● Where Are They Now?: Despite coming off a 20-year stint representing Orange County in the House, ex-Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez couldn't even win a local party office on Jan. 7. Sanchez, who ran for the U.S. Senate last year and lost to fellow Democrat Kamala Harris 62-38, decided to seek a post as one of the seven female representatives to the California Democratic Party's Central Committee from Assembly District 68. However, Sanchez came in eighth place, falling eight votes short of winning a spot.
It might be a stretch to call this a rejection of Sanchez, since all seven successful female candidates ran as part of a slate and encouraged their friends and family to back their ticket mates.
By contrast, Sanchez reportedly just came in, gave a short speech, and quickly left, so her heart doesn't seem to have been in this race. (For what it's worth, Sanchez also lost the 68th Assembly District to Harris 57-43 in November.)
But don't feel too sorry for Sanchez. During her Senate campaign, she actively sought out votes from tea party groups, declared that "between 5 and 20 percent" of Muslims "have a desire for a caliphate" and "are willing to use and they do use terrorism" to achieve those ends, demonstrated a "war whoop" to describe an East Indian supporter she once met with, and suggested that President Barack Obama was supporting Harris because they are both black.
And yes, this is the first and probably last time that we dive into a race for a spot on a state party committee.
● ID-Gov: Another Republican is making noises about running to succeed retiring Republican Gov. Butch Otter. This time it's developer Tommy Ahlquist, who says he's "seriously considering" getting in. Ahlquist's company worked on two major projects in downtown Boise and Ahlquist was a finalist for a post on the state Board of Education in 2014, so he may have the money and connections he'd need to win.
So far, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and ex-state Sen. Russell Fulcher, who lost to Otter 51-44 in the 2014 primary, are running for Team Red. Tea partying Rep. Raul Labrador is also considering, and unnamed House members recently told the National Review that he's told them he's going to run; Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has also been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate, but he hasn't said anything publicly. Idaho is a very conservative state, and as far as we know, no notable Democrats have made noises about running yet.
● KS-Gov: On Thursday, ex-GOP state Rep. Ed O'Malley announced that he had formed an exploratory committee ahead of a possible 2018 bid for this open seat. O'Malley has been out of office for 10 years, but he went on to lead the non-profit group Kansas Leadership Center, which received a $30 million grant from the Kansas Health Foundation when it launched in 2007. However, O'Malley has a reputation as a centrist, which rarely plays well in GOP primaries.
● PA-Gov: State House Majority Leader Dave Reed is one of the many Republicans who has been mentioned as a possible challenger for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2018. Reed refused to rule out a bid when a local CBS affiliate asked him about his plans, but it sounds like we'll be waiting a while for an answer. Reed said that he's focusing on his current job and that the legislature has "a lot of big policy discussions ahead of us for the next six months," adding that, "The future will take care of itself." (Reed sounds like the world's lamest fortune cookie.) PennLive adds that "many" expect he will run, but of course in politics, "many" people always expect things that don't happen.
So far, wealthy state Sen. Scott Wagner is the only Republican who is actually running, but a number of others are publicly or privately considering. PennLive runs down the potential field and mentions Rep. Tim Murphy, a western Pennsylvania congressman whose name we hadn't heard before in connection to this race. It's unclear if Murphy is actually considering anything, or if he's just getting the standard Great Mentioner treatment.
● VA-Gov: Mason-Dixon is out with the first public general election poll that includes ex-Rep. Tom Perriello, a Democrat who launched a completely unexpected gubernatorial bid earlier this month. Mason-Dixon pits Perriello against two Republicans, ex-RNC chair Ed Gillespie and Trump devotee Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County. Two other Republicans, state Sen. Frank Wagner and distiller Denver Riggleman, were not included:
● 36-45 vs. Gillespie
● 40-38 vs. Stewart
Mason-Dixon also tests Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam against both Republicans:
● 41-44 vs. Gillespie
● 45-37 vs. Stewart
The poll finds that Northam and Perriello are both about equally unknown statewide: Northam posts a 17-8 favorable rating, while Perriello is at 15-6, so it's not clear what, if anything, explains why Northam performs so much better at this early stage. Of course, this is also just one poll.
● WY-Gov: GOP Gov. Matt Mead is termed-out next year, but we've heard almost nothing about the race to succeed him. Earlier this month, local columnist Bill Sniffin mentioned three possible Republican contenders: Secretary of State Ed Murray, state Treasurer Mark Gordon, and ex-Rep. Cynthia Lummis. Back in June, none of these three politicians ruled out a bid, but they don't appear to have said anything since then.
● KS-04: Wichita City Councilor Pete Meitzner has announced that he'll seek the GOP nomination for this safely red seat if Rep. Mike Pompeo is confirmed as director of the CIA. As we've noted before, the GOP nomination will be decided by a convention of party activists rather than through a primary.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.