While Eyman has had success at least getting voters to approve his initiatives, he's likely to have a very tough time actually getting them to vote for him for governor. In 2017, Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Eyman for allegedly breaking state campaign finance laws to profit off his many ballot initiatives. Eyman, in Trumpesque fashion, responded by nicknaming the attorney general "Fascist Fergie."
Eyman has been held in contempt of court twice, and in September, a judge fined his associates $1.1 million for secretly and illegally "mislead[ing] contributors into believing their contributions would go to support ballot initiatives, when in fact, they were benefiting Defendant Eyman personally." The ruling didn't sanction Eyman himself but his civil trial is scheduled for July, which is one month before the top-two primary.
Eyman also found himself in a very different sort of legal mess earlier this year when surveillance video captured him taking a $70 chair from an Office Depot without paying for it. Eyman responded by saying he had planned to purchase the chair, but had become distracted by a phone call.
An agreement was reached in July where the theft charge would be dismissed as long as Eyman didn't commit any other crimes and stayed away from that store for nine months. On Thursday, Seattle City Councilmember-elect Andrew Lewis responded to Eyman's gubernatorial announcement by tweeting, "The only way Tim Eyman is gonna get the governor's chair is if he steals it... go @JayInslee."
● KS-Sen: Cult leader Donald J. Trump bestowed his blessing Friday on chief acolyte Mike Pompeo, saying of a possible Senate bid by Pompeo, "If he thought that there was a chance of losing that seat, I think he would do that and he would win in a landslide because they love him in Kansas."
In February, Trump had dismissed reports of Pompeo's interest in returning home to run for office as "fake news," only to immediately backtrack and insist that Pompeo (who also serves as secretary of state) had told him "he's absolutely not leaving." And prior to that, the Washington Post reported that Trump explicitly did not want Pompeo to depart. That, however, was according to "two people familiar with his thinking," and we all know that Trump's thinking (such as it is) changes by the minute.
Mitch McConnell, at least, will be relieved at this latest turnabout for once: He'd very much like Pompeo to get in the race, precisely because the GOP does have "a chance of losing that seat"—namely, if voter suppression zealot Kris Kobach (who also used to serve as Kansas secretary of state) wins the Republican nomination.
As for Pompeo himself, he's reportedly still considering a Senate campaign, despite getting shredded in impeachment hearings on Wednesday, when Trump's ambassador to the European Union testified under oath that Pompeo knew about an effort to withhold American military aid to pressure Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating the Biden family. Pompeo has denied the charges but has refused to comply with House subpoenas for documents and has not provided any testimony to Congress.
● CA-16: Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria recently picked up an endorsement from the SEIU for her campaign against conservative Rep. Jim Costa, a fellow Democrat.
Soria entered the race in July; she raised $153,000 for the quarter and ended September with $133,000 in the bank. However, Costa took in $269,000 during this time and had $576,000 to spend. Two other candidates competing in the March top-two primary, Democrat Kim Williams and Republican Kevin Cookingham, each had less than $15,000 to spend.
● IN-01: Democratic state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon announced on Thursday that she's entering the race for Indiana's 1st Congressional District, which recently became open thanks to Rep. Pete Visclosky's retirement.
Candelaria Reardon was the first Latina ever elected to the state House and has served there almost continuously since 2007. In the 2014 GOP wave, though, she narrowly lost re-election to Republican William Fine but came back to defeat him two years later and was unopposed in 2018. Candelaria Reardon currently represents about 9% of the 1st District's population. She joins a primary that includes North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, and attorney Jim Harper.
● MD-06: Republican Del. Neil Parrott officially kicked off a bid against freshman Democratic Rep. David Trone on Thursday, though the odds will be very much against him.
Ever since Democrats gerrymandered Maryland's 6th Congressional District following the 2010 census, it's been solidly blue save for one election—the 2014 GOP wave. That year, former Democratic Rep. John Delaney survived a challenge from Republican Dan Bongino (who went on to become a looney tunes Fox commentator) by just a single point. Barring a similar wave, the wealthy Trone should have no problem winning a second term.
● NJ-11: Former Kinnelon Councilman Lawrence Casha has announced that he'll seek the GOP nod to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill. The New Jersey Globe writes that Casha, who left the Borough Council in 2008, is "well-known in Republican circles, working for GOP candidates for more than 20 years." Casha currently represents Morris County on the New Jersey Republican State Committee.
However, Casha hasn't had much luck getting himself elected to higher office. He ran in a 2007 primary for a state Assembly seat but lost a close primary to Jay Webber, who went on to lose to Sherrill last year. Casha himself campaigned to get appointed to a vacant seat in the Assembly in 2012, but he lost the party nominating convention.
Casha is the first Republican to enter the race, but he may have company soon. Wealthy businessman Jerry Langer expressed interest in running earlier this month, and the New Jersey Globe says he also announced he was forming an exploratory committee at that time. Langer does not appear to have filed paperwork with the FEC yet, though.
● NY-02: Nick LaLota, who serves as the Republican Party's commissioner on the two-member Suffolk County Board of Elections, said on Thursday that he would run for this competitive open seat. LaLota is a Navy veteran, and he spent six years as an Amityville Village trustee before retiring this year. He joins Islip Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt in the June GOP primary.
A number of other Republicans could run, and Nassau County GOP chair Joseph Cairo recently name-dropped Oyster Bay Councilwoman-elect Laura Maier as a possibility. Maier, who has not yet been sworn into the post she won earlier this month, has not publicly said anything about her interest in a congressional bid.
● TX-17: Rocket scientist George Hindman, a Republican who we hadn't previously mentioned, recently went up with the first TV spot of the March primary for this open seat. The black and white ad shows Hindman taking his jacket from a coat hanger that seems to be the only other thing in the endless void where this commercial takes place (perhaps Hindman somehow wound up in Janet's void from "The Good Place") as the unseen narrator introduces him as "an inventor and businessman."
The narrator continues, "You don't need to be a rocket scientist to be in Congress, but George is a rocket scientist." (If members of Congress had to be rocket scientists, New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt would have had a lot more power during his 16 years in the House.) Hindman responds to this by saying, "It's not that big of a deal," to which the narrator argues, "Maybe it is, George. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to vote for a rocket scientist." Hindman then says, "Just Google me" and ends this somewhat self-deprecating ad by saying, "I approve this message … I think." There is no word on the size of the buy.
● Des Moines, IA Mayor: The Dec. 3 runoff for mayor isn't far away, and both Mayor Frank Cownie and former state Sen. Jack Hatch are going up with negative TV spots. Cownie's ad declares that Hatch is "a career politician and a big developer who fills his pockets with your tax dollars" by collecting tax credits. Hatch, a fellow Democrat who was also the party's 2014 nominee for governor, said in response, "I didn't vote for those and I abstained from those state tax credits he's referring to."
Hatch hit back with a commercial saying that Cownie has "taken a staggering 150 trips to luxurious destinations." Cownie argued in turn, "You can't just sit in Des Moines and hope money comes in. You have to make a case for it," and he continued, "My travel has brought home tens of millions of dollars for bridges, roads, projects and firefighters."
Cownie took first place in the Nov. 5 nonpartisan primary with 43.4% of the vote, while Hatch was close behind with 42.7%. This is the first time that Cownie has been forced into a runoff since 2003, when he was first elected mayor of Iowa's capital and largest city.