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Political Roundup for September 13, 2017

Last Night:

Bill DeBlasio (D) easily won renomination in NYC, while all NYC Council incumbents and essentially all non-incumbent establishment favorites prevailed.

In Charlotte, councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) ousted incumbent Jennifer Roberts (D) without a runoff. In Cleveland, incumbent Frank Jackson (D) and councilman Zack Reed (D) advanced. In Toledo, incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) and Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) advanced. Incumbents Byron Brown (D) in Buffalo and Lovely Warren (D) in Rochester were renominated.

In other NY Races, State Sen. George Latimer (D) won in Westchester-CE, county commissioner Laura Curran (D) won in Nassau-CE, and State Rep. Steve McLaughlin (R) narrowly won in Rensselaer-CE. In the biggest upset of the night, university police chief Larry Zacarese (R) beat State Sen. Phil Boyle (R) for Suffolk-Sheriff.

In legislative specials, Democrats picked up OK-LD-46 by a wide margin as well as a state house seat in NH. McGee (R) and Rehner (D) advanced in MS-LD-102, while O’Hara (R) won the nomination in OK-SD-37.

Senate:

MI-Sen: Rep. Fred Upton (R) is apparently quietly considering a run for the seat of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (R). Upton, a centrist from a purple seat in southwest Michigan, has been termed-out as Energy and Commerce chair but is not ready to retire. Upton could face a tough primary if Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie (R) pulls the trigger on a run for this seat; however, if Ritchie stays out, Upton would be a strong favorite against the little-known Republicans in the race already.

VA-Sen: Former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina (R) will not run for the Senate seat of Tim Kaine (D). Prince William CE and self-hating Yankee Corey Stewart (R) now looks like the strong favorite for the nomination.

Governor:

AK-Gov, AK-LG: State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) surprisingly announced yesterday that he is ending his gubernatorial run due to an unspecified health condition. Ex-State Sen. Charlie Huggins (R), a former State Senate president who retired in 2016, stepped in the same day to fill the breach. State Rep. Mike Chenault (R) also filed to run for a spot on the GOP ticket, though he has left his options open for either a Governor or LG run in the shotgun-wedding primary. Dem-backed incumbent Bill Walker (I) may also face opposition from a Democrat like Ex-Sen. Mark Begich (D) or State Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D).

IL-Gov, IL-LG: After his prior choice of running mate, Chicago councilman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (D), was forced to withdraw over his support for the anti-Israel BDS movement, Biss has now chosen State Rep. Litesa Wallace (D) of Rockford as his new LG choice. Wallace could be a way for Biss to curry some favor with State House Speaker Mike Madigan (D), who is thought to favor wealthy businessman JB Pritzker (D) in this crowded primary.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) says she will decide on a run for Governor by the end of September. Collins would likely be a strong favorite in a general election if she were to run, but she may face difficulty from her right in the GOP primary.

MI-Gov: As expected, AG Bill Schuette (R) has launched his campaign for Governor. Schuette has had a long political career, beginning with a Congressional stint in the 80s, a Senate loss in 1990, a State Senate stint in the 90s and a judicial stint in the 2000s before two terms as AG. He is thought to be a slight front-runner in the GOP primary against antiestablishment conservative State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) and physician Jim Hines (R); Schuette’s most serious likely rival, LG Brian Calley (R), has not yet declared for this race but is widely though certain to run.

House:

NY-15: Outgoing NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) is rumored to be considering a run for this South Bronx-based Congressional seat, where incumbent Jose Serrano (D) is thought to be considering retirement. Mark-Viverito hails from Spanish Harlem in Manhattan, but has represented part of the Bronx. State Sen. Jose Serrano Jr. (D), State Rep. Michael Blake (D), and NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres (D) are thought to all be interested as well.

PA-11: 2016 AG candidate Joe Peters (R) is exploring an entry into this crowded primary for the Harrisburg-to-Lackawanna Valley red seat. Peters would join State Rep. Stephen Bloom (R), Corbett admin official Dan Meuser (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R) in the primary.

PA-15: Two new candidates are in this race. State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R) will run for Congress, potentially creating a more establishment-friendly option to take on State Rep. Justin Simmons (R), whose entry into the race pushed Rep. Charlie Dent (R) out of seeking re-election. Lehigh County commissioner Bill Leiner (D) also announced a run, potentially giving Dems a credible option for the light-red Lehigh Valley open seat.

TN-6: Rep. Diane Black (R) is considering resigning her House seat early as she runs for Governor. If Black resigns quickly a special could be triggered for this deep-red central Tennessee seat. Former state Agriculture Commissioner John Rose (R) and State Rep. Judd Matheny (R) are in the race, and talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R) is considering a run.

TX-32: Obama aide Lillian Salerno (D) has become the third former Obama admin official in the race, joining Colin Allred (D) and Ed Meier (D). Allred, a former NFL player, so far looks like the DCCC’s choice recruit to take on Rep. Pete Sessions (R) in this Hillary-won north Dallas seat.

WV-1: Attorney Ralph Baxter (D), who runs a large law firm based in San Francisco but “lives” in Wheeling, is set to announce a run against Rep. David McKinley (R) in this deep-red northern WV seat. Baxter has been mentioned for several races before but looks set to pull the trigger this cycle; he faces long odds as this historically-D seat has become more Republican up and down the ballot.

State & Local:

ID-AG: AG Lawrence Wasden (R) will run for re-election, and will not give up his seat to run for Governor or ID-1.

MA-LG: Obama White House aide Quentin Palfrey (D), who now works as an administrator at MIT, has become the first Democrat into this shotgun-wedding LG primary.

MO-Aud: Attorney and former university regent David Wasinger (R) will run for Auditor, entering the race after State House Speaker David Richardson (R) abruptly declined a bid. Local official Kristy Apprill (R) is also considering a run.

NV-AG: State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D) will run for AG, giving Dems a top-tier recruit for this seat, which is expected to be open as incumbent Adam Laxalt (R) is seen as near-certain to run for Governor. Laxalt’s top deputy, ex-State Rep. Wes Duncan (R), is likely to run for this seat.

DC-Mayor: AG Karl Racine (D) will not run for mayor, likely meaning that incumbent Muriel Bowser (D) will have a relatively easy ride to a second term next year.

Seattle-Mayor: Mayor Ed Murray (D) abruptly resigned yesterday after a fifth person, his cousin, accused him of prior sexual molestation when the cousin was a minor. Murray had declined to run for re-election after several others revealed underage sexual molestation allegations. The open seat election this November is between establishment liberal ex-US Attorney Jenny Durkan (D) and ultra-left city planner Cary Moon (D).

Political Roundup for August 11, 2017

Senate:

TN-Sen/TN-6: State Sen. Mark Green (R) will not run for any higher office next year. Green had previously announced a run for governor earlier this year, but suspended that bid while he was under consideration to be Secretary of the Army. He later withdrew his name from consideration, but did not restart his campaign for governor. Sen. Bob Corker (R) has not yet said whether he is seeking re-election, but some had hoped Green would challenge him or run for the open seat if Corker does not run fro re-election. There was also some speculation Green might run for TN-6, which Rep. Diane Black (R) is giving up to run for governor.

TX-Sen: Former Corpus Christi Mayor Dan McQueen (R) is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the Republican primary. Running for Senate seems like a curious choice for McQueen after he resigned from his job as Corpus Christi Mayor earlier this year after spending just 37 days on the job. Among other things, McQueen is running on reducing the size of Congress to about one representative per 1 million people(the current average is about 1 per 711,000).

House:

FL-6: Former state Rep. Fred Costello (R) is planning to run for Congress, but only if Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) decides to run for governor. Costello has run for Congress twice before, losing to DeSantis in the 2012 and 2016 Republican primaries.

IN-4: Diego Morales, an Army veteran and a senior advisor to VP Mike Pence when Pence was governor is running for this now open seat. Morales is the first candidate to announce plans to run since Rep. Todd Rokita announced on Tuesday he is running for US Senate.  Also, state Sen. Brandt Hershman (R) announced on Facebook he is not running.

MA-3: Dan Koh, chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) hasn’t said anything publicly yet about running for this newly open seat, but of he does, he has the full support of his current boss. Walsh says he is “100 percent behind” Koh running for the seat. Koh, whose name was mentioned in connection with the seat after Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) announced her retirement Wednesday has said in the past that he has considered running for Congress or another elected office.

TN-6: Former Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner John Rose (R) has announced he will run for Congress next year. Rose served as Ag Commissioner from 2002-2003 and also has been involved with the Tennessee State Fair Association and owns a business that trains IT professionals. Rose joins state Rep. Judd Matheny (R) in the GOP primary. Political strategist Scottie Nell Hughes, an ardent supporter of President Trump has also expressed interest in the race.

Governor:

AL-Gov: State Senate President Del Marsh (R) will run for re-election to the state Senate and not run for governor. Marsh had been considering getting into the governor’s race, but said he wanted to wait until Gov. Kay Ivey (R) decided whether or not to run. Ivey says she is close to making a decision.

CO-Gov: Former Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham is considering running for governor, but wants to be sure he can win the Republican primary. Graham says he is a “different kind of candidate” who favors limited government and a strong defense but who is also pro-choice, pro-gay rights and favors some forms of gun control. He ran for US Senate last year, finishing a distant second behind Darryl Glenn in the Republican primary.

CT-Gov: Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano will not join the crowded GOP primary for governor. A gubernatorial bid by Fasano could have set up an awkward matchup between the Republican leaders of both the House and Senate with House Minority Leader Themis Klarides still deciding on a potential bid. 3 Republicans are already running with 3 others having formed exploratory committees, and others like Klarides could still join the race.

ME-Gov: Former state Rep. Diane Russell (D) is joining the Democratic primary for governor. Russell identifies herself as a “hardcore progressive” and favors single-payer healthcare. She was also a supporter in the Legislature of legalizing recreational marijuana and was also a supporter of the ranked-choice voting initiative. She joins 6 other Democrats in the primary.

MD-Gov: Krish Vignarajah, a former policy director for Michelle Obama, is joining the Democratic nomination for governor. However, questions have been raised about whether she meets Maryland’s residency requirements to run. Candidates must have been a registered voter in the state for 5 years, and while she says she registered to vote in the state as early as she was able, she also registered to vote in the District of Columbia in 2010 and voted there in 2014. She says she never voted in more than one place at a time, and doesn’t think being registered in more than one place precludes her from meeting the requirements.

 

TN-Gov: Rep. Diane Black (R) will Run for Governor

As had been rumored for some time, Rep. Diane Black (R) will run for Governor of Tennessee. Black is likely to be a formidable candidate for the job as she is both independently wealthy and well-known from her tenure in the House, and it’s hard not to see her as at least a slight front-runner in the GOP primary. However, Black still faces some heavyweight  opposition, most notably from State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R). Also in the primary are antiestablishment conservative State Sen. Mae Beavers (R) and a pair of wealthy businessmen, Bill Lee (R) and Randy Boyd (R), though all three of those now live in or near an open Congressional seat (TN-6 for Beavers and Lee and TN-2 for Boyd).

As for Black’s TN-6, the R+26 (2016) seat covers the northern and eastern suburbs of Nashville along with a chunk of the rural Cumberland Plateau to the east. Needless to say it is certain to stay in GOP hands. A pair of Republicans have already entered the race, pro-Trump talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R) and State Rep. Judd Matheny (R). Ex-State Rep. Joe Carr (R), who ran for this seat in 2016, could try again, as could 2010 candidate and former local GOP official Lou Ann Zelenik (R). But the biggest name who may run is State Sen. Mark Green (R). Green, Trump’s abortive Army Secretary choice, doesn’t live in or represent any of the seat, but he does live a few miles outside the lines and has acknowledged he would like to run for Congress. With his strong name rec, Green would probably be at least a slight front-runner if he entered. From the gubernatorial field, Beavers lives in the district, but as she is as of now the only staunch antiestablishment conservative in the gubernatorial field it’s somewhat hard to see her dropping down as of yet; Bill Lee also lives just outside the seat. State Sens. Ferrell Haile (R) and Kerry Roberts (R) also live in the seat, along with about 8 other State Reps.

Political Roundup for July 5, 2017

National:

States of Chaos: July 1 was the fiscal year start, and no fewer than six (!) states experienced or narrowly averted budget chaos this weekend. Three states, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maine, all went into shutdowns this past weekend, while Connecticut was operating with an emergency gubernatorial funding decree. Illinois is on its third year of a stalemate between State Dictator House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) and Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) over fiscal policy; 15 Republicans voted to pass Madigan’s reform-less tax hike over the weekend, which Rauner says he will veto. New Jersey was shut down because of a feud between Gov. Chris Christie (R) and State House Speaker Vincent Prieto (D) over Christie’s plan to raid a health insurer to fund opioid treatment (and/or extort a payoff for South Jersey Dictator George Norcross), but that didn’t stop the Governor and his family from vacationing at a closed beach. Maine is under a partial shutdown after Gov. Paul LePage (R) vetoed a budget that raised taxes. Connecticut is operating without a budget, likely until later this month, as the tied Senate and Dem-controlled House deadlocked on competing budget proposals. Two other states, Washington and Alaska, narrowly averted shutdowns.

NATO, WATN: Ex-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R) was nominated as NATO Ambassador over the weekend.

Governor:

CA-Gov: As expected, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) won’t tackle the extremely uphill challenge of a run for Governor. Republicans have several “C” list candidates in or considering making attempts to lose this race, including self-funding businessman and 2008 presidential candidate John Cox (R), State Rep. Travis Allen (R), and ex-State Rep. David Hadley (R).

GA-Gov: State Sen. Michael Williams (R) got a celebrity endorsement for his gubernatorial campaign from Dog the Bounty Hunter, who endorsed Williams for his work in attempting to get a police pay raise. Williams is running as the most unapologetic Trumpist in this primary against LG Casey Cagle (R), SoS Brian Kemp (R), and State Sen. Hunter Hill (R) in the primary; State Reps. Stacey Abrams (D) and Stacey Evans (D) are in the race on the D side.

IA-Gov: One minor Republican is in and one minor Democrat is out of this race. Boone (pop. 12K) councilman Steven Ray (R) will run for Governor, joining incumbent Kim Reynolds (R) and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R) in the GOP primary. As an unknown small-town councilman, Ray’s odds against an incumbent and a big (for Iowa)-city Mayor would seem long to say the least. Democrats have a crowded field for this race. Across the aisle, Davenport councilman Mike Matson (D) dropped out of the race over the weekend, leaving six Dems in the race: State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), State Rep. Todd Prichard (D), ex-IADP chair Andy McGuire (D), ex-Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn (D), former Gov. Vilsack CoS John Norris (D), and 2014 Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D).

KS-Gov: Add Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer (R) to the list of Republicans considering a run here. Selzer is not strongly identified with either the Moderate or Conservative side of the KSGOP’s chasm, and would likely attempt to bridge the divide; however, his name recognition is low, and another candidate considering the race, State Senate President Susan Wagle (R), could also stake claim on that ideological lane. SoS Kris Kobach (R/C), ex-State Sen. Jim Barnett (R/M), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R/M), and businessman and 2010 KS-4 candidate Wink Hartman (R/C) are in the race, with LG Jeff Colyer (R/C) and ex-State Rep. Mark Hutton (R/M) also considering. Democrats have a primary between ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) and ex-State Rep. Josh Svaty (D).

MN-Gov: State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) has acknowledged publicly that, as expected, he is considering a run for Governor. Daudt would likely be a front-runner for the GOP nomination if he enters, but would face 2014 nominee and Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and Ramsey County commissioner Blake Huffman (R) in the GOP convention and/or primary. Democrats have an even more crowded field.

NE-Gov: I hadn’t actually heard anything about him entering the race, but ex-Unicameral Speaker Mike Flood (R) will not challenge Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) in the GOP primary. Flood had considered a run in 2014 but dropped out for personal and family reasons. State Sen. Bob Krist (R) may run against Ricketts as a moderate in the GOP primary or leave the party to run as an I or D in the general.

OH-Gov: As expected, LG Mary Taylor (R) will kick off her gubernatorial campaign this week, meaning this titanic four-way primary pileup will unfold as planned; she joins AG Mike DeWine (R), Rep. Jim Renacci (R), and SoS Jon Husted (R) in the race. Taylor’s campaign may be defined by her ties to Gov. John Kasich (R), who is reasonably popular but has issues with the GOP base, as well as her personal story of having both of her sons battling opioid addiction. Democrats have a crowded primary of their own.

Congress:

MO-Sen: In a major surprise and another big blow to the NRSC, Rep. Ann Wagner (R) will not run take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Wagner was considered all but certain to launch a campaign, so this decision is fairly shocking. Newly-elected AG Josh Hawley (R) now looks like Republicans’ choice recruit for this race, as some major donors have been encouraging him to run.

IL-14: Montgomery (pop. 5K) mayor Matt Brolley (D) will run against Rep. Randy Hultgren (R). This exurban Chicago seat was drawn as a GOP vote sink, but Trump only narrowly carried it, so it may be on Dems’ target lists in 2018; Brolley apparently has support from fellow Rep. Bill Foster (D), who represents the adjacent IL-11.

IN-9: Now here’s just about the weirdest selling point I’ve seen for a congressional candidate in a while: Orthodontist Tod Curtis (D) is running against Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-TN). But the reason he’s getting press is because of his hobby as a prolific video game collector, with a video game collection that may be worth into the six figures. It’s unclear how serious a candidate Curtis will be in the congressional race; Hollingsworth coasted on the lean of this red seat to perform better than expected in 2016, but his craven carpetbagging could be more of an issue in a less-favorable environment.

KY-6: State Sen. Reggie Thomas (D), a liberal who represents a deep-blue district in central Lexington, will take on Rep. Andy Barr (R). The outer Appalachian portions of the Lexington-based district have stampeded right; Thomas would seem to be a poor fit for the red seat.

PA-7: State Sen. Daylin Leach (D) will run for Congress against Rep. Pat Meehan (R). Leach, a bold progressive who also ran in the 2014 PA-13 primary, may be a tough sell with swing voters in the purple district, but he is definitely a higher-profile candidate than the “C” listers that have challenged Meehan the past few cycles.

TN-6: Rep. Diane Black (R) has not announced whether she will run for Governor, but that isn’t stopping State Rep. Judd Matheny (R) from announcing a run for her seat, which covers northern and eastern Nashville suburbs and rural areas to the east. Matheny, who represents a rural area southeast of Nashville, says he will go ahead with a bid for the seat even if Black decides to run again. Pro-Trump talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R) is the other candidate who has indicated interest in this seat if Black vacates it.

State & Local:

MN-AG: State Rep. Debra Hilstrom (D) has launched a campaign for AG, becoming the latest candidate to take a bet that popular incumbent Lori Swanson (D) will not seek re-election, either with a run for Governor or a retirement. Hilstrom joins State Rep. John Lesch (D) and ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) in the race. All have said explicitly or implicitly that they would defer to Swanson should she seek re-election. On the GOP side, ex-State Rep. Doug Wardlow (R) and attorney Harry Niska (R) are in the race.

IL-State Senate, WATN: State Sen. and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady (R) of Bloomington was elected as State Senate GOP leader, replacing Christine Radogno (R) who resigned last week.

Greensboro, NC-Mayor: Businessman John Brown (R) will challenge incumbent mayor Nancy Vaughan (D) in her bid for a third two-year term. Vaughan seems to be relatively popular and it’s unclear how serious a candidate Brown will be in the Dem-leaning city.

Fayetteville, NC-Mayor: City councilman Kirk DeViere (D) will challenge incumbent Nat Robertson’s (R) bid for a third two-year term this fall. Fayetteville is a Dem-leaning city but Robertson has won two competitive elections.

Rutherford, TN-CE: State Sen. Bill Ketron (R) will run for Rutherford County Executive in 2018, and three-incumbent Ernest Burgess (R) quickly announced he will attempt to move in the opposite direction to Ketron’s State Senate seat. Burgess will face State Rep. Dawn White (R) for the Senate seat; no other have as yet indicated a desire to challenge Ketron for the top job in the large southeast suburban Nashville county.

Political Roundup for June 16, 2017

We continue to keep Rep. Steve Scalise (R) in our thoughts and prayers. As of yesterday evening, he was still in critical condition but was said to have improved in the previous 24 hours. He underwent a second surgery yesterday, will require more surgeries in the coming days, and will be in the hospital for some time. Here’s hoping to a speedy recovery.

Kevin Vaughan (R) won TN-LD-95 easily last night, winning 62%-35%.

Congress:

WI-Sen: Businessman Kevin Nicholson is considering entering the Republican primary for US Senate and is apparently testing to see how his background as a Democrat will go over with voters. Nicholson was once president of the College Democrats of America and spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. He registered as a Democrat in North Carolina in 2005 and records show he voted in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. He claims he voted “no preference”, but records indicate that nobody in his precinct voted that way. A poll is currently being conducted that mentions this background for an unnamed candidate, but also mentions that the person is a decorated Marine, successful business leader and father of 3 children, who evolved into a conservative Republican, all things that apply to Nicholson’s background. Others considering running include State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R), state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R), state Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R), 2012 GOP candidate Eric Hovde and Nicole Schneider, daughter-in-law of the founder of Schneider Trucking.

CA-48: There seems to be no shortage of Democrats willing to take on Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R). Scientist and entrepreneur Hans Keirstead is the latest to announce a bid. Keirstead is a native of Canada who became a US citizen in 2008. Businessman Harley Rouda, architect Laura Oatman, real estate broker Boyd Roberts and airline pilot Tony Zarkades are also Democrats who are running. Hillary Clinton won the district by 2 points in 2016, although Rohrabacher prevailed by 16 points.

CO-2: State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) says contrary to some reports, he is not considering running for this now open seat. One political blog this week mentioned him as a possible candidate, but he says he is only considering a run for state Treasurer. Lundberg was the GOP nominee against Rep. Jared Polis (D) in 2012, losing by 17 points. Polis is now running for governor. The same report that said Lundberg was considering running for Congress also mentioned former State Rep. B.J. Nikkel (R) as a possible candidate-Nikkel has confirmed that she is indeed considering running. 2014 Democratic Secretary of State nominee Joe Neguse is the only Democrat to announce a bid so far, but several others are considering.

FL-23: Tim Canova is back for a rematch. The Bernie Sanders supporter who ran against Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D) from the left in the 2016 Democratic primary is running again. Although Wasserman-Schultz prevailed in the primary by a somewhat comfortable 57-43% margin, Canova received a lot of attention for his run and raised a lot of money from Sanders supporters. There does not seem to be any love lost between the two-Wasserman-Schultz did not even mention her opponent by name in her 2016 primary victory speech and Canova refused to concede or even congratulate her. The outcome of this battle may be a signal as to just how much influence Sanders supporters are building in the party-one thing that may help Wasserman-Schultz however is since she is no longer chairman of the DNC, she is not quite the lightning rod for criticism that she was.

ID-1: Former state Sen. Russ Fulcher (R) is dropping out of the governor’s race and running for Congress instead. He was immediately endorsed by Rep. Raul Labrador (R), who is giving up the seat to run for governor himself. The move should benefit Labrador, as he and Fulcher come from the same more conservative wing of the state GOP, and probably makes Fulcher the frontrunner for this seat for now. The only other candidate to announce a bid so far is 80s era LG David Leroy (R), who also ran for this seat in 1994, finishing a distant 2nd in the GOP primary. Others including state Sen. Bob Nonini (R) and state Reps. Luke Malek (R) and Mike Moyle (R) are considering running.

TN-6: State Rep. Judd Matheny (R) plans to run for Congress, assuming that Rep. Diane Black (R) runs for governor. Matheny says he is waiting to make a formal announcement until Black announces an expected gubernatorial run. If Black does not run for governor, he will not run for Congress and will instead run for re-election to the Tennessee House. Matheny joins pro-Trump journalist Scottie Nell Hughes in considering a run for this seat if Black runs for governor.

Governor:

IA-Gov: No surprise here, but Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced in a press release that she plans to run for governor in 2018. Although she has long been expected to run, even before she succeeded former Gov. and now US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad (R), she had previously been evasive about her plans for 2018. She also announced that Acting LG Adam Gregg (R) will be her running mate. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is considering running against her in the Republican primary.

MN-Gov: Former state House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL) is joining a large DFL field for governor. Thissen also ran in 2010, finishing 3rd at the state convention. Thissen was Speaker from 2013-2014, a period when the legislature passed a lot of liberal legislation, and some blame Thissen for the DFL losing their House majority in 2014 and losing more seats in 2016. The DFL field that Thissen is joining also includes Rep. Tim Walz, state Reps. Erin Murphy and Tina Liebling, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Attorney General Lori Swanson is also considering running.

NY-Gov: A new Marist poll has good news for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) winning re-election in 2018, but not so good news for a possible presidential run in 2020. The poll shows Cuomo trouncing each of 4 potential Republican candidates-2010 nominee Carl Paladino, 2014 nominee and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson and Donald Trump, Jr. by 30+ points. But when asked whether he should run for president in 2020, a majority, 51% do not want him to run.

State offices:

LA-Treas.: State Rep. John Schroder (R) has resigned his state House seat to focus on a campaign for state Treasurer. Schroder was already serving in his final term in the House due to term limits. State Sen. Neil Riser (R) and state Rep. Julie Stokes (R) are also running in the Oct. 14 special election-others are still considering.

Political Roundup for June 14, 2017

Last night in Virginia, the Governor nominees weren’t surprising, but their margins were. LG Ralph Northam (D) prevailed by a surprisingly robust 12 points, while ex-RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) squeaked to a 1-point victory over Prince William CE and self-hating Yankee Corey Stewart. For LG, 2013 AG candidate Justin Fairfax (D) and State Sen. Jill Vogel (D) will face off. There were no particular surprises in the House of Delegates primaries, with one minor exception: Banker Mavis Taintor (D), who self-funded an insane $175K (!) for her bid in Loudon County’s LD-33, lost her primary 52-48 to a more traditionally-spending candidate. Hopefully for her Taintor self-funded most of that cash as a loan rather than a gift. In Las Vegas, Steve Seroka (D) ousted incumbent Bob Beers (R) for council district 2 while ex-State Rep. Michele Fiore (R) picked up the open district 6.

Senate:

IN-Sen: State Rep. Mike Braun (R), who is in his second term representing a rural Southwestern Indiana seat, will explore a run against Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). Braun is the first candidate to definitively declare interest in this race, but is definitely well into the “C” list. Three far bigger names, Reps. Luke Messer (R) and Todd Rokita (R) and AG Curtis Hill (R), are thought to be considering the race, and it’s hard to see Braun as any kind of threat to them in the primary.

TN-Sen: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) announced last week that she would not challenge Sen. Bob Corker (R) in 2018, though she has not shut the door on a gubernatorial bid. Corker has announced he would not run for Governor, but has not firmly declared whether he will seek a third term in the Senate. Presumably Blackburn’s Senate calculations would change if the seat were to come open.

UT-Sen: The Romney for Senate speculation machine continues to churn, as Mitt has announced he remain active in politics by forming a SuperPAC designed to help House Republicans in 2018. Biden has encouraged Romney to run for the seat of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), and Romney did nothing to brush away that suggestion when the two appeared together last week.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Medical technology executive Josh Jones (R) is the latest candidate into this increasingly crowded primary. Jones joins (deep breath) Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), PSC Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), Jefferson County commissioner David Carrington (R), and minister Scott Dawson (R) in the race. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not indicated whether or not she will seek a full term and says she may not make an announcement until the fall.

FL-Gov: Now here’s something you don’t see every day: A prospective Democratic candidate holding a fundraiser for a prospective Republican rival. But that’s exactly what wealthy ambulance-chasing trail lawyer John Morgan (D) is doing for State House Speaker Rich Corcoran (R). Morgan, a staunch booster of medical marijuana, is holding the fundraiser as thanks to Corcoran for his work in making the state’s medical pot statute more permissive. Though neither has declared for the gubernatorial race yet, both men have said they are actively exploring bids. Morgan would join ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), and businessman Chris King (D) on the Dem side. Corcoran would join Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) in the GOP primary, with Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) also considering.

MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D) is the latest candidate to officially enter this race. Thanedar has indicated he will partially self-fund; he will face ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), businessman Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit official Abul El-Sayed (D) in the Dem primary, with Macomb CE Mark Hackel (D) the biggest name still considering a run. On the GOP side, LG Brian Calley (R), AG Bill Schuete (R), and State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) look like the major possible contenders.

PA-Gov: Businessman Kris Hart (R), who had been exploring a run for US Senate, will instead seek the nomination to challenge Gov. Tom Wolf (D). Hart joins State Sen. Scott Wagner (R) and businessman Paul Mango (R) in the race, with State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) and ex-LG Jim Cawley (R) considering runs as well.

RI-Gov: Republicans have their first candidate making serious moves toward challenging Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R), who retired in 2016, is preparing a run and seems to be staking out a position as a Trumpist, which might be a questionable strategy in the deep-blue state. Cranston Mayor and 2014 nominee Alan Fung (R) is widely thought likely to make another bid, and a couple other Republicans are considering. The fiscally moderate Raimondo may face a significant primary challenge from her left as well, though no Democrats have made concrete moves toward the race yet.

House:

CO-2: 2014 SoS nominee and Hickenlooper admin official Joe Neguse (D) announced a bid for Congress Tuesday, and quickly secured several prominent endorsements, including from ex-State House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D). Two other Dems, 2000 CO-6 nominee Ken Toltz (D) and executive Shannon Watts (D), who are both also prominent gun-control activists, are also publicly considering the race.

GA-6: A SUSA poll shows the race between ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) and Han Solo impersonator former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) tied at 47, a significant improvement for Handel from their prior poll, where Ossoff led by 7 points. The closely-watched runoff for this seat is this coming Tuesday.

NC-9: Megachurch pastor and 2016 candidate Mark Harris (R) is resigning to consider another congressional run. Harris fell just short by 135 votes in a three-way race against Rep. Robert Pittenger (R). Pittenger has had multiple controversies related to questionable business dealings and making racist remarks on national TV, so there is a strong possibility he could be vulnerable to a primary in 2018; he is also high on retirement watchlists.

NH-1: State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) announced Tuesday that he would run against on-again/off-again Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in this purple seat. Sanborn, known as a staunch conservative with libertarian tendencies, joins former local police chief Eddie Edwards (R) in the GOP primary.

NY-22: State Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) is considering a run against Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) in 2018. Brindisi considered a run for the open seat, and was heavily recruited by national Dems, in 2016 before deciding not to run. This formerly light-red seat moved strongly right in 2016, but the conservative Tenney fell short of a majority, winning 47-40 in a 3-way race.

OH-2: Jerry Springer (D) has been floated for multiple offices by Ohio Democrats in recent years, including for this cycle’s Governor race. But it seems he may have a different seat in mind, as someone has apparently been polling Springer against Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R). This deep-red Cincinnati-area seat would likely be a tough hill to climb for Springer or any other Democrat.

TN-6: Prominent pro-Trump talking head Scottie Nell Hughes (R), who also runs a pro-Trump press group, will consider a run for this deep-red central Tennessee seat if Rep. Diane Black (R) gives it up to run for Governor. Hughes, the first candidate to publicly declare interest in the seat, has said that she would not challenge Black in the primary.

WI-6: Nonprofit exec Dan Kohl (D), nephew of ex-Sen. Herb (D), will challenge Rep. Glenn Grothman (R) for this medium-red seat stretching from the northern Milwaukee suburbs to Oshkosh.

State & Local:

AL-AG: Former US Attorney Alice Martin (R), who also served as chief deputy to now-Sen. Luther Strange (R) when he was AG, will run for the AG slot in 2018. Martin will face appointed incumbent Steve Marshall (R), whose appointment by disgraced then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) may be problematic for his chances of keeping the seat. However, Martin may find hitting Marshall on his Bentley ties problematic herself, as she interviewed for the appointment as well.

CA-LG: Ex-Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin (G), who for her eight years from 2006-2014 made Richmond by far the largest city with a Green Party Mayor, will run for LG in 2018. McLaughlin’s odds are probably long with several prominent Dems in the race, but she has a chance to stake out a position as the farthest-left candidate in an already-left-wing field. McLaughlin will face State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D), former Ambassadors Eleni Kounalakis (D) and Jeff Bleich (D), and physician Asif Mahmood (D), and likely others, in this race.

FL-Ag Comm: Ex-State Rep. Baxter Troutman (R) is running for Ag Commissioner, becoming the fourth Republican into this primary. Troutman joins State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R), State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R), and 2015 Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) in the race.

FL-CFO: CFO Jeff Atwater (R) will resign on June 30th to take an academic position. Gov. Rick Scott (R) is tasked with appointing his replacement. One possible appointee took his name out of the running this week though, as State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) announced he was not interested in being appointed. The move probably means Latvala is considering his 2018 options as running for Governor and bowing out of politics entirely.

KS-SoS: Sedgwick County Clerk and KSGOP chair Kelly Arnold (R) is the first person to consider a run for the open seat of SoS Kris Kobach (R), who is running for Governor. With his base in the Wichita area and institutional ties, Arnold would likely be a formidable candidate for the seat.

NM-LG: Ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D), the former House Majority leader until his 2014 retirement, will explore a run for LG in this shotgun-wedding primary. Miera joins two little-known candidates, civil servant David McTeigue (D) and teacher Jeff Carr (D), in the Dem primary race, and thus would seem to be the front-runner. The primary winner will be combined on a ticket with the winner of the (entirely separate) Gov primary.

Mobile-Mayor: Ex-Mayor Sam Jones (D) will kick off a run to get his old job back this Saturday. Jones served two terms as Mayor before losing his 2013 to re-election race to now-incumbent Sandy Stimpson (R). Jones will likely face a rematch with Stimpson in this year’s race, in late August.

CA-SD-29: Legislative Democrats are pushing bills to delay the state’s recall process in order to help State Sen. Josh Newman (D). Newman won a formerly-red Orange County seat in 2016 in a considerable upset and is now the target of a recall campaign by Republicans upset with his vote for a recent tax hike. The bills under consideration would slow down the recall process so that a successful Newman recall effort would be unlikely to trigger an election before the 2018 general election.

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