PRIMARY ROUNDUP | TX-16 | NC-9 | IL-3 | FL-17

Sanders “Open” to Backing Newman in IL-03

GOP candidates scramble to enter the race for Rooney’s open seat.

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Drew Gerber
Feb. 21, 2018, 10:15 a.m.

FL-17: Following the news that Rep. Tom Rooney (R) will not seek reelection, “an assortment of state-level regional politicians were put on a hastily crafted short list to run for the seat,” including state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R), Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight (R) and state Reps. Ben Albritton (R) and Greg Steube (R). (Politico)

However, Knight announced Tuesday that he does not intend to run for Rooney’s seat: “I am honored to have been mentioned as a viable candidate however, the highest honor I hold is that of being your Sheriff.” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

State Rep. Julio Gonzalez (R) “confirmed Tuesday … it’s ‘very likely’ that he’ll run for Congress.” State Rep. Michael Grant (R) may also explore a bid. (WFTV)

“Another likely candidate, state Rep. Joe Gruters (R), has already begun making calls. … State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R), who lives in the region, said he will not seek the seat but continue focusing on his 2018 run for Agriculture commissioner against state Sen. Denise Grimsley (R), who also said she will stay in the race for commissioner.” (Politico)

“On Tuesday, a third candidate for Agriculture Commissioner,” Baxter Troutman, “joined Caldwell and Grimsley in sitting out a run for Congress.” (Florida Politics)

“As of Tuesday, only three candidates declared their intent to run … And of those running, only one,” former Pasco Republican Executive Committee secretary Bill Akins (R), “is a registered Republican.” (WFTV)

IL-03: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “is open to backing” marketing consultant Marie Newman (D) in her primary challenge to Rep. Dan Lipinski (D).

Sanders: “I have not spoken to Marie, and that is something I very much want to do. And that is a phone call I intend to make.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

NC-09: “In his first TV ad of the year,” Rep. Robert Pittenger (R) “cast himself as one of President Donald Trump’s ‘strongest supporters’ and accuses his Republican primary rival” pastor Mark Harris (R) “of trying to ‘stop Trump’ in 2016.” The 30-second spot touts Pittenger’s support for the GOP tax cuts and other policies, while also slamming Harris, who in 2016 first backed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and then Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the presidential primary, as a Never Trumper. The ad also hits Harris for criticizing the recent spending bill, which Pittenger voted for. “The winner of the GOP primary will likely face Democrat Dan McCready, who has outraised both Republicans and has nearly $1 million on hand.” (Charlotte Observer)

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