Bitcoin Stabilizes above Important $6,000 Resistance as ...
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Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World
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CheapAir.com appears to have chosen self-hosted payment processor BTCPay for its Bitcoin payments, removing BitPay. The firm stats that
Coinbase is sun-setting their merchant platform next week which has led to a need for an alternative processor. Coinbase mentioned that it would be retiring its merchant processing function in April which the cryptocurrency industry condemned.
Caspian Partners, a cryptocurrency portfolio and risk management platform announced a partnership with Bitmex. Caspian customers will now have a unified trading module with more liquidity. The firm provides order and execution management system (OEMS), risk management system (RMS), and a portfolio management system (PMS).
US transportation company Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC) revealed it is joining the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BITA) in a company announcement yesterday. The BITA association formed in 2017 and aims to develop blockchain applications to the transport and logistics industries. BITA also includes organizations like FedEx (FDX), Uber, UPS (UPS) and GE Transportation.
Thailand’s largest bank has joined a trade finance program utilizing R3’s Corda distributed ledger technology (DLT). R3 is a consortium of over 200 companies that uses technology on blockchain to allow businesses to develop applications on top of its Corda platform.
The Bank of China will use blockchain technology to alleviate poverty in the Tibet Autonomous Region, a province with a poverty rate of 12.4%. The Bank of China has developed a cloud-based system to manage a local poverty reduction fund in the past. The bank has decided to upgrade the existing system with blockchain technology and set up a multi-node blockchain network to connect with their partners like the Agricultural Bank of China
A Czech Republic utility company will begin accepting payments in cryptocurrencies. Pražská Plynárenská is one of the major suppliers of natural gas in the Czech Republic. In June it will establish a payment payment gateway which will transfer bitcoin payments into fiat currency.
A recent study by the Warwick Business School claims that investor sentiment is driving cryptocurrency prices. The study analyzed the top 14 cryptocurrencies based on market capitalization. The primary conclusion was that hype and emotions played the most significant role in determining whether the price of a cryptocurrency rises or falls.
Bitcoin Gold (BTG) has suffered from a 51% attack resulting in a loss USD$17.5mm. The 51% attack permitted double spending to occur. According to the Bitcoin Gold (BTG) team, exchanges have been targeted rather than individual users.
South Africa’s Reserve Bank has chose to call cryptocurrencies “cyber-tokens” because they don’t meet the requirements of money.
In Colombia, two Bitcoin Cash (BCH) proponents have developed a payment processor called Bitek.co. The company offers merchants processing with payable invoices and accounting services as the Bitek platform provides merchants with the ability to accept BCH and covert all or a percentage of the funds into Colombian pesos.
Employees in Ukraine were recently caught using the police department’s resources for four months to mine Bitcoin. In April, mining equipment was found in the office of the Communications Deparment which include eight graphics cards, six power units, two hard drives, a motherboard and a complete system.
VeChain (VEN), a Shanghai-based blockchain startup is testing a blockchain application which verifies a wine supply chain and fights counterfeits. The Chinese wine industry is worth USD$2.8bn and reportedly the Chinese consume wine that is not authentic which as weakened public trust in the quality of the product.
Ireland has clarified taxation on the cryptocurrency space. In terms of direct taxes: corporation tax, income tax and capital gains tax are all applicable, but each case should be reviewed separately.
Barcelona will create a blockchain center in the city’s tech hub. The location will be next to Barcelona Tech City which opened in the Summer of 2016 and will most likely be occupied by Spanish blockchain network Alastria.
Bitfury-backed Hut 8 Mining Group mined more than 800 bitcoins in the first quarter of 2018. The company raised CAD$70mm to continue investing in hardware and generated nearly CAD$11mm in revenue.
Commerzbank and multinational conglomerate Thyssenkrupp have successfully conducted an FX transaction on a blockchain platform. Thyssenkrupp transferred 500,000 euros in an exchange rate between the euro and the Polish zloty at some point in future.
Surkus has raised USD$10mm in Series B funding led by EOS global, a USD$200mm venture fund formed earlier this year. The venture fund is making its first investment and it aims to leverage the EOSIO blockchain to catalyze the transformation of the digital assets space.
CoTrader is introducing a decentralized fund management platform that includes cryptocurrency. CoTrader is a blockchain trading platform and it plans to disrupt investment funds to become the world’s largest outlet for all assets.
The Deutsche Boerse, owner of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is considering offering cryptocurrency products according to a report. A move into the crypto space may not be immediate as Jeffrey Tessler, the firm’s head of clients, said the firm must “make sure we understand the underlying transaction which isn’t the easiest thing to do”.
Two Russian financial institutions are set to test a regulatory platform that aims to make domestic initial coin offerings (ICOs) more transparent and secure for traditional investors. The Russian National Settlement Depository (NSD) announced on Thursday that it is working with Sberbank CIB, to test an ICO issuance platform launched by the Bank of Russia.
The US Department of Justice has reportedly launched a criminal investigation into cryptocurrency traders who may have manipulated the market with old-school illicit tactics, such as spoofing. The investigation is also being conducted with the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
American Express is exploring using blockchain technology to increase security for both users and merchants. The firm is exploring an identity wallet and whether blockchain can be used.
Russian State Duma has approved its first reading of a legislation package that regulates crypto-related matters and activities. The legal texts will open the way for legalization of cryptocurrencies in the Russian Federation, including their exchange and circulation under certain conditions.
Revolut, a British based company that created the first app to allow customers to invest in Bitcoin, has announced it will be adding Ripple (XRP) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to its platform. Revolut began as an app allowing users to transfer fiat currencies, but now has four cryptocurrencies on its platform.
Banks are losing international payments business. Banks have lost 40% of market share for consumer-to-consumer (C2C) cross border payments to non-banks over the last year. Banks have also lost 30% of the consumer-to-business (C2B) and 5% of the business-to-business (B2B) payments market over the last year.
Japanese IT giant, GMO Internet is set to roll out the world’s first bitcoin mining device based on 7nm chips within the year. The firm is launching a new B2 miner on June 6 with mass production to follow and shipment starting by the end of October.
Coinbase has acquired a service called Paradex, a cryptocurrency trading service that lets users trade many digital tokens on a decentralized exchange. The exchange relies on smart contracts to allow users to trade tokens without a centralized authority to record the transactions on a blockchain.
Money Forward, Japan’s most popular personal budgeting app, is launching a crypto asset exchange this year. The firm plans to launch a crypto media platform by Summer followed by an exchange and the construction of a digital asset remittance and settlement system.
The Marshal Islands have replaced the USD$ with its own cryptocurrency. The bill was signed March first but the news is catching attention this week. US Dollars will still be accepted, yet the nation’s cryptocurrency, the “sovereign” will need to be integrated into the country’s financial system. An initial coin offering will take place and the supply will be capped at 24mm tokens
Bank of America has been awarded a patent to let users access a certain blockchain network known as a distributed validating network. Certain users will be granted permission and data will be stored in blocks in which a system can automate this process.
Singaporean-based virtual social trading platform, TrakInvest is looking to become one of the first Asian-based projects to use Hedera Hashgraph’s distributed ledger technology.
Norway’s central bank is preparing for a future in which it might issue a digital currency due to a drop in usage of cash in the country. The Norges Bank released a report titled “Central Bank Digital Currencies” which highlighted that the bank must consider several new attributes that are important for ensuring an efficient robust payment system
Overstock.com’s Tzero is planning to launch a regulated exchange for security tokens in collaboration with Box Digital Markets. The companies will seek approval from the SEC.
A Spanish Central Bank Governor believes that cryptocurrencies will bring more risk than benefits. Luis Maria Linde said that blockchain offers interesting possibilities but that is not quite mature.
Rural banks in the Philippines are looking to adopt blockchain technology in a bid to improve inclusion for residents. The initiative is led by the Union bank of the Philippines, one of the country’s largest banking institutions.
India is considering taxing cryptocurrency at 18% as ‘intangible property’ according to a report issued today. The report detailed that purchases or sales of cryptocurrencies are considered supply of goods and those facilitating transactions should be treated as services.
Every Capital is launching Australia’s first retail crypto hedge fund with the goal of making crypto assets accessible to every Australian investor. Investors will be able to sign up in a fund that covers a range of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
The Pentagon and Defense department are weighing on whether owning cryptocurrency is problematic for those who already have security clearances and for those individuals requesting government security clearances.
Steemit, the platform of cryptocurrency of Steem (STEEM) has announced they have over 1,000,000 users. The blockchain processes over one million transactions daily. The Steemit.com website receives over 250,000 unique visitors every day
CheapAir.com adds Litecoin (LTC) Dash (DASH) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to its payment options for travelers. The firm first begin accepting cryptocurrency by agreeing to receive payments in Bitcoin (BTC) back in 2013.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is proposing changes to existing regulations that would ease market entry for blockchain-based and decentralized exchanges. According to a paper published yesterday, the MAS states that the single tier “recognized market operators” regulatory framework cannot meet the demand for new business models based on such emerging technologies.
Chilean President, Mario Marcel has recently made comments in favor of developing a regulatory apparatus for virtual currencies. This openness contrasts the country’s recent banking embargo targeting cryptocurrencies in Chile.
MIT is demoing a use case for bitcoin’s lightning network – how the cryptocurrency can be combined with smart contracts to not only handle millions of transactions, but also with more complexity. Verge (XVG) has experienced its second hack in less than two months.
Executives are citing a DDoS attack which is giving its blockchain a serious delay. The attack has lasted more than a few hours and has resulted in over 35mm XVG tokens being stolen. CoinGate, a payment gateway for cryptocurrencies, is planning to launch
Bitcoin Lightning Network payments on its platform. The company serves over 4,000 merchants globally and will allow companies to accept bitcoin and altcoin payments which can be transferred in BTC, EUR€ or USD$ as payouts.
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is cracking down on unlicensed companies involved in the cryptocurrency space. Companies that the Commission is targeting include investment and trading companies.
A bank in Argentina could soon become the first in the world to begin using Bitcoin for customers’ international remittances. Banco Mansventas (BMV) partnered with local blockchain financial services firm Bitex and are looking to move away from the SWIFT clearing network which has seen multiple failures and security problems in recent years.
Payments startup, Circle has launched the full version of its crypto investment app. After a soft launch, the company has rolled out an investment focused app and one of the features is a “Buy the Market” tool for new cryptocurrency investors.
China Central Television (CCTV) has said that domestic initial coin offerings (ICOs) are still rampant despite a 2017 ban. The network went on to discuss that “air coins”, or token projects that are not backed by legally registered business entities have increased by 30x since the ICO crackdown.
A new crypto teller machine is now operational in Johannesburg, South Africa. The ATM supports several digital coins and joins a growing number of terminals offering automated crypto-fiat exchange services in the country and across the continent.
Japan’s largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) is partnering with Akamai to handle up to 1mm transactions per second using blockchain technology. The platform will confirm transactions within 2 seconds or less and batches of transactions will adhere to the same schedule.
Lawmakers in Taiwan are forming a new parliamentary group aimed to foster the growth of the nation’s emerging blockchain sector. The group will be called the Taiwan Parliamentary Coalition for Blockchain (TPCB).
The Bitcoin community is celebrating the 8th anniversary of the “Bitcoin Pizza Day” which is a celebratory day of a Pizza purchased with Bitcoin. On today’s date 8 years ago, Bitcoin was trading at $.0004 and Laszio Hanyecz purchased two pizzas from Papa John’s for USD$41 using 10,000 BTC
Ohio may become the latest US state to legally recognize smart contracts and records stored on a blockchain. The Senate Bill 300, amends sections of the Uniform Electronic Transactions act and will include blockchain records and smart contracts as electronic records.
Virtuse, a Singaporean cryptocurrency exchange, is connecting crypto markets with global financial assets, commodities, government emission allowances and stock indices to eliminate the middlemen and provide transparency to the financial sector.
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued an advisory statement for listing virtual currency derivative products. The director of the Division of Market Oversight (DMO) has said that the CFTC staff will seek to provide additional guidance to help market participants keep pace with innovation while complying with CFTC regulations.
American aviation company TapJets is considering adding Ripple (XRP) and Litecoin (LTC) to its fleet of payment options. The company inquired about which cryptocurrencies to add via a Twitter poll, and 57,000 users voted.
Spain’s financial regulator has clarified its position on regulated investment funds investing directly in cryptocurrencies. The regulatory body stated that an investment fund registered with the countries National Securities Market Commission can make investments in cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain startup ShareRing is developing a mobile application to consolidate sharing services worldwide. The sharing economy is currently valued at over USD$100bn according to Brookings.
Polish Finance Ministry is rolling back a cryptocurrency tax and is making promises to provide smarter regulation. The ministry will be conducting an “in-depth analysis” of the crypto space to create better regulation and taxation policies going forward.
Walmart has submitted a patent application to track items the store sells to customers. The proposed system would allow a customer to register the item after it is purchased.
TradingView, a software website that many cryptocurrency traders use just raised USD$37mm in funding which was led by Insight Venture Partners. Currently the company receives 75% of its revenues from monthly subscription plans that offer more charts, data and real-time server-side alerts
A “cryptosweep” was launched today in the US and Canada by a group of securities regulators. Nearly 70 inquiries and investigations, and 45 pending or completed enforcement actions will be taken, although it is unclear when the related enforcement actions will be publicly announced
The team behind Parity Technologies have announced they are shutting down PICOPS, a service used by ICO campaigns to comply with regulations by validating that the owner of an Ethereum wallet has already passed an ID background check.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has shown in a report that crypto related fraud made up a tiny percent of scam activity in 2017. Of the 200,000 scams reporting, only 0.61% of the financial claims made were crypto related – USD$2.1mm
LMAX Exchange Group is setting up the first cryptocurrency exchange for institutional clients. The group will focus on liquid established cryptocurrencies which include: Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Former OKEx cryptocurrency exchange CEO, Chris Lee, is now joining rival cryptocurrency exchange Huobi. In a public note, Lee suggested that OKCoin has experienced notable turnover in senior executives over the past few years which may have affected his decision.
Nearly 40% of all Chinese blockchain startups emerged in 2017, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The report highlighted that China currently has 456 startups focused on blockchain technology development as part of their core business.
Japan Cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck will delist Monero and three other privacy coins from Coincheck, one of the country’s most popular exchanges. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) believes that users have too much anonymity with these cryptocurrencies.
Bankex Smart Justice is bringing arbitration to blockchain technology. If users are in disagreement, Bankex claims the firms technology can help users settle
Thomas Lee owns up to his failed prediction of Bitcoin (BTC) rising ahead of Blockchain week. In a note to clients before Consensus 2018, Lee predicted that Bitcoin (BTC) would surge anywhere from 10-70% yet during the week, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) fell
An Overview of Arizona Primary Races - Part 4: Legislative Races 11-20
Welcome to my omnibus compendium of Arizona’s upcoming primary races (set to take place August 28th – early voting ballots should have been mailed out August 1st). Arizona’s a really interesting state (I may be a hair biased), since it not only is home to two to four swing House seats and a high-profile Senate race, but also a vulnerable governor (thanks to the teacher walkout earlier this year) and tenuous majorities in both state houses that could – theoretically – deliver a Dem trifecta this fall. Other statewide candidates have also been on the attack, and few Republicans are safe in this climate. If Dr. Tipirneni’s massive swing in April can be replicated across the state, the Dems will pull off a coup of stupidly high proportions. If you’re interested about which district you live in, check https://azredistricting.org/districtlocato. If you want to get involved with your local Democratic party, find your legislative district on the previous link (NOT CD), and then search for your LD’s name at this link. Feel free to attend meetings, they’re a great way to get involved with candidates and like-minded individuals. If you wish to donate to a “clean elections” candidate (mentioned in the post as “running clean”), you will have to live in that candidate’s legislative district to do so. Statewide “clean” candidates can accept from anyone, although al such candidates probably have hit their goals for the cycle. If you are a registered Independent and do not want to vote at the polls, you will need to request and early ballot using the website of your county’s recorder. Example links for Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal. Others available if needed. Race ratings for listed primaries will be listed as Solid/Likely/Leans/Tossup and are not indicative of my own preference for that seat. I’ll denote my personal primary preferences at the end of this series. Some candidates have filed as write-in candidates for their primary. I’m unsure about the rules behind this, and if a win means they automatically appear on the ballot in November – currently in process of verifying. For example, in 2016 Gary Swing and Merissa Hamilton both won their respective Senate primaries (Green/Libertarian) as write-ins, but only Swing was on the ballot in the fall. If you have any questions about voting in the primary, which races are the most contested, and how to get involved with other Democrats in Arizona, feel free to PM me. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN IN MY CAPACITY AS A VOTER IN ARIZONA, AND NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY ORGANIZATIONS I WORK/ED FOR OR AM/WAS A MEMBER OF. THIS POST IS IN NO WAY ENDORSED BY THE ARIZONA DEMOCRATIC PARTY OR ANY SUB-ORGANIZATION THEREOF. View Statewide post here. View Congressional post here View Legislative Races 1-10 here
State Legislative Races
So as mentioned in the intro post, this’ll cover not only the federal and statewide candidates but also the state legislative races. Arizona has 30 districts, each with 1 Senator and 2 Representatives. Republicans hold meh majorities in both chambers (17-13 in the Senate, and 35-25 in the House), but Dems think this is the year for a potential flip of chambers. Due to time constraints I’ll try to focus on races with primaries, and write a primer about important general election races later – but hopefully I can get all of them done. Our party went balls to the wall and recruited 114 Democratic candidates to run this cycle, meaning that there’s a candidate running in every race across Arizona, in even the reddest of red districts. It also means there’s a lot of blurbs to write. One additional point to make – the vast majority of people using the Arizona Clean Elections funding source are running for the state legislature. Their COH statistics will be denoted as ($XXX COH, Clean). This - for the most part – means that the only additional money they can expect in the race will come afteif they win their respective primaries, roughly to the tune of $20K-$25K or so. So without further ado, the districts! District 11 For our first district in the second installment of the legislative series, we head over to Northern Tucson/Casa Grande, a district that – like LD8 before it – is surprisingly only Leans Red despite its demographics and geographical location. The Republican Senate incumbent is noted theocratic asshole Steve Smith, who as mentioned earlier is trying to make the hop over into Congress. His Republican heir apparent is State Representative Vince Leach ($118.5K COH). The other incumbent Republican Representative, Mark Finchem ($44.4K COH) is running for re-election in the House, with Constable Bret Roberts ($16.7K COH, Clean) and retired carpenter Howie Jones ($700 COH) running for the second open spot. Roberts has been endorsed by Finchem and Leach and seems set to take the second nomination. His choice of running clean is odd, especially as a party-approved candidate. Roberts may make it through to the general, but he’ll most likely run into rural liberal powerhouse Hollace Lyon ($93K COH). Unlike in LD8, the House candidate (Lyon) seems set to drag the Democratic slate, kicking and screaming, into relevancy. Wife of the president of the Arizona School Boards Association (Linda Lyon) and retired USAF Colonel, Lyon brings a great combination of education bona fides, fundraising/campaigning chops (She has outraised everyone in the district - Leach’s COH advantage is only because of his past warchest), and rural appeal (she channels Amy McGrath’s rhetoric to great success. Lyon would be a great single-shot candidate for the candidate. Except she’s not running alone. Perennial candidate Barry McCain (no link because his website’s dead and he’s a bit of a nut, also $4 COH) managed to qualify for the ballot again this year by some miracle. Local and state party leaders, wary of ceding a ballot slot to nigh-invisible candidate, recruited local teacher and education advocate Marcela Quiroz ($630 COH, Clean – needs $5’s). While Quiroz has had some trouble getting her campaign ff the ground, she is by far a better #2 than McCain. In the Senate, rancher Ralph Atchue ($15.4K, Clean) is taking a second crack at the seat. Atchue didn’t generate many waves last time, and this time – if he does win – it will be on the backs of Lyon and Quiroz. The presence of Green Party write-in Mohammad Arif won’t help. As mentioned before, the general rests squarely on the shoulders of Hollace Lyon, and partially on Quiroz’s as well. Both House and Senate candidates have a defined rural appeal, but only Lyon seems capable of actually translating that into results. If the statewide wave is large enough, she’ll drag Quiroz and Atchue in on her coattails. hunter15991 Rating: Dem Senate uncontested. Solid Lyon, Likely Quiroz. GOP Senate uncontested, Solid Finchem, Likely Roberts. Leans GOP Senate, Tossup House Roberts/Lyon, Leans GOP Finchem/Quiroz. District 12 Popping back up north somewhat, we take a look at LD12 – located in the heart of CD5. Centered in Gilbert and Southeast Mesa, 12 is so stupidly red, only LD1 and LD5 are worse. On the Republican side, incumbent Representative Travis Grantham ($26K COH) is being joined by incumbent Senator Warren Petersen ($49K COH) in their quest for House nominations, and are being primaried from the right by Mr “Ban All Public Schools” Nick Myers ($600 COH), and from the center by adjunct professor Blake Sacha ($36.5K COH). In the Senate, charter school owner and incumbent State Rep. Eddie Farnsworth ($26.2K COH) is running, being challenged from the nominal center by businessman Jimmy Lindblom ($25K COH). Lindblom still holds most of Farnsworth’s conservative views, but is attacking Farnsworth regarding how corrupt of a legislator he is, profiting off of charter school requirements he passes. On the Democratic side, Elizabeth Brown ($15.5K) is rehashing a 2016 Senate run, and will be joined by two House nominees – currently that looks like teacher Joe Bisaccia ($12K COH, Clean) and lawyer Lynsey Robinson ($16.88K COH, Clean). Robinson is actually running on a slate with 2014 House nominee DJ Rothans ($150 COH, Clean), but his campaign has not gotten as much traction as hers. Given the breakdown of this district it is highly unlikely a Dem. pulls it off either in the House or Senate, and with the amount of district infighting that’s ongoing (per rumors, Brown and Bisaccia hate each other’s guts and are causing a lot of chaos because of that) that chance goes from slim to none. The best bet in this scenario is for Sacha and Lindblom to pull off the upset in primaries. While they’re at best mediocre friends of public education (Sacha) and at worse a slightly cleaner version of the incumbent (Lindblom), they’re a step up from the clusterfuck currently ongoing in the district. hunter15991 Rating: Dem Senate uncontested. Likely Bisaccia, Likely Robinson. Leans Farnsworth, Likely Petersen, Leans Finchem. All Solid GOP general. District 13 District 13 could be a bit of a Roy Moore-ish scenario for Democrats, at least in the Senate. So I’ll get the House out of the way first. Reps Darin Mitchell ($7.3K COH) and Tim Dunn ($76K COH)- both Republicans – are the current Representatives for the district. Mitchell has built a long-term brand in the district, while Dunn was appointed n February 2018 following…well we’ll get to that in a second. They are being challenged from the right by absolute wackadoodle Trey Terry ($9K COH), and from the center(ish) by Goodyear ViceMayor Joanne Osborne ($10.5K COH). Mitchell and Dunn seem set to make it out of their primaries by virtue of their incumbency (and Dunn’s surprisingly large warchest), although if Osborne can convince enough moderate Republicans to vote for her (she seems to be against some anti-publicEd measures here in AZ) she stands a fraction of a chance. Mitchell and Dunn will face Democrat Thomas Tzitzura ($1.1K COH, Clean), a veteran, former teacher, and adorable old guy. He’s set to lose by 30. But we’re interested in the Senate. Currently, the Senate seat is held by farmer Sine Kerr ($40.6K COH), an unimposing backbencher appointed to the seat in February after Steve Motnenegro resigned his seat when he tried – and failed -to win the GOP nomination for CD8. She’s being challenged in the primary by businessman Brent Backus ($4K COH), and in the general by retired Air Force veteran Michelle Harris (4.8K COH, Clean). If Kerr wins the primary, her general election should be relatively easy – the last Democrat to run for Senate here didn’t crack 35%. But there’s another Republican running. On February 1st, 2018, the Arizona State House voted to expel sexual assault perpetrator Don Shooter ($18K COH), a longtime Senator and at that time Representative from LD13. A report over 80 pages long detailing his deeds was filed with the House, and they had no choice but to kick him to the curb. His career seemed dead. Ever the enigma, Shooter didn’t stop collecting signatures for the Senate run he was planning on this year (pending Montenegro’s resignation), and on the last day to file for the State Senate he submitted signatures to run again in LD13. This upended Kerr’s easy walk to re-election – while Shooter’s statewide brand was kneecapped, the voters in LD13 by and large seemed unphased by his wrongdoings at the state legislature. And with a stronger name-rec in the area and a fundraising system that doesn’t seem to be phased by his misdeeds, Shooter seems set to snatch primary victory from the jaws of defeat. With the anti-sexual abuser vote set to be split by Backus, Arizona’s Roy Moore (I don’t use that lightly, he preyed on college and high school interns as well) could make it to the general. For all of Harris’s pros, she falters where Lyon succeeds as a candidate – both in funds, branding, and campaign intensity. If Kerr or even Backus win the Senate nomination, Harris is toast. But if Shooter makes it through somehow, the retired Master Sergeant stands a chance at turning this district blue. It will hinge on the morals of LD13 independents, and AZGOP rescinding support for Shooter if he sneaks through the primaries. Will the stars align for Harris? Will Shooter’s attempt to reclaim his former glory turn this district blue? Probably not. But “probably” isn’t good enough in 2018. hunter15991 Rating: Dem primaries uncontested. Leans Shooter, Likely Mitchell/Kerr. Safe GOP House general. Leans GOP Senate. District 14 Like past districts, LD14 is more of a question as to who wins the GOP primary than who wins the general. The Dems are fielding businessman Bob Karp ($1K COH, Clean) and businesswoman Shelley Renee-Leon ($1.5K COH, Clean) for the House, while there’s a competitive primary between 2016 nominee Jaime Alvarez ($1.2K COH, Clean), and teacher Mendy Gomez ($1.4K COH, Clean). Alvarez should make it through the primary due to his name rec from 2016, but with teachers gaining prominence in post-strike Arizona, Gomez could take it from him. A safe GOP district, the main question is how races on the right pan out. The House is rather tame, incumbent Rep. Becky Nutt ($19.3K COH) and outgoing Senator Gail Griffin ($31.4K COH) are uncontested for the nomination there. For Senate, there is a three-way battle between former House speaker David Gowan ($54K COH), incumbent State Rep. Drew John ($38K), and Army vet/businesswoman Lori Kilpatrick ($15.7K COH, Clean). Gowan, a candidate for CD1 back in 2016, has come to reclaim his old LD14 fiefdom, but Drew John seems hesitant to give it up without a fight. If Rep. John can hold steady, he’ll deprive the GOP of a massively-experienced ex-legislator and replace him with a freshman, milquetoast backbencher in John. Any nominee seems set to win the general, but if Gowan strikes out again here the State GOP will be in a slightly weaker position than before. I realize counting Dems out is bad to do – the district’s a hair bluer than 13 – but if Harris at least fits her rural vibe somewhat, Gomez/Alvarez and the House slate unequivocally don’t. The Dems best hope here is just Gowan losing in the primaries. hunter15991 Rating: Tossup Dem. Senate. Dem House uncontested. Tossup GOP Senate (John/Gowan), GOP House uncontested. All Safe GOP general. District 15 If the doom and gloom in LD14 has got you down, you may want to try on LD15 for size. Located smack dab in the middle of AZ-06, LD15 is a microcosm of the fight Heather Ross will be fighting in the congressional district as a whole. Although the district as a whole has been red legislatively for eons, in 2016 both Sherriff Paul Penzone and Maricopa County Community Colleges Boardmember Linda Thor posted good results in LD15 – showing a capacity not only for sane Democratic votes, but also f or pro-education votes. The GOP field in LD15 is set – former teacher and “moderate” Republican Representative Heather Carter ($45K COH) is dropping massive checks on her quest to secure the Senate seat in this district, while House Majority Leader John Allen ($46.6K COH) and incumbent Senator Nancy Barto ($24K) are running for the two House seats. The Dem. field is well suited to meet them. In the Senate, teacher Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko ($3.16K COH, Clean – and hereafter KDP) is squaring off against Carter, while 3 Dem. candidates are vying for the two Dem. House nominations in the district. Teacher Jennifer Samuels is running as a ticket with KDP, both heavily emphasizing their education chops. Prosecutor Julie Gunnigle is gunning (pun intended) for the second spot, crafting her campaign around a strong anti-corruption message. Her legal chops are visible in her many livestreams she does, and if she fails at a run here (or for CD6) she’s got a promising practice to return to. 2016 nominee and lawyer Tonya MacBeth is the third candidate in the race – although she has not been able to adapt to the competitive primary Gunnigle and Samuels have thrust on her. With Gunnigle taking a lot of big-name endorsements (like Steve Farley) and Samuels pairing up with KDP, MacBeth is on track to get boxed out of the nomination. In the general, Samuels and Gunnigle dodge a massive bullet, as moderate Republican Heather Carter is running for the Senate this cycle instead of one of the two House slots. While this does sink KDP (her main strength is education, but Carter counteracts that quite nicely), Samuels and Gunnigle have an opening against Allen and Barto. Both incumbent GOP legislators have been vocally against the recent teacher strike, with Allen leveraging his power as House Majority Leader to whip GOP members (like Carter, coincidentally) into line to vote against Dem. bills designed to find some sort of a fix to the teacher crisis. If the Dem. nominees can adequately tie Barto to Allen and Allen to the funding catastrophe in Arizona, then the same metrics that could push Ross over the finish line can push them over as well. The county party realizes this, having opened up an LD office here far earlier than was expected by anyone. It likely will remain in GOP hands, but the dark money needed to protect what should be a safe seat for Republicans will absolutely send some Dems across the 50%+1 mark elsewhere in the state. hunter15991 Rating: Dem. Senate uncontested. Likely Gunnigle/Samuels. GOP primary uncontested. Likely Carter, Leans Allen/Barto. District 16 Located in deep-red East Mesa and Apache Junction, LD16 is a splash of cold water after such a rosy preview of LD15. Currently held by Senator David Farnsworth ($4K), retiring Representative Doug Coleman, and Tea PartieFurry fan Kelly Townsend ($32.4K). In the running for the second House seat being abandoned by Coleman are Apache PD Officer Stephen Kridler ($2K COH), businessman John Fillmore ($19K COH), activist Liza Godzich ($20K COH), and moderate-ish Tara Phelps ($26K COH, Clean). Phelps has been receiving tacit Democratic support in the area, as the Democratic primary (we’ll get to it in a moment) is relatively uncompetitive. Godzich is receiving Townsend’s stamp of approval, which for the most part sets up a Phelps v. Godzich race for the second slot after Townsend. However, a nominally-even race is slanted by the presence of Fillmore and Kridler, who by nature of their platforms are set to pull more from the right than the center. There’s a decent chance a pro-PublicEd Republican makes it through to the general this November. On the Senate side, Farnsworth is being challenged in the primary by “Big” Michael Hernandez ($2K COH), an anti-establishment character running a hair left of Farnsworth. Anecdotally, he’s getting along quite well with the Democrat in the race, Ben Carmitchel (bencarmitchelforaz - $710 COH, Clean and needs $5’s). Although Hernandez doesn’t seem like he’ll make it to the general, he’s undoubtedly a cheery face this election. In the general, Carmitchel is joined by former teacher Sharon Stinard ($3.4K COH), as well as by Green Party write-in and former Democratic nominee for WY-AL Richard Grayson) ($0 COH). Stinard, Carmitchel, and Grayson all face a touch climb in the general – the best this district can feasibly hope for is for Phelps to make it through the Republican primary. hunter15991 Rating: Dem primaries uncontested. Likely Farnsworth, Likely Townsend, Tossup (Phelps/Godzich). Solid GOP General. District 17 Before I begin this segment, it’s wise for me to inform readers (however many there are) that I was previously employed by the Democratic slate in LD17, before being forced out for what in my mind are senseless reasons. I have tried not to let the firing itself impact my judgement re. this district, but the fact that Dem. staffers in this district (the people I was replaced with) are by-and-large woefully inexperienced cannot be overlooked. District 17 is a super-crucial district for the Dems this cycle, being targeted both by the state and national DLCC. It’s the home district of House Speaker JD Mesnard ($143K COH), who is currently running for the open Senate seat in the district. The second Representative, running for re-election, is Jeff Weninger ($79.1K COH), a backbencher who focuses most of his time on passing bills related to bitcoin/blockchain technology. The party-backed candidate for Mesnard’s old seat is Chandler Vice Mayor Nora Ellen ($91.7K COH) – coincidentally Mesnard’s mom. They face RN Julie Willoughby in the primaries, who is receiving a surprising amount of backing from anti-Mesnard forces in the GOP and seems set to make the primary a bit of a slugfest. Still, Ellen most likely will advance to November. The Democratic nominees for the district are hospital administrator Steve Weichert ($13K COH) and education consultant/former teacher Jennifer Pawlik. Both are running on a strong, education-first platform, and when I left were attacking Mesnard for his connection to Ellen and for his poor education votes. While the district is inching closer to blue (it’s a lot swingier than one would expect) and party support is increasing, I need to take a moment and comment about the staffing situation. After my friend and I were forced out (pay and responsibilities gradually reduced to a token position), staffing duties were handed over to volunteers and political newbies, who requested training from us in practically every aspect of running a campaign. I don’t claim to be a campaign guru myself, but the current campaign manager had difficulty figuring out basic algebra, and an Excel sheets with a pre-generated set of instructions (click this tab for X, this tab for Y). Combine this with an incredible disdain by both candidates to call for money outside of their immediate circle, and there is cause for concern. Thankfully the party can allocate additional resources to the area, but I don’t know how much they’d be willing to shell out. The ingredients are all there. The cooks aren’t. hunter15991 Rating: Dem primaries uncontested. GOP Senate uncontested, Likely Weninger, Leans Ellen. Tossup Senate, Tossup House 1, Solid House GOP 2 (Dem. uncontested). District 18 Immediately adjacent to LD17 is LD18 – which is just as swingy of a seat. It is currently – surprisingly – majority-Democrat, held by Senator Sean Bowie ($123K COH), a moderate Democrat who won this seat in 2016 by running against a Trumpist Republican who turned off a lot of the swing voters in the district. He faces the same Trumpist Republican, Frank Schmuck (yes, that’s his real name – and $125.7K COH) this fall. One of his House counterparts, Mitzi Epstein ($37.3K COH), winning alongside Bowie in 2016. The second Representative, however, is GOP loyalist Jill Norgaard ($65.5K COH), a rank-and-file Republican who has had to quickly adopt a moderate stance now that her district is a target for the Dems to fully flip this November. In the general she will face either education activist Jennifer Jermaine ($15.1K COH) or DSA activist/pastry chef LaDawn Stuben ($12.7K COH, Clean). While Stuben was able to raise her $5’s rather quickly, most DSA activist attention has turned elsewhere to Westbrook/Phoenix City Council, and her campaign is slowing down just as Jermaine is catching fire. It’ll most likely be Epstein/Jermaine in the fall. But Norgaard has a competitive primary to fight through as well. Other candidates include former Arizona Board of Regents member Greg Patterson ($800 COH), former Tempe Union Schoolboard candidate and vocal anti-abortion activist Don Hawker ($600 COH), and AZGOP minority outreach chair Farhana Shifa ($17.7K COH). Shifa seems like the most likely 2nd GOP nominee given her party background, but Patterson matches her tit for tat on the resume (yet has a surprising gap in terms of fundraising). In the general, this seat will be one the GOP tries to take back from the Democrats, in an attempt to return to their supermajority from pre-2016. However, the changing political attitudes in the area are pretty indicative that, if anything, the district is heading further blue this fall. It’s not without the realm of doubt to see a full Dem. slate here – Bowie, Epstein, Jermaine – where four years prior it was fully red. hunter15991 Rating: Dem Senate uncontested. GOP Senate uncontested, Likely Epstein/Jermaine. Likely Norgaard, Leans Shifa. Leans Dem Senate, Leans Dem House 1 (Epstein/Shifa), Tossup House 2 (Norgaard/Jermaine). District 19 Thankfully for me, LD19 is quite a snoozefest. Democratic Senator Lupe Contreras ($73 COH) is running uncontested in both the primary and the general. Democratic Representative Diego Espinoza ($1.5K COH) is running for re-election, with a noticeable battle for the second House seat ongoing. The decision by Rep. Mark Cardenas to pursue higher office (he failed) led to this seat opening up in LD19. Avondale City councilman Lorenzo Sierra ($16.2K COH) is the frontrunner in the race, having secured both Contreras’, Espinoza’s, and Cardenas’s endorsements. But he’s facing opposition from Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board Vice President Devin DelPalacio ($2.9K COH). He is running on a strong pro-education platform, but as a former student of Tolleson Union I don’t consider him to be the best pro-PublicEd example in Arizona. No Republicans have filed for this district, making the primary the general election. hunter15991 Rating: Dem Senate uncontested. Likely Espinoza, Leans Sierra. Uncontested general. District 20 And if LD19 was a snoozefest, LD20 is a wild ride. A Leans-GOP district in a normal year, it’s receiving a lot of attention from both parties. Three of the four possible races (GOP/Dem House, GOP/Dem Senate) are contested primaries. Incumbent Senator Kimberly Yee is running for Treasurer, leaving the State Senate seat up for grabs. I’ll try to be brief. On the Democratic side, activist Matthew Marquez ($13.3K COH, Clean) and tax auditor Douglas Ervin ($15.7K COH, Clean) face off for the nomination. Marquez – anecdotally – is running behind Ervin in terms of in-district enthusiasm and endorsements, but the race is still close, and he does a small but dedicated progressive bloc of volunteers. Ervin still seems like he’ll get the nomination, but there’s a good chance at Marquez getting it instead. On the GOP side, State Rep. Paul Boyer ($30.8K) and ASU Professor Charles Loftus ($300 COH) face off for the nomination. Boyer’s past history in the district and financial advantage make this pretty much a one-sided race. The House is a bit less packed, but still a wild ride – at least on the Dem. side. The GOP only has two candidates running – conservative activist (And wife of AZ superior Court judge Clint Bolick) Shawnna Bolick ($93K COH – she has sizable connections), and incumbent Rep. Anthony Kern ($36K COH). The Dem. primary is a bit more packed. Lawyer Chris Loftus Gilfillan ($13K COH, Clean – and yes, middle name “Loftus”. No clue about relation), small business owner Patrick Church ($300 COH), non-profit manager Hazel Chandler ($2K COH, Clean) and special needs advocate Dan Anderson ($200 COH) are all running for two spots for the general. Currently I’d guess that Gilfillan and Chandler will make it through due to their strong groundgame and online media presence, but Church could sneak through in a fluke. Anderson, unfortunately, won’t be making it to the general. In the general, any Dem. candidate that makes it through will be relying heavily on outside party funds to get them to parity with the massive warchests of Kern/BoyeBolick. With the district an under-the-radar target by Dems (it was won by the Maricopa County Recorder, Adrian Fontes, during his 2016 campaign), such cash will be deathly important for flipping both chambers of the legislature. I personally don’t see much hope in the district, but anecdotally real decisionmakers in the party apparatus see it as more than likely to flip. Here's hoping it does so in November. EDIT: Christ, forgot there was an independent running. Doug Quelland is a former Republican Senator in that district running to the right of Boyer. Hopefully he helps Ervin flip it. hunter15991 Rating: Leans Ervin, Likely Boyer, Likely Gilfilan, Leans Chandler. Tossup Senate general, Leans GOP House (x2) general.
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