Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and local races the country. Enjoy!
WPA Intelligence released an Alabama US Senate survey (10/10-12; 506 AL likely Republican primary voters) that finds US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) posting another major lead in his race for the GOP nomination. According to the results, Mr. Brooks holds a commanding 55-12-5-5% advantage over former Alabama Business Council CEO Katie Britt, ex-US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard, and businesswoman Jessica Taylor., respectively. The lead grows to 72-13-4-2% when respondents are informed that former President Donald Trump has endorsed Mr. Brooks
It appears the Republican leadership has fallen in behind Georgia Senatorial candidate Herschel Walker. Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced his endorsement of the former football star. Mr. Walker did well in raising $3.7 million in short order for his campaign, but the amount pales in comparison to Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D) $17.2 million cash-on-hand figure. With Republicans having few Democratic Senate targets, Georgia will remain in the top tier challenger race category almost regardless of what happens moving forward.
The new Cygnal polling organization’s Iowa study confirms what Selzer & Company found in September. The Cygnal data (10/18-19; 600 IA likely voters; interactive voice response system, text, and email) projects Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) to be leading former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D), 55-39%, which is almost identical to last month’s polling result from Selzer, which posted the race at 55-37%. In between the two polls, Sen. Grassley announced that he is running for an eighth term.
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who resigned his office under pressure after a sex scandal broke, is now a US Senate candidate in the open seat vying to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R).
A new Remington Research Group poll for the Missouri Scout political blog (10/20-21; 806 MO likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) finds Mr. Greitens previously stronger lead dropping to 27-25-19-8-4% over state Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R), US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia), Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield), and attorney Mark McCloskey, respectively. The Missouri primary isn’t until August 2, 2022, so this race has many months in which to develop.
St. Anselm’s College returned a new poll from the Granite State field (10/20-22; 1,323 NH registered voters; online) and found the Republicans holding the upper hand in what has become a quintessential swing state. According to the results, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) would lead Sen. Maggie Hassan (D), 46-41%, a little down from his 49-41% showing in St. Anselm’s previous poll. Still, a consistent 41% support figure for an incumbent is a poor number.
Former Governor Pat McCrory’s campaign released a new Public Opinion Strategies internal poll (10/16-19; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters; live interview), and while it shows a fifteen point advantage for their candidate in the GOP primary, such is not the entire story. The actual ballot test, which curiously wasn’t released in the polling summary, yields a 40-25% result for Mr. McCrory over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). The underlying story, however, is the first POS poll for McCrory released in April gave the former Governor a 48-13% lead. Therefore, this new survey yields a net 20 point gain for Rep. Budd. With the early March 8th primary still on the schedule, this contest will soon be firing on all cylinders.
U.S. House of Representatives
Previous reports suggesting the Illinois Democratic leadership would attempt to draw a new congressional map to cost the Republicans two seats, and actually a net three when considering the state loses a district in reapportionment, proved accurate. The released map would create a 14D-3R plan in the state, meaning potential Republican incumbent pairings in the downstate region. The map could be vulnerable to a racial gerrymandering lawsuit as well as a political action when seeing that drawing a second Hispanic seat in Chicago is numerically possible but not done.
The new Illinois redistricting map soon likely to become law is attracting the attention of at least one former member. Ex-Rep. Dan Lipinski, who lost his battle for re-nomination to freshman Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange), feels the new 3rd District lines may be more favorable to him than was the former draw. Therefore, he confirms considering returning for a Democratic primary re-match. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) is also placed in this district meaning that the 2022 election cycle will likely be an interesting one in this newly configured CD.
After the state Senate rejected the Iowa legislative committee staff’s first redistricting plans for the congressional, state House and Senate maps, the second option has been released. In this version, former President Donald Trump would have carried all four of the districts, but with very small margins in two of the seats. In the previous map, freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson* (R-Marion) would have been defeated. This map would give Republicans a chance to win all four seats, but also lose three of the four in strong Democratic years. Therefore, it appears representative of Iowa’s political trends and tendencies.
Three-term Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) announced that he will enter the open Attorney General’s race next year. Mr. Brown was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in the Republican landslide year of 2014, losing 51-47% as the favorite to current Gov. Larry Hogan (R). The Prince Georges County anchored 4th District is safely Democratic (Biden ’20: 79-19%), so the succession battle here will be settled in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary. So far, state Delegate Jazz Lewis (D-Prince George’s County) announced that he will enter the newly open 4th Congressional District contest.
Last week, a California Grand Jury indicted Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) for lying to the FBI and concealing information from federal agents in association with certain political contributions traced to a foreign citizen. This makes the 2022 political situation surrounding the Congressman’s re-election campaign murky. A Nebraska law exists that prohibits indicted individuals from running for political office. Whether this statute can be applied to a federal candidate is yet unanswered. If so, then we could see a forced open seat campaign occur in the 1st District.
Former Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon (D), who held freshman Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville) to a 53-46% open seat win in 2020, announced this week that she will return for a re-match next year. The four self-contained Long Island congressional districts need an aggregate of almost 150,000 more people to meet their per district resident quota of 776,971 individuals, so the 2nd District will undergo significant change. We will know more when the redistricting process in New York progresses further.
Veteran Raleigh area Congressman David Price (D) announced that he will not seek an 18th non-consecutive term in the House. Mr. Price, 81 years of age, was first elected in 1986, but lost the district in the 1994 Republican landslide. He returned two years later to re-gain his seat, and has not seriously been challenged since. Democrats will likely retain the 4th District seat under the new redistricting map, unless the plan changes as a result of Mr. Price retiring.
Emerson College released a new survey of the OH-15 special election to be decided on November 2nd. The poll (10/14-16; 445 OH-15 likely special election voters; interactive voice response system and online) finds former Ohio Coal Association chairman Mike Carey (R) leading state Rep. Allison Russo (D-Columbus) by a 50-39% count. When self-described leaners to each candidate are added to the mix, Mr. Carey’s lead expands to 59-41%.
Former local city manager and frequent candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner (D) announced that she will challenge Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby/Salem) in the state’s new 5th Congressional District. Already in the Democratic primary is Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba, who opposed Rep. Schrader in 2020. The new 5th is a marginal political district and only contains 47% of Rep. Schrader’s current constituency. The Congressman has not yet fully decided if he will run in the 5th or new 6th District, which also includes much of his current constituency.
Consultant Jim Bognet, the 2020 Republican nominee who held Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) to a 52-48% re-election victory, announced that he will return for a re-match next year. With the 8th District requiring 51,779 more people to reach the required population quota, which means redistricting could add some outlying Republicans to the seat and taking advantage of what could be a favorable Republican tide coming in 2022, Mr. Bognet feels he would have a chance to add the minimum two-plus percentage points needed to flip the seat.
In another retirement announcement, 14-term Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) declared his intention to retire after the current congressional session adjourns. His retirement makes it even more likely that the Pittsburgh area will absorb the seat loss from reapportionment that reduced the PA delegation from 18 to 17 seats. Neighboring Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) leaving his seat to run for the Senate makes it logical that these seats will be part of the necessary plan to collapse the state contingent of districts.
Maps to re-draw Texas’ congressional and state legislative districts have now passed both houses of the legislature and are headed to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his signature. The congressional map adds two districts, one likely for each party, and creates a district for each current incumbent. A possible swing of one seat toward the Republicans could be the net result.
Now, members and candidates are beginning to make early political moves. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) announced that he will run in the new Travis County 37th District, thus leaving open his current 35th CD that encompasses counties and precincts from Austin to San Antonio. Immediately, Austin City Councilman Greg Casar (D) formed an exploratory committee for the 35th. Former 25th District nominee Julie Oliver also filed a federal committee for the 37th District Democratic primary.
Previously, 15th District Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) said he would run in the open Brownsville anchored District 34 if the map was passed into law. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) is retiring and said he would endorse Rep. Gonzalez moving into his district. Attorney and Iraq War veteran Ruben Ramirez (D) says he would run in the open 15th. Already in that race is 2020 Republican nominee Monica de la Cruz-Hernandez, who held Rep. Gonzalez to a 50-48% re-election win.
Now that Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) will run in the open 34th District - one of the last tweaks on the congressional map before passage was even to add Mr. Gonzalez’s home to District 34 - the politically marginal open 15th District is attracting a lot of attention. Last week, attorney and Iraq War veteran Raul Ramirez (D) announced his congressional candidacy, and now educator Eliza Alvarado (D) has followed suit.
The top Republican candidate, armed with an endorsement from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), is 2020 nominee Monica de la Cruz-Hernandez (R), who held Rep. Gonzalez to a 50-48% re-election victory. The new 15th would have supported former President Donald Trump by a three percentage point margin.
State Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) announced last week that she is suspending her congressional campaign committee after seeing the new congressional redistricting map pass the legislature. Declaring the map “an extreme Republican gerrymander,” Ms. Beckley said she will not challenge freshman Rep. Beth Van Duyne* (R-Irving).
Unable to agree upon a new congressional map, the Virginia Redistricting Commission suspended its meeting schedule on an indefinite basis. The Commission is empowered until November 8th, but it appears the deadlock will allow the state Supreme Court to draw the new map.
State Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Fredericksburg) became the sixth Republican to announce his candidacy for the opportunity of challenging Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) in what will be a newly constructed 7th District. The originally proposed map that failed to advance from the Virginia Redistricting Commission would have made the 7th a heavily Republican district.
The local Republican Committee is likely to call a convention to decide the nomination winner in lieu of a primary, so the crowded field will not drain party resources. Sen. Reeves is the first elected official to declare his candidacy, though 2020 nominee Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper), who held Rep. Spanberger to a 51-49% re-election victory, is expected to run after he wins re-election to the state House this November.
The Connecticut Governor’s race hasn’t drawn much attention so far, and the first released ballot test survey tells us why. Public Policy Polling conducted a survey for the Connecticut Democrats for Education Reform organization (10/21-22; 729 CT registered voters; live interview and text) and unsurprisingly found Gov. Ned Lamont (D) staked to large early leads. Against former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R), the Governor leads 52-32%. If businessman Bob Stefanowski was the GOP nominee, Mr. Lamont would claim a similar 52-36% advantage. Gov. Lamont is rated a prohibitive favorite for re-election.
State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami), who was former Governor Charlie Crist’s (D) running mate in the 2014 election, is now his opponent. Sen. Taddeo entered the Governor’s race last week where she will face Mr. Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Democratic primary. Ms. Taddeo has also run unsuccessfully for Congress in the past. She begins as an underdog for the party nomination but hopes to construct a large enough Hispanic base to win a plurality three-way campaign.
Reports are surfacing from Georgia that former Senator David Perdue is seriously considering launching a Republican primary challenge against Gov. Brian Kemp. With the Governor still reeling in popularity within the GOP base over the post-election handling of the voter fraud accusations, there is no doubt that Mr. Kemp is vulnerable in a Republican primary. Expect to see polling released on this proposed race shortly.
Though most people believe that Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is seeking a third term, such is not necessarily the case. The Governor has not confirmed he is running, and said in a Boston Public Radio interview this week that running again is “…a complicated issue, for all kinds of reasons.”
Heading into the last week of campaigning before the November 2nd election, Emerson College just released their latest Garden State gubernatorial poll (10/15-18; 600 NJ likely voters; combination live interview, text, and interactive voice response system) and it finds challenger Jack Ciattarelli (R), a former state Assemblyman from Somerset County, pulling to within upset range of Gov. Phil Murphy (D). The Emerson ballot test finds the Governor’s lead falling to 50-44%, and an even closer 48-45% among those most likely to vote.
Two other closing surveys, however, find Gov. Murphy in stronger shape. Stockton University (10/17-26; 522 NJ likely voters) sees a nine point spread, 50-41%. Monmouth University (10/21-25; 1,000 NJ registered voters) posts the Murphy advantage back to 50-39%.
The City online site covering New York City news is running a story saying that Attorney General Letitia James is actively preparing to launch a Democratic primary challenge to new Gov. Kathy Hochul. It was AG James who brought the sexual harassment charges against Gov. Andrew Cuomo that finally forced him to resign. The City reporters say Ms. James is already filming ads and her political staff is calling state Democratic leaders to recruit support for her gubernatorial bid.
Albuquerque television weatherman and 2020 Republican US Senate nominee Mark Ronchetti officially announced his challenge to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). Though an underdog, Mr. Ronchetti should have little trouble uniting the Republican base around his candidacy based upon his closer-than-expected 52-46% result against now-Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D) in a race that national Republicans did not target. A negative against Gov. Grisham is her recent sexual harassment settlement of $150,000 with a male former aide.
An Amber Integrated poll of the Oklahoma electorate (10/12-14; 500 OK registered voters; live interview and online panel) tested the 2022 Governor’s race featuring a likely general election pairing of Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who switched from the Republican Party to the Democrats in order to run for Governor. According to the AI survey, Gov. Stitt opens with a 49-33% double-digit advantage.
It appears that the Virginia Governor’s race is going down to the wire in a dead heat. Five closing polls for next Tuesday’s election find the contest between former Governor and ex-Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe and ex-hedge fund CEO Glenn Youngkin (R) lapsing into a virtual tie.
The five surveys were conducted by KA Consulting, Cygnal, Emerson College, Suffolk University, and Christopher Newport University. All were sampled between October 18-25, with respondent universes between 500 and 944 Virginia likely voters. KA gave Youngkin a two-point, 43-41% edge; Cygnal found the two candidates tied with a support factor of 49%; Emerson saw Mr. McAuliffe holding a one-point 49-48% tight edge; Suffolk, too, produced a flat tie; and Christopher Newport also gives McAuliffe a 49-48% edge. This race will be decided by whichever side best turns out its voters.
At week’s end, Fox News released a new poll that reverses their s tudy of two weeks previous. In the earlier poll, McAuliffe held a 51-46% lead over Youngkin. Their new release, conducted over the October 24-27 period (1,212 VA registered voters; 1,015 individuals identified as likely VA gubernatorial election voters; live interview), finds Mr. Youngkin now pulling ahead of the former Governor and race favorite, 53-45%. A Republican skew appears in that the GOP has a four point advantage on the self-identified partisan division, well beyond Old Dominion political reality. Therefore, the Youngkin lead may be several points less.
As we have previously covered, four-term Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown was defeated for re-nomination in June and is trying to win the general election as a write-in candidate. He lost to self-proclaimed socialist India Walton in the Democratic primary, but polling shows him way ahead in the general election.
Emerson College confirmed Mayor Brown’s lead in their latest survey (10/22-23; 539 Buffalo likely voters; live interview, online, and interactive voice response system). The result finds a whopping 54-36% lead for the Mayor, but does this support translate into a write-in victory? The overwhelming majority in surveys say they have never written in a candidate. This will be another interesting race to watch on election night, November 2nd.
ALG Research released a survey of 600 Minneapolis likely voters regarding the upcoming Mayoral election on November 2nd. According to the survey, conducted during the October 16-19 period, Mayor Jacob Frey leads the ranked choice voting system with a 44-25% margin over community organizer Sheila Nezhad, who pledges to end “violent policing.” Carried through to a hypothetical third ranked choice ballot, the Mayor’s margin expands slightly to 47-27%.