Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and local races the country. Enjoy!
Republican pollster VCreek/AMG this week added to the large number of surveys already published for the statewide Florida races. Their new study (9/23-27; 405 FL likely voters; live interview) finds Sen. Marco Rubio* (R) topping Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), 42-38%. If former Rep. Alan Grayson were the Senator’s Democratic opponent, the Rubio advantage expands to 44-32%. The sample size of 405 individuals for a Florida statewide general election survey is low, but the results appear consistent with the preponderance of released data to date.
Retired US Navy Admiral Mike Franken, who lost the 2020 Iowa Democratic Senate nomination 48-25% to real estate company executive Theresa Greenfield, officially announced that he will return in 2022 to again compete for the party nomination. Mr. Franken will oppose former Rep. Abby Finkenauer in the Democratic primary. The winner will then challenge veteran Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) in the general election.
Former Kansas City/Wyandotte County consolidated Mayor Mark Holland (D) announced that he will challenge two-term Sen. Jerry Moran* (R) in next year’s Kansas US Senate race. Rev. Holland, a Methodist pastor, served one term as the consolidated city/county Mayor after winning two terms for an at-large council seat in the KC metro area. Sen. Moran is a heavy favorite for re-election, but Rev. Holland is a credible potential Democratic standard bearer.
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) released a new internal Fabrizio Lee & Associates poll (10/3-5; 400 MO likely Republican primary voters; live interview) that posts his Senate candidacy to a 36-17-10-6% lead over state Attorney General Eric Schmitt and US Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) and Billy Long (R-Springfield), respectively. Other polls have shown the race to be much closer. Mr. Greitens was elected Governor in 2016, but resigned a year later from pressure related to a sex scandal.
The September 30th Federal Election Commission financial disclosure reports are due October 15th, but many candidates are releasing their figures early. Such is the case for two Pennsylvania Senate competitors. US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) says his campaign raised $1.2 million for the quarter with $2.2 million cash-on-hand, some of which was transferred from his US House campaign committee. Republican Sean Parnell will report similar numbers. His campaign raised $1.1 million for the quarter and posts $1 million cash-on-hand.
Independent presidential candidate (2016) Evan McMullin, who drew 22% of the presidential general election vote in Utah, will mount an independent race against Sen. Mike Lee (R). Though Sen. Lee is a prohibitive favorite to win a third term, the race involving the incumbent and Mr. McMullin could become interesting.
U.S. House of Representatives
There had been a rumor floating around Capitol Hill that after the infrastructure and reconciliation legislation has been dispensed with that President Joe Biden was going to appoint Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Ambassador to the Holy See and she would resign her current position and House seat. President Biden’s move this week disproves such a rumor. Instead of Speaker Pelosi, the President appointed former Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly (D) to represent the United States at the Vatican.
The Arkansas legislature sent Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) a congressional map that adjusts the population figures by approximately 100,000 people statewide to bring the four US House seats into equivalence. Gov. Hutchinson, a former Congressman himself, is expected to sign the measure. The map makes the least Republican seat of the four, the 2nd District of four-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock), much stronger. The draw will make Rep. Hill’s re-election campaign’s much easier while simultaneously preserving the other three Republican districts.
Culver City is a city within the huge Los Angeles metropolis, and one of its local Council members, Democrat Daniel Lee, announced that he will attempt to succeed US Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles). It is possible, however, that there won’t be a seat to obtain. With Ms. Bass departing the House to run for LA Mayor, and the County likely to lose a congressional seat, the 37th becomes perhaps the leading option for collapse. More will be known when the California Citizens Redistricting Commission soon releases their proposed congressional map.
Now that Colorado redistricting is complete and awaits only state Supreme Court legal confirmation, two candidates have already announced their intentions to run in the state’s new 8th District, which lies north of Denver. State Representative and pediatrician Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton) and Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco (D) have both announced their congressional candidacies. The 8th is a politically marginal district, so we can expect a very active general election campaign in this new domain
Though Illinois Rep. Cherie Bustos (D-Moline) announced her retirement in April, the race to succeed her has been slow to develop. This is because politicos are waiting to see how the new redistricting plan will re-draw western Illinois. Late this week, however, Rockford Alderman Jonathan Logemann (D) announced that he will run for the seat. Responding to this move, state Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) confirms that he is considering entering the race.
For the Republicans, 2020 nominee Esther Joy King, who held Rep. Bustos to a 52-48% re-election victory, appears to be a consensus GOP nominee for the open race campaign.
Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed the legislature’s redistricting maps into law making Indiana the fourth state to complete the redistricting process. The congressional map will likely return seven Republicans and two Democrats to the House while the state Senate and House will assuredly remain in GOP hands. Indiana joins Oregon, Colorado, and Nebraska as the first places to complete the re-mapping process.
Former state Rep. Melanie Wright (D) announced her congressional candidacy yesterday, and she will be the likely general election opponent for freshman Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville). The newly crafted and enacted redistricting map makes this seat much stronger for the Republicans, thus Rep. Spartz is likely to significantly expand upon her 50-46% victory last November over former Democratic Lt. Governor nominee and ex-state Representative Christina Hale.
House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) announced during the week that he will not seek re-election to a 9th term in the House next year. Though redistricting is not yet complete in Kentucky, it is likely Mr. Yarmuth’s retirement will not change the configuration of the next congressional map and the Louisville anchored 3rd District will remain as the state’s one solid Democratic seat.
Mr. Yarmuth later said that he is not planning on endorsing anyone to succeed him, with the possible exception of his son. Aaron Yarmuth confirms that he is considering entering what will now be an open seat race.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission released a series of ten congressional and state legislative maps, of which the public will be allowed to comment upon during hearings that will last through October 29th. The four congressional maps radically change the districts and could force several incumbent pairings either for the general election or respective party primaries. Michigan loses one seat in reapportionment, so at least one sitting member will not return next year.
The maps suggest that the Republicans will lose one seat, though several districts become more competitive. This means the final outcome will remain unclear until the various district electorates cast their ballots.
There is a high correlation in redistricting years between key state legislative redistricting figures and candidates who run for newly drawn congressional seats. We again see this pattern emerging in Oregon. Late last week, Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) announced that she will run for the state’s new 6th District, the seat that touches the outer Portland suburbs and moves southwest toward the state capital of Salem. Ms. Salinas was co-chair of the House Special Committee on Redistricting that drew the district. We can expect this seat to generate contested primaries in both parties and feature a relatively tight general election finish.
Two-term Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Dallas/Lebanon) announced yesterday that he will seek re-election to a third term in the US House and not run for Governor. While Rep. Meuser was often included on the lists of potential gubernatorial candidates, he made no definitive move toward running statewide. He was re-elected in 2020 with 66% of the vote last November.
2020 state House nominee Rebecca Cingolani (D) announced her congressional candidacy becoming the first Democrat to challenge freshman South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace* (R-Charleston). Since former Rep. Joe Cunningham, who Ms. Mace defeated in 2020 and eschewed another run for Congress and is instead challenging Gov. Henry McMaster (R), Democrats have not been able to recruit a top tier 1st District candidate. It is believed the Republican legislature will make the 1st more Republican in redistricting, thus making it difficult for any Democrat to win the seat. More action will likely occur here once the redistricting maps become public.
The redistricting process in Texas has moved more smoothly than expected. Now that the state House has passed their own map, the logjam has been broken. The congressional map has passed the state House Redistricting Committee and now can be scheduled for a floor vote. The Senate has already passed the map, and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will sign the measure.
This week, former three-term Collin County Judge Keith Self filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission, signaling that he will challenge Texas Rep. Van Taylor* (R-Plano) in next year’s Republican primary. A County Judge in Texas is equivalent to a County Executive in most other places. Collin County comprises approximately 90% of what could become the new 3rd District under the published redistricting plan. Therefore, should Mr. Self follow through and file his candidacy, this GOP primary will feature two well known individuals battling for the party nomination.
Former Colleyville City Councilman Chris Putnam, who challenged veteran Rep. Kay Granger* (R-Ft. Worth) in the 2020 Republican primary and lost 58-42%, is returning for a re-match. Mr. Putnam says he will report raising $180,000 in the quarter ending September 30th and has added an additional $250,000 of this own money for a grand total of $430,000. In 2020, Mr. Putnam spent over $1.25 million on his campaign. Rep. Granger, first elected to the House in 1996 and the Ranking Republican Member of the House Appropriations Committee, is expected to run for a 13th term.
Three-term Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) is confirming that he would consider running in the open Brownsville anchored 34th District if the proposed Texas congressional redistricting map becomes law. Under the new plan, his current 15th District, which has already been trending more Republican (Rep. Gonzalez’s 2020 victory margin was 50-48%) goes even further under the new map. The new lines find former President Donald Trump actually carrying the district by three percentage points. Five-term Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville), the current 34th District incumbent, has already announced his retirement. The 34th should continue to play as a safe Democratic seat.
Freshman Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales* (R-San Antonio) not only came through a hard fought 2020 general election campaign, but he barely won the GOP nomination. In the Republican runoff, Mr. Gonzales defeated homebuilder Raul Reyes by just 45 votes, in a result that took weeks to confirm. Mr. Reyes, who had not ruled out again challenging Rep. Gonzales, has made his political decision for 2022. He will run for the state Senate. Mr. Reyes not running again certainly helps the new incumbent achieve the important preliminary goal of unifying his Republican Party base.
Retired Air Force officer and Afghan War veteran Steve Fowler announced he will compete for the Republican nomination in hopes of challenging nine-term Texas US Rep. Henry Cuellar* (D-Laredo) in a re-drawn 28th District that again stretches from San Antonio to the Mexican border. Previously, Trump campaign activist Sandra Whitten (R) had announced her candidacy. Rep. Cuellar’s most serious opponent, however, is likely in the Democratic primary. Attorney Jessica Cisneros, who held the Congressman to a 52-48% re-nomination win for the 2020 Democratic nomination, is back for a re-match.
Mortgage industry representative and Iraq War veteran Wesley Hunt (R), who held Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Houston) to a 51-47% re-election victory, has already announced that he will run in the new Harris County 38th District should the released congressional redistricting map become law. Now, reports are surfacing that he will report over $1 million raised with $1 million-plus cash-on-hand for the period that closed September 30th. The campaign finance reporting deadline is October 15th.
The West Virginia House of Representatives yesterday passed the state’s new two-district congressional map after the state Senate approved the draw last week. The state lost a seat in reapportionment, so the new map would inevitably pair two of the state’s current three incumbents. The north-south draw will pit Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) and Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) in the same 2nd District that covers the northern part of the state. Both announced that they will oppose each other for the Republican nomination.
The new southern 1st District goes to current 3rd District Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington), who should be set for re-election. Ms. Miller, too, announced that she will seek re-election next year.
Wisconsin state Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska) over last weekend announced that he will attempt to succeed retiring 25-year congressional veteran Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) in a southwestern Badger State district that appears to be one of the GOP’s top national conversion prospects. The 3rd voted both times for former President Donald Trump, and Rep. Kind’s previously stout re-election percentages dropped to 51.3% in 2020. Republican Derrick Van Orden, who held Rep. Kind to the closest of his 12 re-election wins, returns for another run and will likely be a consensus candidate for the GOP nomination.
The VCreek/AMG survey (see Florida Senate above) also tested the Florida Governor’s race. The results find Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) expanding his lead over the totals reported from the most recent surveys. VCreek/AMG finds Gov. DeSantis holding a 47-39% margin over US Representative and former Governor Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), and a larger 48-36% advantage if state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried were the Governor’s Democratic opponent.
Republicans appear to be banking on venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, who is ready to spend large amounts from the his personal fortune, to give them the type of candidate needed to compete with Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D). A new Ogden & Fry survey (10/3-4; 404 IL likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Mr. Sullivan trailing state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) by a large 33-6% deficit, however. This suggests Mr. Sullivan will not only have to spend heavily in the general election, but also for the June 28th Republican primary in order to reverse his standing in the race.
Speculation fueled by a union-backed political action committee promoting Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) as a Democratic primary opponent for Gov. Janet Mills has ended. Sen. Jackson has made clear that he is not running for Governor and formally endorsed Ms. Mills for re-election to a second term. Without Sen. Jackson in the field, it appears Gov. Mills will have an easy run through the Democratic primary and look to face former Gov. Paul LePage (R) in the general election.
Marist College conducted a poll of the New York electorate, including a subset Democratic primary survey (10/4-7; 822 NY adults; 389 NY likely Democratic primary voters; live interview), and found new Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) performing well. Within the sample as a whole, the Governor holds a 49:31% positive job approval ratio despite a majority, 54%, who say they believe New York is headed down the wrong track. Matching the Governor with potential Democratic primary opponents, she would lead Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, 44-28-15%, respectively, if the election were today.
New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristof (D) resigned from the position he held with the newspaper for 37 years as a precursor for him entering the Oregon Democratic gubernatorial primary in an attempt to succeed term-limited Gov. Kate Brown (D). Already, in the race are state Treasurer Tobias Read, state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla. The eventual Democratic nominee will be favored to win the general election.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has long been considered the consensus Democratic candidate to succeed term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf (D), officially announced his gubernatorial campaign this week. Mr. Shapiro is not expected to draw any significant Democratic primary opposition. Republicans feature a crowded field for a 2022 open race that could become highly competitive.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) is not seeking a second term, which has drawn a large field of 14 candidates vying to become her successor. Survey USA went into the field to test the Atlanta electorate (9/28-10/5; 650 adults; 544 Atlanta likely Mayoral election voters; interactive voice response system & text) and found former Mayor Kasim Reed topping the field but with only 18% preference. In second position with 8% support is Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore. All other candidates fail to reach the 6% mark.
The election is November 2nd, with a runoff between the top two finishers, if necessary, scheduled for November 30th.
The MassInc polling firm (10/6-12; 500 Boston likely mayoral election voters) finds Boston at-large City Councillor Michelle Wu opening a large lead over City Councillor Annissa Essaibi George as the two runoff finalists move toward the November 2nd election day.
According to MassInc, Ms. Wu’s victory margin is a definitive 57-31%. The winner replaces interim Mayor Kim Janey, who failed to qualify for the runoff. She replaced elected Mayor Marty Walsh who resigned to become US Labor Secretary. All of the remaining candidates are Democrats but the race is ostensibly non-partisan.