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Political Roundup for May 25, 2017

Check back later today for our Preview of the MT-AL special election at Noon ET, and our liveblog starting at 10pm ET.

President:

Franken: Al Franken (D) claims he is definitely not running for President in 2020. I’m not buying it. A Donald Trump vs Al Franken presidential election is what America deserves.

Governor:

GA-Gov: One day after a campaign to draft former Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R) to run for Governor surfaced, Westmoreland announced he will not run for Governor in 2018. Three Republicans are already in the race, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sen. Hunter Hill and more are considering a run. Several Democrats also are likely to enter the contest, including House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and state Rep. Stacey Evans.

NY-Gov: Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to be in good shape for re-election. According the the latest Siena Poll he is sporting a 63% favorability rating, 53% favor his re-election and the biggest obstacle to his re-election (Preet Bharara) was fired by Donald Trump.

VA-Gov: Miss me yet? Eight years ago this might be unthinkable but after 8 years of President Barrack Obama and 4 months of President Donald Trump, the presidency of George W. Bush might not be looking so bad. With this in mine Ed Gillespie’s latest TV ad for governor features a picture of him with George W. Bush and talks about his work as a presidential adviser and as one of the authors of the 1994 Contract With America.

Senate:

OH-Sen: Sen. Rob Portman (R) has endorsed state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) for Senate. With Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) passing on a Senate run Mandel is now looking like the consensus GOP pick to take on wife beater Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). The last Gravis poll from earlier in the month gave Mandel a 3 point lead over Brown in their rematch of their 2012 race.

House:

CO-7: Another Democrat has thrown is hat in the ring in the race to replace Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D), who is running for governor. State Sen. Dominick Moreno (D) announced his candidacy for Congress on Wednesday. He joins fellow Democrat state Sen. Andy Kerr and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen in the race.

FL-27: Former Miami Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado (R) announced her candidacy for outgoing Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District in 2018. Regalado is a self described “compassionate Republican” who endorsed Alex Sink over Rick Scott in 2010 and was #NeverTrump in 2016. Her father is Miami Mayor Tomas Pedro Regalado (R) who is definitely to her right ideologically. So far Miami Dade Commissioner Bruno Barriero is the only other Republican to announce his candidacy, but Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is also a potential candidate.  On the Democrat side businessman Scott Fuhrman, who lost to Ros-Lehtinen last year, Michael A. Hepburn, Mark Anthony Person, and Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez are all running.

GA-6: The DCCC is sinking another $2 million into this special election bringing their total spending her to over $5 million over the four weeks before election day. The amount of money being spent in this district is absolutely mind blowing.

MN-02: Jeff Erdmann (D), the head coach at Rosemount High School and civics teacher at the school, said he is seeking the DFL endorsement to run for Congress and challenge freshman Rep. Jason Lewis (R).

MT-AL: In case you missed it Greg Gianforte doesn’t take any crap from reporters even if it means flushing his entire political career away.

MT-AL: As of Tuesday night the state of Montana reported 250,221 of 356,657 mailed ballots have been returned. That tally is 111% of 2014’s total mailed absentees, and 74% of 2016’s! So turnout for this special election looks like it will be sky high. The votes cast by mail are almost identical in terms of modeled partisanship to the 2014 votes by mail. This indicates that there is no evidence of any unusual partisan advantage based on the turnout thus far. Spending in this race has also shattered a record. So far at least $17 million has been spent on this congressional special election with the GOP outspending the Democrats by a 4 to 1 margin over the last 20 days. The latest online poll from a outfit known as Change Research! gave Republican Greg Gianforte a 5-point lead over Democrat Rob Quist, 49–44% with Libertarian Mark Wicks getting 7%. But this was all before Greg Gianforte went all Incredible Hulk on Ben Jacobs.

NC-9: Solar energy financier Dan McCready (D) announced he will challenge three-term Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger. Pittenger barely survived his 2016 GOP primary which he won by 133 votes and with only 35% of the vote but that was no obstacle to him winning re-election in November with 58% of the vote. Pittenger was under federal investigation related to money transfers involving his privately owned real estate company and his 2012 campaign, but that investigation was recently closed without any charges being filed against him. Democrat Christian Cano, who lost to Pittenger in 2016 is also running again in 2018.

NY-23: Teachers union activist Rick Gallant (D) announced that he will challenge Rep. Tom Reed (R) next year. Gallant is definitely not a top tier challenger and seems more of the some dude variety but he could be the best Democrats get for this seat that the DCCC claims they want to challenge.

SC-1: Republican Tom Perez has ended his primary challenge to Rep. Mark Sanford (R). Perez, who is in the Naval Reserves, was called up for deployment abroad and his return would not come until after the primary election in June of next year. Republican Ted Fienning is also running a primary challenge to Sanford.

SC-5: The latest Gravis Poll has Republican Ralph Norman with a 47%-34% lead over Democrat Archie Parnell.

UT-3: Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) and former state Rep. Chris Herrod (R) are the latest Republicans to join the crowded field running in the special election for outgoing Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s seat. Curtis, who considers himself a conservative, was a registered Democrat in 2004 and 2005 and did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Herrod made a bit of a name for himself during his five years in the Utah state house by being a vocal critic of illegal immigration. Republicans Tanner Ainge (who is the son of former BYU and NBA star and current Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge), state Rep. Brad Daw, state Sen. Deidre Henderson and state Sen Margaret Dayton have all already announced that they are running. On the Democrat side progressive candidate Ben Frank and activist Carl Ingwell are running in this heavily Republican district.

WA-8: Issaquah City Councilmember Tola Marts (D) will challenge seven-term Republican Rep. Dave Reichert. Marts will run on a platform of providing free community college for everyone and was not recruited by national Democrat leaders to run. Two other Democrats also have filed paperwork to run; Poga Ahn, a manager of a concrete business, and Thomas Cramer, who ran for Congress in 2012 in the 9th District.

State, Local & Other:

NY-State Senate: Is a coup in the works in the NY State Senate? Democrat state Sen. Simcha Felder, who is aligned with the GOP caucus, sent a letter to IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein urging him to join the mainline Democrats. Of note is that Felder did not ever say that he was willing to align himself with the main Democrat caucus! So what is really going on? Probably more jostling for prizes from the Prize Patrol as the controversy over stipends that where “accidentally” paid to vice chairs continues.

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.

Political Roundup for May 16th, 2017

Tonight is the SC-5 Republican Congressional primary runoff between Tommy Pope and Ralph Norman, the Pittsburgh Mayoral election, L.A. City Council elections and various legislative special elections and municipal elections. See HERE for our preview of all of today’s elections and check back with us tonight at 7PM for our liveblog with all the results of today’s races.

Polling Update: We are still trying to raise money for polling~ If you would like to help make the polls possible please go to:   https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and contribute today!

Governor:

CA-Gov: 32 year old Silicon Valley venture capitalist Sam Altman confirmed that he may throw his hat into the ring and run for Governor. Altman is the president of Y Combinator, a start-up technology incubator that has invested in companies such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe. He is a registered Democrat, has been a loud critic of Donald Trump and funds a voter engagement non-profit. If he runs for governor Altman could self fund his campaign.

HI-Gov:  State Rep. Bob McDermott (R) has officially entered the race for Governor. McDermott is one of only five Republican members of the Hawaii state legislature and would face an uphill task of winning in Hawaii as a Republican.

PA-Gov: State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) has sent a letter to Republican State Committee members telling them he is seriously considering a run for Governor.

VA-Gov: Contrary to reported rumors Corey Stewart (R) did not drop out of the race for Governor. Instead he teased everyone into watching him give a speech in which he did not denounce racist white nationalist Richard Spencer or his pro-Confederate neo-KKK torch lit protest in Charlottesville, VA. Stewart’s support for keeping monuments to the Confederacy has become the focal point of the native Minnesotans campaign for Governor of Virginia. By tying himself to racist white nationalist, Stewart has completely beclowned himself and hopefully will get destroyed by Ed Gillespie in the June 13th GOP primary.

Senate:

AL-Sen: Rep. Mo Brooks (R) announced that he will run in Alabama’s special Senate election later this year. Brooks, who has been aligned with the Tea Party and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, will challenge appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R). Brooks will not have to give up his House seat to run in the special election. State Rep. Ed Henry, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, businessman Dom Gentile, and Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson are all running for the GOP Senate nomination already. Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh is also taking steps toward running. On the Democratic side, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones and medical marijuana advocate Ron Crumpton are running.

MO-Sen: Rep. Ann Wag­n­er (R) is planning to enter the Senate race in July, according to two sources familiar with her plans. Private polling has show her already leading Sen. Claire Mc­Caskill (D).

House:

AZ-1: The GOP blew a prime opportunity at picking up this open house seat in 2016 when a divided Republican primary allowed scandal tarred Sheriff Paul Babeu to win the GOP primary with 30% of the vote. Donald Trump won this district by a 48% to 47% margin while Babeu lost by a 51% to 43% margin. Hoping to avoid the same mistake in 2018 local Republicans are trying to rally around and clear the field for state Sen. Steve Smith (R) who just announced he will challenge freshman Rep. Tom O’Halloran (D).

AZ-2: Democrat Matt Heinz sponsored an internal PPP poll that showed both him and Anne Kirkpatrick (D) beating incumbent Rep. Martha McSally (R) by 4 points 48% to 44%. This poll should be taken with a massive grain of salt. McSally beat Heinz by a 54% to 46% margin in 2016 while Hillary Clinton was winning this district by 5 points. The polling of Kirkpatrick is an interesting wrinkle. While Kirkpatrick represented the neighboring AZ-1 she lives near Flagstaff which is a good 265 miles away from AZ-2.

CA-25: Attorney Bryan Caforio (D)  announced he will seek a rematch against Rep. Steve Knight (R) in 2018. Knight beat Caforio 53.1% to 46.9% in 2016 while Hillary was beating Donald Trump 50% to 44%. Two other Democrats, Vulcanologist Jess Phoenix and non-profit executive Katie Hill, also announced they will be running in the top two jungle primary.

GA-6: With a little more than 5 weeks to go before the June 20th election Gravis finds Hans Solo Jon Ossoff (D) holds a 47% to 45% lead over Karen Handel (R). It is worth noting that Ossoff is polling one point worse than he did in the primary and that this poll is assuming a 29% African American electorate in a district that is 13% black.

GA-6: The GOP is sending in the cavalry to help Karen Handel (R) win. Handel has already landed visits from President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Marco Rubio are planning to come to the district and campaign for her as well.

OH-1: One term former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D) is returning home after spending the last six years working in the Peace Corps in Africa. He has ruled out seeking a re-match with Rep. Steve Chabot (R) or seeking any other political office in the future.

MT-AL: Three of the more important Montana newspapers, the Independent Record (Helena), the Billings Gazette and the Missoulian (Missoula) endorsed Republican Greg Gianforte for Congress. The Gazette noted that “Quist seems unable to tell the truth about his own finances and may even be ducking property taxes that most of us would have to pay” and that “The Montana Democratic Party owns much of Quist’s failure. It seems unable to use Google to find basic information, and sadly has a remarkable recent track record of fielding subpar candidates”.

NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) has spent $70,000 of campaign funds on renting a “campaign” office from his brother that is located outside of his district. This could be a violation of House Ethics rules

NY-27:  Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) threw cold water on some Democrats hope that she would seek a rematch with Rep. Chris Collins (R) in 2018. Collins unseated Hochul in 2012 beating her by a narrow 50.8% to 49.2% margin. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) then picked Hochul to be his running mate in 2014. Hochul says she fully anticipates running again with Gov. Cuomo in 2018. Hochul would have to be insane to voluntarily give up her cushy job as Lt. Governor for a long shot run at beating Rep. Chris Collins. Collins won re-election in 2016 with 62.3% of the vote while Donald Trump was winning his district by a 60% to 35% margin. Her husband William Hochul, who is a former US Attorney from western New York, might be a more logical recruit for the Democrats for this seat.

TX-7: So far a total of seven Democrats have announced their intent to challenge Rep. John Culberson (R) in 2018. In his 9 terms in Congress Culberson has never won election with less than a 12 point margin of victory. But that hasn’t stopped Jason Westin, Alex Triantaphyllis, Debra Kerner, Joshua Butler, and James Cargas from wanting to run. But clearly 5 potential Democrat candidates are not enough to take on a historically safe GOP incumbent in a district in which Hillary Clinton won 48.5% of the vote. So last week #Resistance member Laura Moser launched a campaign and this week Houston lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher has entered the race as well. Hopefully the number of potential Democrat challengers can reached double digits before the Texas filing deadline closes.

VA-10: A fifth Democrat has entered the race to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R). Former Naval intelligence officer David Hanson will join former teachers union head Kimberly Adams, Army veteran Dan Helme, former Obama administration official Lindsey Davis Stover and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton in seeking the Democrat nomination. The DCCC recruited Wexton to run and pushed Virginia 1st Lady Dorothy McAuliffe out of the race, but they clearly can’t completely clear the field for her. Hopefully this large Democrat primary field will get larger and bloodier!

State, Local & Other:

NC-Voter Fraud: An investigation by the North Carolina Board of Elections has found that 508 voters who cast ballots last November were not eligible to vote. 441 votes came from active felons who were ineligible to vote, 41 votes came from non-citizens, 24 came from people who voted twice and 2 votes came from people who falsely voted using the name of a family member who’d recently died. Considering that just under 4.75 million votes were cast, 508 ineligible votes seems like a pretty reasonable error rate. With that said it does not mean that more could not be done to make that rate even lower. Unfortunately, both Democrats and Republicans would rather play politics with the issue of voter fraud than actually work together to pass sensible election reforms to lower the rate that these type of voter errors occur.

U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican: Donald Trump has tapped Callista Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican

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 May 11, 2017

Polling Update: We are still way short of what we would need to raise to poll the MT-AL special election. Montana state law requires live callers to poll which makes the cost of polling the state very expensive. We are still waiting on approval from the state of Georgia to get an exemption to their state telecommunications law which requires live callers. If we can get the exemption and raise enough money we will poll GA-06. If not all money raised will be put towards polling the AL-Sen GOP primary. If you would like to help make the polls possible please go to:   https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and contribute today!

President:

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?: Because one President who is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame is not enough, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says he might actually run for President. Before you laugh at this please remember Donald Trump is President of the United States and Al Franken is a member of the US Senate.

Governor:

FL-Gov: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) officially launched is campaign for governor. Putnam has been a fixture in Florida’s political scene for over 20 years. He was first elected to the Florida State House in 1996, Congress in 2000 and was elected statewide to Agriculture Commissioner in 2010. With a resume like that its sometime hard to believe that Adam Putnam is only 42 years old.

MI-Gov: Better Call Sam. Wealthy attorney Mark Bernstein (D) is considering a run for governor. The Bernstein family law firm is one of the best known in the state and Mark is known for his “Call Sam” ambulance chasing commercials. If he runs Mark could put significant personal fortune into the race. When Mark’s brother Richard Bernstein ran for MI Supreme Court in 2014 the Bernstein family reportedly spent more than $1 million to help him win.

MN-Gov: 2014 gubernatorial nominee and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R) will run for governor again this year. Johnson struggled with fundraising in 2014 but did outperform the well-funded GOP Senate nominee. Johnson joins Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman and State Rep. Matt Dean in the quest for the GOP nomination. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, State Sen. Dave Osmek, former MNGOP Chairman Keith Downey, and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek are all considering seeking the Republicans nomination as well.

NJ-Gov:  Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) has raised over $2.2 million since January for her gubernatorial campaign. While this is a fairly decent haul for her, New Jersey is a very expensive state to run in since it doesn’t have its own media market and candidates are forced to buy ads in NYC and Philadelphia. Her most likely general election opponent will be former Goldman Sachs Master of the Universe Phil Murphy (D) who has already written a check to himself for $10 million for his campaign and give himself a lot more.

TN-Gov: State Sen. Mark Green (R) is undecided about returning to the Tennessee governor’s race after his nomination to be Secretary of the Army was scuttled by Democrats and LGBT special interest groups. Ironically the controversy left wing groups created over his nomination has raised Green’s profile and stature and could even help him in a GOP gubernatorial primary.

VA-Gov: Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) believes healthcare is a “privilege” and not a “right”. At least that is what he said in a 2011 debate when he was running for re-election to the state senate. Expect Progressive darling Tom Perriello to make an issue out of this old quote in the Democrat primary.

Senate:

ME-Sen: Gov. Paul LePage (R) announced that he will not run for Senate in 2018. For months LePage had been hinting at potentially challenging Sen. Angus King (I) but this marquee matchup will not happen.

TX-Sen: Former George W. Bush strategist Matthew Dowd will not run for Senate in 2018. Dowd had been considering an independent bid against Sen. Ted Cruz (R). The biggest obstacle to Ted Cruz’s re-election would come from a third party right of center candidate sucking up enough Republican votes to allow a Democrat like Beto O’Rourke to seek into office with less than 45% of the vote. With Dowd out that no longer looks like a possibility. Furthermore Cruz is starting to shed his image as an obstructionist Senate gadfly and is starting to be seen as a team player who the Senate GOP is counting on to bring Senate Republicans together to pass Obamacare repeal (see HERE).

WV-Sen: ICYMI Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) campaign launch video is well worth a watch. The video hits Sen. Manchin (D) for saying one think to get elected and doing another in Washington, DC. The ad features Manchin changing his views on gun control, standing with Planned Parenthood and endorsing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The video clearly lays out the case Jenkins will be making to voters and the themes in it will most likely be the focus of his campaign for Senate.

House:

CA-10: Registered nurse Dotty Nygard (D) will challenge Rep. Jeff Denham (R). Nygard is an activist in California Nurses Association the powerful Nurses Union. While Nygard seems like a C-list candidate at best Hillary Clinton did win this district 49%-46%.

GA-6: San Francisco loves Jon Ossoff (D) and the Congressional Leadership Fund is running a new ad letting everyone know that.

NY-1: Sommelier Hannah Selinger (D) announced her intention to challenge Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Selinger has no prior experience running for public office and only moved to the East End of Long Island six years ago.

NY-11: Boyd Melson (D), a 35-year-old retired boxer, plans to run to run against Rep. Dan Donovan (R) next year. Melson lives in Brooklyn not Staten Island and can at best be described as a D-list candidate.

SC-5: The Club for Growth has endorsed Ralph Norman in the May 16th Republican primary runoff vs. Tommy Pope and has gone on the air with two new TV ads on Norman’s behalf (See HERE & HERE). UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has also made her preferences in this race known by donating $100 to Ralph Norman’s campaign (See Here).

VA-10: Dorothy McAuliffe, wife of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), will not seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) next year. This clears the way for DCCC recruit state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D) to have an easier path to the Democrat nomination.

WV-3: Ex-State Delegate Rick Snuffer (R) becomes first to announce he will run for Congress after Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) announced his Senate candidacy. While Snuffer  is a former State Delegate he is also entering frequent candidate territory. Snuffer has run twice before for WV-03 (getting within 8 points in 2012), ran for WV GOP Chair, and ran for US Senate run in 2006 (getting 6% of the R primary vote). Current WV GOP Chair & former Sen. Shelley Moore Capito staffer Conrad Lucas is also prepping a Congressional campaign here.

State, Local & Other:

AL-Redistricting: The court mandated legislative redistricting in Alabama is slowing coming to completion. The senate has passed a map that complies with the court order unpacking of black voters. The new Senate maps smoothed out county lines while maintaining a partisan make up similar to the old. The house map that has passed committee also looks like it will keep the partisan balance the same while fixing the items the court wanted addressed.

NH-HD Cheshire 4: Rep. Joseph Stallcop has left the Democratic Party and joined the Libertarian Party. His defection will give the Libertarian Party two members in the 400 member state House. This will entitle the Libertarian Party to be recognized as a caucus, with its own room in the capitol. Stallcop is a 21 year old college student and was a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016.

Political Roundup for May 3, 2017

Election Results from Last Night:  In SC-5, State House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope and former State Representative Ralph Norman will square off in a runoff for the Republican nomination to face Democratic nominee former Goldman Sachs banker Archie Parnell in June.  In Cincinnati, Mayor John Cranley (D-Moderate) and challenger Yvette Simpson (D-Bold Progressive) will advance to the general election. For the SC State House, Bryant (R) won in LD-48 while Brawley (D) and Hill (D) advance to a runoff in LD-70.

Also, please check back this afternoon for our preview of tomorrow’s UK local elections.

As we are still trying to figure out what alternative universe President Trump is from based on his take of the Civil War, it is time for today’s roundup:

President/National

SEC:  Jay Clayton was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission by a 61-37 vote.

Filibuster:  Senate Republicans have shot down President Trump’s push for a crisis to eliminate the Senate filibuster completely.

Jackson:  The Atlantic looks at how Democrats have lost their ties to arguably their founder former President Andrew Jackson (Scots Irish) and how President Trump understands some of the tenants of Jacksonian Democracy.

Clinton:  Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (DLC?) has climbed out of her Westchester County hole once again and ranting about the election being stolen by the FBI and Russians.

Congress

AL-Sen:  Representative Mo Brooks (R) is seriously considering a run for US Senate later this year during the special election to replace now Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  Brooks would be at least facing appointed Senator Luther Strange (R) and possibly Alabama Senate president Del Marsh (R) for the Republican nomination.  Other contenders for the Republican nomination include disgraced former state Supreme Court Justice Ray Moore (R-Crazytown), state Representative Ed Henry, and Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson (R).

WV-Sen:  Coal miner and Clinton antagonist Bo Copley announced his campaign for the Republican nomination to face Senator Joe Manchin (D-Mylan).  Copley had 15 minutes of fame for attacking former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over her embracing the alleged “War on Coal”.

ID-1:  As Representative Raul Labrador (R) examines a run for Governor, we have a candidate interested in replacing him: businessman and former county commissioner James Rockwell (R).  Rockwell announced his attentions while wearing a MAGA hat last week.

Adapting to Trump:  Republicans in swing districts are finding it very odd to navigate the Trump administration and unpredictability.   Some are using the erratic behavior of the administration as a means of further differentiating themselves.

States

NM-Gov:  Former television executive Jeff Apodaca (D) will seek the Democratic nomination for Governor next year.  Apodaca’s father Jerry (D) served as Governor in the 1970s.  Repsentative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is also running to replace term-limited Governor Susana Martinez (R).

International

UK General Election – Northern Ireland:  The most irrelevant poll of the UK General Election was released highlighting how the sectarian divide continues to play out in Northern Ireland.  It looks like only one seat is really in play in Ulster with Brexit dominating the concerns of voters with the respective support and opposition to Brexit falling on sectarian lines.

UK General Election – Germany:  Speaking of foreign electoral interference, it appears the Germans in the name of the preservation of the Fourth Reich are attempting to undermine UK Prime Minister Theresa May (Conservative).  Polling wise it appears to be very ineffective.

Canada – Conservative Party:  A poll of the Conservative Party leadership race shows that former cabinet minister Maxine Bernier (Quebec) has a nearly double-digit lead over former Speaker Andrew Scheer (Saskatchewan) in first ballot preferences.

SC-5 and Cincinnati Primaries Liveblog

Results: AP || DDHQ || NYT

9:05 ET- I’m going to cut bait on the liveblog here reasonably confident that Pope and Norman will be extremely close and that Cincinnati will head to a runoff between Simpson and Cranley. Check back in tomorrow’s roundup for full results.

9:02 ET- And the AP has called a Pope-Norman (or Norman-Pope) runoff.

9:00 ET- 70% in, Pope 31 Norman 30 Mullikin 18 Connelly 16. Basically ready to call a Pope-Norman runoff as most of what’s left is York and Lancaster. But there’s a slight chance Norman could edge ahead of Pope.

8:42 ET- We’ve hit the halfway mark: Pope 31 Norman 26 Mullikin/Connelly 19.

8:35 ET- 41% in, Pope 33 Norman 28 Mullikin 20. As an aside, Parnell is over 50% in every county so I think we can call the D side for him.

8:25 ET- 27% in, Pope 38 Norman 28 Mullikin 19.

8:15 ET- 22% in, Pope 37 Norman 28 Mullikin 17.

8:05 ET- Up to 15% in and the margins have narrowed somewhat – Pope 39 Norman 26 Mullikin 19. Worth noting that Mullikin’s home of Sumter and Pope/Norman’s home base of York are reporting the fastest.

7:53 ET- We may have a surprise in Cincinnati, as Simpson leads Cranley 44-34 in the early vote.

7:50 ET- Pope has jumped up to a 41-31 lead over Norman but everyone else is way back. Parnell is easily clearing 50 on the D side at about 70%. Pretty much just earlies at this point.

7:33 ET- Three counties are reporting earlies and it’s not much of a contest right now, as Pope (39) and Norman (36) are way ahead of third place with 13.

7:27 ET- Early votes from Cherokee County (Gaffney) have Pope leading Norman by one vote with both at 30.

7:00 ET- Polls have closed in South Carolina; they will close in Cincinnati in 30 minutes.

SC-5 & Cincinnati Mayor Primary Preview

Tomorrow we kick off a very busy stretch of elections, with a true grab-bag of congressional, local, and international races over the next week and a half. First up is the SC-5 primaries and a mayoral primary in Cincinnati, plus two special elections. Polls close at 7p ET in SC and 7:30p ET in Cincinnati; our liveblog will start at 7 tomorrow night.

SC-5 (R, D): Tomorrow’s big events are the primaries for the SC-5 special election. SC-5 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 Columbia and Spartanburg metros. The seat has a PVI of R+10 (2016). Democrats have not considered this seat a priority (though that may change given the energized nature of the liberal base right now). But for now, basically all the action here is in the GOP primary.

Tommy Pope

For Republicans, seven candidates are facing off, five of them serious, and the race is considered all but certain to head on to a runoff in two weeks. By CW, State Rep. Tommy Pope (R), who dropped down to this race after aborting a run for Governor, is thought the front-runner. Pope, the third-ranking Republican in the State House, is probably the best-known candidate in the race from his longtime tenure as a prominent DA. He has fundraised credibly and has strong establishment connections; however, he is not the best-funded candidate.

Ralph Norman

The top spot in fundraising goes to Pope’s fellow State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), the 2006 nominee for this seat (there is a special tonight for Norman’s seat, as he resigned to focus on this race). Norman has high name recognition from his prior run against then-Rep. John Spratt (D), and self-funding ability from his construction business that has allowed him to double up his nearest competitor in funds. Both Pope and Norman are relatively generic Chamber-of-Commerce conservatives, with the main difference being that Pope emphasizes public safety instead of Norman’s economic focus. Pope and Norman are strongly favored to advance to the runoff, but three other candidates could squeeze one or both out.

Chad Connelly

One thing that might hurt both Pope and Norman is that both are from the Charlotte suburbs; while populous, they only make up a little under half the seat, and that could open up the race to candidates from the rural south of the seat. Ex-SCGOP chair Chad Connelly (R) has received some establishment support, including an endorsement from Rep. Jeff Duncan (R), and is the only serious candidate from the rural southwestern part of the district. Connelly’s fundraising has been on par with Pope’s, though not enough to match Norman’s. He also has some ties in the high-turnout Social Conservative movement.

Tom Mullikin

Similarly, attorney and State Guard commander Tom Mulikin (R) is the only serious candidate from the rural southeastern part of the district. Mullikin also has some self-funding ability (though not as much as Norman’s). He has raised less than Connelly or Pope, but spent about as much thanks to his self-funding.

Sheri Few

Finally, one candidate with an ideological lane of her own is 2014 State Superintendent candidate Sheri Few (R), who is running by far the most antiestablishment campaign of the bunch. Few has made national headlines for criticizing Pope and Norman for voting to remove the Confederate Flag from the State Capitol grounds following the Charleston church massacre, and she has released an ad of her clutching an AR-15. While Few will likely have some significant base support, her fundraising has been relatively poor; if she makes the runoff, she will likely have a tough time getting to 50%.

Two other Some Dudes seem non-serious (raising under $5K each) but might draw a point or two each. Overall, while Norman and Pope look clearly like the two most likely to advance, each of the other three do have some chance to box one or both of them out, as the odds are good that only a few points will separate first from third.

Archie Parnell

Across the aisle, three little-known Democrats are competing in this race. The clear front-runner in the primary is former Goldman Sachs tax attorney Archie Parnell (D), who has received nearly unanimous Democratic establishment support and has been the only Dem candidate to fundraise credibly (and has also self-funded some). Parnell should wrap this up in one round, but there is a slight chance he could be embarrassed and head to a runoff with one of two non-serious Some Dudes. As for the general, this seat doesn’t seem to be a priority for Democrats after their highly-touted 2016 nominee fell flat, though there is a slight chance that may change before the June 20 general election. Right now, Few seems like the only potential GOP nominee that would entice Democrats to go all-in for Parnell, unless Trump’s approval rating erodes further. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

Cincinnati Mayor: The other major election tomorrow is the primary for Mayor of Cincinnati. Cincinnati has a population of 300K, which breaks down as roughly 50W/40B. It had a PVI of D+22 in 2008. Three candidates are running for Mayor in a California-Rules Top Two format; the top two candidates will advance on to a November general. Incumbent John Cranley (D), a moderate Democrat who came into office four years ago campaigning against a new streetcar system, is seeking a second term. The system has been built over his objections, but Cranley is still making it an issue, pledging to resist expansion. Cranley’s term as Mayor has generally been well-regarded, but he still faces two challengers from his left. Cranley has outraised his rivals and should be guaranteed to come in first by a large margin, but how large a victory may determine the level of enthusiasm for his rival ahead of the November vote. Most likely to advance with the incumbent is councilwoman Yvette Simpson (D), a streetcar proponent who is running to Cranley’s left on a variety of issues and has some base in the city’s black community. She is very likely to come in second tomorrow on that base. The third candidate in the race, university regent Rob Richardson (D), will most likely be eliminated; he strikes similar notes to Simpson on the streetcar and liberal ideology but lacks her name recognition, degree of establishment connections, or campaign experience. However, he has pulled in decent fundraising and has some labor support, so there is a slight chance he may be able to upset Simpson for the second spot. All in all this looks very much like Cranley’s race to lose, and it would be a surprise if he did not take a majority of the vote tomorrow. But an unexpectedly narrow win could energize liberal forces for his rival over the next six months.

Legislative Specials: There are also two legislative special primaries this week in South Carolina. SC-LD-48 is an R+15 (2012) seat around Tega Cay in the Charlotte suburbs, left open by the previously mentioned Ralph Norman, who is seeking SC-5. Ex-York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant (R) is favored over retired businessman Tom Nichols (R). The GOP nominee will be favored over retired nonprofit exec Bebs Barron-Chorak (D) in the general. 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. 9 Democrats are running and the race is all but certain to head to a runoff in two weeks. School board member and 2016 State Senate candidate Wendy Brawley (D) has the support of the late former incumbent’s family and looks like the very slight front-runner. Farmer Heath Hill (D) is the only serious white candidate in the race and seems to be running the most serious campaign. Pastor Jermaine Walker (D) seems to be the only black candidate from the more rural eastern part of the district. 90s-era ex-State Rep. Levola Taylor (D) and gospel radio host Erin Vance-Brown (D) could have outside name recognition. George Wilson Jr. (D) and Norman Jackson Jr. (D) are both sons of prominent local pols but don’t seem to be running very serious campaigns themselves. Two other Some Dudes seem totally non-serious. I don’t really know how to handicap this one so I’ll just say that any two could move on, though just as a guess based on what little I can find online Brawley and Hill look like the most serious contenders. The Dem nominee will be the prohibitive favorite over a GOP Some Dude in the general.

Political Roundup for April 12th, 2017

First off some bad news: Our polling contractor hasn’t sent us the GA-6 data yet, so it looks like we won’t be releasing the poll until tomorrow. We apologize for the mess – this has been the poll from hell logistics-wise. Please click HERE to donate and help be a part of America’s only volunteer crowd sourced polling effort!

About last night: Looks like all that last minute GOP activity in KS-4 was not a head fake or a waste as Republican Ron Estes pulled off a closer than expected 52% to 45% win last night over Democrat James Thompson in this R+15 district.

President:

CA Presidential Primary: A bill making its was through the legislature in Sacramento could move the Californian presidential primary to March potentially making the largest state in the nation the third state to vote after Iowa and New Hampshire.

Governor:

Governor Approval Ratings: Morning Consult has released their new Governor approval rankings. Republican governors Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland are the nation’s two most popular governors. Baker has a 75% approval rating and Hogan a 73% approval rating. Meanwhile New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the least popular with a 25% approval rating. Of note Florida Governor and potential 2018 Senate candidate Rick Scott (R) is sporting a 57% approval rating.

CT-Gov: Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker (I/R) filed papers to run for governor as a Republican. Walker was once considered an A-list type of candidate and was even floated as a potential Americans Elect independent presidential candidate in 2012. But for some inexplicable reason Walker decided to run for Lt Governor in 2014 and lost the GOP primary. Walker joins fellow Republicans Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, and former Coventry Town Councilman Micah Welinktukonis as candidates who have formally filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission. Unpopular Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy hasn’t decided whether to seek a third term in 2018.

GA-Gov: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) has filed to run for governor in 2018. Cagle is the presumptive Republican front-runner in what could be a crowded field to succeed a term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal (R). Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) is already in the race and a cast of current and former lawmakers are considering running as well.

ME-Gov: In an interview with WGAN radio Republican Sen. Susan Collins said she was seriously contemplating a run for governor of Maine in 2018.

SC-Gov: Newly elevated South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) raised over $960,000 in the 1st quarter setting him up for the looming GOP primary battle. Former South Carolina labor and public health chief Catherine Templeton (R) reported last week that she raised $700,000 during the first quarter of 2017 for her gubernatorial run.

VA-Gov: The latest Quinnipiac poll has former Rep. Tom Perriello leading the Democrat primary with 25% to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s 20% with a whopping 51% are undecided. On the GOP side Ed Gillespie leads with 28%, followed by Prince William County Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart at 12%, State Sen. Frank Wagner with 7% and 51% undecided. With this many “undecideds” it is easy to be undecided about the value of this Quinnipiac poll.

Senate:

Senate Approval Ratings: Morning Consult has released their new Senate approval rankings. Of note is the fact that Tammy Baldwin who is up for re-election in 2018 has only a 44% approval rating.

MO-Sen: Rep. Ann Wagner (R) has nearly $2.8 million cash on hand as she contemplates challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).

MT-Sen: Republicans finally get their first candidate to declare but it is not one of the big named hopefuls. Rather state Senator Albert Olszewski (R), who finished in sixth place in the 2012 GOP primary for Lt Governor, announced he would run for senate. The 54-year-old Olszewski is an orthopedic surgeon.

VA-Sen: Quinnipiac polled a potential 2018 general election Senate race and finds incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D) leading a potential matchup with Laura Ingraham (R) 56% to 35% and leading Carly Fiorina 57% to 33%.

House:

CA-50: Retired Navy SEAL Josh Butner becomes the fourth Democrat to enter the race to challenge Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) next year.

CO-6: Denver attorney and veteran Jason Crow (D) announced he will challenge Rep. Mike Coffman in 2018.

GA-6: Political statistician Nate Silver says Democratic congressional candidate and Star Wars aficionado Jon Ossoff was “making sh*t up” about him in his fundraising emails. Ossoff seems to have fabricated a quote from Silver for his email fundraising appeal. I guess when you are in the process of scamming the Democrat base out of upwards of $8.3 million a few white lies here and there can be expected.

More GA-6: The DCCC is making a six figure ad buy on all 7 of Atlanta’s black radio stations as well as associated websites on behalf of Jon Ossoff. The ad urges black voters to turnout and tell Trump that “…racism and intolerance are never OK”. It looks like absentees/in person early votes had a big increase of over 5,000 votes on Monday to 26,717 from 21,111. It looks like Democrat ballots make up a little over 10,000, No Party ballots a little over 9000 and GOP ballots a little under 7500. Now if only someone would poll this race……

MT-AL: Financial deadbeat and Democratic congressional candidate Rob Quist has raised over $1.3 million. This cash infusion should come in handy for Quist since due to his own personal financial problems he is paying himself a salary out of his campaign funds.

NY-19: Livingston Deputy Supervisor Will Yandik announced he will not seek the Democrat nomination for Congress against freshman Rep. John Faso (R). Yandik was defeated in the Democrat primary last year by left wing carpetbagger Law Prof Zephyr Teachout, who in turn lost to Faso.

PA-7: Looks like another bold progressive will try to take a crack at unseating Rep. Pat Meehan (R) in this R+1 suburban Philadelphia district. So called “community advocate” and former board president of the pro-gun control group CeaseFirePA Dan Muroff has announced he will carpetbag into PA-7 and challenge Meehan. In 2o16 Muroff ran for the Democratic nomination PA-2 but came in fourth in the Dem primary, behind eventual winner Dwight Evans, incumbent Rep. Chaka Fatttah, and Brian Gordon. Muroff will face Molly Sheehan in the Democrat primary. Both Democrats currently running for this seat do not live in the district.

PA-10: President Trump has nominated fourth-term Rep. Tom Marino (R), a frequent DEA critic, to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This will led to special election in this R+16 seat.

SC-5: The Republican primary in the SC-5 special election seems like a contest between front runners ex-state Rep. Ralph Norman and state state House Speaker Pro Temp Tommy Pope. “Activist” and perennial candidate Sheri Few is trying to gain some traction (and notoriety) in the primary by running ads proclaiming her support for the Confederate flag. Chances are Few will be as unsuccessful in this campaign as she was in her 2014 run for Superintendent of Education and her 2006, 2008 and 2010 runs for a state House seat.

VA-10: Another some dude is looking to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R). 35 year-old U.S. Army veteran Dan Helmer is the latest Democrat to enter this race. Kimberly Adams is also running for the Democrat nomination while State Sen. Jennifer Wexton and Fairfax County Board member Kathy Smith are both considering the race as well.

State, Local & Other:

NY-SD 32: Total whackjob and New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz (D) announced he will run for the New York City Council in 2017. Diaz is socially conservative Pentecostal preacher. His son is Bronx Boro President and his allies control the Bronx County Democrat machine. Diaz should be a heavy favorite to win a council seat which would create a vacancy in the closely divided GOP controlled state Senate.

Brooklyn-DA: The New York Times takes a look at the seven Democrats lining up to run for Kings County District Attorney in 2017. Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson passed away in October after serving in office for three years.

MI-SD 2: State Sen. Bert Johnson (D) was indictment by a federal grand jury Tuesday on charges of hiring a ghost employee on his Senate payroll and stealing more than $23,000 from taxpayers.