Last night, school board member Kevin Vaughn (R) won the GOP primary for the safely Republican TN-LD-95.
CT-Gov: State Comptroller Kevin Lembo (D) has officially opened an exploratory committee to run for governor. He is the 4th Democrat to indicate a possible run, joining Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, former state Sen. and Dept. of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei. LG Nancy Wyman (D) is also considered a possible candidate and as Lembo is friends with her, he says his interest in running should not be interpreted as signifying that she will not run and he says he would defer to her if she does run.
More CT-Gov: You can add one more name to the Democratic primary as well, as Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim (D), who was re-elected mayor after a stint in federal prison, is also set to enter the contest today.
MN-Gov: State Rep. Matt Dean (R) announced yesterday he plans to run for governor. Dean has been in the State House since 2005 and served as majority leader from 2011-2013. He has the most political experience of anyone currently running on the Republican side, joining Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman, and political novices Christopher Chamberlin and Phillip Parrish. Dean has said he plans to seek the Republican Party endorsement and will abide by it and not run in a primary if he doesn’t get it.
WI-Gov: State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) says she is still considering running for governor, Vinehout is one of the few Democrats still considering running after a number of others including Rep. Ron Kind, former state Sen. Tim Cullen and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi have declined to run. Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, attorney Matt Flynn, state Rep. Dana Wachs and Jefferson County Attorney and unsuccessful 2014 Democratic AG nominee Susan Happ are others who are considering running.
MN-7: Rep. Collin Peterson (D), who is consistently high on retirement watchlists is going to run for yet another term. After two failed bids for the seat in 1984 and 1986(when he lost by just 121 votes), Peterson defeated incumbent Rep. Arlan Stangeland (R) in 1990. He then survived two close re-election bids in 1992 and 1994 and had coasted to easy re-election victories for the next 20 years, helped by positioning himself solidly on the right side of the Democratic Party in the Republican district. In 2014 he was made a target by the NRCC and won by 9 points, below his usual margins but a solid win for a Democrat in a red district. Last year however he had a much closer race than expected, beating a severely underfunded Republican opponent by just 5 points. At the same time, his district stampeded hard towards Donald Trump, voting for him by 31 points(Romney won the district by 10 points in 2012). Dave Hughes, the Some Dude-ish Republican who faced him in 2016 is planning to run again, but with the NRCC making Peterson a target again, it’s likely that more high profile candidates will step up.
OK-1: Former Tulsa County DA Tim Harris (R) has announced he plans to run for Congress in 2018, or possibly sooner. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) has been mentioned as a candidate to head NASA, so a special election may be necessary. Bridenstine is likely not seeking re-election anyway as he pledged after being first elected in 2012 to only serve 3 terms in Congress, and he has given no indication he plans to violate that pledge. Former Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Jr. (R) and former state House Speaker and unsuccessful 2014 US Senate candidate T.W. Shannon (R) have also been mentioned as possibilities to run.
UT-4: Darlene McDonald, a technical engineer and first time political candidate has filed to challenge Rep. Mia Love (R) next year as a Democrat. If she wins the Democratic nomination, it would set up an interesting general election-between two black women in a district where only 2% of the residents are black. Other Democrats are considering running as well.
State & Local:
FL-SD-40: State Rep. Daisey Baez (D) plans to run in the special election to replace former Sen. Frank Artiles (R), who resigned after criticism of racist remarks he had made. Baez, who was elected to her first term in the House last year, acknowledged that she does not currently live in SD-40. She would have to move to the district in order to represent it. State Rep. Robert Ascencio (D) is also considering running. Republicans are hoping state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R) will run. Gov. Rick Scott (R) has yet to set a date for the special election.
HI-LG: Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa says he is “very strongly inclined” to run for Lieutenant Governor next year. Although Arakawa used to be a Republican, he said he had not run for a partisan office since 1994(local offices are nonpartisan) and plans to run as a Democrat. A swap of offices could be in the works as current LG Shan Tsutsui (D) is expected to announce later this year he plans to run for Maui Mayor. Arakawa interestingly also says he expects Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, who he has a close relationship with, to run for governor and thinks he will defeat Gov. David Ige (D) in the Democratic primary.
KS-Treasurer: Jake LaTurner (R) is the new state Treasurer of Kansas after former Treasurer Ron Estes (R) was sworn in as a Congressman on Tuesday. LaTurner was a state senator before being appointed to the position by Gov. Sam Brownback (R). Republican Party committee members in the district will choose a replacement to be submitted to Brownback to fill the senate seat. LaTurner said he had been “sort of looking at” a bid for KS-2 next year before being appointed state treasurer, but now will run for a full term in the position next year.
UK-election: A poll indicates that the expected Conservative landslide in the June general election could even extend into Scotland. The poll, commissioned by the Sunday Times Scotland has the Tories at 33%, 18 points ahead of where they were in 2015. The SNP got 44% support in the poll, while Labour has fallen to 13%, 11 points down from 2015. The Conservatives are increasingly being seen as the better alternative over Labour for voters who supported the No side in the 2014 independence referendum and who voted for Leave in the Brexit vote last year. The numbers project the Tories to win as many as 12 seats in Scotland, picking up 10 from the SNP and 1 from Labour, which would represent their best numbers since the early 1970s. Among the SNP seats thought to be at risk is Moray, currently held by SNP Deputy Leader Angus Robertson, where Leave only narrowly lost last year in the Brexit referendum.