This article originally appeared on BIPAC's blog. Written by BIPAC Political Analyst Jim Ellis.
The first post-primary poll was released early this week, and JMC Analytics and Polling (8/17-19; 515 AL likely GOP run-off voters) sees former Alabama state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore strongly outpacing appointed Sen. Luther Strange for the September 26th special Republican run-off election. Last week, both Moore and Strange advanced from the multi-candidate primary with the former garnering 39% and the appointed incumbent taking 33 percent. According to the JMC data, Judge Moore begins the run-off cycle with a commanding 51-32% advantage. We can expect a major counterpunch coming from Sen. Strange and his political operation in the next few days. The GOP run-off winner meets the eventual Democratic nominee in a December 12th special general election.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) has drawn another Republican opponent. This week, former state Lottery director Beth Lindstrom (R) joined the seven other announced, or considering, candidates. The most prominent of the group, and the man favored for the GOP nomination, is state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Norwell). By all accounts, the Senator should be safe for re-election, but the 2020 presidential campaign will loom large during this campaign and likely allow the eventual Republican nominee to attract national funding.
After announcing a campaign for Colorado Governor and then withdrawing, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) is again changing political course. In making his public statement early last month about leaving the Governor's race the Congressman also said he would not return to the US House, therefore completely retiring from elective politics. But, this week he decided to re-announce his congressional bid for 2018. Three other Democratic congressional candidates: state Sens. Dominick Moreno and Andy Kerr, along with state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, each quickly ended their congressional candidacies. Former US Ambassador Dan Baer (D) was less committal about leaving the race. In any event, Rep. Perlmutter will be heavily favored to win re-nomination in mid-2018, followed by an easy re-election the following November.
In South Florida, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) has decided not to seek the open Miami-anchored 27th Congressional District seat in 2018. He was reportedly testing the waters for such a run. The race will be open because veteran Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami) is not seeking re-election. Eight Democrats have jumped into the primary campaign, each looking to win the open shot at converting the district next year. FL-27 is widely regarded as the Democrats' best national conversion opportunity since the electorate broke 58-39% in favor of Hillary Clinton. Republicans have done well in down ballot races here, however. Former Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado, daughter of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro are the top announced GOP candidates.
The special three-judge panel considering the Texas redistricting lawsuit issued a ruling that will force the re-drawing of two Lone Star State districts. The southeast Texas CD of Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) and veteran Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett's (D-Austin) Austin-San Antonio seat will be re-configured. The new map is expected to alter at least five or six districts including the aforementioned. The ruling's surprise piece was leaving Rep. Will Hurd's (R-San Antonio) politically marginal district intact. That means the boundaries will not change for the remainder of the decade unless tangentially touched by the 35th District re-construction.
Within days of the announcement, two more Democrats announced their efforts to oppose Rep. Hurd. Former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings and ex-San Antonio City Council candidate and Bernie Sanders activist Rick Trevino both became congressional candidates. The moves may force the hand of former US Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), who lost the last two consecutive races opposite Mr. Hurd after originally winning the seat in 2012. The 23rd CD stretches from San Antonio to El Paso, and is Texas' only swing political district.
Alaska Independent Governor Bill Walker, the only state chief executive who does not belong to one of the two major political parties, announced that he will seek re-election next year. The move had been anticipated, but there were questions about whether he would again run as an Independent. Some Democrats had hoped he would move their way, and he was originally a Republican. But, Mr. Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot (D) will again run as an Independent ticket in the fall of next year. The state Democratic Party, however, is considering changing its bylaws to allow non-Democrats to be awarded their party ballot line. If this change occurs, delegates could then adopt the Walker-Mallot ticket as its de facto nominee slate.
Former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter), who lost badly to Sen. Marco Rubio (R) in the 2016 US Senate race, has been mentioned as either a potential open seat gubernatorial candidate or possibly as a contender for his former Atlantic Coast congressional district. This week, Mr. Murphy said he will not be on the ballot next year for any political office. This leaves Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and former US Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) as the two most prominent Democratic gubernatorial candidates. Rep. Brian Mast (R-Palm City) succeeded Mr. Murphy in the 18th Congressional District and appears to be in strong position for re-election.