The IDC and the GOP would remain allied for years to come. In April of 2018 the IDC announced that they'd finally rejoin the mainstream Democratic caucus, but their many detractors understandably were not appeased after years of dealing with the renegade senators and their pledges to reunify. That September, six of the eight senators who were in the IDC when it officially disbanded went down in defeat in the Democratic primaries. Carlucci, though, kept his seat by turning back his primary challenger 54-46.
Democrats recaptured the majority in November in a rout, and this time, there were no renegades to keep them from running the chamber. Party leaders also welcomed Carlucci and fellow IDC alum Diane Savino back into the fold even though they didn't need their votes to pass long-delayed progressive legislation (Felder also became a full-fledged Democrat later in the year).
Carlucci played down his time in the IDC as he prepared to enter the race to succeed Lowey even though he'd spent the vast majority of his Senate career there. He insisted, "I'm aware there will be people attacking all day long about the past. I'll be talking about the present and the future."
However, one of his opponents in the June Democratic primary isn't letting him off the hook. Attorney Mondaire Jones argued, "As someone who is gay, black, and a graduate of East Ramapo public schools, Sen. Carlucci's betrayal of New Yorkers and the Democratic Party is personal for me." Assemblyman David Buchwald is also running here, and other Democrats have expressed interest as well.
● AL-Sen: GOP state Rep. Arnold Mooney is up with his second TV spot ahead of the March primary, and he immediately resorts to Trump-style race-baiting against immigrants. The candidate calls for cutting legal immigration and quickly makes it clear, "Yeah, I said legal," and declares, "We can put America first, or we can keep emptying out Central America."
● KS-Sen: On Monday, former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius endorsed state Sen. Barbara Bollier in the Democratic primary.
● ME-Sen: GOP Sen. Susan Collins recently began a $142,000 TV ad buy, and we now have a copy of the commercial. The narrator praises Collins as "[t]rusted, principled, bipartisan" and argues her votes have helped Maine. The spot also praises her for having "never missed a single roll call vote. Not one."
Collins' ad came just after Democratic state House Speaker Sara Gideon launched her first spot. The Democratic media firm Amplify Media reports Gideon has added $37,000 to her ad campaign, which takes the size of the buy to $145,000.
● KY-Gov: The DGA is out with a commercial hitting GOP Gov. Matt Bevin for using his state-funded plane for campaign and personal uses. The narrator argues that the governor's flights were "serving destinations kept secret from taxpayers" before a clip plays of Bevin saying, "It's none of their business."
● LA-Gov: Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is out with an ad that aims to remind supporters of Rep. Ralph Abraham of the attacks that fellow Republican Eddie Rispone launched against him during the Oct. 12 all-party primary. Edwards took first place during that contest with 47% while Rispone edged Abraham 27-24.
The commercial begins with newscasters saying, "Eddie Rispone takes aim at fellow Republican Ralph Abraham," and, "An ad released by Eddie Rispone is filled with 'baseless personal attacks.'" It then shows Abraham telling Rispone at a debate, "You know those ads you're running against me and my family are lies. When you stand up here and tell blatant lies to the people of Louisiana, you're the politician, not me."
The commercial is airing in the Alexandria and Monroe media markets, which cover about 80% of Abraham's 5th Congressional District. According to analyst Miles Coleman, Abraham edged Edwards 40-39 in the 5th while Rispone took third with 19%. Abraham endorsed Rispone on election night.
Meanwhile, the RGA is out with an ad that features clips of Donald Trump bashing Edwards during his pre-primary rally in Lake Charles.
● MS-Gov: Republican Tate Reeves is out with yet another ad tying Democrat Jim Hood to national Democrats. Hood is also out with a commercial where he pledges to "find and clean up all of Tate Reeves' insider deals, wastes, and giveaways."
● AL-02: Businesswoman Jessica Taylor, the founder of a Montgomery-based grant consulting firm, announced Monday that she was joining the March GOP primary for this safely red open seat. Taylor's husband, Bryan Taylor, served as general counsel to GOP Gov. Kay Ivey until earlier this month when he stepped down to support his wife's congressional bid.
A few other candidates were already running to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Martha Roby in this southeastern Alabama seat, and one contender already has a massive financial edge over the rest of the field. Businessman Jeff Coleman, who is the past president of the influential Business Council of Alabama, raised $468,000 during his first quarter in the race and self-funded another $500,000, and he ended September with $965,000 in the bank.
Only two other candidates had 6-figures in their war chests at the end of last month. Former state Rep. Barry Moore, who finished third in the 2018 primary here, raised only $71,000 but self-funded $70,000, and he had $128,000 to spend. Former Attorney General Troy King, who lost renomination in 2010 and waged a failed comeback bid last year, raised $103,000 and had about that amount left to spend. State Rep. Will Dismukes barely hauled in anything and had just $8,000 on-hand.
● FL-19: A number of Republicans have already expressed interest in running to succeed retiring Rep. Francis Rooney in this safely red open seat, including some alums of the decade’s last three open seat races.
In the publicly considering column we have:
- State Rep. Byron Donalds
- State House Majority Leader Dane Eagle
- Former congressional aide Chauncey Goss
- Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass
- State Rep. Bob Rommel
Goss is the son of Porter Goss, who was elected here in 1988 and resigned in 2004 to lead the CIA. Goss ran in 2012 and lost to Trey Radel 30-22. Goss ran here again 2016 but was massively outspent by Rooney and lost 53-30. Donalds also competed in that first 2012 primary and took fifth place with 14%.
A few other Republicans haven’t ruled out running. State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto said that she appreciated the calls for her to run but was focused on this week’s special session of the legislature, which was not a no. Benacquisto competed in the 2014 special primary but lost to Curt Clawson 38-26. Clawson retired in 2016 and while Benacquisto initially considered running to succeed him, she quickly announced that she’d run for re-election instead. Benacquisto is now termed-out of the legislature, though, so a congressional race may look more appealing than it did back then.
State Rep. Spencer Roach also didn’t rule out running, but said he’d defer to Eagle. Florida Politics also mentioned former state Rep. and 2012 candidate Gary Aubuchon, Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman, and Fox News Radio host Drew Steele as possibilities. However, former state Rep. Matt Caldwell and state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo have taken their names out of contention.
● MD-07: A few Democrats have shown some interest in running in the upcoming special election to succeed Elijah Cummings in this safely blue Baltimore-based seat, though most potential contenders are understandably reluctant to say much so soon after the longtime congressman’s death.
Del. Vanessa Atterbeary told the Baltimore Sun’s Luke Broadwater, “It’s something I definitely will think about.” State Sen. Cory McCray also explicitly said he wasn’t ruling out running. Del. Talmadge Branch replied, “I can’t say I haven’t thought about it,” while fellow Del. Keith Haynes told the paper, “Out of respect for his memory, obviously it’s an issue that’s going to have to be addressed. If it’s the will of the constituents to entertain that, we’ll decide at the appropriate time.”
Both Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said they wouldn’t talk about the race at the moment. There’s been some speculation that Kweisi Mfume, who resigned from a previous version of this seat in 1996 to lead the NAACP, could run, but he did not respond to Broadwater’s request for comment.
It also remains to be seen when the race will take place. GOP Gov. Larry Hogan has until Oct. 28 to schedule the contest, and Broadwater writes that he’s not expected to announce anything until after Cummings’ funeral on Friday. It’s possible that Hogan could set the special primary to take place in late April on the same day as Maryland’s regularly-scheduled presidential and statewide primary.
● NY-27: On Sunday, Army veteran and Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia announced that he would not seek the GOP nod to succeed former Rep. Chris Collins, who resigned at the end of September before pleading guilty on charges related to insider trading. The party's nomination for this special election, which has not yet been scheduled, will be decided by party leaders rather than through a primary, and The Buffalo News' Robert McCarthy writes that Bellavia would have been the favorite if he'd run.
However, Bellavia's decision not to enter the race will likely encourage other Republicans to get in. Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said in July that he wouldn't run against Bellavia, but McCarthy wrote Sunday that he's now expected to announce a bid "soon." On Saturday, before Bellavia made his announcement, Assemblyman Steve Hawley also reaffirmed that he was still considering whether to run.
● TX-13: Republican Josh Winegarner, who works as government relations director for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, set up a fundraising committee late last week for this safely red open seat.
● Houston, TX Mayor: The University of Houston is out with a poll of the Nov. 5 nonpartisan primary that gives Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner 44% of the vote, a little short of the majority he'll need to win outright.
Self-funding attorney Tony Buzbee holds a large 23-8 lead over businessman Bill King, who narrowly lost to Turner four years ago, for the second place spot in a potential December general election. Councilman Dwight Boykins and former City Councilwoman Sue Lovell take 7% and 1%, respectively. The only other poll we've seen so far was a late September Rice University survey that had Turner at 37% while Buzbee outpaced Turner 20-10.
UH also takes a look at two hypothetical general election scenarios and finds Turner beating Buzbee and King 55-36 and 55-32, respectively. Last month Rice had Turner leading Buzbee 55-40 while he defeated King 57-34.
● Deaths: Michigan Republican Bill Milliken, who was the longest serving governor in state history, died Friday at the age of 97.
Milliken was elevated from lieutenant governor to governor in 1969 when George Romney left to join the Nixon administration, and he kept his job the next year by narrowly beating Democrat Sander Levin 50.4-48.7. Levin sought a rematch in 1974, but Milliken won by a larger 51-47 margin (Levin was elected to the House in 1982 and retired last cycle). Milliken won his final term in 1978 by a decisive 57-43 margin. After his tenure voters would vote to restrict governors to two four-year terms, which ensures that no one one will surpass his longevity.
Milliken had a moderate reputation during his 14 years in office and he was close to Democrat Coleman Young, who was Detroit's first black mayor. Milliken would also repeatedly support Democrats during his long retirement, including John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid and Gov. Jennifer Granholm's re-election campaign two years later. Milliken did initially back John McCain in 2008, but in October of that year he declared, "He is not the McCain I endorsed," and added, "I'm disappointed in the tenor and the personal attacks on the part of the McCain campaign, when he ought to be talking about the issues."
However, Milliken did endorse Republican Rick Snyder for governor in 2010. In 2014, Milliken supported both Democrat Gary Peters' Senate bid and Snyder's re-election campaign.
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