Yesterday, we covered Volunteer State political rumors that suggest Sen. Bob Corker (R) may eschew re-election for a gubernatorial bid. Now, the Democrats have their first official candidate. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean announced that he will seek his party’s nomination for the open Governor’s office, thus beginning what could be a very interesting Tennessee political season.
Sen. Corker is the key. Should he seek re-election, all of the real action will take place in the Governor’s race. If he decides to jump into the state contest, then the multiple political aspirants will likely set their sites on Corker’s open Senate position. Central Tennessee Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) also looks to be in the mix for whichever of the two positions come open.
Another major question surrounds outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam (R), who is ineligible to seek a third term. If Corker runs for Governor, will Haslam enter the Senate race? Or, would he do so two years later if Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) decides to retire?
Much will be decided in Tennessee politics, and all of the major decisions will be forthcoming as soon as Sen. Corker decides upon his own political future.
Kansas: Yoder Likely to Remain in House
Reports are coming from the Sunflower State that Kansas City area Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park) will remain in the House.
In the past couple of weeks speculation has been budding that the four-term Congressman was seriously looking at the open Governor’s race, especially when his colleague, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Topeka), decided to retire from politics. Ms. Jenkins was widely expected to run for Governor, but then surprised everyone in late January by announcing that she would instead return to the private sector when her current congressional term expires at the beginning of 2019.
Yesterday, the budding Yoder gubernatorial bid may have already ended. The Congressman told various local news reporters that he intends to seek re-election next year.
Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is ineligible to run for a third term. Three statewide officials: Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), who also just made public his intention not to seek Rep. Jenkins’ open US House seat, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), and Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), are all considered potential gubernatorial candidates.
Businessman Wink Hartman and former state Rep. Ed O’Malley are already announced Republican gubernatorial candidates. Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer just declared his plans to run for the Democratic nomination.
Despite Gov. Brownback’s poor job approval ratings, Republicans will still be favored to hold the state’s top position in deep red Kansas.
Over the weekend, Democratic National Committee members chose former Obama Administration Secretary Tom Perez as their new chairman. He defeated Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis), among others, in a close vote. Mr. Perez then immediately named Rep. Ellison as the party’s Vice Chairman.
Once again, the Obama-Clinton establishment held off a hard charge from the Bernie Sanders’ wing of the Democratic Party, reminiscent of the presidential nomination battle. Perez will come into office from a policy perspective, rather than possessing nuts and bolts campaign experience, so it should be interesting to see in what direction the DNC now heads.
Mr. Perez succeeds Acting Chair Donna Brazile, who replaced Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) when she was forced to resign under controversy at the Democratic National Convention in July.
Montana state Senate President Scott Sales (R) announced yesterday that he will not enter the special at-large congressional election when Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish) is confirmed as Interior Secretary, probably next week. Previously, 2014 Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte claimed that he has already secured a majority of party convention delegates in order to become the GOP’s special election candidate. Mr. Sales’ action suggests that Gianforte’s vote count is correct. In Montana, like Kansas, the parties choose their special election nominees in convention, and voters will go to the polls only once. Republicans are favored to hold this seat.
In a prelude to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) likely entering the open 2018 gubernatorial race, he made an announcement yesterday saying he won’t run for Congress. Earlier, Topeka US Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R) announced her retirement, meaning the 2nd Congressional District seat will also be open next year. Mr. Kobach is not term-limited in his current position, so he could seek re-election, but it is more likely he will run for the state’s top post. Incumbent Governor Sam Brownback (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.
For the Kansas Democrats, former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer just publicly declared that he will run for Governor. Though rated as heavy underdogs to win the position, the Democrats are likely to field a contested primary. In addition to Mr. Brewer becoming a candidate, 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis, the former state House Minority Leader, is also a potential contender. Independent Greg Orman, who became the de facto Democratic opponent to veteran Sen. Pat Roberts (R) in the previous election, is also deciding about entering the Governor’s race.
The National Republican Congressional Committee released the first round of its Patriot Program target list just as the three-day weekend began. Those named as program members are in difficult political situations, and each will receive the maximum support from the NRCC in terms of resources. They are likely to be top recipients of the Committee’s effort to direct further contributions from other House members and the PAC community.
The following comprise the first group of Patriot Program designates:
CA-21: David Valadao (3rd term; 56.7% 2016 re-election percentage)
CA-25: Steve Knight (2nd term; 53.1%)
CA-49: Darrell Issa (9th term; 50.3%)
FL-18: Brian Mast (1st term; 53.6%)
MN-2: Jason Lewis (1st term; 47.0%)
NY-19: John Faso (1st term; 50.9%)
NY-22: Claudia Tenney (1st term; 43.7%)
PA-8: Brian Fitzpatrick (1st term; 54.4%)
TX-23: Will Hurd (2nd term; 48.3%)
VA-10: Barbara Comstock (2nd term; 52.7%)
The first poll just released for the Georgia special congressional election to replace Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price was conducted of 694 voters in the state’s now vacant 6th District.
Democrats believe they have a chance to convert this seat because President Trump performed under the average Republican performance here, though he did carry the district…by a scant 1.5 percentage points.
The new Clout Research poll does, in fact, find Democrat Jon Ossoff leading the race at just below 32% preference, and former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) following with 25%. The poll is flawed in that it gives Ossoff as the only Democratic candidate even though a total of five, including Ossoff and former state Sen. Ron Slotin, have all filed to run. There are a total of 18 candidates on the ballot, but the poll only listed five candidate choices. Even so, the combined Republican vote was almost 48% versus the 32% for the Democrat, still suggesting that the eventual GOP run-off participant, should Ossoff actually advance, will still be the odds-on favorite to capture the seat. The jungle primary is April 18th, with the special general on June 20th.
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