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Political Roundup for June 12th, 2017

Tomorrow is the Virginia primary; we will have a full preview up at 3 ET today. To tide you over, here’s the electoral news that you might have missed this weekend.

Over the weekend, Liberal Independent councilman Ron Nirenberg won the Mayor’s office in San Antonio and ex-State Rep. Dee Margo (R) won the Mayor’s office in El Paso. Puerto Rico voted 97% for statehood with low turnout amid a boycott by anti-statehood parties. The center-right DPK ousted the populist-right DLK in Kosovo, and En Marche remained on course for a large majority in France‘s parliament.

Congress

AL-Sen: Al.com did a nice rundown of the candidates who are seeking to replace AG Jeff Sessions now that he’s been confirmed and has left his Senate seat. The attached bios are interesting and informative. Of course, former state AG Luther Strange (R) has already been appointed to the seat, but he doesn’t lack for primary challengers.

AZ-02: Oh, boy. Someone got hold of a recording of Rep. Martha Mcsally (R) telling a roomful of donors that current polling shows her behind for reelection. now, this could have easily been a worse-case scenario poll and she was just using it to open donors’ wallets. That’s not an uncommon tactic. However, it’s also not uncommon to use a more normal internal poll to do the same thing if that’s what the numbers are showing. I guess we’ll just have to wait for more polls (though public house polls are are about as common as phone booths these days).

CO-02: Well, that was fast. After Rep. Jared Polis (D) announced his campaign for Governor yesterday, former CU Regent Joe Neguse (D) wasted no time in announcing for Pols’ seat in Congress. Negus may be first, but he won’t be last. The Boulder area has a lot of ambitious Democrats, and the chance at a safe seat will be tempting to many of them.

GA-06: It’s kind of a ‘no duh’ thing, but it’s nice to hear confirmation. Anger at President Donald Trump is definitely driving Democratic turnout in the upcoming special election in Atlanta’s northern suburbs. Among several other things, it’s one factor giving the Democrats a decent chance at picking up what is normally a solidly Republican district.

PA-06: Steve Stivers is either being remarkably candid or remarkably devious. He recently told a reporter that the seat currently held by Rep. Ryan Costello (R) was likely a tipping-point seat for the House majority in 2018. Either he really is scared of Costello’s main opponent (Costello won by 14 last time) or he’s trying to con the DCCC into spending more money there.

Governor

FL-Gov: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) is trying, but it just isn’t enough. He’s pointing out that he has the most individual donors of any gubernatorial campaign, by a long shot. That’s great, but in a huge state like Florida, big money and name rec, attributes that his primary opponents former Rep. Gwen Graham (D) and trial lawyer John Morgan (D), are pretty much required to win a competitive statewide race. Gillum is impressive, but he really should have run for a lower statewide office instead of the big job.

IL-Gov: Buried in this article about the continued political impasses and budget woes (or is that budget impasses and political woes?) in the Land of Lincoln is an important observation; next year’s gubernatorial race will surely be the most expensive in state history. Not only will wealthy Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) be spending his own money, but his most likely opponent, rich guy J.B. Pritzker (D), is self-funding as well. Even if Pritzker loses the primary, he’ll likely do so to a Kennedy! Lord knows they have money too.

VA-Gov: A new poll from Change Research brings us some interesting results. It shows former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) leading Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) by 8 points. The lead isn’t surprising, though the margin is. In the Republican primary, it shows Prince William County Executive Corey Stewart leading former Senate candidate Ed Gillespie by a point. That’s a bit of a shocker, given Gillespie’s widely-acknowledged frontrunner status. I guess we’ll find out if the poll is right tomorrow night.

State/Local

FL-CFO: State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) has had a significant boost in his quest to become the Sunshine State’s Chief Financial Officer. Ring was endorsed over the weekend by the state’s professional firefighters association. This is only for the Democratic primary, though. It will be interesting to see if he can get it in the general, as this is the kind of endorsement that Republicans often snag.

VA-LG: Lt. Gov. hopeful and State Sen. Bryce Reeves (R) is taking some flack for a mailer he sent out about his opposition to a gay judge. This is not a great story for anyone’s campaign, but it should blow over soon. I say that because insiders are pegging fellow contender Jill Vogel (R) as most likely to win the nomination in tomorrow’s primary.

Philly: It looks like the days of the vaunted Philadelphia Democratic Machine (long may it reign) may be numbered. After Larry Krasner (Progressive D) beat machine-approved Democrats in the primary for DA, it’s been found that young voters helped him do it. You might not be surprised by that, but you will be by this; youth turnout tripled it’s normal local primary level. That suggests that the young may turn out more in the future as well. Boss Brady needs to find some way to get them disinterested again or coopts them.

International

UK: With Prime Minister Theresa May looking like a dead woman walking after last week’s embarrassing election results, there’s fresh speculation about who is going to lead the Conservative Party. Early odds point to it being former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (Cosmopolitan Trump), but there are several contenders.

UK Election Liveblog #4

BBC Live BBC Results Page ITV

2:00 ET – There are 7 seats left to declare, but there’s almost certainly going to be a Tory-Unionist coalition government. Only Theresa May herself knows if she’ll be at its head. I’m closing down the liveblog, as this has been a tiring night and I have to travel tomorrow. Night y’all!

1:31 ET – In the newest episode of ‘Every Vote Counts,’ the SNP has held North East Fife against the LibDems by 2(!) votes.

1:11 ET – Smaller Parties Update: It seems that Plaid Cymru has taken Ceredigion from the LibDems, shutting the latter party out of Wales. Meanwhile, the Greens have held their only seat in Brighton Pavilion.

12:35 ET – We’re just waiting for the final batch of seats. There are a few still in doubt, including Kensington (Tory seat where Labour is threatening) and Dumfries and Galloway (SNP seat where the Tories could win).

11:57 ET – Home Secretary Amber Rudd has squeaked by and won reelection. She is one of the leading contenders to replace May if the PM resigns.

11:46 ET – Somewhat lost in the shuffle tonight is that three parties have been eliminated from parliament. The SDLP (nationalist, left-wing, non-abstentionist) lost its 3 seats, and the UUP (unionist) lost its only seat. Both are Northern Irish parties. UKIP lost its only seat as Clacton in Essex went to the Tories.

11:30 ET – We’re getting into that part where a lot of what’s left are safe Tory seats, though that should be slightly less true this time around.

UK Election Liveblog #3

BBC live  BBC results page   ITV

11:30 ET – Please the discussion to the new thread.

11:21 ET – A pattern has now emerged. Labour gains several seats from the Tories in England, the Tories grab one back in Northern England, then take several in Scotland. The result is a net Labour gain, but not a major one. To this point, Labour has taken several more Conservative seats, but the Tories flipped Mansfield in West Yorkshire from them. Now Team Blue has beaten SNP stalwart Alex Salmond in Gordon.

11:05 ET – Three more Scottish results just dropped, and they were all Tory gains from the SNP. The Conservatives have now taken 9 seats from the SNP, which is somewhat making up for losses to Labour in England, though not completely.

10:34 ET – The BBC estimate is now that the Tories will get 318 seats. If that holds, Theresa May will resign and a new Tory leader will likely make a deal with DUP to form a coalition.

10:13 ET – The LibDems have managed to take one seat back in SW England. Bath swung to them massively as they took it from the Tories, likely with Green Labour help. Sour-grapes Remainers are likely to blame.

10:10 ET – Rumors are now flying that Theresa May will resign as PM if the Tories fall short of a majority on their own. Ready the Boris Cam.

10:00 ET – It looks like the LibDems won’t be shut out in England after all. Former Business Minister Vince Cable has retaken his old seat of Twickenham from the Tories in SW London.

9:48 ET – Former LibDem leader, former Deputy Prime Minister, and Liberal stalwart Nick Clegg has lost his seat in Sheffield.

9:45 ET – The way that things are going right now, the Liberal Democrats might be an exclusively Scottish and Welsh party after tonight. They’re gaining in Scotland, but are losing seats in England despite their previously terrible performance in 2015. They thought they’d bounce back, but it’s only happening north of the border right now.

9:33 ET – In a rare Tory gain in England, they’ve taken Southport in the North West from the LibDems.

9:27 ET – Son_of_the_South taking over for now. It looks like a combination of sour-grapes Remainers, increased youth turnout, many Ukippers going back to Labour, and a terrible Tory campaign have likely lost Theresa May her majority (and possibly her job). The only saving grace so far is that the SNP is being smashed on all sides, mostly benefitting the Conservatives. If the Tories can form a government at all, they likely have Ruth Davidson to thank.

9:21 ET– The big loser tonight appears to be the SNP. A second independence referendum appears to be dead.

UK Election Liveblog #2

BBC live  BBC results page   ITV

9:18 ET– Westminster SNP leader Angus Robertson goes down to the Tories in Moray.

9:17 ET– BBC increases projection for Conservative seats from 314 to 322.

9:03 ET– Labour takes Battersea in one of the heaviest Remain areas in the country.

9:00 ET– An indication of the very diverging results from around the country-the Tories hold Warwickshire North with a large swing towards them. Was actually something of a Labour target.

8:58 ET– The Tories take the Scotland seat of Angus from the SNP.

8:50 ET– So far, only a small swing to Labour nationwide. But wide differences in results from different regions make it harder to get a big picture nationally thus far.

8:41 ET– Labour takes back the Welsh seat of Vale of Clwyd they lost to the Tories in 2015.

8:28 ET– Zac Goldsmith(losing Tory candidate for London mayor last year) may win back the seat he lost to the Lib Dems(as an independent) late last year.

8:15 ET– Labour picks up the Scotland seat of Rutherglen and Hamilton West from the SNP.

7:53 ET– Labour hold the North East seat of Darlington. The Tories were hoping to pick the seat up if they were headed for a large landslide.

7:37 ET– Tories hold the swing seat of Nuneaton. Big hold and the first real good news for them.

7:20 ET– Rumors are that the Tories may be decimated in London. Labour says they have won Kensington and they may have won Battersea as well.

UK Election Liveblog

BBC live  BBC results page   ITV

7:00 ET Swindon North(safe Tory seat) shows a slightly better result for Labour than the exit poll. This is the first result outside of the North East.

6:55 ET– Lib Dems are concerned about former leader Nick Clegg losing his seat of Sheffield Hallam.

6:53 ET– Tories are optimistic about winning the seats of both Angus Robertson, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, and former SNP leader Alex Salmond.

6:46 ET– Sunderland Central shows a 2% swing to the Tories-just like the other 2 a better result for the Tories than the exit poll would suggest.

6:45 ET– Even some Labour people are questioning the exit poll. One MP says there is no way they are gaining 34 seats based on the early results.

6:40 ET– It will be 8:00 or so before we start getting the results from seats that may indicate which way things are going. Nuneaton is a key seat expected to declare around that time-the Tories winning it in 2015 was the first sign that they were doing well.

6:07 ET: Houghton & Sunderland South results shows a better result for the Tories than the exit poll projected. Exit poll projected a 3% swing to Labour instead of the 3% swing to the Tories as the result is.

6:00 ET– Newcastle Central has beaten out Houghton & Sunderland South for the first seat to declare. It is also a safe Labour seat in the North East. The swing to Labour was 2%, less than what would be expected from the exit poll.

5:45 ETA possible interesting result if the exit poll is right-the Tories could gain a number of seats in Scotland even while losing seats in England.

5;37 ET: Expect the first result, from Houghton & Sunderland South(traditionally the first to declare) to come in soon. It is a safe Labour seat in the North East however, and not much can usually be read from its results on a national basis.

5:20 ET-A rumor says that Home Secretary Amber Rudd could be in trouble in her Hastings and Rye constituency. Losing that seat would be really bad for the Tories as Labour has not won it since 1997.

5:05 ET– If the seat projections hold true, the Tories would still hold government as there are not enough Labour+SNP seats to form government.

5:00 ET: The exit poll projects the Conservatives are the largest party, but do not have a majority. Projections have them with 314 seats, 12 short of a majority.

4:55 ET: We’ll start the liveblog a little early just as a heads up to watch for the release of projections based on exit poll results right as the polls close at 10PM in the UK(BBC always releases them as Big Ben strikes 10). If projections show anything less than a Conservative majority, we may be in for a long night. For an idea of what the UK election coverage will look like please take a look at this very helpful Election Night Special video HERE.

Political Roundup for June 7th, 2017

Howdy from chronically underrated Houston, Texas, a culturally vibrant snapshot of the country’s demographically diverse and economically promising future. Speaking of Texas, check back at 3p ET today for our preview of this weekend’s Mayoral Runoffs in San Antonio and El Paso. Anyway, from last night: After winning their respective primaries in the Garden State last night, NJ Lt. Gov Kim Guadagno (R) and former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy (D) will now face off in November. Guadagno’s odds are only slightly greater than were those of fellow Jersey resident Vito Spatafore. In CA-34, State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) won 60-40 amid low turnout. For the NJ Legislature, all incumbents held on easily and Kristen Corrado’s (R) ticket won in SD-40. One off-the-Line candidate won in LD-1, with Downe Twp. Mayor Robert Campbell (R) beating a candidate who imploded for the second slot.

For an incredible peek at the political future of the red-but-blueing Sunbelt, check out the Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s 35th and 36th annual Houston Area Surveys; the Kinder Institute’s polls have long been the most comprehensive non-U.S. Census survey of any American locale. The annual project has not only tracked changes in Greater Houston’s economy and its demographics but also trends in Harris County residents’ opinions on questions of urban development, religion, LGBT issues, abortion, politics, race relations, diversity, immigration, economic policy, criminal justice, and more (and, in the last two years, those of Montgomery and Fort Bend residents as well).

A teaser: Whereas 45% of Harris County residents in 2010-11 agreed that “Immigrants to the U.S. generally contribute more to the American economy than they take,” that number had steadily risen to 63% by 2016-17. In the same years, support for the idea that “The increasing immigration into this country today mostly strengthens, rather than threatens, American culture,” rose from 46% to 65%. Finally, while 55% of Harris County residents in 2010-11 believed that “The U.S. should admit the same number or more legal immigrants in the next ten years as were admitted in the last ten years,” that number grew to 71% in 2016-17. Of interest, these trends have also been broken down by age and race (with white Harris Baby Boomers earning their own section). Similarly, strong growth has been noted in support for LBGT issues and in opposition to the death penalty and mandatory prison sentencing for non-violent drug offenders.

I highly recommend looking through the wealth of public opinion data and trends found in these reports; they likely yield insights not only for understanding political trends in Greater Houston but also those in similarly high-growth Sunbelt metros like the Research Triangle, Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and Nashville. In any case, the national GOP would be wise to take these trends into account when planning to fight the blueing of these metros, many of America’s fastest-growing…

Congress

CA-39: Citing Republican incumbent Ed Royce’s vote on Trumpcare, pediatrician Mai Tran (D) is running for Congress in this Clinton-won, diversifying district.

FL-27: State Rep. David Richardson (D), a retired forensic auditor, has become the seventh Democrat to enter the race to replace retiring US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) in her medium-blue Miami-based district. Richardson, who is gay, is well-positioned to receive strong support from the district’s large, prosperous LGBT community.

GA-06: The failing New York Times (Sad!) offers up a summary of last night’s debate between retread Karen Handel (R) and talking points machine Jon Ossoff (D), who is allegedly not a DCCC-programmed hologram.

More GA-06: According to Roll Call, turnout for the June special general election in Georgia’s sixth congressional district is on pace to exceed that of the special primary. With some analyses pointing to general election turnout for Democrats and primary turnout for Republicans in round one, Republicans are likely to paint increased turnout as good news for the Trump-supported Handel, a consistent trailer in public polling.

NY-US House: As RRH regulars know, Governor Andrew Cuomo (the State GOP’s most powerful supporter D) walks a perilous, Tappan Zee Bridge-length tightrope of beating back New York’s sizable moonbat horde from controlling state politics while simultaneously preparing himself for two elections with drastically different dynamics: his 2018 re-election bid and a 2020 presidential run. Lest local Democrats should worry about the governor’s commitment to his state party’s power in light of the state’s divided government, the ever-bold Cuomo has declared his support for helping Democrats win back… New York’s nine Republican-controlled US House seats. Nice.

VA-02/WATN: Freshman US Rep. Scott Taylor (R) is one of two House Republicans supporting a federal ban on anti-LGBT discrimination. Ex-Rep Randy Forbes (R), a theocrat who ceased payment of his NRCC dues over the committee’s support of gay Republican House candidates, is likely now stewing even more than ever after his 2016 primary loss to Taylor.

Governor

Illinois: Yesterday, furthering the circling of the Illinois Democratic establishment around Hyatt Hotels heir J.B. Pritzker (D), the powerful state AFL-CIO officially endorsed his candidacy. Judging by the union’s decision to endorse so early in the cycle, Madiganistan Democrats are pulling out all the stops to convince Heir Force General Chris Kennedy (D) to drop his quest for relevance in Hyannisport.

More Illinois: State Rep. Scott Drury, a North Shore Democrat who courageously cast the lone dissent to Third World Dictator State House Speaker Mike Madigan’s re-coronation this year, excoriated the IL Dems’ longtime fearless leader as he announced his longshot bid for Illinois’ second most powerful position.

Virginia: In this detailed piece, the New York Times breaks down June 13th’s Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, a contest between Cruzian reactionary and Lt. Gov Ralph Northam and bold progressive hero and ex-US Rep. Tom Perriello. While the Sandernista Perriello is challenging a consummate insider in one of the country’s most establishment-oriented states, the momentum in the race appears to be his. Yet, despite the anti-establishment fervor stirred up by US Sen. Bernie Sanders (“I”)’s 2016 presidential bid, Northam still appears to narrowly lead with one week left.

Places that wish they were America

United Kingdom: According to this Bloomberg report, Labour officials are privately expecting their party to lose dozens of House of Commons seats in the United Kingdom’s upcoming snap election.

Political Roundup for June 5th, 2017

Later today we’ll have a preview for the gubernatorial and legislative primaries in New Jersey and CA-34 Runoff. Until then, gorge yourselves on electoral goodness with me down below.

Congress

OH-Sen: As the article points out, this one escalated quickly. After Cleveland banker Mike Gibbons (R) jumped into the Buckeye State’s senatorial campaign, he immediately started attacking primary opponent State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) for being a career politician. Gibbons also raised $250,000 without self-funding in just a few days. Mandel already has $600,000, but almost half the gap is already gone. What looked like a sleepy primary is getting interesting. Whichever man wins will face Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the general election.

MI-Sen: Though businesswoman Lena Epstein (R) has already launched her bid against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D), she may not be alone for long. This article suggests that both businessman John James (R) and state Supreme Court Justice Bob Young (R) are also testing the waters.

Governor

MN-Gov: If you’re an Outstate DFLer, you just got some great news; Rep. Rick Nolan (D) will run for reelection and not for Governor. This leaves fellow Outstate congressman Tim Walz (D) with his best possible shot at the nomination and keeps an incumbent running in a Trump district at the same time. That’s a win-win unless you’re a Republican, in which case it sucks.

NV-Gov: Though he hasn’t yet announced his expected campaign for Governor next year, AG Adam Laxalt (R) is already piling-up cash. His campaign account now has $600,000 on hand. That’s quite a decent amount for this early in the games in a fairly small state.

TN-Gov: Speaking of things sucking for people, it probably doesn’t feel great to be State Sen. Mark Green (R) right now. Green was running for Governor, but was then nominated to be Secretary of the Army, causing him to leave the race. Then after someone unearthed some fairly tame comments he made a few years ago about gay rights, he dropped out of contention for that role. Now, he has decided to not resume his campaign. He cites the fact that other campaigns were already rising to fill his anti-establishment niche.

State/Local

ME-IRV: Because the ranked-choice ballot initiative that passed narrowly in 2016 was invalidated as against the state constitution by the Maine Supreme Court, supporters are now asking the legislature to amend the state constitution to achieve the same goal. I’m not holding my breath on this one.

PA-Redistrict: A Democratic state senator from the Pittsburgh area has proposed a bill to turn over control of the Keystone State’s redistricting to a panel of five commissioners (two from each party and a tiebreaker). Seeing as redistricting is currently controlled by an unholy but effective alliance of Republicans and the Philadelphia Democratic machine, I don’t see this going anywhere.

TX-GOP: After the surprise resignation of state party Chairman Tom Mechler, Texas Republicans now once again have a leader. Travis County Chairman James Dickey has won a narrow race for the top job in one of America’s biggest state parties.

International

Indonesia: This one is a bit scary. It seems that when Jakarta’s governor lost reelection recently, he did so solely because he wasn’t Muslim. He had a 76% approval rating, but 30% of voters stated that that though they approved of his job performance, sharia law dictated that they must vote for his Muslim opponent. Moreover, he’s now facing blasphemy charges for suggesting that Muslims didn’t have to vote for him to due to sharia law,

UK: Our friends over at 538 have an excellent piece on whether or not the polls showing a close race with a small Tory lead are skewed in favor of Labour or not (some polls show a much bigger lead). This is worth a read if you’ve been recently confused by the contradictory polls coming out of Britain lately.

UK Election Preview

On June 8th, voters across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will go to the polls to elect a new parliament after Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election. She called the election in a bid to increase her slim majority in the face of the Brexit negotiations with the EU. Her main opposition is the Labour party, led by their left-wing and fairly controversial leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The UK uses a winner-take-all first-past-the-post system similar that which is used for election to the U.S. House of Representatives. 650 members are elected and 323ish members are needed for a majority (because Sinn Fein refuse to show up). There a few ways to watch the results, but I recommend the BBC. This will be the final hurrah of David Dimbleby, the legendary news presenter who hosts Question Time and has anchored every general election results program since 1979.

The Polls

This election has been a polling rollercoaster with two different tracks. All of the polling started off with the Tories having a massive lead. The only disagreements were about whether the lead was 15 points or 20 points. Over the last few weeks, that lead has steadily shrunk, with the Tories dropping a little and Labour surging by consolidating the left and squeezing the smaller parties. However, we’re still left with two very different polling narratives. One says that the Tories are only ahead by 3-6 points. All of the polls in this group did not start weighting for turnout by age and class after the 2015 polling miss. The other group is made up of pollsters who did make methodological changes. This group tends to have the Tories leading by 10-14 points. As often is the case, the result all comes down to what you believe about turnout. A 3-point victory would like result in a Tory minority government. A 12-point one would give May a huge majority. Given the unreliability of British polling in general, that’s pretty much the tightest range of possibility available.

The Campaigns

Though the Tories started with a large polling lead, their campaign hasn’t been very masterful, to say the least. They’ve been running a prevent defense strategy and had several very unpopular manifesto pledges. At the beginning, the focus was on their strengths; Brexit, the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn, and the Trident nuclear deterrent. However, in the last few weeks, the discussion shifted to the party manifestos, and the Tories suffered for it. It also hasn’t helped that while Theresa May has done interviews and taken questions from voters, she has refused to debate. However, in the last few days the conversation has shifted, first to the Manchester bombing, and now back to Brexit. The worst is probably over.

Labour, by contrast, has run a very good campaign. Corbyn hasn’t been overly visible, but he did show up at the last leaders’ debate earlier this week. Corbyn has also found and deployed a surprisingly good surrogate in Barry Gardiner. Corbyn himself has also seemed to be enjoying the campaign (in contrast to May) and has cut down his unpopularity to a much more manageable level. Though arguably unfeasible from a tax perspective, the Labour manifesto contained many popular spending pledges for increases to public services. Now that the discussion is mostly turning away from manifestos, we’ll see if not having to talk about Brexit was the main reason for their rise or not.

As for the Liberal Democrats, Britain’s traditional third party, their campaign has been hilariously ineffective. They decided after the terrible losses that they took last time that they would rebrand from being the party of rural populists and young people to being the party of young people and hardcore Remainers. The only big problem with that last part was that though 48% voted to Remain, only 22% support remaining now that they lost the referendum. Combine that with a leader (Tim Farron) who occasionally makes strange comments about religion and the launching of their manifesto in a nightclub, and you might begin to see the problem.

Regional Differences

There can be, and often are, very significant differences in swing on a regional basis. What plays well in one place doesn’t in an another. Long-term trends also manifest themselves even if the underlying issues aren’t the issues of the day. Finally, local factors in countries that aren’t England, such as nationalist minor parties, also play a role. The rest of this preview covers those differences and gives clues to what to look for on election night in each region.

Southern England

This is by far the Tories’ strongest region. It’s strongly rural and suburban with a white-collar bent. As with now, when they’re in the majority, they control about 90% of the region’s almost 200 seats. There are only a few competitive constituencies in the region, though there are still some targets. Polling suggests that the region will be very similar in margin to 2015.

Seats to watch:

Southampton Test – If the Conservatives take this (the last seat that they don’t hold in Hampshire), then everything is alright and the landslide may be on it’s way (or regional variations aren’t as severe as predicted).

St. Ives – The Liberal Democrats, despite their new focus, are still trying to get their southwestern rural seats back. If they take this Cornwall seat or only narrowly miss retaking it, then they’re doing well on that front.

Click HERE for our full in depth look at all targeted seats in Southern England

London

The capital used to be a right-wing bastion, but those days are long gone. As other parts of Britain move right, London just seems to get more and more leftist by the year. Gentry internationalist liberals combined with the highest non-white population in the country just keep marching the city further and further leftward. At first, polling showed a small swing to the the Tories, just like in the rest of Southern England. However, some polling now suggests that even if Labour loses seats overall, they may gain them here.

Seats to watch:

Ilford North – If the Tories don’t retake this seat on the outer northeastern edge of the city, it’s definitely bad times for them in the capital.

Twickenham – If Liberal star Vince Cable can’t take his old seat back from the Tories, the LibDem fightback is in trouble.

Click HERE for our full in depth look at all targeted seats in London.

The Midlands

This used to be the kind of mix of rural areas and small industrial cities that made a perfect Labour v. Tory battleground. That’s still the character of the place, but it’s taken a decidedly right-leaning tilt in recent decades. Watch particularly what happens in West Midlands County (the Birmingham area). That area has one of the bigger clusters of competitive seats in the country. The Tories are doing well in polling for the region, with a swing about even with their national swing.

Seats to watch:

Wolverhampton South West – This should be an easy pickup for the Conservatives. if they can’t retake it or do so narrowly, Labour is having a fairly good night.

Birmingham Edgbaston – If the Tories take this seat, then they’re on track for solid very good gains and aren’t having too many issues with Remain voters.

Ashfield – If Team May wins here, we’re probably looking at a huge landslide.

Click HERE for our full in depth look at all targeted seats in The Midlands.

Northern England

The North is the biggest battleground in this election. It’s traditionally Labour’s heartland, full of gritty industrial cities, but Brexit has definitely allowed the Tories to have a major swing to them in the region. The only question is how big the surge is. Labour could lose anywhere from a dozen to 40 seats across North East England, North West England, and Yorkshire.

Seats to watch:

Hyndburn – The Tories’ only taking this narrowly or not at all would probably be a very bad sign.

Hartlepool – If the Monkeyhangers (look it up) are electing a Tory, then the landslide is coming, at least in the North.

Click HERE for our full in depth look at all targeted seats in North West England and HERE for our look at North East England and HERE for targeted seats in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Wales

Cymru has been something of a question mark this time around. At first, the Tories had done the almost unthinkable and taken a ten-point lead (they’ve never won here since the property requirement was lifted almost 200 years ago). Then they fell back to earth and seem to be battling it out close to 2015 numbers, though with any swing still likely to be to them.

Seats to watch:

Gower – The Tories took this in a crazy three-way fight, 27-vote squeaker of a miracle in 2015 with 30% (!) of the vote. If they lose it this time, they’re standing pat or going backward slightly in Wales.

Alyn and Deeside – Winning this seat on the West Marches of Northern Wales would mean that the Tories are on their way to a solid win.

Click HERE for our full in depth look at all targeted seats in Wales

Northern Ireland

Not much ever changes electorally in Ulster. You might see the Unionist parties gain or lose a seat from Sinn Fein, but it’s unlikely. The only real reason that the result there matters is that if May is a few seats short of a majority, she can patch together a majority with Unionist support.

Seats to watch:

Fermanagh and South Tyrone – The UUP took this border seat from Sinn Fein in 2015. However, with Sinn Fein’s recent surge in the devolved assembly elections, they’ll be looking to take it back. It’s a good test of where NI stands on the Nationalist v. Unionist question at the moment.

Scotland

The dynamic at play north of the border is a bit different. The main issue up there is whether or not there should be a second referendum on independence. The Tories surged into second place behind the SNP as the election began. They also did very, very well in the local elections. They’ve hovered just below 30% (which is a huge improvement). However, Labour has been recovering recently and challenging for second place. Everyone agrees that the Tories should gain seats from the SNP. The question is how many, and whether the other Unionist parties will gain as well.

Seats to watch:

Moray – If the Tory win here is narrow, then they’re only making modest (though still important) headway in Scotland.

East Lothian – If this goes blue, the Tories are on their way to 10 or so gains.

Fife North East – Retaking this means that the LibDems are making decent gains against the SNP.

Edinburgh North and Leith – Labour needs to win this constituency if they have any hope of clawing back some of what they’ve lost to the Nationalists.

Click HERE for our full in depth look at all targeted seats in Scotland.

Political Roundup for May 22nd, 2017

As Washington gets a breather while Trump is abroad doing the foreign policy that he seems to be halfway decent at, let’s catch up on the electoral news that dropped over the weekend.

Congress

CA-10/CA-25/CA-45/CA-48/CA-49: Democrats are targeting Reps. Jeff Denham, Mimi Walters, Steve Knight, Darrell Issa, and Dana Rohrabacher (plus two more who are unnamed) over their votes for the AHCA. Politico is actually fairly skeptical that this strategy will work given how much time that there is for the AHCA to fade from public consciousness. As always, the money quotation is from former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D).

MT-AL: Shocking anyone who knows anything about Native American politics, the Crow Nation (led by the awesomely-named Chief A.J. Not Afraid) has endorsed Republican nominee Greg Gianforte ahead of the special election to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. It’s possible that the reason for the move is that Gianforte is a big booster of coal. A coal mine on Crow land is a major source of income for the tribe.

PA-07: Congressional hopeful Dan Muroff (D-Gun Control Fetishists Anonymous) has been endorsed by former Gov. Ed ‘Fast Eddie’ Rendell (D) in his bid to topple Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Bulletproof). I’d say that this is a big get for Muroff, and I guess it is, but Rendell’s endorsees for suburban seats always seem to suffer fairly embarrassing defeat.

UT-03: After Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) announced his retirement, the Utah officials wasted no time in setting the dates for a special election. The parties must choose designees (presumably by district conventions) by June 30th for an August 15th primary. The general election will be held on November 7th. Normally another special election would be a headache for the GOP, but this district is safely Republican, even with President Trump’s bad approval numbers.

Governor

CT-Gov: A commission has ruled that Bridgeport Mayor and convicted felon Joe Ganim (D) cannot receive public funding for his gubernatorial campaign because, well, the felon thing. Connecticut law prohibits public financing from going to felons. So let me get this straight: a dude who sold some weed once can’t get public financing that his rivals can get, but brutal murderers can’t be executed? If you ask me, the Nutmeg State has its priorities all out of whack. Anyway, given the the clown car nature of the Democratic primary, Ganim still might have a chance at winning. The Republican primary is equally crowded.

PA-Gov/PA-Sen: Rep. Mike Kelly (R) ended his short-lived exploratory gubernatorial bid on Friday. However, rumors are already swirling that he may instead challenge Sen. Bob Casey (D) in 2018. That might put him on a collision course with Rep. Lou Barletta (R), who is also mulling a run against Pennsylvania’s favorite Heir Force General.

State/Local

OH-Voter Fraud: As the Aerosmith tune says, ‘it’s the same old story, same old song and dance.’ Yes, voter fraud does happen and needs to be addressed. However, as an investigation in Ohio found, the amount of fraud isn’t typically very high. Only 52 people voted fraudulently in Ohio in 2016. That’s 52 too many, but it’s not a crisis.

TX-GOP: Tom Mechler, Chairman of the mighty Republican Party of Texas, has announced his resignation in a bit of surprise. No one’s quite sure why, though he cited personal reasons. Whatever the impetus, campaigns will now begin in earnest for one of the most influential state party chairmanships in the country.

TX-Straight Ticket: With both houses of the legislature having passed the repeal of straight ticket voting in Texas, it now heads to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The Governor is likely to sign the bill, finally achieving the law change that has been on Lone Star Republicans’ wish lists for decades.

Denver: The only city in America where it is socially acceptable to wear an external-frame backpack downtown may be on the verge of having a public financing option for municipal candidates. Signature-gathering hasn’t even started yet, but if put on the ballot, the new option and other campaign finance restrictions would likely pass. The only major opponent will likely be unions, who would be banned from making contributions under the proposal. If you don’t click any other link in this roundup, click this one; the picture that the author picked is hilarious and unintentionally captures the left-wing tendencies of ends over means and constitutional illiteracy perfectly.

International

Iran: Prince of Persia, err, President Hassan Rouhani (Less Nuts Than Ahmadinejad) has won reelection by a 20-point margin. His party also captured the Tehran City Council, which is often a training ground for national politicians in the making. Iran will likely now have limited expansions of personal freedoms in the near future.

UK: As the Tory lead narrows from gargantuan to merely very large, some pols are already positioning for what happens after the election. Corbynland has already been signaling that Her Majesty’s Most Marxist Opposition is going to try and keep control of the Labour Party after the election. There have already been rumblings that a group of approximately 100 Labour MPs are ready to break away if a defeated Corbyn refuses to step aside. Now there’s an even more interesting twist: former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair is talking about forming a new centrist party around this breakaway group, at least in private talks with donors. What’s the problem with that, you ask? The problem is that Blair is still hideously unpopular (even moreso than Comrade Corbyn). SDP Part Deux is going to be fun.

Political Roundup for May 17, 2017

Election Results:  Ralph Norman won the Republican primary runoff in SC-5 by a razor-thin margin, which will lead to a recount. Kay Kirkpatrick won the Georgia SD 32 runoff with a healthy 58% of the vote.   Wendy Brawley won the South Carolina HD 70 Democratic runoff.  Two non-machine candidates won the Democratic nominations in Philadelphia for District Attorney and Controller.  Lawrence Krasner (D-Bold Progressive) and Rebecca Rhyhart (D) will likely be the next District Attorney and Controller respectively.  Bill Peduto (D-Bike Lanes) is on his way to a second term as Mayor of Pittsburgh after winning the Democratic primary easily. Finally, in Los Angeles, councilman Gil Cedillo (D) won re-election and Monica Rodriguez (D) won an open seat.

The news a bit light as President Trump is sucking the oxygen out of our political circus with his growing dumpster.

President/National

Governed by a Child:  David Brooks (Scarsdale Republican) articulated what I have been saying for months about Trump in a recent NY Times piece… Trump is not an authoritarian, Nixon, populist or corporatist, but is nothing more than an infant leading the most powerful nation in human history incapable of exercising any form of self-control.  While I think Brooks comes off as a smug elitist at times, he is on point.

Watergate:  Senator John McCain (R-War Hero) is calling the level of “odd behavior” to put it mildly coming from the White House as reaching Watergate levels.  You need 2/3 to convict a president in an impeachment trial.  The Democrats have at least one Republican flirting with the idea.

Comey:  With an alleged memo floating around where former FBI Director James Comey noted that President Trump asked him to stop investigating  former DNI Director Flynn’s love affair with Mother Russia, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R) is going to subpoena said memo if it exists.

Democrats:  While the current occupants of the White House resemble a burning ship adrift, Democrats with presidential ambitions were dancing around down the street trying to appease potential decisionmakers in the anointing of a new Democratic champion if Hillary Clinton gives up her death grip on the Democratic Party.

Congress

Obamacare/Trumpcare/Moderatecare:  A bipartisan group of moderate senators is pushing a proposal to keep Obamacare afloat despite the respective caucus leaders engaging in taunts of the other saying their caucus is united.  It is not clear what the compromise bill will look like or whether it would ever make it to the floor for a vote.

NY-27:  Representative Chris Collins (R) faces an ethics inquiry into investments he made in an Australian biotech firm.  The Office of Congressional Ethics did not comment, but allegedly they are investigating Collins.

International

UK-Labour:  While the new Rome burns, the Labour Party wants to tax the British people at levels not seen since the time Clement Attlee was Prime Minister.