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KS-Sen: The Senate Conservatives Fund is supporting another challenger to an incumbent senator-Milton Wolf, who is challenging Sen. Pat Roberts(R). Wolf wouldn't appear to have much chance of knocking off Roberts, so one hopes the SCF continues to use up their money in races like this instead of ones where they could have a more detrimental effect on the race.
SD-Sen: Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland had a fundraiser yesterday in Washington hosted by a number of Democratic Senators. One name conspicuously missing from that list is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid wanted former Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin to get in the race and said when Weiland announced in May that he was running that Weiland was "not my choice". The DSCC is said to be still actively recruiting for a candidate, though it's hard to see at this point who they could get that would make the race any more competitive.
MA-5: State Sen. Katherine Clark as expected easily won the special election last night to fill the former seat of now Sen. Ed Markey(D).Clark took 66% to 32% for Republican Frank Addinivola.
TX-4: 90 year old Rep. Ralph Hall(R), the House's oldest member has received a surprise primary challenger. Former US Attorney John Ratcliffe filed for the race as a Republican just before the filing deadline. Hall, who was first elected in 1982 as a Democrat and switched parties in 2004 has not had a serious challenge in years and may need to raise more than the $175,000 he has in his campaign account now if Ratcliffe is able to raise the kind of money to make a serious run for the seat.
TX-33: Also receiving a surprise last-minute challenger is freshman Rep. Marc Veasey(D). Veasey's challenger is businessman Tom Sanchez. Much like the 2012 primary runoff in which Veasey defeated state Rep. Domingo Garcia, this race will pit the district's black voters based in Fort Worth against the district's Hispanic voters in Dallas.
TX-36: After the surprise entry of Rep. Steve Stockman(R) into the US Senate race which left this seat unexpectedly open, the Republican Party of Texas has extended the filing deadline for this seat to December 16. This will allow time for others to consider the race, including state Rep. James White, who is said to be strongly considering a run for the seat. White would appear to be the most logical member of the Legislature to make the race as no state Senator lives in the district and White's state House district is entirely located within the rural part of the congressional district.
VA-10: Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust(D) has announced that he is challenging Rep. Frank Wolf(R). Foust is actually the 3rd Democrat to announce for the seat, but he is the most prominent and the choice of national Democrats. Wolf routinely wins the competitive district fairly easily, but Foust may be his toughest challenger in awhile. The seat was narrowly won by Romney in 2012 and also narrowly won by Cuccinelli in this year's governor's race.
FL-Gov: One thing Gov. Rick Scott(R) will have in his race against former Gov. Charlie Crist(D) is plenty of money. Scott almost doubled Crist's fundraising in November with Scott taking in $5.9 million to Crist's $3 million.
MN-Gov: Another candidate is considering entering the already crowded Republican field to take on Gov. Mark Dayton(D). First term state Sen. Karin Housley says she is leaning towards getting into the race and will likely make a final decision by the beginning of next year. Housley says she will try to get the party's convention endorsement, but will not rule out running in a primary if she doesn't get the endorsement. If she runs, Housley would be the first Republican woman in the state to run for governor.
OH-LG: State Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney(D) has officially withdrawn as gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald's running mate. Kearney and FitzGerald made the decision together due to continuing controversy over unpaid taxes Kearney and his wife owe. FitzGerald, who chose Kearney just 3 weeks ago, says he will name a replacement by the end of the month or at least by mid-January.
KY-SD-13/KY-LD-7: Reggie Thomas held the SD-13 seat last night for Democrats while Suzanne Miles picked up the LD-7 seat for Republicans. Thomas won 54% to 35% for independent Richard Moloney. Republican Michael Johnson was a non-factor in the race with 11%. Miles won the LD-7 seat by a 112 vote margin over Democrat Kim Humphrey. With this win, Republicans narrowed the Democrats' majority to 54-46 in the state House.
Today we have our first of two unexciting December special congressional elections, to fill the seat in the northern inner suburbs of Boston left open when then-Rep. Ed Markey (D-Chevy Chase) was elected to the Senate. The presumptive congresswoman-elect is Democratic State Sen. Katherine "War on Women" Clark of Melrose, who won the primary by pounding the wonderfully original "Republicans hate Women" message. After the primary, Clark has simply coasted through the general against Republican attorney Frank Addivinola, who doesn't even live in the district. Addivinola has run an decent campaign (the number of yard signs I saw for him on a recent trip to the area was quite impressive for a hopeless some dude). But, ultimately the fact that this district is ~D+16 and full of high-turnout moonbats means that there is no chance of an upset. Feel free to speculate on margins; we don't see the need to liveblog this one.
The more interesting races today are a pair of legislative specials in Kentucky, both of which look pretty exciting...
The race with bigger partisan implications is KY-LD-7, vacated by Democrat John "War on Women" Arnold, who resigned amid allegations of sexually harassing staffers. This is a rural district that leans Republican up-ballot (R+4 in 2008); Arnold won by just five votes in 2012. However, as we saw in the LD-56 special earlier this year (where Dems held a R+10), Democrats are far better organized than the GOP in much of rural Kentucky. As such, businesswoman Kim Humphrey of Union County has a real chance of holding this one for the Democrats. Republicans are running Suzanne Miles of Owensboro, a staffer for Rep. Brett Guthrie. There's not much info out there about this race, but the fault lines seem to be geographic (Owensboro vs. Union County) and somewhat ideological, as Humphrey has tied herself strongly to liberal Gov. Steve Beshear.
The other race is KY-SD-13, vacated by Democrat Kathy Stein upon her appointment to a judgeship. It is what should be a Safe D (D+11 in 2008) seat in central Lexington. If this were a two-way race, Democratic professor and 2012 state House candidate Reggie Thomas would be heavily favored over Republican minister Mike Johnson, but there's an interesting twist in the form of Independent candidate Richard Moloney. Moloney is a Democrat running as an Indie and the only candidate who has held elective office, serving 7 terms on the Lexington City Council before holding high-level appointed jobs in the Beshear Administration and in Lexington city government. With endorsements from former Mayor/Congressman Scotty Baesler, several members of local government, and Lexington's main newspaper, Moloney has a real chance to win - in fact, my read is that this race is looking like a pure tossup between Moloney and Thomas. Johnson doesn't seem to have run much of a campaign, but he does have the slightest hope of an upset if Moloney and Thomas split the Dem vote and Republicans turn out in force.
There are 3 different poll closing times tonight, owing to Kentucky's Eastern/Central time zone split. Polls close at 6 Eastern in SD-13, 7 in LD-7, and at 8 in Massachusetts.
AR-Sen: Tom Cotton (R) leads Mark Pryor 48-41 in a GOP internal commissioned by Citizens United. We've seen several polls of this race within the margin of error, but this is the first to give Cotton a significant lead. (The memo is linked; the horserace question comes a little later than it should, but not after any "informed ballot" type questions.)
NH-Sen: Via email, Scott Brown sent out yet another New Hampshire-centric statement, bashing Senate Democrats over Obamacare.
VA-Sen: Ken Cuccinelli said he "is not running against Mark Warner" in a campaign postmortem speech, during which he also blamed national Republicans for his loss, as his lack of money down the stretch forced him to go dark in NoVa in the final weeks. With Cooch out, attention has now turned to former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, who would at a minimum bring money to what has thus far been a Safe D race.
FL-13: Today's dose of weirdness comes from Pinellas County, where the GOP primary in the special to replace the late Rep. Bill Young has split has wife from his son in a rather nasty and public fashion. Bev Young, who supports longtime Hill staffer David Jolly, emotionally chewed out her son Billy in full view of the press because he supports State Rep. Kathleen Peters. Should be a fun Christmas?
NC-06: Phil Berger Jr. (R) won't have an entirely clean skate into Howard Coble's open seat: Greensboro City Councilman Zack Matheny joined the race yesterday, setting up a reasonably crowded primary that also includes businessman Don Webb and a pair of Baptist pastors.
NC-12: With the "nuclear option" invoked, Mel Watt's FHFA confirmation now looks more likely and could come as soon as today. That would take this race out of its holding pattern--a half-dozen black Democrats in Charlotte and Greensboro have been waiting--and set up an early 2014 special.
NE-02: Omaha city councilman Pete Festersen is pulling the plug on his bid, leaving Democrats without a serious candidate not only here but in any other Plains-state district. Rep. Lee Terry (R), who ran unexpectedly poorly in 2012, now looks safe after a brief period of uncertainty.
TX-36: Six Republicans were able to file before the deadline after Rep. Steve Stockman made a shocking last-minute jump to the Senate race: five Some Dude-types (a couple of which have held local positions in small cities) and Doug Centilli, the Chief of Staff to Rep. Kevin Brady of neighboring TX-08. This seems to be Centilli's race to lose, and yet another case of a seat falling conveniently into the lap of a longtime staffer.
WA-03: Environmental activist and former Cantwell staffer Bob Dingethal (D) will run against sophomore Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. This district was very swingy as recently as 2010, but redistricting, a solid red trend in 2012, and Beutler's popularity have pushed it to the fringes of the playing field.
MD-Gov: Troubled AG Doug Gansler got a bit of an unexpected lift from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who will campaign for him in Bethesda. I wonder if this is a 2016 proxy war--Martin O'Malley supports Anthony Brown; could Brian Schweitzer be trying to flex muscle through Bullock?
OR-Gov: As we thought might happen, Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) announced his re-election bid yesterday. That leaves Jerry Brown and Terry Branstad as the final two retirement question marks, although both are expected to run again. (If you're into wishful thinking, you could add Tom Corbett to that list as well.)
State and Local
OH-LG: State Sen. Eric Kearney--who, among other troubles, owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes--insists he's not in danger of being booted from the Democratic ticket, but all other tea leaves suggest otherwise. Likely Gov nominee Ed FitzGerald is reportedly vetting House Minority Tracy Heard (who, like Kearney, is black) and Columbus councilor Zach Klein as replacement running mates.
SD-Mayor: Convicted felon Bob Filner somehow avoided jail time after pleading guilty to false imprisonment and sexual battery charges. He will serve three months of home confinement (in San Diego, is that really punishment?) and three years of probation.
Shocker: At the literal last minute before the filing deadline, First-term Rep. Steve Stockman (R) has decided to primary Sen. John Cornyn.
A Stockman staffer walked into headquarters shortly before the 6 p.m. filing deadline, withdrew the congressman's previously submitted House re-election bid and entered the already crowded race against Cornyn.
Stockman's last-minute decision left the Safe-R 36th open to... well, anyone. Three Republicans who might never have been considered serious candidates for Congress have seized on the opportunity: Nassau Bay councilman John Amdur, Seabrook councilman and 2012 candidate Kim Morrell, and businessman Phil Fitzgerald, who recently had federal fraud charges dismissed.
UPDATE: I am seeing new reports that a fourth, much more serious, candidate has managed to sneak into the GOP primary before the filing deadline: Doug Centilli, CoS to TX-8 Rep. Kevin Brady, who represented the eastern half of the district before the creation of the 36th last year. Unless one of the other candidates can self-fund or raise some serious cash out of nowhere, Centilli is looking like a pretty strong front-runner here.
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CO-Sen/Gov: PPP is out with a poll for both the Governor and Senate races next year. It shows Hickenlooper and Udall with mid-to-high single digit leads over their Republican challengers. 2010 candidates Ken Buck and Tom Tancredo lead the GOP primaries for Senate and Governor respectively.
VA-Sen: Ed Gillespie, former RNC chair from the Bush years, is considering running against Senator Mark Warner. Gillespie would be a decent candidate, but Warner's popularity will make this an uphill battle regardless, and this seat isn't flipping unless Republicans have already won control of the Senate.
IA-1: Previous candidate and some dude Gail Boliver is joining the already crowded Republican primary for this open seat.
NY-13: State Sen. Adriano Espaillat is set to challenge Charlie Rangel again in the D primary for this overwhelmingly Democratic seat, joining a crowded cast of primary challengers. Hopefully this time the New York State Board of Elections will produce a winner in under a week, but I'm not holding my breath.
SC-7: 2012 nominee Gloria Tinubu (D) is planning on running again against Rep. Tom Rice. The ex-GeorgiaState Legislator is unlikely to improve on her 2012 performance however.
MA-Gov: Local buisnessman Mark Fisher is running for governor as a Republican, challenging 2010 candidate Charlie Baker in the primary. Fischer is trying to stake out an outsider niche running on eliminating tolls on the Masspike, but is unlikely to pose a significant threat to Baker's second shot at the office. In fact, it's unlikely Fisher will even get the 15% at the GOP convention needed to be placed on the primary ballot.
NH-Gov: Some Dude buisnessman Chuck Rolecek appears to be setting up to run for Governor as a Republican. As his sole political experience is coming in last in a primary for an Executive Council seat, he is unlikely to pose much of a threat to incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan (D).
OR-Gov: Word from the grapevine is that current Governor John Kitzhaber (D) is going to announce a run for re-election. He has called a news confrence this morning, and will be the heavy favorite if he does decide to run again.
PA-Gov: Unions are still undecided on who to support in the Democratic primary, and some are considering sitting the primary out entirely to conserve resources for the general election instead.
TX-Gov: Tom Pauken, former head of the TX-GOP, has withdrawn from the Republican primary. This further clears the way for Greg Abbott, who is already the heavy favorite for the honor of getting crushed underneath the Wendy Davis behemoth.
San Jose Mayor: The open seat election for mayor of one of America's biggest cities is starting up. Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese is running on undoing some of the budget-cutting and pension reform policies of outgoing Mayor Chuck Reed, and is backed by labor groups and public-sector unions. He is up against a number of Reed supporters all angling for a spot in the runoff, along with Republican City Councilman Pete Constant. Mayor Reed epitomized the Silicon Valley Buisness-Friendly Democrat, so the mayor race will likely turn into a proxy between the buisness and progressive wings of the local Democratic party.
UT-AG: There are alot of candidates competing for the appointment to this recently opened office, including the current placeholder. 4 of the 9 candidates have said they will not run in the 2014 election if they win the special appointment, while the other 5 say they will run. The state GOP will submit 3 names to Governor Herbert, who will pick an appointee to fill out the rest of the term.
VA-State Senate-6: McDonnell has set Jan. 7th for the special election between State Rep. Lynwood Lewis (D) and businessman Wayne Coleman (R) to replace out-going State Senator and Lieutenant-Governor-elect Ralph Northam (D). With control of the State Senate up for grabs, expect both parties to contest this D-leaning seat in the Tidewater region.
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It's not usually news when a member seeks re-election, but since almost all the signs were pointing to retirement, this one is a pretty big story.
Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, the top Republican on the powerful Appropriations Committee, said Friday that he'll seek another term in Congress.
The decision takes a seat that might have been on the edge of the playing field off the table, and means that a number of ambitious GOP office-holders like SoS Delbert Hosemann and Auditor Stacey Pickering will need to wait for the open seat. Cochran still faces a potentially competitive GOP primary with State Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, but is thus far favored.
AK-Sen: Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell are both vying to be the choice of GOP party insiders as the party's strongest candidate to take on Sen. Mark Begich(D). This is somewhat unusual in that two candidates are fighting to be the "establishment" choice for the seat. Of course, since Joe Miller likely has the tea party support in the primary anyway, this may not be as unusual as it seems.
AR-Sen: Marco Rubio's PAC will drop about $200,000 on an ad for Rep. Tom Cotton(R) in his bid against Sen. Mark Pryor(D). Rubio's PAC is looking for several conservative candidates for Senate to aggressively support and Cotton is the first of them.
FL-13: David Jolly(R) has put out his first TV ad for the special election primary. It tries to connect heavily with the late Rep. Bill Young's legacy, including an endorsement from the Congressman's widow Beverly.
GA-11: The Madison Project PAC, a conservative group, is endorsing state Sen. Barry Loudermilk in the GOP primary for this seat. Among the other candidates running for the seat that the group endorsed Loudermilk over is former Rep.(and presidential candidate) Bob Barr-once a darling of conservatives, but now just another name in the race.
MI-11: After Jocelyn Benson dropped out of the race earlier this week, the DCCC is now shifting gears and touting their support for former State Dept. official Bobby McKenzie. Benson was clearly their favored candidate, so this seems more like saving face and getting behind the only Democrat remaining in the race.
MI-14: State Sen. Bert Johnson(D) has announced his candidacy for the seat of Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters(D). Johnson is from the Wayne County portion of the district, while the other major candidates (State Sen. Vincent Gregory and State Rep. Rudy Hobbs) are from the Oakland County portion, which should help him.
Governor & State offices:
NE-Gov./NE Treas.: State Treasurer Don Stenberg(R) has decided not to join the crowded Republican primary field for governor and instead will run for re-election as Treasurer. Stenberg was never seen as likely to run for governor anyway, but this announcement just affirms that he won't find another office he can lose a race for and will stick to one he can win easily.
NY-Gov: Almost nobody probably believes he will actually run, but Donald Trump is being talked about as a possible candidate for governor. Although there is a group of Republican legislators connected with the move, this is likely just another case of the Donald liking to hear his name talked about in connection with political office and will probably come to nothing.
OH-Gov/LG: Although LG candidate state Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney(D)'s troubles over unpaid taxes he and his wife owe has caused trouble for the rollout of Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald's gubernatorial candidacy, Kearney is for now staying in the race as FitzGerald's running mate.
SD-Gov: Democrats appear to have their sacrificial lamb against Gov. Dennis Daugaard(R). He is Joe Lowe, former director of South Dakota's office of Wildland Fire Suppression. Lowe actually has some experience in running for political office, albeit at the local level-formerly serving as a city councilor and mayor of Mission Viejo, CA.
PA-13: Former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies has received the endorsement of Montgomery County Democratic Chairman Marcel Groen. This is the latest sign that the suburban political establishment is getting behind Margolies while the Philadelphia political establishment backs State Representative Brendan Boyle.
IA-Sen: Could Obamacare sink the strong candidacy of Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley? Relying on Obamcare alone to topple a candidacy this far out could be a stretch. Furthermore, the Republicans need to get a better candidacy so they don't have to rely on the Obamacare backlash entirely. Obama-Republicans: Republicans should be thankful for President Obama's failures as they have refocused our political debates on economic policy over other issues which dominate prosperous times. This piece argues that nothing like a progressive failure could put the focus back on economic and fiscal policy.
Obama/Millennials: Millennials, a group that favored President Obama like no other age demographic, have become disenchanted with the President and his signature legislation, Obamacare. The poll shows "Millennials are losing touch with government and its programs because they believe government is losing touch with them." No duh... maybe they should vote for candidates who actually have their interests at heart instead of the baby boomers and seniors. I won't be holding my breath as I find the bulk of my generation shallow and willing to follow any feelings generated nonsense out there.
LA-6: State Senator Dan Claitor is running for Congress to replace Congressman Bill Cassidy whose running for Senate. Claitor has a strong chance as he has bipartisan appeal in the Louisiana jungle primary system.
VA-4/Gays Congressman (want to be theocrat) Randy Forbes has lashed out at the NRCC for backing gay candidates Carl DeMaio and Richard Tisei.
MN-7: State Senator Torrey Westrom plans to run for Congress against Congressman Colin Peterson. Westrom is blind, which would make him unique for Congress if elected. Peterson is still toying around with the idea of running again, but we never seem to have an idea if he is staying or leaving.
PA-Gov: Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has got dragged into a battle with progressives over her membership in the centrist group, the Third Way, over the group's leadership attacking Bold Progressives for not having accurate math when it comes to Social Security and Medicare. Schwartz has repudiated the attacks on Social Security and Medicare, but Schwartz continues to walk her "hippie hating" centrist tightrope.
WI-SOS: Racine County Republican Party Chairman Bill Folk will be running for Secretary of State. Folk hopes to add some responsibilities to the practically meaningless office. Doug La Follette is the current Secretary of State.
PA-Montgomery County: State Representative Mike Vereb has been elected Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman. Hopefully Vereb's election will put an end to the decades long feud between various factions of the county party.
WATN/PA Political Corruption Update: Former State Senator and convicted felon Vince Fumo is looking at running for a spot on the Democratic State Committee. Fumo might not be eligible to run for public office, but there does not appear to be a restriction on him running for political office.
KY-Gov: Hal Heiner, former metro Louisville councilman and multi-millionaire, plans to run for Governor as a Republican. Heiner has indicated a willingness to self-fund.
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