MN-Sen: Rep. Keith Ellison (D) will not run in the special election for the seat that Sen. Al Franken (D) is resigning. Ellison earlier had indicated he would consider running. He endorsed Sen.-designate Tina Smith (D), who seems to be clearing the field for her to run virtually unopposed on the Democratic side. State Sen. Melisa Franzen (D) says she is still considering running, either for the special election next year or for the full term in 2020.
TN-Sen: A Gravis poll of the Tennessee Senate race on the surface looks good for ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) as he leads Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R). But the lead over Blackburn, the Republican frontrunner is a mere 2 points, 42%-40%(he leads Fincher 42%-38%) and comes mainly from him having higher support from his own party than does Blackburn, likely coming from Blackburn’s lower name recognition in heavily Republican East Tennessee, far from her West and Middle Tennessee-based congressional district. As support coalesces behind the eventual Republican nominee, Bredesen will find it tough to maintain that already slim lead.
AZ-2: Lea Marquez-Peterson, president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the first Republican to enter the race for this seat. Marquez-Peterson is running while expecting that Rep. Martha McSally (R) will run for Senate, even though McSally has not announced publicly what her plans are. She says she has talked with the congresswoman and told her that she planned to run for the House seat as soon as word leaked that McSally was likely to run for Senate. She says she will pull out of the race if McSally ultimately decides to run for re-election to the House seat. Other Republicans said to be contemplating a run if the seat is open are Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller and Douglas City Councilman DJ Morales.
HI-1: Attorney General Doug Chin (D) is said to be gearing up to run for Congress. He would join state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D), state Rep. Kaniela Ing (D), and Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin (D) in running for the seat Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) is giving up to run for governor. Others, including party switching state Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R->D) are considering running as well.
TX-27: Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) is not running for re-election. Since the filing deadline has already passed, there is no “Great Mentioner” on who might run, but check our post from yesterday on discussion about the other Republicans who have filed for the race.
WI-1: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) is planning to retire next year, according to an article in Politico where they conducted interviews from three dozen people who all said they don’t believe he will stay in Congress beyond next year. Ryan however when asked about the report and whether he was planning to quit said “I’m not, no.” Ryan’s departure could put the seat into play for Democrats, although they still would seem to be at a disadvantage. Trump won the seat by 10 points last year, an improvement over Romney’s 4 point win in 2012.
AR-Gov: Jared Henderson, former state director of Teach for America says he plans to run for governor as a Democrat. The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party says he doesn’t know of anyone else right now planning to run. So it looks like Henderson may be the party’s sacrificial lamb to take on Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R).
CT-Gov: Oz Griebel, CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance, is planning to run for governor, according to sources close to him. It is not clear however which party he will run to represent, although he did run for the Republican nomination for governor in 2010, finishing 3rd. He would join a crowded field of candidates either running or exploring the race in either the Republican or Democratic parties.
TN-Gov: Rep. Diane Black (R) fares the best of any of the Republican candidates for governor in the Gravis poll(same poll that polled the Senate race). Black leads ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) 40%-31% and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D) 42%-27%. State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R) and businessman Randy Boyd both have smaller leads over Dean, while Harwell has a larger lead over Fitzhugh than Black. State Sen. Mae Beavers (R) trails Dean, but leads Fitzhugh.
WY-Gov./WY-SOS: Secretary of State Ed Murray (R) has been accused of sexual harassment in an incident that occurred 35 years ago. The accusation was made in a Facebook post by a former coworker. Murray firmly denies that the incident described ever took place and says he doesn’t know why the woman would make the allegation. He has indicated an interest in running for governor next year, but has not yet entered the race.
KY-HD-49: Rebecca Johnson, the widow of state Rep. Dan Johnson (R) who committed suicide on Wednesday in light of sexual assault allegations, says she will run in the special election to fill the seat. Ex-state Rep. Linda Belcher (D), whom Johnson defeated last year, has expressed interest in running as well. Belcher was first elected to the seat in 2008, after her husband who had held the seat was killed in a car accident-potentially setting up a race between two widows of former representatives. Belcher was re-elected in 2010, lost in 2012 and then came back in 2014 before losing again in 2016.
MN-AG: St. Paul City Attorney Samuel Clark (D) has announced he will run for Attorney General. Clark noted the awkwardness of running for AG when current AG Lori Swanson (D) has not announced her plans, but many expect she will run for governor. Clark joins state Rep. Debra Hilstrom (D), ex-state Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) and attorney Matt Pelikan as Democrats who have announced they are running.
Australia: The second of two by-elections called because of MPs having dual citizenship is this weekend. The Coalition easily retained the New South Wales seat of New England two weeks ago, returning National Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to office. A much closer race is expected tomorrow in the New South Wales seat of Bennelong. Bennelong has been a Liberal Party stronghold, and was held from 1974 to 2007 by former Prime Minister John Howard with Labor winning it only in 2007 when Howard and the Coalition went down in a landslide. John Alexander picked the seat back up for the Liberal Party in 2010, held it relatively easily in the last two elections and is running to regain his seat. But Labor has put up a high profile candidate for the seat-former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally. The race is important as the Coalition needs to hold the seat to preserve their 1 seat majority; losing it would require them to rely on an independent member who has pledged to support them on confidence and supply, but vote freely on other issues. The most recent poll puts the Coalition ahead of Labor on a two party preferred basis by 6 points.