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Period Ending July 19, 2013

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This weekly roundup of election news and notes is compiled for Thompson Coburn by the The Ellis Insight.

Senate

Georgia: In order to comply with the MOVE Act that requires sufficient time for military and overseas ballots for registered voters to receive and return, a federal judge has ordered the 2014 Georgia primary moved from July 15th to June 3rd. The run-off election, a certainty on the Republican side, remains scheduled for August 5th.

Iowa: Another Republican has entered the Senate race, joining former US Attorney Matt Whitaker, ex-Senator Grassley chief of staff David Young, former energy company executive Mark Jacobs, and radio talk show host Sam Clovis. State Sen. Joni Ernst is the new GOP contender. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) is becoming the consensus Democratic candidate. Sen. Tom Harkin (D) is retiring.

Montana: Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) announced he will not run to succeed retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D) in 2014. As a "doer," he said, being a member of a legislative body is not a good "fit" for him, pontificating that the Senate is a place where "things die." All eyes now turn to GOP Rep. Steve Daines, the state's at-large Congressman. He is expected to run. If so, expect a dogfight to ensue for his open congressional seat. Among potential Democrats who could declare for the Senate are Lt. Gov. John Walsh and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau. State Auditor Monica Lindeen, who was thought to be a potential candidate, announced that she will remain in her current position. Daines and the Republicans become the favorite to convert the open Senate seat.

North Carolina: Public Policy Polling tested their home state Senator Kay Hagan (D), as they do most months. Their latest survey (7/12-14; 600 NC registered voters) gives the Senator a healthy 49-38% lead over Speaker of the state House of Representative Thom Tillis (R), her most likely general election opponent at this point in time. The poll, however, seems to have an oversample of females and residents of the Greensboro/Winston-Salem area, the region from where Ms. Hagan hails.

West Virginia: Democrats continue to have problems finding a candidate to oppose Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) in the open Senate contest. Now state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis (D) announced that she will not run. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) is retiring.

Wyoming: Two candidate announcements occurred this week, both on the Republican side. Sen. Mike Enzi made public his intention to seek a fourth term in office, but says he will make a formal pronouncement at a later date. Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice-President, US Defense Secretary, and Wyoming Congressman Dick Cheney, moved to the state specifically to run for the Senate. She will now challenge the incumbent in a primary battle that should be an uphill fight for her. Immediately, members of both the Wyoming and Washington, DC political establishment voiced their support for the incumbent Senator.

House

AZ-2: OnMessage, polling for the National Republican Congressional Committee (6/17-18; 400 AZ-2 registered voters), finds 2012 GOP challenger Martha McSally already pulling to within one point (45-46%) of Rep. Ron Barber (D). The polling margin is almost identical to the November result. In the actual campaign, Mr. Barber eked out a 50.4 – 49.6% win, a margin of just 2,454 votes of more than 292,000 ballots cast.

IN-2: In a surprise announcement, 2012 Democratic nominee Brendan Mullen who lost an open seat campaign to now-Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) by a slim 48-49% margin and was already gearing up for a re-match, suddenly pulled out of the race and will not run in 2014. This is a major break for Walorski, but she can still count on serious competition once the Democrats regroup around a new candidate.

KY-2: Rep. Brett Guthrie (R), rumored to be considering a run for the state's open Governor's campaign in 2015 (Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is term-limited) announced that he is focused on his career in the US House and will not run statewide. Rep. Guthrie’s Bowling Green-anchored congressional seat is safely Republican.

KY-6: Local lumber business owner Joe Palumbo (D) announced that he'll challenge freshman Rep. Andy Barr (R) next year in the Lexington-anchored 6th District. Mr. Barr unseated incumbent Rep. Ben Chandler (D) in 2012. Mr. Palumbo's mother is a veteran Democratic state Representative.

MA-5: With the Massachusetts election certification process from the June 25th vote finally complete and Rep. Ed Markey (D) being sworn into the Senate, the special election to fill his vacant US House seat has been scheduled. The primary will be held October 15th, with the special general scheduled for December 10th. Already in the race are Democratic state Senators Will Brownsberger, Katherine Clark, and Majority Whip Karen Spilka, along with state Rep. Carl Sciortino and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. Attorney Frank Addivinola is the lone Republican candidate so far. The eventual Democratic nominee will be the prohibitive favorite in the special general.

MA-6: In as many weeks, Rep. John Tierney (D), who won a bare 46-45% win in 2012, finds another Democratic challenger announcing against him. Last week, Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton became an official candidate. This week, attorney Marisa DeFranco joins the fray. Others, including two Democratic state legislators and a local Mayor may soon follow. 2012 losing Republican nominee Richard Tisei, a former state Senator, now says he is seriously considering seeking a re-match after coming so close to victory last November.

MMI-7: Former state Rep. Pam Byrnes (D) formally declared her congressional candidacy against Rep. Tim Walberg (R). The Congressman was first elected in 2006, but fell to then-state Senator Mark Schauer (D) in 2008. Walberg returned in 2010 to reclaim the seat, and then won a 53-43% re-election last year. The Congressman begins the race in the favorite's position. Former Rep. Schauer will likely become the Democratic nominee for Governor.

MN-8: Harper Polling (7/8-9; 410 MN-8 registered voters) projects GOP challenger Stewart Mills to be tied with Rep. Rick Nolan (D) at 36% apiece. The poll seems to have a Republican skew, however, suggesting that Nolan is likely in better shape. The district is crafted to elect a Democrat.

NH-1: In another Harper Polling survey (408 NH-1 registered voters; released 7/15) that seems to have a distinct Republican skew, former Rep. Frank Guinta (R) has a substantial 48-41% lead over Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D). Guinta unseated Shea-Porter in 2010 with a 54-42% victory. Last November, the current Congresswoman returned the favor, defeating Guinta 50-46%. It is unlikely that the Republican leads by as much as this poll suggests, but a competitive race between the two during a mid-term election is a likelihood. Mr. Guinta has not formally announced his intention to run, but confirms he is seriously considering a re-match.

OH-7: Earlier in the year it appeared that one-term former US Rep. and state Senator John Boccieri (D) was going to make a 2014 comeback in either District 7 against two-term Rep. Bob Gibbs (R), or the 16th to oppose sophomore Rep. Jim Renacci (R), the man who unseated him in 2010. Apparently, Mr. Boccieri will do neither as this week he terminated his federal campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.

WV-2: Last week, former US International Trade Commissioner Charlotte Lane (R) announced her candidacy for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's (R) open 2nd Congressional District. This week, state Delegate Meshea Poore says she will enter the Democratic primary, challenging former state party chairman Nick Casey for the party nomination. Rep. Capito is vacating the seat to run for the Senate. A competitive general election is forecast, with the eventual Republican nominee likely being considered the post-primary favorite. For the GOP, aside from Ms. Lane, former state Sen. Steve Harrison, ex-state Delegate Larry Faircloth, and previous Maryland Republican chairman and state Sen. Alex Mooney are all announced candidates.

Governor

Illinois: Reversing what was thought to be a probable course of action, Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) announced that she will not enter the 2014 gubernatorial race. Previously, the veteran statewide officeholder and daughter to Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, publicly stated she would challenge Gov. Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary. Instead, Ms. Madigan will seek re-election to a third term in her current position. Former US Commerce Secretary and ex-Obama chief of staff Bill Daley, however, is opposing Gov. Quinn in the March primary. Even without Madigan in the race, the March nomination battle is no clear shot for the Governor. Early polling forecasts a Quinn-Daley race to be about even. Four Republicans are vying for their nomination, which may now be more valuable especially if a weakened Quinn comes through the primary.

Maryland: As long expected, state Delegate Heather Mizeur officially announced her campaign for Governor, and will oppose Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in the Democratic primary. Mr. Brown appears to be a strong favorite to succeed term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). If successful, he will become the first Lt. Governor in Maryland history to ascend to the Governor's office via regular election.

Nebraska: Candidates for the open Governor's office (Gov. Dave Heineman (R) is term-limited) are now beginning to come forward. For the Republicans, two state Senators are officially in the race: Charlie Janssen and Tom Carlson. On the Democratic side, University of Nebraska Regent (an elected position in the Cornhusker State), Chuck Hassebrook is the only candidate so far making a formal announcement. Other individuals in both parties are expected to soon join the race.

Ohio: Former Attorney General Richard Cordray (D) received his Senate confirmation vote making his interim position as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board permanent. The action effectively takes Cordray out of the 2014 Governor's race. This means that next year's field of candidates is already basically set. Gov. John Kasich (R) will face Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (D). With Kasich's approval ratings now in the strong category, the Governor becomes a clear favorite for re-election.

Texas: On the heels of Gov. Rick Perry (R) announcing that he will not seek a fourth full term as the state's chief executive, Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) made official his plans to run for Governor. Abbott, calculating that Perry would retire from state politics in order to pursue another presidential campaign, has been raising copious amounts of money in a major financial push. He begins his official campaign for Governor nearing $20 million cash-on-hand.

Virginia: Quinnipiac University tested the Old Dominion electorate and found the same trendlines as other pollsters. The Q-Poll (7/11-15; 1,030 VA registered voters) determined former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe is leading Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) by a tight 43-39% spread. The race has failed to move beyond three or four points for the past several weeks.