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Political Roundup for November 17, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: A new Fox News poll shows Roy Moore (R) trailing Doug Jones by 8 points, 50-42. This is the 2nd poll in as many days to show Moore trailing by a significant margin. The election is still 3 1/2 weeks away, so we will see more polls, but for now it appears that the scandal is sinking in with the electorate.

Sex scandals not involving Roy Moore: Sen. Al Franken (D) has been accused by Leeann Tweeden, currently a radio news anchor in Los Angeles of groping and kissing her without her consent while on a USO tour in 2006. Franken was the headliner act as a comedian, while Tweeden served as an emcee. Franken has apologized for his behavior in a picture that accompanied the story but also said he doesn’t remember everything the same way she did. He says he will cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation into the matter.

Other scandal-plagued senators: A mistrial was declared yesterday in the corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez (D). Justice Department officials are reviewing the case to decide whether to put him back on trial, and the Ethics Committee may take up the case as well.

RI-Sen: Former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Flanders is running for the Republican nomination for US Senate. Flanders says he voted for Donald Trump, and liked his goals, but says he doesn’t have to “run with him” and support everything he does. Flanders joins state Rep. Robert Nardolillo (R) in the race to face Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D).

TN-Sen: Conservative activist Andy Ogles dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for Senate on Wednesday. When Ogles got in the race in September, he expected to be a conservative, populist alternative to Sen. Bob Corker (R). But after Corker decided not to seek re-election and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) entered the race, he saw his chances of winning all but vanish.

House:

NH-1: State Rep. Mindi Messmer (D) announced yesterday she is running for Congress. Messmer joins a Democratic primary that includes Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D), former state AFl-CIO head Mark McKenzie, former Stafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati, and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Eddie Edwards are running for the GOP nomination.

PA-15: Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries (R) is joining the Republican nomination for Congress. Pries joins a race that includes state Reps. Ryan Mackenzie (R) and Justin Simmons (R) and Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein (R). Pries is currently the only candidate from the west side of the district while the other 3 come from the east side.

TN-7: Country music songwriter Lee Thomas Miller announced this week he is running for Congress. Miller had been rumored as a possible candidate. He is currently the only candidate to challenge state Sen. Mark Green (R), who got in the race immediately after Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) announced she was running for US Senate.

TX-29: Two candidates have already announced they are running for this seat after Rep. Gene Green (D) announced his retirement on Monday. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) entered the race on Tuesday, as did state Rep. Armando Walle (D). Former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia (D) is also considered likely to run, and others may get in the race.

VA-2: Virginia Beach Democratic Party chairman Dave Belote is dropping out of the race for Congress. Belote says he is dropping out to help his father care for his ailing mother. Belote was the first Democrat to challenge Rep. Scott Taylor (R). 3 other Democrats are still in the race, businesswoman and 2016 nominee Shawn Brown, who lost to Taylor by 23 points, retired construction company owner Garry Hubbard, and schoolteacher Karen Mallard.

Governor:

CT-Gov: LG Nancy Wyman (D) will not run for governor next year. Speculation had been that Wyman would likely not run, but she had repeatedly refused to declare her intentions. She would have been the biggest name in the Democratic primary, but her ties to unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D) could have been a liability. Without Wyman in the race, there is no clear favorite in the Democratic primary. Democrats running or exploring a run include former West Hartford Mayor Jonathan Harris, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, former prosecutor Chris Mattei, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, former Wall Street finance executive Dita Bhargava, and former state veterans affairs commissioner Sean Connolly. A large field of Republicans are running too.

GA-Gov: Businessman Clay Tippins has officially entered the race for the GOP nomination for governor. Tippins, also a former Navy SEAL, has never run for office before and joins a race with experienced officeholders. Other candidates include LG Casey Cagle (R), Sec. of State Brian Kemp (R), and state Sens. Hunter Hill (R) and Michael Williams (R).

Political Roundup for November 3, 2017

Senate:

AZ-Sen: Ex-state Sen. Kelli Ward (R) has received the endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul (R) for her Senate campaign. Ward is currently the only Republican running since the exit of Sen. Jeff Flake (R) from the race but others, including Rep. Martha McSally (R) and ex-Rep. Matt Salmon (R) are considering. Paul is the first Senator to endorse Ward.

TN-Sen: Rolando Toyos, an ophthamologist from Memphis, has entered the GOP nomination for US Senate. Toyos, a self-described conservative Republican, has self-funding ability, but seems like a long-shot against better known candidates Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R). Toyos has run for office before, unsuccessfully running in 2010 for a seat on the Shelby County Commission.

House:

HI-1: State Rep. Beth Fukumoto (D) is considering running for this open seat. Fukumoto is a former Republican and actually served as House Republican Leader at the beginning of the year before being removed from her post in February after constant criticism of President Trump since last year. She left the Republican Party in March. State Sen. Donna Kim (D) is the only Democrat currently running, but many others are considering. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is running for governor.

MT-AL: Attorney Jared Pettinato is joining the crowded Democratic nomination race to face Rep. Greg Gianforte (R). Pettinato is the 6th Democrat to get in the race, joining State Rep. Tom Woods (D), former state Sen. Lynda Moss (D), former state Rep. Kathleen Williams (D), attorney John Heenan, and former land trust director Grant Kier. Former state Rep. Pat Noonan (D) is said to be considering getting in as well.

TN-7: Franklin Mayor Ken Moore (R) will not run for Congress. Moore had been considering getting in the race to succeed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R). Some had wanted him to run to present a more moderate, business-oriented alternative to conservative state Sen. Mark Green (R). Green is currently the only Republican in the race, although songwriter Lee Thomas Miller is likely to enter soon.

TX-5: State Sen. Bob Hall (R) will not run for Congress. Hall’s state Senate district overlaps most of the Congressional district and thus would have been a natural fit to run and received a lot of encouragement to do so, but Hall, who is 75 was thought unlikely to enter the race. He is instead running for re-election to his Senate seat.

TX-21: Rep. Lamar Smith is retiring next year. Check our special post yesterday for a Great Mentioner on who might run to succeed him. One potential candidate, retiring House Speaker Joe Straus (R) has already taken his name out of the running.

VA-10: Former federal prosecutor Paul Pelletier is getting in the crowded race to take on Rep. Barbara Comstock (R). Of the other 8 Democrats, the top tier in fundraising are anti-human trafficking activist Alison Friedman, Army veteran Dan Helmer, communications strategist Lindsey David Stover, and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D).

Governor/state offices:

ID-Gov: 2014 Democratic nominee A.J. Balukoff is running for governor again. Balukoff lost by 15 points to Gov. Butch Otter (R) 4 years ago. He seems likely to be the nominee again as no other Democrats are running or are known to be considering. As Otter is retiring, he will this time face the winner of a Republican primary between businessman Tommy Ahlquist, Rep. Raul Labrador (R) and Lieutenant Governor Brad Little (R).

DE-Treas. : State Treasurer Ken Simpler (R) will run for a second term next year. When Simpler won the office in 2014 he became the first non-incumbent Republican to win a statewide race since 1994. He is seen as a rising star in the state party and is considered a possible candidate for governor in 2020.

NV-AG: After his former boss Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R)  announced he was running for governor, former Assistant AG and state Assemblyman Wes Duncan (R) wasted little time getting into the race. Duncan had been considered a top candidate to become Assembly Speaker after Republicans took control of the chamber after the 2014 elections, but he instead left to work in the office of the then newly-elected AG. He will likely face state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D) in the general election.

TX-LG: Businessman Scott Milder is challenging LG Dan Patrick (R) in the Republican primary. Milder criticizes Patrick for his “antics” and identifies himself as a “rational conservative leader”. Milder is a former Rockwall City Councilman, but was defeated for re-election earlier this year. Mike Collier, who lost by 20 points as the Democratic nominee for State Comptroller in 2014, is running on the Democratic side.

Political Roundup for October 20, 2017

Senate:

CA-Sen: Left-wing online news host Cenk Uygur is considering getting into the US Senate race. Uygur is cofounder of the left-wing Young Turks Network and hosts the Young Turks show. It was reported last week that his cohost Ana Kasparian was considering running as well, but it’s expected that both won’t run. Uygur would represent another candidate on the left, joining State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D) as candidates running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from the left.

TN-Sen: A good article here from a Democrat about why former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) would be a longshot to be elected to the Senate even if he represents the Democrat’s best chance. Bredesen was the last Democrat to win statewide when he was easily re-elected governor in 2006, but the state’s politics have moved significantly towards the Republican side since then. When Bredesen was last on the ballot in 2006, Democrats held 5 of the state’s 9 US House seats, they controlled the State House and Republicans held the State Senate by the narrowest of margins. Now Republicans hold 7 of the 9 US House seats and control both houses of the Legislature by huge margins. As the article states, now “having a “D” by one’s name is tantamount to electoral doom”. The article compares the situation to that of Bob Kerrey, who had been highly successful electorally in Nebraska in being elected governor and two terms as US senator, but things had changed a lot in the state since he had left office and he lost by 15 points in a comeback attempt in 2012. The article even suggests that Bredesen would have a better chance being elected as an independent than as a Democrat.

House:

IN-4: State Rep. Jim Baird (R) is in for the Republican primary for this open seat. He joins Diego Morales, a former aide to Gov. Mike Pence (R), former state Rep. Steve Braun (R) and Army veteran Jared Thomas in the Republican primary.

NH-1: Ex-Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati (D) has entered the Democratic primary for this open seat. Soldati is the first Democrat to get in the race after Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) announced her retirement last week. Other Democrats are still considering the race. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former state Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Eddie Edwards are in on the Republican side.

NY-24: Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) has announced she will not run for Congress. Miner had been the most high profile candidate considering a run against Rep. John Katko (R). Small business entrepreneur Anne Messenger and Syracuse University professor Dana Balter are currently running in the Democratic primary.

OH-12: We are starting to get a picture of who is and isn’t interested in running to replace Rep. Pat Tiberi (R). Yesterday, State Sens. Kevin Bacon (R) and Jay Hottinger (R) both indicated they are interested but have not made final decisions. State Rep. Rick Carfagna (R) says he is “certainly considering” the race as well. Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R), who dropped out of the race for State Treasurer this week, says he is deferring comment on the race for now. State Rep. Andrew Brenner (R) is not interested and is running for a state Senate seat and author J.D. Vance, who was considered as a possible candidate for US Senate also says he is not interested. State Sen. Kris Jordan (R) and state Rep. Mike Duffey (R) could not be reached for comment on if they are interested. One candidate, Iraq War veteran Brandon Grisez, was already running in the Republican primary before Tiberi announced his resignation on Wednesday.

PA-15: Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein (R) has entered the Republican nomination for the open seat of retiring Rep. Charlie Dent (R). Nothstein, who is also a former gold medal Olympic cyclist joins State Reps. Justin Simmons (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R) in the GOP race. Lehigh County Commissioner Bill Leiner (D) and pastor Greg Edwards are in on the Democratic side. Northampton County DA John Morganelli (D) and community activist Alan Jennings are also considering entering the Democratic primary as well.

TN-7: Franklin Mayor Ken Moore (R) is considering getting into the Congressional race. He says he’ll decide within the next two weeks whether to get in the race. State Sen. Mark Green (R) is already in the race and has nabbed the endorsement of the Club For Growth. Moore is seen as possibly a more palatable alternative for the more moderate, business-style Republicans than the conservative Green. Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller (R) is also considering getting in the race.

State & Local:

FL-Gov: Billionaire real-estate investor Jeff Greene is considering joining the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. Greene has run for office before, finishing 2nd in the 2010 Democratic primary for US Senate. No candidate has really caught fire with Democratic voters yet-a poll last month showed 44 % of Democrats undecided while wealthy trail attorney John Morgan, who is not yet running lead the named candidates with 23%. Former Rep. Gwen Graham (D) led the declared candidates with 16% with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and businessman Chris King in single digits. Recognizing this, Greene doesn’t feel rushed to make a decision soon.

IL-AG: Jesse Ruiz, an attorney and former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education is joining the Democratic field for Attorney General. He joins state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), state Rep. Scott Drury (D) and Sharon Fairly, former head of Chicago’s police oversight agency in the Democratic primary. Former Miss America and congressional candidate Erika Harold is running on the Republican side. Current AG Lisa Madigan (D) is retiring.

RI-AG: State Rep. Robert Craven (D) has announced he will not run for Attorney General. This may clear the Democratic field for former US Attorney Peter Neronha, the only announced candidate so far. Current AG Peter Kilmartin (D) is term limited.

WI-LG: Former state Rep. Mandela Barnes (D) is “strongly considering” getting into the Democratic race for Lieutenant Governor. Barnes is the first prominent Democrat to express a run for the office. Political newcomer Robert Louis Slamka is currently the only Democrat to file to run for LG.

International:

New Zealand: New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters has made his choice, and he will take his party into coalition with Labour, bringing Labour into government for the first time since 2008. 37 year old Jacinda Ardern will be the new prime minister. NZ First will be a formal coalition partner with Labour, while the Greens will have a confidence and supply agreement with them. This is despite National winning the most votes and the most seats, meaning that for the first time since New Zealand went to the mixed-member proportional system in 1996, the party that won the most votes and seats will not be in the government. National had their vote share cut and their seat total reduced by 2 after special votes were counted a couple of weeks after the September election, but National still held 56 seats, more than the 54 seats combined between Labour and the Greens. Labour-NZ First and the Greens will have 63 seats, while National and ACT New Zealand will have 57 seats.

Political Roundup for October 16, 2017

Over the weekend, for LA-Treasurer, Derrick Edwards (D) and John Schroeder (R) advanced. As Republicans took ~2/3 of the vote and Edwards is not running a serious campaign, Schroeder is the prohibitive favorite in the mid-November runoff (as an aside, check out Miles Coleman’s MAP of the results) For LA-PSC-2, RINO surgeon Craig Greene won outright. In New Orleans, Cantrell (D) and Charbonnet (D) advanced. Finally, for LA-LD-58, Brass (D) won outright, while in LA-LD-77, Manness (R) and Wright (R) advanced. In Austria, Sebastian Kurz of the center-right OVP won about a third of the vote, outpacing the nationalist FPO and social-democratic SPO. It’s uncertain which of the FPO or SPO will join the OVP in coalition. In Kyrgyzstan, the candidate of the incumbent government, Soroonbai Jeenbekov, won the presidency without a runoff.

Senate:

CA-Sen: State Senate President Kevin DeLeon (D) will challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from the left.  DeLeon and Feinstein are well-positioned to advance to the general election, but defeating the popular and long-serving incumbent from the left in a general election among all voters (including Republicans) seems quite the tall order.

MO-Sen, MO-Aud: State Rep. Paul Curtman (R), who had been running a little-noticed Senate campaign, will instead drop out and explore a run for Auditor. AG Josh Hawley (R) entered the race last week and looks like the prohibitive GOP primary favorite to take on vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Appointed incumbent Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) has somewhat strangely so far not attracted serious GOP opposition.

MT-Sen: Judge Russell Fagg (R) has become the latest candidate into the primary to take on Sen. Jon Tester (D). Fagg joins front-running State Auditor (Insurance Commissioner) Matt Rosendale (R), State Sen. Al Olzewski (R), and storage company exec Troy Downing (R).

ND-Sen: Ex-Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Berg (R) is considering a rematch with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), who upset him for the open seat in 2012. As Berg’s last campaign was considered deeply subpar there isn’t a whole lot of enthusiasm for a comeback bid. State Sen. Tom Campbell (R) is in the race, while Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt (R) are thought to still be considering runs.

Governor:

AL-Gov: As expected, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) will enter the primary for Governor. Maddox, who is considered a rising star, will face opposition from ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) in the Dem primary. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is facing a crowded field of primary opponents, most notably Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), who raised over $1M in the month of September.

AZ-Gov: In what looks like as clear-cut a case of sour grapes as it gets, former Ducey administration official Tim Jeffries (R) is considering a primary run against his former boss, Gov. Doug Ducey (R). Jeffries was ousted from his state cabinet post last year amid reports of improper firing of employees and misuse of state resources. Jeffries seems unlikely to be a serious threat to Ducey in the primary.

ID-Gov: The Kootenai County GOP committee has passed a resolution blasting developer and gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist (R) for his donations to Democrats. Ahlquist notably donated to 2014 Dem gubernatorial nominee AJ Balukoff (D); he says the donation was because Balukoff was a personal friend but he voted for his rival, Gov. Butch Otter (R). Ahlquist is running as something of a moderate third wheel in this primary between LG Brad Little (R), the candidate of the IDGOP’s establishment, socially-conservative faction, and Rep. Raul Labrador (R), the candidate of the IDGOP’s antiestablishment, fiscally-conservative faction. Ironically, Ahlquist could wind up facing Balukoff if he wins the GOP primary, as Balukoff is thought to be considering a second run.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R), of DuPage County in the Chicago suburbs, is considering a challenge to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in the GOP primary after Rauner signed an abortion-funding bill. Ives would be at a massive fundraising disadvantage to Rauner but could win the primary on grassroots enthusiasm. Should she make it to the general though, the conservative Ives would have little chance in the general in the deep-blue state. Across the aisle, local superintendent Bob Daiber (D) announced his LG choice, social worker Jonathan Todd (D). Daiber is the last of the four serious Dem contenders to pick a running mate.

KS-Gov: 2014 Senate candidate Greg Orman (I) is considering a run for Governor, once again as an Independent. The decision would be very good news for Republicans. Orman did surprisingly well in 2014 as the de facto Democrat in the Senate race. But running as an Indie in a race where there is likely to be a credible Democrat would likely mean a split in the center and center-left vote that would hand an easy win to the GOP nominee by way of the state’s large conservative base. Both Republicans and Democrats have crowded fields here.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) will not run for Governor. Though Collins would have likely been a strong front-runner for the Governorship, she is likely to stay a more key national figure as a swing vote in the Senate. This decision also removes (for now) the prospect of a difficult GOP hold for this Senate seat in 2020 without Collins, though it does lower Republicans’ odds of retaining the Governorship. The GOP primary currently consists of State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), State Rep. Ken Fredette (R), and LePage administration official Mary Mayhew (R). A fourth candidate may enter soon, as businessman and 2010 Indie candidate Shawn Moody (R) has joined the GOP and is exploring a run as well. Democrats have an even more crowded field and three credible Indies are also running.

MN-Gov, MN-LG: Rep. Tim Walz (D) has picked State Rep. Peggy Flanagan (D) as his running mate. Walz is so far considered the slight front-runner for the DFL endorsement, but he faces a crowded field of Auditor Rebecca Otto (D), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D), and State Reps. Erin Murphy (D), Tina Leibling (D), and Paul Thissen (D). Walz is the first candidate on either side to commit to an LG pick.

OR-Gov: Happy Valley mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R), who narrowly lost a State House race last year, will not run for Governor. Chavez-DeRemer was the last major GOP candidate still exploring the race. Her exit likely means that State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) will not face serious primary opposition for the right to take on Gov. Kate Brown (D).

PA-Gov: Well-connected attorney Laura Ellsworth (R) will seek the GOP nomination to take on Gov. Tom Wolf (R). Ellsworth, a partner at the high-powered Jones Day mega-law firm, could potentially be an establishment choice in the primary against antiestablishment-leaning State Sen. Scott Wagner (R), though she will likely have to contend for that niche with businessman Paul Mango (R).

SC-Gov: A second Democrat has entered this race. Consultant and nonprofit exec Phil Noble (D), who ran a Democratic primary campaign for LG in 1994, will take on State Rep. James Smith (D) in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster (R) faces Haley admin official Catherine Templeton (R), LG Kevin Bryant (R), and ex-LG Yancey McGill (R) in the GOP primary.

TX-Gov: Democrats have a slightly more credible prospect to take on popular Gov. Greg Abbott (R), as ex-Balch Springs (pop. 25K) mayor Cedrick Davis (D) will run for Governor. Former mayor of a smallish Dallas slumburb would ordinarily not be a credible candidate resume in a state as big as Texas. However, Democrats are running out of options in this race with the filing deadline under two months away, so there’s a chance Davis may get a serious look. The only other candidate in the race besides Davis is gay-bar owner Jeffrey Payne (D).

WI-Gov: Ex-WIDP chair Matt Flynn (D) is the latest candidate into this increasingly crowded primary to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R). Flynn joins State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D), State Rep. Dana Wachs (D), businessman Andy Gronik (D), and nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D) in the race.

House:

CA-7: Physician Yona Barash (R), a Holocaust survivor as an infant who later immigrated to the US from Israel, is running against Rep. Ami Bera (D). Bera has won a string of hard-fought victories over credible GOP candidates in this light-blue suburban Sacramento seat.

IN-2: Healthcare executive Mel Hall (D) will run for this medium-red seat, giving Democrats a credible candidate to take on Rep. Jackie Walorski (R). This seat has trended strongly right in the last decade but might be still be in play in a Democratic wave.

MA-9: Convenience store executive Peter Tedeschi (R), who ran the large regional Tedeschi’s convenience store chain before selling it to 7-eleven, is running for Congress and will announce later this month. The district isn’t specified but it’s almost certainly the light-blue Cape Cod and South Shore/South Coast MA-9 of Rep. Bill Keating (D). Tedeschi seems a solid candidate and Gov. Charlie Baker (R) will almost certainly carry the seat, but defeating an incumbent Democrat in Massachusetts (for any office) is all but impossible, so this is likely to be an uphill race.

MI-6: George Franklin (D), a former university regent and lobbyist for Kellogg’s cereal, will run for this light-red southwest Michigan seat. Longtime incumbent Fred Upton (R) has been popular in the district, but he is currently considering a run for Senate, which would make this race a high-level Dem pickup opportunity if open.

MI-11: Plymouth Twp. supervisor and ex-State Rep. Kurt Heise (R) has announced a bid for this light-red suburban Detroit open seat. Heise joins State Rep. Klint Kesto (R), ex-State Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R), and businesswoman Lena Epstein (R) in the GOP primary; Dems also have a crowded field.

NY-1: Suffolk County commissioner Kate Browning (D) is running for the House seat of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Browning, an Irish immigrant with ties to the union-backed Working Families party, is likely to be the Dem establishment choice for this light-red eastern Long Island seat.

PA-18: Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli (D) has thrown her hat into the ring, joining ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D) and Bush 43 admin official Pam Iovino (D) (yes, you read that right – it was a cross-party appointment) in the race for the Dem endorsement. The GOP also has a trio of candidates, State Sens. Kim Ward (R) and Guy Reschenthaler (R) and State Rep. Rick Saccone (R). The special election to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R) in this medium-red south suburban Pittsburgh seat has not been scheduled but is likely to be early next year.

TN-7: Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller (R) is considering a run for this deep-red open seat. Miller has written songs for country stars Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley, among others. He also hails from the wealthy and high-turnout suburban Williamson County portion of the district. Miller is the first candidate to express interest in taking on the only declared candidate for this seat, State Sen. Mark Green (R). For his part, Green received an endorsement from the Club for Growth, potentially giving him a fundraising boost.

State Offices:

CT-Treas: Investor Thad Gray (R) is running for State Treasurer, becoming the first candidate into this race. Incumbent Denise Nappier (D) has not indicated her plans but is thought to be considering retirement; she won by a smaller-than-expected margin in 2014.

DE-Aud: Ex-State Rep. Dennis Williams (D), who lost primaries for his seat in 2014 and 2016, will run for State Auditor. 7-term incumbent Tom Wagner (R), one of two statewide elected Rs in Delaware, has not yet declared whether he will run again.

FL-AG: In what might be a record for shortest exploratory phase of a campaign, State Rep. Frank White (R) of Pensacola filed to run for AG last Friday – less than 24 hours after publicly declaring he was exploring the race. White joins front-running retired judge Ashley Moody (R) and State Rep. Jay Fant (R) in the primary. Little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D) is to date the only Dem in the race.

ID-LG: State Sen. Bob Nonini (R) is the latest candidate into this supremely crowded open-seat primary field. Nonini, who hails from the northern panhandle, joins fellow State Sen. Marv Hagedorn (R), State Rep. Kelley Packer (R), ex-State Rep. Janice McGeachin (R), and ex-IDGOP Chairman Steve Yates (R). Incumbent Brad Little (R) is running for Governor.

IL-AG: Kane County DA Joe McMahon (R) is considering a run for AG. McMahon has name recognition from his tenure as DA in a large suburban county and his serving as a special prosecutor in the Lacquan Macdonald police shooting incident. However, he would likely face an uphill run in the GOP primary, as former congressional candidate Erika Harold (R) has already sewn up most of the GOP establishment’s support. Across the aisle, parks commissioner Jesse Ruiz (D) is seen as likely to become the fourth candidate in this field, joining State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and Chicago city official Sharon Fairley (D).

IL-SoS: Grundy County DA Jason Helland (R) will run for Secretary of State, giving Republicans a credible candidate for this seat. Popular incumbent Jesse White (D) has said he will be seeking a sixth term and would be a prohibitive favorite if he runs, but there are rumors that White may pull a late retirement to try and clear the field for a hand-picked successor.

KS-Ins Comm: Ex-State Sen. and 2014 candidate Clark Shultz (R), who currently serves as the department’s #2 official, is preparing to make a second run for Insurance Commissioner. Shultz came in a very close third (by 4%) in the 2014 primary and would likely start a second bid as the front-runner for the seat. However, he left the door open to dropping out of the race should his boss, incumbent Ken Selzer (R), drop his bid for Governor and seek re-election. No other candidates have as yet declared interest in this seat.

NE-Treas: 2017 Omaha Mayoral candidate Taylor Royal (R), a twenty-something accountant who ran a quixotic self-funded bid based on bringing an NFL team to Omaha, will run for State Treasurer. Royal also notched a surprising endorsement from the woman he unsuccessfully tried to oust, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert (R). He joins State Sen. John Murante (R), who has the endorsement of Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), in the primary for this open seat.

Local Races:

Atlanta-Mayor: City councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) has notched a big endorsement from incumbent Kasim Reed (D). Lance-Bottoms is the closest candidate in the crowded field to Reed, so the move is no surprise; however, Reed’s support could help her stand out. Lance-Bottoms is in a tight race for the second runoff spot in this race; a number of liberal candidates are vying to advance to a December runoff with moderate councilwoman and 2009 candidate Mary Norwood (I).

Phoenix-Mayor: A pair of city councilors have thrown their hats into the ring for next year’s special election. Daniel Valenzuela (D) and Kate Gallego (D), ex-wife of US Rep. Ruben (D), have both declared their candidacies. Incumbent Greg Stanton (D) will need to resign next year to run for the AZ-9 seat of Rep. and Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema (D).

Prince George’s, MD-CE: Ex-Rep. Donna Edwards (D), who lost a US Senate primary in 2016, is trying for a comeback in a run for the open PG County Executive seat. Edwards starts with the highest name recognition in a field including DA Angela Alsobrooks (D), DINO State Sen. Anthony Muse (D), and Obama Admin official Paul Monteiro (D). However, Edwards has never been on great terms with the area’s Democratic establishment, which could be problematic if they coalesce around one of her rivals.

Shelby, TN-CE: State Sen. Lee Harris (D) is running for the County Executive post in Shelby County, covering Memphis. He joins ex-county commissioner Sidney Chism (D) in the primary. Shelby County is deep-blue but the GOP has had high levels of success countywide;  Three credible Republicans are running in County Trustee David Lenoir (R), Court Clerk Joy Touliatos (R), and County Commissioner Terry Roland (R).

Political Roundup for October 6, 2017

Senate:

MO-Sen: Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) has taken another step towards getting in the race. A “Hawley Victory Committee” organization was filed with the FEC this week. The NRSC is also listed as a joint fundraising committee in the filing-a typical move for a campaign getting ready to launch. 3 other Republicans are currently running-2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen, retired Air Force pilot and University of Central Missouri Aviation Department assistant dean Tony Monetti, and Navy veteran Courtland Sykes.

TN-Sen: If you missed our special post on it yesterday, there was big news in this race as Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced he would not run, followed soon by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) getting into the race. With Haslam and Peyton Manning out, Blackburn appears to be the frontrunner for now.

House:

AZ-9: As expected, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) has announced he plans to run for Congress. Stanton, who is in his 2nd term as mayor has been expected to run for another office, although he had been looking at a statewide office. Stanton will be the overwhelming favorite on the Democratic side, although might not clear the field completely. Biologist Talia Fuentes was already in the race before Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) announced her plans to run for the US Senate. Former House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D) has been considered a possible candidate, but many think he won’t run against Stanton. Because of Arizona’s resign to run law, Stanton will have to resign as mayor, although he won’t have to leave office until he submits his election petitions, which are due May 30. A special election will then be held to complete Stanton’s term through 2019.

CO-2: Businessman and gun control advocate Ken Toltz has announced he is running in the Democratic primary for this open seat. Toltz had been exploring a run ever since Rep. Jared Polis (D) announced he was giving up the seat to run for governor, but said Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas motivated him in part to finally join the race. Toltz ran for Congress before in 2000 as the Democratic nominee in CO-6, losing by 12 points to then Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), a campaign in which he made gun control a major part of his platform in the wake of the Columbine shooting. Toltz is the 2nd Democrat to join the race in as many days-Nederland Mayor Kristopher Larsen joined the race on Wednesday. They join former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse, former Boulder County Democratic party Chairman Mark Williams, and minister Howard Dotson in the race on the Democratic side. No Republican has yet announced plans to run in the blue district.

CO-7: The last major challenger to Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) has dropped out. Dan Baer, formerly ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has dropped out of the race. Baer had been the last holdout to stay in the race after Perlmutter reversed course and decided to run for re-election to Congress after previously deciding to run for governor, a race he dropped out of, and then deciding he would just retire from politics. State Sens. Andy Kerr (D) and Dominick Moreno (D) and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D) dropped out of the race soon after Perlmutter got back in, but Baer stayed in, boosted by an impressive fundraising haul.

MA-3: State Rep. Juana Matias (D) is joining what is becoming a very crowded race to succeed Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). Other Democrats running are state Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D), Dan Koh, former chief of staff to Boston mayor Marty Walsh, Cambridge city councilor Nadeem Mazan, Lori Trahan, a former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Marty Meehan (D), and former Democratic LG nominee Steve Kerrigan. State Sen. Eileen Donoghue (D) is considering running as well. Rick Green, a businessman and founder of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, became the first Republican to join the race on Wednesday.

MI-11: Businessman and lawyer Dan Haberman is joining the Democratic primary race for this open seat. Haberman joins former Obama Administration auto task force official Haley Stevens, and Fayrouz Saad, former head of the Office of Immigrant Affairs for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Businesswoman Lena Epstein, who previously had been running for US Senate and former state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R) are running on the Republican side; state Sen. Marty Knollenberg (R) and state Rep. Laura Cox (R) , among others are considering getting in as well.

NH-2: Dr. Stewart Levenson, former chairman of the Department of Medicine at Manchester’s VA Hospital and who was involved in a whisteblower complaint about the facility, is running for Congress as a Republican. Levenson joins former state Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) with businessman David McConville possibly joining as well in the race to face Rep. Annie Kuster (D).

PA-18: State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R) entered the race yesterday to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who now has announced his resignation, effective Oct. 21. A special election will be held sometime next year to fill the seat. Reschenthaler seems to be the favorite among party insiders, although state Sen. Kim Ward (R) has announced she is running too. State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) will possibly run as well.

TN-7: If you missed the special post on it yesterday, after Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) announced her candidacy for US Senate, state Sen. Mark Green (R) followed by announcing his candidacy for her congressional seat, completing a winding political journey this year. Green had declared his intention to run for governor early in the year, a race he dropped out of after being nominated to be Secretary of the Army-but he dropped out of contention for that post after Democrats criticized some comments he had made in the past. He decided not to restart his candidacy for governor, but had been encouraged to challenge Sen. Bob Corker (R) before Corker decided to retire. Green now becomes the early frontrunner, but other Republicans are expected to run for the deep red seat.

Governor/state offices:

SC-Gov: State Rep. James Smith (D) yesterday became the first Democrat to announce a run for governor. Smith had been the only Democrat known to even be looking at the race. 4 Republicans are running-Gov. Henry McMaster (R), LG Kevin Bryant (R), former state Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton, and party-switching former D LG Yancey McGill (R).

FL-CFO: State Sen. Tom Lee (R) is running for Chief Financial Officer. Lee will be challenging appointed incumbent Jimmy Patronis (R) in the Republican primary. Patronis was appointed to the post in June by Gov. Rick Scott (R) after former CFO Jeff Atwater (R) resigned to become CFO of Florida Atlantic University. Lee was the Republican nominee for CFO in 2006, losing by 7 points to Democrat Alex Sink.

LA-Treas.: Dueling polls by two of the Republican candidates in the upcoming Oct. 14 primary show themselves ahead of the group of Republicans in the race. State Rep. John Schroder (R) and former Gov. Bobby Jindal administration official Angele Davis both have released polls showing them making the runoff with lone Democratic candidate Derrick Edwards. Interestingly, the third major Republican candidate, state Sen. Neil Riser (R), finishes in second among the Republicans in both polls with Davis in third in Schroder’s poll, and Schroder in third in Davis’s poll. Edwards leads all candidates in both polls, but should be a heavy underdog to whichever Republican emerges from the primary.

MI-AG: State House Speaker Tom Leonard (R) has announced he is running for Attorney General. Leonard joins state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R) in the GOP primary. Former US Attorney Pat Miles and attorney Dana Nassel are running on the Democratic side. Nominees will be decided at party conventions after next year’s August primary.

TN-Sen, TN-7: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) Running for Senate, State Sen. Mark Green (R) Running for Her Seat

Update 10/5 4PM: Prominent State Sen. and erstwhile Army Secretary nominee Mark Green (R) has made an expected but important announcement – that he will run for Blackburn’s congressional seat. Green is from the Clarksville area, north and west of Nashville along the Kentucky border. His senate district is entirely within TN-07. Green is an antiestablishment conservative with a military background. He was a candidate for Governor until the Army Secretary nomination that ultimately was withdrawn due to some (completely standard) comments he’d made on social issues. Green recently started a SuperPac to support Christian candidates called Five Stones. It will be interesting to see if it’s used by whomever inherits it to help Green. There will likely be other major candidates, especially from the Nashville area. Most of the district is rural, but Williamson County is very wealthy and has several ambitious officeholders and businessmen with no shortage of friends who can donate. Green will likely have rural appeal on his side, but this primary could get expensive. RRH rates this district Safe R the general election.

Update 10/5: Blackburn has officially entered, while Haslam and Manning have declined to enter the race. Blackburn now looks clearly like the one to beat for this contest.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) is “expected” to announce tomorrow she will run for Sen. Bob Corker’s (R) seat. The decision is somewhat surprising as two even bigger names, Peyton Manning (R) and Gov. Bill Haslam (R), are rumored to still be considering the race and would be the favorites over anyone, including Blackburn, if either entered. However, barring an entry from one of those two, Blackburn looks like the one to beat in this race. Blackburn has been a front-bencher in the caucus over her eight terms, with pull on both the establishment and grassroots side of the party, and was even on the VP long-list in both 2008 and 2012. Blackburn seems like the clear front-runner for the seat now, but she is still likely to get a serious challenge in the primary; ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) has been seriously considering the race as well and might be a more establishment-oriented primary challenger.

The decision opens up Blackburn’s TN-7, an R+20 seat based in rural areas west of Nashville, but also including both the Clarksville area and the wealthy Williamson County suburbs south of Nashville. The seat was a GOP vote sink prior to 2010 and looks certain to stay in Republican hands. To boot, this seat looks likely to be one of the more boring open-seat primaries as well. State Sen. Mark Green (R) is already rumored to be ready to pull the trigger on a bid. Green, who was nominated for Army secretary but withdrew amid a barrage from left-wing groups, is an antiestablishment-leaning conservative and likely to be a very strong favorite for this seat. Green will still likely face some sort of challenge in the primary though from the more establishment side of the party. One possible name to watch is businessman Bill Lee (R), who is currently in middling position in a crowded 5-way gubernatorial primary and could be an establishment pick against Green. Author and veteran David French (R) also lives in the seat, but would probably be unlikely to run against Green. From the legislature, State Sens. Jack Johnson (R) and Joey Hensley (R) also live in the seat, along with about 9 GOP state Reps.

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