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Political Roundup for January 26, 2015

by: shamlet

Mon Jan 26, 2015 at 07:00:00 AM EST


Rubio: He has apparently told his staff to "proceed as if he is running for President", a sharp departure from the tea leaves that had been pointing to him staying out.


CA-Sen: Rep. Adam Schiff (D), who represents the Pasadena area, is considering a Senate run. Though Schiff has been a backbencher in the House, as a relative moderate from SoCal he may have a slight opening.

More CA-Sen: State Treasurer John Chiang (D) has taken himself out of contention. Chiang, who just finished two terms as Controller before bouncing over to Treasurer, is broadly popular but not particularly well-known.

Even More CA-Sen: AG Kamala Harris (D), the only declared candidate, has released an internal designed to cement her status as the race's front-runner. The internal shows Harris leading ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) 41-16 in a one-on-one matchup and Harris leading a crowded field with 34.

IL-Sen: Rep. Robin Kelly (D) has become the fourth sitting member of Congress to consider a run for this seat, raising the likelihood that Democrats will see a bruising primary here. Kelly could potentially win support from urban black voters as the field's only African American. In addition to Kelly, Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster, and Cheri Bustos are considering runs for the D nomination against Sen. Mark Kirk (R).


KY-Gov, KY-SoS, KY-AG: SoS Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) will announce today whether she will go for Governor, SoS, or AG this year. Grimes hasn't tipped her hand as to her intentions - and given that she apparently only made the decision to run for Senate last year minutes before that press conference, it's possible she doesn't even know yet either. 

LA-Gov, LA-AG, LA-Treas: Treasurer John N. Kennedy (R) will make his decision on whether to run for Governor, AG, or re-election by March 1. He is considered most likely to run for AG.

WA-Gov: We have our first Republican officially exploring a race against Gov. Jay Inslee (D) in Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant (R). Bryant has been elected twice countywide in King County, albeit in low-turnout, odd-year elections. Bryant also cuts a moderate profile that could make him a credible general election candidate in medium-blue Washington.

WV-Gov: Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has hired WVDP chair Larry Puccio to run his PAC, suggesting he is growing increasingly serious about turning towards the state level for a gubernatorial run.

NJ-Gov '17: Philip Murphy (D), Obama's former ambassador to Germany, is exploring a run for Governor in 2017. Murphy will likely need to buy off the local machines Corzine-style to have any chance of winning as an outsider.


NY-11: State Rep. Mike Cusick (D), who had been considered Dems' most likely candidate in this special election, has ruled himself out after polling showed him trailing Staten Island DA Dan Donovan (R) by mammoth margins. Democrats will apparently go with Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge, Brooklyn), because running a Brooklynite with no ties to Staten Island worked so well for them last year.

NC-2: Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) has underperformed against no-name primary challengers in both 2012 and 2014, and this could be the year her luck runs out. After her role in killing a pro-life bill this month, pro-life activists are eager to mount a serious challenge. One possible challenger is Chatham County GOP chair Jim Duncan (R), who considered a bid in 2014 but demurred.

FL-9: This may be the political headline of the year.


KY-Treas: At the last possible moment, Republicans finally have found a credible candidate here in State Rep. Kenny Imes (R). Imes should be favored in the primary over Some Dude Allison Ball (R) and will face one of three Democrats squaring off in their party's primary. Thankfully, Republicans now have at least semi-credible candidates for all 5 downballot offices.

ME-LG: Gov. Paul LePage (R) is proposing a Constitutional Ammendment that would establish a popularly elected (on a "Team Primary" basis) Lieutenant Governor in place of the legislatively-elected SoS. It would also change the posts of AG and Treasurer from legislative election to gubernatorial appointment. Maine is currently one of 7 states with no popularly elected LG. Here is our complete reference map of the various LG selection systems.

KY-SD-30: Here's today's "how do these idiots get elected?" moment. State Sen. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard) is contesting his DUI charge on the grounds that the state constitution prohibits legislators from being arrested for misdemeanors while the legislature is in session. 

NY-Assembly: Indicted State House Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Lower Manhattan) is stepping aside - but in name only. A cabal of five State Reps. appointed by Silver will now run the Assembly and Silver says he will attempt to regain control of the chamber if he is acquitted. However, there is already talk among some junior members of taking the opportunity to oust Silver entirely and get a new Speaker.


Houston-Mayor: Ex-Rep. Chris Bell (D), who represented TX-25 (now TX-9) for one term from 2003 to 2005 before being beaten in a redistricting-induced primary, is running for Mayor. Bell previously ran for Mayor in 2001.

Philadelphia-Mayor: City Councilman James Kenney (D) is running for mayor, and may wind up being the front-runner. Liberals have been grumbling about their choices in this race, as both of the other major candidates, ex-DA Lynne Abraham (D) and State Sen. Anthony Williams (D), are relatively moderate by northeast urban standards. Kenney will apparently enter the race with significant labor backing and may benefit from a split in the moderate vote between Abraham and Williams.

Charlotte-Mayor: A pair of Democratic city councilmen, Michael Barnes (D) and David Howard (D), have entered this contest. Appointed incumbent Dan Clodfelter (D) and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts (D) are also running.

Las Vegas-Mayor: City councilman Stavros Anthony (R) is running for Mayor, and expected to be the major challenger to incumbent Carolyn Goodman (I). Anthony strongly opposes Goodman's plan for a downtown soccer stadium.

NY-Albany-CE: Albany County Executive Dan McCoy (D) will face a challenge from school board member Dan Egan (D), a charter school opponent who is challenging McCoy from the left. Albany is a liberal county, but a famously machine-hack driven place rather than a progressive stronghold, so Egan will probably face a very uphill battle. 

NY-Monroe-CE: Monroe County Clerk Cheryl DiNolfo (R) has announced her run for County Executive this year to succeed the termed-out Maggie Brooks (R). Monroe County is blue in presidential years but Democrats are prone to extreme turnout dropoff in Rochester's minority-heavy Fatal Crescent. As a result, the county-level electorate is purple to even light red. Democrats will likely unite behind a candidate in the next month or so.

Discuss :: (158 Comments)

RRH January 2015 Senate Rankings

by: shamlet

Sat Jan 24, 2015 at 12:12:00 PM EST

Today we present our baseline rankings of the 34 Senate seats up in 2016. Here is how the map looks right now:

At this very early point, RRH is projecting a net shift in Senate seats of between R+1 and D+4; however, Democrats have considerable upside from there, as the near-totality of the playing field (13 of 15 seats we currently rate as competitive) is on GOP-held turf.

Flip over for full narratives on the races...

There's More... :: (47 Comments, 6124 words in story)

Weekend Open Thread For January 23-25, 2015

by: Greyhound

Fri Jan 23, 2015 at 18:00:00 PM EST

We'll have our first 2016 Senate Rankings out at noon on Saturday!

1.  If you were in charge of the DCCC, what would be your plan for taking back the House of Representatives?

2.  Given the skewed playing field, what would you consider a "Victory" for the Republicans in the Senate in 2016?

Discuss :: (119 Comments)

Political Roundup for January 23rd, 2015

by: Greyhound

Fri Jan 23, 2015 at 07:00:00 AM EST

California Senate Race:

Since this the closest thing to a breaking story we have right now in the doldrums of an off-year January, it gets its own section of the roundup today.

Hispanics: California Hispanic Democrats are upset that National Democrats are all eagerly jumping behind Kamala Harris (D) for the Senate seat, as California is one of the few places in the country that a non-Cuban Hispanic D could win a Senate seat. The fact that Hispanics recently became California’s largest racial group only adds to their unhappiness with the all-but-anointment. It remains to be seen whether or not Hispanics can rally behind a single candidate, and top-2 along with the state’s sizable Republican base make the political calculations all the more confusing and unpredictable.

Steyer: Tom Steyer (D), aka the California Billionaire who’s been heavily spending on climate change ads, has announced he isn’t running for the open Senate Seat. This means that Harris probably has the powerful NorCal D base and the “Bold Progressive” mantle to herself, and Steyer will keep up his amusing and high-budget sideshow.

Becerra: Xavier Becerra (D), the Head of the Democratic Conference, has expressed serious interest in running for the seat. Becerra is high in the D house leadership (effectively the 4th highest) but he could potentially rally the state’s Hispanic base around him if he ran. There are probably dozens of behind-the-scenes meetings going on between him and the other SoCal Hispanic Ds, along with every other power player in California.

Other Congress:

IA-1: Chet Culver (D), the former Iowa Governor that Branstad beat in 2010 is considering running for Congress in the 1st district. This is a bit surprising as Culver has been mostly out of the public eye since his defeat, and also because Culver lives in the 3rd district (which contains the state capital of Des Moines). This is probably Culver seeing a promising opportunity in the R-held-but-D-leaning 1st district, which is going to be a major D target in 2016, and Culver might have enough name recognition left to win the D primary.

OH-Sen: Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld (D) has announced he is running for the Senate seat currently held by Rob Portman (R). Portman is one of the safer 2010 freshmen with a massive campaign chest and a solid electoral record, and Sittenfeld is barely above some-dude status as a 30-year-old 1st term city councilman. Still, given how thin the D bench is in Ohio at this point, Sittenfeld might wind up being the Democrat’s candidate if Tim Ryan and Ted Strickland both say no.


KY-Gov: Kentucky is now Ground Zero for the Democrat’s attempts to recapture some of the white working class voters that have deserted them over the course of the last 6 years. The Governor (and other row officer) election later this year offers them the best chance to show they can win those voters back, as the Kentucky Democrats are probably the best-organized and most popular D party in a Red state (the Kentucky House is the only state legislature the Democrats hold in a state that didn’t vote for Obama).  As such, a failure here would be a bad omen for their chances in these sort of areas in the rest of the country.

MS-All: Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) still hasn’t filed for any Mississippi offices, nor has he made his plans public. Hood is the last Mississippi Democrat who could make a competitive run statewide, and would probably be favored if he ran for re-election, so his decision to run again, run for Governor, or retire will have major shockwaves in Mississippi politics.

NY-St-Assembly: Longtime New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D)’s arrest has thrown the Assembly into chaos. Silver has been speaker for 20+ years and has run the chamber with an iron fist for most of it, and the sudden potential power vacuum in what is usually the less chaotic chamber has led to much speculation about who would take his place if he is convicted.


Montgomery Mayor: Arthur Davis (D->R), the former Democratic Congressman and recent Republican convert, has announced he is running for the officially non-partisan office of Montgomery Mayor. This is a confusing move as the sitting mayor (and fellow Republican) recently announced he is running for re-election, meaning Davis could very well play spoiler and let a Democrat win the office in the majority-black city.

Discuss :: (156 Comments)

Political Roundup for January 22, 2015

by: Ryan_in_SEPA

Thu Jan 22, 2015 at 07:13:27 AM EST

Political Corruption
We have some big political corruption stories this morning so we are going to lead with it.

NY-Silver:  New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) faces arrest on corruption charges this morning by the Feds.  US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara has been investigating Silver for corruption since 2013.  To use Joe Biden language, this is a BFD.

PA-AG: A special grand jury investigating Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) has formally recommended that Kane be charged with perjury and abusing the authority of her office.  The contents of the presentment were released as part of Kane's effort to have the state Supreme Court investigate the special prosecutor they appointed to investigate Kane.

NY-11:  In one of those moments that leave you wondering WTF are they thinking, the DCCC has released a poll showing Richmond County District Attorney Dan Donovan (R) leading Mike Cusick (D) 48 to 28.  After some very suggestive leading, Cusick narrows the margin.  One must wonder if Cusick is being advised by the same clowns who would release polls showing Manan Trivedi repeatedly losing to Congressmen Jim Gerlach and Ryan Costello by double digits.

NV-Sen:  Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) will be undergoing eye surgery due to his exercising accident last year.  Reid has been working from home and will continue to do on the recommendation of his doctors.  Get well Senator!

IA-Sen:  Senator Chuck Grassley (R) is gearing up to run for reelection in 2016.  This should move this race off the competitive radar as it seems highly unlikely Grassley could lose.

PA-8/PA-Gov:  In another moment that leaves you scratching your head, Governor Tom Wolf (D) has appointed former Lt. Governor Jim Cawley (R) to the Temple University Board of Trustees.  Cawley has been rumored to be a candidate to replace Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R), but he appears to be heading in a different direction, i.e. cashing out.  One must wonder why Wolf is handing out patronage to a Republican that really does not do anything to prevent Cawley from running against him in 2018.

Clinton:  Former Co-President Hillary Clinton plans to launch a fundraising blitz that we have never seen before to scare off any challengers for the Democratic nomination.  This is similar to how the Bush dynasty is trying to game the Republican field with Jeb shaking the money trees at a frantic pace to scare anyone else off.

Paul:  While Bush and Clinton are shaking the money trees early, Senator Rand Paul appears to be building a strong campaign team that will organize his loyal following inherited from his father plus reach out to other parts of the Republican coalition.  Paul seems like he is building the team to be the anti-Bush.

Discuss :: (140 Comments)

Political Roundup for January 21, 2015

by: GoBigRedState

Wed Jan 21, 2015 at 07:00:00 AM EST


IL-Sen: Rep. Cheri Bustos (D) is not closing the door on a Senate run. She says she is focused on her district, but she is keeping an open mind about running for the Senate. Her comments come one day after fellow Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) also confirmed she is mulling a challenge to Sen. Mark Kirk (R).

OH-Sen: The Hill takes a look at why Sen Rob Portman (R) will be tough to beat in 2016. One big reason-fundraising. Portman is sitting on a $5.8 million warchest. Democrats also have a short list of candidates who would be able to match that fundraising prowess. Their best bet appears to be former Gov. Ted Strickland, but Strickland is 75 and lost his last bid for governor in 2010, albeit narrowly in a big Republican year. Portman also will likely have to deal with a primary challenge from social conservatives upset with his flip-flop on same-sex marriage, although it's unlikely any challenger will be able to topple the Senator in a primary.

PA-Sen: A PPP poll shows Sen. Pat Toomey (R) with a 40-36 lead in a potential rematch with former Rep. Joe Sestak (D). There is good news and bad news for Toomey in the poll-the fact that he only gets to 40% in the poll is not very good and a large percentage of voters don't even have an opinion of him. However, he does lead every challenger pitted against him except for former Gov. Ed Rendell (D), against whom he only trails by 3 points and Rendell is highly unlikely to run anyway.


IA-1: Gary Kroeger may try to join Sen. Al Franken (D) as another former Saturday Night Live cast member in Congress. Kroeger was on the show from 1982-85 and has lived in Cedar Falls since 2003, working as an advertising agency executive. Kroeger confirmed that he is considering a run against Rep. Rod Blum (R) and indicated that public reaction to his potential candidacy may influence his decision on whether to run or not.

NY-13: Adam Clayton Powell IV is making another bid for the seat that his father used to hold. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D), who defeated the elder Powell in 1970, has indicated that he plans to step down after this term, although he hasn't officially announced his plans. Powell lost in primary bids against Rangel in 1994 and 2010.


KY-Gov: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) says there is "zero chance" he is running for governor. Fischer also declined to endorse Democratic frontrunner Attorney General Jack Conway, saying he prefers to wait and see who else gets in the race.

State and local:

WA-LD-30: Federal Way City Councilman Martin Moore is switching parties from Democrat to Republican to run in a special election for a House seat this fall.  Moore says he is becoming a Republican because he is pro-life and feels the party has moved too far to the left. Moore is trying to follow in the footsteps of state Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) another former Democrat who was elected in the district last November(Washington uses the same district lines for Senate and House elections, electing one Senator and two House members in each district).

Indianapolis Mayor: A second Republican is running for mayor, joining Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams. Chuck Brewer, a businessman, is the Marion County Republican Party's choice to be the party's standardbearer, likely against former Secretary of State and US Attorney Joe Hogsett (D).

Las Vegas Mayor: Mayor Pro Tem Stavros Anthony is challenging Mayor Carolyn Goodman in this spring's mayoral election. Anthony is the first person to announce a challenge to the incumbent mayor. Goodman, whose husband Oscar also served 3 terms as mayor, is running for her second term. Goodman is a registered independent and Anthony is a registered Republican in the officially nonpartisan race.

Discuss :: (63 Comments)

SOTU Open Thread

by: shamlet

Tue Jan 20, 2015 at 18:00:00 PM EST

Once again, it's time to gather all our most politically convenient or controversial friends, reach awkwardly off-camera for some water, and listen to our leaders grandstand about policies that have a snowball's chance in hell of ever getting enacted. So here is an Open Thread to discuss the State of the Union and Joni Ernst's response tonight.
Discuss :: (44 Comments)

Political Roundup for January 20, 2015

by: shamlet

Tue Jan 20, 2015 at 09:20:32 AM EST

Apologies for the late roundup as we had a scheduling mixup. We will have an open thread for the State of the Union tonight.


CA-Sen: AG Kamala Harris (D) and ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) were apparently spotted dining together, fueling speculation that the two may be cutting a deal for Villaraigosa to say no to a Senate bid. Villaraigosa would likely be one of the stronger possible challengers to Harris, as he fits nicely into all the big demographic holes in her support base (Latinos, SoCal voters, and relatively moderate Dems).

IL-Sen: Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) confirms that she is considering a run against Sen. Mark Kirk (R). Duckworth would likely start out as the Democratic front-runner and enter what is sure to be one of the year's most competitive Senate races. However, she may not have the primary field to herself in Dems' best Senate pickup opportunity, as fellow Reps. Bill Foster (D) and Cheri Bustos (D) are also considering the race.

PA-Sen: Ex-Rep. Chris Carney (D), who won PA-10 on the 2006 wave (aided by a scandal) before being turfed in 2010, is considering a challenge to Sen. Pat Toomey (R). 2010 nominee and ex-Rep. Joe Sestak (D) is considered the D front-runner, but Pennsylvania's parochial D establishment has never been in love with him. Even so, it's strange that the power brokers might turn to Carney, a Conservadem whose two terms on the backbench were most notable for a dalliance with a party switch in early 2010, and who has been all but invisible since his defeat.


KY-Gov, KY-SoS, KY-AG: SoS Allison Lundergan Grimes (D) will be on a ballot this year, but she is not saying yet whether she will run for Governor, AG, or re-election. With the filing deadline in one week, she will need to make a decision quickly.

More KY-Gov: In another last-minute consideration, House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) is also considering jumping into the Governor's race. AG Jack Conway (D) has had the field to himself thus far, but has not totally coalesced Dems behind his candidacy.

MS-Gov, MS-AG: AG Jim Hood (D), the last statewide elected D in the Deep South, will make a decision soon on whether to run for (an easy) re-election as AG, mount a (very tough) gubernatorial run agains Gov. Phil Bryant (R), or retire altogether.

UT-Gov, RIP: House Speaker Becky Lockhart (R) has died of a rare neurodegenerative disease at age 46. Lockhart was considered a rising star in Beehive State politics and seen as likely to mount a primary challenge to Gov. Gary Herbert (R) in 2016.

State & Local:

Indy-Mayor: Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams (R) is seeking the top job here, finally giving Republicans a candidate to succeed the retiring Greg Ballard (R). Ex-SoS and US Attorney Joe Hogsett (D) is considered the front-runner.

Columbus-Mayor: The GOP also got a candidate in this open seat race in the form of ex-Columbus School Board President Terry Boyd (R). Franklin Sheriff Zach Scott (D) and City Council Pres. Andrew Ginther (D) are the other major candidates here.

Memphis-Mayor: City Councilman Jim Strickland (D) is running against incumbent Mayor AC Wharton (D). If he wins, Strickland would be the first white mayor of Memphis in a quarter-century.

Anchorage-Mayor: R-turned-I Ex-State Rep. and 2006 gubernatorial candidate Andrew Halcro has entered this race. The decision of ex-Sen. Mark Begich (D) on whether to enter this race has pretty much frozen the field.

Discuss :: (191 Comments)

MLK Day Policy Thread

by: Ryan_in_SEPA

Mon Jan 19, 2015 at 08:34:14 AM EST

What should the Republican answer be to rising income inequality?
Discuss :: (61 Comments)

MLKJ Day Weekend Open Thread

by: Greyhound

Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 17:30:00 PM EST

Happy 3-day Weekend! We will forgo a roundup on Monday and have a policy thread instead.

1.  Who do you have pegged for retirement next year?

2.  How important do you think race will be in political demographics by the year 2068?  Will Democrats still enjoy huge margins with Non-Whites and major deficits with Whites, or will race become a less significant indicator of political preference?

Discuss :: (217 Comments)
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