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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.


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.


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.


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.


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 September 19th, 2017

First off, there is a single legislative special primary today. MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk is a D+5 (2016) seat stretching from Seekonk in suburban Providence to Medfield in Boston’s southwest suburbs. Two Democrats and Four Republicans are running. For Dems, Foxborough councilman and Sanders campaign operative Paul Feeney (D) and legislative staffer Ted Phillips (D) are facing off. Feeney is more of a blue-collar liberal while Phillips is a bit more upscale in sensibilities; there is no clear favorite. For Republicans, Baker admin official Mike Berry (R) has the most GOP establishment support and looks like the front-runner. Berry faces three other credible candidates in Chamber of Commerce official Harry Brousaides (R), legislative staffer Jacob Venura (R), and 2014/16 State House candidate Tim Hempton (R), who could each pull the upset. Waiting in the general is well-known retired TV investigative reporter Joe Shortsleeve (I), a former DINO who could have enough name recognition to make it an authentic three-way race or even pull an upset win.


AL-Sen: A JMC Analytics poll of likely voters shows Roy Moore keeping his large lead over Attorney General and Trump endorsee Luther Strange 47%-39%. This is actually an improvement for Strange, who trailed in the last JMC poll 51%-32%.


VA-Gov: Two new polls in the Virginia gubernatorial race. One survey shows Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie 44%-39% with Libertarian Cliff Hyra at 3%. However, the Princeton Survey Research Associates International poll surveys “Virginia adults,” without even a voter screen. Meanwhile, a Suffolk University poll of likely voters shows the race tied between Northam and Gillespie at 42% with Hyra at 3% again. We rate this seat Lean Democrat.

MD-Gov: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has joined the Democratic field to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (R). The list of other Democratic candidates, lazily grabbed from the article: “Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, former NAACP leader Ben Jealous, state Sen. Richard Madaleno, technology entrepreneur and author Alec Ross, lawyer Jim Shea and Krish Vignarajah, a former policy director for first lady Michelle Obama.” We rate this seat Lean Republican.


MN-1: 2014 and 2016 Republican nominee Jim Hagedorn won the endorsement of two notable former congressmen: Reps. John Kline and Gil Gutknecht. The endorsements continue a continuous run of former Minnesota Republican officeholders backing Hagedorn this cycle. State Sen. Carla Nelson (R) has also been rumored to be strongly considering a run, and her Facebook page’s name recently changed from “Carla Nelson for State Senate” to just “Carla Nelson.”

UT-3: Dan Jones is re-running their poll of UT-3 mentioned in yesterday’s roundup with a full sample from the district instead of a subset from their statewide poll. The reasoning was complaints from third party candidate Jim Bennett, who barely missed the threshold for debate participation with his 6% showing in the survey.

VA-10: One of Rep. Barbara Comstock’s 1,000 opponents is sticking out. Democrat and veteran Dan Helmer sticks out for a terrible ad where he sings bad karaoke to Comstock about not holding town hall meetings. Pretty sure he won’t be her opponent.

MI-11: A lot of movement in Rep. Dave Trott (R)’s suddenly open seat. First off, State Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R). Second, Lena Epstein (R) dropped down from the Senate race to this House bid. State Rep. Klint Kesto also plans to run. The article has a Great Mentioner of other candidates on both sides of the aisle. We previously ranked this seat Lean R when Trott was still in the race. Click here for some of yesterday’s discussion of the candidates on RRH Elections.

NY-24: Syracuse professor Dana Balter (R) is in the race against Rep. John Katko (R). While several other Democrats are considering runs in this swing seat that Katko surprisingly locked down over the last two cycles, Onondaga Community College board chair Anne Messenger is already in.

NY-27: Veteran Erin Cole (D) is out after a short-lived campaign. While Rep. Chris Collins is one of the least threatened Republican congressmen in New York, county Democratic leaders have still interviewed a number of potential candidates.

RIP: Longtime former congressman Bill Goodling (R) of Pennsylvania has passed away at the age of 89.

State and Local

TX-leg: Former State Rep. Steve Toth has the support of 30 former and current Republican State Representatives in his comeback bid. Toth left the chamber after a failed primary challenge to Rep. Kevin Brady, the Ways & Means Committee Chairman in Congress. While Toth would be expected to receive significant Freedom Caucus and allied endorsements, there are a few Straus allies that surprisingly make the list like State Reps. JM Lozano and Jason Isaac.

TX-leg: On the other side of the aisle, State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D) gains another reprieve as the Travis County DA holds off on felony charges of fraud with new information in the case. She still faces two misdemeanor charges.


Spain: Spanish federal government authorities are attempting to stifle campaigning in the Catalonian-led independence referendum on October 1st. Besides seizing campaign materials from the pro-independence side, the government is also threatening to arrest Carles Puigdemont, the regional government head, and other government officials supporting the referendum.

Iceland: Iceland’s Parliament has been set to dissolve October 27th; elections will be held October 28th.


Political Roundup for September 7th, 2017

Hello from Philadelphia, where Jim Kenney’s courageous soda tax is at work saving lives in the name of public health and social justice.

President & Misc.

2020 Census: In news that could affect the accuracy of the next census, and therefore the upcoming congresssional apportionment, The Economist reports that the upcoming budget underfunds the Census Bureau by approximately $300 million.

Demographic Trends: In a development which will continue to shape our political landscape, non-Hispanic white Christians now make up less than 50% of the population. Maybe pushing policies that appeal almost exclusively to that specific demographic isn’t such a good idea for winning the future…

Redistricting: A slew of prominent Republicans, including John McCain, John Kasich, Bob Dole, John Danforth, Dick Lugar, Alan Simpson, and the Governator, have called on SCOTUS to end gerrymandering.

Sign of the Times: The Chamber of Commerce is spending millions in order to pressure Republicans into voting for The Donald’s yet-to-exist tax plan.


CT-Gov, CT-LG: Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D) has picked State Rep. Liz Linehan (D-Cheshire) as his unofficial running mate ahead of their respective separate primaries.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: Moonbat fantasy and State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-People’s Republic of Evanston) has dropped his running mate, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, over his “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” position on Israel.


AL-Sen: Birds of a feather… Freedom Caucus Chairman and NC US Rep. Mark Meadows (R-Cashiers) has endorsed repeatedly in-contempt ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R-Where Else but Alabama?) in the Republican primary to fill the seat vacated by AG Jeff Sessions.


IN-04: Former Indiana Workforce Development Commissioner and ex-State Rep. Steve Braun (R-Zionsville) will run to replace Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Indianapolis) in 2018. Braun, of the Indianapolis suburbs, is a business consultant.

PA-11: State Rep. Tarah Toohill (R-Butler Township), probably too busy having fun, won’t run for the soon-to-be-open seat being vacated by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Hazleton).

PA-15: State Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Coopersburg) has decided to challenge one of the good ones, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Allentown), in a primary. While Dent has historically significantly overperformed, the incumbent has butted heads with Trump acolytes.

SD-AL: Former Public Utilities Commission member Dusty Johnson claims to be on track to break the primary stage fundraising record of $400,000 set by Blake Curd (R-Sioux Falls) in 2010. It should be noted that Curd lost that primary to outgoing Rep. Kristi Noem (R-Castlewood).

WA-08: ICYMI, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) will retire at the end of this term, his seventh, ahead of the 2018 buzzsaw midterms. We wish the former King County Sheriff and hero well as he potentially gears up for a rumored 2020 gubernatorial bid—or a payday on K Street. This is a district that has been represented by Republicans – Rod Chandler, Jennifer Dunn (mother of King County Commissioner and possible WA-08 candidate Reagan Dunn), and Dave Reichert – since its 1983 inception, yet there’s obviously nothing to see here regarding Reichert’s timing, folks. Paging electoral juggernaut and ex-State Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island)…

State Level

TX Voter ID: The 5th Circuit has stayed a ruling against Texas’ voter ID law on the basis that the state is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal, allowing the law to remain in place for this year’s elections.

TX HD-52: Four-term State Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock) is retiring in a district that the Donald won by a single point (46.7%-45.3%). Mitt Romney won this same district by 12 (54.7%-42.4%).

TX SD-02: State Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Mesquite) is challenging State Senator Bob Hall (R-Edgewood). Hall successfully primaried Burkett’s one-time boss, then State Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) in 2014 in this northeastern Dallas suburban and exurban district.

TX SD-08: Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), wife of TX AG Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), is mulling a run for the seat being vacated by Cruzian contrarian and State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano).

Political Roundup for August 23rd, 2017

Fellow teachers, welcome back to school! Everyone else, welcome back to your roundup.

Last night, Sandy Stimpson (R) won re-election outright in Mobile with 58%, while school board member Randall Woodfin (D) surprisingly outpaced incumbent Birmingham Mayor William Bell (D) by a 41-37 margin; Woodfin and Bell will head to an October runoff. Dawn Euer (D) won RI-SD-13 as expected, though she underperformed Hillary’s margin unlike most D special election candidates this year.


AZ-Sen: Things are rough between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the President. Besides Trump’s public criticism of McConnell and Senate procedures, McConnell is also facing off against Trump in the Arizona Senate Republican primary. McConnell, for his part, is rallying the Republican Senate caucus to support their embattled colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake.

More AZ-Sen: In a new poll from Republican public affairs firm HighGround, Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is in big trouble. First, he trails former State Sen. Kelli Ward 28%-43% in the Republican primary. Then, if Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) pulls the trigger on a run, Flake would trail her 33%-41% in the general election. In contrast, Ward would trail Sinema by only one point with a ton of undecideds, at 31%-32%.

Flake has the unpopularity of previous party-flippers like Lieberman and Specter of the past decade among his own party’s voters- without ever flipping parties. President Trump previously tweeted his support of Ward. With numbers like this, I wonder if we could see a retirement from Flake to prevent a Ward primary victory.

MI-Sen: Come for the shout-out from Harry Enten describing RRH Elections as “well-informed, well-intentioned amateurs trying to break into the [polling] industry.” Then, stay read his takedown of a fake poll from “Delphi Analytica” that briefly excited the political world about a possible lead for a Kid Rock campaign in the Michigan Senate race.


MN-Gov: State Sen. Dave Osmek (R) has announced a gubernatorial bid. While Osmek will have some legislative endorsements, he starts overshadowed by Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson within the Republican primary. After all, Johnson’s base overlaps with Osmek’s turf in the southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Further, Johnson occupies a similar libertarian/conservative ideological space as Johnson. Osmek’s website also starts out in uniquely rough shape, telling donors on the day of his announcement to either send a physical check or wait for Paypal to go up. Couldn’t he have just thrown up a Piryx account real fast and changed it later?!? Also, apparently redirects to a hit piece against the candidate.  For a hilarious take on the state of the gubernatorial race, see this tweet

VA-Gov: A new Roanoke College poll of likely voters finds Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) leads Ed Gillespie (R) 43%-36%, with another 4% for the Libertarian candidate.

CA-Gov: Apparently some “Democratic fundraisers and political operatives” are not excited by the always inevitable but finally happening gubernatorial bid of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) or former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign. In their place, they want some dude named Scooter Braun to run. He apparently manages some famous singers, including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Kanye West. I’m not even going to run down the list of recent celebrity candidates in the last few years, ok?

AK-Gov: Incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) have officially filed for reelection as a joint ticket again. They are not running on the Democratic ticket, so now the Alaska Democratic Party needs to figure out some way to legally keep anyone else from trying to snag that ballot line by filing for the primary. A lawsuit has been filed by the party to attempt to allow the pair to run in the party primary without actually running under the party’s affiliation.

WI-Gov: State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) is officially in, joining a bunch of B- and C-list Democratic candidates who are either actually in the race (state Rep. Dana Wachs, businessman Andy Gronik) or considering it (State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin). A full Great Mentioner is included at the bottom of the article.


TX-3: State Sen. Van Taylor (R) continues his march into this open congressional seat, officially filing to run now that Texas’ special state legislative session is complete. Our friend Miles at DDHQ will eventually get around to profiling this race, so stay tuned.

TX-16: El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D) will likely announce her congressional campaign this Saturday at an event. Escobar has been considering a bid for some time, and she will join El Paso ISD Trustee Dori Fenenbock and two other candidates in the Democratic primary. This seat is open with Rep. Beto O’Rourke running for Senate against Ted Cruz. Escobar already secured prominent backers like the outgoing incumbent, Rep. Joaquin Castro, and actress Eva Longoria.

AL-5: State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R) will run against incumbent Rep. Mo Brooks in the Republican primary here. Brooks is coming off a third-place finish in the special election for US Senate in Alabama. Although he cracked 40% in his own district in the three-way race, Holtzclaw probably sees an opening after Brooks was bloodied by ads that accused him of being insufficiently pro-Trump.

State and Local

TX-SD-8: A rare showdown in this open seat Republican primary between two red meat conservatives. On the one side is Philip Huffines, the self-funding Dallas County GOP Chairman and twin brother of State Sen. Don Huffines. On the other is Angela Paxton, wife of embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton starts out with some legislative support that would otherwise be assumed to go to Huffines, including from Freedom Caucus members and State Reps. Matt Shaheen and Jeff Leach. The divide may be geographic rather than ideological, with another state representative explaining her support with the statement, “She’s Collin County.”

MA-Leg: State Rep. Susannah Whipps is abandoning the GOP to sit as an independent legislator. No word on her committee assignments yet.

Political Roundup for June 29th, 2017

With a 12% approval rating, the widely-maligned Senate health care bill looms like the latest death star over Republican Senators. However, considering only two (Flake and Heller) face particularly difficult races our Senate section will be pretty light today. Welcome back to the roundup y’all.


AZ-Sen: RIP Dean Flake, father of Sen. Jeff Flake and former mayor of Snowflake (pop. 5600).

NV-Sen / NV-3: Perennial candidate and dynastic scion Danny Tarkanian (R) had been talking about primarying Sen. Dean Heller after a string of electoral losses in recent years. However, now Tarkanian says that Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) running for Senate “changed everything.” Instead, he is “probably going to end up” running again in NV-3 (where he lost to Rosen in 2016), although he won’t absolute rule out any other options.


WI-Gov: While she still sits as a state senator, Kathleen Vinehout is something of a perennial candidate for Governor. She has again filed a committee to run for Governor in 2018, saying she needs to raise money to travel the state and explore a campaign. Vinehout placed third in the Democratic primary during the 2012 Walker recall, and she dropped out before the primary in the 2014 gubernatorial race. The article also gives a nice Great Mentioner for other potential Democratic candidates:

Other potential candidates who have said they’re considering a run or have not ruled out the possibility include Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, former Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairman Matt Flynn, Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, state Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, businessman Andy Gronik and state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire.

Yeah, not an incredibly intimidating list. And Walker fans have reason to cheer, because a new Marquette poll shows his approval back up to 48%-48%. For comparison, President Trump is at 41%-55% in the same poll, though with surprising strength in the Green Bay and Appleton media market.

MA-Gov: Gov. Charlie Baker (R) crushes all Democratic comers in the latest WBUR / MassInc poll. He leads Setti Warren 53%-26%, Bob Massie 55%-25%, and Jay Gonzalez 55%-22%. All of these challengers have low name recognition. For comparison, the poll also tests a hypothetical race between Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey (D), who has repeatedly said she will run for reelection. Even in that matchup, Baker leads 48%-36%, which is still a nice lead but very closeable for a Democrat in Massachetts- if you are skeptical, ask Sen. Scott Brown). Baker also sports a 64%-15% favorable rating.

NV-Gov: Treasurer Dan Schwartz is strongly considering a gubernatorial run after an internal poll found him 4 points behind Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R). In the article, Schwartz accused Laxalt of catering to the alt-right and assailed Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson.


The playing field: A number of articles in the last few dates note the glut of Democratic House candidates this cycle. They include:

  • The Hill gives a historical look at the number of candidates filed. 489 new Democratic candidates have filed for House races as of last Tuesday, whereas at this point in the 2016 cycle only 190 new candidates had filed. Between 2009 and 2015, an average of 179 new candidates had filed at this point in the election cycle.
  • The Washington Post has a focus on TX-32, where former NFL linebacker and Obama administration staffer Collin Allred faces former State Department official Ed Meier in the Democratic primary. However, I’m still not sure what insight the mention of a Panera Bread location in the district is supposed to give the reader.

CA-34: Newly-elected Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) won a special election for Congress almost a month ago. Nevertheless, Gomez is playing a bizarre game of Where’s Waldo and has thus far avoided being seated for his new position. Instead, he has stalled to try and deliver a 2/3rds majority on a California cap and trade proposal for Governor Jerry Brown (D). To be clear, Reps. Ralph Norman,  Karen Handel (elected June 20th), and Greg Gianforte (elected May 25th) have already been seated.  Facing pressure from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R), Gomez said he actually only gave Governor Brown until June 15th to have his vote on cap and trade. House leaders plan to seat Gomez July 11th when legislators return from recess.

UT-3 / /UT-Gov: Recently-resigned Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) has signed on with Fox News as a contributor. Chaffetz is thought to be considering a 2020 gubernatorial run; a berth at the conservative news network is one effective way to keep his face in front of voters.

MA-6: A profile of Rep. Seth Moulton (D) that highlights his opposition to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s leadership and features gushing praise from General David Petraeus, who he served under during the Iraq surge. The article has an excellent lede that spotlights a thankful letter Moulton sent Pelosi last September, before the 2016 elections (apparently Pelosi’s office saved the note, which the Boston Globe reposted in full in a nice bit of Democratic fratricide). Nowadays, Moulton is a leader of the Democratic opposition to Pelosi. The Minority Leader strongly supported Tierney in Moulton’s 2014 primary with the former incumbent, and her daughter worked as the incumbent’s chief of staff.

MA-7: Cambridge Councilman Nadeem Mazen (D) will primary Rep. Mike Capuano (D). If you don’t know much about Mazen, here’s an AMA he did on Reddit where he says he was an Occupier.

MN-1: High school teacher John Austinson (DFL) is running for the open 1st congressional district seat. Austinson lost a legislative race for a rural Olmstead County seat last cycle by almost 20 points, so I’m sharing this announcement more for the Great Mentioner.

Democrats who have announced they are running so far are former state Sen. Vicki Jensen, of Owatonna, and electronic pull-tabs salesman Colin Minehart of Albert Lea. Two others have said they are mulling a bid — former assistant secretary of defense Dan Feehan and Center for Energy and Environment strategic relations manager Joe Sullivan, both of Mankato.

On the Republican side, there is still officially only one candidate. Blue Earth Republican Jim Hagedorn is running for the seat after narrowly losing to Walz in November. However, several other Republicans are considering getting into the race. They include Republican Party of Olmsted County Chairman [and 2014 MNGOP-endorsed congressional candidate who lost the primary to Hagedorn] Aaron Miller, of Byron; Sen. Carla Nelson, of Rochester; Pierson, of Rochester; and state Rep. Joe Schomacker, of Luverne.

While I’m on my soapbox, I remain flummoxed at the support Hagedorn has received so far. Pierson may be the best candidate electorally on this list, easily holding down a seat just outside rapidly-blueing Rochester in Olmstead County in the last two elections, but so far this open seat just underscores the reality that Minnesota has the lowest-hanging fruit that always stays just out of reach.

NY-27: Rep. Chris Collins (R) lost almost $17 million in stocks in a biotech company on Tuesday after a new drug failed clinical trials. Other Republicans who lost out through their investments (pitched by Collins) include now-HHS Secretary Tom Price (of GA-6 fame) and Reps. Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), Billy Long (MO-7), Mike Conaway (TX-11), and Doug Lamborn (CO-5). Together, the Collins family owns almost a fifth of the company.

VA-10: More Democratic candidates in the clown car race to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) in NoVa. The two new names are Alison Kiehl Friedman, an anti-human trafficking expert and former congressional staffer; and Deep Sran, an Indian-American and the founder of a small private school called the Loudoun School for the Gifted. That brings the total field to seven Democrats, including State Sen. Jennifer Wexton.


TX-GOP / TX-leg: Newly-installed Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey is leading the state party on a major push to influence the upcoming special legislative session. The party’s priorities, chosen by delegates at the last state convention, largely align with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s goals for the session. Curious how this push will impact fundraising for the state party or if it will make much of a difference policy-wise (probably not much on either front).

TX-Ag Comm: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said recently that he is still in the mix for several federal positions in the USDA. The article also features Miller lamenting the blaming the hold-up of lower Cabinet nominees on “the deep state people” in the FBI loyal to Jim Comey. While Miller noted he likes being a “big fish in a small pond” in Texas, if he did take a federal post Gov. Greg Abbott would appoint a replacement to serve through the 2018 elections.

TX-Redistrict: The Houston Chronicle looks at how the Surpreme Court’s look at legislative redistricting in Wisconsin could affect court challenges to Texas’ congressional maps. The Wisconsin case focusones on partisanship as a consideration in redistricting, while in Texas arguments focus on racial discrimination through the drawn lines. In fact, in Texas political considerations tend to be used as the defense for packing and cracking majority-minority areas.

ME-voting: Maine’s ranked choice voting law stands for this year after House and Senate efforts to limit or repeal the legislation fell short. However, opponents expect such a repeal in the next legislative session next January ahead of statewide primary elections in June 2018 that would occur under ranked choice voting. A Maine Supreme Court advisory opinion said that the law was likely unconstitutional regarding the gubernatorial and state legislative elections without a constitutional amendment.

NYC-Mayor: Businessman Paul Massey (R) withdrew from the mayoral race today, citing the difficulty of fundraising and a lack of excitement surrounding his campaign. The withdrawal clears the path for Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis to cinch the Republican nomination. Massey is not rushing to endorse Malliotakis, and his withdrawal opens up the Independence Party line.

Boston-Mayor: A Suffolk poll has incumbent Marty Walsh leading Councilman Tito Jackson 54%-23%. Walsh also has a massive fundraising lead on Jackson, putting a nail in the coffin long before the November 7th election.

Political Roundup for June 20, 2017

T’was the morn before specials,
And all through the districts,
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a – shoot, I didn’t think this one through for something to rhyme.

Anyway, it is special election day in the over-hyped GA-6 and likely snoozefest SC-5. Join us for our liveblog at 7 PM ET, and make sure to check our earlier preview here.


NV-Sen: By now you should have seen the news that freshman Rep. Jackie Rosen (D) will run for Senate against Sen. Dean Heller, one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents this cycle. Read through our post to find some Great Mentioner action.

Yesterday before this news a PPP (D) poll dropped showing generic D leading Heller 46%-39% (for context, this sample voted Hillary over Trump and Johnson 46%-43%-3%).


MN-Gov, St Paul Mayor: The Philando Castile verdict threw a monkey wrench into local DFL politics. Literally the morning after the verdict dropped, Democrats held the St Paul city convention. That meant some activists were out late occupying I-94 and showed up the next morning for some electioneering. The two Democratic candidates for governor with the closest ties to St Paul, State Rep. Erin Murphy and St Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, each dropped press releases on the subject. Murphy’s was more straight-forward, calling for changes in “use of force” laws, while Coleman’s was more political-speakish.

The decision also reverberates in the mayoral race, where candidates all condemned the verdict and one, embattled council member Dai Thao, actually brought a friend of Castile to speak for him. FWIW, no endorsement for mayor was dropped at the convention, with council member Melvin Carter leading the pack in balloting and a primary now on its way.

VA-Gov, VA-10: Our friend Miles Coleman at DDHQ explains why Corey Stewart’s Confederate revival campaign won in VA-10 in NoVa of all places with his trademark pretty maps. Stewart managed to consolidate some anti-Trump voters and benefited from low Republican primary turnout and a third wheel candidate sucking some of Gillespie’s oxygen from the room. For more on Stewart’s almost-upset, see this article in The Atlantic.


GA-6: A sampling of articles to read as E-day hits.

SC-5: Roll Call reminds us not to forget about today’s other special election, where a few national Dem leaders parachuted in but no money or real support for poor Archie Parnell (D). The article even catches one member of DCCC leadership not even knowing his name!

MN-3: Tonka Bay (pop. 1500) councilman Adam Jennings is the latest Democrat to file against Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in this affluent seat in the historically Republican southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Of course, if former State Sen. Terri Bonoff couldn’t do it riding a strong performance here from Hillary last cycle, hard to see how things change now.

WI-1: Ironworker Randy Bryce (D), who ran for local office in 2012, 2013, and 2014, is now running against Speaker Paul Ryan. While supporting candidates against the Speaker here is not as foolhardy as the hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown at Nancy Pelosi’s seat the last few years (see Dennis, John), Ryan still won with 55% in has last close-ish race in 2012, and he took over 60% the last two cycles. Still, credit where credit is due for this great web ad from Bryce. It opens with Ryan discussing tough options on health care and Bryce’s own mom’s struggles, and ends with Bryce offering to trade jobs with Ryan. Bravo for a good hit, though it’s only a web ad with his announcement.

NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) has a primary from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former Sanders organizer affiliated with Brand New Congress. I mainly linked this for the great reminder about how much Crowley’s career has been built through local party machines, which is worth a read if you have forgotten the details. The primary challenger herself seems over-hyped, but I always like to see good Democratic primaries and all that money pouring down the drain.

FL-18: 2016 Senate candidate (who lost to heir force Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic primary) Pam Keith is now going to run against freshman Rep. Brian Mast in this central Florida district. She had a nice resume last time around, but Murphy’s path was well-cleared by his dad’s large donations to Democratic candidates and committees.


WI-Redistrict: Not only did the Supreme Court take on the long-winding Democratic challenge to Republican state legislative redistricting, but they stayed the previous order to change the seats before the 2018 midterms. This means we get to see SCOTUS watch a parade of lawyers try to define gerrymandering for them, which should be fun since Wisconsin is not really the most egregious case to pick out. While it’s not unheard of for the court to issue a stay and then rule against it later, issuing such an order does make it that much more likely SCOTUS will uphold the current maps for Wisconsin. For more detail, see this article.


UT-Dem: Your rival party within your state hates their sitting president and has large numbers of defectors briefly willing to consider another candidate. Of course I talk about how Democrats should see the state of the GOP in Utah, where many young and devout Mormons couldn’t stomach President Trump. What is the Democratic response? Double-down of course, electing a Sanderista named Daisy Thomas as their new chairwoman. Apparently sexual harassment allegations were buzzing during the proceedings regarding a former candidate for the job.

TX-SD-10: A really neat analysis of straight ticket voting in Texas’ only real swing state senate district, formerly held by 2014 gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D) and now held by state Sen. Konni Burton (R). The article notes that the random selection of SD-10 for off-year elections markedly changed its electorate from a tossup presidential one to something closer to lean D in gubernatorial years.


Political Roundup for November 22nd, 2016



Media: Oofta, Donald Trump’s meeting with media executives probably was a nightmare scenario for the latter group. After the media outlets pledged to keep the meeting off the record, a Trump source went to the Trump-friendly New York Post and dropped this description of the meeting.

“It was like a f–ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter…

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars,” the source said.

“Trump didn’t say [NBC reporter] Katy Tur by name, but talked about an NBC female correspondent who got it wrong, then he referred to a horrible network correspondent who cried when Hillary lost who hosted a debate – which was Martha Raddatz who was also in the room.”

Never let the Donald burn you first. Obviously this plays well for Trump’s anti-establishment performance, but I wonder if we’ll see a lot less off-the-record comments from his administration. For a description of the meeting that lionizes Trump less, see here.


Senate, Meet House: Democrats face a tough Senate battlefield next cycle, and Representatives are already lining up to take on incumbents in this Politico Great Mentioner.

  • In Montana, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT-AL) cruised to reelection this cycle, and he has already met with Senate leadership about a campaign. Plus, his boilerplate criticism of the incumbent sounds tailor-made to prepare the foundation of his Senate campaign against Sen. Jon Tester (D).
  • In North Dakota, early Trump endorser Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND-AL) might run against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), despite talk of him being considered for Energy Secretary.
  • In West Virginia, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV-3) and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey could run against Sen. Joe Manchin (D) for Republicans.
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in Missouri could face a number of candidates as the state has moved right, including Reps. Vicky Hartzler, Ann Wagner, or Billy Long (R). Wagner in particular is interesting with her longtime national connections as a former ambassador and RNC Co-Chair.
  • Rep. Luke Messer (R) is mentioned as a potential candidate against Sen. Joe Donnelly (D).

All of these mentions come with the usual caveat that most of these are speculative lists (Zinke notwithstanding) and more and different candidates will come out of the woodwork in these different states.

MO-Sen: Despite bragging about buying ads and setting up Republicans to nominate Todd Akin to ruin their chances at her seat, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) has confirmed she will run for reelection. Adding on to our Great Mentioner above, this article also mentions Rep. Sam Graves as a potential candidate (again, none of these potential candidates have confirmed their interest).

AZ-Sen: Sen. John McCain (R) will decide if he will run for a seventh term in three years.


MN-Gov: We may have only had one official announcement, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see many more gubernatorial campaigns launching soon.. Minnesota politicos expect a flood of candidates for Minnesota Governor. The Star Tribune got a number of politicians to confirm they were considering a bid:


  • State Chairman Keith Downey
  • House Speaker Kurt Daudt
  • Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek
  • 2014 nominee and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson
  • 2014 Senate nominee and business Mike McFadden
  • State Sen. Michelle Benson, who recently joined Senate leadership
  • State Sen. David Osmek, who has a bit of a libertarian / conservative streak
  • State Rep. Matt Dean, who was ousted from leadership a few years back
  • Fox News Contributor and 2012 Senate candidate Pete Hegseth, who lost the nod to then-State Rep. Kurt Bills


  • Former House Majority Leader Erin Murphy [announced]. Murphy spent the last four cycles working on behalf of legislative candidates either helming House caucus efforts or through her leadership posts, so expect many of those favors from grateful incumbents cashed in.
  • Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, Gov. Dayton’s former Chief of Staff who has taken over an increasing amount of the day to day business and headlines in the Capitol
  • State Auditor Rebecca Otto, who is probably the furthest to the left among Minnesota statewide office-holders
  • Attorney General Lori Swanson
  • Former Speaker Paul Thissen
  • St Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
  • Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk

A surprising name pulled himself out of contention: former Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, who had some headlines for his battles with the DNC this year. And other big names are still floating around even if not under the active “considering” label. The biggest ones include Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL), who could switch races; Rep. Tom Emmer (R), who has rehabbed much of his image with an inoffensive brief congressional stint; Rep. Tim Walz (DFL), who barely won reelection this cycle and may be too far to the right for his party primary; Rep. Erik Paulsen (R), fresh off another strong win in his otherwise trending-blue seat; and former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R), ostensibly retired from politics but potentially cash-flush with his lobbying gig representing banks in DC. Any of those five running would shake up the primary calculus and probably pare down the barnyard of candidates currently lining up.


HI-2: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) met with Trump yesterday and discussed Syria policy in detail. Folks have previously talked about how she might be in the running for a cabinet post, but I’m surprised how directly she talked about “the drumbeats of war the neocons have been sounding” and “our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government.” Either way, this article pushed back against the notion the meeting was to give her any kind of formal post. Gabbard has a weird history, endorsing Sanders despite a relatively conservative support network- more on that here.

ME-2: Here’s an example of the type of fluff piece that helps congressmen get entrenched. This one focuses on how hard Rep. Bruce Poliquin works, joining the growing number of legislators who sleep in their offices.

State and Local

Wisconsin-Redistricting: A panel of three federal judges found Wisconsin’s legislative redistricting plan is unconstitutional because it constitutes a partisan gerrymander. Normally courts defer to legislatures on this particular criterion (unlike, say, race), so this new ruling is a big deal. In the past, judges have been stymied by the fact Democratic voters self-pack enough that claims of self-sorting on the part of voters were plausible when you squinted your eyes (and again, coupled with deference to the legislative branch of government). However, a new formula called the efficiency gap aims to mathematically measure the amount of wasted votes by comparing the amount of votes each side wins in excess in seats on its way to victory or defeat. The Times explains the math:

The formula divides the difference between the two parties’ “wasted votes” — votes beyond those needed by a winning side, and votes cast by a losing side — by the total number of votes cast. When both parties waste the same number of votes, the result is zero — an ideal solution. But as a winning party wastes fewer and fewer votes than its opponent, its score rises.

A truly efficient gerrymander spreads a winning party’s votes so evenly over districts that very few votes are wasted. A review of four decades of state redistricting plans concluded that any party with an efficiency gap of 7 percent or more was likely to keep its majority during the 10 years before new districts were drawn. In Wisconsin, experts testified, Republicans scored an efficiency gap rating of 11.69 percent to 13 percent in the first election after the maps were redrawn in 2011.

Again, this formula coupled with actually applying partisanship as a criterion for gerrymandering are both big deals that may be settled by the Supreme Court. We’ll see how quickly this moves, because it could remake the redistricting landscape in 2020.

NY-State Senate: From commenter Manhatlibertarian:

The counting of absentee/provisional ballots begins today for two crucial Long Island state senate races that may determine who controls the NY State Senate. It is likely that GOP State Senator Carl Marcellino, who led by 2425 votes in the unofficial count, will prevail in his race, where there are more than 7500 absentee ballots and a smaller number of provisional ballots. If he prevails the GOP will stay in control of the NY State Senate, as Brooklyn DINO State Senator Felder has now announced he will stay with the GOP caucus (no real surprise).

Meanwhile, in the close contest between Dem John Brooks and incumbent GOP State Senator Mike Venditto in the 8th SD, as of Nov 15 (deadline for absentee ballots except military ones) there were about 7400 absentee ballots (mainly from Nassau County) and about 1500 provisional ballots. Those numbers are unlikely to have changed much as there have likely been only a trickle of military ballots since then (they are due today at the latest). Some of the absentee ballots were submitted before Venditto’s father, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, was indicted on Oct 20, which should help Venditto, but it is not clear how many were received before that date. Venditto trailed Brooks by 33 votes in the unofficial returns. If Venditto also wins the GOP will have an absolute majority in the State Senate, so then DINO Felder’s support is only the icing on the cake.

The absentee/provisional ballot counting will go from Monday to Wednesday and then break for Thanksgiving and continue the Monday after Thanksgiving. The ballots will be scrutinized by lawyers from both sides and I would expect there will be a number of challenges to the validity of ballots on various grounds (in one recent contest an absentee ballot got tossed because it has a coffee stain on it).

To make matters more interesting, Harlem State Sen. Bill Perkins will soon leave the chamber to run for an open city council seat (referencing the dysfunction of the Senate, he said he could be “more effective” on local issues). While his Senate seat is safe Democratic, the more important part of this is that Democrats will be a vote short for some time as Republicans maintain a narrow majority. Assembly staffer Troy Outlaw, aligned with Rep. Charlie Rangel, and Marvin Holland, aligned with newly-elected Rep. Espaillat (D), will run for the seat.

NH-State Senate: Last week Republican David French sealed the deal in his race after a recount, giving Republicans a 14-10 majority in that body.

TX-State House: A recount looms in a district 105, a swingy district where Rep. Rodney Anderson (R) leads his challenger by 64 votes after all provisional ballots were counted yesterday. Either way, the Texas House remains blood-red with 95 Republicans in the 150-member chamber after losing three incumbents this cycle (assuming Anderson hangs on as expected).

WI-State Senate: Democrat Jennifer Schilling is 56 votes up on Dan Kapanke in the 32d district, where the race will go to a recount. Despite Kapanke’s likely loss, Republicans retain a 20-13 majority.

St Paul-Mayor: A new group is working to toss out ranked choice voting in St Paul, Minnesota’s local elections. If a court or charter comission won’t throw it out, the group will work to put a referendum on the ballot for November 2017. Former councilman Melvin Carter III (D) and former School Board member and attorney Tom Goldstein (not the one from SCOTUSBlog) have already filed papers to run for mayor as well.

Texas-Voter ID: AG Ken Paxton and the Obama administration are feuding over if Texas’ voter ID law was intentionally discriminatory to racial minorities in dueling filings. Of course, intent is tough to prove in court in these kinds of cases, and it’s hard to see a Sessions DoJ pushing this issue so aggressively.

Political Roundup for November 2nd, 2016

Less than a week left until the big day, even if election day has already happened for millions of Americans through early and absentee voting.


African American Vote: The change in the Latino vote this cycle has masked a less marked but definite shift against Democrats among African American voters. Specifically, it seems less black voters are turning out this cycle, whether due to the dynamics of the race or simply Obama missing from the ballot changing voters’ decision to vote. The article also argues that restrictions on early voting may also be negatively impacting turnout in this community.

UT-Pres/McMullen: Last minute deplorable negative attacks? Check, this time in the form of robocalls into Utah from a white nationalist claiming Evan McMullen is gay and will let Mormons be massacred. Of course anyone who knows Mormons knows this kind of outright tarring doesn’t play well in the community. Also interestingly, Johnson stopped in Utah yesterday and basically conceded the state and the race.

Ryan: Speaker Paul Ryan has already voted for Donald Trump. I guess the subtext is, “Please, please leave me alone. It’s done.” You only have a week left Mr. Speaker.


Overview: Rothenberg provides a concise description of where the major battlegrounds are at a week out. Translated into RRH rankings:

  • AZ and OH Likely R
  • WI and IL Likely D (although he doesn’t note the late wave of spending in WI)
  • FL Lean R
  • NV Lean D
  • PA and IN Tossup (strong GOP campaigns)
  • NC, MO, and NH Tossup

WI-Sen/WI-7: After appearing together at a Trump rally yesterday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R) have teamed up together to run a joint ad. It’s an interesting move despite being legal, because you’d think Duffy in an edge-of-competitive seat would want to steer clear of an incumbent going down and a tarred presidential candidate. However, Duffy might be eyeing a Senate campaign of his own in 2018, so he’s been happy to serve as a surrogate for Johnson while coasting to his own reelection.

NV-Sen: Why are we letting Heck’s not-quite support for Trump get relitigated over and over? Anyway, the candidate isn’t doing a good job with consistency on the issue of Trump. Here’s where he seems to stand now, but a lack of consistency just invites continued poking from the press.


PA-9: Art Halvorson is running an interesting campaign as a downed Republican primary challenger who ran from the right but managed to win the Democratic nomination for the same seat simultaneously. It’s a race we’ve kept an eye on this cycle just for the interesting dynamics. However, Halverson has now been accused by a female volunteer of his opponent, Rep. Bill Shuster, of grabbing her wrist in August. Halverson has been charged with a misdemeanor, and Shuster’s campaign supports the accusation.

MN-8: Fueled by Trump’s overperforming (admittedly based on limited public polling data) in this white working class district, Minnesota’s eighth has become one of the most prominent battlegrounds in the House this cycle. Nolan’s already had two vice presidents stump for him in the last week.

FL-7: This Politico article about Rep. John Mica’s (R) reelection is fairly damning. It shows the candidate laughing off how underfunded and outgunned his campaign is without a campaign manager or fulltime press operation. It features scenes of the candidate door knocking without professionally printed literature and not asking for anyone’s vote. It describes a candidate who just went on the air and admits he will be massively outspent by his opponent, Stephanie Murphy (D), before all is said and done. Throw in the recent redistricting making a lot of these voters new for Mica? Ugh, this is malpractice.

CA-49: Donald Trump is tweeting out his support of Rep. Darrell Issa, which I’m not sure the congressman would really want to stress a week before election day in an unusually competitive race.

TX-23: Strong early voting numbers are making it hard for Rep. Will Hurd (R) to change the dynamics of this race, despite easily outraising opponent and former Rep. Pete Gallego (D). El Paso County yesterday cracked 100k early voters as an example. This seat normally flips back and forth each cycle anyway as Texas’ only true congressional swing seat. Meanwhile, Bexar County continues to face lawsuits over voter ID tussles.

WY-AL: Safe in her own new seat with the GOP nod, Liz Cheney is making it rain (with personal monetary donations) for Republicans in swing seats.

State and Local

TX-Leg: Campaign finance reports dropped Monday. Excepting the exception of a seat in Pasadena (that unexpectedly flipped R in 2014), Republicans easily outlapped Democrats in fundraising in swing seats.

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