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.
MS-Sen: Sen. Thad Cochran is now 4 days past his self-imposed "end of November" decision deadline, and although the prevailing sentiment has long been that he'll hang 'em up, recent local speculation has focused on the possibility that the GOP could retake the Senate, putting Cochran in line to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee and giving him incentive to stay on. He'll face State Sen. Chris McDaniel in the primary if he runs again.
NE-Sen: Paul Ryan endorsed university president Ben Sasse for this open seat, giving Sasse a second major national endorsement (after our friends at the SCF). I'd like to hope that the backing of Ryan, who endorses sparingly and tends to back only true fiscal wonks, will mean more to Nebraskans than whatever cash the SCF dumps here to needlessly bash Shane Osborn.
MA NH-Sen: Scott Brown penned an NH-centric anti-Obamacare op-ed, in either a step toward this race or a continuation of a massive PR tease. I've evolved on this race from "Just freaking run against Markey," to "I'd rather you freaking ran against Markey, but it's not like we have anyone else running in New Hampshire so why the hell not?" Sigh.
NJ-Sen: State Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R), who ran a disappointing (albeit Sandy-addled) race against Bob Menendez in 2012, won't run against Cory Booker next year. Kyrillos may have had a shot at Booker if he ran in the special this fall.
CA-25: Buck McKeon's retirement party is getting crowded: another prominent local pol, State Sen. Steve Knight (R), announced that he'll run next year if McKeon retires. Knight, who represents the more populous LA County portion of the district, is jostling for position with the better-funded Tony Strickland, who clarified over the weekend that he too will only run if McKeon retires. So if ole' Buck is good for another term, this game of chicken could spill over into next cycle.
MI-11: Law school administrator Jocelyn Benson (D), who generated DCCC buzz just a month ago, is dropping out, perhaps sensing both a less-than-favorable cycle and the increasing likelihood that Rep. Kerry Bentivolio will not survive his primary challenge from David Trott.
NY-13: Normally "Black Pastors rally to keep eternal CBC veteran in office" isn't a headline, but Harlem's big-name preachers are helping Charlie Rangel by running against him. The Revs. Michael Walrond and Calvin Butts now both seem likely to primary Rangel, which would only siphon away the anti-Rangel black voters a Latino candidate like Adriano Espaillat would need to win.
FL-Gov: Even Bill de Blasio's right-hand man can't stand the Charlie Crist slime: Bill Hyers, who ran the de Blasio campaign, is ditching Crist after less than one month as his campaign manager.
ID-Gov: Democrats finally found a non-Some Dude challenger for Butch Otter, but it's still very much a sacrificial lamb: Boise School Board member A.J. Balukoff.
LA-Gov: Sen. David Vitter will announce his 2015 plans next month (he's expected to run for governor). Vitter is wasting no time because popular LG Jay Dardenne (R/Jindal) is all but certain to run himself, and other surprise candidates (ex-Rep. Rodney Alexander, NOLA Mayor Mitch Landrieu) may loom in the jungle primary.
State and Local
MA-LG: After much speculation, Charlie Baker has chosen ex-State Rep. Karyn Polito as his running mate. Polito brings a strong base in Worcester County, decent relations with the conservative wing of the state party, and statewide experience from her Treasurer bid in 2010. MA technically has a "shotgun wedding" system, but on the GOP side it has operated as a de facto "team primary" since 2002.
UT-AG: Acting AG Brian Tarbet, initially seen as a caretaker, may in fact run to succeed the disgraced John Swallow. The filing deadline here is Friday; a special convention will meet next Saturday and send three names to Gov. Gary Herbert, who will then pick someone to run in a 2014 special. Click the link to see the names of the half-dozen other Republicans running.
VA-SD-33: Del. Joe May, who lost renomination this year, is leaving the GOP and will run as an Indy in the special to replace Mark Herring. This is theoretically bad news, although it could turn into a 2010 FL-Sen-type situation if May goes full "holier-than-thou" moderate. This special, along with a concurrent contest in Ralph Northam's vacant seat, will determine control of the Senate.
This month we're setting aside the chaos in DC that has seen the CW about 2014 go from D wave to GOP wave in the span of six weeks, and going back out to the states. For all the wild mood swings that the congressional picture has undergone in the last three months, the Governors' picture has remained remarkably static. As a bonus, we're also giving our baseline rating for the three 2015 contests.
There are just two changes to the RRH Governor Ratings since September, both in Democrats' favor:
Georgia Likely R from Safe R || Kansas Likely R from Safe R
Our December Gubernatorial Rankings will be out at 4pm.
Texas: Incredibly wealthy Dallas dentist David Alameel (D) is running against John Cornyn. Alameel was last seen blowing through $4.5 million of his own money in TX-33 to claim 10% of the vote in the Democratic primary. Alameel is trying to talk up his conservative streak (he has donated to a number of leading Republicans in the state and gave thousands to Cornyn years ago), but let's be real: his attraction as a candidate for the Democrats is that he can spend a lot of his own money and is planning to do so. It still doesn't change the dynamics in a state like Texas, and I would expect Davis to outperform Alameel next November.
Louisiana: State Senator Elbert Guillory, who very publicly switched to the GOP last spring, is not running for US Senate and instead is backing Rep. Bill Cassidy (R). The move is a boon to Cassidy, who has cleared the GOP field of all candidates except Rob Maness, a retired Air Force officer who is supported by national conservative groups.
NY-01: That's one way to get attention to yourself. George Demos (R) has thrown a picture of Rob Ford, the crack-smoking Toronto Mayor, into an ad, highlighting him as a career politician alongside President Obama. Demos faces a primary with state Senator Lee Zeldin to take on Rep. Tim Bishop.
CA-25: He is explicitly saying he will only run if Rep. McKeon retires, but former state Senator Tony Strickland (R) has filed to run in this seat rather than in CA-26, where he ran and lost a nail-biter in 2012.
ME-02: Former State Senator Richard Rosen (R) had previously planned to run here but is now out of the race. Former Senate President Kevin Raye, the 2012 nominee, appears to be the frontrunner for the Republican nod against Treasurer Bruce Poliquin.
Massachusetts: With the primary field all to himself, Republican Charlie Baker led in fundraising in the gubernatorial race in October, raising $261k. He was trailed by all Democratic candidates, including Treasurer Steve Grossman ($163k), Juliette Kayyem ($96k), and Attorney General Martha Coakley ($89k).
Iowa: State Rep. Tyler Olson (D) is scaling back his campaign until next year in response to his ongoing divorce with his wife.
Nevada: Talk about an enthusiastic potential candidate.
“I’ve said publicly that if no one else ran and people wanted me to run, I would do it,” [state Senator Tick Segerblom] said, noting that he thinks County Commissioner Steve Sisolak will be the Democratic candidate for the 2014 election.
Instead, he says he is fundraising for other Democratic candidates and his Christmas card.
State & Local
CA-AD-45: Democrat Matt Debabneh defeated Republican Susan Shelley by 329 votes last November, but Shelley is claiming more votes were counted than were available to count and is seeking a recount. Even if she is right, 300 is just too large a margin to surmount.
DC Mayor: Vincent Gray is officially running for re-election. He faces several members of the DC council in the race.
RRH's December Governors' Rankings will be out tomorrow afternoon.
NH-Sen: Move over, Larry Pressler - another quirky, long-retired ex-Senator is attempting a comeback in 2014. Ex-Sen. Bob Smith (R), who served two terms in the 90s, is running for his old seat against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Smith is an odd fellow: he briefly switched to the Constitution Party in the late 90s to prep a third-party 2000 Pres bid, then rejoined the GOP - only to develop a feud with Dubya that led to his defeat in the 2002 primary by John E. Sununu. He then packed up and moved to Florida, where he ran for Senate in 2004 and 2010, going nowhere both times. Since then, he has returned to NH. While Smith is a step up from our current options, foot-in-mouth prone ex-State Sen. Jim Rubens and Some Dude Karen Testerman, it's hard to see him toppling Shaheen.
OK-Sen '16: (h/t adam_c) Though he has already announced he will not seek a third term when his seat is up in 2016, Sen. Tom Coburn's (R) recurring Prostate Cancer has forced him to consider ending his service before then. Coburn announced that he is giving thought to resigning before his term finishes, possibly as early as next spring. OK is one of the handful of states that do not allow the Governor to appoint an interim Senator, meaning we may see an oddly-timed special election for the seat.
NM-Gov: National Journal takes a look at the complicated relationship between Gov. Susanna Martinez and her political director, Jay McCleskey, and the effects it's had within the Martinez team. These kinds of stories are often exaggerated by people with an axe to grind, but if there is anywhere near as much internal feuding around Martinez as the article suggests, it could wind up being a major concern for Veep vetters in 2016.
NH-Gov: The GOP continues to draw a blank in recruiting to take on Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), as Manchester attorney Brad Cook is the latest prospective candidate to pass on the race.
GA-Gov: As State Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur) mounts a bid for Governor, his grandfather Jimmy's legacy is likely to be a double-edged sword, giving him added name recognition but also forcing Jason to differentiate himself from Jimmy's liberalism.
NV-Gov, etc: If you click on any link today, make it this one, an outstanding CW Recap of pretty much every competitive race in Nevada next year.
NJ-3: Randolph Twp. Mayor Tom MacArthur (R) is considering a run, but a thorny issue is that Randolph is in Morris County, clear on the other side of the state. So far State Rep. David Wolfe (R-Brick) is the lone Republican actually running, though Berkeley Twp. Council Pres. James Byrnes is also considering.
FL-13: After Rep. Bill Young announced his retirement, political consultant Nick Zoller (R) quickly jumped into the 2014 race to succeed him. However, Zoller is only 24, and Young's death pushed the election for this seat to before his 25th birthday - meaning he is too young to fill the seat in the special. Zoller says he will continue to run in the 2014 general no matter who wins, whether that means a general election challenge to ex-FL CFO Alex Sink (D) or a primary against Republican State Rep. Kathleen Peters or Young aide David Jolly.
State & Local:
SC-LG: LG Glenn McConnell (R) is still considering whether to mount a campaign for his do-nothing office or retiring to focus on seeking the presidency of the College of Charleston. If he runs again, McConnell is likely to face a tough intra-party challenge from developer Pat McKinney, who, unlike the incumbent, is a close ally of Gov. Haley. State Rep. Bakari Sellers is the likely D nominee.
UT-AG: As expected, there will be no early special election to fill the seat of AG John Swallow (R), who resigned amidst corruption allegations. Herbert will appoint an AG from a list of 3 names selected by the state GOP at a Dec. 14 convention; that AG will then run in a special election in November 2014.
NH-EC-1: NH Executive Councilor Ray Burton (R), who represented the northern part of the state on the uniquely powerful body, passed away last month, and filing has already closed in the special election to succeed him. Three Republicans and one Democrat will duke it out in the January 21 primary and March 11 general for this highly swingy district.
CO-SD-19: State Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Arvada), facing the prospect of a recall that would hand the GOP the Senate majority, has decided to resign to pre-empt the vote and allow a Democrat to hold the seat. However, it's not entirely good news for Dems, as it puts another competitive district on the ballot in 2014; Hudak would have served until 2016 had the recall not gone forward.
Hope you and your loved ones have a Happy Thanksgiving / Hanukkah (or as it is being referred to as Thanksgivukkah!).
(1) What are you politically thankful for this Thanksgiving? (I must say I am thankful for living in a country where we settle political differences at the ballot box consistently instead of resorting to violence).
(2) Are there national political implications if more major cities follow Detroit's path and file for bankruptcy protection?
As this unusual Thanksgivukkah is upon us, we are going to invite our readers to civilly discuss one of the more pressing policy issues of today, what to do with Obamacare. As the Obamacare rollout has been as appetizing as a burnt turkey, we ask you to provide your thoughts on what Obamacare should be replaced with.
As usual, please keep it civil and keep the obscure technology jokes regarding Obamacare's Windows 95 style functionality to a minimum.
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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