Those mail-in votes could prove decisive, and they’re likely to favor Garcia: The largest share—32%—were cast in Manhattan, Garcia’s best borough with early and Election Day voters in terms of first-choice votes. (By contrast, about 28% of in-person votes were cast in Manhattan.) They could also completely reshape the last round of the race, because at the end of the eighth round, Garcia leads Wiley by just 347 votes, meaning that Wiley could very well end up as one of the two finalists.
(If the latest figures are giving you a sense of déjà vu, they ought to: Tuesday’s run also showed Adams edging out Garcia 51-49 in the last round—albeit the 11th round rather than the ninth—despite the inclusion of some 135,000 test votes that hadn’t been wiped from the city’s election management system.)
Prior to the election, the board had said the first absentee ballots would show up in the tallies starting on July 6, but “more complete” results won’t appear until the following week, and officials have not said when they expect to finish. Following last year’s primaries, it took six weeks for some races to be certified, though there were more than three times as many absentee ballots to count compared to this year. The board has also said it will release new ranked-choice tabulations every Tuesday, though it’s not clear whether this schedule has changed as a result of this week’s fiasco.
● GA-Sen: Donald Trump said in a radio interview on Tuesday that former NFL star Herschel Walker “told me he’s going to” run for Senate, which could of course be wishful thinking, an attempt to goad his preferred candidate into the race, or even—since there’s a first time for everything—accurate information. Walker, though, responded with a statement reiterating only that he’s still considering a bid and would make a decision “sometime soon.”
● GA-Gov: Trump apparatchik Corey Lewandowski claims he’s recruiting a “known commodity” who’s held public office “in an area where traditionally Republicans don’t get elected” to run against Gov. Brian Kemp in next year’s GOP primary, though he’s not saying who. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, however, thinks he’s talking about wealthy businessman Ames Barnett, who recently tweeted then deleted a photo of himself with Lewandowski.
Barnett also served two terms as the mayor of Washington, a 4,000-person Black-majority city in east Georgia, in the previous decade. But his electoral history doesn’t show what Lewandowski thinks it does: In a lengthy 2011 article, the Washington Post profiled the divisive campaign that saw Barnett unseat the town’s first Black mayor, Willie Burns, for a post the paper called “mostly ceremonial,” thanks to a bitter split between Black and white voters.
In late March, the AJC reported that Barnett was considering a bid for Georgia’s open 10th Congressional District and was supposedly going to decide in a week. However, we’ve heard nothing from him since.
● MD-Gov: Republican Del. Dan Cox, who organized a three-bus caravan that took supporters to the Jan. 6 Trump rally in D.C. that turned into a violent assault on the Capitol, has filed paperwork to run for governor next year though he hasn’t yet commented on his plans. On that fateful day, Cox also tweeted “Pence is a traitor” after the former vice president refused Trump’s directive to overturn the results of the election.
The only notable Republican running so far is state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, an appointee of term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan. One political scientist quoted by Maryland Matters described a potential matchup between Schulz and Cox as “a primary that pits the establishment, or Hogan, wing of the party against the Trump wing.”
● OR-Gov: Baker City (pop. 10,000) Mayor Kerry McQuisten has announced she’ll seek the Republican nomination in next year’s race for governor. She joins 2016 nominee Bud Pierce and businesswoman Jessica Gomez in the race. The Democratic field for this open seat has been slow to develop, with just Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla running so far.
● GA-06: Former Republican Rep. Karen Handel has taken a new job with an economic development organization in Carroll County, which is far to the southwest of her old district, the 6th. That makes it unlikely she’ll wage a second comeback bid, following her 55-45 loss to Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath last year.
● MT-02: Democratic state Rep. Laurie Bishop has filed paperwork with the FEC for a possible bid for Montana’s as-yet undrawn 2nd Congressional District, one of many pols from both parties to express interest in running for the state’s new House seat.
● TX-06: The anti-tax Club for Growth is out with a new ad in support of conservative activist Susan Wright. The spot lists Wright’s conservative credentials and also touts Donald Trump’s endorsement of her, saying, “President Trump needs folks he can count on in Congress, he needs Susan Wright.” Of course, Joe Biden is president, and it’s unclear what a former president would “need” from a member of Congress, other than having his ego stroked.
● TX-??: Businesswoman Donna Imam, who was the Democrats’ unsuccessful nominee last year in Texas’ 31st Congressional District, says she’ll run again next year for an unspecified seat in the Austin area. In a video posted to Facebook, Imam said that “we fully anticipate a strong Democratic district” to emerge from redistricting, but her reason for confidence in such an outcome is unclear.
If anything, Democrats should brace for the opposite: Austin and its environs are currently shattered between half a dozen districts in one of the most devilish GOP gerrymanders in the country, and only one of them, Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s 25th, is solidly Democratic. All of the rest are held by Republicans and were won by Donald Trump twice, including the 31st, where Imam lost to Rep. John Carter 53-44 in 2020.
● Special elections: Here’s a recap of Tuesday’s special election in California:
CA-AD-18: As of Wednesday afternoon, the race to replace newly installed state Attorney General Rob Bonta appears on track to go to an Aug. 31 runoff, as no candidate is close to the majority needed to win outright. Mia Bonta, an Alameda Unified School District board member who is married to Rob Bonta, is firmly in first with 38%, while attorney Janani Ramachandran is leading Alameda Vice Mayor Malia Vella 22-17 for second place; all are Democrats. Five other candidates are combining to take 23% of the vote.
● Atlanta, GA Mayor: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who is seeking his old job in this year’s elections, is apparently under federal investigation for spending campaign funds on personal purchases, including jewelry, hotel stays, and lingerie.
The investigation came to light thanks to a ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that declined to quash a grand jury subpoena for testimony from an attorney who’d worked on behalf of a local politician, both of whom are unnamed in the court’s written decision. However, the AJC says it has “matched—to the penny—one of the questionable purchases listed in the ruling to an expense on Reed’s 2017 campaign finance report.” In addition, a lawyer for former Reed campaign attorney Jeremy Berry confirms his client had been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors.
The flagged expenditure came during Reed’s last year in office, when he was ineligible to seek re-election due to term limits. His campaign spending disclosures at the time showed a purchase of $1,234.47 for “office supplies” on Feb. 1, 2017, but prosecutors alleged that the goods were in fact shipped directly to Reed’s mother. That allegation was included in the appeals court’s ruling, with the exact same dollar figure, though after the AJC began inquiring about the matter, the numbers were removed from the document.
Reed declined to respond to questions from the AJC. He insists he’s cooperated fully with prosecutors, though he has sought to block the government’s efforts to subpoena Berry.
● Pittsburgh, PA Mayor: Former police officer Tony Moreno will be the GOP’s nominee for Pittsburgh mayor against Democrat Ed Gainey in November. Moreno ran in the May Democratic primary and finished third. However, he simultaneously received enough write-in votes on the GOP side, where there were no official candidates running, to qualify for the party’s nomination. Incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto, who lost renomination to Gainey, also won write-in votes in the Republican primary but he gave his backing to Gainey on election night.
● Donald Rumsfeld, who was best known for presiding over George W. Bush’s Department of Defense during the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq, has died at the age of 88. Rumsfeld’s long political career, however, began in 1962 when he was elected to represent Illinois’ 13th Congressional District in the Chicago suburbs around Evanston after fellow Republican Marguerite Church retired. Rumsfeld easily beat his Democratic opponent and went on to win re-election without trouble three more times.
During his time in Congress, Rumsfeld became associated with a group of Republican upstarts later known as the “Young Turks” that coalesced after the GOP’s landslide defeat in the 1964 elections. This group encouraged Michigan Rep. Gerald Ford to run against Minority Leader Charles Halleck for the party’s top leadership post, a challenge that Ford narrowly pulled off by winning a 73-67 vote among members of the Republican caucus.
Rumsfeld resigned shortly after the start of his fourth term to work in Richard Nixon’s administration, which he served in a variety of posts. After Ford succeeded Nixon, he appointed Rumsfeld as his secretary of defense as part of his major cabinet reshuffle in late 1975 that was dubbed the “Halloween massacre.” Following Ford’s loss to Jimmy Carter, Rumsfeld entered the private sector, though he also regularly held a number of less prominent government positions. Most notably, as special envoy to the Middle East under Ronald Reagan, he met and shook hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983 at one of Hussein’s palaces.
Rumsfeld briefly sought the presidency in 1988 and tested the waters again in 1996 but would cap his career when Bush nominated him to once again run the Defense Department in 2001. His tenure was dominated by the U.S.’s calamitous war in Iraq, which ultimately ended with his resignation a day after the GOP’s drubbing in the 2006 midterms—and one week after Bush had said he expected Rumsfeld to stay on until the end of his term.