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: Potential candidates are beginning to come out of the woodwork for the upcoming special election this conservative seat to replace Aaron Schock. On Monday, GOP state Sens. Darin LaHood, Bill Brady, and Jason Barickman all acknowledged that they're considering the race.
State Rep. Mike Unes also announced on Tuesday that he's "giving it the consideration it deserves." Mark Zalcman, the Some Dude who was already challenging Schock in the primary, is staying in to the excitement of just about no one. However, Peoria City Councilman Ryan Spain quickly made it clear that he wouldn't run. Not much activity is expected on the Democratic side, though state Sen. John Sullivan's name has been mentioned. Sullivan represents a 55-43 Romney seat so he does have experience winning over conservative voters, though a higher profile congressional campaign would not be easy. (Jeff Singer)
9:13 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MD-04: Two more candidates have jumped into the race to succeed Donna Edwards in this safely blue suburban DC seat. Former Prince George’s County Council Chairwoman Ingrid Turner and Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk are joining former Prince George’s County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey and ex-Lt. Gov and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Anthony Brown in the Democratic primary. There is a very deep bench here, so this field could get even larger.
9:29 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MS-01: We always knew there would be a crowded Republican contest to replace the late Alan Nunnelee, but maybe not this crowded. In the last few days, another three candidates have announced that they'll run in the May 12 special election, bringing us to 12 Republicans and one Libertarian. The most formidable is probably Sam Adcock, an executive at Airbus Helicopter and a former district director for then-Sen. Trent Lott. If Adcock has some money to burn and still has some connections to Magnolia state politics, he could definitely make an impact. Adcock is making national security a centerpiece for his campaign, which could help him stand out from the pack.
We've also heard from Ed Holliday, a dentist and active tea partier. If Holliday can consolidate far-right support, he might be able to advance to the June 2 runoff. However, he might have a hard time getting traction now that fellow tea partying physician Starner Jones is in. Finally, former Eupora Mayor Henry Ross is making a third bid for this seat. Ross performed poorly against Nunnelee in 2010 and 2012, so he probably shouldn't get his hopes up this time. The filing deadline is March 27, so there's time for still more candidates to join the race.
9:35 AM PT (Jeff Singer): TX-19: So much for that. Back in January, Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson made noises about challenging Rep. Randy Neugebauer in the GOP primary for this dark red Panhandle seat. But in early March, Robertson announced he wouldn't go for it. Neugebauer never looked particularly vulnerable and we shouldn't expect him to have any problems from here on out.
9:36 AM PT (David Nir): SD-Sen, AL, Gov: When U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson announced last month that he'd leave his government post, South Dakota Democrats were momentarily excited that he might run against either Sen. John Thune or Rep. Kristi Noem this cycle. But alas, it's not to be. Johnson, who just joined a private law firm, just told Roll Call that he does not have "any sort of plan or interest" in seeking either office "at the moment." However, Johnson could still run for governor in 2018, when GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard will be term-limited. Given the Democrats' shallow bench in the state, he'd probably be the party's top recruit.
9:48 AM PT (Jeff Singer): Chicago Mayor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his allies have had the airwaves to themselves since the primary ended, but Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garica is out with his first runoff spot. Garcia appears at a shuttered school and decries Rahm for closing down 49 others. Garcia then accuses Rahm of taking the money and sending it to elite private schools run by his donors. There's no word on the size of the buy, though Garcia's press release describes it as "substantial."
Garcia may also already have the material for his next spot too. In recent days, we've learned that the Chicago Housing Authority spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its pension and to buy government debt, rather than use the money to help the 280,000 person backlog find affordable housing.
9:57 AM PT (Jeff Singer): Houston Mayor: The entire city has been waiting breathlessly (ok, maybe mostly campaign consultants) to see if Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia will enter this year's open seat race. Garcia, a Democrat, would be a formidable contender, but he'd be required to immediately resign his post to run (the Harris County Commissioners Court is also expected to replace Garcia with a Republican, which plenty of local Democrats are not excited about). The Houston Chronicle's Theodore Schleifer reports that Garcia will in fact seek the mayor's office this November, and will make an announcement within a month. However, an anonymous source tells Schleifer that Garcia hasn't finalized his plans just yet.
10:03 AM PT (Jeff Singer): Great Mentioner: Joe Sestak narrowly lost his 2010 race to Republican Pat Toomey in the midst of the GOP wave, and it's not surprising that he's seeking a rematch. However, many Democratic power players are frantically searching for someone to challenge Sestak in the primary. While even Sestak's detractors acknowledge that his unconventional style can be an asset, they feel he ran a disorganized campaign last time that cost them this seat. In a new Daily Kos Great Mentioner post, we look at who might oppose Sestak in the Democratic primary.
10:08 AM PT (David Nir): House: With Aaron Schock's surprise departure from the House on Tuesday, we felt it was the perfect time to re-launch one of our favorite Daily Kos Elections features from cycles past: our House Open Seat Watch! So far, we already have 10 open seats in the 114th Congress, including three vacancies that will be resolved in special elections (including Schock's IL-18, of course).
But that's not all. James L. has meticulously compiled the most thorough list of potential retirements you'll find anywhere. In fact, we already have over 50 names, most of whom might run for higher office but some of whom might just bail outright. Of course, there are always surprises, so we'll be keeping this list updated all cycle long.
10:25 AM PT (David Nir): FL-Sen: While Rep. Patrick Murphy looks set to run for Senate any day now, Rep. Alan Grayson, a fellow Democrat, thinks this whole "getting an early start and introducing yourself to voters and raising money for difficult race in a giant state" idea is for the birds. In comments following Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's decision not to run for Senate, Grayson demonstrated his usual obnoxiousness by referring to himself in the third person—and referring to Murphy in the zeroth person:
"The stars are certainly starting to align for a Grayson-for-Senate run," he said. "But there's time. Qualifying for this office isn't until May 2016. What do they say? Fools rush in."
When asked if he thought Murphy was a fool, Grayson demurred by saying, "Moi?"
. The fact that Grayson is enmeshed in a messy divorce battle where he's accused his estranged wife of committing bigamy surely has nothing to do with his reticence. Nor, undoubtedly, does the fact that Grayson $30 million net worth would allow him to self-fund a late bid, while Murphy will actually have to work hard to raise money himself, starting right now.
Incidentally, it's that $30 million fortune Grayson is trying to keep out of his wife's hands with this bigamy claim. If a court doesn't buy it, then Grayson could find his bank account quite a bit slimmer. So even Alan Grayson might have to hit the campaign trail and shake the money tree earlier than he might like, if he runs for Senate at all. We'll see who looks the fool then.
10:29 AM PT (Jeff Singer): IL-18: The race is on to inherit soon-to-be-former Rep. Aaron Schock's Downton office. Romney won this Downstate Illinois seat 61-37, so most of the action in this special election will be in the GOP primary. State Sen. Darin LaHood, the son of former Rep. Ray LaHood, quickly announced he would run.
However, fellow state Sen. and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady will not be on the ballot, nor will his colleague Jason Barickman. There may still be a Brady in Winterfell though (yes, I know that's the wrong show). State Sen. Brady suggested his brother Ed Brady and state Rep. Dan Brady (no relation) as potential candidates. Ed runs a homebuilding company so he could conceivably self-fund, but the family business has earned its share of bad headlines. Dan Brady is "looking at" running, as is state Rep. Mike Unes. We might see a lot more Republicans come out of the woodwork here. Some other potential contenders include state Rep. Tom Demmer and former state Rep. Jil Tracy.
Democratic optimism is not high, but there are some local electeds who could jump in. State Sen. John Sullivan has been getting some attention, and the Journal-Courier's Greg Olson also great mentions his colleagues David Koehler and Andy Manar. Over at Roll Call, Emily Cahn gives us state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, Peoria city official Sonni Choi Williams, state Department of Transportation advisor Kristin Dicenso, and 2008 nominee Colleen Callahan.
10:34 AM PT (Jeff Singer): IL-18: P.s: Check out this encouraging quote from Schock's father.
11:55 AM PT: OR-Gov: Republican Bud Pierce, the head of the Oregon Medical Association, hasn't officially declared his candidacy for the 2016 gubernatorial special election in Oregon — he's "contemplating" a run — but, per Blue Oregon, his new website makes pretty clear that he's running. It has "Bud Pierce for Governor" in the copyright footer, along with a whole lot of "Coming soon!" in the "issues" and "philosophy" sections. Most intriguing is mysterious Issue #5, which is denoted by an icon of a paper airplane.
12:23 PM PT: FL-Sen: Rick Scott seems to have stumbled across One Weird Trick that lets you win elections despite being personally unlikeable and enacting terrible policies: just dramatically outspend your opponents and run only in non-presidential years. And it looks like he might keep putting that trick to use: he's proposing running for the Senate once he's termed out of the governor's office ... but not for the probably-open seat in 2016, but rather 2018, where he'd face Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. While Nelson is fairly popular and was re-elected convincingly in 2012, he will be 76 in 2018, and might contemplate retirement at that point.
As for who might carry the Republican flag in 2016 if Marco Rubio runs, as expected, for President instead, the Republicans still have a deep bench of less-wealthy but also less-repellent options than Scott. Tuesday's reporting on Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's decision not to get into the Senate race mentioned that state CFO Jeff Atwater and Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera (a close personal friend of Rubio) have both been to Washington to seek support for the race. Three U.S. Reps. — Ron DeSantis, Vern Buchanan, and Curt Clawson — are also mentioned, as having been approached by activists to run.
1:29 PM PT: NE-02: There are a couple warning signs on the road ahead for freshman Rep. Brad Ashford, who'll be one of the Dems' toughest holds in 2016. For one thing, his fundraising is off to a slow start — he says he's raised about $150k this year, short of his $250k goal for the (almost over) first quarter — and that's apparently generating a lot of heartburn at the DCCC, who've named him to their Frontline program. Ashford's stance on fundraising, per the article, is admirable, if quaint and reeking of loser-speak:
“If I don’t get re-elected because I don’t toe the party line, or I don’t raise enough money by the first quarter, then I don’t,” Ashford said. “But I don’t think that’s going to make a difference. I think I’ll be graded on how I do.”
Perhaps more importantly, though, the tension over fundraising also seems to be generating a lot of turmoil
within the office. Ashford has already lost a chief of staff and two communications directors, in his two-and-a-half months in office, at least one of whom went on to work for similarly-centrist (but much likelier to go places) Patrick Murphy instead. Roll Call
's article draws an apt comparison to Nancy Boyda, who won a similarly-red Midwestern district in 2006 thanks to an unpopular incumbent, proceeded to run a laid-back, 20th-century style "grade me on my accomplishments" type-campaign, and promptly lost re-election.
1:32 PM PT: WATN?: This probably wasn't the sort of comeback Connecticut ex-Gov. John Rowland had in mind. He's coming back, all right ... to prison. Ten years after he was first imprisoned for accepting illegal gifts while in office, he was sentenced again on Wednesday to 30 months in prison after being convicted in federal court of hiding campaign work from election officials.
1:47 PM PT: CA-St. Sen.: We're poised for a big-money, business-vs.-labor special election in California's 7th Senate district, where candidates are jostling to move up after Mark DeSaulnier vacated the seat to move to the U.S. House. The top 2 primary on Tuesday night ended with two Democrats advancing, as you might expect from a dark-blue district in Contra Costa County in the Bay Area suburbs. Orinda mayor (and Jerry Brown's former campaign manager) Steven Glazer got 33 percent and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla got 25 percent, finishing ahead of ex-Asm. Joan Buchanan at 23 percent and the only Republican, Michaela Hertle, at 17.
Glazer, however, touts himself as a "fiscally responsible problem solver," and has a record of taking anti-union stances, including proposing banning BART strikes when running unsuccessfully for the state Assembly in 2014. Bonilla and Buchanan, on the other hand, competed for union backing, with Bonilla receiving the bulk of it. More than $2 million was spent, overall, on the primary, and that's likely to only increase ahead of the May 19 runoff.
In a way, though, it's indicative of progress: that California has become a blue-enough state that, like, say, Hawaii or Rhode Island, all the action in the business-vs.-labor fight occurs in the Democratic primary instead of the general election. (See the Mike Honda vs. Ro Khanna race in 2014 for another example.) Just because two people with "D" after their name are running, though, doesn't mean we can stop being vigilant, though.
2:15 PM PT: NV-04: Jon Ralston has some big, and somewhat surprising, news in Nevada's 4th district, which is one of the House Democrats' best pickup opportunities in 2016. The district went 54 Obama-44 Romney in 2012, but freshman Rep. Steven Horsford unexpectedly lost re-election in 2014 to underfunded then-state Asm. Cresent Hardy (well, maybe not that unexpectedly, if you'd been paying attention to abysmal early voting numbers from Democrats in the weeks leading up to the election).
With presidential year turnout in this district, Horsford had a reasonably clear route back to the House, and probably had the right of first refusal in terms of the nomination. However, Ralston revealed on Wednesday that Horsford has been telling people he will not run again. That potentially opens the door for former Asm. Lucy Flores, who lost the Lt. Governor race in 2014. That dimmed her 'rising star status a bit, though Flores's name has bubbled up in recent months as a potential replacement if Horsford didn't decide to try again.