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Political Roundup for October 12th, 2017

Check back at 3p ET this afternoon for our preview of this weekend’s Louisiana Primaries.

President

Murphy: Alas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) will go on raising money off gun control and not run for President. Of course this early is like the beginning of a spy movie where you have to trust nobody because the premise sets up people going back on their word.

Senate

CA-Sen: Billionaire environmentalist financier Tom Steyer (D) is looking at a challenge of Sen. Diane Feinstein from the left. California’s top-two primary opens the door to these kind of intra-party challenges destined to take place among a general election electorate. Meanwhile, far-left Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) has declined to run for Senate against Dianne Feinstein, an institution in California politics, despite the urging of fellow Rep. Rho Khanna. State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D) also looks like a no at a campaign against Feinstein from the left. Feinstein has already racked up endorsements from a wide range of Democratic officials since announcing her reelection on Monday, including LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Sen. Kamala Harris.

AL-Sen: Roy Moore (R) previously said he drew no salary from his work with his charity “The Foundation for Moral Law;” however, he collected over $1 million from the organization over five years. Incredibly, when the organization couldn’t afford the salary they gave him a stake in a historic building they own. The organization also had two of his children on the payroll at one point. Moore faces former US Attorney Doug Jones (D) in this special election.

NJ-Sen: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) may yet squirm out of his dicey legal situation.

Governor

MI-Gov: State Sen. Pat Colbeck (R) has been stripped of all his committee assignments since launching a gubernatorial bid. Apparently the harsh move was in response to Colbeck appearing at a fundraiser in Senate Majority Leader Arian Meekhof’s district without notifying the rival politician. Seems like a minor faux pas compared to the severity of the response. Colbeck is running to the right in this race and will likely be overshadowed in the Republican primary by Attorney General Bill Schuette and the possible bid of Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley.

TN-Gov: After the House passed her budget bill, Rep. Diane Black (R) can take a victory lap and focus on her gubernatorial bid in this open seat. She is holding onto her committee chairmanship as budget negotiations continue with the Senate.

House

PA-13: Rep. Brendan Boyle (D) suddenly became many Republicans’ favorite congressman when he recently opined on the sport of soccer. “Run around for 90 minutes.
Flop when barely touched. Score 1 goal at most. Do I got it?,” Boyle tweeted, adding a winky face before he concluded the diatribe.

MN-8: Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL) is on the receiving end of a primary challenge from FBI counterterrorism analyst Leah Phifer. Phifer doesn’t sound overtly liberal on a lot of issues, but she is on one key issue in the 8th: the Polymet mining project. Nolan is liberal, but even he is not brazen enough to vote that far against his district. Phifer’s take on this issue could drive a nice wedge in the primary, and the race already has Green Skip Sandman returning for a repeat third party campaign to split those votes in the general. St Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber (R) is running on the Republican side in this swingy, Lean D seat. More from Aaron Brown.

NH-1: John DiStaso analyzes the newly open swing seat here, where real political junkies were starved of another Guinta v Shea-Porter matchup. Democrats interested in the seat include: former Somersworth mayor and former Strafford County attorney Lincoln Soldati and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D), and State Reps. Mark McKenzie (D) and Mindi Messmer (D).

NH-2: State Rep. Steve Negron (R) has picked up some legislative endorsements out of Nashua, which makes it sound like the outcome of his “exploring” this race is pretty likely.

State and Local

MI-Leg: Former State Rep. and felon Brian Banks (D)just resigned his seat last February over his latest charges, so naturally he is now…. running for a promotion to State Senate? Some politicians have some grand audacity.

TX-leg: A few updates.

  • HD-128: State Rep. Briscoe Cain received a boost to his reelection when Black Lives Matter shut down a speech of his at Texas Southern University, giving the conservative facing a Republican primary challenge from Baytown City Councilman Terry Sain a nice bogeyman to campaign against.
  • SD-13: State Sen. Borris Miles(D) survived an armed robbery last night.
  • HD-6: House leadership may have found a candidate to take on Freedom Caucus member Matt Schaefer in former State Rep. Ted Kamel of Tyler.

NH-Leg: Gov. Sununu (R) plans to nominate Speaker Shawn Jasper (R) to be the Commissioner of Agriculture, leaving a gaping hole for House leadership. Jasper would resign once confirmed for the post. Remember, Jasper has dueled a conservative insurgency since usurping his present post, so the move is sure to create a competitive race for a replacement.

Political Roundup for October 4, 2017

Last night, Randall Woodfin (D) ousted incumbent Birmingham Mayor William Bell (D) by a shocking 20-point spread, Albuquerque proceeded to a runoff between State Auditor Tim Keller (D) at 39% and councilman Dan Lewis (R) at 23%.  Missy McGee (R) held the purple MS-LD-102 by an impressive 2:1 margin, while CA-LD-51 heads to a runoff between Wendy Carillo (D) and Luis Lopez (D).

Senate:

AL-Sen: JMC Analytics has Roy Moore (R) leading Doug Jones (D) 48-40. Generic R beats Generic D by a surprisingly small 49-45 margin.

TN-Sen: Gov. Bill Haslam (R) re-iterated that he is considering a run for the open US Senate seat of Sen. Bob Corker (R). Should Haslam enter, he would likely be a favorite over all comers in the primary and general election. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) is thought to be ready to run, and would be the favorite in a Haslam-less race, but she may be delaying her decision until Haslam’s intentions are known.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Add another “B” list name to the Democratic mix for this race: Malloy admin official Sean Connolly (D) is stepping down and rumored to be considering a gubernatorial run. Connolly would join Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), fellow Malloy admin official Jonathan Harris (D), and prosecutor Chris Mattei (D) in the race. LG Nancy Wyman (D) is also thought to be exploring a run and would be the primary front-runner if she entered. Republicans have an even more crowded field.

IL-Gov: Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) somewhat surprisingly signed a controversial bill last week enabling public funding of abortion through Medicaid. As you might expect, socially conservative Republicans are up in arms and there is talk of a primary challenge to the Governor. State Rep. Peter Breen (R) delivered a particularly stinging critique, saying “I’ve had a front-row seat to a governor that is unable to adequately and competently administer Illinois government. He is now lying to us. And so at that point, I can’t support someone like that.” It’s widely believed that State Dictator House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) pushed the bill to put Rauner in an impossible position, with signing it giving him a primary headache and vetoing it being a major problem in the socially liberal state for the general. Should Rauner lose the primary, Republicans’ odds of holding this seat likely to near zero, and likely Dem nominee and Madigan sugar daddy businessman JB Pritzker (D) will likely be the favorite to take the seat. Rauner appears to be betting the general election optics of this move are worth the primary headache.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) will announce next week if she will run for Governor. The popular Collins would be a near-prohibitive favorite in a general election if she ran, but she may face difficulties getting through a GOP primary for her moderation. LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R), State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), and State Rep. Ken Fredette (R) are in the GOP primary already; over a half-dozen Dems and three credible Indies are also in the race.

NJ-Gov: Emerson has Goldman Sachs exec Phil Murphy (D) up 46-35 on LG Kim Guadagno (R), a smaller margin than most recent surveys. Monmouth has a pretty similar 51-37 lead for Murphy. New Jersey is a fairly inelastic state and Murphy is unlikely to have crossover appeal, so some tightening of this race from the gaudy 30-point Murphy leads of prior polls is probably in the cards.

RI-Gov: Moderate Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has her first primary challenger, Paul Roselli (D), head of a nonprofit local park group. Roselli has gained notoriety for his opposition to a proposed powerplant in his hometown, but seems like a “C” list opponent for Raimondo. Unpopular liberal ex-Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (D) is also considering a run against Raimondo in the primary. Three Republicans, 2014 nominee and Cranston Mayor Alan Fung (R), State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R), and ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R), are in the race.

SD-Gov: AG Marty Jackley (R) launched his expected gubernatorial campaign yesterday. Jackley joins Rep. Krsti Noem (R) in what is expected to be a hard-fought titanic primary collision. State Sen. Billie Sutton (D) is the likely Dem nominee.

TN-Gov: Sen. Bob Corker (R) says he “can’t imagine” running for Tennessee Governor, a statement that is not quite Shermanesque but pretty close to it. Republicans have a crowded primary field of Rep. Diane Black (R), State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), State Sen. Mae Beavers (R), and businessmen Randy Boyd (R) and Bill Lee (R); Corker, however, would likely be the front-runner if he were to enter.

House:

FL-18: Obama admin official Lauren Baer (D) is running against first-term Rep. Brian Mast (R). Baer would be the second person in a same-sex marriage in Congress if elected; this light-red Treasure Coast seat trended right last year while Mast picked it up for the GOP.

IL-15: State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R) is not running for re-election and is apparently in contention for Ambassador to Kenya. However, McCarter is keeping his options open to making a second bid against Rep. John Shimkus (R), whom he primaried from a fiscal conservative angle in 2016. McCarter took 40% against Shimkus last cycle in this deep-red rural downstate seat and would be a formidable candidate in a rematch.

ME-2: Heir Lucas St. Clair (D) is carpetbagging from Portland into this rural northern Maine seat to run against Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R). St. Clair is the son of Roxanne Quimby, a co-founder of Burt’s Bees cosmetics. Quimby is also notable for having donated a large estate to the federal government to create a national monument, an effort St. Clair spearheaded. St. Clair joins State Rep. Jared Golden (D) as a major candidate in the primary to take on Poliquin. As a side note, this rural northern Maine seat is exactly the kind of place where a trust fund baby carpetbagging in will play well, right?

MA-3: Cambridge councilman Nadeem Mazen (D) will carpetbag into this deep-blue Merrimack Valley based district to seek the open seat. Mazen, who grew up in the seat, would be the third Muslim member of Congress if elected. He joins a crowded primary of State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D), 2014 LG nominee Steve Kerrigan (D), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh CoS Daniel Koh (D), and businessman Abhijit Das (D).

NH-1: 2010 gubernatorial nominee John Stephen (R) will not take on Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in 2018. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and cop Eddie Edwards (R) appear to be the serious prospects in the race to take on Shea-Porter.

NH-2: Businessman David McConville (R), who heads a prominent local fiscal conservative group and served as campaign manager for a gubernatorial candidate last year, is considering a run against Rep. Annie Kuster (D). McConville, who intends to run as a hard-edged fiscal conservative, would face ex-State Rep. and 2016 candidate Jack Flanagan (R) for the right to take on the popular Kuster in this light-blue seat.

NJ-11: Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) will not run for Congress, and has endorsed prosecutor Mike Sherill (D). Sherill looks like the Democratic front-runner to take on Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) in this historically-Republican wealthy suburban seat that trended left last year.

NM-2: State Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R), who was looking like the front-runner for this seat, has abruptly aborted his bid. It’s unclear why Dunn decided to drop out or whether he will instead seek a second term as Lands Commissioner, though there are rumors that a feud with Gov. Susana Martinez (R) (or her svengali, Jay McCleskey) may have played a role. State Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) and ex-Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman (R) are in the race for this open medium-red southern NM seat; Newman is thought to have the backing of Martinez. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R) is also considering.

NY-1: State Rep. Fred Thiele (I), an Independence Party member who is a de facto Democrat, will not seek the D nomination to take on Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Thiele had been considered Dems’ choice recruit for this race. Suffolk county commissioner Kate Browning (D) looks like Dems’ new top prospect to take on the popular Zeldin in this light-red eastern Long Island seat.

NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) officially kicked off his comeback bid this weekend. Grimm’s prior tenure in Congress ended with his resignation on tax charges; now, he is attempting to oust his successor, Rep. Dan Donovan (R) from the right in the primary. Grimm’s criminal record and Donovan’s popularity will likely make that a tough order, though Grimm could still cause significant problems for Donovan by continuing to the general election in this light-red Staten Island based seat on the Conservative third-party line.

NY-23: Running store owner Ian Golden (D) is putting a new-spin on the time-honored “walk across the district” publicity stunt by launching a 450-mile (literal) run across this large Southern Tier seat. The move could help Golden gain name rec in the crowded field of little-known candidates vying to take on Rep. Tom Reed (R) in this medium-red seat.

PA-1: Testimony at the trial of former judge and 2012 Jimmie Moore (D) is pointing a very incriminating finger at Rep. Bob Brady (D). In case you haven’t been following the story, here’s a recap: Moore, who is black, started to run a potentially credible primary challenge in 2012 against Brady, the white boss of the Philly Dem machine, in this racially-mixed district. Moore then later inexplicably dropped his bid, and quickly thereafter received a $90K payment from Brady. The cover story was that the cash was payment for “polling data”, but Moore admitted the obvious in a plea agreement – that it was a thinly-disguised bribe to get him out of the race. Brady has not yet been charged, but it’s hard not to see some charges coming down the pipeline for him.

PA-11: State Sen. John Yudchiak (D) will not run for this conservative Harrisburg-to-Wilkes-Barre open seat, eschewing the uphill race to stay in the State Senate. Four Republicans, State Rep. Steven Bloom (R), Corbett admin official Dan Meuser (R), Berwick councilman Andrew Shecktor (R), and businessman Andrew Lewis (R), are in the race or considering.

PA-15: Appointed Allentown city solicitor Susan Wild (D) will run for this light-red open seat, possibly giving Democrats their first credible candidate here. Several other Dems, including Northampton DA John Morganelli (D), are considering; Republicans are set to have a bloody primary between State Reps. Justin Simmons (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R).

PA-16: Dentist Gary Wegman (D), who ran an abortive bid for this light-red Lancaster-area seat in 2016, will mount another bid this year for the seat of now-incumbent Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R). 2016 nominee and nonprofit Christina Hartman (D) is also in the primary for a second round.

PA-18: Now this is a bombshell. Texts have been released strongly implying Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who is publicly pro-life, asked his mistress to get an abortion and privately disavowed his own pro-life views. Murphy previously admitted the affair, but this is the first sense that there is more to the story. The abortion issue could be a big problem for Murphy in his socially conservative district; he joins Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) in the pro-life abortion promoters’ caucus. Importantly, unlike DesJarlais, whose transgressions occured several years before his first election to Congress, the texts here are from this summer, meaning Murphy is at least likely to get a serious primary challenger. Ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D) is running for the Dems in this race.

UT-4: Salt Lake CE Ben McAdams (D) is considering a challenge to Rep. Mia Love (R). Trump did horribly in this suburban seat, scoring below 40%, but Love still won against her touted opponent by a 12-point margin. That said, this is the only House seat in Utah Dems could be competitive in and McAdams would definitely be a top-tier candidate.

State & Local:

AZ-SoS: Attorney and Dem operative Mark Gordon (D) is running for SoS. Gordon, who has not run for office but seems well-connected, joins State Sen. Katie Hobbs (D) in the primary for this seat. Incumbent Michele Reagan (R) is widely considered highly vulnerable due to her mismanagement of the office and is facing a tough primary with State Sen. Steve Montenegro (R).

IL-AG: Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti (D), who has become a minor celebrity for his twitter commentary on the Russia investigation, is considering a run for AG. Mariotti would join State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and Chicago Police official Sharon Fairley (D) in this primary, with several other Dems considering. Former congressional candidate and Miss America Erika Harold (R) is the likely GOP nominee for this open seat.

Atlanta-Mayor: Survey USA for WXIA-TV has a poll of this year’s Atlanta Mayoral race, with moderate councilwoman Mary Norwood (D) taking a large lead at 28%. Fellow councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) has moved into second place with 15%, with councilman Ceasar Mitchell (D) at 10% and four other serious candidates in single digits. In the likely event no candidate tops 50% in the November jungle primary, the top two finishers will head on to a December runoff.

New Orleans-Mayor: Clarus for WWL-TV has this race (a week from Saturday) looking close to a 3-way tossup, with City councilwoman Latoya Cantrell (D) at 27% and retired judges Desiree Charbonnet (D) and Michael Bagneris (D) at 26% and 19% respectively. A different poll of the race had Bagneris on top. The top two finishers in the first round will advance to a mid-November runoff.

Louisville-Mayor: Councilwoman Angela Leet (R) will run for mayor next year, taking on incumbent Greg Fischer (D), who is seeking a third term. Leet seems likely to be a credible opponent for Fischer in the light-blue city.

Cook, IL-CE: County commissioner Richard Boykin (D) will not take on County Executive Toni Preckwinkle (D) in the primary. Preckwinkle, who was previously highly popular, is now thought to be at least somewhat vulnerable due to her support of a new soda tax (which Boykin opposed). However, a loss for Boykin would hurt his prospects at the job he really wants (the IL-7 congressional seat when Rep. Danny Davis (D) retires) so the decision makes sense for him. It’s possible that Preckwinkle will not get a serious primary challenger now, though there is still definitely room for one as the soda tax is deeply unpopular even among Dems.

Political Roundup for August 25, 2017

Senate:

TN-Sen: Former state Rep. Joe Carr (R) is considering running for US Senate, either as an open seat or challenging Sen. Bob Corker (R) in the Republican primary. Corker has not yet decided whether to seek re-election. Andrew Ogles, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee is said to be considering challenging Corker as well, and state Rep. Andy Holt (R) has expressed interest in running as well. Carr ran a respectable primary race against Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) in 2014, taking 41% and holding the senator to just under 50%. He was much less successful however in a 2016 primary challenge to Rep. Diane Black (R), losing by a 2-1 margin.

UT-Sen: Rep. Chris Stewart (R) says he would run for US Senate if Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) decides not to run. He made it clear however that he is supporting Hatch if the senator runs for an 8th term and would only run if Hatch decides not to run. Hatch said earlier this year that he plans to run again, but would not make a final decision until later this year.

House:

IN-4: Indiana Department of Workforce Development Steve Braun is resigning his position to run for Congress. He joins former Mike Pence staffer Diego Morales in the Republican primary. Rep. Todd Rokita (R) is running for Senate. Braun’s brother, state Rep. Mike Braun (R) is also running for Senate.

IN-6: State Sen. Mike Crider (R) officially entered the race yesterday to replace Rep. Luke Messer (R) who is running for US Senate. Greg Pence, brother of Vice President Mike Pence is considering a run as well. Also said to be planning a run is David Willkie, great-grandson of 1940 Republican presidential nominee Wendell Willkie and a former political director for former Sen. Richard Lugar (R).

KS-2: State Sen. Caryn Tyson (R) has announced a run for Congress. She joins fellow state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R), state Rep. Kevin Jones (R) and Basehor councilman Vernon Fields in the GOP primary. So far, former state House Minority Leader and unsuccessful 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis is the only Democrat in the race. All 3 legislators in the GOP primary are considered conservatives.

KS-4/KS-Gov: State Senate President Susan Wagle (R) will not run for Congress or governor next year. Wagle was considered the biggest threat of a primary challenger to Rep. Ron Estes (R) and said she does not know of anyone else contemplating a primary challenge to Estes. Wagle had also said earlier this summer she was thinking of running for governor as well.

ME-2: State Rep. Jared Golden (D) is in the race to face Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R). Golden is a marine veteran who served for a short time as an aide to Sen. Susan Collins (R) before winning two terms in a heavily Democratic state House district. Golden joins 4 other Democrats in the primary.

MA-3: State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D) will not run for Congress and will instead run for re-election. Eldridge lost to now Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) in the Democratic primary for a 2007 special election and was considered likely to run again after Tsongas announced her retirement earlier this month. Dan Koh (D), chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is the only person in the race so far.  State Sens. Eileen Donoghue (D), who like Eldridge lost in the Democratic primary to Tsongas in 2007 and Barbara L’Italien (D) are considering running, as is hospital consultant Ellen Murphy Meehan, ex-wife of former Rep. Martin Meehan (D), who held the seat before Tsongas. Businessman Rick Green, who considered a run against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) is said to be considering a run on the Republican side.

NJ-5: Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) announced yesterday he is running for Congress. Lonegan has run for various higher offices before, but has never been successful. Most recently, he took 44% as the Republican nominee against now Sen. Cory Booker (D) in the 2013 special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) and lost to now Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) in the 2014 Republican primary for NJ-3. Lonegan was a strong supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz for president last year and said nominating Donald Trump was “political suicide”, but is now saying he supports the president’s agenda. Lonegan is the first Republican to enter the race against freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D), but others, including Warren County Freeholder Jason Sarnoski are considering running.

Governor:

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) says she is still considering whether to run for governor next year, and will decide by the end of next month. A recent poll indicated that she may have trouble in a Republican primary however, with her losing to former Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Mayhew by double digits.

OR-Gov: Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R) has confirmed that he will not run for governor next year. Although he had not been raising money for a gubernatorial bid, there was still speculation that he might run, building on momentum gained from becoming the first Republican to win a statewide office last year since 2002. Richardson lost to then-Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) by 5 points as the Republican nominee in 2014. State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) is already running, and Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer is considering running in the Republican primary as well. Gov. Kate Brown (D) is expected to run again, although she has not formally entered the race.

RI-Gov: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) is running for governor again. Fung lost to Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) by 4 points as the Republican nominee in 2o14. Fung will likely have competition however-former state Rep. Joe Trillo (R), who served as honorary chairman of President Trump’s Rhode Island campaign last year is campaigning as well, although he hasn’t yet formally announced he is running. House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan is considering a run as well, although there are questions about whether she can raise the money to run an effective campaign.

TN-Gov: State Sen. Mae Beavers (R) is resigning her seat to run for governor full-time. Beavers has been lagging well behind in fundraising and would have been hampered by not being able to raise money during the legislative session. Beavers had been serving in the state Senate since 2002 after 4 terms in the state House. A special election will be held to fill her overwhelmingly Republican seat(TN-SD-17), that gave Trump 72% of the vote last year.

TX-Gov: Texas Democrats apparently want Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) to run for governor next year, but see the presidential aspirations of Castro’s twin brother, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro as getting in the way. A run by the congressman against Gov. Greg Abbott (R) would be a very uphill race, and the two Castros, who serve as political strategists for each other, are afraid a loss by him would make the two look like losers and hamper any chances for Julian Castro if he decides to enter the 2020 presidential race. Democrats in the state are eager to get the congressman in the race, because they see him as literally their only legitimate candidate in a long shot race.

Political Roundup for August 8th, 2017

Welcome to today’s tardy roundup!

Senate

NV-Sen: Perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian has announced a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Dean Heller. The concerning thing here is that a recent poll found Tarkanian would lead Heller in a head-to-head matchup, 38%-34% (yes, a ton of undecideds from a not very venerable pollster, so salt!). Not a good development for Republicans in arguably the most likely to flip seat this Senate cycle. Meanwhile, a McConnell-linked Super PAC is set to flood the zone for Heller.

AL-Sen: Like our own survey of the race, a JMC Analytics poll finds former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore leading appointed Sen. Luther Strange and Rep. Mo Brooks. However, in this poll Brooks is closer to the rest of the pack, with Moore on top with 30% and Strange and Brooks trailing with 22% and 19%, respectively.

CT-Sen: After Sen. Richard Blumenthal voiced support for investigating possible Russian collusion in the last presidential election, President Trump laid into the Connecticut Democrat via his preferred medium of Twitter. Trump is probably one of the worst possible messengers here, calling Blumenthal a “phony Vietnam con artist” despite his own questionable Vietnam War draft deferments. Maybe Blumenthal will get a nice fundraising bump from being attacked by Trump, although he doesn’t have a reelection until 2022.

Governor

MN-Gov: Former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R) is considering a run for Governor. Koch was seen as something of a rising star until her 2011 affair with a Republican operative, which resulted in her ouster from leadership. Since then Koch became a lobbyist, hosts a popular bipartisan podcast, and owned a bowling alley (random assortment, I know!). Anyway, Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R) is the leader of a pack of lesser-known candidates at the moment, although people are waiting on House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt’s decision as well.

WI-Gov: State Rep. Dana Wachs (D) is running against Gov. Scott Walker (R) for Governor. Wachs joins businessman Andy Gronik in the Democratic primary, although a number of other Democrats including State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and Wisconsin Schools Superintendent Tony Evers are also considering runs. Wachs apparently plans to partially self-fund the bid.

TN-Gov: State Rep. and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh is running for Governor or Tennessee, setting up a contested Democratic statewide primary. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) is already running. One major fissure might be school choice, where Fitzhugh is more aligned with traditional unions and Dean supported charter schools as mayor. A Republican is still highly likely to win here, with Rep. Diane Black, House Speaker Beth Harwell, and State Sen. Mae Beavers as the most prominent GOP candidates in the race.

House

UT-3: Once-relevant Sarah Palin has endorsed Tanner Ainge in the Utah special congressional election to fill former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ seat in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, the Club for Growth has chosen State Rep. Chris Herrod for the primary. The CfG has the ability to throw serious money in this race, unlike Palin nowadays.

TX-23: Rep. Will Hurd (R) got his first viable Democratic opponent last week, former Air Force intelligence officer and US Trade Representative staffer Gina Ortiz Jones. Former Rep. Pete Gallego (D) is still considering a run, but it is unclear if the field will clear for him in this anti-Trump political cycle and coming off a defeat at Hurd’s hands..

Political Roundup for August 3, 2017

Polling Update: Tonight is our final night of calling for our poll of the Republican special election primary for US Senate in Alabama. We are targeting to have the results of the poll ready to be published on Monday but there is a chance we could have it sooner so be sure to check in with us tomorrow! As a reminder our polls are unlike any other organization or news source since they are 100% funded by crowdsourced donations and put together by volunteer political junkies for political junkies. We still need your help to cover the cost of this effort! If you would like to help and to be a part of this poll please go to our donation page: https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and contribute to our poll fund today!

President:

Patrick: Barack Obama’s inner circle is urging former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to run for President in 2020. Since leaving the Governorship Patrick has been raking in the big bucks at Bain Capital.

Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been touring around the country and has hired Democratic pollster Joel Benenson to conduct research for the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative. Benenson is a former top adviser to President Barack Obama and the chief strategist to Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign. In January Zuckerberg hired David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama’s 2008 presidential run, as president of policy and advocacy for the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative. Ken Mehlman, who ran President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, also sits on the board.

Governor:

CO-Gov: Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (D) is exploring a run for governor. Lynne was appointed Lt Governor in May of 2016. When she was appointed to her post Lynne stated that she had no ambitions to replace term limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). Clearly someone with lots of ambition to be governor is not above lying about those ambitions to get the job she wants. Rep. Jared Polis, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy and businessman Noel Ginsburg are also running on the Democrat side.

NY-Gov: Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) is considering a primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) next year. Miner is termed out of her current office and will be without a job next year. Miner was once a close ally of Gov. Cuomo. Cuomo picked her to serve as co-chairman of the state Democratic party in 2012 but she left the post after a falling out with Cuomo over her criticism of his policies. Former one-term Hudson Valley state Sen. Terry Gipson (D) is also considering a primary challenge to Cuomo. On the GOP side, another Syracusian, State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R), is considering a run. DeFrancisco was kept out of the Majority Leader’s job through Cuomo’s intervention on behalf of his intraparty rival, State Sen. John Flanagan (R).

OK-Gov: Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R) is leading the money race in the quest to become the next governor of Oklahoma. Lamb has raised more than $2 million which is significantly more than any of the other 13 candidates currently running. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (R) reported raising $181,000 while former State Attorney General Drew Edmondson is the top fundraiser among the four Democrats in the race collecting $300,211 so far.

TN-Gov: Rep. Diane Black (R) will run for Governor. This will open R+26 TN-06. We had full coverage on this yesterday.

Senate:

AL-Sen: Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund super PAC is up with $435,000 in TV ads attacking Judge Roy Moore (R) for raking in over $1 million in salary from his own charity The Foundation for Moral Law. You can see the ad HERE. The Senate Leadership PAC which is supporting appointed incumbent Luther Strange (R) had been focusing their fire on Rep. Mo Brooks (R).

IN-Sen: State Rep. Mike Braun (R) is assembling a campaign team and will announce his Senate candidacy in the next week or so. Rep. Luke Messer (R) entered the race last week while Rep. Todd Rokita (R) and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill are also looking at running. Democrat incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly is viewed as one of the more vulnerable Democrats next year.

MA-Sen: In the all important hunt for Curt Schilling’s endorsement state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) seems to have won out over Fran Drescher’s ex-husband Shiva Ayyadurai (R). Not sure if any of this means anything in terms of beating Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) but as the last Republican to hold this seat would say, Bqhatevwr!

MI-Sen: Kid Rock’s ex-girlfriend Sheryl Crow has written a song about his potential senate run. The song entitled  “Dude I’m Still Alive” features catchy lyrics like  “At least the guy’s not 90 / In his 32nd term / but a pole in the Lincoln bedroom / is bound to make some people squirm.” No word yet if Sheryl plans to write a song about John James.

MO-Sen: Looks like the GOP will get its man! Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) will announce he will open an exploratory committee to run for Senate on Friday. Hawley is the GOP’s top recruit to take on vulnerable Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has wisely turned down the job of heading the Heritage Foundation. After the internal discord there that lead to Jim DeMint getting pushed out, Sasse was smart to say “No thanks”.

NJ-Sen: Just a friendly reminder we are less than five weeks away from the start of Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial.

House:

IA-3: Former US Treasury Department economist Austin Frerick (D) has become the 7th Democrat to enter race vs Rep. David Young (R). If no candidate gets more than 35% of the vote in the primary the results are thrown out and a convention will pick the Democrat nominee. This is how David Young won the GOP nomination in his first run for office.

MD-6: State Sen. Roger Manno (D) and businessman David Trone (D) have entered the race for Democrat Rep. John Delaney’s now open seat. Manno is the Maryland Senate majority whip and Trone spend more than $13 million of his own money on his campaign for the 8th Congressional District last year. They joins Maryland House Majority Leader C. William “Bill” Frick (D) and Del. Aruna Miller (D) in the race for the Democrat nomination.

NY-11: Army veteran some dude Max Rose is the fifth Democrat to announce a challenge to Rep. Daniel Donovan (R). He joins some dude former cop Mike Decillis, some dude bond trader Zach Emig, some dude retired boxer Boyd Melson and some dude Michael DeVito Jr. in seeking the Democrat nomination. Unlike most of the other Democrat challengers Rose has actually lives in Staten Island (albeit only for the last 2 years). As is the way in New York politics the local party bosses will probably sort this out and narrow the field as to who will earn the right to lose to Dan Donovan.

NY-21: Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, who ran for Congress in 2014 and 2016, announced he will not run again in 2018. Funiciello received 11% of the vote in 2014 and 4.4% in 2016 in elections that Republican Elise Stefanik easily won with 55.2% of the vote and 63%.

PA-1: Millennial Nonprofit Executive Omar Woodard (D) might primary Democrat party boss Rep. Bob Brady. Woodward is black and Brady is white. PA-1 is minority-majority with Whites making up 40% of the district, Blacks 35% and Hispanics 16%. Brady is currently under federal investigation for allegedly bribing a potential primary opponent $90,000 not to run. No word yet on how much cash Brady is offering Woodward to forgo his campaign.

PA-4: Rev. George Scott (D) has launched a campaign for the Democrat nomination to challenge Rep. Scott Perry (R) in this R+11 district.

TX-23: Former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones (D) has launched a run vs Rep. Will Hurd (R) in what is probably the only truly competitive congressional district under the current lines in Texas (there is an outstanding federal court challenge to Texas congressional lines). Although Jones is the first major Democrat to announce former Obama official Judy Canales, former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings, and former Rep. Pete Gallego are considering running as well.

VA-10: Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) primary opponent perennial candidate Shak Hill has been posting articles about penis enlargement and proper techniques for prostate milking on his website throughout the summer. While we are not sure that this will be a successful campaign strategy it is good to remember that it will be 2018 so who the heck knows anymore.

State, Local & Other:

AK-LG: State Sen. Gary Stevens (R) is the first candidate running in the shotgun-wedding primary for Lt. Governor. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) is as of yet the only significant declared gubernatorial candidate for Republicans.

AR-SoS: 2014 nominee Susan Inman (D) is running again for the open seat. She lost to term limited incumbent Mark Martin by 25 points in 2014 and lost a bid for Arkansas HD-32 in 2016 by 13 points.

CO-Treas: State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) is the fourth Republican to announce a run for Treasurer. He joins fellow state lawmakers Justin Everett and Polly Lawrence and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn into the GOP primary. Current state Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) is term-limited and is expected to jump into the Colorado governor’s race. The only Democrat to announce a run so far is state Rep. Steve Lesbock.

Mobile, AL- Mayor: Incumbent Mayor Sandy Stimpson (R) leads ex-Mayor Sam Jones (D) 53-43; Stimpson’s lead comes from getting close to a quarter of the black vote in the roughly half-black, half-white city. The election is August 22nd.

Birmingham, AL-Mayor: Incumbent Mayor William Bell (D) is on pace to win outright with 54% in the latest poll. Former Auburn football player Chris Woods (D) is a distant 2nd at almost 17%. Assistant city attorney and Birmingham Board of Education member Randall Woodfin (D) is close behind in 3rd at 14%, with no other candidates above 10% in voter support.

NYC-Mayor: Mayor Bill deBlasio has asked for $2.9 million in taxpayer money to fund his primary campaign against two little known Democrat opponents who have raised barely $124,000 in campaign cash. This is clearly a much better use of government money than fixing the damn subways.

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 27, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: We have our first poll of the race, from Cygnal. It has appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) leading the pack, but only with 33%, with ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) advancing to a runoff with him at 26% and Rep. Mo Brooks (R) with 16%. DONATE so we can bring you our poll of the race next week!

DE-Sen: Sen. Tom Carper (D) announced he will run for re-election to a fourth term. Carper had been high on retirement watchlists and sounded fairly ambivalent about running again, but should he follow through on seeking another term it seems unlikely that he would face significant opposition.

IN-Sen: Rep. Luke Messer (R) announced his intent to enter the Senate race for the right to take on Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) yesterday. Click to read our full coverage on the race and Great Mentioner for his open IN-6 seat.

NV-Sen: An internal poll from Anzalone (D) for Rep. Dina Titus (D) shows Sen. Dean Heller (R) leading her 47-45.

WI-Sen: Consultant and veteran Kevin Nicholson (R) has become the first credible candidate into the race against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). Nicholson has an interesting profile as a former president of the national College Democrats organization; Nicholson says his views evolved over the last decade.

Governor:

CO-Gov: Kent Thiry (R), CEO of a dialysis company, will not run for Colorado Governor. A trio of Republicans are in the race: Arapahoe DA George Brauchler (R) and a pair of self-funding businessmen, ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R) and Romney relative Doug Robinson (R). Several others, most notably State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R), are considering. Rep. Jared Polis (D) is considered the front-runner on the Dem side, though others are in the race.

KS-Gov: Unpopular Gov. Sam Brownback (R) was announced yesterday as “ambassador-at-large for religious freedom”, meaning that LG Jeff Colyer (R) will ascend to the Governorship. Click to read our full coverage of the decision and analysis of its implications.

MD-Gov: Krishanti Vignarajah (D), a former policy director for Michelle Obama (aside: remind me again why a first lady would need a policy director?) is the latest Democrat to announce she is considering a run against Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Five Democrats are in the race, ex-NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous (D), Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D), businessman and Hillary staffer Alec Ross (D), and attorney Jim Shea (D). Several others are considering.

MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D) has self-funded $3.3M, a figure that will make him an instant factor in this race. Ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who had been considered the front-runner for the Dem nod, has raised less than half that at $1.5M. A third Dem, Detroit city official Abul El-Sayed (D), has also raised over $1M.

OK-Gov: Two more Republican candidates have entered the race for Governor of Oklahoma. Ex-State Rep. and minister Dan Fisher (R) and mortgage company CEO Kevin Stitt (R) have entered the race this week. They join a crowded field of LG Todd Lamb (R), State Auditor Gary Jones (R), OKC Mayor Mick Cornett (R), and 2002 Indie candidate Gary Richardson (R). Ex-AG and 2010 candidate Drew Edmondson (D) and State Rep. Scott Inman (D) are in the race on the Dem side.

SC-Gov: LG Kevin Bryant (R) will announce his campaign for Governor on Friday, becoming the third candidate to take on Gov. Henry McMaster (R) in the primary. Bryant will also face Gov. Haley admin official Catherine Templeton (R) and ex-LG Yancey McGill (R).

TN-Gov: Businessman Randy Boyd (R) scored an important endorsement from Shelby CE Mark Lutrell (R) yesterday. The endorsement could give Boyd a boost in West Tennessee, which currently has no Republican candidates for Governor. In addition to Boyd, State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), State Sen. Mae Beavers (R), and businessman Bill Lee (R) are in the race, with several others considering.

House:

FL-27: Mary Barzee-Flores (D), a retired local judge who was unsuccessfully nominated for the federal bench under Obama, will run for this open Miami-based seat. Barzee-Flores joins front-running State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D), State Rep. David Richardson (D), Miami Beach councilwoman Kristen Rosen-Gonzales (D), and others in the Dem primary. School board member Raquel Regalado (R) and Dade County commissioner Bruno Barreiro (R) are in the race on the GOP side.

IL-13: State Rep. Carol Ammons (D) will not run for Congress against Rep. Rodney Davis (R). Ammons would have been the highest-profile Dem in the race, but her liberal legislative record would have likely been a tough sell in this light-to-medium red district. Former Sen. Dick Durbin staffer Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan (D) seems likely to be the Dem establishment pick here.

NM-1: Ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Janice Arnold-Jones (R) is running again for this Albuquerque-area seat. Arnold-Jones’s prior run in 2012 was widely regarded as weak, but it doesn’t seem like many other credible Republicans are chomping at the bit to run for this medium-blue seat; immigration lawyer Michael Hendricks (R) is also in the race. Incumbent Michele Lujan-Grisham (D) is running for Governor; Ex-US Attorney Damon Martinez (D), NMDP chair and 2014 LG nominee Deb Haaland (D), and Albuquerque councilman Pat Davis (D) seem the major candidates on the D side.

PA-1: Say it isn’t so! A staffer for Rep. and Philly Dem boss (and RRH favorite) Bob Brady (D) has pled guilty to funneling $90K to Brady’s 2012 primary challenger, retired judge Jimmie Moore (D), to get Moore to drop out of the race. The obvious implication is that Brady himself is likely to be in the FBI’s crosshairs in the very near future. Should Brady be taken down, it would leave a massive vacuum atop Philly’s powerful Dem machine.

State Offices:

CT-Comp: State Rep. Sean Scanlon (D) is considering a run for Comptroller, joining State Sen. Terry Gerratana (D) in exploring the race. Incumbent Kevin Lembo (D) is considering a run for Governor. Businessman and 2014 CT-5 nominee Mark Greenberg (R) is in the race on the GOP side.

IA-SoS: 2-time House candidate and veteran Jim Mowrer (D) is considering a run for SoS. Mowrer joins a pair of other Dems, business owner Deidre DeJear (D) and Johnson County auditor Travis Weipert (D), in considering this race. The Dem nominee will face incumbent Paul Pate (R) in the general.

MA-AG: Cape Cod attorney Jay McMahon (R) will run for AG. Incumbent Maura Healey (D) is expected to seek re-election, and McMahon seems unlikely to give her much trouble.

NV-SoS: Reno councilman Oscar Delgado (D) is considering a run for SoS next year, and is apparently the Dem establishment’s first choice for the seat. Delgado would likely face incumbent Barbara Cegavske (R).

NM-Lands Comm: Public Service Commissioner and Ex-Lands Commissioner Pat Lyons (R) will run again for the job he held from 2002 to 2010. Lyons could face another former Lands Commissioner, Ray Powell (D), though another Democrat, nonprofit exec Garret VeneKlasen (D), is also running. Incumbent Aubrey Dunn (R) is running for NM-2.

OK-LG: A pair of Republicans threw their hats into the ring for the LG seat. State Sen. Eddie Fields (R) announced a run on Tuesday while Public Service Commissioner Dana Murphy (R) announced a run yesterday. Fields and Murphy could easily become the major candidates in this race.

KY-SD-7: State Sen. Julian Carroll (D), a former 70s-era Governor, is refusing calls to resign from his Frankford-area State Senate seat amid allegations he groped and propositioned a man in 2005. The entire Senate Dem caucus has asked Carroll to resign.

Local Offices:

San Bernardino-Mayor: We now have three Republicans running for mayor of heavily Democratic San Bernardino, as school board member and aerospace exec Mike Gallo (R) has entered the race. Gallo, who also served on a state board, joins incumbent Carey Davis (R) and councilman John Valdiva (R) in the race. No serious Dems are in the race as of yet.

TN-Knox-CE: Knox County commissioner Brad Anders (R) will run for County Exec, joining fellow commissioner Bob Thomas (R) and businessman and former professional wrestler Glenn “Kane” Jacobs (R) in this primary.

WATN: Jefferson Parish, LA Sheriff Newell Normand (R) is resigning at the end of August to host a radio talk show. Normand had often been mentioned as a candidate for higher office but never pulled the trigger.

Political Roundup for July 17th, 2017

President

Harris: Ambition apparently knows no bounds for America’s favorite multiracial progressive/nullification proponent, Sen. Kamala Harris (D). The very freshman Senator was seen at a meeting in the Hamptons with big-name Democratic donors. The speculation is that she’s thinking about running for President in 2020. But wait, progressives! Don’t let your hearts be too aflutter, because she was meeting with those nefarious Clinton Donors. The corrupting influence of Corporatist Money knows no bounds!

Congress

CA-Sen: Speaking with J-Cats on the New York mogul’s radio show, Olympic gold medalist and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner (R) says that he/she is considering running for the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is on retirement watch, so there could be an open seat. Other than that, I’m just kind of speechless on this one.

IN-Sen: I actually feel a bit bad for Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) on this one. Donnelly is selling $50,000 worth of stock in his brother’s arts and crafts company because the ink for the inkpads is made in Mexico. Big Whoop. I know that Indiana has been hard-hit by outsourcing, and this can’t be popular there, but it wouldn’t sink him either. I probably shouldn’t feel too bad for him, though, because with $15,000 in dividends produced on that equity last year, it shouldn’t be hard to sell for an increased price. This will likely come up at some point in his 2018 race, but he’s probably neutralized early.

MO-Sen: The Club for Growth commissioned a poll of a McCaskill-Hawley matchup, and their polling firm found a 46-42 Hawley lead. It should be noted that this is less of a lead for Hawley than he had in a previous poll, but that the 12% who are undecided are mostly right-leaning voters.

PA-Sen: It’s Reporting Season once again, so we’re getting a flurry of fundraising numbers. One of them that caught my eye was that rich guy Jeff Bartos (R) raised over $1 million this quarter in his bid to oust Sen. Bob Casey (D). Barton faces a very uphill climb, and several other Republicans are thinking about entering the race, but it’s not a bad start.

TX-Sen: In a slight surprise, progressive darling Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) has outraised his opponent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in this year’s second quarter. O’Rourke raised $2.1 million to Cruz’s $1.6 million. However, Cruz quickly sent out an email pointing out that he has $5.7 million in COH. O’Rourke got over $1 million in online donations, largely from small donors. It shouldn’t matter much, though, as long as Cruz doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel. This is Texas, after all.

WV-Sen: The Republican primary to take on Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is already getting nasty. AG Patrick Morrisey (R) is challenging Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) to a series of debates and is questioning the former Democrat’s conservative credentials. Meanwhile, Jenkins is calling Morrisey a former DC lobbyist a ‘profiteer.’ This one will likely get even uglier, folks, so strap in.

PA-06: The NRCC has written a blog post attacking Rep. Ryan Costello’s (R) opponent, Chrissy Houlahan (D). Whoop-di-doo, right? Right, accept that it may reveal a key Republican tactic for 2018. The blog post notes that many Democrats are currently taking stances in favor of single-payer (read: government-run) healthcare and challenges Houlihan to reveal her stance on the issue. It’s a great little bit of ratfucking, because if she comes out against it, she might hurt herself in the Democratic primary, but a stance in favor would almost certainly hurt her in the swingy and affluent Main Line suburbs that comprise the heart of the district. If she’s smart, she’ll attempt to avoid taking a stance on the issue, but who knows? Maybe she or some other Democrat will take the bait.

Governor

TN-Gov: State House Speaker Beth Harrell (R) has officially announced her candidacy for Governor. She joins rich guys Bill Lee and Randy Boyd and state Sen. Mae Beavers in the Republican primary. Rep. Diane Black (R) is also said to be mulling a run of her own. What’s amazing isn’t how many Republicans are running, but that all of them are from Middle Tennessee (as is the only announced Democrat, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean). There’s a real opening for an East Tennessee Republican, especially since they could easily play a regional dogwhistle game. West Tennessee often feels as if Nashville purposefully neglects it. If someone from East Tennessee could connect with that sentiment, they’d unite two Grand Divisions and be pretty much unstoppable.

TX-Gov: It’s not like anyone was in suspense about it, but Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced his campaign for a second term over the weekend. Somewhat interestingly, he currently has no declared opponents.

WV-Gov: Yes, I’m linking to Hoppy Kercheval twice in one roundup. He’s great. Read his stuff. Anyway, Gov. Jim Justice (D) seems to be having a liquidity problem. Though valued at approximately $1.6 billion, the newly-minted governor owes over $15 million in back taxes in six states through various companies. A lot of the debts are related to coal severance. It’s causing him a few minor headaches now, but he’s still likely to have this problem come his reelection bid in 2020 unless he settles these debts soon.

State/Local

NV-Voting: The Silver State has passed a new bill that expands voting rights for felons. It’s somewhat complicated, but basically it makes eligible for voting restoration about a quarter of the felons released each year. They were not previously eligible due to reasons that were problems, such as unpaid bills or probation violations, but not in and of themselves enough to cause revocation of parole.

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