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Political Roundup for November 13, 2017

Over the weekend in PA-18, State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) took the GOP nomination. Democrats will nominate their contender this coming Sunday. Also check below for our preview of today’s election in Somaliland (where and/or what the heck is that, you ask?… read on).

Now, after a week in which I am reduced to not giving a f* about what happens to the broader GOP while resolving to spend the next year hoping and praying that Larry Hogan will not be doomed by a massive wave, it is time for today’s Roundup…

Briefing: New Nominees for our Anthony Weiner Award for Pervert of the Year:

AL-Sen: A former Roy Moore colleague said that it was “common knowledge” he was interested in high school girls when they worked together as prosecutors. Over the weekend, multiple polls have come out showing the race between Moore and ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) is a dead heat; in particular, one from JMC Analytics has Jones up 46-42.

CO-Treas: State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is under fire for allegedly sexually harassing a fellow lawmaker, State Rep. Faith Winter (D). Lebsock had looked like the Dem front-runner for the open Treasurer seat, but fellow State Rep. Dave Young (D) entered the race last week (perhaps getting tipped off about the allegations?) and now looks likely to be the Dems’ consensus pick. Democratic leaders are now calling for Lebsock’s resignation.

CA-SD-32: State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D) repeatedly attempted to get a young woman interviewing for a staffer job to come home with him to “review her resume”. Mendoza is the roommate of fellow State Sen. and US Senate candidate Kevin DeLeon (D).

CA-LD-26: State Rep. Devon Mathis (R) is under investigation by police for allegedly digitally penetrating a staffer.

MN-SD-54, MN-LD-22B: Two Minnesota legislators are also under fire for harassment. State Rep. Erin Maye-Quade (D) claims she was harassed by both State Sen. Dan Schoen (D) and State Rep. Tony Cornish (R). Allegations against Schoen were also leveld by multiple other women, and allegations against Cornish have been brought by a lobbyist.

Now, in non-perversion news:

Governor:

CA-Gov, CA-Sen: Ex-Rep. Doug Ose (R), who served three terms representing suburban Sacramento in the 90s and 2000s before a failed comeback bid in CA-7 in 2014, is now considering a run for Governor. Ose’s entry as a third Republican would likely completely ensure that two Democrats (and neither of the other two Rs, businessman John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R)) make the general election. But Ose may not need to enter to ensure that: a new USC/LA Times Poll shows LG Gavin Newsom (D) leading the gubernatorial race with 31%, with ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) taking the second slot with 21%. Allen and Cox are banging heads to split the GOP vote with 15% and 11% respectively. Two longer-shot Dems, State Treasurer John Chiang (D) and ex-Superintendent Delaine Eastin (D), are at 12% and 4% respectively. For the Senate race, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) holds a strong lead over State Sen. Kevin DeLeon (D), who is challenging her from the left. Feinstein leads 58-31 in the two-way race.

MN-Gov: Woodbury (pop. 68K) Mayor Mary Guiluiani-Stevens (R) has reserved domain names pertaining to a gubernatorial run, but is so far tight-lipped on her intentions. The mayor of the large eastern Twin Cities suburb would join a crowded field of Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Sen. David Osmek (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and ex-State Rep. and ex-MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R). State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) and ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) are also thought to be considering.

TX-Gov: Democrats continue to cast about for a sacrificial lamb to take on Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The latest name considering making a late entry here is Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D). Valdez is little-known outside of her county, but seems a significantly more credible candidate than investor Andrew White (D), who is the current Dem front-runner on little other than being the son of 80s-era ex-Gov. Mark (D).

Senate:

MA-Sen: Businessman, self-proclaimed “inventor of e-mail”, and Fran Drescher’s ex Shiva Ayyadurai is leaving the crowded GOP primary to take on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) and running as an Independent. Ayyadurai, a firebrand conservative, was an amusing sideshow in the race but had little institutional support as the primary field filled up with three more connected and traditional candidates, Romney aide Beth Lindstrom (R), State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R), and businessman John Kingston (R). Needless to say, none of these candidates pose a threat to Warren in the general.

NJ-Sen: A juror was dismissed from the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Mendendez (D) last week for a previously-planned vacation; jury deliberations will now start from scratch today. The excused juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, said (quite colorfully) that she was a firm “not guilty” vote, but the jury was deadlocked and she expected an ultimate hung jury.

KY-Sen ’22: Sen. Rand Paul (R) has apparently been told that federal charges will be filed against Rene Boucher, a neighbor who attacked Paul and broke four of his ribs last week. Prosecutors likely believe the attack was politically motivated, while Boucher’s attorney says that it was due to a non-sepcific “trivial dispute”.

House:

KY-6: Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D) is considering a run against Rep. Andy Barr (R). Gray would likely be Democrats’ top recruit for the medium-red seat, as he carried the district in his 2016 Senate run against Sen. Rand Paul (R). However, Gray’s profile as a well-known liberal may make the race more difficult.

TX-21: State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) is the first candidate into the race for Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R) open San Antonio to Austin seat. Isaac represents about 20% of the district and could be a front-runner, but the field for this red seat that swung against Trump could grow significantly.

VA-6: Andy Parker (D), father of Alison Parker, a journalist who was murdered on live TV, is considering a run for this open congressional seat. Alison’s boyfriend Chris Hurst (D) was elected last week to a purple State House seat in the Blacksburg area. Parker would face a much tougher bid for the very conservative district; State Rep. Ben Cline (R) and RNC official Cynthia Dunbar (R) are already in what is expected to be a crowded GOP primary.

State & Local:

FL-AG: State Rep. Ross Spano (R) of suburban Tampa is the latest Republican considering an entry into this primary. Spano would join front-running retired judge Ashley Moody (R), who also hails from Tampa Bay, and fellow State Reps. Jay Fant (R) and Frank White (R). Little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D) is the only Dem in the race.

GA-PSC: Deal Admin official Tricia Pridemore (R), who lost the 2014 primary for the congressional GA-11, is now running for an open seat on the Public Service Commission. The 5-member, all-GOP board is elected statewide for staggered 6-year terms.

IL-Comp, IL-Treas: Illinois Republicans have found two “C” list candidates to fill out their Row Officer ticket. Ex-State Rep. and 2014 IL-11 nominee Darlene Senger (R) will challenge Comptroller Susana Mendoza (R) and Orland Park councilman Jim Dodge (R) will challenge Treasurer Mike Frerichs (D). Both incumbent Democrats are heavy favorites for re-election in the blue state. They join former congressional candidate Erika Harold (R) for the open AG seat and Grundy DA Jason Helland (R) for SoS as the ILGOP’s presumptive Row Officer slate.

MS-LG: Vicksburg (pop. 23K) Mayor George Flaggs (D) is considering a run for LG in 2019. The moderate Flaggs says he may run as a Democrat or switch parties and run as a Republican. Incumbent Tate Reeves (R) is widely expected to either run for Governor or score an appointment to the Senate seat of Sen. Thad Cochran (R) should the latter resign soon, as expected; SoS Delbert Hosemann (R) and State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) have also been connected with LG runs, but much will depend on how the Cochran musical chairs play out.

NV-Treas: Financial planner Derek Uehara (R) is running for State Treasurer, joining ex-Las Vegas councilman Bob Beers (R) in the primary. No Democrats have as of yet declared for this seat, which is open as incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is running for Governor.

Howard, MD-CE: County Commissioner Calvin Ball (D) is running for County Executive in my home county against incumbent Allan Kittleman (R). Ball is a top-tier recruit for Dems in this blue suburban Baltimore county, heavy with upscale liberals, that continues to trend left despite my best efforts. (sigh)

PA-Redistrict: The State Supreme Court has agreed to fast-track a Democratic challenge to the state’s congressional map, placing it on a timeline that could lead to new maps in time for the 2018 elections. A new map would likely flip at least one of three competitive GOP-held districts in the Philly suburbs, PA-6, 7, and 8, and potentially make a couple other districts, most likely the open GOP-held PA-15 and the Dem held Trump-voting PA-17, more competitive.

International:

Today, continuing our commitment to bringing you coverage of elections in places you didn’t even know existed, there is an election in Somaliland, which might be best characterized as an accident of diplomacy. Calling it a de facto nation would be selling it short: in every arena but international status, Somaliland is a more of a nation than a sizeable fraction of the world’s recognized nations. It has a population of 3.5M, occupying what is internationally recognized as (theoretically) the northwest part of Somalia along the south shore of the Gulf of Aden. However, that international recognition is a diplomatic fiction, as the dysfunctional-at-best Somali government hasn’t had the slightest bit of control (or even influence) over the area for over 25 years. Somaliland broke off when the nation’s central government disintegrated in 1991 and hasn’t looked back, but the desire to not further hurt the legitimacy of the fledgling-to-nonexistent Mogadishu government has led all other countries to hold back from recognizing Somaliland’s obvious independence. Making its lack of international recognition even stranger is that Somaliland would under normal circumstances be one of both Africa’s and the Islamic World’s biggest success stories. It is a relatively stable and democratic nation (at least by the global region’s low standards), with a functioning central government and economy, and a free politics and civil society that easily surpass a majority of Africa’s recognized nations. Today, the presidential election is open as the incumbent is peacefully standing down, and there is a lively competition between the country’s three strong parties, which are well-developed enough to even have rudimentary ideologies instead of being mere personality or clan vehicles. All of the three parties have large caucuses in parliament and are running credible candidates, who even had a televised debate last month. Furthermore, all three candidates at least appear to be relatively pro-Western and within democratic norms. The candidate of the incumbent party is Musa Behi, who serves as the party’s chair. He is facing public works minister Faysal Warabe and parliament speaker Abdiraman Irro. It’s hard to handicap this race, but Behi seems to be the candidate of the capital’s establishment and military, Irro seems to have the strongest ties to rural traditional clan leaders, and Warabe seems to be closest to a Western-style social democrat. Behi seems to be the front-runner, but it’s hard to say for sure.

Political Roundup for November 10, 2017

Senate:

AL-Sen: As most people have no doubt heard by now, GOP nominee Roy Moore has been accused in a Washington Post story of having a sexual encounter with a 14-year old girl back in 1979 when Moore was a 32-year old assistant DA in Etowah County. Many, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and NRSC Chairman Sen. Cory Gardner (R) have said Moore needs to drop out of the race if the allegations are true(Moore is denying the allegations). However, it is too late to replace Moore on the ballot. Although, some have pointed out that was what we were told when New Jersey Democrats wanted to replace  scandal-plagued Rep. Robert Torricelli (D) on the ballot for US Senate in 2002 with former Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), and the state’s Democratic-dominated judiciary essentially looked the other way. But, barring some similar legal maneuver(and getting Moore to agree to drop out, which may be even tougher), Republicans may be stuck with Moore and hoping that voters believe Moore’s denials or look past something that happened nearly 40 years ago(which, this being deep-red Alabama, wouldn’t be a total surprise).

PA-Sen/PA-LG: Businessman Jeff Bartos has dropped out of the US Senate race, and will instead run for LG, working in tandem with the gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. Scott Wagner (R). Bartos’s exit from the race helps Rep. Lou Barletta (R), as he was the strongest opponent still in the race. Barletta now only faces minor opposition in the GOP primary.

House:

HI-1: State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D) became the 2nd person to join this race on Wednesday. She joins state Rep. Kaniela Ing (D), who announced a bid earlier this week. Party-switching state Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R->D) and AG Doug Chin (D) have indicated an interest in running as well.

NV-3: Michelle Mortensen, a consumer reporter for a Las Vegas TV station, is leaving that job to run in the Republican primary for Congress. She joins state Sen. Scott Hammond (R), former state Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman (R) and former Clark County Republican Party chairman Dave McKeon in the Republican primary. Philanthropist and 2016 NV-4 congressional candidate Susie Lee is currently the only Democrat running.

NH-1: Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D) has joined the race for this open seat. Pappas was recruited by national Democrats for the seat, and likely starts as the frontrunner. He joins former state AFL-CIO president Mark McKenzie, former Obama Administration Pentagon official Maura Sullivan, former Strafford County District Attorney Lincoln Soldati, and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke in the Democratic primary. State Rep. Mindi Messmer (D) and Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard are also considering. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former law enforcement official Eddie Edwards are running on the Republican side, with former NH GOP Vice Chairman Matt Mayberry considering. Trump won this district 48-45 last year.

TX-2: State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R) is the first person to jump into the race for this now-open seat. Roberts is in his first term representing a district in northwest Harris County. TX-2 lies wholly within Harris County, snaking around the northeast, north, northwest and west parts of the county.

TX-21: State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) has announced he is running for Congress. Isaac joins retired CIA operations officer Eric Burkhart as the only candidates to announce a run so far. Isaac doesn’t actually live in the district, but part of his state House district overlaps the congressional district.

VA-6: Two Republicans wasted no time in announcing campaigns in the wake of yesterday’s retirement announcement by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R). State Del. Ben Cline (R) and attorney and RNC member Cynthia Dunbar have both jumped in the race. Cline has represented a seat in Rockbridge County since 2002 and was re-elected easily on Tuesday. Other Republicans are expected to get in the race. Two potential Democratic candidates have already taken themselves out of the running. Former TV news anchor Chris Hurst had been recruited by national Democrats to run, but he instead ran for the House of Delegates and defeated an incumbent Republican on Tuesday. Del. Sam Rasoul (D), who took 37% against Goodlatte as the Democratic nominee in 2008, the best showing for a Democrat in the district since Goodlatte’s first election in 1992, had been considered a possible candidate, but will not run.

WV-3: WV Republican Party chairman Conrad Lucas, is running for Congress. Lucas joins a Republican primary that includes state House Majority Whip Carol Miller (R), state Del. Rupie Phillips (R), and physician Ayne Amjad. Democrats have a primary between state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D), Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, and Tri-State Transit Authority CEO Paul Davis.

Governor/state offices:

CO-Gov: Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) entered the already crowded GOP primary for governor yesterday. She joins 8 other Republicans currently in the race, including Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, investment banker Doug Robinson(nephew of Mitt Romney), and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), who just joined the race last week. Brauchler, however is now considering dropping out of the race and running for AG(more on that below).

NY-Gov: Little surprise, but after his loss in the Westchester County Executive race on Tuesday, Rob Astorino has announced he will not run for governor next year. Astorino, who was the 2014 Republican nominee, had been talking about making another run.

CO-AG: Now that the Attorney General position is open, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, is now considering dropping out of the governor’s race and running for AG instead, seeing his possibilities in the governor’s race fading as the race becomes more crowded. One person who will not be running for AG is Rep. Ken Buck (R), who had said earlier in the year that he might run if Coffman didn’t run for re-election. Buck announced on Wednesday that he will instead run for re-election to Congress. Other Republicans who have expressed interest in running include state Rep. Cole Wist (R) and 2014 CO-2 Republican nominee George Leing.

TX-AG: Austin-based attorney Justin Nelson (D) is running for Attorney General. He is the first person to announce a challenge to AG Ken Paxton (R). He is part of a law firm that specializes in high-stakes civil litigation and is also the founder and former president of One Nation One Vote, a nonprofit organization pushing for eliminating the Electoral College and going to a national popular vote.

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.

TX-21: Rep. Lamar Smith (R) will not Seek Re-election

Rep. Lamar Smith (R) will retire after sixteen terms. Smith’s decision opens up TX-21, a currently R+10 seat with its geographic base in rural territory north of San Antonio. However, the population bulk of the district sits in a narrow corridor running along I-35 from northeast San Antonio to south-central Austin. The Great Mentioner for this seat needs to start in an unusual place: Nobody. Texas’s re-redistricting is still in limbo, and Smith’s retirement means that chopping up this seat to create a new Democratic district (in order to satisfy the court ruling overturning TX-27 and TX-35) needs to be mentioned as a distinct possibility.

Assuming the seat stays the same though, this seat should stay in GOP hands. Though it swung strongly against Trump, he still carried it by 10 and it is more Republican downballot. Former TX-23 Rep. Quico Canseco (R) was looking at making a long-shot comeback bid against Rep Joaquín Castro (D) in the D+10 TX-20; it’s hard to imagine he won’t move into this seat. However, Canseco has generally been a weak candidate and would definitely not clear a primary field. The most obvious front-runner, instead, is another former congressional candidate: State Sen. Donna Campbell (R), who represents almost the entire district and ran for Congress before (in 2010 against Lloyd Doggett (D)). Campbell likely has the right of first refusal for the seat. Another prior congressional candidate worth a mention is San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz (R), who has run fruitless campaigns for TX-35.

State Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R) also lives near the district but doesn’t represent more than a tiny piece of it. From the State House, Speaker Joe Straus (R) lives here but is retiring and very unlikely to run. Just two other state Reps., Jason Isaac (R) and Kyle Biedermann (R), live in the seat, though two more, Paul Workman (R) and Lyle Larson (R), are close enough to carpetbag. From local office, an intriguing possibility could be DINO ex-San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor (D), who could potentially be a credible candidate here as an R.

Democrats have a crowded field of little-known candidates here. This seat is probably red enough to not be all that tempting for a name candidate, but it’s possible one of the novices in the race gets significant additional traction now. Ex-State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer (D) has been shopping around for a congressional seat; while this is outside of his base and would be a tough race for him, he may be a name to watch for a run here if better options for him do not surface. It’s still to early to say if Dems will try to make a serious play for the seat; while it could be a long-shot on-the-board race, it probably will not advance higher than that.

Political Roundup for February 27th, 2017

Overall, this weekend was pretty good for the Democrats. They kept the Delaware State Senate by holding DE-SD-10. They also picked a new DNC chairman, though they did less well there. They could have had Buttigieg, but the battle was between Perez and Ellison. It was surprisingly close, but Perez won. With that out of the way, on to the news that you didn’t already know about!

President

Divided America: According to the new NBC/WSJ poll, Trump has a 44/48 job approval split. Seeing as that tracks fairly well with the popular vote a few months ago, I’d say that we’re in for a very tiring four years of angry slogging and general annoyance on all sides.

Governor

MI-Gov: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed (D), head of Detroit’s version of the health department (that’s not a joke, they actually have one) is running for governor. I don’t know how far he’ll get, but this should be an interesting candidacy to watch. He’s actually pretty impressive.

TN-Gov: Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D-Business) has apparently decided to run for governor. What’s really odd about this is that he’s now been out of office for a few years and had the nomination if he wanted it in 2014. I guess that he just didn’t want to run into the buzzsaw of Haslam that year. Still, he’s pretty unlikely to win next year either. He’s the best that Tennessee Democrats have and it’s an open seat in an opposite-party midterm. Even so, it’s kind of like a Republican trying to run for the same office in Hawaii: yeah, Linda Lingle did it, but this is another political world and you’re not Linda Lingle.

Congress

TX-Sen: Rep. Beto O’Rourke (I’m not sure yet, but it will probably involve ‘being bold’) is sounding surprisingly chipper about challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-His Ego) in the Republican equivalent of California. It’s honestly really reminiscent of Wendy Davis, and we all know how that turned out…

WV-Sen: Sen. Joe Manchin (Moderate Dem) continues his quest to appear to be a DINO by daring the Berniebots to challenge him in a primary.This whole episode is the best ‘moderateness signaling for the election’ routine we’ve seen in a while.

TX-21: Rep. Lamar Smith (R) has been skipping town hall meetings, and he’s not the only one. Honestly, I don’t blame members who do this in safe districts, on either side. Why should you just hand well-organized factions of the other side a chance to pillory you and make you look stupid so their ideological compatriots can use it as cable news fodder?

Local

Detroit-Mayor: State Sen. Coleman Young II (Black Machine Dem), son of the famously infamous mayor of the same name, is running to get his dad’s old job against incumbent Mike Duggan. I’d say that it should be generally difficult to attain a mayor’s office with such strong links to the man whose tenure in it was so disastrous that a once great metropolis became a ruin. Then again, Young the Elder did excel in getting rid of precisely the type of voters who might take this view and vote against his son, so who knows.

NYC-Mayor: The Grey Lady has convinced itself that Mayor Bill DeBlasio (Bold Progressive) will have a clear primary field. I’ll believe it when I see it.

International

Italy: Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s left-wing coalition just split, and all hell is breaking loose. If this is for real, then the left will be split at the next general election, giving the Five Star movement an opening. With the rise of Macron, it was looking like the populist moment might be over. I’m now thinking that the French election is more of an intermission.

Netherlands: So it looks like Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing populists that are polling first in the next round of Dutch elections, had to cancel some events because his security detail was infiltrated by a Moroccan gang. No, I’m not joking. This actually happened. I have no doubt that an assassination was being planned. Is anyone else getting a weird early 20th-century vibe lately, or is that just me?

UK: The Telegraph runs some numbers and finds not only that the Tories would do very well in a general election given current polling, but that using last week’s by-elections as a guide actually makes their prospects even better. These calculations are done using the old maps, by the way. Any election this year would likely use that outdated plan.

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