Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn is thinking of leaving Congress to run for the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
• CA-44, 38, L.A. County Board of Supervisors: Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn is mulling a bid for the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2016, and one well-known local politician is wasting no time making it clear that he wants to succeed her in Congress. State Sen. Isadore Hall III told Roll Call that he's definitely running for Hahn's House seat if she leaves, and he's already lined up the support of nearby Rep. Karen Bass. Hall ran in this district in 2011, but dropped out at the end of the year after he failed to gain enough traction.
Fellow Democrat Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino is also considering a bid, but Roll Call's Emily Cahn notes he'd be at a geographic disadvantage against Hall: Buscaino's council seat makes up a smaller portion of CA-44 than Hall's state Senate district does. Roll Call also gives us a few other potential Democratic names: Compton Mayor Aja Brown; South Gate Councilor Maria Davila; and South Gate City Clerk Carmen Avalos. This district is blue enough that two Democrats could easily advance past the top-two primary and continue to battle into the general election.
If Hahn does run for the Board of Supervisors, she would probably start out as the favorite. But plenty of local politicians covet a seat on this five-person body (its members aren't nicknamed the "five little kings" for nothing) and Hahn is no shoo-in for the post. The Los Angeles Times' Seema Mehta takes a look at who else could run for the open Supervisor District 4, and there are some familiar names from both parties.
The most interesting potential candidate is Linda Sanchez, who also represents a safely Democratic House seat. Sanchez herself doesn't appear to have said anything publicly about her 2016 plans but if she departs, plenty of Democrats would also eye her seat. The 38th District includes Cerritos, Norwalk, and Whittier, and backed Obama 65-33.
District 4 gave 61 percent of the vote to Obama, but it's been represented by termed-out Republican Don Knabe since 1997. Knabe's top aide and former Manhattan Beach Councilor Steve Napolitano is already running to succeed his boss. Mehta also names state Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff and former Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin as prospective Republican candidates. Gin ran as a moderate in the 2011 special election to the old 36th Congressional District but failed to make it past the primary; Hahn ended up winning the seat.
The non-partisan primary for Board of Supervisors will be held in June of 2016 on the same day as California's statewide primary. If no candidate takes a majority, the top-two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November.
• AZ-Sen, 06: It's been clear for a while that Reps. David Schweikert and Matt Salmon are both considering challenging Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary, but don't plan to run against one another. A recent The Hill story indicated that Salmon is more likely to take the leap than Schweikert, and Schweikert himself confirmed this on Wednesday. Schweikert told Roll Call that he's "leaning against" taking on McCain, though he didn't close the door on the idea.
There's no guarantee that Salmon would run if Schweikert doesn't, but hard-right groups don't have an obvious contender if neither congressman enters the race. In a recent Daily Kos Great Mentioner piece, we noted that wealthy 2014 gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones has expressed some interest, though her disappointing performance last year does not inspire confidence. The list gets even shorter after that.
• CA-Sen: When we last heard from former state Senate President Darrell Steinberg, he sounded unlikely to run for the U.S. Senate but not a definite no. Well he just endorsed Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris, so we can cross his name off the potential candidate list once and for all.
• IL-Sen: Vulnerable GOP Sen. Mark Kirk raised $622,000 in the fourth quarter of last year and now has about $2 million in cash on hand, according to Crain's. He'll need much more to survive re-election, but the final quarter of an election year is generally a sleepy time for fundraising.
• NC-Gov, Sen: A late January survey from Meeting Street Research on behalf of a conservative group called the Carolina Partnership for Reform finds GOP Gov. Pat McCrory sporting a 46-40 job approval rating and edging his likely Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Roy Cooper, by a 47-44 margin. The poll also tested McCrory against ex-Sen. Kay Hagan and finds him up 50-42, even though no one's ever talked about Hagan making a gubernatorial run.
This Carolina Partnership isn't shy about their rooting interest: They claim their poll shows voters are giving the governor a "vote of confidence." But if so, it's not a particularly strong one. In fact, McCrory's lead is actually narrower than the 44-39 advantage he posted in a recent PPP poll, and it's not like his approval scores are anything to write home about. Also, we've never heard of this pollster before (and if they have a website, we can't find it), though it appears their "principal researcher," Rob Autry, may have once worked at Public Opinion Strategies, a big Republican firm.
On the Senate side, Republican incumbent Richard Burr leads Hagan 49-45 and Cooper 44-41. (Conversely, there's no way Cooper is running for Senate.)
• IA-01, 03: Businessman Ravi Patel, who is just 29 but is a member of a family of wealthy hotel developers, says he's interested in challenging first-term GOP Rep. Rod Blum next year. Patel would first have to get by Cedar Rapids Councilwoman Monica Vernon in the Democratic primary, and perhaps a host of other candidates who are also considering. Plus, as Des Moines Dem notes, though Patel lives in Cedar Rapids now, he's spent most his life in the 2nd District.
And if there is indeed a multi-way primary, it might take place under a new set of ground rules. An unusual provision in Iowa law requires that parties pick their nominee at a convention if no one gets more than 35 percent of the vote in the primary, a rare occurrence but one we saw last year. State Sen. Brad Zaun finished first in the GOP primary in the 3rd District with 25 percent but saw the nomination go to fifth-place finisher David Young, who eventually defeated Democrat Staci Appel in November.
Something similar almost happened in the 1st District, where Pat Murphy narrowly avoided a convention by taking 37 percent in the Democratic primary. (Murphy went on to lose to Blum.) But Zaun's now filed a bill that's moving through the legislature that would eliminate this possibility altogether. The proposed legislation would replace conventions with a standard runoff, to take place four weeks after primary day.
So here's a question to ask: Has Zaun simply become a new-found supporter of greater democratic participation among the electorate? Or is he perhaps angling for a rematch with Young and wants to make sure that convention delegates can't bail out the incumbent a second time if a whole clown-car of challengers emerges? Don't be surprised if it's the latter. Zaun was incredibly bitter about the outcome last year and for a brief while even threatened to run as an independent. Young should watch his back.
• ME-02: Term-limited state House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, who said back in December that he was considering a bid against freshman GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin, now sounds unlikely to do so. But while reporter Michael Shepherd is interpreting McCabe's latest remarks as a flat "no," McCabe has left himself plenty of room to run, saying, "Right now, I'm going to focus on the caucus as well as spending more time with my family."
In other words, his feelings could change, and he may be waiting on 2014 nominee Emily Cain, who's being recruited by the DCCC for a rematch, to make up her own mind. One area where McCabe might have an advantage, though (at least in a general election, albeit perhaps not a Democratic primary), is on the issue of guns. McCabe's received high marks and endorsements from the NRA in the past; Cain has earned straight Ds. In Maine's heavily rural 2nd District, that might align McCabe more closely with a lot of voters.
• Anchorage Mayor: Now that former Democratic Sen. Mark Begich has declined to run in this April's open mayoral race, candidates from both parties are considering their options ahead of the Feb. 13 filing deadline. Former Democratic state House Leader Ethan Berkowitz hadn't expressed much interest in this post before, but on Wednesday he confirmed that he is seriously thinking about jumping in.
In the last decade, Berkowitz made three notable but unsuccessful bids for statewide office. Berkowitz was Tony Knowles' running mate in 2006, but the ticket lost to none other than Sarah Palin by a 48-41 margin. Berkowitz then took on scandal tarred Rep. Don Young in 2008, losing 50-45. Berkowitz was his party's nominee against Gov. Sean Parnell two years after that but fell 59-38. Anchorage is bluer than the state as a whole (though far from safely Democratic) so he may have a better shot at the mayor's office. We'll see soon enough what Berkowitz and other potential contenders decide to do.
• Chicago Mayor: Ogden & Fry's latest tracking poll once again shows Mayor Rahm Emanuel clearly ahead of his rivals, but still a bit far from winning an outright majority. Rahm takes 42 percent in the Feb. 24 primary, with Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia at 17. Businessman Willie Wilson and Alderman Bob Fioretti lag behind at 10 and 7 respectively. Most of the few other polls we've seen show Rahm also taking somewhere between 38 to 42 percent. The mayor has had the airwaves almost to himself and if this continues, he has a real chance to carve out a majority later this month.
• Philadelphia Mayor: When Councilor Jim Kenney resigned from office last week, it seemed pretty clear that a mayoral run was imminent, since Philadelphia has a resign-to-run law. So Thursday's announcement from Kenney, officially joining the May 19 Democratic primary field, was widely expected. His announcement mentioned some priorities that other progressive big-city mayors have focused on in recent years, including minimum wage, paid sick leave, and universal pre-K.
• Deaths: Wes Cooley only served one term in the U.S. House, but he managed to pack a lot of excitement into that one term. The Republican from Eastern Oregon's 2nd district was elected in 1994 to succeed the retiring Bob Smith, and had secured the nomination again in 1996 when it came out that he had lied about serving in Korea. Worried about losing the dark red seat to a Democrat, the GOP pressured Cooley into withdrawing, and Smith had to come out of retirement to salvage the seat. Cooley was later convicted to lying in an official document (the state voters' pamphlet); he received only probation, though he did wind up going to prison later in life for tax evasion. Cooley died on Wednesday at age 82.
• Demographics: The National Journal's Ron Brownstein is doing a multi-part series of demographic deep-dives into the "States that will pick the president." Based on the two versions that have come out so far, on Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and on Colorado and Nevada, those states are all moving in a demographic direction that's pretty favorable to Democrats.
That, of course, should be of no surprise to anybody who follows politics closely, but the articles are worth checking out, especially for the startling graphs that extrapolate racial population trends in those states all the way out to 2060 (spoiler alert: all of those states will be less than 50 percent white by then), as well as some interesting slice-and-dice of exit polls by race and marital status.
• Demographics: You're probably familiar with the falsely attributed Winston Churchill quote about young liberals, old conservatives, hearts, and heads. However, Gallup's research on generational change and political attitudes contradicts the quote somewhat, showing that different generations don't get a lot more conservative over time; instead, each generational cohort, when taken collectively, tends to stay pretty consistent even as they age.
Their latest round of data shows, unsurprisingly, that Millennials are more liberal than GenXers, in turn more liberal than Baby Boomers, in turn more liberal than the Silent Generation. The interesting part of the article, though, is the chart that tracks each generation from a starting point in 1994 (or 1998, for Millennials), which finds that the generations have stacked up that way, in relation to each other, for decades. The chart's metric is conservative self-ID vs. liberal self-ID; the Boomers have moved the most to the right, but only from +19 to +23 from 1994 to 2014. Millennials are the only generation that's gotten slightly more liberal as they age, from +4 to -2 over the decades.
• Great Mentioner: Our Daily Kos Great Mentioner ventures to West Virginia, which will host an open gubernatorial contest in 2016. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has been positioning himself to run for his old post, though he doesn't appear to have made a final decision yet. If Manchin declines, Democrats have some other options, though none of them are as strong as he would be. Republicans are on the upswing in the Mountain State and have several potential contenders who may be willing to run, even if they need to face a formidable Democrat like Manchin. Check out our post for more.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Taniel, and Dreaminonempty.