But that freakout, suggests Daily Kos contributing editor David Beard, might actually have benefited Newsom, since his biggest enemy was complacency. The possibility that he might be replaced by an extremist opponent of vaccine and mask mandates like Republican Larry Elder may well have lit a fire among otherwise disengaged voters who, in the end, don’t even have to show up on Election Day. They only have to mail back a ballot they’ve all received at home.
And as we’ve wondered, it’s possible that Newsom’s apparent dip over the summer might have been a mirage. In early May, for instance, Berkeley had the recall losing 50-42; the school’s July poll could well have been an outlier, rather than a reflection of the true state of the race at the time.
Whatever the case may be, FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate of the available polling has Newsom winning by a comfortable 56-41 average. As Inside Elections’ Ryan Matsumoto notes, if the numbers are off, it would be a “gigantic polling miss” the likes of which we’ve seldom seen.
Perhaps the most notable tell that the public polls match whatever private numbers the GOP is seeing is the fact that the Republican Governors Association had spent less than $400,000 as of the end of August on the campaign to oust Newsom—a microscopic fraction of the $125 million spent on the race overall. If Newsom doesn’t win handily, it’ll be as much as shock to Republicans as to Democrats.
● CO-Gov: University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, who has long hinted at a bid for a more prominent office, will finally make her plans public in a “big announcement” scheduled for Tuesday. While she didn’t say exactly what she’d be running for, though, Ganahl filed paperwork for a gubernatorial campaign days ahead of her declaration. As the only Republican who still holds statewide office in Colorado, Ganahl has been talked up as a potential challenger to Democratic Gov. Jared Polis next year, but given his personal wealth and the state’s ongoing shift to the left, he’d be a difficult foe.
● NH-01: Former TV reporter Gail Huff Brown, who’s been considering a bid for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, filed paperwork with the FEC on Thursday ahead of a possible campaign for the GOP nomination. Huff Brown, who is the wife of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, said she does not have a deadline for making a decision but promised an announcement “sooner rather than later.”
● WY-AL: The fallout from Donald Trump’s decision to endorse attorney Harriet Hageman in the GOP primary to take on Rep. Liz Cheney has already begun to unfold. Two candidates, attorney Darin Smith and Air Force veteran Bryan Miller, both quickly abandoned their campaigns and threw their support to Hageman, while a would-be aspirant who interviewed with Trump but failed to earn his rose, state Sen. Bo Biteman, indicated he wouldn’t run.
However, several others remain in the race. State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, who wasn’t given the chance to woo Trump (perhaps because of his springtime admission that he impregnated a 14-year-old girl when he was 18), insisted he was staying in, saying, “Wyoming’s voters aren’t for sale.” Army veteran Denton Knapp said the same thing, though he suggested he might bail next year if Hageman “is the leader.”
Finally, there’s state Rep. Chuck Gray, who so far has declined to comment. At a candidate forum in June, Gray and Knapp both said they’d drop out if they didn’t earn Trump’s backing, though Bouchard—the leading fundraiser among challengers to date—pointedly did not.
● Boston, MA Mayor: City Councilor Andrea Campbell’s allies at Better Boston PAC have released a survey from Beacon Research of Tuesday’s nonpartisan primary that, like two recent independent polls, shows a very close fight for the second general election spot. Fellow City Councilor Michelle Wu is firmly in first with 33%, while Campbell and a third city council member, Annissa Essaibi George, are tied 19-19. Acting Mayor Kim Janey is close behind with 15%, with former city cabinet member John Barros with just 3%.
● Milwaukee, WI Mayor: Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas’ spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the sheriff would run in the special election should Mayor Tom Barrett be confirmed as ambassador to Luxembourg. The field already includes Common Council President Cavalier Johnson, who would become acting mayor upon Barrett’s departure, and former Ald. Bob Donovan, who badly lost to the incumbent in 2016; either Lucas or Johnson would be the first African American elected to lead Wisconsin’s largest city.
Lucas, a former Milwaukee Police captain, attracted national attention in 2017 when he launched a primary challenge to Sheriff David Clarke, a vociferous Trump supporter who nevertheless continued to identify as a Democrat. Clarke, though, ended up abruptly resigning days before he joined a Trump super PAC (he would later be banned from Fox News), while Lucas went on to decisively win the following year’s Democratic primary against the acting incumbent ahead of the uncontested general election.
Several other candidates are also considering mayoral bids. One new name to us is Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski, whom the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says has “expressed interest in running.” Borowski considered a congressional campaign in 2018 when he thought about waging a Democratic primary bid against local Rep. Gwen Moore, but he didn’t end up going for it.