Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels. Feel free to share your travel plans by congressional district. I myself will be staying at home in MD-7 all weekend, and am currently enjoying a lazy afternoon watching the snow. My sympathies to those of you making long schleps today.
As a programming note, we will have a policy thread tomorrow.
1. What are you politically most thankful for this year? What do you most wish was different, either individual election events or about the system in general?
2. What are the electoral implications of Ferguson, locally and/or nationally?
KY-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice Will Scott, a Republican. is considering a run for governor. If he decides to run, he will resign his seat on the Supreme Court. Scott has lost bids for Congress in the old KY-7 in 1988 and 1990 and for Attorney General in 1995. He would join Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and businessman Hal Heiner in the Republican primary.
More KY-Gov: Ex-Rep. Ben Chandler (D) says it is unlikely he will run for governor next year, citing an "unconducive" atmosphere. He did not rule out a future run for the office, however. Chandler lost the governor's race in 2003 to Republican Ernie Fletcher(and then replaced Fletcher in Congress).
OH-Gov/Pres.2016: Gov. John Kasich (R) won re-election easily with 64% 3 weeks ago, which garnered him positive attention about his viability as a presidential candidate. However, one article in Politico questions whether it was as big of a victory as it seemed. The article points out that he faced a weak Democratic candidate in a state in which Democrats have fared poorly at the state level and didn't receive that many more votes than Bob Taft in his 2002 re-election victory and fewer votes than George Voinovich did in his first election in 1990 and almost 480,000 less than his 1994 re-election.
TN-Gov. 2018: One potential name for 2018 has taken his name out of the running. Secretary of State Tre Hargett (R), whose name has come up in speculation says he will not run for governor in 2018. The job will be open as Gov. Bill Haslam (R) will be term limited.
State & Local:
MS-LG: Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) is considering challenging incumbent Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves (R) next year. The potential fight appears to be about jockeying for position in 2019 when Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who will be heavily favored for re-election next year will be term limited. Bryant and Reeves have not got along real well, and some Bryant supporters openly fought against Reeves in his first election as LG. This would not be an ideological fight like the Cochran-McDaniel Senate battle since McDaniel supporters dislike both for different reasons.
MS-SD 17: Chuck Younger defeated Bobby Patrick in the runoff for the SD-17 race to fill the Columbus-area seat of the late Sen. Terry Brown (R). Although both candidates ran officially without party affiliation in the special election, both were Republicans.
VA-SD 10: State Sen. John Watkins (R) has announced he will not seek re-election next year, opening up a seat that could be key in determining control of the Senate next year. Although the district, based in Richmond and suburbs is Democratic-leaning, 3 of 4 Delegates who represent parts of the district are Republicans, giving the party a reasonable chance to hold the seat.
Chicago Mayor: 10 candidates filed to run as filing ended on Monday. The top candidates beside incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel are expected to be Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Alderman Bob Fioretti. Garcia, who received the endorsement of the Chicago Teachers Union and Fioretti will both run to the left of Emanuel.
Columbus, OH Mayor: Mayor Michael Coleman (D) has announced he will not run for a 5th term next year. Coleman is the first black mayor of the city and ended 28 straight years of Republican control of the mayor's office when he was first elected in 1999. Coleman has been speculated by some as a possible candidate to run against Sen. Rob Portman (R) in 2016.
Rothenberg: Stu Rothenberg talks about what surprised him, and didn't surprise him this cycle. Surprises: Dave Brat, Thad Cochran winning the MS-Sen runoff, and Larry Hogan winning MD-Gov.
It's Thanksgiving and that means it's time for another of our fan-favorite Turkey lists. Here are the awards for the absolute worst in campaigning this year.
Honorable Mentions, in no particular order:
Mark Uterus. He may soon get his own perennial award for worst single-issue campaign, but we'll hold off on that this year because we're scared of what will happen to America's birth control supply without him in the Senate.
Mary Landrieu, for not even convincing her Senate Democratic colleagues that she deserves another term.
Monica Wehby, for showing us that very smart and accomplished people in extremely prestigious professions are not immune to acting absolutely crazy in their personal lives.
Chris McDaniel, for proving that politicians can act like 5-year olds and throw temper tantrums when they don't get what they want. The voters were meanies!
Sean Eldridge, for proving that your husband's money can't buy you a congressional seat without any skills or accomplishments.
Clay Pell, for similarly proving that you can make a serious run for Governor without any skills, accomplishments, or even the ability to keep track of your wife's car.
Steve Southerland, for being just about the only Republican to give Democrats "War on Women" fodder this year and getting flattened as a result.
Carl Domino, for getting blown out by 20-points in a light-red district against an un-entrenched freshman in a GOP wave year.
Clay Aiken, for coming in second once again.
Tom Horne, for being a one-man crime wave as Attorney General.
Mark Darr and Martha Shoffner, for giving Arkansas the unenviable distinction of having two statewide officeholders indicted for corruption in the same cycle. Are you guys sure you didn't mean to run in New York instead?
Barack Obama, for wiping out Democrats' entire national bench and handing the GOP unilateral control of half the states.
And now, our prestigious named awards:
The Dick Lugar Award for most tenuous home state connection goes to Pat Roberts, for being so destitute that he is forced to maintain a "home residence" out of nothing nothing but a recliner.
The Joe Biden Award for plagiarism, of course, goes to John Walsh, who obviously worked very hard copying and pasting those fourteen pages of his Masters' thesis.
The Dan Quayle Award for gaffe of the year goes to Lee Terry, who can thankfully now go back to his nice house.
This year's Bill Clinton Award for philandering was surprisingly less hotly contested than usual, but it had two strong contenders. The runner-up is Vance McAllister, who couldn't even last a year in Congress without getting caught kissing a staffer who was not his wife. But the winner is Ed Fitzgerald. Evidently, Fitzgerald never turned 16, because that age is about when you learn you should have a valid driver's license before you decide to have sex in a car with someone you're not married to.
The Martha Coakley Award for blowing a sure thing through sheer laziness has three strong contenders this year. The 2nd runner-up is the true champion, Martha Coakley, who managed to Coakley another race. Credit where credit is due: there is nobody that worked harder to remind Massachusetts voters why they didn't like her. But her flop got beat by two even more spectacular ones this time around: Our 1st runner-up is Jim Tracy, who should have won by 50 points against Rep. Scott "Dr. Nick" DesJarlais, whose continuing to sit in Congress despite having traded prescriptions for sex with his patients continues to be a total embarrasment. But the winner of this year's Martha Coakley Award is Anthony Brown, who managed to lose a race nobody thought he could in an inelastic deep-blue state. All Brown needed to do was to get the Democratic base out to elect Maryland's first Black governor against a "C" list Republican running a mediocre campaign... and he couldn't even do that. I think a renaming of the award in his honor may be in our future.
Turkey Party of the Year: Three strong contenders in this category. The 2nd runner-up is Tennessee Democrats, for botching their own primary for the second time in as many cycles, and allowing a fringey Some Dude to defeat their only serious candidate for Governor. Our 1st runner-up is Florida's 13th District Democrats, who gave Rep. David Jolly a free pass by forcing a credible candidate out of the race in favor of a guy who embellished his resume and quickly dropped out, leaving Jolly unopposed. But of course our winner is Nevada Democrats, for failing to field a credible candidate for Governor against Brian Sandoval (R) and getting flattened as a result, losing both chambers of the legislature, all 4 downballot offices, and 3 of the 4 congressional seats.
And now, the big prize. The 4th Annual RRH Turkey of the Year. We had three strong nominees this go-around, and it was very hard to choose.
2nd Runner Up: Dominic Recchia. It takes a lot to lose to an opponent who is indicted. It takes even more to lose to an indicted opponent in a swing district. It takes even more than that to lose newspaper endorsements to an indicted opponent in a swing district. More specifically, it takes "a candidate so dumb, ill-informed, evasive and inarticulate that voting for a thuggish Republican who could wind up in a prison jumpsuit starts to make rational sense." If that's not a turkey of the year nomination, I don't know what is.
1st Runner Up: Wendy Davis. Having dispensed with the useless anchor known as her children, she made a strong chase for the crown with her "trailer-park" upbringing and attacks on Greg Abbott's failure to stand up for his constituents. But as heavily favored as she was to win in deep-blue Texas, she will have to settle for second place, both in the election and in our Turkey of the Year awards.
And now, The RRH Turkey of the Year 2014 (drumroll, please) is...
Bruce Braley. Other individual gaffes may have been bigger, but there's nobody this year that came close to the sheer number of cowpies that Braley stepped in. Our very own Lionel Hutz wanted so badly to move to the Senate, where he could avoid having to interact with those smelly farm people for six-year stretches instead of just two at a time. And it looked like he was on his way to an easy win for the longest time. But this year, his chickens came home to roost and an Iowa farmer will be chairing the judiciary committee. At least he won't have to worry about the towel service anymore.
The news cycle is slowing down as we near the Thanksgiving holiday. Tomorrow will be our last roundup for the week with open and policy threads as needed during the Thursday through Sunday period. Regular roundups will return on the following Monday.
Ferguson I intend to keep the political commentary brief here as I think most here think this will not become a prominent national issue unless things really spiral out of control. The only non-political commentary I have is regarding the near total illiteracy of the media and politicians regarding the grand jury process and the continued use of the term "verdict."
Nixon: Of course, this does not mean Governor Jay Nixon's (D) political career has arisen from the dead. In case you need a play on the old SNL Franco skit... Nixon's political career is still dead.
CBC: CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D) made the obligatory CBC hyperbole statement regarding the grand jury decision by saying the failure to indict means "black lives hold no value." I thought these same people were saying we were in a post-racial America when Obama was elected.
Other DNC: The DNC has narrowed its convention list to 3 finalists: Columbus, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. My money is on either Columbus or Philadelphia as Hillary will want to be in one of these two key swing states.
PA-Gov: Almost 3 weeks exist between when the new PA Legislature, with stronger and more conservative Republican majorities take the oath of office, and when Democrat Tom Wolf becomes Governor. Talk is rampant that some popular bills that were being held back by various RINOs will be shoved through during this timeframe.
NRSC: Senator Roger Wicker (R) has his work cut out for him as new NRSC Chairman as he is the first in 4 cycles tasked with defending a majority. In addition, 21 Republicans are up for reelection in 2016 including several in swing and blue states.
McAuliffe: Virginia Governor and Clinton minion Terry McAuliffe (D) is upset with fellow Democrats over their handling of the 2014 elections. McAuliffe is stating the obvious that the intense focus on social issues hurt Democratic chances. While he is not calling for a change in policy, McAuliffe thinks Democrats need to push a bring back the 1990s economic agenda. Sounds like someone wants to bring the DLC back from the dead.
It's a short week folks. And probbaly a slow news week. Except we may get a news dump or two on Wednesday, if there's any bad news to get out there.
Here's your Monday roundup.
2016: In the first straw poll that I know of for the 2016 race, over 100 of the smartest, most insightful political minds of our generation weighed in on the 2016 primary. Scott Walker ran away with it, garnering 39% of the vote, with no other GOP candidate talking more than 10% of the vote. Without Democrats voting, Walker would have gotten an even higher percentage of the GOP primary vote.
Walker: Speaking of Walker, Grover Norquist is pushing his name forward, comparing him to Calvin Coolidge.
Obama: SNL had a biting sketch on CNN, and political pundits and officials are already talking about whether the comedy sketch is true to the facts. If you haven't seen the sketch, check it out.
More Obama: At 42-54, Obama isn't rebounding after the midterm elections in terms of popularity. We'll soon find out whether his Executive Action on immigration reform moves the numbers at all.
LA-Sen: A preliminary review of early voting indicates that black turnout is way down in the Louisiana runoff between Bill Casady and Mary Landrieu.
AZ-02: The Barber campaign hasn't given up trying to revive provisional ballots that were tossed out as invalid. Public records requests from both sides are flying around, though my sense from the McSally requests is that they're just trying to stay on offense.
LA-06: It doesn't look like we have anything to worry about regarding Edwin Edwards. GOP candidate Garret Graves is ahead of Edwards 61-35.
MO-Gov: (paywall) This op-ed speculates that McCaskill is all but in for the 2016 Gubernatoral race in Missouri, since she's "always wanted" to be Governor.
DC-City Council: Marion Barry has passed away at the age of 78. A good rule in politics, as well as life: Nil Nisi Bonum.
NV-Speaker: Thankfully, Ira Hanson has bowed to considerable pressure and agreed to withdraw as Speaker Designee. Honestly, I'm somewhat surprised, given the kamikaze nature of the individuals I know of in the Nevada GOP. But I will take the good news.
Florida Redisticting: The 538 pages of unsealed redistricting documents are starting to leak, and so far they seem like a whole not of nothing. A lot of gossip about state legislative candidates, and an aborted plan to draw Bill Young out of his seat. The documents will go public Monday, December 1.
IRS Scandal: In an interesting twist, 30,000 Lois Lerner e-mails have been located. We'll soon know what they hold.
Censure: Don't expect an impeachment vote in the next two years, but the Weekly Standard is promoting the idea of censure for President Obama, which is a must less drastic action and probably more politically palatable.
Judicial Elections: Will Florida's ban on candidates for some judgeships personally soliciting contributions withstand a challenge under the First Amendment? My guess is no.
Ferguson: Gun sales are way up in Ferguson, MO. We may get a grand jury decision on an indictment this week, though there are no guarantees. That would be quite a news dump if it happens Wednesday afternoon.
AZ-Sen: Republican Representative David Schweikert (AZ-6) has said that he’s mulling a primary challenge to Senator John McCain in 2016. McCain successfully fended off a primary challenge in 2010 from former Representative J.D. Hayworth by aggressively campaigning and tacking to the right, and he has signaled that he intends to do the same for 2016. Still, McCain's faced charges of being a Conservative for only as long as he needs to be to in renomination, and Hayworth was far from a top-tier candidate.
IA-1: It seems that newly-elected Republican Rodney Blum once loaned famous NHL player Jack Johnson a considerable amount of money at a high interest rate as a personal loan. Blum loaned Johnson $2 Million at 12% interest, and sued the hockey player for breach of contract less than a month later as Johnson’s finances continued to implode. This all seems to stem from Johnson’s parents taking out loans in his name and the whole thing stinks from top to bottom, which is probably bad news for Blum, who’s looking ahead to what will be a tough defense of this seat in 2016.
LA-Sen: Rasmussen has Rep. Cassidy (R) up 56-41 on Mary Landrieu in the runoff election for this Senate seat. Cassidy has led handily in every poll of the runoff since the election, and is the overwhelming favorite to take this seat and push the GOP to +9 in the Senate this year.
D-Recruitment: The DCCC is looking to a number of 2010 and 2014 losers to potentially make comeback bids in 2016. These range from sensible (Pete Gallego) to questionable (Steven Horsford & Andrew Romanoff), and in some cases speak to the weakness of the D benches in the area (Patrick Murphy & Michael McMahon) that the Democrat’s best candidates are people who lost these seats 4 years ago.
Walker: Scott Walker is putting together the start of a presidential campaign. Walker has a high profile from the aggressive agenda he pushed after his first election that led to a set of recalls that he and the Republicans in the state legislature weathered, but he has a number of potential issues that he’ll need to address if he wants to win the top spot.
Demographics: Nate Cohn looks at what role America’s changing Demographics will play in the upcoming presidential elections, and finds that Republicans don’t actually need to improve with Hispanic voters in order to win the presidency, but that the math becomes much harder if they don’t. He specifically points out Florida as the swing state where Hispanics matter the most, and that Republican gains with Whites and specifically Northern, White, working-class voters would have to be large enough to put a number of Midwestern states in play to counterbalance Florida’s increasingly large and increasingly Democratic Hispanic population.
IL-Treasurer: Republican Tom Cross has conceded this race to his Democratic opponent, Mike Frerichs, after the late counted ballots pushed Frerichs ahead. This means the Republicans only have 2 state-wide officeholders (3 counting Mark Kirk), and Democrats still maintain large majorities in both house of the state legislature, which will make Gov-elect Bruce Rauner’s agenda difficult to pass over the next 4 years.
KY-Ag. Comm: Republican State Rep. Ryan Quarles is considering running for the Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner post next year. The Democrats seem to be getting behind radio show host Jean-Marie Lawson Spann.
NV-Assembly: Oh boy. Republicans nominated Ira Hansen as their candidate to be speaker of the body next year (passing over current R floor leader Pat Hickey), and Hansen is from the Sharron Angle mold of bomb-throwing Conservative that took over the official state party in 2012. Hansen has written a column for a local newspaper regularly for the last 20 years or so, and therefore has a well-documented list of statements that would make Ted Cruz wince; including most prominently that he flies a confederate flag “proudly” next to his desk. We can only hope Hansen doesn’t grotesquely embarrass the NVGOP over the next two years, but I’m expecting him to.
NC-AG: Former D Congressional Candidate Tim Dunn is planning on running for Attorney General next year. Dunn ran against Representative Robin Hayes in 2006 (and lost), and a different congressional run in 1996. He will likely face State Sen. Josh Stein in the D primary.
SA-Mayor: Leticia Van de Putte, the losing Democratic candidate for Texas Lt-Gov, has announced she intends to run for Mayor of San Antonio in 2015. The post is open as the current interim mayor has claimed she will not run for the post she was elevated to after Julian Castro’s appointment to the Obama Administration. San Antonio is a city Republicans are competitive in on paper (It’s less D than San Diego or Indianapolis for example), but have struggled with recently, and the fact that post has few real responsibilities puts it low on the TXGOP priority list.
UK-Election: The UKIP has won it's second seat in a by-election in what is usually safely Tory territory in as many months. Mark Reckless, the former Conservative party candidate for this seat whose defection to the UKIP triggered this special election, won by a convincingly large margin of almost 3,000 votes. This election has a number of effects, most notably scrambling the Tory’s hopes that the UKIP would fissle before the next general election, but it also signaled a grim fate for the Liberal Democrats who got less than 1% of the vote and only around twice as many votes as the joke “Official Monster Raving Loon” party candidate.
In case you forgot, President Obama is going to announce his amnesty plan for illegal aliens this evening.
Congress Senate Democrats: If you want to see a great example of how the Democrats are making a hard left turn in the face of their electoral smacking, look no further than the status of Senator Chuck Schumer, whom many view as the heir apparent to Senator Harry Reid as minority leader. Schumer is facing a new power broker in the caucus, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and was apparently rebuffed in his efforts to counter her rise.
CA-7/CA-16: Democratic Representatives Ami Bera and Jim Costa were declared winners in their respective congressional races as the slow, but steady pace of California vote by mail ballot counting continues. Thank God we vote the old fashioned way here in Pennsylvania!
POTUS/States/Other Ideas: Are the Democrats suffering from an Ideas Deficit? I would say yes. The party has become a vessel for preserving the identity politics of the status quo. Arguably this happens to any party whose held the White House for two terms, but it appears to be particularly bad for Democrats due to their state level rompings in 2010 and 2014.
Obama-Amnesty Speech: President Obama has asked the broadcast networks for time to air his speech where he announces his imperial plan to give amnesty to 5 million illegal aliens. As he is a lame duck, like Bush before him, the networks have declined.
Webb: Former Senator Jim Webb (D) of Virgina has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for President. With Webb it is not clear what angle he will take against presumptive frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
PA-AG: Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) continues to step in it in her handling of Porngate. Earlier this week she alleged that some of the naughty emails contained images of minors. The story now has been corrected as the investigation showed no children were in the pornographic images. The bigger question is whether Kane can do anything right these days?
Philly-Mayor: Two Democratic heavyweights have announced their intentions to run for Philadelphia Mayor next year. Former District Attorney Lynn Abraham and State Senator and DINO extraordinaire Anthony Williams have announced bids. Of the announced field, I would support Anthony Williams as he is probably the closest thing we will get to a conservative in the city.
CO-Sen: Is there another Cory Gardner for Republicans to take on Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in 2016? Probably not, according to some political analysts. Gardner was the party's best candidate in a favorable atmosphere according to this analysis, and it will be tough for the party to replicate Gardner's success. Still, Republican chances in the state are improving, particularly in the ground game, where Republicans have closed the gap with Democrats. Rep. Mike Coffman and State Treasurer Walker Stapleton are mentioned as Republicans' best chance to beat Bennet.
KY-Sen: Sen. Rand Paul (R) is gearing up to run for re-election, even as he likely plans to run for President, despite Kentucky law apparently forbidding it. Paul allies believe that the law doesn't apply to federal offices, and believe they would win any court challenge to his dual candidacy. There is also talk of skirting the law by Kentucky Republicans opting for a presidential caucus rather than a primary, which could delay any challenge to the dual candidacy until the general election if Paul wins the Republican presidential nomination.
LA-Sen: The protest of an Anti-Keystone pipeline group against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is highlighting what may be an increasing problem for Democrats-purity purges similar to what some Tea Party activists have advocated for Republicans. These activists seem to be openly rooting for Landrieu losing to Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) and seem to be OK with the smaller Democratic caucus, which will also be more liberal, a plus to them.
MO-Sen: Cross another Democrat off the list of potential candidates to take on Sen. Roy Blunt (R). State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, who will be term-limited out of his current office, will not run for Senate or any other office in 2016. No Democrats have yet announced their intentions to take on Blunt.
PA-Sen: Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro (D) appears to be eyeing a Senate bid, as a Facebook group supporting him started up this weekend. Shapiro is also a member of the transition team for Gov.-elect Tom Wolf (D), and has been speculated as someone that might join the new governor's administration. Whether Shapiro decides to join the administration may give a clue as to whether he intends to run for Senate, as being a part of the governor's administration may make it more difficult to run.
National: Roll Call has a list of which freshmen start out as the top 5 targets for 2016 and who might run against them. The one Democrat on the list is no surprise-Brad Ashford in NE-2. The 4 Republicans on the list are Rod Blum in IA-1, Cresent Hardy in NV-4, John Katko in NY-24 and Bruce Poliquin in ME-2.
AZ-1: The successful re-election bid of Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) was one of the few bright spots for Democrats nationally. Roll Call takes a look at how Kirkpatrick won, despite being a prime target for Republicans in an unfavorable electoral climate.
IA-3: Former Gov. Chet Culver (D) is considering a run against incoming Rep. David Young (R) in 2016. Culver has largely stayed out of the spotlight since losing his bid for re-election as governor in 2010, but may be ready to get back into the political sphere. He also says he feels no pressure to run for the US Senate against Sen. Charles Grassley (R), a seat his father John Culver held for one term before being defeated in 1980 by Grassley.
MI-Gov. 2018: Speculation has already started on who might run for Michigan governor in 2018 when Gov. Rick Snyder (R) will be term-limited. It's considered a foregone conclusion that Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) will run. On the Democratic side, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer are mentioned as possible candidates. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is also mentioned as a possible Republican candidate.
Pres.2016: Backers of a presidential bid for Massachusets Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) are setting a deadline of Feb. 16 for their efforts to get the senator to run. The group has an online petition trying to convince her to run and hopes to get 100,000 signatures by their deadline and also are asking supporters to flood Warren with hand-written letters urging her to run.
IL-Treas.: State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D) has taken the lead from state Rep. Tom Cross (R) in the only statewide race in the country that still hasn't been called. Frerichs currently has a 3,259 vote lead on Cross.
Today we have a runoff election for the Governor of the US Virgin Islands. First, a primer: The USVI, just east of Puerto Rico in the Carribean, has been a US territory for about a century since it was purchased from the Danish in 1917. The three main islands are St. Croix in the South, St. Thomas in the north, and St. John, just east of St. Thomas. The population is 106K, roughly 50K each on St. Croix and St. Thomas. St. John is mostly a national park and has about 5K. 76% of the population is Afro-carribean in origin. As you might expect, the VI is a one-and-a-half party state, with Democrats dominant and no organized GOP - indeed, the self-proclaimed "Virgin Islands GOP" is really a scam to benefit fundraising companies. Independents serve as the main opposition to Dems, and do win seats reasonably frequently (6 Indies sit in the 15-member legislature). As such, the two runoff candidates are a Dem and a center-left Indie.
Democratic Del. Donna Christensen is running as a fairly standard-issue liberal, with something of a social-liberal tinge. Christensen is, however, a somewhat polarizing figure in the territory, and has frequently faced challenges from a more blue collar socially moderate, economically populist wing of the VIDP. Indeed, she won the Democratic primary with just 35% of the vote. Those populist voters have gone to the Independent candidate, 90s-era ex-LG Kenneth Mapp, who is running to Christensen's left on economics and right on social issues. Mapp led Christensen 47-38 in the first round, with the remainder going to a Chamber-of-Commerce-flavored moderate Indie. Mapp looks like the favorite today but this race should be one to watch. Here is an open thread to discuss any results that come.
For those of you still hungry for territory action, the Northern Mariana Islands (north of Guam, 1000 miles East of the Phillipines) will also hold a gubernatorial runoff Friday (late Thursday night in the states). The NMI has no organized Democratic Party (though Independent Del. Gregorio Sablan sits with the Dems in the House), and Independents serve as the opposition to Republicans. In a territory with a population of 50K and a voting populace of ~10K, personal loyalty and parochial factors are more important than ideology, and partisanship is beyond fluid. I-turned-R Gov. Eloy Inos took 47% of the vote in the first round and is favored over R-turned-I 2009 nominee Heinz Hofschneider.