sign of how nasty politics can be a speaker at a campaign event for Democratic congressional candidate Mike Derrick called his Republican opponent Rep. Elise Stefanik a “cow”. After he was called out on it Derrick tried to distance himself from the disparaging remarks made at his own campaign event.

NY-22: The Oneida Indian Nation, which has feuded with Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, has given $500,000 to the Democrat aligned House Majority PAC.

NY-24: Rep. John Katko (R) released a new TV ad using his Democratic opponent Colleen Deacon’s own words against her. When asked for her view on what the U.S. should be doing to combat ISIS Deacon replied “Um … fighting ISIS, obviously, I … I don’t know what the answer is …”.

NY-25: Republican Mark Assini came a few hundred votes short of upsetting Rep. Louise Slaughter in this D+7 district in 2014. Now the 87 year old Slaughter is not taking any chances with her re-election. Her campaign has dug up online comments Assini made over a decade ago on gay marriage and other LGBTQ issues and is now trying to manufacture a controversy against him.

State, Local & Other:

Philadelphia District Attorney: Joe Khan has left his job as a federal prosecutor and announced that he will challenge Philadelphia DA Seth Williams in the 2017 Democrat primary.

NYC CD-21: Fresh off his loss in a bid for Democratic district leader position, former New York State Senator (and total scumbag) Hiram Monserrate will try for a comeback bid by running for City Council against Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D) next year. Monserrate was part of the 2009 coup with Sen. Pedro Espada (D) that briefly gave control of the NYS Senate to the GOP. Monserrate was later expelled from the Senate for doing THIS to his girlfriend.

NYC-Mayor: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is desperately trying to find a sane Democrat to take on Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) next year. Unfortunately, it seems state Democratic Party Executive Director Charlie King, a Cuomo ally, was sounding out support for a mayoral run by longtime Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright. Wright is a Charlie Rangel hack protege and recently lost the NY-13 Democrat primary to soon to be Congressman Adriano Espaillat. Seriously, for the sake of New York you have to hope that a better challenger than Keith Wright emerges.

Political Roundup for January 5th, 2016

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.

President

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.

Senate

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.

Governor

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.

House

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.

Miscellaneous

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.

Special Elections:

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.

Political Roundup for September 15, 2015

POTUS

Trump:  His Trumpness claims the mainstream media has been telling lies about him and that the American people are rejecting their nonsense.  While I am not sure the mainstream media is lying, the American public seems to be rejecting whatever they are saying these days.  Trump seems to be onto something.

Carson:  Ben Carson (R) appears to be getting a second look from a number of large donors as he is becoming an alternative to Trump.  Carson has been running a shoestring budget compared to a number of other contenders, which has not stopped him from exceeding several very well funded candidates into filling the anti-Trump mold for the moment.

More Carson:  Politico looks at how Gifted Hands, the biopic of Ben Carson’s early life and rise to fame as a pediatric neurosurgeon, highlights the fundamental appeal Carson has over his opponents in the Republican presidential race.  I watched the film for the first time last weekend and don’t think it is as bad as described, but agree it really highlights the origin of Carson’s following.

Sanders: While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is hiding from discussing anything to pretty much anyone, Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist) decided to venture into the beast of a conservative institution, Liberty University, and deliver a convocation speech.  While Sanders was obviously not a great ideological fit for the audience, he received a nice welcome and respect.

Clinton: Speaking of Clinton, some of her now classified emails are located on Google servers.  Surprisingly I feel better about them being on Google servers than in her garage, but it highlights the thousand paper cuts the Clinton campaign is facing.

States

PA-AG:  The Pennsylvania Senate has hired an outside attorney to investigate the procedure for removing Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) without going through the full impeachment process by using a constitutional method never used in Pennsylvania where the State Senate, through a 2/3 vote, may compel Governor Tom Wolf (D) to remove Kane from office.  Wolf did not dismiss the idea, which is not surprising as he has called on Kane to resign and would love the distraction posed by her to go away.

Allentown-Mayor/US Senate:  The Allentown Morning Call looks at how the corruption scandal engulfing Mayor Ed Pawlowski (D) burst onto the front pages.  Pawlowski, identified as Public Official No. 3 in court papers, allegedly used staffers to shake down business and property owners in Allentown for campaign contributions.  This led to the FBI using Pawlowski’s campaign manager and best friend, Mike Fleck, as a confidential informant to investigate the activities of the mayor and his henchmen.  This investigation has statewide implications as Pawlowski was running a campaign for US Senate before the FBI raids and the investigation has reached outside of Allentown to Reading.

Michigan:  Over 400,000 signatures have been turned into the Michigan Secretary of State attempting to compel the state Legislature to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law.  The State Senate has already voted to repeal the law, but the State House has been waiting on the results of the petition drive.  If there are 252,523 valid signatures, the Legislature have 40 session days to respond and make the petition law or leave it up to the voters at a later date.

International

Australia-Liberal Party: Malcolm Turnbull is now the Prime Minister of Australia as the Liberal Party has deposed former Prime Minister Tony Abbott (who might have the largest ear to head size ratio of any politician in the English speaking world).  Turnbull deposed Abbott due to Abbott’s sagging approval numbers and the long term dislike held between the men.  Turnbull’s coup is the third such move made against a sitting Prime Minister in five years.

UK-Labour:  Chaos continues in the Labour Party ranks as left wing lunatic leader Jeremy Corbyn attempts to hold the Labour Party together as MPs increasingly call for Corbyn to pledge to not cross a number of “red lines” including making cabinet ministers campaign against EU membership, dropping his support for unilateral nuclear disarmament, and pulling out of NATO.  Corbyn’s support for terrorists in Northern Ireland has driven the Unionists from Northern Ireland to pledge to always vote against Labour as well, which gives the Tories a several seat increase in their majority.

Political Roundup for August 24, 2015

Apologies for the delayed roundup as we seem to have had a schedule mixup.

Senate:

IN-Sen: State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) is considering a run for US Senate. Delph would likely shoot for the antiestablishment side of the primary with Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R), while Rep. Todd Young (R) and Coats staffer Eric Holcomb (R) would remain on the establishment side of the spectrum.

KY-Sen: The KYGOP approved Sen. Rand Paul’s (R) caucus plan, which will allow Paul to run for both Senate re-election and the Presidency while getting around Kentucky’s prohibition on seeking multiple offices on the same ballot. The decision was contingent on Paul footing the bill for the caucus.

MA-Sen ’18: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) is refusing to commit to a run for re-election in 2018, suggesting she may be considering some sort of executive position.

House:

IL-13: State Prosecutor Tom Banning (D) is considering a run for IL-13, a purple seat where Rep. Rodney Davis (R) has become relatively entrenched after two terms. Banning, who has not sought office before but has worked as a veterans’ advocate, would face Davis and D-turned-I professor David Gill.

PA-2: The trial of Rep. Chaka Fattah (D) will not start until after next year’s primary, potentially giving other Democrats a chance to run against him in an open-field free-for-all.

State & Local:

OK-Lab Comm: RIP, Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello (R), who was murdered by his son yesterday in an Oklahoma City restaurant. Costello’s son appeared to have a history of severe mental illness. The 59-year old Costello was a technology entrepreneur before winning the Labor Commissioner seat in his first political run in 2010. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) will appoint a replacement to fill out the term.

OR-SoS: Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) is likely to run for SoS. Avakian, who lost an OR-1 run in a 2011 special primary, is known as a bold progressive and will face State Rep. Val Hoyle (D), and potentially others, in the primary.

PA-AG: State Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Horsham) will run for AG; he will face State Sen. John Rafferty (R), who like Stephens is from suburban Philly, in the GOP primary. Several Dems have declared or are publicly considering primary challenges to indicted AG Kathleen Kane (D).

Philly-DA, etc: Now this is weird. Days after a story surfaced that Philly DA Seth Williams (D) was under investigation for campaign finance issues, Williams’s camp is pushing back that the story is a plant by indicted AG Kathleen Kane’s (D) team. Williams and Kane have been archenemies since Williams successfully picked up a corruption investigation Kane dropped.

IL-SoS ’18: Incumbent SoS Jesse White (D) will retire in 2018 after two decades in the job. The seat is likely to be highly-contested, as Illinois’s SoS is arguably the most powerful and high-profile in America thanks to its control of the DMV.