2017 Campaign

Why Democrats Have a Shot in Georgia’s Special Election

Nate Cohn: “Start with the money. Mr. Ossoff, a 30-year-old first-time candidate, has benefited from timing. He was basically the only Democrat seeking federal office at a moment when Democratic energy was surging and when progressives were looking to ‘do something.'”

“Mr. Ossoff probably would not have raised nearly as much money if he’d been competing for attention with 434 other races. His fund-raising tally is better than that of 96 percent of the congressional challengers who raised more than $100,000 in 2016, and there’s still time for him to move up the list.”

“Instead, it’s the Republicans who are struggling to coalesce. They have 11 candidates on the ballot, with none emerging as the obvious favorite, although former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, the businessman Bob Gray and state senator Judson Hill are considered among the strongest contenders. Whoever advances to a runoff (assuming anyone does) will have only two months to coalesce support and raise funds with the benefit of party unity.”

Special Election Expectations Too High for Democrats?

“Money is flooding into Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign. The national party has started running focus groups on his behalf. Thousands of volunteers have flocked to his team to help him win his April special election for a vacant Atlanta-area congressional seat,” Politico reports.

“The race for Georgia’s 6th District has suddenly become a focal point, viewed as a chance to send Donald Trump a message by channeling the party’s grass-roots rage, energy and frustration into a single contest. But party leaders are growing increasingly frustrated by the nationalization of this race and another in Montana — and worried about unrealistic expectations in Republican-friendly seats where the Democrats are at a decided disadvantage.”

Trump Has Positive Approval In Georgia’s 6th

A new Trafalgar Group poll in Georgia’s 6th congressional district finds Jon Ossoff (D) and Karen Handel (R) leading the special election field at 18%. They are followed by Bob Gray (R) at 13%, Judson Hill (R) at 8%, Amy Kremer (R) at 3% and Ron Slotkin (D) at 2%.

The survey finds President Trump with a 51% to 41% approval rating in the district.

Said pollster Robert Cahaly: “President Trump’s approval numbers, the high Republican propensity of this district, and the coalescing of Democrat support behind Ossoff, create dual scenarios heading into the April 11th jungle primary. Either the Republican-Trump supporters, energized by his victory and presidency dominate turnout, creating and all GOP runoff, or the Democrats organize and motivate their small base and take advantage of the competitiveness among the top few Republicans (most specifically Handel and Gray) to create a D vs. R runoff election on June 20th.”

De Blasio Still Has No Challenger

New York Times: “With just over six months until the Democratic primary, no credible challenger — a person with some combination of name recognition, a political base, governmental experience and the funding to wage a knockdown campaign — has emerged.”

“In an era when political neophytes have captured offices as high as the White House, the lack of challengers to Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, may seem mystifying.”

“His administration is mired in a series of overlapping fund-raising investigations, including some by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, that could result in indictments of Mr. de Blasio or top officials in the coming weeks.”

Can Democrats Pick Off a House Seat in Georgia?

“National Democrats are deploying resources to Georgia in hopes that the special election to replace Tom Price becomes a referendum on Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

“While 11 Republicans have jumped into the race and are already duking it out, Democrats have mostly coalesced behind a former congressional aide named Jon Ossoff. It’s a jungle primary, which means that all the candidates are going to appear on the same ballot on April 18. The top two finishers will then face off in a June 20 runoff. Democrats hope the contenders in the crowded GOP field beat each other up and try to outdo one another in pledging loyalty to Trump.”

The First House Elections of the Trump Era

FiveThirtyEight: “Election junkies need not wait until November 2018 to get their next fix. They don’t even need to wait for the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia later this year. Five special elections for the House of Representatives are expected to take place over the next few months: California 34, Georgia 6, Kansas 4, Montana At-large and South Carolina 5.”

“These elections are ‘special’ in the sense that they occur outside the normal two-year November House election cycle — to fill a vacant seat. But other than that, there’s nothing all that special about special elections, making them a decent thermometer reading on the country’s political mood and how voters are responding to President Trump.”

Daily Kos has compiled a spreadsheet of all the important elections in 2017.

Joe Piscopo Mulls Bid for New Jersey Governor

New York Times: “While the daily whiplash out of Washington commands almost all the political attention, New Jersey is one of two states that will elect a new governor this year, as the eight-year reign of Gov. Chris Christie, once a national darling and now with historically low approval in his home state, comes to an end. And Mr. Piscopo is hoping to parlay his Jersey credentials and rising political profile — he campaigned for President Trump, and his radio show focuses on conservative politics — into a long-shot bid for governor as either a Republican or an independent in a state where Democratic voters vastly outnumber Republicans.”

“For the moment, the seriousness of Mr. Piscopo’s potential run remains shrouded in a statewide listening tour of sorts — meetings with union leaders, industry experts and elected officials, sprinkled with the occasional keynote at Republican county dinners or cable news appearances. If he decides to jump into the Republican primary, he has an April 3 filing deadline.”

Clinton Would Crush de Blasio If She Ran

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that in “a very hypothetical race” for New York City Mayor, Hillary Clinton, running as an independent, would beat incumbent Bill de Blasio (D) handily, 49% to 30%.

Said pollster Tim Malloy: “New Yorkers aren’t in love with Mayor Bill de Blasio, but they seem to like him better than other possible choices – except Hillary Clinton, who probably is an impossible choice.”

Perriello May Run for Virginia Governor

Former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) is considering a bid for Virginia governor, “a move that would disrupt Democrats’ well-laid plans in perhaps the highest-profile election in the country this year,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Perriello, a State Department official who is close to President Obama, has told several Democrats that he is close to deciding whether to run in the party’s June 13 primary, according to two Democratic strategists familiar with the conversations.”

A Serious Candidate Could Beat De Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) “could be beatable — if anyone has the guts to run against him” next year, the New York Daily News reports.

“No serious candidates have even signaled their intentions to run. … De Blasio has some serious achievements — universal pre-K, record-low crime, an ambitious affordable-housing plan — but also vulnerabilities, like sky-high homelessness and numerous investigations into his fund-raising.”