Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* In a bit of a surprise, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced this morning that he will remain on Capitol Hill and skip West Virginia’s 2020 gubernatorial race. It’s big news because if Manchin had given up his seat, he likely would’ve been replaced by a Republican, dooming Democratic chances of reclaiming a Senate majority.
* How bad have things become for the Democratic Party in South Dakota? According to a local report, the state party will close its two offices later this month. South Dakota Dems will still have some staff, but they’ll work remotely.
* Democrats hoped to boost participation in the 2020 presidential caucuses in Iowa and Nevada by allowing voters to participate by phone, but in light of new concerns related to tech security, those plans are now in doubt.
* After more than two decades on Capitol Hill, Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) announced late Friday afternoon that he’s retiring at the end of this Congress. Unlike some of the other retiring House Republicans, Democrats are unlikely to compete in Shimkus’s southeastern Illinois district: Donald Trump won the district in 2016 by 46 points.
* Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) recently ended his presidential campaign and launched a U.S. Senate bid, quickly picking up an endorsement from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The former governor is, however, part of a very crowded primary field, and six of the women vying for the Democratic nomination have asked the DSCC to reconsider the endorsement.
* Speaking of Senate primaries, appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) will have to run again next year, and she’s likely to face a tough race against former astronaut Mark Kelly, the likely Democratic nominee. But first, McSally will have to defeat a new primary rival, Phoenix-area businessman Daniel McCarthy, who kicked off his candidacy last week.
* And with only two months remaining in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race, Gov. Matt Bevin (R) welcomed Donald Trump Jr. to an arena rally on Friday. As images from local press reports made clear, the event was not well attended.