At 6pm, Rep. Trey Radel (R-Medellin) will be making a statement after leaving Rehab. Livestream is here.
Radel's statement belligerently talks about his accomplishments. He also says he won't resign, but has said nothing about re-election plans (and will not say anything today.) He also says he's never been high or drunk when voting on bills. Look for a tell-all on that front to come soon...
POTUS/Congress Regretting your vote: 1 in 10 of those who voted for Obama regret their vote while only 6% of Romney voters feel the same way. Other findings from the Washington Post poll include wide support for delaying Obamacare and the public thinking Obama has been weak on Iran.
Know your Kings: Tea Party Express had to make a comical retraction of an email it sent out attacking Congressman Steve King for establishing a superpac to go after the likes of Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Well as most RRH readers would know they attacked the wrong congresscritter as they meant to attack Congressman Peter King.
Retirement Watch: Roll Call has a great breakdown of the four categories of retirements to watch: Health, Age, Frustrated and the Californians.
NJ-Sen: The New Jersey Republicans are trying to figure out who wants to run against Senator Cory Booker next year. This does not sound promising.
NJ-5: New Jersey Democrats will need to head back to the drawing board as State Senator Bob Gordon will not run against Congressman Scott Garrett next year. Attorney Roy Cho is the other interested Democratic candidate.
KY-4: Congressman Tom Massie might be receiving a primary challenge from regional Chamber of Commerce chairman Steve Stevens. Stevens is exploring a run as Massie has been a conservative firebrand whose angered the business community.
States AR-Lt. Gov.: Lt. Governor Mark Darr has not resigned despite an ongoing ethics probe into his misuse of state funds. Talk about a quick fall from grace.
RI-Gov: State Treasurer Gina Raimondo officially announced her campaign for Governor. She has joined a competitive Democratic field in what might be the most interesting primary in New England this cycle.
AZ-AG: Former US Attorney and Prosecutor Mark Brnovich is pursuing his primary challenge to the ethically challenged Attorney General Tom Horne. Brnovich is pushing his variety of experience for the office.
OH-Gov: Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune is pondering a primary challenge to Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald's comically bad campaign.
The pre-Christmas news dump continues... Obama is expected to nominate outgoing Sen. Max Baucus (D) to be the next ambassador to China. With Baucus already having announced his retirement in 2014, this is good news for Democrats, as it will give Gov. Steve Bullock (D) the power to appoint a new Senator. Most likely that new senator will be LG John Walsh (D), currently expected to be Dems' nominee. Giving Walsh a year of incumbency could be a good boost to his (previously thought to be somewhat long-shot) bid to hold Baucus's seat against Rep. Steve Daines (R).
Was yesterday our last big news day before we break for the holidays, or are there a few more retirements (hello there, Rep. Peterson!) waiting in the wings?
KY-Sen: Mitch McConnell's pursuit to redefine "winning ugly" is trudging along, as he's retaken the lead from Alison Lundergan Grimes (43-42) in PPP(D)'s latest poll despite 31/61(!) favorables. McConnell leads Matt Bevin 53-26 in the GOP primary.
IA-03: Open Iowa seats don't come around very often--the last one was 8 years ago--so it was no surprise to see the Great Mentioner very active last night. On the GOP side, State Sen. Jack Whitver and SoS Matt Schultz have said they're considering; Senate candidates Joni Ernst, Mark Jacobs, and David Young, 2010 candidate Brad Zaun, and several other local and state officials may be interested (Matt Whitaker said he's sticking with the Senate race). Democrats have State Sen. Staci Appel already running, but Christie Vilsack just bought a home here (after previously "living" in IA-04 for a cycle) and may want in.
LA-06: 9-9-9 Alert! Herman Cain is ready to shake up the sleepy race to succeed Bill Cassidy by campaigning for Paul Dietzel (R) "sometime next month."
NY-13: He's not ready to retire to Sing Sing quite yet: Charlie Rangel will run for a 23rd term next year and looks like the favorite to win a rematch against 2012 primary foe Adriano Espaillat and several Harlem-based black candidates.
TX-36: With the extended filing window now closed, there are 12 Republicans running for Stockman's open seat, most of whom are of the Some Dude variety. The most serious challengers to presumed favorite Doug Centilli (the former CoS to Kevin Brady) are former Pasadena mayor John Manlove, former Woodville mayor Brian Babin (who lost a pair of close races for TX-2 in the 90s), and banker Ben Streusand, who is a former leader of AFP-Texas and may claim the grassroots mantle by default.
UT-04: Of yesterday's retirements, this one seems to have caught the most people off guard. We already knew Mia Love (R) was running again; the lack of activity on the Republican side after Matheson's announcement confirms that she's the very strong favorite for both the convention and the general. Democrats didn't even bother to give us a Great Mentioner-type list, so it looks pretty safe to mark this as the surest flip of the cycle.
VA-10: It looks like the Republican field to succeed Frank Wolf will boil down to one of State Dels. Barbara Comstock and Tim Hugo (who are close allies in Fairfax County) against grade-A loudmouth State Sen. Dick Black of Loudoun. Artur Davis also looms as a wild card. Democrats seem content with John Foust, the Fairfax Supervisor who declared last week.
IA-Gov: On the heels of a poll showing Gov. Terry Branstad (R) unbeatable and his wife's filing for divorce, State Rep. Tyler Olsen is dropping out of the race. This leaves Dems with State Sen. Jack Hatch as their long-shot nominee.
OK-Gov: Democrats have their sacrificial lamb challenger to Mary Fallin: State Rep. Joe Dorman, who is termed out and apparently figured he'd take one for the team.
State and Local
About Last Night: There was no drama whatsoever: Bradley Byrne (R) won AL-01 71-29, the GOP easily held a legislative district in WI, and the Dems did the same in New Hampshire.
PA-Legislature: The PA House kicked off the process of shrinking the state legislature, which next entails Senate approval, approval by both chambers during the next term, and then approval from voters (the shrinking would coincide with 2020 redistricting). PA's House, currently the second largest state chamber in the nation after the NH House, would shrink from 203 members to 153; the Senate would drop from an already reasonable 50 to 38.
SD-Mayor: The anticipated Kevin Faulconer-David Alvarez runoff will occur on February 11, after a long period of local squabbling over the date. California allows convicted felons to vote so long as they aren't in prison or on parole, so it looks like Bob Filner will be able to participate!
VA-AG: The storyline was buried under the news of Wolf's retirement, but it was a good day for Mark Herring (D), whose lead grew to over 810 votes after the first full day of recounting. Perhaps Wolf waited to retire until he knew that Herring--the strongest Dem in the district--wouldn't be able to run?
WATN: America's Clerk--the one and only Kathy Nicklaus, who kept us up deep into the night twice in 2011 with her glorious struggles to count votes--will try to revive her career by running for the Wauke$ha County Board.
Despite the blockbuster news of three major House retirements in one day, there are also elections going on - and on that front, 2013 is going out with a decided whimper. After prevailing in a 5-way primary and a closer-than-expected November runoff, Republican Bradley Byrne, a former State Senator and 2010 Gov candidate, is set to finally complete his journey to Congress. Byrne will cruise today to a routine victory over Democratic some dude Burton LeFlore in this highly inelastic ~R+15 district, covering the Gulf Coast region of Alabama.
There are two Legislative specials today as well: the bigger is in WI-LD-82, a R+9 seat at the Southwest corner of Milwaukee County. Franklin city councilman Ken Skowronski (R) is favored over Greendale Mayor John Hermes (D). We also have our weekly NH House Special election; former State Sen. Amanda Merrill (D), who retired in 2010, should have an easy comeback in this D+16 seat around Durham. Feel free to use this space to speculate on margins or discuss the results.
Holy S*. Three retirements in one day. Our latest is Rep. Tom Latham (R), who just survived a tough member-on-member battle with ex-Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) in 2012 and seemed to have a rock-solid hold on his new seat for as long as he wanted it. We now know that he didn't want it for very long.
It is never a perfect time or a right time to step aside. But for me, this is the time. I want to share with you my decision that I will not be a candidate for any office in November of 2014.
The seat puts another swingy GOP-held seat that wasn't really supposed to be competitive firmly on the table. Democrats are running ex-State Sen. Staci Appel (D), definitely a "B" lister but nonetheless a credible candidate for the EVEN seat. I do wonder if Appel might have Dem primary company though, perhaps from someone like Christie Vilsack or State Sen. Mike Gronstal.
As for Republicans, there's no shortage of possibilities, starting in the statewide bench: SoS Matt Schultz lives in Council Bluffs, in the seat, and would probably be a strong contender if he ran. But perhaps the best-known name in the seat is State Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak, currently somewhat lost amidst a 5-way GOP Senate primary. If Ernst dropped down I'd wager she'd be a front-runner. 2010 IA-3 nominee and State Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) may also be interested, but would probably be a weak candidate. Another name I'll throw out is State Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa (R-Council Bluffs), who previously worked for Grassley and in the Bush White House. Finally, Roll Call also flags ex-IAGOP chair Matt Strawn, State Sen. Jack Whitver, State Rep. Peter Cownie, and West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer as possible Republican candidates.
Just when you thought there couldn't be any more news before Christmas... the second retirement of today is far more unexpected. Rep. Jim Matheson (D), the only Democrat able to consistently win in blood-red Utah, will retire in 2014.
My time in the House should not be the sum total of my service. Today, I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the House of Representatives.
The decision turns what could have been a very competitve race into a guaranteed R pickup. 2012 nominee Mia Love (R), who lost this seat very narrowly to Matheson last year, now looks like Congresswoman-elect.
Called it. Rep. Frank Wolf (R), the other congressman (in addition to the late Rep. Bill Young) who wanted to retire in 2012 but was talked into seeking re-election by Boehner, is headed for the exits in 2014.
I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. I thank my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for 34 years.
Wolf had this bright purple, wealthy suburbuan and exurban district thoroughly locked down. But without him, it is sure to be a hotly contested battleground. Democrats already have their candidate in Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust.
Republicans, on the other hand, have a bit of a conundrum in deciding who to recruit. State Rep. Barbara Comstock of McLean, a powerhouse fundraiser with strong national connections, jumps out as the most likely candidate. However, State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (UPDATE: Vogel is out) and Fairfax County Supervisors Pat Herrity and John Cook may be other strong possibilities. This being NoVa, the GOP bench also has more than a few duds: polarizing and foot-in-mouth prone State Rep. Bob Marshall and State Sen. Dick Black, and Prince William CE Corey Stewart, who has done well locally but proved himself not ready for prime time with a poorly-run LG campaign.I'm not sure whether he'd be a strong or weak candidate, but party- and state- switching Ex-Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL turned R-VA) apparently signalled his interest in this seat back in February.
Open thread for tonight's AL-1 election (forgot it was happening, didn't you?) will go up at 4.
NV-Sen '16: Jon Ralston has a must-read profile of Harry Reid.
PA-Sen '16: AG Kathleen Kane (D) is apparently becoming increasingly serious about a 2016 challenge to Sen. Pat Toomey (R). A Kane bid would set up a primary collision with 2010 nominee Joe Sestak and potentially others, like Rep. Matt Cartwright and MontCo commissioner Josh Shapiro.
NE-Gov: Just when you thought this field couldn't get any more crowded, a sixth name has entered this open-seat GOP primary contest. Bryan Slone (R), an Attorney and former staffer for Reagan and ex-Rep. Hal Daub (R), is entering the race. Slone's seemingly sparse resume belies a powerful card he has to play: his close personal friendship with ultra-popular Gov. Dave Heineman (R). Slone says he does not expect an open endorsement from Heineman, but the Governor may place his thumb on the scale subtly.
NY-Gov: The Donald is apparently still considering an (utterly doomed) challenge to Cuomo on the Republican line. Let's get a no-name here without Trump's massive baggage, please.
FL-19: As the ethics committee begins its investation of him, Rep. Trey Radel (R-Cartagena) will finish "rehab" before deciding on his political future early next year. Judging from his calls to Rep. Vern Buchanan, who has weathered some minor scandals, getting well isn't the only thing on Radel's mind. However, most Republicans think Radel has very little shot at winning a second term if he were tor try for one.
FL-2: 2012 nominee Al Lawson (D) won't seek a rematch with Rep. Steve Southerland (R). This is bad news for the GOP, however, as Lawson probably would have been weaker than now-presumptive nominee Gwen Graham (D), daughter of ex-Gov. Bob Graham.
NJ-3: Tom MacArthur, mayor of the Morris County town of Randolph, is carpetbagging across the state to run for this seat. So far, State Rep. David Wolfe (R-Brick), Berkeley Twp. council Pres. James Byrnes, and Toms River councilman Mo Hill are in the GOP primary race, and 2013 Senate nominee Steve Lonegan (R) is also considering carpetbagging into the seat.
NC-12: State Rep. Alma Adams (D-Greensboro) has scored the EMILY's List endorsement. The move is unsurprising as Adams is the only woman in the race, but it could still be a significant help in getting noticed amid the 10-way field.
State & Local:
ND-Tax Comm: Here's one we totally missed: 3 months ago, Tax Commissioner Cory Fong (R) resigned from the post (similar to what many states call Comptroller, and previously held by Byron Dorgan, Kent Conrad, and Heidi Heitkamp) to join an advertising firm. Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) has appointed Fong's chief deputy, Ryan Rauschenberger (R), to the post; it is expected he will run for a full term in 2014.
IN-Aud: Gov. Mike Pence (R) has appointed State Rep. Suzanne Crouch (R-Evansville) to fill the State Auditor's job, after Dwayne Sawyer (R), appointed just 3 months ago, resigned over unspecified family concerns. Crouch will likely face civil servant Mike Claytor (D) in the 2014 general.
UT-AG: At this weekend's convention, Utah Republicans selected 3 candidates for the open AG position: 2012 candidate Sean Reyes, BYU Law School administrator Robert Smith, and former National Guard General Brian Tarbet. Reyes won 62% of the convention's first-round votes, while Tarbet, who is currently acting as interim AG, is the only one of the three who has said he will not run in the 2014 election. The final decision over whom to appoint now falls to Gov. Gary Herbert (R).
NY-AG: Word was a few months ago that he had passed on the race, but it appears ex-US Attorney Michael Garcia (R) has reveresed course and is once again considering a challenge to AG Eric Schneidermann (D). Garcia would probably be the strongest name we could get in this race, but Schneidermann would invariably be tough to beat.
SC-LG: State Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill), who was the 2006 nominee for SC-5 against then-Rep. John Spratt (D), is considering a bid for LG. Developer Pat McKinney (R) and State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D) are already in the race; incumbent Glenn McConnell (R) has not stated his intentions but Norman expects him not to seek a full term in the do-nothing post.
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AR-Lt. Gov: Lt. Governor Mark Darr (R) has been cited for spending $12,000 of office money on personal expenditures. This might push him away from running for a second term as Lt. Governor, as he already has potential challengers in the R primary for the office who will be happy to use this against him, along with the previous revelation of misspent campagin funds relating to his 2010 campagin that derailed his attempted bid for AR-4 earlier this year.
MD-Gov: Emily's List has endorsed Heather Mizeur (D), a delegate from Montgomery county, for Governor. Mizeur is an open Lesbian, and would be the first female Governor of Maryland, although she is unlikely to beat Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in the Democratic primary.
MA-Gov: Scott Lively, a minister from Springfield, has announced an independent run for Governor. Lively is running on a So-con platform of repealing gay marriage and restricting abortion, probably in opposition to the Socially Liberal and likely GOP nominee Charlie Baker. Lively, who has the odd distinction of currently being sued for crimes against humanity related to his work opposing gay rights in Uganda, probably won't have much of an impact on the race.
ME-Sen: Former head of the Maine ACLU Shenna Bellows is running for Senate as a Democrat. Her introductory ad is a pleasant-sounding positive piece about her working-class origins, but she is a clear underdog against incumbent Senator Susan Collins (R).
SC-Sen-Graham: Lee Bright (R), the leading primary challenger to incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham, has revealed that he is at least $1.4 Million in debt relating to a trucking company he founded.
SC-Sen-Scott: Rick Wade (D), a former cabinent member of ex-Gov Jim Hodges (D) and a former US Commerce Department advisor, is official running for the Senate seat held by appointed senator Tim Scott (R). Since Rick Wade is black, this likely sets up the first Black v Black Senate race since 2004 and the first ever in the South, though Scott is a heavy favorite to hold this seat for the Republicans.
VA-Sen: Ed Gillespie, the former head of the RNC, is apparently serious about running and is building support in Virginia. While a solid candidate for Republicans, he still has to face incumbent Senator Mark Warner (D), who is the most popular politican in the state and one of the most popular Senators in the country. Still, he's the best candidate the VAGOP is likely to come up with.
PA-13: Marjorie Margolies has come under scrutiny over whether or not she payed herself too much money from her charity set up to fund female politicians. The charity apparently had a top-heavy pay structure, and there is concern over the decision to list the executive pay as program expenses, which made the charity look more appealing to potential donors by posting a 96% program spending rate. It is unclear as to whether this story will have lasting legs, but it gives her opponents in the competitive D primary something to use against her.
NY-13: David Paterson isn't running, and is backing Charlie Rangel.
GA-11, MN-6, HI-1, MI-14: Bit of an older development here, but Alan Levene (R) is running for Congress in 4 seperate states at the same time. His reasoning is that he only has to be a resident of the state at the time of the general election and not the primary, so if he wins any of the primaries he can simply move to that state to run in the general. Needless to say, running in four states in widely different parts of the country at the same time is unlikley to endear him to primary voters in any of these districts.
State & Local:
ID-SoS: Ex-State Representative Evan Frasure (R) is running for Idaho Secretary of State. Frasure lost the R primary the last time this seat was open in 2002, and appears to be trying to run a regional campagin for his home area of Eastern Idaho.
SC-Comp: The current South Carolina State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom (R) is under investigation for improperly using campaign funds to pay for his trip to the Republican National Convention last year. The dispute is based on whether or not he was there in official capacity, as he was not a delegate and his girlfriend was only an alternate delegate.
SC-Supt: Incumbent Schools Superintendent Mick Zais (R) is retiring. Zais was a leading proponent of school choice, and had already drawn multiple challengers, including anti-school-choice Republican Doug Brannon, and it was unclear whether or not he would have won a second term if he ran for it.
Elections have consequences -- from the race for President to the race for one seat on a city council. The political economist Max Weber wrote that the state possesses a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. But in the United States, the state is divided into myriad federal, state, and local entities. And the elections to fill those entities are the products of the fascinating interactions between campaigns, party affiliations, voter turnout, and the media spotlight. Red Racing Horses analyzes those elections -- from a Republican-leaning perspective -- to keep a close eye on the process of electing officials, and to offer our perspective on the election-related issues of the day. Thank you for visiting, and we hope you'll enjoy the blog.
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