Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races from across the country.
Swing State Polling
Three of the more important states that will largely determine the 2024 presidential outcome reported new polling data late this week. Emerson College surveyed voters in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all between the October 1-4 period. MRG Research, polling for the Detroit News (10/2-8; 600 MI likely voters), tested the Michigan electorate.
For the first time since he carried each of these states in the 2016 presidential election, former President Donald Trump holds a general election edge over President Joe Biden in all three places. In Michigan, MRG finds Mr. Trump posting a 42-35% advantage over President Biden. EC projects Mr. Trump holding leads of 45-36% in Pennsylvania and 42-40% in Wisconsin.
Former Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX), who was a late long shot entry into the presidential race and now an early exit, this week announced his decision to leave the race. Though Mr. Hurd failed to move the political needle with his short national campaign, his parting statement included an endorsement for former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Since the second Republican presidential debate, it appears that Ms. Haley is the non-Trump candidate having the most upward momentum.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr
At a rally event in Philadelphia, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., officially declared his presidential candidacy as an Independent. He answered two major questions with his speech. First, he will run as an Independent candidate and not a minor party nominee. Second, he is not running to be a spoiler in a race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump but will campaign to win.
Saying his “smoldering movement” wants to “…reclaim democracy, resurrect the promise of our republic, the promised land,” Mr. Kennedy ended his Democratic primary challenge to President Joe Biden and now moves to implement a general election strategy. He will first face an uphill battle to secure ballot placement in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, however. This is an expensive proposition, but time, rather than money, might be his bigger obstacle since the window to accomplish the large task is small.
According to a concurrently conducted series of independent polls, former President Donald Trump today would lead in enough states to provide him with 291 electoral votes, or 21 more than required to unseat President Joe Biden. Morning Consult, polling for Bloomberg News, in their series of polls project Mr. Trump to leads in Arizona (+4), Georgia (+5), North Carolina (+4), Pennsylvania (+1), and Wisconsin (+2).
Last week, Emerson College found Trump leading in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The Marketing Resource Group saw Mr. Trump running seven points ahead in Michigan, but the Morning Consult/Bloomberg data sees the two candidates tied in the Wolverine State. It is these aforementioned states that will make the final difference. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., now running as an Independent candidate, was not tested in the series of MC/Bloomberg surveys.
Another candidate, academic Cornel West, will also attempt to qualify for the general election as an Independent after abandoning his quest to be the Green Party nominee. It will be very difficult for him to access too many states, though the decision to run as an Independent clearly indicates he did not have the full support of the Green Party leadership.
First Three-Way Poll
Marist College, polling for National Public Radio (10/11; 1,218 US registered voters) is the first survey research entity to release a Biden-Trump-Kennedy poll since Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced he would run in the general election as an Independent.
While the Biden-Trump ballot test found President Joe Biden leading 49-46%, which is slightly better for the incumbent than most other current national polls, the addition of Mr. Kennedy sees the electorate break away from Mr. Trump to the greater degree. The three-way result is 44-37-16% in favor of Mr. Biden.
The big difference comes in the Independent sector. In a two-way, Independents break toward Mr. Trump, 49-43%. When Mr. Kennedy is added, the Trump-Biden-Kennedy split evolves to 34-33-29%, respectively.
As expected, 2022 Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee and former news anchor Kari Lake announced her US Senate candidacy during the week. She enters what will probably be a three-way race with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema* (I) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), the latter of whom appears to be the consensus Democratic candidate. With Ms. Lake officially in the Senate race, 2022 Senate nominee Blake Masters will likely withdraw. He announced a 2024 campaign several weeks ago but said he would depart if Ms. Lake entered the race. This Senate contest will attract a great deal of national attention as the election cycle moves forward.
Public Policy Polling went into the Wolverine State to test Republican primary voters and just released their results. The survey (10/9-10; 430 MI likely Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig beginning with a 30-19% Republican primary lead over former Congressman Mike Rogers in the open US Senate race. This contest will develop over time with a late August 6th primary scheduled.
The winner will likely face US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who is a clear favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Four-term incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring at the conclusion of this Congress.
Appointed California Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) announced yesterday that she will not run for a full term next year. Despite having more than a year in office after replacing the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), the early March 5th all-party jungle primary allowed her little time to begin competing against Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and former baseball great Steve Garvey (R), all of whom have a major head start in fundraising and campaign organization.
Los Angeles news anchor Christina Pascucci (D), on the other hand, became a late entry into the crowded US Senate contest, but said she is getting into the race “…because I have to fight for what I believe is possible for California and for this country." Ms. Pascucci describes herself as a “moderate Democrat.”
Emerson College conducted the first general election published poll of the Missouri Senate race featuring incumbent Josh Hawley (R) seeking a second term. The EC poll (10/1-4; 491 MO registered voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds Sen. Hawley leading attorney and Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce, also a 2022 US Senate candidate who failed to win the Democratic nomination, by a 45-32% clip. If St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell (D) were to win the party nomination, Sen. Hawley’s margin would lessen slightly to 44-34%.
Emerson College polled the Montana electorate (10/1-4; 447 MT registered voters; multiple sampling techniques) as part of a series of polls conducted in several states. Here, we see Sen. Jon Tester (D) leading aerospace company CEO Tim Sheehy (R) by a close 39-35% split. The good news for Sen. Tester in this poll is maintaining a lead in a state the Republicans must win if they are to claim the Senate majority. The bad news for him is he fails to even reach the 40% plateau. Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive), who most believe will enter the race, was not tested because he is not yet an announced candidate.
A Democratic survey research company and a progressive left advocacy firm tested the New Jersey Senate Democratic primary, and already US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) is jumping out to a commanding lead over indicted incumbent Bob Menendez (D).
Public Policy Polling (10/3-4; 502 NJ likely Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects Rep. Kim to hold a whopping 63-10% advantage over the embattled Senator in a head-to-head pairing. Data for Progress (9/29-10/3; 551 NJ likely Democratic primary voters; online) sees a similar Kim spread, 48-9%. DfP reports a terrible 18:75% favorability index for Sen. Menendez. The three-term incumbent does even worse in a race with Mr. Kim and New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy. Rep. Kim would lead Ms. Murphy and Sen. Menendez, 42-19-5%, respectively, according to Data for Progress.
The Emerson College Pennsylvania poll (10/1-4; 430 PA registered voters; multiple sampling techniques) that posted former President Donald Trump to a nine point general election advantage over President Joe Biden, sees the electorate switching back to the Democrats when voting for Senate. According to the EC numbers, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) would lead businessman David McCormick (R) by a 41-33% spread, which is similar to Quinnipiac University’s 50-44% margin from their late September-early October survey.
U.S. House of Representatives
Jonathan Nez (D), the former Navajo Nation President who lost his re-election bid in 2022, is now looking to challenge for a congressional seat. He is organizing to oppose freshman Rep. Eli Crane (R-Oro Valley), one of the eight Republican members who voted to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy. In 2022, Mr. Crane unseated Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) in a northern Arizona district that now significantly favors the Republicans. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+15. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean as 53.4R – 44.4D.
Three-plus term Arizona US Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) announced that she will not seek re-election to her state’s 8th Congressional District next year. The Congresswoman indicated that time away from her family, including her 94-year old mother, while expressing frustration saying, “it is hard to get anything done [in Congress],” led to the decision to bring her political career to a close.
Ms. Lesko first won election to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2008, before capturing a state Senate seat in 2014. After US Rep. Trent Franks (R) resigned from Congress, Ms. Lesko won the 2018 special election to become his successor. She was re-elected to a full term in the 2018 regular election and easily won two additional terms.
AZ-8 is reliably Republican. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+22. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 57.3R – 40.8D partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the 8th as the 77th most vulnerable district in the current 221-member GOP Conference. Former President Donald Trump scored a 56.1 – 42.5% victory over President Joe Biden here in 2020.
Franky Carillo, who was once convicted of murder but freed from prison when DNA evidence proved his innocence and then became a Los Angeles County probation officer, now ends his congressional bid. This paves the way for former Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides (D) to advance into the general election to face three-term Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita).
CA-27 is one of the most politically marginal seats in the Republican Conference, ranked as fourth most vulnerable on the Daily Kos Elections site scale. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+8, but Rep. Garcia has proven a consistent winner in the north Los Angeles County district. The 2024 election, however, is the first time he will face an opponent other than former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), whom he defeated three consecutive times.
Surgeon and former congressional candidate Anil Kumar (D) declared his candidacy in the Detroit suburban 10th Congressional District hoping to oppose freshman Rep. John James* (R-Farmington Hills). Mr. Kumar is now the seventh Democrat to enter the race. The field includes former prosecutor and judge Carl Marlinga who held Mr. James to a tight 48.8 – 48.3% victory in the 2022 general election from a district rated as a pure toss-up. We can expect another tough campaign here next year.
Former Michigan state Senator Adam Hollier, as expected this week announced a re-match Democratic primary challenge to freshman Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit). Mr. Hollier lost to Rep. Thanedar in a crowded 2022 primary by a 28-24% margin within a crowded field of nine candidates.
It is also likely that another of the 2022 candidates, John Conyers, III, son of the late Rep. John Conyers who held the Detroit anchored seat for 52 years, will also soon join the race. This will be a hotly contested August 2024 Democratic primary, but it could end the way of the last campaign. If more candidates enter the race again creating a crowded field, the more likely the incumbent will prevail.
Responding to Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Plymouth) repeatedly calling for individuals to step forward and challenge President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, Democratic National Committee member Ron Harris announced his own intra-party challenge to the Congressman. While Rep. Phillips is still not completely ruling out entering the presidential contest, he will now have to concentrate on a Minnesota party convention fight and potentially an August 2024 primary challenge.
Rep. Phillips was first elected in 2018, defeating then-Congressman Erik Paulsen (R). He has averaged 56.9% of the vote in his three elections. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MN-3 as D+14. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 63rd most vulnerable district in the 212-member Democratic Conference.
Former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels, who held Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) to a tight 50-48% Democratic primary victory in 2022, announced he will return for a re-match next year. Expect this to again become a serious primary challenge. Already in the race are attorney Sarah Gad and businessman Tim Peterson, but Mr. Samuels is the key challenger. This seat will be decided in the Democratic primary scheduled for August 13th. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MN-5 as D+57.
New Jersey political reports are suggesting that three-term Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) is looking to run for Governor in 2025 when incumbent Phil Murphy (D) becomes ineligible to succeed himself. If she chooses the statewide option, Rep. Sherill will reportedly not seek re-election to the House in 2024. Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen), also in a state with an open gubernatorial election in 2025, may make a similar move both in the Governor’s race and not seeking re-election if she makes the decision to run statewide.
New Jersey redistricting made what was once a strongly Republican congressional seat into one that will be safe for a new Democratic nominee. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district as D+11. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 54.7D – 43.7R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NJ-11 as the 55th most vulnerable seat in the 213-member Democratic Conference.
In New Jersey, the state legislature is divided into 40 legislative districts. Voters in each domain elect one state Senator and two Assemblymen. With 3rd Congressional District incumbent Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) now challenging Sen. Bob Menendez in next year’s Democratic primary, the congressional seat will be open. Democrats will be favored to hold the seat since part of the capital city of Trenton was added to the district in the 2021 redistricting plan.
From the 7th legislative district, it appears that all three Democratic members, state Senate Majority Whip Troy Singleton (D-Moorestown), and Assemblymembers Herb Conaway (D-Delran) and Majority Whip Carol Murphy (D-Cinnaminson) are all potential congressional candidates. It will be the first time the three ran against each other as opposed to being part of the Democratic legislative slate. Ms. Murphy is an announced congressional candidate. Sen. Singleton and Assemblyman Conaway confirm they are considering the federal race.
Former Congressman Tom Suozzi (D), who gave up his 3rd District seat for an ill-fated 2022 run for Governor, announced this week that he will return to the congressional political wars next year. Earlier, he said he would run if a special election occurred because current Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) might be forced to resign but would not compete in the regular election. Obviously, he changed his mind. In the race are seven other Democrats, including former state Senator Anna Kaplan and Nassau County Legislator John Lafazan. Nine Republicans have announced against Rep. Santos in the Republican primary.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+4. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks this district as eighth most vulnerable in the 222-member House Republican Conference. There is a strong chance the New York congressional map will be redrawn before the 2024 election. If so, the likelihood exists that this seat will become more Democratic. NY-3 is a prime Democratic conversion district.
The legislature unveiled two congressional redistricting maps that will serve as the basis to draw a new plan. Freshman Rep. Don Davis’ (D-Snow Hill) 1st District could be one of the seats that dramatically changes under the final plan.
One of the most endangered Democratic incumbents is Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro). High Point Mayor Jay Wagner (R), looking to take advantage of what is very likely to be a strongly Republican 6th District on the final map, is the early favorite to become Rep. Manning’s general election challenger.
The other Democratic incumbents most adversely affected will be Reps. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) and Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte). The latter man is already making plans to run for the state’s open Attorney General’s office. Republicans are estimated to gain three seats under the final plan.
Lighthouse Research conducted a poll of the state’s 2nd District special election for the Utah Debate Commission that would decide which candidates would qualify for the October 26th local PBS forum. The UDC (9/26-10/6; 528 UT-2 registered voters) required that candidates receive at least 5.74% support in the poll. Libertarian Brad Green only posted 5.68%, meaning he failed to qualify under the Commission rules by the slimmest of margins.
Republican Celeste Maloy, resigned Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R) former legal counsel, placed first in the survey with 42.8% of the vote. State Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights), was second with 34.3%. Ms. Maloy’s showing should be considered an underperformance for the Republican nominee in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23, and the Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank as the 81st most vulnerable district within the 221-member Republican Conference. The special election is scheduled for November 21.
While the special three judge panel installed a new Alabama congressional map that adds a new majority minority seat largely anchored in the capital city of Montgomery, it is now clear that all seven of the state’s congressional districts were changed at least to a small degree meaning switching at least one county to and from another seat.
As stated before, the major alteration is the creation of a new open 2nd District that the Daily Kos Election site statisticians calculated as voting for President Joe Biden in a 56-43% margin. This, in a state former President Trump carried 62-37%. The new 2nd that reaches from Montgomery to Mobile is 49% black and 44% white.
The new 1st District now pairs Reps. Jerry Carl* (R-Mobile) and Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) into a safe Republican seat that stretches from Mississippi to Georgia along Alabama’s southern border. The population mass favors Rep. Carl, who has already announced that he will run for re-election in the new 1st. A total of 59% of the new district’s population comes from Rep. Carl’s current 1st CD as compared to 41% from Rep. Moore’s current 2nd District. Rep. Moore has not yet made his 2024 election plans known.
New Mexico Redistricting
Late last week, a New Mexico district judge upheld the state’s congressional map, claiming that the 19-point Democratic swing (FiveThirtyEight data comparison) from the previous 2nd District to the new 2nd CD did not constitute an egregious partisan gerrymander. This week, the Republican plaintiffs appealed the ruling to the New Mexico State Supreme Court. Chances are strong that the high court will uphold Friday’s lower court ruling, meaning that the 2024 campaigns will be run in the current districts.
South Carolina Redistricting
The US Supreme Court heard appeal arguments this week on a ruling that declared South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District a racial gerrymander. In January, a federal three judge panel declared the Charleston anchored seat that two-term Rep. Nancy Mace* (R-Charleston) represents as such. Republicans appealed, and now the parties await the US Supreme Court’s determination.
Not surprisingly, the Wisconsin state Supreme Court voted 4-3 on partisan lines to hear a challenge to the state’s redistricting maps. Justice Janet Protasiewicz (D), who campaigned on invalidating the legislature’s maps, will not respond to Republican calls for her to recuse herself from the case. The Republicans say she publicly demonstrated bias on the case before hearing the arguments. The legislature’s GOP majority may take impeachment action against her because of the refusal to recuse. Redrawing the Wisconsin congressional map will at a minimum cost the Republicans one seat.
Responding to a WPA Intelligence poll (9/25-28; 500 KY likely 2023 general election voters; live interview) that found Gov. Andy Beshear (D) leading Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) by a 48-42% count, Emerson College projects a much different result. The Emerson poll (10/1-3; 450 KY likely voters; interactive voice response system & online) sees a much larger 49-33% Beshear lead. The KY Governor’s election is scheduled for November 7th.
In a Saturday surprise, Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) avoided a runoff. Louisiana will return to unified Republican control after eight years under Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards' term concludes.
*denotes candidate received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2023-2024 election cycle.
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