The Political Report – July 4, 2023

Last Monday, Toronto held a special election to replace former conservative Mayor John Tory after he had resigned over a scandal, and progressive Olivia Chow won 37-32 in a crowded race against a centrist rival who was largely supported by conservatives. Chow’s victory will make her Toronto’s first mayor of color, and it ends 13 years of conservative rule in this city of 2.8 million people, which is Canada’s largest and equivalent in size to Chicago.

In Nashville, the local Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed former economic development chief Matt Wiltshire ahead of the packed Aug. 3 nonpartisan primary.

ILLINOIS 17TH DISTRICT. Former state Rep. Dan Brady says he hopes to decide “right around” the Fourth of July whether to seek the Republican nomination to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Eric Sorensen. National GOP strategists have reportedly been urging him to run for this swingy seat.

TEXAS 32ND DISTRICT. VoteVets has backed Brian Williams, a trauma surgeon who previously served in the Air Force, in the busy Democratic primary to succeed Senate candidate Colin Allred.

NEW JERSEY 7TH DISTRICT. Former State Department official Jason Blazakis, reports the New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein, is considering entering the Democratic primary to take on freshman GOP Rep. Tom Kean Jr. Blazakis has yet to publicly express interest, though he notably tweeted over the weekend, “As I hang out at home in NJ-07, I had to get a hot dog from hot dog Johnny.” Wildstein notes that “[i]t’s rare for non-political people to identify their congressional district on social media,” which is a huge shock to those of us who regularly tag whatever constituency we’re visiting as our location on Facebook.

The only notable Democrat currently taking on Kean so far is Working Families Party state director Sue Altman, who announced at the end of May. Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello told the site around June 19 he’d make up his mind “this week” if he’d abandon his longshot Democratic primary bid against Sen. Robert Menendez to run here instead, but we’ve yet to hear of a decision.

NEW YORK 4TH DISTRICT and NEW YORK 17TH DISTRICT. EMILY’s List has made endorsements for the Democratic nomination in two blue-leaning districts that Republicans flipped in 2022. In the 4th District in the Long Island suburbs, they’re supporting 2022 nominee Laura Gillen. Meanwhile in the 17th District in the lower Hudson Valley, the group is backing local school board trustee Liz Gereghty, who is the sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

MARYLAND 6TH DISTRICT. Former GOP Del. Neil Parrott has formed an exploratory committee for what would be a third bid for the seat that his old foe, Democratic Rep. David Trone, is giving up to run for the Senate. Parrott, who says he’s “talking and praying about whether to run” again, lost the 2022 campaign 55-45.

Destiny Drake West, who founded a think tank that “provide[s] informational products and services to government entities to improve outcomes for women in the areas of inclusion, justice, and security,” has joined the Democratic primary for this open seat. West, who previously served as a legislative aide and in the Biden administration, would be the first Black person to represent a constituency that’s based in western Maryland and the northwestern D.C. exurbs.

OREGON 5TH DISTRICT. 2022 Democratic nominee Jamie McLeod-Skinner says she’s still “seriously considering” running for this seat again this cycle and will decide in early July. McLeod-Skinner also released a GBAO Strategies poll taken a month ago that finds her leading 50-9 against state Rep. Janelle Bynum, with Oregon Metro Council President Lynn Peterson taking 5%. Bynum and Peterson both launched their campaigns this month only after the poll had been in the field.

CALIFORNIA 12TH DISTRICT. Alameda Vice Mayor Tony Daysog declared Sunday that he’d compete in the top-two primary to replace his fellow Democrat, Senate candidate Barbara Lee, an announcement that comes more than three months after he filed with the FEC. Daysog, who used to maintain a website called, waged a 2014 campaign under the old map to succeed retiring incumbent George Miller in the 11th District, but he took a mere 3% against now-Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

UTAH 2ND DISTRICT. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Bryan Schott reports that Celeste Maloy, who narrowly won the Republican convention on Saturday, may not have actually been eligible to compete at the gathering because she’d only become an active voter after filing to run. The story may not matter, though: Maloy is still guaranteed a spot on the Sept. 5 special primary to succeed her former boss, outgoing Rep. Chris Stewart, and it remains to be seen if she’ll face any intra-party opposition in this 57-40 Trump seat.

Maloy, writes Schott, last voted in Utah in 2018 before taking a job in D.C. as Stewart’s chief legal counsel, which led election authorities to classify her as an inactive voter. The candidate, who appears to have stopped maintaining a residence in the state after moving to Northern Virginia, explained to KSL, “I didn’t want my absentee ballot from out of state to get flagged as a fraudulent vote. I didn’t want my boss to be answering any questions about my vote.” Local election officials were in the process of removing Maloy from Utah’s voter rolls before June 15, when she submitted new information to return to active status that gave her sister’s residence as her address―a move that came three days after she filed to run.

State law says that candidates can’t “file a declaration of candidacy for a registered political party of which the individual is not a member,” and Maloy’s detractors argue that, because she wasn’t an active voter when she filed at the time, she couldn’t have been a member of the GOP. But Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who is Utah’s top election official, tweeted, “There is no requirement for a congressional candidate to be a registered voter,” while state party chair Robert Axson said he was going to submit Maloy’s name for placement on the primary ballot. Schott also notes that no one formally objected to her eligibility before the convention, and it’s too late for anyone to do that now.

The matter could be an issue if Maloy faces any opposition in the Sept. 5 primary, but it will be another week before we know if she will. Both former state Rep. Becky Edwards and RNC member Bruce Hough say they’re still working to collect the requisite 7,000 signatures ahead of the July 5 deadline, but the petition process can cause headaches even for well-funded candidates.

Democrats, meanwhile, held their convention Wednesday evening, and state Sen. Kathleen Riebe secured over 85% of the vote against businessman Guy Warner and perennial candidate Archie Williams. None of the three contenders left themselves the option to gather signatures to reach the primary ballot in case they came up short, so Riebe’s win makes her the party’s nominee.

ARIZONA 6TH DISTRICT. EMILY’s List has backed 2022 Democratic nominee Kirsten Engel as she seeks a rematch against freshman Republican incumbent Juan Ciscomani. Engel’s only notable intra-party foe so far is businessman Jack O’Donnell, a former Trump casino executive who has spent decades denouncing his former boss.

TEXAS 31ST DISTRICT. Army veteran Mack Latimer, who recently stepped down as chair of the Bell County GOP, announced Thursday that he’d challenge veteran Rep. John Carter for renomination. Carter’s team quickly confirmed to the Texas Tribune that the congressman was “absolutely” seeking a 12th term in this gerrymandered 59-39 Trump seat based in the northern Austin exurbs.

Carter has been an ardent conservative during his more than 20 years in office, and he joined the majority of his colleagues by voting to overturn Joe Biden’s win hours after the Jan. 6 riot. But Latimer, whose county forms about a quarter of this seat, sees things very differently. “Real Texas Conservatives never back down from a fight; they dig their heels in and stand by their convictions,” he said in his launch statement, adding, “With over two decades in Congress and little to show for it, our current Congressman’s inaction has demonstrated that he is not up for the challenge, nor ready for the fight ahead.”

CALIFORNIA 22ND DISTRICT and CALIFORNIA 12TH DISTRICT. SEIU California, which Politico previously described as “one of the most powerful union groups in the state,” has endorsed former Assemblyman Rudy Salas for the competitive 22nd District and BART board member Lateefah Simon for the safely blue 12th even though the former has yet to announce his campaign.

Salas filed FEC paperwork in December a month after losing to Republican incumbent David Valadao 52-48 in a Central Valley constituency, but we’ve yet to hear anything from the Democrat since then. SEIU California isn’t alone in thinking that a rematch is on, though, as Inside Elections wrote early this month that Democratic operatives are convinced Salas will run again with little intra-party opposition for this 55-42 Biden district, which is one of the bluest the GOP holds nationally.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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