There are plenty of other Republicans who could jump in. Stephen Fincher unexpectedly decided not to seek a fourth term last year in his West Tennessee House seat, but he told The Tennessean that he's considering running for the Senate and will decide "[h]opefully by Friday." During his first 2010 campaign, Fincher reveled in his image as a gospel singer and farmer from the tiny rural community of Frog Jump. But despite railing against government largesse, Fincher, an agribusiness kingpin, had taken millions in farm subsidies for himself. The humble singer also left Congress with $2.4 million in his campaign account he could use for a Senate bid.
Other Republicans have been quieter about their plans. The biggest name out there is Gov. Bill Haslam, who is termed-out of office in early 2019. Haslam deflected questions about his interest, saying only, "I love my job, thanks," which is very much not a no. Back in February, Haslam also didn't rule out a future Senate run. Corker himself said on Wednesday that both Blackburn and the governor are "looking at running."
After Corker made his announcement, speculation immediately began that Peyton Manning, who played football at the University of Tennessee before he went to the NFL, could run. Although Corker spoke highly of Manning and wished he'd run for office someday, Manning declined to do so in 2018 on Wednesday.
And there are still more Republicans who have been mentioned. A spokesperson for Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who represents a Chattanooga-based seat, said on Tuesday that the congressman hasn't given the idea much thought. The Tennessean lists Manny Sethi, a physician and prominent local Obamacare opponent, as an undecided potential candidate, but there's no quote from Sethi. Politico name drops freshman Rep. David Kustoff and wealthy businessman Bill Hagerty, who recently became ambassador to Japan, but there's no word if either of them are interested. It's worth noting that in Tennessee, unlike many other Southern states, there is no runoff, so it only takes a plurality to win a primary.
Tennessee backed Trump 61-35, and while Corker's departure gives Team Blue a better chance here, this is still a longshot pickup. Attorney and Army veteran James Mackler has been running here for a while, and Politico reported a few weeks ago that he left a good impression at a DSCC donors retreat. Still, some other notable Democrats are making noises about getting in.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said in a statement that he would explore a bid "in the coming weeks." The New York Times also writes that state Sen. Jeff Yarbro, who represents part of Nashville, is also considering, but there's no quote from Yarbro. Wealthy businessman Bill Freeman, who took a close third in the 2015 nonpartisan primary for mayor of Nashville, says that while his "intention" is to help Mackler, "the deck has been shuffled. It’s a new game today. I want to see what Republican steps up, who runs, and whether any other Democrats run."
However, we can cross off a few Democrats. While Team Blue held out some vague hope that ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen would run, he definitively said he wouldn't. Rep. Jim Cooper, who badly lost a 1994 Senate race, is also unsurprisingly a no.
● CA-Sen: Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has spent months considering if he'll run for governor next year, but he's not quite closing the door on a different statewide race. On Tuesday, Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler asked Steyer if he had any interest in challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a fellow Democrat, and Steyer didn't exactly say no.
Steyer instead said he "hate[s] answering conditional questions, because it'll always come up and bite you in the rear end" and he added, "I'd rather come out with what I do want to do as opposed to eliminating all the things I don't want to do." When he was asked if he had a timeline for when he'll decide what to do, Steyer said he does, "but I don't think that I've reached the time when I absolutely have to make a decision." Steyer has also not said no to a 2020 presidential run.
It really doesn't sound like Steyer really is excited about a possible bid against Feinstein, who has yet to announce if she'll run again. (Feinstein has strongly hinted that she will, but it's almost October and here we still are.) California is an extremely expensive state, but Steyer would likely be able to get around that problem. Still, while Feinstein has angered plenty of Democrats over her career, most recently when she called for having more patience for Trump, she has plenty of allies. We've also written about the challenges any intra-party foe would have in reaching a general election with Feinstein, much less actually beating her.
● FL-Sen: On behalf of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Cherry Communications takes a look at the likely matchup between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and GOP Gov. Rick Scott, and gives Scott a 47-45 lead. Back in March, Cherry found Nelson ahead 48-42. Notably, this poll gives Trump a 48-50 disapproval rating, which is considerably better than what almost any pollster has found for him in Florida or nationwide in at least a long time. It's possible that after Hurricane Irma, Floridians are viewing Trump more favorably than before, though this could also be just a very conservative sample.
● NV-Sen, NV-01: On Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus announced that she will seek re-election to her safely blue Las Vegas House seat rather than run for the Senate. State and national Democrats consolidated behind Rep. Jacky Rosen's campaign against GOP Sen. Dean Heller months ago, and while Titus spent months considering running anyway, she probably would have had a very tough time finding influential allies. Pretty much the exact same thing happened last cycle, when retiring Sen. Harry Reid and the DSCC backed Catherine Cortez Masto's ultimately successful bid and helped discourage Titus from running.
● MA-Gov: Democrat Dan Wolf, a former state senator and the founder and chief executive officer of Cape Air, has been talking about challenging GOP Gov. Charlie Baker for a while, but he never sounded very excited about it. We hadn't heard much from Wolf since the winter, but he recently said he was still considering. Still, he doesn't seem to be chomping at the bit, saying that, "I'm still quietly on hold." Former state budget chief Jay Gonzalez and Newton Mayor Setti Warren are currently seeking the Democratic nod.
● MI-Gov: This week, Rep. John Moolenaar joined Donald Trump and endorsed Attorney General Bill Schuette's bid for the GOP nomination; unlike Trump, Moolenaar seems to have spelled Schuette's name right on the first try.
● NH-Gov: After spending several months mulling a bid for the Democratic nomination, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky announced that he would run for re-election instead. So far, only ex-Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who took second in the 2016 primary, has announced that he will challenge GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, though several other Democrats are considering.
● CA-39: This week, Rep. Raul Ruiz, who represents a Palm Springs seat, waded into the crowded Democratic contest to take on GOP Rep. Ed Royce and endorsed Navy veteran Gil Cisneros, who won $266 million along with his wife in the 2010 Mega Millions lottery.
● CO-02: On Tuesday, gun-safety activist Shannon Watts announced that she would not run in the Democratic primary for this open Boulder-area seat. Back in June, fellow gun-safety activist Ken Toltz, who is a close friend of Watts, also expressed interest in running here, but he's been quiet since then; it's possible that with Watts not running, this race will look more appealing to him. The only two notable Democrats currently running for this 56-35 Clinton seat are Joe Neguse, the former head of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, and businessman Mark Williams, who recently stepped down as chair of the Boulder County Democratic Party.
● MA-03: This week Abhijit Das, the president and CEO of Troca Hotels, announced that he would run to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas, becoming the first declared Democratic candidate. Das, who says his company works to revitalize old hotels, grew up and lives in North Andover, which is just outside this Merrimack Valley seat, though he says he'll move to Lowell. Four other Democrats have formed fundraising committees here, but no one else has officially jumped in yet.
● TX-23: Democrat Judy Canales, who served as the state-level executive director for the Department of Agriculture under Barack Obama, set up a campaign committee with the FEC last week, and she recently announced that she would challenge GOP Rep. Will Hurd. Politico reported a few months ago that EMILY's List is interested in Canales, though the group hasn't taken sides in this race yet. Canales will face former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings and former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones in the primary for this sprawling West Texas seat, which backed Clinton 50-46.
● Special Elections: On Tuesday, Democrats got not one, but two special election pickups. The most attention-grabbing win was in Florida's 40th Senate District, where Democrat Annette Taddeo defeated Republican Jose Felix Diaz, who resigned from the state House to run for this Miami-area seat, 51-47. Taddeo's win means the GOP will have a 24-16 majority in the state Senate, their smallest edge since 2000. In New Hampshire, Democrat Kari Lerner defeated Republican James Headd 50-48 in HD- Rockingham-4, flipping a seat that had gone for Trump 59-36 and Romney 60-39. This is the third New Hampshire House seat that has flipped from red to blue this cycle.
The Florida win is particularly sweet for Democrats. While Clinton carried this seat 58-40 and Florida data expert Matthew Isbell writes that it backed Obama 54-45, it would be a mistake to just treat this as a dramatic under-performance for Team Blue. As we've noted before, this area, which is home to a large Cuban-American voting bloc, is considerably redder down-ballot. According to Isbell, Marco Rubio carried this seat 50-47 last year. In November, Republican Frank Artiles also defeated Democrat Dwight Bullard, a state senator who had lost many of his constituents to redistricting, 51-41. (A few months later, Artiles resigned after he unleashed a racist tirade against fellow state senators.)
To make things even more complicated, Hurricane Irene hit this area hard earlier this month. As we wrote in our most recent Voting Rights Roundup, several parts of the district are still working to recover. This includes Richmond Heights in SD-40, a heavily black neighborhood, which is still suffering from major power outages. Democrats and nonpartisan voting rights groups had called on Republican Gov. Rick Scott to delay the special election, but the governor refused. And despite all that, Taddeo won.
There's one other good sign for local Democrats here. Next year, Team Blue will be targeting GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who won re-election 53-41 last year even as his 26th Congressional District was swinging from 55-44 Obama to 57-41 Clinton. Democrats will also be targeting the neighboring 27th District, where longtime GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is retiring; her seat went from 53-46 Obama to 59-39 Clinton. Almost half of Curbelo's constituents live in SD-40, while the Senate seat makes up about 20 percent of the 27th District. In order to take either House seat, Democrats need to win over many of the voters who backed Clinton in 2016 but voted GOP down-ballot, and Taddeo's win suggests they can.
Of course, the results don't mean that either seat is going blue. Taddeo wisely tied Diaz to Trump, and she had one talking point that other Democrats likely won't have: Diaz had actually been a contestant on The Apprentice. It's also worth noting that on Tuesday, Republican Daniel Perez defeated Democrat Gabriela Mayaudon 66-34 in HD-116, which was the seat Diaz had to give up to run for the Senate under Florida's resign-to-run law.
HD-116 had swung from 55-45 Romney to 51-46 Clinton, but Mayaudon had little money or outside support. We've been tracking every special election between a Republican and a Democrat since Nov. 8, and this is easily the worst underperformance for a Democrat compared to Clinton. Trump's unpopularity gives Democrats a big opening down-ballot in the Miami area, but it would be a mistake to assume that the GOP will immediately start losing its longtime voters in droves.
There was one final special election on Tuesday in South Carolina, but there was little suspense here. Democrat Rosalyn Henderson Myers defeated Republican Michael Fowler 91-9 in HD-31, though this is still a huge overperformance from Clinton's 72-24 victory here or Obama's 79-20 win.
● Boston, MA Mayor: Boston hasn't ousted a mayor since 1949, when the corrupt James Curley narrowly lost, and it doesn't look like that streak is in any danger of breaking this year. On Tuesday, Mayor Marty Walsh led City Councilor Tito Jackson, a fellow Democrat, 63-29 in the nonpartisan primary. The two will face off in November, but unless some massive event reshapes the race, there's little suspense here.
● Pres-by-LD: Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation comes to Nebraska, home of America's only officially nonpartisan and unicameral legislature. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new states; you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here.
As many quiz show contestants have learned the hard way for decades, the Nebraska state legislature is quite different than all the others. There's only one chamber, and all senators are elected in nonpartisan races. Nebraska has been this way since the Great Depression when progressive U.S. Sen. George Norris, who himself later left the GOP to become an independent, pushed for it in his home state, arguing that bicameral legislatures and partisanship only caused problems.
However, nearly all of Nebraska's 49 senators do identify with a party. Altogether, there are 31 Republicans (this includes one open seat, where GOP Gov. Pete Ricketts will presumably pick a Republican replacement), 15 Democrats, one Libertarian, and two members who do not align with any party. Half the Senate is up every cycle.
Donald Trump carried Nebraska 60-34, a small swing to the right from Mitt Romney's 60-38 win. Trump carried 37 of the 49 seats, losing two Romney districts. Five Democrats, Libertarian state Sen. Laura Ebke, and Bob Krist, a former Republican who recently became an independent and announced that he would challenge Ricketts next year, sit in Trump seats. Joni Craighead, the one Republican to win a Clinton district, recently resigned from the chamber, and her seat is currently vacant. Additionally, independent Ernie Chambers holds what is by far the bluest seat in the state.
We'll start with a look at those Democrats on Trump turf. The reddest seat is LD-15. This seat went from 60-38 Romney to 65-30 Trump, but Lynne Walz narrowly unseated incumbent David Schnoor, a Republican, 51-49 last year. All the other four Democrats in Trump seats also hold districts he carried by double digits. In fact, Trump's smallest win in one of these seats was a 55-37 victory in LD-45 in suburban Omaha's Sarpy County. Last year, Democrat Sue Crawford won her second term 57-43.
Ebke, the one Libertarian, holds a seat located outside Omaha that backed Trump 67-27. Ebke ran as a Republican in 2014 and narrowly beat another GOP candidate in the general, but she switched parties in 2016, citing her frustration with Ricketts. Krist, one of the chamber's two independents, holds an Omaha-area seat that backed Trump just 50-44, and he his seat will be up next year. The one GOP-held Clinton seat, which is also in the Omaha area, went from 55-44 Romney to 49-46 Clinton, and it will also be up next in 2018.
Chambers, the Senate's other independent, holds an Omaha seat that backed Clinton 86-11, a drop from Obama's 91-8 win here. Chambers was first elected in 1970 and served until term-limits forced him out in 2008. In 2012, Chambers challenged his Democratic successor and beat her 67-33. Chambers has a history of taking up unpopular causes in this conservative state, with him recently introducing a resolution to call for Trump to be expelled from office.
Chambers has also not been afraid to speak his mind. Chambers, who is black, has said that "[w]hite people, they don't have a high opinion of me. They thought I was uppity and arrogant – they didn't like my attitude." Still, Chambers has managed to win over some of his conservative colleagues. Chambers has made abolishing the death penalty one of his top priorities, and he temporarily succeeded in 2015, when the legislature overrode Ricketts' veto and outlawed capital punishment. However, voters passed a ballot measure the next year 61-39 to reinstate it.
While the Nebraska legislature is unique in the United States, it's not so different when it comes to redistricting. In 2011, the GOP-dominated chamber drew up new lines, and they were signed by GOP Gov. Dave Heineman.
To get a sense for how much this map favors the GOP, we've sorted every district in a legislative chamber from Hillary Clinton's greatest margin of victory to Trump's biggest edge, and taken a look at the seat in the middle. This median seat backed Trump 61-34, just a little to the right of his 60-34 statewide win. We've published a spreadsheet to keep track of each chamber's median seat, and we'll be updating it as we roll out new states.