P.G. Sittenfeld doesn’t rule out a bid against Cincinnati-area GOP Rep. Steve Chabot

Last week, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the DCCC was trying to recruit Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune for a bid against Ohio GOP Rep. Steve Chabot. WVXU’s Howard Wilkinson further reports that Cincinnati City Councilor P.G. Sittenfeld is also being “sounded out by the DCCC.” Sittenfeld did not deny he was interested, only saying it was “flattering that the national folks would be interested, but my focus is squarely on Cincinnati and specifically our current budget process,” and adding, “If anything ever changes, I’ll be sure to let you know.” Trump carried this seat 51-45, about the same as Romney.

Two years ago, Sittenfeld kicked off a bid against Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman, and raised a credible amount of money early on. However, once ex-Gov. Ted Strickland began making noises about running, Sittenfeld refused to defer to the national party’s favorite, even after his fundraising largely dried up. While Sittenfeld relentlessly argued that Strickland’s evolution away from his once pro-NRA views was insincere, and he made more than a few not-so-subtle jabs at Strickland’s age (74), he ended up losing the Democratic primary 65-22. While Sittenfeld’s upstart bid didn’t please Democrats at the time, Wilkinson writes that “he didn’t seem to do himself any permanent damage with the Democratic party establishment,” especially since some Ohio Democrats believe that he would have done better against Portman than Strickland ended up doing.

Another Cincinnati-area Democrat is also eyeing this race. In late March, state Rep. Alicia Reece expressed interest in running here, and high-level Democrats like Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings reportedly were interested in her potential bid. Reece reaffirmed her interest to WVXU and confirmed that she’s spoken to the DCCC, though she added she hasn’t “had any hard-core discussions about” it. Reece also said she might run for statewide office instead. Wilkinson writes that the DCCC believes that Reece, who is black, “might be able to fire up African-American voters in the district in a way that other candidates could not.”


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Pediatrician Mai-Khanh Tran launches bid against longtime Orange County GOP Rep. Ed Royce

A few weeks ago, Politico reported that Mai-Khanh Tran, whom they described as “a “Wall Street analyst-turned-pediatrician,” was expected to run against longtime California GOP Rep. Ed Royce, and she recently told The Atlantic she was in. Tran was born in Vietnam and she was evacuated out of Saigon just before the city fell in 1975. Tran’s campaign skills are unknown, but if she can get her name out in this Southern California seat, which is located in the expensive Los Angeles media market, she may be able to contrast herself well against Royce. Tran has also made it clear that she’ll make Royce’s vote for Trumpcare a centerpiece in her campaign.

So far, the only other announced Democrat is Cal State Fullerton chemistry professor Phil Janowicz, another novice candidate who currently manages an education consulting firm. Royce was first elected to the House in 1992, and he’s never taken less than 57 percent of the vote. Royce also ended March with a strong $2.9 million in the bank, and he has the ability to raise a lot more. However, this ancestrally red seat suburban seat, which is home to Fullerton and Yorba Linda, did not react well to Trump last cycle, shifting from 51-47 Romney to 51-43 Clinton. If Trump’s unpopularity causes problems for Orange County Republicans downballot next year, Royce could be in for a real fight.