Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and local races the country. Enjoy!
OH Predictive Insights ran a series of ballot tests for the 2022 US Senate race and tested incumbent Mark Kelly (D) against all current potential Republican opponents. The survey (9/7-12; 882 AZ registered voters; online opt-in panel) finds Sen. Kelly, who won the 2020 special election to fill the unexpired portion of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) final term with a 51-49% margin, only posting 43 or 44% against any of the announced Republican candidates.
The GOP opponent coming closest is state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who trails 43-39%. The Senator performs best against venture capitalist Blake Masters, leading 44-35%. Also tested were former Arizona National Guard Adjutant General Mick McGuire and businessman Jim Lamon. They both finish within seven points of Sen. Kelly.
The co/efficient polling organization surveyed the Colorado electorate, testing Sen. Michael Bennet (D) against former US Olympian Eli Bremer (R). The survey (9/9-12, 742 CO likely voters) finds Sen. Bennet leading Mr. Bremer by a 40-32% count. It is unsurprising that Sen. Bennet holds a definitive lead at this point in the cycle, but his 40% support figure is much lower than one would expect for a 12-year Senate.
Iowa’s longest serving US Senator, Chuck Grassley (R), announced that he will seek re-election to an eighth Senatorial term, unprecedented for any Iowan. Mr. Grassley was first elected to the Senate on the same night that Ronald Reagan won the Presidency back in 1980. He has been in office consecutively since 1959, including his time in the state legislature and US House. Sen. Grassley, who will turn 89 years of age before the next election, said he has “a lot more to do for Iowa,” and is therefore seeking re-election.
WPA Intelligence released a new survey of the Nevada Senate race featuring first-term incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R). According to the WPAi survey (9/11-15; 504 NV likely voters; live interview), the GOP challenger, Mr. Laxalt, holds a slight 39-37% edge over Sen. Cortez Masto. The poll features an unusually high undecided/refused to say response of 24% considering both individuals have long political histories in the state.
Former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel continues to maintain a large lead in the open US Senate Republican primary according to a new statewide survey. WPA Intelligence went into the field during the September 20-23 period, interviewing 510 likely Republican primary voters. The results find Mr. Mandel holding a 37-13% lead over author J.D. Vance. All other contenders, including former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, fall well below the 10% double-digit mark.
Clarity Campaign Labs tested the Wisconsin electorate (9/8-11; 756 WI likely voters; live interview and interactive voice response system) and found Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) tied in an early 2022 general election pairing. Both candidates pulled 43% support. Sen. Johnson has not yet committed to running for a third term, but promises a decision “in the Fall.”
U.S. House of Representatives
The congressional Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission approved a new 8-district map on an 11-1 vote, adhering to the September 28th initiative mandated deadline. The map, that appears to be a 4D-3R-1Swing partisan division, now goes to the Colorado state Supreme Court for legal approval. The high court has until December 15th to provide confirmation for the new map. The new 8th District lies to the north and northeast of Denver and becomes only a 1.3% Democratic district meaning that the new CD is in play for both parties.
The Indiana congressional redistricting map cleared the state House of Representatives with all but three of 70 Republicans supporting the bill. The 29 Democrats were unanimously opposed to a map that will likely return the current seven Republicans and two Democrats to Washington for most of the decade. The state Senate soon begins consideration of the new map.
The big change is making the central state 5th District, that was becoming marginal, much more Republican. This will help freshman Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) become more politically secure. She won her first election in November with a 50-46% victory margin. Former President Donald Trump carried the seat in 2020 with only a 50-48% count. The new boundary lines are estimated to now make this a 57% Republican district.
Maine’s redistricting commission, which consists of ten state legislators and five appointed members, reached an agreement on a new congressional map. The main change is moving the capital region of Augusta from liberal District 1 (Rep. Chellie Pingree-D) to more conservative District 2 (Rep. Jared Golden-D). The 2nd District becomes slightly more Democratic, but former President Donald Trump would still have carried the seat. Both houses of the Maine legislature must pass redistricting maps with 2/3 vote, so this process is far from complete.
Nebraska’s three congressional districts have been re-drawn, passed through the unicameral legislature, and Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed the completed map into law.
The new plan is similar to the previous draw. Rep. Don Bacon*’s (R-Papillon/Omaha) 2nd District becomes slightly more Republican, keeps the Omaha metro area whole, and remains a competitive seat. Rep. Adrian Smith’s (R-Gering) 3rd District again stretches the width of the state, from Colorado and Wyoming all the way to Iowa and the northwestern corner of Missouri. This time the 3rd even goes so far as to border Omaha’s Douglas County.
It is likely that Nebraska will continue to send three Republicans to the US House, though Democrats will return to target Rep. Bacon in District 2.
Last week, freshman state Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill (D-Silver City) confirmed that she was considering a bid against freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) but now has announced that she will not run for Congress next year. Political reports suggest the Democratically controlled legislature will attempt to draw the 2nd District more favorably for their party, thus making the seat more competitive. This plays favorably for Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez, who is already picking up major endorsements, such as the one from US Sen. Martin Heinrich (D), and now appears to be the leading Democratic candidate.
Republican leaders for the two election cycles have been trying to convince Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) to challenge Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) in New York’s Upstate 19th District. It appears the leadership has now convinced him. Mr. Molinaro filed a 2022 congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. It remains to be seen, however, how the 19th CD’s new configuration will unfold.
Former Ohio state Senator and ex-national co-chair for the Bernie Sanders for President campaign, Nina Turner, lost the Democratic special congressional election primary to Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown on September 14th after the former woman began the campaign as a big favorite.
Though the special general hasn’t yet occurred (November 2nd), Ms. Turner last week filed a 2022 congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. The former state legislator said the action doesn’t mean she will run in 2022, but does give her the option of quickly launching a campaign. The Cleveland anchored seat will remain in Democratic hands regardless of who wins the next party primary.
Two-term Ohio US Representative Anthony Gonzalez* (R-Rocky River) announced that he would not seek a third term, thus avoiding a tough primary with a Trump-endorsed opponent. Rep. Gonzalez was one of ten House Republicans who supported impeaching the then-President as a result of the January 6th US Capitol invasion, and since that time he and Mr. Trump have been in a feud. Rep. Gonzalez indicated he wants to spend his political time helping to deny Mr. Trump again becoming President, while the former national chief executive was claiming victory over one of the ten targeted GOP impeachment votes.
Oregon became the first state to complete 2020 census redistricting last week. The new congressional map creates two Portland area safe Democratic seats, for Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Washington County) and Earl Blumenauer* (D-Portland), and one safe Republican district for freshman Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario). The remaining three districts all lean the Democrats’ way, but none can be considered safe. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield), after only scoring 51.5% in the 2020 election, sees his district improve by about five percentage points.
On the other hand, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) finds his 5th District splitting in half, with most of his territory forming the heart of the new 6th District. The 5th, which will now stretch to the Bend community from the Salem metro area, becomes a competitive seat, only slightly leaning toward Rep. Schrader. The new 6th CD is more Democratic but could also be competitive with a viable Republican candidate in a good GOP year.
Just after the Oregon legislature and Governor enacted the state’s new six-district congressional map, Dundee Mayor David Russ (R), who had announced against Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Washington County) in the safely Democratic 1st District, said yesterday he will switch into the new more competitive and neighboring 6th District. Like Colorado, Oregon was awarded a new district in reapportionment.
The first proposed West Virginia redistricting map is public. The state is losing one of its three districts, which will likely force Rep. Alex Mooney’s (R-Charles Town) mid-state 2nd District into collapse. Since parts of his seat are in each of the new districts, Rep. Mooney would have his choice of running in a Republican primary against either Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) or Carol Miller (R-Huntington) if this were ultimately the adopted plan.
OH Predictive Insights (released 9/29; 9/7-12; 882 AZ registered voters; 863 AZ likely voters; online opt-in panel) released the gubernatorial portion of their latest survey, covering both Arizona open gubernatorial primaries.
For the Democrats, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs held a 40-10-8% lead over former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez and ex-state Rep. Aaron Lieberman. Turning to the Republicans, former Phoenix news anchor Kari Lake holds a 25-9-6-5% advantage over ex-US Rep. Matt Salmon, state Treasurer Kimberly Lee, and businessman Steve Gaynor, respectively. Former President Donald Trump recently endorsed Ms. Lake. Though the primary sample sizes are low, the margins are such that both Ms. Hobbs and Ms. Lake can be considered the early front runners for their respective party nominations.
Clarity Campaign Labs, polling for the EMILY’s List organization that supports Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, released their statewide survey, the first since Attorney General Derek Schmidt became a consensus Republican candidate. According to the poll results (9/13-15; 810 KS registered voters; interactive voice response system), Gov. Kelly’s ballot test lead over AG Schmidt is only 47-44%. We can expect this race to move into the toss-up realm.
Though former Gov. Paul LePage (R) has not yet declared his 2022 gubernatorial candidacy, things are already moving in his direction. Moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R) announced that she will support the conservative Mr. LePage, thus going a long way to unite all factions of the Maine GOP behind his unofficial candidacy. It is apparent that Mr. LePage, who served the maximum two consecutive terms as Governor, will return for a 2022 campaign, and he is already the clear favorite to advance into the general election. His eventual opponent, Gov. Janet Mills (D), is preparing to seek a second term.
The Trafalgar Group released their new survey of the Michigan electorate (9/13-15; 1,097 MI likely voters; live interview, interactive voice response system, online, and text) and finds retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R), for the first time, leading Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). The ballot test gave the former Chief a 50-44% advantage.
The Strategic National firm also tested the Governor’s race (9/18-19; 600 MI likely voters) and saw Ms. Whitmer holding just a 47-46% lead over Mr. Craig. The Strategic National poll appears slightly skewed toward Republicans because the number of sampled blacks is low and Republicans high according to the statewide demographic scale.
Three pollsters have released September data for the New Jersey Governor’s race, and while all three find Gov. Phil Murphy (D) holding an advantage, the margin differences are large. Stockton University Polling Institute (9/17-25; 552 NJ likely voters; live interview) finds Gov. Murphy topping former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R), 50-41%. Monmouth University (9/16-20; 804 NJ registered voters; live interview) projects Murphy holding a larger 51-38% advantage. Finally, National Research, Inc. released their September data (9/13-16; 600 NJ likely voters; live interview) showing a much closer conclusion with the Governor holding only a 45-42% edge.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has formed a political exploratory committee to assess his chances of challenging new Gov. Kathy Hochul in next year’s statewide Democratic primary. Mr. Williams entering the race will take the primary to a competitive level and may encourage other credible Democrats to enter. Mr. Williams and Gov. Hochul have previously opposed each other. She defeated him 53-47% in the 2018 Democratic primary for Lt. Governor. Ms. Hochul can expect a competitive 2022 Democratic primary and general election.
Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read (D) officially announced his gubernatorial candidacy, becoming only the third major Democrat to enter the race to succeed term-limited Democratic Governor Kate Brown. In addition to Mr. Read, state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla are in the primary race. The eventual Democratic nominee will be a heavy favorite in the 2022 general election.
In early March, Rhode Island Lt. Governor Dan McKee (D) was sworn in as the state’s new chief executive when then-Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to become US Commerce Secretary. It was believed that the new incumbent would have a major fight to keep his position in the 2022 Democratic primary, which, as one of the last in the cycle, is scheduled for September 13th.
The prediction of a combative primary has already come true. Former Secretary of State Matt Brown announced he will join the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Already in the race to challenge Gov. McKee are General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and current Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. It is probable that with more candidates in the field, the stage will be better set for Gov. McKee to win a plurality primary.
A trio of new surveys again confirm that former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) maintains a discernible lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin. Roanoke College (9/12-26; 603 VA likely voters; live interview) posts the Democratic advantage to be 48-41%. Monmouth University (9/22-26; 801 VA registered voters; live interview) produced a similar 48-43% McAuliffe spread. The closest result, from Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group (9/16-20; 600 VA likely voters; live interview) sees only a three point difference, 48-45%, also in favor of the former Governor and ex-Democratic National Committee chairman.
Two hypothetical Texas gubernatorial ballot test responses were released, finding Gov. Greg Abbott (R) both leading and trailing. Against a more likely opponent, former Congressman and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) who is beginning to act like a candidate, the University of Texas at Tyler polling for the Dallas Morning News (9/7-14; 1,148 TX registered voters; live interview & online) conducted an exhaustive 78-question survey and found Gov. Abbott ahead of Mr. O’Rourke only by a 42-37% count. Conversely, if actor Matthew McConaughey (D) were to run, he would top the Governor, 44-35%.
Tom Miller (D), who is 77 years of age and was first elected Iowa Attorney General in 1978, announced that he will seek an 11th non-consecutive term next year. Mr. Miller served in office from 1979 to 1991, departing after running unsuccessfully for Governor in 1990. He returned to re-claim the Attorney General’s position in 1994, and has held the office ever since. Needless to say, he is the longest serving Attorney General in the country.
As sources predicted, California US Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) announced this week that she is entering the open Los Angeles Mayor’s race. She will risk her Los Angeles anchored US House seat, which now stands a good chance of being the seat collapsed since it is, to date, the only California open seat for the 2022 election. At this point, Ms. Bass will face LA City Council President Pro Tempore Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles City Councilman and ex-state Senate President Kevin de Leon, and LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. All are Democrats, though the mayoral race is ostensibly non-partisan.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has been nominated as Ambassador to India. Upon obtaining Senate confirmation, Mayor Garcetti will resign and the City Council has the authority to appoint an interim replacement. The replacement choice could change the course of the budding campaign.
In a scenario that has occurred several times in North Carolina over the past several years, a state three-judge panel struck down the NC voter identification law on a 2-1 decision, ruling that the law is unfair to minority voters. The Republican state legislative leadership will likely appeal the decision, meaning we will again see a legal battle over the requirements surrounding proof of identity before voting. It is unclear how this development could affect the upcoming election cycle.
The Buffalo Mayor’s race has acted like a seesaw ever since self-proclaimed socialist India Walton (D) denied four-term Mayor Byron Brown re-nomination in the June Democratic primary. Mayor Brown is returning as an Independent, and through various court rulings and then reversals, he is forced to run as a write in candidate. Otherwise, Ms. Walton is unopposed on the general election ballot. A new co/efficient survey (9/16-17; 653 likely Buffalo voters; live interview & text) finds Mayor Brown with an increasingly large lead, now 59-28%. The question is, will these poll numbers translate into actual write-in votes for Mayor Brown. Therefore, this becomes an interesting race.
Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley has taken a small lead over attorney Justin Bibb in the city’s mayoral race according to a new citywide poll. Both men advanced into the general election after placing first and second in the September 14th primary election. While each is a Democrat, the election is ostensibly non-partisan. The Pathway Polling firm (9/17-20; 492 Cleveland likely general election voters) found Mr. Kelley holding a slight 32-30% edge over Mr. Bibb. The latter man, however, finished first in the jungle primary with a 27-19% spread over Council President Kelley. Mayor Frank Jackson is retiring after 16 years in office.