● Pres-by-LD, NJ State Senate, NJ State Assembly: Our project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation hits New Jersey's 40 legislative seats. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new results; you can also find all of our data from 2016 and past cycles here.
Along with Virginia (which we've already released), New Jersey is the only state that is scheduled to hold legislative elections this fall. The entire 80-person Assembly will be up for a two-year term in November, while the 40-member state Senate will be up for a four-year term. Each of the Garden's State's legislative districts elects one senator and two assemblymembers, and the districts are exactly the same for both chambers. Democrats hold a 24-16 majority in the Senate and a 52-28 majority in the Assembly.
Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump 55-41, a small drop from Barack Obama's 58-41 win four years before. Both Clinton and Obama won 28 of the 40 seats, with Clinton trading two Obama seats for two Romney districts. Interestingly, Democratic state Senate President Steve Sweeney sits in a seat that went from Obama to Trump, while GOP Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean's district went from Romney to Clinton. Sweeney's South Jersey LD-03 swung from 55-44 Obama to 50-46 Trump, while Kean's central SD-21 drifted from 52-47 Romney to 53-43 Clinton.
The other Obama/Trump seat is SD-01 in South Jersey, which is represented by Sen. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat who has flirted with running against GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo each cycle for over a decade but has never gone for it. The remaining Romney-to-Clinton seat is LD-25 in Morris County in the northern part of the state. Both Obama/Trump seats have all-Democratic legislative delegations, while the two Romney/Clinton districts still send only Republicans to the legislature.
The two Democratic state senators and four assemblymembers referenced above are the only Democratic legislators who hail from Trump seats, while a grand total of six Republican senators and eight assemblymembers come from Clinton constituencies. Team Blue has a good pickup shot at LD-07, a coastal seat that backed Clinton 62-35. GOP state Sen. Diane Allen has consistently pulled off decisive wins here, but she's retiring this year.
● PA-Sen: GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone recently said he was "seriously considering" a run against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, and last week, he took a step in that direction, filing paperwork to create a campaign committee with the FEC. Note that this doesn't mean Saccone is necessarily going to go through with it: It's very easy to set up a committee with the FEC, and tons of candidates do so without ever actually running for office. However, it's pretty rare that such filings wind up looking like a ransom note, so we have no idea what that's all about. Send help? (Hat-tip: Politics1.)
● CA-Gov: New Zealand citizen and evil zillionaire Peter Thiel had reportedly been toying with a bid for governor the way a sadistic cat toys with a doomed mouse, but evidently, he must have realized that, as the number one Trump-loving Republican in California, he'd have wound up the hapless rodent. On Monday, a Thiel spokesman announced that "Peter is not running for governor," presumably so he can spend more time figuring out how to stay alive forever by injecting himself with the blood of young people. Better luck Down Under, mate!
Meanwhile, in the realm of sane humans who actually have a shot at winning California's governorship next year, state Treasurer John Chiang just earned the endorsement of state House Speaker Anthony Rendon. Chiang is one of several prominent Democrats in the race; Rendon, a powerful figure in his own right, declared that Chiang would "stand up" to Trump's "intolerant and irresponsible agenda."
Rendon even went one further, saying that Chiang would "make California a national model for progressive legislation providing a contrast to Trump's dystopian society." That sounds like something we might have written! Democrats, take note: Resistance to Trump is going to be the issue of this election cycle. How you choose to play it will be extremely important.
● FL-Gov: Eccentric rich guy "Alligator Ron" Bergeron says he's "reasonably seriously" considering a bid for governor, calling himself a "moderate conservative" and saying he "could" potentially spent $75 million on the race, which is as much as term-limited Gov. Rick Scott shelled out on his victorious first campaign in 2010. He also sounds a bit Trump-esque: He made his fortune as a developer and, according to reporter Adam Smith, "drives a gold-plated Hummer." Bergeron says he expects to decide in about four months, so we'll look to check back in with him in early June.
● WY-Gov: The other day, we speculated that Republican Gov. Matt Mead could try to challenge a Wyoming law that limits governors to two terms, on the grounds that a very similar law regarding state legislators had been struck down by the courts some years ago. A successful lawsuit would enable Mead to run for a third term next year, but it turns out he's not interested. Following up on our item, the National Journal's Zach Cohen checked in with Mead to see if he might pursue this option. A spokesperson was very clear about it, though, saying that Mead "will not run for re-election in 2018." That means Republicans can go about business as usual in plotting their designs for this race, though so far, no one has yet to declare a bid.
● CA-34: Over the weekend, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez won the formal endorsement of the California Democratic Party in the extremely crowded special election to succeed Xavier Becerra, who is now the state's attorney general. Gomez earned the support of 56 of 58 delegates and can now tout the endorsement in his own campaign literature. He could receive a further boost if the state party sends out its own mailers on his behalf, and in addition, endorsed candidates in other elections have also been designated as such in the sample ballots sent out by election officials.
One of the other Democrats in the race, Arturo Carmona, issued a press release calling the endorsement "undemocratic" and "rigged"; you won't be surprised to learn that Carmona was a former campaign staffer for Bernie Sanders. Several other candidates also signed on to Carmona's statement, but without the resources to make their voices heard, a bit of digital ink isn't going to go very far in making their case.
● GA-06: Former Johns Creek Councilwoman Kelly Stewart, who's been described as a "potential self-funder" by Roll Call has reportedly been considering a bid for Rep. Tom Price's House seat, which should soon become vacant once the Senate confirms him as Trump's Health and Human Services secretary. Stewart, a Republican, still doesn't appear to have said anything publicly, but Politics1 just spotted her filing paperwork with the FEC. So far, only a couple of other Republicans, businessman Bob Gray and state Sen. Judson Hill, have joined the race, but many more are looking at it and are probably waiting for Price to clear out before entering.
● SC-05, SC-Gov: When Donald Trump nominated Rep. Mick Mulvaney as his budget chief, state House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope didn't sound terribly eager to run for Mulvaney's House seat, saying, "I do not anticipate that the Pope family would be going to Washington." Well, for the first time in political history, it sounds like a politician has admitted he wants to spend less time with his family, because Pope just decided to run for Congress after all—either that, or he intends to fulfill his prophesy about his family by losing.
Pope had at one point been interested in a gubernatorial bid, but that option got all but foreclosed when Trump tapped another South Carolinian, Gov. Nikki Haley, as his U.N. ambassador, elevating Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster to the top perch. (Haley had been term-limited; McMaster is not.) That left Mulvaney's solidly red seat as Pope's next-best option for advancement, but he'll still face several other fellow Republicans in the primary, including state Rep. Ralph Norman, South Carolina State Guard commander Tom Mullikin, family law attorney Kris Wampler, and education activist Sheri Few.
And even if Pope does succeed, he might find that being a very junior person in a 435-member body is less fun than serving in a top leadership role in the state legislature. But if he fails, he'd still be able to keep his current job, since a special election for Mulvaney's seat won't coincide with South Carolina's normal election schedule.
● MO Ballot: In response to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens signing so-called "right-to-work" legislation aimed at destroying organized labor, Missouri unions say they intend to put a measure on the ballot for 2018 that would allow voters to overturn the new law. The hurdles are steep, though: Organizers would need to collect valid signatures from 5 percent of voters (based on the most recent gubernatorial election) in six of Missouri's eight congressional districts, roughly 90,000 in total. Given how concentrated Democrats are in just two of those seats (one in St. Louis, one in Kansas City) that won't be easy.
Veto referendums like this one also haven't been used in Missouri in a long time, with the last one coming in 1982. However, they've historically been very successful: In 26 tries, they've worked 24 times, meaning that voters have given their stamp of approval to just two laws that have been put up to a popular vote. Obviously big business will do everything in its power to fight such an effort when it comes to right-to-work, but for the labor movement and for progressives in general, this is an existential battle that simply must be joined.