This article originally appeared on BIPAC's blog. Written by BIPAC Political Analyst Jim Ellis.
Candidate filing closes today for the Alabama special Senate election. At this writing, four prominent Republicans have announced they will enter the August 15th special primary election against appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R). U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) entered the GOP race earlier in the week, joining former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, state Rep. Ed Henry, ex-state Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr., and resigned Alabama Christian Coalition president Randy Brinson. Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones will likely claim the Democratic nomination and advance to the December 12th special general election. If no Republican secures a majority in the August 15th vote, a run-off election will be held September 26th.
Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg/Lafayette) formed a U.S. Senate exploratory committee. If he runs, he will likely oppose U.S. Rep. Luke Messer (R-Greensburg/Muncie) for the Republican nomination. The Indiana seat could be the Republicans' best conversion opportunity. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) will stand for a second term.
St. Louis area Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin) is rapidly moving toward formulating a U.S. Senate challenge to Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). After raising over $800,000 in the first quarter and holding almost $2.8 million in her campaign account (Sen. McCaskill has just barely over $3 million), it was quickly becoming evident the Congresswoman was preparing for more than another re-election run. It is likely we will see an official U.S. Senate announcement from her in July.
Columbus area Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-Franklin County) announced that he will not enter the U.S. Senate race to challenge two-term Ohio incumbent Sherrod Brown (D). Mr. Tiberi was sending signals for a run with perhaps the strongest fundraising effort in the nation during the first quarter, a haul that netted him more than $6 million for his campaign account, counting leftover monies from previous races. The Representative's decision likely allows state Treasurer and 2012 U.S. Senate nominee Josh Mandel (R) a clear shot at the Republican nomination, which will culminate in a probable re-match with Sen. Brown. Five years ago, the two battled to a 51-45% Brown victory.
California attorney Bryan Caforio (D), who held Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale/ Simi Valley) to a 53-47% re-election victory, announced that he will seek a re-match next year. Already running as Democrats are non-profit executive Katie Hill and geologist Jess Phoenix. The top two vote getters in the June 2018 primary will advance to the general election.
New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) rebuked Democratic Party efforts to recruit her into another campaign for the U.S. House office that she once briefly held. Ms. Hochul won a 2011 special election after the Republican incumbent resigned, but then lost to current Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence/Buffalo suburbs) a year later. She is expected to be retained as Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) running mate when the latter seeks a third term in office next year.
In a run-off contest that proved every bit as close as the primary two weeks ago, South Carolina former state Rep. Ralph Norman appears to have clinched the special election Republican nomination with a 203 vote victory over state House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope. The unofficial final totals show a turnout of 35,307 voters, about 90% of the number who voted in the original primary. Assuming the margin holds if there are recounts ordered or absentee ballots still outstanding, Mr. Norman will face former Wall Street executive Archie Parnell (D) in the special general election on June 20th.
Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan (R) said Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey's (R) ascension to the Governor's office would not deter him from running for the office in 2018. This week, he supported that statement by filing documents to open a gubernatorial campaign committee. He joins Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Gov. Ivey has yet to announce whether she will seek a full term.
Sally Yates (D) who, as Acting Attorney General in the first days of the Trump Administration, instructed the Justice Department not to enforce the new President's travel ban Executive Order and was abruptly fired, was being recruited to enter the open Georgia Governor's race next year. This week she firmly stated that she will not become a candidate.
Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Virginia Education Association (5/9-10; 745 VA likely Democratic primary voters) finds Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam leading former US Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Charlottesville), 45-35%. The VEA is supporting Mr. Northam. According to the data, Northam's strength with the African American community (+26%) and senior citizens (+23%) account for his double-digit lead.
Other research firms see this race primary campaign as being much closer, but even this spread is an improvement for Perriello over the VEA's previous poll. The Virginia primary is scheduled for June 13th. The eventual Democratic nominee will likely face former Republican National Committee chairman and 2014 US Senate nominee Ed Gillespie.