The final 2018 Senate race ended this week, and already we see a 2020 challenger announcement. Lorena Garcia, the president of the Colorado Statewide Parents Coalition, announced that she will seek the Democratic nomination in order to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner (R). We can expect to see many Democratic candidates coming forth to make this race, but Ms. Garcia is first to make a definitive announcement.
Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who is ineligible to seek a third term in 2020, yesterday again ruled out launching a challenge to Sen. Steve Daines (R) who is in-cycle in the next election. The statement fuels speculation that Mr. Bullock will form a presidential campaign committee. It has been no secret that the Governor has been testing the national political waters about joining the burgeoning Democratic field of presidential candidates.
The North Carolina Board of Elections, comprised of four Democrats, four Republicans, and one Independent, this week refused to certify the 9th District election results that produced a 905-vote win for Republican Mark Harris. The Board Vice Chairman cited “irregularities” in one county as the reason to delay certification. The remaining eight members agreed, hence the seat was placed in political limbo. The Board will now reconvene today in hopes of rectifying the situation and making a final decision. We can expect a long court fight if the Board formally decides to deny Mr. Harris his certificate of election.
Two-term Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Miami) lost his congressional seat to Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell earlier this month and he says it is unlikely that he will run for Congress in 2020. He did say, however, that he has interest in seeking the Miami-Dade County mayoral position, so Mr. Curbelo’s career in elective office may not yet be at an end.
Yesterday, we reported that Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones (D) won the special 13th District congressional election to fill resigned Rep. John Conyers’ (D-Detroit) vacancy, but failed to secure the seat in the regular election. She had petitioned the House Administration Committee and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) asking for a waiver to be able to serve in the lame duck session without being forced to resign her local position. Since Ms. Jones cannot continue serving in the new Congress once the lame duck session ends, the Speaker ruled that she can take the seat for the balance of the year. Therefore, Ms. Jones will be sworn in to complete the remaining few weeks of this congressional term.
Yesterday, we stated that Sen. John Kennedy (R) had scheduled an announcement for today about whether he is going to challenge Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) in next year’s Louisiana gubernatorial campaign. His staff, however, announced that his address has been postponed, but for travel and not political reasons. It is again expected that Sen. Kennedy will formally enter the Governor’s race, but now on Monday.
It appears the previous House Democratic leadership will return in tact when Congress convenes on January 3rd, but Minority Leader and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) still has a major hurdle to overcome after coming through yesterday’s Democratic Conference meeting as the party nominee for Speaker. A total of 32 members voted “no” on the secret ballot slate and three present members did not vote even though Ms. Pelosi was the only name on the ballot.
The “no” option was added to the ballot likely to give many members the ability to oppose Pelosi since some committed to doing so on the campaign trail. The members were allowed to take a picture of their ballot and can release it publicly. The idea of presenting this option is to give those who needed to oppose Pelosi the opportunity of doing so, so they can proceed to vote for her on the opening day of session when it will really count.
To be elected Speaker, a candidate must obtain a majority of 218 votes. Members vote publicly when they answer the first roll call. Therefore, the 35 members not supporting Pelosi – the 36th unrecorded vote belongs to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) who is currently hospitalized – will be critical to the final vote early next year. The fact that Ms. Pelosi only received 203 votes from her Conference suggests that she is not yet home free in the Speakers’ contest come January 3rd.
Former Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will return to his previous position, as will Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) as the Majority Whip. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) was unopposed for the position of Assistant Majority Leader. New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) was elected Conference Chairman, defeating Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) by just a ten-vote margin. The remaining leadership positions, including Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, will be decided in further conference voting today.
When Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) resigned his seat in the House early last year, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) scheduled the replacement special election to run concurrently with the regular election schedule. As a result, because not every candidate who filed for the regular election also filed for the special, two separate people won the special and regular election contests. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones (D) won the special election, but former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) claimed the seat for the succeeding Congress. Therefore, Ms. Jones is in a position where she might have to forfeit her city position to serve in Congress for just one month.
Ms. Jones petitioned the House Administration Committee, asking for a waiver to be able to serve in the lame duck session without being forced to resign her local position. The Committee referred the decision to Speaker Paul Ryan (R), who has yet to rule. Ms. Jones, should she not be granted the waiver, is not inclined to accept the congressional office for such a short term if the price is to relinquish her local power. Mr. Ryan’s decision is expected imminently.
It has been presumed for some time that Sen. John Kennedy (R) will challenge Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) in next year’s Louisiana gubernatorial campaign. And, it appears that we will know definitively by the end of this week. Reports are that Sen. Kennedy will likely announce his intention on Friday. All indications are the Senator will run, and it is believed that he will not draw major Republican opposition should he choose to enter the race. Developer Eddie Ripsone is already in the Republican race, and Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe/Alexandria) is expected to run, but may not if the Senator becomes a candidate.
Early polling suggests that Sen. Kennedy would force Gov. Edwards into a run-off, and appears well positioned to defeat him in a such a subsequent campaign.
Appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) won the special Mississippi run-off election last night with a 54-46% margin over former US Agriculture Secretary and ex-Mississippi Congressman Mike Espy (D). Despite making several gaffes in the run-off cycle, Ms. Hyde-Smith won a comfortable victory though understandably a few points shy of a typical Republican statewide vote total. In comparison, Sen. Roger Wicker (R) was re-elected to his third term in this year’s regular election with a 58-39% victory margin. Last night’s Republican win brings next year’s Senate partisan division to 53R-47D with all of the 2018 election cycle races now decided.
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