Disgraced Alabama judge Roy Moore considering a second run for gov & Where are they now?


AL-Gov: The notorious Roy Moore may have been suspended from his job as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, but of course, he’s undeterred from pursuing his political future (as well as an appeal of the ruling that removed him from the bench). Moore says that GOP Gov. Robert Bentley’s office interviewed him as a possible candidate to replace Sen. Jeff Sessions, assuming Sessions is confirmed as Trump’s attorney general, and also adds that his supporters are asking him to run for governor, since Bentley will be term-limited next year.

But Moore, who is now 69 years old, sought the governorship once before, and that adventure didn’t go so well. Back in 2010, he earned just 19 percent of the vote in the GOP primary, enough for a weak fourth-place finish. (Bentley ultimately won the nomination in a runoff.) Moore, however, may not have anything better to do. His term on the court is not up until 2019, but he can’t run again due to age limits, so if he loses his appeal, another statewide bid might sound like fun.

And in case this all sounds weirdly familiar, this is the second time Moore’s been kicked off bench: Back in 2003, Moore got the boot after he refused to comply with a federal judge’s order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the state supreme court. But even though his defiance of the law earned him a national reputation as the “Ten Commandments judge,” it evidently didn’t endear him to primary voters, so there’s no reason to think a second attempt would go any better.

Senate

VA-Sen: According to unnamed “knowledgeable sources” who’ve spoken with the Washington Examiner, a right-wing newspaper, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is reportedly considering a bid against Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine next year, though she declined to comment. Ingraham is a major Trump booster and fits right in with the president-elect’s “movement,” as she’s an extreme nativist reactionary on the topic of immigration. (She once said that Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration was “not broad enough.”)

That could give her a path to the GOP nomination if Republican voters are looking to nominate someone on the “Trump track,” though Trump himself only won a narrow 35-32 plurality over Marco Rubio in last year’s primary. But that could also set Ingraham on a collision course with a political upstart whose career she’s credited with launching: Rep. Dave Brat, the man who unseated Eric Cantor back in 2014. Aside from some ill-considered attack ads run by Cantor, Brat’s penniless campaign received its greatest exposure on Ingraham’s radio show. (Like Ingraham, Brat is virulently hostile to immigration, and even compared DREAMers who want to serve in the U.S. military to ISIS recruits.)

And Brat could also run for the Senate. Last year, when Virginia Republicans were preparing for a potential special election in the event that Kaine were to be elected vice president, Brat said he’d “consider” the race. That eventually of course did not come to pass, and since Election Day, Brat’s been very elliptical about his interest. Amusingly, he claims he’s “already won the election” over Kaine because he’d just use the same “outsider” message he rode to victory over Cantor, which demonstrates an apparent lack of understanding about the differences between running in a Republican primary in a conservative district versus a general election in a light blue state, but more power to him.

Be that as it may, there probably isn’t room for both Brat and Ingraham in the same contest. And meanwhile, the GOP establishment is waiting to see whether Northern Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock will make a go of it. She’d likely be the party’s strongest candidate, but she’d face some difficulty winning the nomination if she faces someone advocating a purer form of hatred. After all, Rubio, whose “base” is pretty much the same NoVa suburbs that Comstock represents, couldn’t even carry Virginia.

Gubernatorial

CA-Gov: According to three unnamed Republicans “familiar with his thinking,” Silicon Valley billionaire, rabid Trump booster, and would-be vampire Peter Thiel is thinking about a bid for governor in 2018, per Politico. An earlier report last month said that some Republicans were hoping to recruit Thiel, but the folks Politico spoke with say they are “skeptical” Thiel will actually go through with it—this is California, after all, and even Thiel hasn’t figured out how to transmute Democrats into gold. However, Thiel and his representatives declined to comment, so we suppose we can say that he hasn’t officially ruled anything out.

NV-Gov: State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford had reportedly been considering a bid for governor next year, and now we at least have him on the record refusing to rule the idea out. In an interview with columnist Steve Sebelius, Ford repeatedly refused to say if he wanted to run, saying only that he was focused on the upcoming legislative session. Classic politician-speak, but good on Sebelius for trying hard to pin Ford down.

So far, the only Democrat to publicly say he’s looking at the race is Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, though businessman Stephen Cloobeck is reportedly interested, too. Helpfully, Sebelius also plays Great Mentioner and runs down a list of other potential Democratic names, including state Sen. Tick Segerblom, a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter; former secretary of state Ross Miller, who narrowly lost a race for attorney general in 2014; former state Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, who now runs the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada; and Rep. Dina Titus, who would have to give up a safe House seat in order to run.

House

MT-AL: Lots of candidates from both parties have put their names forward for the upcoming special election that’s likely to take place if and when the Senate confirms Rep. Ryan Zinke’s as Trump’s secretary of the interior, but as we’ve noted, there won’t be any primary. Rather, a small group of leaders from each party will gather to hand-pick nominees, and the GOP’s decision may already be a foregone conclusion. According to MTN News, a local TV station, wealthy businessman Greg Gianforte is circulating a letter of support signed by 117 Republican officials, which may be all he needs, since “party sources” say that there “probably” won’t be “many more than 200” delegates to their convention.

In fact, under current Republican by-laws, only a plurality—not a majority—of delegate votes is needed to secure the party’s nomination, which makes this about as an undemocratic an exercise as possible. The GOP’s rules committee has recommended switching to a majority requirement, but two-thirds of all delegates must approve such a change, so if Gianforte’s support is as solid as he claims, then his backers could easily block this proposal. But conventions are tricky things, especially for establishment candidates like Gianforte (who narrowly lost last year’s race for governor), so things may not play out as planned.

SC-05: In what it says is an independent poll, GOP pollster Remington Research offers an early look at a hypothetical Republican primary in South Carolina’s conservative 5th District, which would become vacant once the Senate confirms Rep. Mick Mulvaney as Trump’s budget director, as it’s likely to do. Here’s how the race breaks down:

Tommy Pope: 25 (state House speaker pro tempore)
Chad Connelly: 9 (former state GOP chair)
Ralph Norman: 9 (state representative)
Gary Simrill: 6 (state representative)
Undecided: 52

These results more or less correspond with how well-known each candidate is, though as you can see by that giant pile of undecideds, all of these politicians are still pretty obscure. (Pope, the leader, is still unknown to 56 percent of respondents.) None of these candidates are actually running yet, though it’s a bit odd that Remington included Simrill, who announced a couple of days before they went into the field that he wouldn’t run. A few Democrats have said they’re considering, but seeing as this district went 57-39 for Trump, there isn’t much reason for hope.

Grab Bag

International: Daily Kos Elections offers a comprehensive guide to key elections around the world in 2017 in the latest edition of our International Elections Digest. Just as with Trump in the U.S., mainstream European political forces have been battling the rise of anti-immigrant far-right parties in recent years, with France, Germany, and the Netherlands all facing critical contests in 2017. Chile, Iran, Kenya, and South Korea all feature important presidential elections as well. In total, we cover some 30 countries, so be sure to check it out if you want to stay on top of political developments abroad, because these days, they often have ramifications here at home.

Voting Rights: Stephen Wolf brings us all the most recent voting rights and election law news in the latest edition of Daily Kos Elections’ weekly Voting Rights Roundup. Chief among these stories is ex-Attorney General Eric Holder’s formal launch of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a new group designed to bring an unprecedented level of resources and national organization to the fight against Republican gerrymandering ahead of the 2020 census—so that Democrats aren’t caught unprepared as they were in 2010.

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.

To advertise in the Morning Digest, please contact advertise@dailykos.com.

**************************************************************************January 16, 2017

Where Are They Now?: Despite coming off a 20-year stint representing Orange County in the House, ex-Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez couldn’t even win a local party office on Jan. 7. Sanchez, who ran for the U.S. Senate last year and lost to fellow Democrat Kamala Harris 62-38, decided to seek a post as one of the seven female representatives to the California Democratic Party’s Central Committee from Assembly District 68. However, Sanchez came in eighth place, falling eight votes short of winning a spot.

It might be a stretch to call this a rejection of Sanchez, since all seven successful female candidates ran as part of a slate and encouraged their friends and family to back their ticket mates. By contrast, Sanchez reportedly just came in, gave a short speech, and quickly left, so her heart doesn’t seem to have been in this race. (For what it’s worth, Sanchez also lost the 68th Assembly District to Harris 57-43 in November.)

But don’t feel too sorry for Sanchez. During her Senate campaign, she actively sought out votes from tea party groups, declared that “between 5 and 20 percent” of Muslims “have a desire for a caliphate” and “are willing to use and they do use terrorism” to achieve those ends, demonstrated a “war whoop” to describe an East Indian supporter she once met with, and suggested that President Barack Obama was supporting Harris because they are both black.

And yes, this is the first and probably last time that we dive into a race for a spot on a state party committee.

GUBERNATORIAL

ID-Gov: Another Republican is making noises about running to succeed retiring Republican Gov. Butch Otter. This time it’s developer Tommy Ahlquist, who says he’s “seriously considering” getting in. Ahlquist’s company worked on two major projects in downtown Boise and Ahlquist was a finalist for a post on the state Board of Education in 2014, so he may have the money and connections he’d need to win.

So far, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and ex-state Sen. Russell Fulcher, who lost to Otter 51-44 in the 2014 primary, are running for Team Red. Tea partying Rep. Raul Labrador is also considering, and unnamed House members recently told the National Review that he’s told them he’s going to run; Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has also been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate, but he hasn’t said anything publicly. Idaho is a very conservative state, and as far as we know, no notable Democrats have made noises about running yet.

KS-Gov: On Thursday, ex-GOP state Rep. Ed O’Malley announced that he had formed an exploratory committee ahead of a possible 2018 bid for this open seat. O’Malley has been out of office for 10 years, but he went on to lead the non-profit group Kansas Leadership Center, which received a $30 million grant from the Kansas Health Foundation when it launched in 2007. However, O’Malley has a reputation as a centrist, which rarely plays well in GOP primaries.

PA-Gov: State House Majority Leader Dave Reed is one of the many Republicans who has been mentioned as a possible challenger for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2018. Reed refused to rule out a bid when a local CBS affiliate asked him about his plans, but it sounds like we’ll be waiting a while for an answer. Reed said that he’s focusing on his current job and that the legislature has “a lot of big policy discussions ahead of us for the next six months,” adding that, “The future will take care of itself.” (Reed sounds like the world’s lamest fortune cookie.) PennLive adds that “many” expect he will run, but of course in politics, “many” people always expect things that don’t happen.

So far, wealthy state Sen. Scott Wagner is the only Republican who is actually running, but a number of others are publicly or privately considering. PennLive runs down the potential field and mentions Rep. Tim Murphy, a western Pennsylvania congressman whose name we hadn’t heard before in connection to this race. It’s unclear if Murphy is actually considering anything, or if he’s just getting the standard Great Mentioner treatment.

VA-Gov: Mason-Dixon is out with the first public general election poll that includes ex-Rep. Tom Perriello, a Democrat who launched a completely unexpected gubernatorial bid earlier this month. Mason-Dixon pits Perriello against two Republicans, ex-RNC chair Ed Gillespie and Trump devotee Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County. Two other Republicans, state Sen. Frank Wagner and distiller Denver Riggleman, were not included:

● 36-45 vs. Gillespie● 40-38 vs. Stewart

Mason-Dixon also tests Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam against both Republicans:

● 41-44 vs. Gillespie● 45-37 vs. Stewart

The poll finds that Northam and Perriello are both about equally unknown statewide: Northam posts a 17-8 favorable rating, while Perriello is at 15-6, so it’s not clear what, if anything, explains why Northam performs so much better at this early stage. Of course, this is also just one poll.

WY-Gov: GOP Gov. Matt Mead is termed-out next year, but we’ve heard almost nothing about the race to succeed him. Earlier this month, local columnist Bill Sniffin mentioned three possible Republican contenders: Secretary of State Ed Murray, state Treasurer Mark Gordon, and ex-Rep. Cynthia Lummis. Back in June, none of these three politicians ruled out a bid, but they don’t appear to have said anything since then.

HOUSE

KS-04: Wichita City Councilor Pete Meitzner has announced that he’ll seek the GOP nomination for this safely red seat if Rep. Mike Pompeo is confirmed as director of the CIA. As we’ve noted before, the GOP nomination will be decided by a convention of party activists rather than through a primary.

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.

To advertise in the Morning Digest, please contact advertise@dailykos.com.

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