● MT-AL: After their close call with a first-round knockout in Tuesday's Georgia 6th District special election, national Republicans are sounding the alarms ahead of Montana's own May 25 special election for its lone House seat. The NRCC has added $1.2 million in TV ad reservations, while the House GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund Super PAC is airing a new ad that attacks Democrat Rob Quist as part of an $800,000 buy. CLF tries to tie Quist to Nancy Pelosi, skewering him for wanting government-funded health care and supposedly supporting cuts to the defense budget, while they also hit him for his past debt troubles.
Meanwhile, Republican Greg Gianforte released an ad that warns Quist wants a national gun registry "in a big government computer," which Gianforte claims could lead to "federal bureaucrats [grabbing] your guns." He then fires a shotgun at a computer monitor flashing the word "confiscate" and destroys it, promising he'll stand up for the 2nd Amendment.
Gianforte's spot and a recent NRCC ad are both hammering Quist over an earlier interview where Quist spoke favorably about registering assault weapons like one registers a car. In response, Quist himself previously debuted an ad on Thursday to tout his own support for the 2nd Amendment where he too shoots a TV screen displaying an attack ad.
● CA-Sen: Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has given every indication that she plans to seek another term next year, but she has yet to definitively say she's in. On Thursday, Feinstein told the Los Angeles Times that she wouldn't announce her 2018 plans until some family health issues are resolved; the senator did not say anything further on what those issues were.
● MI-Sen: Longtime GOP Rep. Fred Upton didn't rule out a Senate bid against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow in late January, but he's apparently in zero hurry to make a decision. Upton insists that his team has done no polling and adds, "I guess at some point we'll consider it, but we don't have any timeline" to decide. Upton raised just $190,000 over the first three months of 2017, though he likely has the D.C. connections to bring in a whole lot more if he feels like it. The only other Republicans we've heard express interest are former state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, who said in February that he'd decide by the summer, and racist asshole Ted Nugent.
However, at least some Republicans don't seem to want to wait for Upton. Crain's Detroit reports that unnamed people are trying to convince retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young Jr., who left the bench last week, to run. Young, who was the only African American member of the seven-person court, himself didn't rule anything out, saying that, "As when I was placed on the president's Supreme Court list, the encouragement for me to run for some other office is flattering."
● MI-Gov: In early April, Ann Arbor businessman Shri Thanedar set up a campaign committee to allow him to raise money for a bid for the Democratic nomination, though Thanedar has yet to say anything publicly. Thanedar has attracted some attention in the business world, and he was named 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year by the major finance group Ernst and Young. Thanedar also earned some local headlines late last year when he gave his employees a collective $1.5 million bonus.
If Thanedar gets in, he will have an interesting story to tell on the campaign trail. Thanedar, who grew up in poverty in India, moved to the United States for graduate school and made a fortune in Missouri after buying a small chemical testing laboratory. However, Thanedar launched a risky and expensive expansion project at the exact wrong time, and the Great Recession devastated him and his company. Thanedar moved to Michigan in 2010 and founded a new company, which did well; Thanedar is no longer its CEO after selling off his majority share late last year.
Right now, ex-state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer looks like the Democratic frontrunner, with ex-Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed running what looks like a longshot bid. Rep. Dan Kildee is also considering, though he recently reaffirmed that he doesn't know when he'll decide.
● OK-Gov: On Thursday, state House Minority Leader Scott Inman announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination to succeed termed-out GOP Gov. Mary Fallin. Inman joins ex-state Sen. Connie Johnson, who lost a 2014 Senate race to Republican James Lankford 68-29, in the primary. Ex-state Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who narrowly lost the 2010 gubernatorial primary, is also considering.
Oklahoma is a very red state, but Democrats hope they'll have an opening next year. Inman, who is termed-out of his Oklahoma City-area seat, has focused much of his criticism of Fallin on her support for income-tax cuts, and NewsOk says "he's known for his fiery yet eloquent debates on the House floor." In his kickoff, Inman took issue with Fallin's "failed leadership," and argued that "trying to cut our way to prosperity doesn't work."
● AK-AL: Rep. Don Young is the House's longest serving Republican, and he wants to keep that title for a while longer. Young, who has represented the entire state since a 1973 special election, announced on Thursday that he would seek yet another term.
Alaska is usually a reliably red state in federal elections, and Young won't be easy for anyone to beat, though there are signs that many Alaskans are done with him. In 2014, Young endangered his own re-election campaign after he appeared at an assembly at Wasilla High School and made some incredibly offensive comments about a local student's recent suicide. Young ended up beating his unheralded Democratic foe 51-41, a huge drop from his 64-29 win two years before.
Last cycle, Democrats began preparing far earlier, and challenger Steve Lindbeck ran a commercial featuring a friend of the deceased student blasting Young's behavior. However, Young ended up winning 50-36, an almost identical margin to Trump's 51-37 victory over Clinton.
● CO-06: On Thursday, attorney David Aarestad announced that he would challenge GOP Rep. Mike Coffman in this competitive suburban Denver seat. Aarestad's only previous electoral experience was a 2015 school board race, where he lost to an incumbent 35-29. So far, the only other declared Democratic candidate is attorney Jason Crow, a veteran of the Army Rangers. Aarestad noted in his announcement that he grew up in the 6th and still lives there; Crow lives a few blocks away in Denver, though he says he'll move to the seat.
It's unclear if either Democrat has the connections they'll need to run a serious race against Coffman, who won an expensive re-election campaign 51-43 even as Clinton was carrying this seat 50-41. However, Coffman's team is at least acting like Crow is the candidate they're taking more seriously. After Aarestad jumped in, Coffman's team responded by attacking Crow as "the handpicked choice of D.C. establishment Democrats" and trollishly arguing that "the grassroots aren't going to just coronate D.C.'s handpicked candidate." The Denver Post says that Crow's campaign is "drawing attention from top party fundraisers, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," though they didn't go into any more detail.
● GA-06: The dust has barely settled from last Tuesday's special primary election in Georgia's suburban Atlanta 6th District, but both parties are already spending on TV ads ahead of the June 20 runoff. The DCCC recently laid down $450,000 to attack Republican nominee Karen Handel, and now the NRCC is returning fire. The Washington Examiner's David Drucker reports that the NRCC placed a $250,000 buy to support Handel against Democrat Jon Ossoff late on Thursday, but there's no copy of the ad available yet.
● IL-06: Suzyn Price, who served 13 years on the Naperville Unit District 203 school board before retiring in 2016, has kicked off a bid against Republican Rep. Peter Roskam. This suburban Chicago seat swung from 53-45 Romney to 50-43 Clinton, but the GOP still does well downballot. Roskam will be well-funded, and it remains to be seen if Price has the connections to raise the type of money she'd need to run a serious campaign. Several other Democrats are eyeing this seat as well.
● NE-02: Former Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford just narrowly lost his bid for a second term in 2016 by 49-47 to Republican now-Rep. Don Bacon, but he might not be done for good. In reference to whether he or his wife Ann Ferlic Ashford might challenge Bacon in 2018, the ex-congressman recently told The Hill that "One of us is running. And you can take that to the bank." An attorney, Ferlic Ashford herself said back in March that she was considering running, and now Brad Ashford says the couple won't make an ultimate decision about who will run until after the conclusion of Omaha's mayoral race in May.
The Omaha-based 2nd District favored Trump by a modest 48-46 in 2016, and it's the type of relatively well educated light-red urban/suburban district that Democrats will likely need to put in play if they hope to regain the House next year. The Ashfords also pointed to Trump's national unpopularity and Democrats' good showing in last Tuesday's Georgia House special election primary in suburban Atlanta as reasons that one of them could win, which could be an encouraging sign for 2018 if those factors spur strong Democratic candidates to run in more races across the country.
● SC-05: The May 2 primary for this reliably red seat is coming up soon, and we have campaign finance reports from the candidates covering the period of Jan. 1 through April 12. In contests where no one takes a majority, there will be a runoff May 16; the general election is June 20. We'll start with a look at the Republicans candidates:
Ex-state party chair Chad Connelly: $190,000 raised, $177,000 spent, $12,000 cash-on-hand
Perennial candidate Ray Craig: Did not file
Anti-Common Core activist Sheri Few: $52,000 raised, $8,600 self-funded, $39,000 spent, $38,000 cash-on-hand
SC Guard Commander and attorney Tom Mullikin: $92,000 raised, $144,000 self-funded, $176,000 spent, $60,000 cash-on-hand
Ex-state Rep. and 2006 nominee Ralph Norman: $285,000 raised, $305,000 self-funded, $183,000 spent, $407,000 cash-on-hand
State House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope: $196,000 raised, $83,000 spent, $143,000 cash-on-hand
Attorney Kris Wampler: $3,000 raised, $5,000 spent, negative $2,000 cash-on-hand
So far, major outside groups have stayed out of the contest.
Trump won this Rock Hill-area seat 57-39 and it's likely to stay red, though after the GOP's unexpectedly tight showing in Kansas' 4th District earlier this month, the general election might be more interesting than it once looked. Three Democrats are running, but former Goldman Sachs senior advisor Archie Parnell is the only one who reports spending more than $10,000. Parnell raised $143,000 and self-funded another $100,000, spent $65,000, and has $178,000 on-hand.
● TX-30: Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson recently turned 81, and her meager fundraising over the first three months of 2017 set off speculation that she would not seek a 14th term. However, unnamed people close to the congresswoman told The Dallas Morning News on Friday that she plans to seek one more term, and that an announcement would come within 10 days. When Johnson leaves, it will likely set off a crowded primary in this safely blue Dallas seat, but she's unlikely to face a serious challenge if she seeks re-election.
● Deaths: On Thursday, former Arkansas Republican Rep. Jay Dickey died at the age of 77. Dickey became the first Republican since Reconstruction to represent southern Arkansas' 4th District when he won in 1992 despite its then-Democratic lean, but he narrowly lost his bid for a fifth term in 2000.
Dickey was best-remembered for what infamously came to be known as the 1996 Dickey Amendment, which stripped the Centers for Disease Control of funding for anything that promoted gun-safety measures, effectively intimidating the CDC into abandoning supporting research on gun violence. Dickey later apologized for the amendment, but it has remained in effect ever since.
● Deaths: On Thursday, ex-Rep. Lawrence Hogan, a Maryland Republican and the father of current Gov. Larry Hogan (whose legal name is actually Lawrence Hogan Jr.), died at the age of 88. Hogan, who was first elected to the House in 1968 from Prince George's County, was best known for his actions during the Watergate scandal as a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
The day before the committee's 1974 debate on impeaching Richard Nixon began, Hogan announced that he favored removing the president, a statement that did not please the White House at all. Hogan, who was running for governor at the time, proceeded to make a statewide TV broadcast that night. Hogan's move inflamed Republican voters, and he lost the primary 54-46. The Washington Post's obituary says that, at the time, Hogan admitted that his high-profile stand against Nixon was a calculated gamble to try to get his name out, though in 1987, he insisted that he knew that opposing Nixon would cost him the primary.
Hogan made a comeback in 1978 and became county executive, but he clashed repeatedly with the council; infamously Hogan threatened to castrate Democratic Chairman Parris Glendening, who later became executive and went on to serve as governor. In 1982 Hogan ran for Senate, but lost to Democratic incumbent Paul Sarbanes 63-37.
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.