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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 23, 2017

Over the weekend, the populist ANO party won a large plurality in the Czech Republic, while Japanese PM Shinzo Abe of the LDP kept his large majority. Now today’s news:

Poll Quick-Hits

AL-Sen: Moore (R) 51 Jones (D) 40 (Strategy Research)
UT-3: Curtis (R) 46 Allen (D) 19 Bennett (I) 9 (Dan Jones)
UT-4: Love (R) 48 McAdams (D) 42 (Dan Jones)
Boston-Mayor: Walsh (D) 58 Jackson (D) 19 (WGBH)

Governor:

CA-Gov, CA-Supt: Gubernatorial front-runner LG Gavin Newsom (D) has picked up the endorsement of the powerful California Teachers’ Union. The move was expected as Newsom’s most prominent rival, ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), has been close to education-reform interests. The teachers’ union also unsurprisingly endorsed State Rep. Tony Thurmond (D) for Superintendent over charter school executive and 2014 candidate Marshall Tuck (D). Across the aisle, State Rep. Chad Mayes (R) is considering a run for Governor. Mayes was the Assembly minority leader until being forced out earlier this year over an affair and his vote for a cap-and-trade bill. If he runs for Governor, Mayes would stake out a niche to the left of the Republicans in the race, gadflyish (but wealthy) businessman John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R); however, a third Republican in the field could enhance the chances of a D-on-D general. Just from the undertones here, I think that may be Mayes’s intention as there seems to be some bitterness over his ouster.

ME-Gov: State Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R) is the latest candidate into this absurdly crowded race. Thibodeau, who has generally been a moderate in office, joins fellow State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), State Rep. Ken Fredette (R), and LePage Admin official Mary Mayhew (R) in the GOP primary; Democrats have an even more crowded field and three Indies are also running.

NY-Gov: Dutchess CE Marc Molinaro (R) has become the first candidate to take a concrete step towards challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), as he has opened up a campaign committee. Molinaro, who is in his second term leading the purple midsized Hudson Valley county, is apparently in discussions for a unity ticket with another Republican considering the race, State Rep. Brian Kolb (R). Several other Republicans, including Westchester CE and 2014 nominee Rob Astorino (R), State Sens. John Flanagan (R) and John DeFrancisco (R), ex-Rep. Richard Hanna (R), 2010 nominee Carl Paladino (R), and 2010 comptroller nominee Harry Wilson (R) are in various stages of exploring the race.

OH-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D) looks set to run for Governor. O’Neill will be having an announcement this weekend on his plans, and speculation is he will become the fifth candidate into this primary. O’Neill, the only statewide-elected Democrat in state government, would join Ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D) in the race.

RI-Gov, RI-LG: LG Dan McKee (D) will announce “plans for his political future” in two weeks. McKee, a moderate, is facing a primary to his left from State Rep. Aaron Regunberg (D), and there is increasing speculation that he may decide to take on fellow moderate Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) in the gubernatorial primary. So far no notable Democrats have stepped up to take on Raimondo, though several, including ex-Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (D), are considering.

VA-Gov, VA-LG: In an incident that might give new meaning  to the term “whitewashing”, the campaign of LG Ralph Northam (D) is being criticized for printing flyers that delete African-American LG nominee Justin Fairfax (D) from the statewide Dem ticket while promoting white running-mates Northam and AG Mark Herring (D). Northam’s campaign says the deletion was due to a union opposing Fairfax for his opposition to a pipeline project.

Congress:

TN-Sen: Ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) entered the Senate race over the weekend, potentially setting up a competitive primary with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R). Fincher will likely take a more moderate tack relative to Blackburn in the primary, calling himself “results oriented” and seeking to carry on the moderate mantle of retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R). A third candidate, physician Rolando Toyos (R), who operates eye clinics in both Memphis and suburban Nashville, is also considering a Senate run. Toyos ran unsuccessfully for a Shelby County commission seat in 2010, but may be able to self-fund this race. He would still be a long-shot in the primary against Blackburn and Fincher.

NH-2: State Rep. Steve Negron (R) has become the latest Republican into the primary to take on Rep. Annie Kuster (D). Negron, a first-term legislator, joins ex-State Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) and physician Stuart Levinson (R) in the primary for this light-blue seat covering the western part of the state.

PA-18: Two more candidates have entered the special election race. For the GOP, State Rep. Jason Ortitay (R) has entered. Ortitay, considered a rising star, is the only Republican candidate from the Washington County portion of the district. He joins a trio of other legislators, State Sens. Kim Ward (R) and Guy Reschenthaler (R) and State Rep. Rick Saccone (R). On the Dem side, prosecutor Connor Lamb (D) has entered the race, joining Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli (D), ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D), and Bush 43 admin official Pam Iovino (D) in the race.

TX-20: Ex-Rep. Quico Canseco (R), who represented TX-23 for one term from 2010 to 2012, is mounting a comeback bid; however, he will not take on now-Rep. Will Hurd (R) in the swingy 23rd. Instead, Canseco will take on Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) in the medium-blue 20th covering the western half of urban San Antonio. Republicans have not seriously contested this district in memory, but the seat is not incredibly Democratic; it includes a large chunk of purple suburban territory in the northwest part of the city. That said, Castro is a big name and Canseco’s candidate skills from his prior races might be generously described as mediocre. Combined with the lean of the seat and the environment, it seems unlikely this race will be very competitive.

State Offices:

AL-Ag Comm: State Sen. Gerald Dial (R) is running for the open Agriculture Commissioner seat, joining two little-known candidates in the GOP primary. Incumbent John McMillan (R) is running for Governor.

DE-AG: Tim Mullaney (D), a former US Marshall who served as CoS for the AG’s office under Beau Biden (D) before his death, will now run for the open seat. Biden’s successor, Matt Denn (D), is not seeking a second term; Mullaney is the first candidate to declare interest in the race.

LA-Treas: The state ethics board is considering whether to waive a fine against Derrick Edwards (D) for not filing campaign finance reports on time. Edwards, who is quadriplegic, says problems with finding the proper speech-to-text software were responsible for his late filing. Edwards is not running a serious campaign and considered all but certain to lose next month’s runoff to ex-State Rep. John Schroeder (R).

MI-SoS: As expected, 2010 nominee and law professor Jocelyn Benson (D) will make another run for Secretary of State. Benson is not expected to face significant opposition for the Democratic convention endorsement. Republicans have a fairly crowded field for this race with no obvious front-runner.

NM-LG: Dona Ana County commissioner Billy Garrett (D) will run for LG in the shotgun-wedding primary, becoming the latest entry into a crowded field. State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) and ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) look like the front-runners in this primary.

Local Races:

St. Petersburg-Mayor: In shades of Bridgegate, Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) is under fire from African-American entrepreneur Elihu Brayboy. Brayboy says that after he publicly endorsed ex-Mayor Rick Baker’s (R) comeback bid against Kriseman, the city began stonewalling the approval process on a development project Brayboy is pursuing. The hotly-contested runoff between Kriseman and Baker is in two weeks, and Baker has been counting in part on his exceptional crossover appeal in the black community to prevail.

Durham-Mayor: Retiring incumbent Bill Bell (D) has endorsed ex-councilman Farad Ali (D) in the November runoff for his seat. Ali, who is like Bell a business-friendly black moderate liberal, trailed white moonbat Steve Schewel (D) by a larger-than-expected 51-29 margin in the primary two weeks ago.

Fontana, CA-Mayor: Councilman Jesse Sandoval (D) will run for mayor next year, and he has picked up some key establishment endorsements. Sandoval looks likely to face incumbent Acquanetta Warren (R) for the top job in this deep-blue, Hispanic majority Inland Empire city of 200K.

Baltimore, MD-CE: State Sen. Jim Brochin (D) is running for county executive. Brochin, a moderate who is not on great terms with the area’s Dem establishment, will face ex-State Rep. John Olszewski (D) and county commissioner Vicki Almond (D) in the primary for the top job in this medium-blue county covering most of Baltimore’s suburbs. Brochin’s decision also opens up his somewhat swingy Towson area State Senate seat, which will likely be a GOP target. Republicans have a primary between Hogan admin official Al Redmer (R) and antiestablishment-friendly State Rep. Pat McDonough (R).

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 17, 2017

First, there is a single legislative special today. MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk is a D+5 (2016) seat stretching from Seekonk in suburban Providence to Medfield in Boston’s southwest suburbs. Foxborough councilman and Sanders campaign staffer Paul Feeney (D) is facing off with legislative staffer Jacob Ventura (R) and retired investigative reporter Joe Shortsleeve (I), a former DINO who has high name recognition. Due to the lean of the seat and the energized D base, Feeney looks like a moderate favorite, but with three credible candidates this race could theoretically go any way.

Now, onto the news!

National:

Tax-returns: Governor Jerry Brown (Sane D-CA) has vetoed a bit of legislation that would force Presidential candidates to submit their tax returns to the public to appear on the ballot in the state. Brown rightly pointed out that this could easily set precedence for states requiring far more revealing things to be made public, and that individual states should not be able to regulate federal elections in this way. Expect the next CA Governor to not be as reasonable when it comes to finding petty ways to snipe at Trump.

Trump-Approval: An Emerson poll has Trump doing . . . pretty well for Trump, sitting at a 44/50 approval rating. They also polled 2020 match-ups, and found Biden ahead of Trump by around 10 points, but Warren effectively tied with him.

2020: Tulsi Gabbard has been spotted making the rounds in Iowa. At a recent Iowa Democrats campaign event, both Gabbard and Rep. John Delaney (who has already announced a run) talked in vaguely positive platitudes about coming together as a country, in what is probably a dry run for a possible 2020 campaign message. Honestly, both are probably far too centrist to actually win a national D primary these days, but Gabbard has such an astoundingly odd political profile that I kind of want her to run regardless, just to see what happens.

Congress:

AR-Sen: There are rumors flying that Senator Tom Cotton (R) might be tapped as the next director of the CIA. This is a curious prospect, as Cotton is widely expected to have his sights set firmly on the presidency, and a job in the Trump Administration seems like a less useful stepping stone towards that than just staying on as a 2+ term Senator in uber-safe Arkansas. We’ll have to see, though with some of the other stories coming out today the NRSC might not want to defend even more unexpectedly open seats in 2018.

CA-36: The GOP has another candidate running for the chance to take on 3-term Democrat Raul Ruiz in this Eastern-Riverside-County seat. Republican Dan Ball, a local news anchor, announced his run yesterday. He joins Actress Kimberlain Brown in the race for the second slot to Ruiz in California’s top-2 system, but Ruiz has beaten tougher opponents than both of them in worse years than 2018 is shaping out to be, so he’s probably still secure.

FL-27: Well this is . . . unexpected. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera (R), one of the GOP candidates running to succeed retiring Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) in this Cuban seat covering most of Miami, has stated that she believes she was abducted by aliens when she was 7. Needless to say, this does not bode well for her chances in what is easily the Democrat’s best 2018 flip target, even assuming she makes it out of the Cuban Machine primary.

MI-9: Sandy Levin (D) is still apparently undecided on whether or not he wants to run for re-election to his Suburban Detroit seat. While Levin is probably safe if he runs again in this rapidly diversifying seat covering Upscale-Yuppie Liberals in Southeastern Oakland County and Union Dems in Southern Macomb County, the GOP could realistically make a play for an open seat that moved quite a bit towards Trump last year.

MI-11: Kerry Bentivolio, a man who is either the most or second-most accidental Congressman ever depending on where you put Joseph Cao on the list, is running for this seat again as a Republican. Bentivolio has been a perennial candidate even before accidentally being the only guy left on the ticket in 2012 after the McCotter fiasco, and is probably not going to be a serious threat to win this seat again as several other Republicans are running and more may get in the race. Rep. David Trott (R) is retiring.

MS-Sen: Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), no stranger to health scares, will apparently be unable to make back to Washington due to health concerns. This robs the Senate GOP of a crucial vote needed to pass their tax reform plan (not to mention the chair of the Senate Appropriations committee), and also raises the increasingly likely possibility that Cochran will be unable to serve out the remainder of his term, opening up another GOP seat that the party will have to play defense in. Expect Cochran’s 2014 primary opponent Chris McDaniels—who is already making noise about primarying Mississippi’s other Republican Senator—to jump at the easier chance to make it into the Senate after losing a nail bitter back in 2014.

NJ-Sen: Despite a brief indication to the contrary, all of the corruption and bribery charges against Senator Menendez (D-NJ) are going to trial. Given that its more or less an open secret that he is guilty, this means that it is possible that Lame-duck GOP Governor Chris Christie will get to appoint his successor, if only for a few months. Given that Christie is in full-on IDGAF mode after being spurned by Trump, no one has any idea who he would appoint or why.

TN-Sen: Former Governor Phil Bredesen (D), last seen winning a landslide re-election in normally blood-red Tennessee in 2006, is considering running for the now-open Senate seat. Bresden is pretty much the only Democrat who could make a race in what is arguably the most reliably Republican state East of the Mississippi, but is probably going to suffer the same fate that Bill Weld did in Massachusetts when he tried to transform “Popular Moderate opposite-party Governor” into a Senate career—Federal Politics give individuals much less room to maneuver personally than state-level ones. Given that Tennessee has only gotten redder since Bresden retired in 2010, this race is probably Likely R at worst for the GOP, even if he does run.

Other:

Calgary-Mayor: Incumbent Naheed Nenshi, who made waves in 2010 as the first Muslim to win mayorship of a major Western city, has won re-election narrowly over former Progressive-Conservative party leader Bill Smith. Nenshi is famous for coming out of nowhere with his oddly post-partisan and social-media-based “Purple Campaign” in 2010, and has governed as an eccentric centrist since then. He coasted to re-election with 73% of the vote in 2013 (the mayoral terms were extended from 3 years to 4 during his tenure), but faced a stiff challenge this year from Smith, who was benefiting from a change-focused campaign in a city hit hard by falling oil prices. If you ever wanted to know what a Muslim, Centrist Obama would look like, Nenshi is probably your guy.

Immigration: The Census Bureau has released updated and detailed numbers about America’s Immigrants. We’re well on our way to passing the previous-high of 14.7% of Americans having been born in a foreign country, and are expected to hit that number sometime in the early 2020s. Of note is that America’s Immigrants are diversifying rapidly, with immigration from Mexico slowing, but being more than made up for by surges from medium and smaller-sized countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Burma, Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya. We’ve gotten almost an entire Congressional district’s worth of new Immigration from China and India each since 2010, and we’re on track to have gotten one from non-Mexican Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020 as well.

Quebec: Quebec’s government has revived an effort to require women’s faces to be uncovered to use public services, such as riding a bus. The move is stated to be a part of Quebec PM’s Couillard’s effort to enforce the “neutrality of the state” in religious affairs, but is being widely panned as a naked pandering to Quebecois’ anti-Muslim tendencies.

Political Roundup for October 13, 2017

Senate:

MT-Sen: In an unusual twist, a husband and wife have both joined the race for US Senate, with each running in separate primaries. James Dean, a financial advisor is running in the Republican primary, while Sarah Dean, a fashion designer is running in the Democratic primary. Neither has ever run for political office before. Sarah Dean is the first Democrat to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the primary, while James Dean joins state Sen. Al Olszewski (R), State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) and businessmen Troy Downing and Ron Murray in the Republican primary. Yellowstone County district judge Russell Fagg, who retires from the bench today, is also considering running in the Republican primary.

TN-Sen: Ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) is seriously considering joining the GOP primary for Senate. Fincher, who retired last year after serving 3 terms in the House, recognizes the uphill battle he would seem to have against Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), but he says he’s used to a challenge. One point in his favor is that he has $2.3 million leftover in his campaign account from his runs for Congress that he could use for a Senate run. He says he plans to make a decision soon, but didn’t give a specific date.

UT-Sen: Boyd Matheson, head of the Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based conservative think tank, and former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee (R), is considering running against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), if Hatch runs for re-election. Matheson met with former White House strategist Steve Bannon in Washington last week about the possibility of running. Bannon said Matheson had set up an exploratory committee for a possible run, although Matheson said there is currently no such committee and there is no specific deadline when he plans to announce a possible run.

House:

CA-36: Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a former soap opera actress who now is an avocado grower and also owns an interior design company, is running for Congress as a Republican. Pelzer, who appeared on the soap operas “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” spoke in support of Donald Trump at last year’s Republican National Convention. Former Palm Springs TV news anchor Dan Ball has also discussed a possible run as a Republican as well. Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) is running for re-election.

FL-6: As Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) decides whether to run for re-election or possibly run for governor, one candidate isn’t waiting for DeSantis to decide. John Ward, a multi-millionaire business investor and Navy veteran has announced he is running in the Republican primary as a pro-Trump outsider. Nancy Soderberg, a former National Security Council official and an Ambassador at the United Nations for the Clinton Administration is running as a Democrat.

GA-6: Former Atlanta TV news anchor Bobby Kaple is planning to run for Congress as a Democrat. Kaple says he left his job last month as a morning and noon news anchor for the local CBS affiliate in preparation for a run. Jon Ossoff (D), who lost to Rep. Karen Handel (R) in a June special election has not decided whether to run again. Kaple says he plans to run whether or not Ossoff does-and points out he resides in the district, unlike Ossoff.

MT-AL: State Rep. Tom Woods (D) has joined the Democratic primary for Congress. Woods is the first candidate with political experience to run, joining attorney John Heenan and nonprofit director Grant Kier in the Democratic primary.

NM-2: Andrew Salas, former adjutant general of the New Mexico National Guard, is running for the Republican nomination for Congress. He joins a race without a clear frontrunner after the recent surprising departure of state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, Jr. (R) from the race to replace Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who is running for governor. Also running in the Republican primary are state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R), former Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman, and pharmacist Jack Volpato. Salas is making his first bid for political office, although his wife Martha Salas is currently chairwoman of the Socorro County Board of Commissioners.

PA-8: Lawyer Dean Malik is challenging Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) in the Republican primary. Malik planned to run in 2016, but says he was pushed aside and forced to drop out after Fitzpatrick joined the race to fill the seat left open by his brother, former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R). Malik is criticizing Fitzpatrick for not being supportive enough of President Trump’s agenda.

PA-11: Businessman Andrew Lewis has announced he is running for the Republican nomination for this open seat. He joins state Rep. Stephen Bloom (R) and former state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser in the GOP primary. Also, Denny Woolf, former state agriculture secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell (D) from 2003-2009 has put his name in for the Democratic nomination. Woolf joins Air Force veteran Alan Howe in the Democratic primary.

Governor & state offices:

IL-Gov: The first Democrat to run for governor has become the first major candidate to drop out. Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar (D) has left the race, citing fundraising difficulties. Pawar’s exit could help state Sen. Daniel Biss (D), with whom Pawar had been battling for support from progressives and supporters of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Businessmen J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy are battling for support from the establishment, Hillary Clinton-supporting wing of the party. Although Biss could benefit from his support, Pawar says he has no plans to endorse any of the other candidates at this time. but won’t rule it out later.

ME-Gov: State Sen. Mark  Dion (D) is joining the most crowded primary race in the country, for the Democratic nomination for governor. Dion is also a former 3 term sheriff of Cumberland County, which includes the state’s largest city of Portland. He is one of 10 Democrats running in the primary-other major candidates include AG Janet Mills (D), state Sen. James Boyle (D) and former state House Speaker Mark Eves (D). Sen. Susan Collins (R) is expected to announce today whether she will join the list of Republicans running. Republicans already in the race are former state Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew, State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) and state House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R).

MD-Gov: Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a consulting firm owner, is joining the very crowded Democratic primary for governor. Although Cummings is a political novice herself, she has a well-known last name as the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D). Cummings is the 8th person to run for the Democratic nomination to face Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Other major candidates running include Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), Baltimore CE Kevin Kamenetz (D), state Sen. Richard Madaleno (D), and former NAACP head Benjamin Todd Jealous.

RI-Gov: Former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson (D) is challenging Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) in the Democratic primary. Dickinson recognizes that his bid is a longshot, but wants to provide competition to the governor and provide an alternative. If he doesn’t win the nomination, he says he would be inclined to support Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) if he runs again and wins the Republican nomination.

FL-AG: State Rep. Frank White (R) is considering running for Attorney General. White is in his first term in the Florida House. Two other Republicans are already in the race-former state Rep. Jay Fant (R) and former Hillsborough County District Judge Ashley Moody. Both have already begun fundraising and  have raised six figure sums.

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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