by Steve Benen
Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country
* Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who was clearly thinking about a 2020 presidential race, announced today that he’s skipping the national race and will instead seek re-election to the Senate. For now, the field of Democratic presidential candidates remains at 12.
* In North Carolina’s 9th congressional district, where Republican election fraud has created the need for a do-over, there will be a primary election on May 14. Depending on whether those primaries require a runoff, locals will elect their new member of Congress on either Sept. 10 or Nov. 5.
* On a related note, in North Carolina’s 3rd congressional district, where the late Rep. Walter Jones (R) recently passed away, there will be primaries on April 30. Depending on whether those primaries require a runoff, locals will elect their new member of Congress on either July 9 or Sept. 10.
* Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who appeared on the show last night, raised $1 million for his new presidential campaign in his first 72 hours as a candidate. That’s quite good for someone who isn’t generally seen as a top-tier contender.
* Though Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has said he’s unlikely to launch a Republican primary challenge to Donald Trump next year, the governor was in Iowa yesterday.
* There will be a state Senate special election in Kentucky today, which may hinge on Gov. Matt Bevin’s (R) unpopularity. As the Lexington Herald-Leader reported, “Democrat Darrell Pugh has called his Republican opponent Phillip Wheeler a ‘Matt Bevin puppet,’ while ads paid for by the Republican Party of Kentucky say Pugh represents ‘Pelosi-Clinton Liberal Values.’”
* On a related note, though the chatter about another Hillary Clinton presidential campaign was always difficult to take seriously, the Democrats’ 2016 nominee ruled out the possibility in an interview yesterday.
* As for her husband, former President Bill Clinton, some Dems interested in the 2020 race have reached out to him, but not many. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the former president “has spoken mostly with male candidates who are considered longshots for the Democratic nomination, including Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, former Housing secretary Julian Castro and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.”