Who’s In, Who’s Out for 2018: Gubernatorial and Senatorial Updates

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Scott Walker- almost certainly in- Wisconsin Governor While we have speculated for a while that he will run for a third term, his budget proposals and recent behavior on Twitter seem to cement it. We do not expect him to announce until the current legislative session concludes, but when he does, he’ll be the last of the 2010 Governor Class running for the same office thanks to a lack of term limits. The last Governor to serve more than two terms was Tommy Thompson, who was re-elected for a fourth term in 1998. Few Democrats have committed to the race, though if Republican fortunes turn heading into 2018 that will likely change.

Patrick Meehan -out- Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Congressman Meehan was viewed as a “classic Republican” candidate for the Commonwealth: a well-funded moderate representing a Philadelphia district. For those seeking to boot out incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey, he may have reminded them of Arlen Specter (except, for base Republicans, a lot less squishy), but he has passed on that opportunity this weekend. Now before this becomes another diatribe about Pennsylvania, I’ll just say that after 2016, the traditional attitude toward the state (do well in the Collar, run up the score in the west and north to offset Philadelphia) took a serious bruising. Senator Casey will be harder to beat because of his appeal in the same areas President Trump swept, and it will take a Republican who can eat into traditionally Democratic pockets like the Wyoming Valley to defeat him.

Peter Thiel- out-, John Cox– likely in- California Governor While some Republicans may have had high hopes that Mr. Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire and friend of President Trump, would run, it seems like he took a look at the landscape and squashed that rumor. Meanwhile, John Cox, a San Diego businessman and previous long shot candidate (he ran for President in 2008 and for Illinois’ U.S. Senator in 2003), has seeded a prospective campaign, but is likely waiting on San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s final decision before fully committing.

Rushern Baker- closer to inMaryland Governor Democrats in Maryland have a frustrating problem: the incumbent Republican Governor, Larry Hogan, is incredibly popular, and few Democrats actually want to run against him. The rumored list of names is long, but after whispers, each of them seems to bow out. Enter Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who at least sounds serious about running now. His campaign would focus on increased education and transportation spending (particularly light rail),

Rick Scott- close to in- Florida U.S. Senate Florida Governor Rick Scott hasn’t exactly been Mr. Popularity- he won by the skin of his teeth in both contests- but he has proven himself to be a stubborn and successful campaigner, and has set his sights on incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson’s seat. Florida is one of ten states with Democratic Senators facing re-election next year after voting for President Trump. While the President’s terrorism speech at MacDill Air Force Base received most of the attention yesterday, he also took time to meet with Governor Scott during that visit.