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Political Roundup for June 21st, 2017

In case you missed it yesterday, Republican Karen Handel worked out an unexpectedly strong win in GA-6, and Republican Ralph Norman had an unexpectedly close win in SC-5. Republicans and Democrats each held a seat in the SC State House as well. What does it say about politics that the Democrats did better in the seat Clinton lost by close to 20 points that they basically ignored than the one she lost by 1 that they poured over $30 Million in? Maybe that going all-in on a political nobody who looks like he’s just finishing up his freshman year of college isn’t a good idea? Or perhaps,(more seriously) that the higher the special election turnout, the worse the result for the already-fired-up Democrats, as SC-5 saw something like 1/3rd as many votes as GA-6 did. Regardless, expect a day of Democrats spinning about how GA-6 didn’t really matter and Republicans spinning about how GA-6 meant everything.

Now, on to the news:

President:

CBS-Poll: A CBS poll has Trump down to his lowest numbers yet at 36% approval. His handling of the Russia probe seems to be his weakest point so far, as he’s not doing too bad on the other major issues tested. Also, Americans believe Comey over Trump by about 2:1, and slightly favor believing that the probe is a grave matter of national security over it being a political hatchet job.

2020: Morning Consultant did a poll of the favorability #s of just about every candidate seriously suggested for the 2020-Dem Nomination. The vast majority of them are unknown right now, with the exceptions being Warren (Slightly Positive) and Biden (Very positive). The only notable exceptions here are Sanders and of course Clinton 2020, because as they say the third time’s the charm!

Holder: Eric Holder, probably best remembered as the AG Obama replaced with Loretta Lynch, is apparently “re-entering the political fray” and is talking about running for President in 2020. Because at this point I think the Democrats saw the 17-candidate pileup of the 2016-GOP race and said “Hold my kale-smoothie–watch this”.

Congress:

MI-Sen: Former Michigan Chief SC Justice Bob Young all but formally announced his intent to run against Debbie Stabenow for Senate in 2018 at a local Republican event. Young, who is Black, sounded off on a very Constitutional-originalist note, and stressed his record of reducing the size of the judiciary in Michigan. He joins fellow Republican Lana Epstein in the GOP primary for this 2nd-tier GOP Senate target next year.

NV-3: GOP State Senator Scott Hammond has announced that he is running for this Suburban Vegas district that the GOP lost last year. The current freshman Democratic Incumbent Jackie Rosen is already running for Senate (Because the early bird gets the Senate Seat I guess?), and the seat was narrowly carried by Trump, making it a top GOP target for 2018. Hammond was a famous advocate for Nevada’s charter school bills, and gets a free shot at this seat since his State Senate seat isn’t up until 2020.

Other:

CO-alot: Mike and Cynthia Coffman, probably the closest thing the county has had to a political power couple since the Clintons limped off the national stage last year, are getting a divorce. While it’s not quite known why they are getting divorced (and kind of rude to pry), the couple was widely seen as the GOP’s best potential candidates for statewide office. We’ve got no idea what this means for Cynthia’s rumored Governor bid, or Coffman’s house seat, but we’ll hopefully find out relatively soon.

HI-St-House: In what has become commonplace for America’s weakest political party, the Hawaii GOP has lost another one of its members to the Democrats, this time former State House Minority Leader Beth Fukomoto, who was ousted from her leadership post for calling Trump racist and a Bully at the Hawaii Women’s March back in January. This is amazingly not the first time the GOP has lost its chamber leader to the Democrats, but since the state house is now 76D-5R, let’s hope we can manage to hold onto our 6% of the seats there.

Immigration: The Atlantic of all places has a good article detailing how the Democrats went from being sort of pro-immigration with major reservations to being absolutely 100% no-exceptions pro-immigration, and how it probably cost them the presidency. Remember a time when Obama felt a “Flush of patriotic resentment” at the idea of Mexican immigrants waving around Mexican flags at demonstrations?

Political Division: Here’s some interesting, if arguably flawed data. The voter study group commissioned a poll detailing the political ideology of the average Trump & Clinton voter. To summarize, Clinton’s supporters are pretty ideologically homogeneous Liberals, whereas Trump’s were split between Economic Conservatives and Populists. Notably, this poll also suggests that Libertarianism as an ideology is basically dead in the water in the US right now, which will come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to the political trends of both parties in the last 2.5 years or so.

GA-6 and SC-5 Liveblog #1

10:15 ET: AP has given Handel the check as well. Jon Ossoff joins New Coke and the Falcons’ 28-3 lead in Atlanta’s Hall of Busts.

10:10 ET: CNN has joined in with calling GA-6 for Handel (R).

10:02 ET- For what it’s worth, Ossoff took 73% of the mail-in (absentee) ballots in DeKalb.

9:56 ET: DDHQ just gave the check to former SoS Karen Handel (R) in GA-6 over former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) after a big absentee mail-in dump from KeKalb still left Ossoff trailing Handel 52.5%-47.5%.

9:55 ET: All of SC-5 is in, and the margin stayed 51%-48% Norman (R).

9:49 ET: Meanwhile, Handel up to 53.4% in the DDHQ count with over 205k votes in. Ossoff now down to 58% in DeKalb with only 1 precinct outstanding, while Handel is up to 61% in Cobb with 11 left. That doesn’t even mention Fulton, with a good deal outstanding and the edge for Handel.

9:47 ET: Wasserman says Ossoff would probably need “80%+” of the 27,138 mail ballots accepted as of yesterday.

9:34 ET: With a decisive turn toward Handel in the returns in GA-6, Democratic strategists are pinning their hopes on mail ballots. However, as longtime GOP operative Brad Dayspring put it,

Very hard – if not unprecedented- to make up >2% based on mail in a district with these demographics.

Basically, we’re still here and watching, but things are getting tough for Ossoff.

9:29 ET: DDHQ has almost 200k votes in, and they have Handel (R) crossing 53% in GA-6 with a new batch of Cobb County votes.

9:28 ET: The AP gives Norman (R) the check as well in SC-5. With 12 precincts left in York County, Norman leads Parnell 51%-48%.

9:17 ET: And DDHQ makes the call in SC-5 for former State Rep. Ralph Norman (R). We still have 26 precincts left in York County, where Parnell has slightly improved, but Norman still leads 51%-48%.

9:12 ET: While I was prepping dinner we had a few batches drop that were great for Handel in GA-6. First Ossoff has dropped to only 59% in DeKalb (he needs a hair better than 60%). Now Handel is also over-performing her benchmarks by about 3 points in both Fulton and Cobb Counties. We’re talking about 63 precincts here, and it all brings Handel up to almost 53% right now.

9:04 ET: Got so busy chasing SC-5 counties that I missed a drop of e-day votes from Cobb County in GA-6. Handel is hitting what she needs here at about 57%, but we are still dealing with a pretty small number of precincts thus far. Overall 51.4%-48.6% Handel.

8:58 ET: As soon as I type, we’re now up to 88% in. Norman only up 51%-48%, but Parnell’s last stronghold left in Lee County s fully in. Those 42 precincts left in York should keep Norman over the top.

8:54 ET: With almost 3/4th of the e-day vote in for SC-5, Norman is now leading 52%-47%. I’ll try to break down the counties more as we get to the end, but there is still a lot to report for Norman in York and another batch waiting for Parnell in Lee.

8:43 ET: A new batch of DeKalb County votes (5 whole precincts!) keeps Ossoff around 60% in that county. He probably needs to be doing better than that though to pull out a victory, based on the benchmarks floating around.

8:38 ET: 42% in in SC-5. Parnell now leads Norman by less than 700 votes, and much of what’s outstanding is GOP friendly (York, Cherokee, and Spartanburg stick out).

8:30 ET: In GA-6, we’re now at 51%-49% Handel (R) with a small batch of Fulton County precincts coming in.

8:26 ET: A quick tweetstorm on Democratic consultants.

8:18 ET: Back in SC-5, Dave Wasserman throws cold water on Parnell’s (D) overperformance:

To be clear, still not convinced Archie Parnell (D) will win #SC05. Race very close now, but tons of GOP-heavy areas yet to report.

Parnell does look set to over-perform Hillary Clinton at least, who lost by 19 here. With 30% reporting, he leads Norman (R) 52%-47% with strong results out of Fairfield and Lee Counties.

8:16 ET: AP still isn’t showing E-day votes. However, DDHQ’s count has Handel up narrowly again.

8:06 ET: Another vote dump in GA-6. First DeKalb results are unsurprisingly friendly to Ossoff, with DDHQ telling us that Ossoff won the early vote there by 20%. However, Handel leads in Cobb early votes (again, as expected). Ossoff now leads 50.3%-49.7% over Handel. Now gives us some election day precincts!!!

8:01 ET: As we continue the long wait for Georgia, SC-5 is now up to 8% reporting, with more from Sumter County and a new batch from Kershaw. Kershaw is much friendlier to Norman (R), narrowing the margin to 56%-43% Parnell (D) over Norman.

7:52 PM ET: Alright, now our trackers are converging a bit. AP has 9 precincts in now with Parnell at 61%, with all e-day votes from Sumter County.

7:44 PM ET: SC-5 is definitely coming in faster than GA-6. With a couple precincts and a few counties’ early votes in, Norman (R) maintains his lead 52%-47.5%. DDHQ is ahead of AP here, which makes it look like Parnell (D) is crushing with 70%.

7:38 PM ET: Alright, DDHQ is hooking us up with early votes out of Fulton County, where Ossoff hit 48% in the first round. In this batch, Handel is up 51.4%-48.6%. We expected Handel to do better in early votes though than Republicans did in the 1st round.

7:36 PM ET: The first substantive results come in from SC-5, where Parnell (D) leads Norman (R) 58%-41% with just under 600 early votes in.

7:29 PM ET: First results incoming from DDHQ in GA-6. OMG! 9 WHOLE VOTES!!!! (Ok, I’ll settle down).

7:21 PM ET: Two things to read while we wait (besides the preview, which you should have read already). 1) Greg Giroux’s 1st round breakdown and GA-6 summary. 2) Ryan Struyk’s suggested benchmarks by county for an Ossoff or Handel victory.

7:11 PM ET: Remember, a few polling places remain open until 7:30 thanks to an issue earlier in the day that limited those locations to paper ballots for a brief period of time.

7:05 PM ET: Obligatory link to our preview, if you have been living under a rock or something and didn’t read it yet.

7:01 PM ET: Welcome to tonight’s liveblog! Polls have just closed in Georgia’s 6th congressional district, the most expensive congressional election in United States history, and the less dramatic SC-5. Will former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff ride a wave of intense Democratic disgust with President Trump in this affluent, typically Republican Georgia seat? Stay tuned.

Results:

Political Roundup for June 20, 2017

T’was the morn before specials,
And all through the districts,
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a – shoot, I didn’t think this one through for something to rhyme.

Anyway, it is special election day in the over-hyped GA-6 and likely snoozefest SC-5. Join us for our liveblog at 7 PM ET, and make sure to check our earlier preview here.

Senate

NV-Sen: By now you should have seen the news that freshman Rep. Jackie Rosen (D) will run for Senate against Sen. Dean Heller, one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents this cycle. Read through our post to find some Great Mentioner action.

Yesterday before this news a PPP (D) poll dropped showing generic D leading Heller 46%-39% (for context, this sample voted Hillary over Trump and Johnson 46%-43%-3%).

Governor

MN-Gov, St Paul Mayor: The Philando Castile verdict threw a monkey wrench into local DFL politics. Literally the morning after the verdict dropped, Democrats held the St Paul city convention. That meant some activists were out late occupying I-94 and showed up the next morning for some electioneering. The two Democratic candidates for governor with the closest ties to St Paul, State Rep. Erin Murphy and St Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, each dropped press releases on the subject. Murphy’s was more straight-forward, calling for changes in “use of force” laws, while Coleman’s was more political-speakish.

The decision also reverberates in the mayoral race, where candidates all condemned the verdict and one, embattled council member Dai Thao, actually brought a friend of Castile to speak for him. FWIW, no endorsement for mayor was dropped at the convention, with council member Melvin Carter leading the pack in balloting and a primary now on its way.

VA-Gov, VA-10: Our friend Miles Coleman at DDHQ explains why Corey Stewart’s Confederate revival campaign won in VA-10 in NoVa of all places with his trademark pretty maps. Stewart managed to consolidate some anti-Trump voters and benefited from low Republican primary turnout and a third wheel candidate sucking some of Gillespie’s oxygen from the room. For more on Stewart’s almost-upset, see this article in The Atlantic.

House

GA-6: A sampling of articles to read as E-day hits.

SC-5: Roll Call reminds us not to forget about today’s other special election, where a few national Dem leaders parachuted in but no money or real support for poor Archie Parnell (D). The article even catches one member of DCCC leadership not even knowing his name!

MN-3: Tonka Bay (pop. 1500) councilman Adam Jennings is the latest Democrat to file against Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in this affluent seat in the historically Republican southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Of course, if former State Sen. Terri Bonoff couldn’t do it riding a strong performance here from Hillary last cycle, hard to see how things change now.

WI-1: Ironworker Randy Bryce (D), who ran for local office in 2012, 2013, and 2014, is now running against Speaker Paul Ryan. While supporting candidates against the Speaker here is not as foolhardy as the hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown at Nancy Pelosi’s seat the last few years (see Dennis, John), Ryan still won with 55% in has last close-ish race in 2012, and he took over 60% the last two cycles. Still, credit where credit is due for this great web ad from Bryce. It opens with Ryan discussing tough options on health care and Bryce’s own mom’s struggles, and ends with Bryce offering to trade jobs with Ryan. Bravo for a good hit, though it’s only a web ad with his announcement.

NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) has a primary from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former Sanders organizer affiliated with Brand New Congress. I mainly linked this for the great reminder about how much Crowley’s career has been built through local party machines, which is worth a read if you have forgotten the details. The primary challenger herself seems over-hyped, but I always like to see good Democratic primaries and all that money pouring down the drain.

FL-18: 2016 Senate candidate (who lost to heir force Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic primary) Pam Keith is now going to run against freshman Rep. Brian Mast in this central Florida district. She had a nice resume last time around, but Murphy’s path was well-cleared by his dad’s large donations to Democratic candidates and committees.

Redistricting

WI-Redistrict: Not only did the Supreme Court take on the long-winding Democratic challenge to Republican state legislative redistricting, but they stayed the previous order to change the seats before the 2018 midterms. This means we get to see SCOTUS watch a parade of lawyers try to define gerrymandering for them, which should be fun since Wisconsin is not really the most egregious case to pick out. While it’s not unheard of for the court to issue a stay and then rule against it later, issuing such an order does make it that much more likely SCOTUS will uphold the current maps for Wisconsin. For more detail, see this article.

Miscellaneous

UT-Dem: Your rival party within your state hates their sitting president and has large numbers of defectors briefly willing to consider another candidate. Of course I talk about how Democrats should see the state of the GOP in Utah, where many young and devout Mormons couldn’t stomach President Trump. What is the Democratic response? Double-down of course, electing a Sanderista named Daisy Thomas as their new chairwoman. Apparently sexual harassment allegations were buzzing during the proceedings regarding a former candidate for the job.

TX-SD-10: A really neat analysis of straight ticket voting in Texas’ only real swing state senate district, formerly held by 2014 gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D) and now held by state Sen. Konni Burton (R). The article notes that the random selection of SD-10 for off-year elections markedly changed its electorate from a tossup presidential one to something closer to lean D in gubernatorial years.

 

GA-6 & SC-5 Special Elections Preview

As you’re most likely aware, tomorrow is the runoff for two key House elections. Polls close at 7p ET in both Georgia and South Carolina and our liveblog will start at that time.

GA-6: By far the most hotly-contested special election of the year is for this R+2 (2016) seat in the northern Atlanta suburbs. The seat covers the wealthy eastern quarter of Cobb County east of I-75, wealthy suburbs of Fulton County north of the Perimeter (which also have some isolated lower-middle-class minority pockets) and the northern quarter of DeKalb County, which is a mixture of upper-middle-class suburbs bisected by a corridor of poor, heavily Hispanic slumburbs along I-85. This was once Newt’s seat and the most Republican in Georgia (a prior version of this seat was a GOP vote sink as recently as the 90s) but it trended hard-left last year, and that has led Democrats to go all-in on this race in looking for a way to defeat Trump. Spending on this race has reached astronomical levels on both sides.

Jon Ossoff

Former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) took 48% in the first round. Ossoff quickly coalesced national liberal support and raised a ridiculous amount for this race from national liberal donors. In the first round, he ran a stridently anti-Trump campaign and sought to cast himself as the vanguard of the bold progressive “Resistance.” However, his incredibly thin resume, which consists of a low-level staffing job with five months of security clearance and running a small video production company, and his stridently anti-Trump liberal campaign limited his ability to take crossover support. Many Democrats saw his failure to win in the first round, despite coming closer than expected to 50%, as something of a disappointment. As Republicans took a majority of the first-round vote, Ossoff has made a quiet but significant change in tone for the second round, toning down his anti-Trump rhetoric and trying to strike a less partisan tone. Some commentators have gone as far as saying his most recent TV ads and debate appearances would have rhetoric more fitting of a moderate Republican.

Karen Handel

Ossoff’s rival in this contest is ex-SoS Karen Handel (R), who came in second in the primary, taking just shy of 20%. Handel is well-known from a long political career, including as Fulton County Exec, a term as SoS in the 2000s, and runs for Governor in 2010 and Senate in 2014. Handel is a fairly typical suburban conservative on both social and fiscal matters. While Democrats were firmly behind Ossoff in the first round, the GOP field was split, leading to the possibility that sour grapes among her rivals might prevent Handel, who is far from a hardcore Trumpist, from coalescing the GOP base. However, those predictions have not panned out, and Handel seems to be enjoying near-unanimous GOP support and a massive amount of outside cash. In a district that looks increasingly purple, polls have shown the two very close, though more have tilted toward Ossoff. To say that this race has become a partisan slugfest and nationally-watched test of partisan strength is an understatement, and it would be a shock if either Ossoff or Handel won by more than a 5-point margin. However, we at RRH feel obliged to take a firm stand on races as they approach their general election, and we have ever-so-slightly come down on the side of predicting an Ossoff victory. Thus, RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean D.

SC-5: The other special election today has gotten significantly less attention and money. 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).

Ralph Norman

The clear front-runner for the seat is State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who narrowly prevailed in a closely-contested GOP primary and runoff. The 2006 nominee for this seat, Norman has high name recognition from his prior run against then-Rep. John Spratt (D), and self-funding ability from his construction business. Norman is a relatively generic Chamber-of-Commerce conservative, with some slight antiestablishment tendencies (he has said he may join the Freedom Caucus if elected). The strongly conservative and inelastic nature of the district and Norman’s mainstream Republican profile should be enough for him to prevail tomorrow barring a very unexpected event.

Archie Parnell

Former Goldman Sachs tax attorney Archie Parnell (D) is Norman’s rival. Parnell has received some minor buzz from national Democrats, but ultimately was a “C” list choice here when bigger names such as State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) decided not to run. Parnell has released an internal with him down by 10 points, which was enough to prompt some minor investments from the DCCC. However, Democrats have basically always seen this race as a far longer-shot than GA-6 or even last month’s Montana race, and Parnell seems unlikely to win or even make the race particularly close barring a seriously unexpected surge of liberal enthusiasm. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

There are also two legislative specials today in South Carolina, but they look unexciting. SC-LD-48 is an R+13 (2016) seat around Tega Cay in the Charlotte suburbs, left open by the previously mentioned Ralph Norman, who is the nominee for SC-5. Ex-York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant (R) is favored over retired nonprofit exec Bebs Barron-Chorak (D), though there may be a tiny chance of an upset with abnormal turnout patterns. SC-LD-70 is a D+20 (2016) 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) is heavily favored over a GOP Some Dude.

Weekend Open Thread for June 16-18, 2017

First off, check back tomorrow morning for a preview and open thread for the UT-3 GOP convention. France has its legislative runoffs on Sunday. Only 4 out of 577 seats were decided in the first round last week, but President Emmanuel Macron’s corporate-liberal centrist En Marche (Let’s Go) party is projected to win around 3/4 of the seats in the runoffs.

Next, we are making the following ratings change ahead of next week’s elections: GA-6 goes to Lean D from Lean R. SC-5 remains at Safe R.

And now this week’s questions:

1. Do additional precautions need to be taken with regards to the security of members of Congress?

2. In general, do you see hyperbolic and emotional rhetoric in politics as a problem?

And because it’s the weekend, we’re thankful for the heroic and professional police officers who prevented a greater tragedy this week, unlike say, the one you see HERE.

Political Roundup for June 6th, 2017

Check back with us tonight for our liveblog of the New Jersey primaries and CA-34 runoff. If you haven’t seen our preview of these races check it out HERE.

Governor:

AZ-Gov: State Sen. Steve Farley (D) has announced that he is running for Governor. He joins Arizona State University professor David Garcia, who lost a 2014 race for state education superintendent, in the Democratic primary for the right to face Gov. Doug Ducey (R) next year.

CT-Gov: Connecticut Port Authority Chair Scott Bates (D) will not run for Governor.

FL-Gov: Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) is exploring a bid for Florida governor. He has met with potential donors, looked at possible campaign staff and has made some inquiries about endorsements from fellow conservatives. DeSantis briefly ran for U.S. Senate last year before Sen. Marco Rubio (R) decided to seek reelection.  Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has already announced a run and is seen as the likely GOP front runner.

FL-Gov: Tallahassee shoe shiner Tony Knox has filed to run for Governor as an independent. Knox spent 30 years shining the shoes of Florida power brokers and now he wants to be one. Knox will need 13,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

GA-Gov: Georgia state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) entered the race for Governor. She was promptly endorsed by Emily’s List and the left-wing progressive PAC Democracy for America. Abrams, who is black, will face fellow state Rep. Stacey Evans, who is white, in the Democratic primary, but will not have to deal with a repeat bid from 2014 nominee and Heir Force Col. Jason Carter, who declined a second bid last week. Four Republicans are already running for governor, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, state Sen. Hunter Hill and state Sen. Michael Williams, who entered the race last week.

IA-Gov: Newly installed Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) may not get a free ride in the Republican primary next year. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R) has said he will announce his run for governor of Iowa at the end of June.

MN-Gov: Stewart Mills (R), who lost to Democrat Rep. Rick Nolan in 2014 and 2016 has denied a story in Morning Take that he was going to run for Governor of Minnesota. Mills is still considering making a third attempt at MN-8.

VA-Gov: Progressive wunderkind Tom Perriello’s latest ad is narrated by Elizabeth Warren and features pictures of him with Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. George Soros has also kicked in another $230,000 to Perriello’s campaign.

Senate:

IN/TN-Sen: Senator Peyton Manning? Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was spotted at the White House. He played golf with President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R) and met with Sen. John Cornyn, who just happens to be a former head the NRSC. If the former Indianapolis Colts great were to run for Senate I have to imagine Republicans would want him to run in Indiana vs. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) but Manning might prefer to run in Tennessee, where he went to college and played for the Vols, if Bob Corker, who just stated he is “not interested in running for governor”, doesn’t seek re-election in 2018.

House:

CA-34: The final absentee ballot rundown are in before today’s special election runoff. 21,000 ballots have been returned. 5,551 ballots were from Latino voters and 5,662 ballots were from Korean voters. CA-34 has nearly 150,000 eligible voters that are Latino and 18,700 that are Koreans. Latino are turning out at 3.7% rate while Koreans are so far turning out at a 30% rate!

GA-6: Hans Solo impersonator Jon Ossoff (D) has chickened out of a CNN debate with Republican Karen Handel. Being in a nationally televised debate is probably the last thing Ossoff wanted. Ossoff has been saying one thing to a national audience as he raises gobs of money from out of state Democrats as the poster child for the progressive #Resistance while saying another thing locally as he runs as a faux moderate back in Georgia. Appearing in a national debate could cause a disruption in the Force in the two faced campaign he has been running as his answers could either anger his national donors or the local voters both of whom he still needs.

FL-27: #NeverTrump CNN Republican pundit Ana Navarro (R) is still considering running for the seat of retiring Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R)….well sort of.  Here’s what Navarro said; “I’ve been touched by the number of people in the district and outside the district who have encouraged me to run for Congress. But at this time it seems to me that it requires a level of masochism that I have not yet reached.”

IA-4: Former telephone psychic Kim Weaver (D) has dropped her campaign for Congress against Rep. Steve King (R). In pulling the plug on her candidacy Weaver used every excuse in the book from claiming running was too much of a financial burden on her family, to her Mother’s health, to alleging that the office where she worked had her budget cut in retaliation for her candidacy, to even making unsubstantiated accusations of having received threats against her and her family. Weaver had raised over $700,000 from Democrats around the country. No word yet on what Weaver plans to do with all the money she raised. Rep. Steve King (R) responded to Weaver’s allegations by Tweeting “I wanted #KimWeaver IN the race-not out. Democrats drove her out of the race-not R’s. Death threats likely didn’t happen but a fabrication.” If Weaver was threatened the police should investigate. If the former psychic made this up she should apologize or seek mental help.

MN-1: Former state Sen. Vicki Jensen has become the first Democrat to announce that she will run for the open seat Rep. Tim Waltz (D) is vacating to run for governor. This district swung from 50-48 Obama in 2012 to 53-38 Trump in 2016. Jensen was a victim of the Trump wave as she lost her 2016 re-election campaign on the back of the Trump coattails.

NY-19: Antonio Delgado has become the 6th Democrat to announce a run against freshman GOP Rep. John Faso. Delgado claims to have already raised $300,000.

SC-1: Rep. Mark Sanford (R) may avoid having a Republican primary challenger next year. A month ago Sanford had two Republican challengers but Naval Reservist Tom Perez dropped out after getting deployed overseas and businessman Ted Fienning has changed his mind about running as well and has dropped out of the race. There is still a very long time until next’s years filing deadline so someone else may decided to try the uphill task of primarying Sanford.

SC-5: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is putting $275,000 towards boosting Democrat Archie Parnell ahead of the June 20th special election. Parnell should be a long shot against Republican Ralph Norman in this heavily GOP district; a recent internal for Parnell showed him down by 10.

TX-16: State Rep. César Blanco (D) has decided to seek re-election to the Texas state House and will not run for the Congressional seat Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) is vacating to run for US Senate.

WA-5: Here’s a tip to all aspiring Congressional candidates. Don’t release internal polls that show you are getting your clock cleaned by an incumbent. Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart  (D) is out with an internal poll from EMC Research showing him losing to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R) by a 49%-42% margin. Thanks for letting everyone know that McMorris Rogers is safe and that there is nothing to see here.

State, Local & Other:

NC-Redistricting: The US Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling striking down NC state legislative maps as racial gerrymander. At issue were nine state Senate districts and 19 state House districts. The Republican controlled state legislature will now have to redraw the maps for the 2018 elections (although a small possibility still exists that they will be forced to call a 2017 special election). Republicans have a 74 seat super-majority in the 120 seat North Carolina state House. If the Democrats take 4 more seats they could break the GOP’s veto-proof majority in the House. Republicans control 35 seats in the 50 seat NC state Senate so their 3/5s majority there should be safer.

Compton-Mayor: This story is straight out of Compton. The mayoral race in Compton, CA has turned into a generational battle of gangster vs. the next Brooklyn. Corruption tarred former Mayor Omar Bradley (D) is trying to regain his old job by denigrating the revitalization that has occurred under 35 year old Mayor Aja Brown’s (D) tenure. Brown won the April primary with 47% to Bradley’s 27%, with four other candidates picking up the rest.

FL-AG: Ex-Circuit Judge Ashley Moody (R) has entered the race for Attorney General and out going term-limited incumbent AG Pam Bondi (R) immediately endorsed her. State Rep. Jay Fant (R) and Democrat Ryan Torrens of Tampa are also running.

WATN: Lucky for former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) time ran out. Murphy was cleared of campaign finance violations involving $30,000 in donations from Saudi businessman Ibrahim Al-Rashid that were allegedly run through third party straw donors because the statue of limitations on the violations in the complaint against him had passed.

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.

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