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Political Roundup for May 24, 2017

Yesterday in New York, Democrat Christine Pelligrino picked up the deep red LD-9 by a large margin in a significant upset. Dems easily held SD-30.


HI-Sen: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D) announced last week that she has kidney cancer, which will be treated with removal of her left kidney and a mass (I’m guessing a metastasis) on her rib. Our thoughts are with her and her family.

OH-Sen: ICYMI last week, Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) announced he would not run for the Senate seat of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). The move is somewhat surprising as Tiberi had been ramping up his fundraising. The decision likely leaves State Treasurer and 2012 nominee Josh Mandel (R) as the clear primary favorite here.

RI-Sen: State Rep. Bobby Nardolillo (R) announced he would run against Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D). Why he would want to give up his seat for such an obviously suicidal run against an entrenched incumbent in a blue state is beyond me.


FL-Gov: Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D) has been thought likely to enter the Democratic primary, but he announced that he is also considering a run as an Independent. If he pulled the trigger on that, peeling off some upscale moderate-liberals from the D column would go a long way to keeping this seat in the GOP fold. But my best guess is that this is more an attention play to try and get him statewide visibility against his likely primary rivals, ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), businessman Chris King (D), and ambulance-chaser extraordinaire John Morgan (D).

GA-Gov: A pair of big-name Democrats have recently declared they will not run for Georgia Governor. Former Obama DoJ official and liberal flavor of the week Sally Yates (D) and Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson (D) have bowed out of the race in the last few days. State Reps. Stacey Evans (D) and Stacey Abrams (D) look like Dems’ most likely prospects here now.

IA-Gov: Today is the end of an era as Gov. Terry Branstad (R) resigns after holding the job for 8,169 days, making him the nation’s longest-serving Governor ever. Branstad beat the prior record of 21 years held by 18th-century NY Gov. George Clinton (DR). Kim Reynolds (R) will be sworn in as Governor today to succeed him. Somewhat ironically, Branstad’s prior #2, 90s-era ex-LG Joy Corning, just passed away this week at 84.

MA-Gov: Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) announced a bid for Governor over the weekend, becoming the most notable candidate into the race to take on popular Gov. Charlie Baker (R). Warren joins Gov. Patrick admin official Jay Gonzalez (D) and 1994 LG nominee Bob Massie (D) in the primary. There hasn’t been a whole lot of interest from “A” list Dems in this race, so Warren may wind up becoming the primary front-runner.

NM-Gov: In something of a surprise, AG Hector Balderas (D) announced last week he would not run for Governor and would instead seek a second term as AG. His decision likely leaves Rep. Michele Lujan-Grisham (D) as the clear front-runner in the Dem primary, though several other candidates are still considering.

WI-Gov: As Democrats continue to cast about for a challenger to Gov. Scott Walker (R), one candidate seems to be eager to run. Mike McCabe (D), former director of a liberal nonprofit, is actively considering a run, but strangely says he may run as either a Democrat or an Independent. State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D), who is more moderate, is the only other Democrat actively considering a run here.


AL-5: Rep. Mo Brooks (R) doesn’t have to give up his House seat to run for Senate, but that isn’t stopping one candidate from laying the groundwork to follow Brooks in the House should his bid succeed. Clayton Hinchman (R), a veteran who lost a leg in Iraq, announced his campaign last week.

NY-22: Binghamton University professor Patrick Madden (D) is running against Rep. Claudia Tenney (R). Tenney was elected with 44% in a three-way race last year in this medium-red seat stretching from Binghamton to Utica.

PA-7: Bold Progressive State Sen. Daylin Leach (D) is the latest Democrat to consider a run against Rep. Pat Meehan (R). Leach seems a cut above the miscellaneous carpetbaggers in the race already and would probably be the primary front-runner if he ran. However, his rabid progressivism may be a tough sell in what is still a purple seat.

UT-3: The race to succeed Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) has already gotten extremely crowded, as four candidates have already declared: State Sens. Diedre Henderson (R) and Margaret Dayton (R) and State Rep. Brad Daw (R) have announced their entry into the race, along with investment adviser Tanner Ainge (R), son of Boston Celtics president Danny. Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) is openly considering.

State Offices:

ME-All: The state’s Ranked-Choice Voting system, implemented by initiative in 2016, has been unanimously struck down by the state’s supreme court, declaring it in conflict with a provision in the state constitution that says that the candidate who receives a plurality of votes must be elected.

AR-Lands Comm: Manager Alex Ray (R) will run for the open Lands Commissioner seat, joining a fellow political novice, Tommy Land (R), in the GOP primary.

AR-SoS: State Rep. Trevor Drown (R) will run for Secretary of State; he will face state Lands Commissioner John Thurston (R), and potentially others, in the GOP primary. Incumbent Mark Martin (R) is termed out.

AZ-Supt, WATN: In addition to her high profile challenge from ex-State Sen. David Schapira (D), state Superintendent Diane Douglas (R) is getting a primary challenge. Douglas’s primary challenger may be a familiar name: 90s-era ex-California Rep. Frank Riggs (R). Riggs represented the Santa Rosa and Northern Coastal regions for three non-consecutive terms from 1990-98 before a little-noticed Senate run. Riggs then moved to Arizona and has since become something of a perennial candidate.

CT-Comp: State Sen. Terry Gerratana (D) is exploring a run for Comptroller, becoming the first Democrat into the race to replace incumbent Kevin Lembo (D), should he follow through on his expected run for Governor. Former congressional candidate Mark Greenberg (R) is in the race on the GOP side.

CT-Treas: Greenwich town board member John Blankney (D) is considering a run for State Treasurer, joining State Rep. William Tong (D) in staking out the post. Five-term incumbent Denise Nappier (D) has not announced her intentions, but is thought to be considering a run for Governor.

FL-AG: Two more candidates are considering runs for Florida AG. Former judge Simone Marstiller (R), who served as a top legal advisor to Jeb and ex-AG Bill McCollum (R), is considering and could be a credible candidate. Attorney and 2016 State House candidate Ryan Yadav (D) is considering a run on the Dem side. State Rep. Jay Fant (R) is the only candidate in the race, but the contest may be upended if AG Pam Bondi (R) leaves for a Trump admin job and Gov. Scott (R) can appoint her replacement.

MI-SoS: State Sen. Mike Kowall (R) is considering a run for the open SoS seat. The GOP nominee, which will be decided at a convention next year, will likely face law school dean and 2010 nominee Jocelyn Benson (D) in the general.

SC-LD-69: State Rep. Rick Quinn (R), son of one of South Carolina’s most high-powered GOP consultants, has been indicted in a complex embezzlement and pay-to-play scandal with roots that stretch back decades. Quinn’s saga may wind up implicating some of his family’s clients, who include Gov. Henry McMaster (R) and multiple key figures in the SCGOP.

Local Offices:

San Antonio-Mayor: Ex-Mayor and ex-HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D) has endorsed councilman Ron Nirenberg (I) over the woman who succeeded him as mayor, incumbent Ivy Taylor (D). Nirenberg, an upscale liberal is running to the left of Taylor, a moderate-to-conservative borderline DINO, in the runoff on June 10.

New Orleans-Mayor: Judge Desiree Charbonet (D) has announced her candidacy for Mayor, joining councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (D) and retired judge and 2013 candidate Michael Bagneris (D) in this fall’s open-seat race.

St. Petersburg-Mayor: A new St. Pete Polls survey has 2000s-era ex-Mayor Rick Baker (R) continuing to post a wide lead for a mayoral comeback this fall. Baker leads incumbent Rick Kriseman (D) by a 46-33 margin, similar to a 10-point margin in a prior survey.

Kansas City-Mayor ’19: Two city councilors are already running to succeed mayor Sly James (I) when he is termed out in 2019. Jermaine Reed (D) and Scott Taylor (D) have announced their entry into the race.

NY-Westchester-CE: Westchester County Dems have given their official endorsement to State Sen. George Latimer (D) in the race to take on incumbent Rob Astorino (R). Latimer topped county commissioner Ken Jenkins (D) in the poll, but will still face him in a primary. Astorino is seeking a third term in the deep-blue county that has been trending left in recent years.

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.


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.


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.


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


SC-5 & Pennsylvania Liveblog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:00 ET – Pennsylvania has closed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SC-5 Runoff & Pennsylvania Primary Preview

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

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

Tommy Pope

Ralph Norman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Ryan_in_SEPA for the Pennsylvania previews below:

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

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

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

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

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

Political Roundup for 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:


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.


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.


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).


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 & 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 26, 2017

Hello, again, from my safe space: a Metro-North quiet car barrelling through a string of leafy, Wall Street Journal-reading, Romney-won Super ZIPs. 2012 lives on in my heart.

Anyway, from last night:
SC-SD-3: Richard Cash (R) wins the runoff 54-46.
CT-LD-7: Joshua Hall (D running on WFP line) wins.
CT-LD-68: Joe Poletta (R) wins with 78%.


State Trends: According to RCP, 2016 ACS data suggests that purple suburbs will be the future’s most important electoral battlegrounds.

Social Classes and Politics: If you needed any further signals of the future of our partisan coalitions, look no further. Whereas most college-educated Americans see the political climate as a tremendous threat to the economy, only 1/5 of Americans with a high school diploma or less agree.

Democrats:  According to Politico, while Democrats have seen a yuge burst in enthusiasm in the Trump era, they currently lack the infrastructure and organization to channel that into electoral success.

Labor: Six years after Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker delivered its biggest defeat since the Wagner Act, organized labor is cozying up to… Republican President Donald Trump.


Democratic House Recruitment: Cardboard and marker manufacturers be damned, 408 Democrats have already decided to take a break from bitching over brunch and run for Congress.

CA-39: Long-term Rep. Ed Royce (R), one of 23 Republicans sitting in a Clinton-won district, will be challenged in 2018 by former Cal State Fullerton Chemistry Professor Phil Janowicz (D). While Janowicz is certainly a C-list candidate, then-Cornell College Political Science Professor Dave Loebsack earned laughter when he challenged popular IA Rep. Jim Leach in 2006.

GA-06: An estimated 15-20% of 2016 GA-06 Republican presidential primary voters who voted in round one chose Democrat Jon Ossoff, but, of course, all is, and forever will be, well in TX-07, TX-32, VA-10…

GA-06 (2): In a risky move ahead of an election in a twice-divided district, President Trump will headline an Atlanta Karen Handel (R) fundraiser—just a mile-and-a-half down the street from GA-06.

TX-23: To learn about a Republican Congressman doing things well, read this puff piece about Rep. Will Hurd.

VA-10: First Lady McAwful (D) may challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R).

State & Local:

PA-Gov: State Sen. Scott Wagner’s internal polling shows him with a large lead in the GOP primary over State Rep. Mike Turzai (R) and businessman Paul Mango (R), who has just told Republican officials that he will enter in May.

NYC-Mayor: Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R) has filed to run for Mayor. Half Greek, half Cuban, and from an Outer Borough, Malliotakis may resonate better with GOP primary voters than will Larchmont, Westchester County’s Paul Massey (R). Take this as a sign that John Catsimatidis (R), a Malliotakis friend, will not run again (although, now that I think of it, Catsimatidis running would be a pretty funny sight…).


Polarization: Damn lazy millennials and their social media! Wait… Challenging conventional wisdom, The Economist finds that political polarization has increased most among… the elderly.

Political Roundup for April 24, 2017

Yesterday in France, centrist corporate-liberal Emmanuel Macron and nationalist-populist Marine LePen advanced to a runoff with 23% and 22% respectively. The runoff will occur on May 7; Macron is overwhelmingly favored in the second round.

Next, tomorrow there are three special elections, a State Senate runoff in SC and two State House races in Connecticut. None have any partisan drama but all are interesting. SC-SD-3 is an R+25 (2012) seat covering the northern half of Anderson County. Ex-Pendleton Mayor Carol Burdette (R) took 49% last year as a mainstream conservative primary challenger to the prior very socially-conservative incumbent, now-LG Kevin Bryant (R). Burdette is facing off against 2010 SC-3 and 2014 US Senate candidate Richard Cash (R), a staunch social conservative himself who has unsurprisingly got Bryant’s endorsement. Burdette led the first round 31-26 with a diverse mix of candidates splitting the rest, so there is no clear favorite in this round. No Democrats are running so tomorrow’s winner will get the seat. Two seats in CT are also up. CT-LD-7 is a D+44 (2016), black-majority seat stretching from downtown Hartford to the northwest corner of the city. Veteran Rickey Pinckney (D) has the official Dem endorsement but is facing two Dems running as Indies, ex-State Rep. Kenneth Green (D), who lost a 2010 primary for re-election by 2 votes, and teachers’ union official Joshua Hall (D), who has the Working Families line. The “D” next to his name makes Pinckney the favorite, but Green’s name rec and Hall’s union backing could give each of them a slight chance to pull an upset with ultra-low turnout. Finally, CT-LD-68 is an R+17 (2016) seat around Watertown, a northwest suburb of Waterbury. The GOP has strangely nominated Watertown councilman Joe Polletta (R), who was the 2014 Democratic nominee for this seat. Polletta switched parties shortly after his loss and is now the strong favorite over ex-Watertown councilman Louis Esposito (D), who doesn’t seem to be running a very serious campaign.

And now the rest of the day’s news –


AL-Sen: Here is a solid Great Mentioner piece on who is in, out, and considering taking on Sen. Luther Strange (R) for the Senate seat he was appointed to earlier this year. State Rep. Ed Henry (R) is the only candidate definitively in the race, but a ton of others are considering.

MI-Sen: Retired State Supreme Court Justice Robert Young (R) is being recruited as a possible challenger to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Young, who is of African-American descent, just retired from the bench. Ex-State Senate Pres. Randy Richardville (R) seems like the most serious candidate considering this race so far, though multiple others, including Rep. Fred Upton (R), have floated their names with varying degrees of seriousness.

MN-1: 2016 nominee Jim Hagedorn (R), a Some Dude who notched an unexpectedly narrow loss last year and is running again now that the seat is open, has landed an endorsement from Rep. Tom Emmer (R). Hagedorn would seem to be only a “C” list contender for this race now that the seat is open and one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities, so the support from a well-known establishment figure is somewhat surprising.

TX-3: In something of a surprise, Collin CE Keith Self (R) announced last week that he would not run for this open seat, potentially removing the most serious challenger to State Sen. Van Taylor (R). Taylor, who is personally wealthy and represents essentially the entire Plano-based district, now looks like a near-prohibitive favorite in this race as most other candidates of stature have already declined.


MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D), who won an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, will run for Governor, joining State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Xerox executive Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit city official Abdul El-Sayed (D) in the Dem primary. AG Bill Schutte (R) and LG Brain Calley (R) are the most common GOP names associated with this race.

NJ-Gov: Former Long Hill (pop. 9K) mayor Gina Genovese (I) will run for Governor. Genovese, a former Dem, is running on a platform of encouraging municipal consolidation to save tax dollars and overall seems to take a relatively libertarian ideological line; thus, any votes she draws will probably come relatively equally from the two parties.

PA-Gov, PA-LG: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has stripped LG Mike Stack (D) of his state police detail and some staff after Stack and his wife were found to be abusing their staffers. The decision is leading to speculation that Wolf may attempt to recruit a primary challenger against Stack for the right to join him on the Democratic ticket next year.

WI-Gov: Democrats are having serious recruiting problems for this race, but businessman Andy Gronik (D) is apparently polling this race as a step toward exploring a possible entry. But you can strike one more well-known Dem off the list of possible challengers to Gov. Scott Walker (R), as Dane CE Joe Parisi (D) has taken his name out of the running as well.

RIP: Ex-Rep. Larry Hogan Sr., father of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R), passed away last week at age 88. The senior Hogan won an upset on his second try for MD-5 in 1968, then based in what were at the time blue-collar white DC suburbs of Prince George’s County. He served three terms in Congress, where he memorably was among the first Republicans to break with Nixon during Watergate. The decision likely caused his surprising loss in the 1974 gubernatorial primary to a little-known more conservative candidate, State Sen. Louise Gore (R). Hogan then served a term as Prince George’s County Exec from 1978-82 before being flattened in a Senate run by incumbent Paul Sarbanes (D) in 1982. Hogan lived to see two of his six children follow him into politics, with Pat (R) serving two terms as a State Rep. from the Frederick area in the 2000s and Larry of course being elected Governor in 2014.

State Offices:

AZ-Supt: Tempe Councilman and ex-State Sen. David Schapira (D) will run for State Superintendent. Incumbent Diane Douglas (R), who won the 2014 primary in an upset, has widely been considered an ineffective gadfly in her term. Douglas is likely to face a substantive GOP primary challenge, and Democrats seem ready to aggressively target this seat with Arizona’s leftward trend in recent cycles.

CA-LG: Former Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis (D), daughter of a prominent Dem donor, has opened a committee to explore the LG race. Kounalakis joins State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D) and physician Asif Mahmood (D) in declaring interest in this open seat. Termed-out incumbent Gavin Newsom (D) is running for Governor.

CT-Comp: 2014 CT-5 nominee Mark Greenberg (R) will run for Comptroller this cycle. Unlike his congressional runs, Greenberg does not plan to self-fund his run for Comptroller. Incumbent Kevin Lembo (D) is considering a run for Governor but could still seek re-election; no other candidates have as yet expressed interest in this race.

FL-Ag Comm: Daniel Sohn (D), who lost a race for a local water board last year, will run for Ag Commissioner; he seems to have some support base as no bigger-name Dems have as yet expressed interest in this race. State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) are in the race on the GOP side, and State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) is expected to enter. Termed-out incumbent Adam Putnam (R) is widely expected to run for Governor.

GA-SoS: Alpharetta (pop. 60K) Mayor David Belle-Isle (R) will run for the open SoS seat, joining State Reps. Buzz Brockway (R) and Brad Raffensperger (R) in the race. All three candidates hail from the Altanta suburbs. Incumbent Brian Kemp (R) is running for Governor.

SD-SoS: State Auditor Steve Barnett (R), who is termed-out of his current post, will run for the open SoS seat vacated by congressional candidate Shantel Krebs (R). Barnett is the first candidate to announce for the post; the nominee will be decided by convention.

CT-SD-13, WATN: Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz (D), who left politics after an embarassing episode in which she attempted to run for AG in 2010 without filling the qualifications and then made a little-noticed 2012 US Senate run, will run for State Senate in 2018, taking on State Sen. Len Suzio (R) in a Dem-leaning district.

FL-SD-40: State Sen. Frank Artiles (R) has resigned after using a racial slur to refer to two fellow State Senators last week. Artiles’s decision triggers a special election in his southwest suburban Miami seat, which Clinton carried by 18 points last year but where Cuban machine Republicans have historically held sway.

Local Races:

NYC-Mayor: State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R) of Staten Island will consider a run for Mayor if 2013 candidate John Catsimatidis (R) does not make another go of it. Malliotakis won a then-Dem-leaning State Rep. seat, which spans the Verrezano Narrows Bridge, in 2010. However, she has little name recognition city-wide and is not independently wealthy, unlike the main Republican already in the race to take on Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D), developer Paul Massey (R).

Seattle-Mayor: City planner and left-wing activist Cary Moon (D) will run for Mayor. Moon is best known for her efforts to completely close a major highway through the city center rather than relocate it to a tunnel. Moon is likely to vie with ex-Mayor Mike McGinn (D) for the ultra-left vote in her bid to take on establishment liberal incumbent Ed Murray (D).

San Diego-DA: San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis (R), a moderate Republican, will step down from the DA’s post to explore a run for a County Supervisor seat covering central San Diego. Dumanis’s top deputy, Summer Stephan (R), is running to succeed her and is likely to be appointed by the all-Republican County Board to fill the vacancy.

KS-4 Special Election Preview

Today is the general election for KS-4, an R+15 (2016) district covering a broad swath across the south-central part of Kansas; however, most of its voters are in the Wichita metro area. This should be the least exciting of all 5 US House Specials this year, as until the last few days it has looked all but certain to be an uneventful victory for State Treasurer Ron Estes (R). Estes is a mainstream conservative who coalesced establishment support to win the GOP convention fairly easily. He didn’t need much of an assist with his strong name recognition and the lean of the seat on his side, but he got one when Democrats nominated left-wing Some Dude attorney James Thompson (D) instead of a better-known contender. Thompson has attracted little national support, but Democrats do seem to be somewhat energized right now, so there is a possibility of him doing somewhat respectably, and indeed the NRCC and national Republicans have surprisingly launched a small ad buy in support of Estes. There has also been a sense of alarm in GOP circles the last few days that Democratic enthusiasm may lead to a surprise shock upset. But let’s step back from hyperventilating and remember the fundamentals of the race: a deep red district with a well-known R and Some Dude D. With national Democratic energy focused elsewhere, it would still be surprising if Thompson got far above the 40% mark, let alone came close to winning. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R. Polls close at 8ET and we will have a liveblog.

There are also a pair of legislative special primary elections in South Carolina. SC-SD-3 is an R+25 (2012) seat covering the northern half of Anderson County. Eight Republicans are facing off, and this one almost certainly heads to a runoff in two weeks. The front-runner should be ex-Pendleton Mayor Carol Burdette (R), a mainstream conservative who took 49% of the vote for this seat last year as a primary challenger to the prior (very socially conservative) incumbent. Burdette’s most serious challengers look like 90s-era ex-State Rep. John Tucker (R), who has surprisingly outspent the field, and 2010 SC-3 and 2014 US Senate candidate Richard Cash (R), who is known as a very anti-establishment social conservative. Ex-State Rep. Don Bowen (R), who lost a primary in 2014, has a moderate profile and might have an outside chance to make a runoff on those votes. Several other candidates don’t have strong name rec but are running serious campaigns: former federal prosecutor James Galyean (R), businessman Corey Bott (R), and realtor Brad Johnson (R). An eighth Some Dude looks less serious. My personal guess is that Burdette advances to a runoff with either Cash or Tucker. But there is a possibility Burdette could be boxed out and/or one of the others could advance. No non-Republicans are running. SC-LD-84 is an R+17 (2012) seat between North Augusta and Aiken in the Augusta suburbs. The strong front-runner is Aiken County commission chair Ronnie Young (R), who is heavily favored over technician Jeff Waters (R). The winner will be favored in a May general over businesswoman Jennifer Lariscey (D).

Political Roundup for January 27, 2017


AL-Sen: The scandal surrounding Gov. Robert Bentley (R) may hurt the possibility for Attorney General Luther Strange (R) to receive the appointment to replace Sen. Jeff Sessions (R). Strange asked the Legislature to suspend their impeachment investigation of the governor over misuse of state funds because of related work in his own office. The appointment of Strange would draw attention to the scandal and make it appear that Bentley is keeping Strange from prosecuting him. Bentley would also choose Strange’s replacement as AG, complicating the appearance of impropriety. Strange however has inoculated himself somewhat from problems by being active in investigating other public officials. Even if he doesn’t get appointed to the seat, he still is considered a top contender for the seat in 2018.

UT-Sen: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) trails former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) in a potential primary matchup, although not by as much as the headline indicates. The big headline was that Hatch trails Huntsman by a whopping 62-21 margin. However that is for all voters-Hatch trails by a smaller 49-35 among self-identified Republicans. The overall numbers are bolstered by Huntsman being preferred by an 88-2 margin by Democrats. Hatch has not yet decided whether to seek an 8th term next year-besides Huntsman, other candidates rumored to be looking at the race include Derek Miller, CEO of business organization World Trade Center Utah and former chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and Boyd Matheson, president of the Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank.


KS-4: The Kansas GOP has set February 9 as the day for a district caucus to select the party’s nominee for the April 11 special election. State Treasurer Ron Estes (R) and former Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) appear to be the frontrunners. Also running are Trump campaign advisor Alan Cobb, radio host Joseph Ashby, Wichita City Councilman Pete Meitzner and attorney George Bruce are also running. Democrats are holding their caucus on Feb. 11 and are choosing between former State Treasurer Dennis McKinney and political newcomers Charlie Walker and Laura Lombard. If Estes and McKinney get the nominations, the race would be a rematch of the 2010 race for State Treasurer which Estes won 59-41.

MT-AL: 2016 Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte has paid his filing fee and is officially in for the special election to fill the seat of Rep. Ryan Zinke (R), Interior Secretary designate. The nominees for each party will be chosen in party conventions likely in February or March. Senate President Scott Sales (R), state Sen. Ed Buttrey (R), state Rep. Carl Glimm (R), ex-state Sen. Ken Miller (R) and real estate investor Drew Turiano have also paid filing fees on the Republican side.

SC-5: Attorney Kris Wampler (R) is joining the race to replace OMB Director designate Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R). Wampler joins Common Core opponent Sheri Few and state Rep. Ralph Norman (R) as Republicans who have officially announced they intend to run in the upcoming special election.


MI-Gov: Most candidacy talk for governor on the Republican side has focused on Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley (R) and Attorney General Bill Schuette (R). But Jim Hines, a doctor is already running and says he is willing to contribute “millions” to his own campaign. He touts his outsider status and says he wants to focus on people, not politics. The article points out that Gov. Rick Snyder (R) was a political unknown before running for governor in 2010 and beat out a field of experienced and well-known names in the primary. However one thing they point out that was different for Snyder was that he was the lone moderate in a race with conservatives while Hines as a self-described Christian conservative will likely be running against candidates who are mostly like-minded.

OH-Gov: LG Mary Taylor (R), a possible candidate for governor may be running afoul of the supporters of Gov. John Kasich (R). A memo of a strategy session of Kasich supporters says she abandoned Kasich ally Matt Borges in the recent battle for Ohio GOP Chairman and switched her allegiance to Trump ally Jane Timken, who won. The memo suggests that Kasich endorse AG Mike DeWine (R) for governor and help him raise money.

TN-Gov: House Speaker Beth Harwell (R) appears to be coming closer to a run for governor. Harwell has opened up a new campaign account for 2018 that has been raising money since the beginning of the year. The new account has raised just over $50,000 so far.

State & Local:

SC-SD-3: Former Clemson University head football coach Danny Ford is considering running for the seat vacated by now LG Kevin Bryant (R). Ford says some people have discussed it with him, but he hasn’t talked to his family about it yet. Ford led Clemson to the national championship in 1981, their last championship before winning it again this past season. The article does not make it clear which party he would run under-he was approached by Democrats in 1999 about making a run for SC-3 against then-Rep. Lindsey Graham (R) in 2000, but ultimately did not run.

VA-Senate vacancies: A bill has been approved by the House of Delegates to take away the governor’s power to fill US Senate vacancies. Although it didn’t end up being an issue, the sponsor of the bill said he had the prospect last year of Sen. Tim Kaine (D) vacating his seat to become vice president in mind. 36 states currently allow the governor to make appointments to fill US Senate vacancies while the rest fill them with special elections. The bill passed the House on a party line vote and now goes to the Senate.