Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, state and local races from across the country.
Sen. Tim Scott
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott this week announced that he is suspending his 2024 presidential campaign, effectively ending his effort to secure an upset win for the Republican presidential nomination. In late October, Sen. Scott’s campaign principals announced they were turning the strategic focus toward the Iowa Caucuses, but the decision did not result in any appreciable gain in support. This, and barely qualifying for his last debate, led the Palmetto State lawmaker to suspend. He follows former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-US Rep. Will Hurd in exiting the race.
Siena College/NYT Poll
Siena College and the New York Times teamed to conduct recent polls for six key swing states during the 10/22 to 11/3 period. The six domains are: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The tested Republicans against President Biden were former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In all instances, with the exception of Mr. Trump in Wisconsin, the named Republican would poll ahead of President Joe Biden.
Of the three Republicans, Ms. Haley performs the strongest against the President. Her best number, +14, comes among Wisconsin likely voters. Mr. Trump’s best state is Nevada (+11); Mr. DeSantis tops President Biden by five percentage points among Arizona registered voters; Mr. Biden’s best performance comes against Mr. Trump in Wisconsin (+2).
Emerson College, reporting on a new series of swing state polls that basically confirms the previously released New York Times/Siena College survey results, also finds Mr. Trump pulling ahead of President Biden. The survey series (10/30-11/4; 4,303 AZ, GA, MI, NV, PA, WI registered and likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Mr. Trump topping the President in Arizona (+2), Georgia (+8), Nevada (+7 registered; +3 likely), Pennsylvania (+4), and Wisconsin (+1). Mr. Biden would lead in Michigan (+2). These results are basically the same as the NYT/Siena College conclusions, except that Biden led in Wisconsin and trailed in Michigan.
The two series confirms that Mr. Trump would be in good position to unseat President Biden if the election were held during the current period. The Democrats certainly have time to right their political ship, and if Mr. Trump is convicted in any of his criminal cases that might be adjudicated before the election, the tables could quickly turn.
Ruling on a 14th Amendment lawsuit attempting to bar former President Donald Trump from the ballot saying he incited an “insurrection” even though he or no January 6th convicted defendant was even charged with insurrection against the Constitution, the Minnesota State Supreme Court ruled this week that he will be placed on the Republican primary ballot. The high court left open the possibility to hear, however, another lawsuit for the general election should Mr. Trump win the Republican presidential nomination. Similar lawsuits are also alive in Colorado and Michigan.
In dismissing the challenge, Minnesota Chief Justice Natalie Hudson wrote that the Republican primary is, “an internal party election to serve internal party purposes…[a]nd there is no statute that prohibits a major political party from placing on the presidential nomination primary ballot, or sending delegates to the national convention supporting, a candidate who is ineligible to hold office.”
The plaintiffs indicated they are “disappointed” with the ruling but underscored that the state Supreme Court has left the door open for a perhaps different ruling later in the cycle relating to the general election.
New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan late this week announced that the state’s “first-in-the-nation” presidential primary will be scheduled for January 23, 2024. There is little surprise associated with this date. To remain as the first primary state and comply with New Hampshire election law – Iowa still votes earlier (Jan 15), but they feature caucus voting – January 23rd became the state’s only choice.
President Joe Biden will not participate in the New Hampshire primary because the state would not agree to the new Democratic National Committee schedule. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) will be on the Democratic ballot, but most of the party’s NH9 leadership is organizing a write-in campaign to support President Biden.
The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies (IGS) released their latest Golden State survey (10/24-30; 6,342 CA registered voters; 4,506 CA likely March 5th primary voters; online) finds US Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) eclipsing US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) by a scant 17-16% plurality within the large all-party field. While the 17% support number represents no gain for Porter when compared to the IGS August study, it does show Schiff losing four percentage points within the same time period. Among self-identified Democratic respondents, the two are tied at 26% apiece.
Former professional baseball star Steve Garvey (R) has increased his position now that he is an announced candidate. He finished third in the IGS poll with 10% support. The race is close enough that if Garvey can coalesce the GOP support around his candidacy (a total of 21% chose a Republican candidate), he could secure a general election ballot position. Among Republican respondents, Garvey receives 27% support as compared to 13 and 12% for candidates James Bradley and Eric Early.
The Golden State, like Louisiana and Washington, employs an all-party jungle primary system. In California, all candidates are placed on the March 5th ballot and the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation or primary percentage attained, qualify for the general election. Democrats are favored to hold the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D) seat that appointed Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) now holds, but whether a Republican qualifies for the general election, or two Democrats advance from the primary, remains to be seen.
Former one-term Congressman Peter Meijer (R), who was defeated for renomination in 2022, announced that he will join the open Michigan US Senate field. The move had been expected for weeks, but is a curious move, nonetheless. It is hard to see a victory path for Rep. Meijer since he couldn’t get enough conservative support to defeat his ’22 GOP challenger, John Gibbs. The latter man would then go onto lose the 2022 general election to now freshman Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids).
The top Republican contenders for the party’s Senate nomination are former US Rep. Mike Rogers and retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig. It is possible that Mr. Meijer’s entry could actually help Mr. Rogers, since Messrs. Craig and Meijer will likely both appeal to the more centrist element of the Republican voter base. If so, this will help Mr. Rogers unite the conservatives behind his candidacy and propel him to the nomination. Whoever wins the Republican primary will almost assuredly face Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) in the general election. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after four terms. The Democrats will be rated as at least slight favorites to hold the open Michigan Senate seat.
A new Fabrizio Lee statewide Montana survey (10/23-25; 600 MT likely Republican primary voters; live interview & text) finds that US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive), despite holding Sen. Jon Tester (D) to a 50-47% victory margin in 2018, may not win the 2024 Senate Republican nomination.
According to the Fabrizio Lee data, aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, the Republican leadership’s choice, is already topping Mr. Rosendale among Republican primary voters. The full ballot test, that also includes GOP candidates Brad Johnson and Jeremy Mygland, projects Mr. Sheehy to be holding a 38-35-6-1% edge over Congressman Rosendale and Messrs. Johnson and Mygland, respectively. In a head-to-head hypothetical pairing, Mr. Sheehy holds a 44-41% margin over Rep. Rosendale.
Mr. Sheehy, who announced his Senate candidacy in late June has been working the state and is on the air with an early television buy. Rep. Rosendale said he will decide whether to run for the Senate when Montana’s candidate filing deadline closes on March 11th.
Tammy Murphy (D), wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), officially declared her candidacy to oppose indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) in next year’s Democratic primary. Though most believe Sen. Menendez will not seek re-election, there has been no confirmation of such from the Menendez camp.
Ms. Murphy should be regarded as a long shot to win the party nomination. Immediately upon Sen. Menendez’s indictment becoming public, US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) announced his challenge to Mr. Menendez, and he has already established a large lead in polling and fundraising. Conversely, Ms. Murphy is a first time political candidate.
Ohio: The Data for Progress research organization released their new Ohio Senate poll (10/31-11/2; 597 OH likely voters; online) that finds virtual ties for Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) with all three major Republican primary contenders. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose does the best among the Republicans, tying Sen. Brown at 46% apiece. Opposite state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), the Senator holds just a one-point, 47-46%, edge. His margin opposite businessman Bernie Moreno is only three points, 47-44%.
Ending months of speculation about West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s (D) re-election plans, the veteran politician announced yesterday that he will not seek a third full term next year. The move is not particularly surprising. Sen. Manchin’s approval ratings have turned upside-down, West Virginia now has more registered Republicans than Democrats, and he faced a difficult re-election campaign against the state’s two-term Governor, Jim Justice* (R).
Sen. Manchin now becomes the seventh incumbent not to seek re-election and fifth Democrat. Republicans converting this seat, a strong likelihood since the Democrats have a sparse political bench and clearly no heir apparent to Sen. Manchin, would basically bring both parties to 50-50 status as the two sides battle for majority control in next year’s election.
U.S. House of Representatives
The Arkansas ballot is now set with the candidate filing deadline passing, and we will see only one contested congressional primary election on Super Tuesday, March 5th. The presidential primary will be held that day, and with no Senate seat on the Arkansas ballot this year, the four congressional races become the state’s only other federal elections.
In three districts, the general election candidates are now already set. In the eastern 1st District, veteran Rep. Rick Crawford* (R-Jonesboro) will run for an eighth term against Iraq War veteran Randy Govens (D). Five-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) will face retired Army Colonel Marcus Jones (D) in the Little Rock anchored 2nd CD. Fourth District incumbent Bruce Westerman* (R-Hot Springs) will be tasked with defending his seat against Democratic attorney Risie Howard.
The only primary contest among the congressional districts comes in the state’s western 3rd District where state Senator Clint Penzo (R-Tontitown) will oppose seven-term Rep. Steve Womack (R-Rogers). It remains to be seen if this race develops into a major challenge. Republicans will be favored to again retain all four of the Natural State’s congressional districts.
Arkansas state Senator Clint Penzo (R-Springdale) announced during the week that he will challenge seven-term Congressman Steve Womack (R-Rogers). During his tenure in the House, Mr. Womack served briefly as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Immediately, in a show of support, Sen. Tom Cotton (R), Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R), and US Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) announced their endorsements of the incumbent. It remains to be seen if this challenge becomes a serious effort. The Arkansas primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
The three-judge federal Louisiana panel that affirmed the current Bayou State congressional map as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, has given the legislature until January 15th to produce a map that creates a second African American influenced district. The deadline is actually much shorter unless current Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) calls the legislature back into session. If he does not, incoming Gov. Jeff Landry (R) will have to act immediately since he will not be sworn into office until January 8th. Before winning his election outright in October, Gov-Elect Landry was Louisiana’s Attorney General and previously a US Congressman. He served only one term in the House when his seat was collapsed because Louisiana lost a district in the 2010 national reapportionment.
Minnesota US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Plymouth) has raised hackles within the Democratic Party establishment with his late national challenge to President Joe Biden. Immediately upon his announcement, Democratic National Committee member Ron Harris declared his primary opposition to Mr. Phillips. Late this week, state Senator Kelly Morrison (D-Deephaven) announced that she, too, will oppose Rep. Phillips for renomination in his congressional district.
This battle will most likely be settled in the Democratic Party’s convention. Typically, after the delegates select their candidate, primaries are not held because the contenders endorse the convention winner. We can expect a contentious Democratic convention to happen within two months of the scheduled Democratic primary on August 13, 2024. In the meantime, Rep. Phillips is continuing with his presidential campaign.
Former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels, who held controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) to a 50.3 – 48.2% renomination victory in the 2022 Democratic primary, officially announced this week that he will return for a rematch next year. Two other candidates previously announced, so it remains to be seen if they will continue their campaigns or give Mr. Samuels a clear path toward challenging Rep. Omar. The Minnesota primary is scheduled for August 13th.
Freshman Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City) appears headed for a legitimate primary challenge battle. Mr. Menendez is the only member of the New Jersey delegation who has stood up for embattled Sen. Bob Menendez, who is the Congressman’s father.
Immediately upon the Menendez indictment being announced in late September, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bholla declared his congressional candidacy in the Democratic primary to oppose the younger Menendez. The latest information proves Mr. Bholla is a serious candidate. The New Jersey Globe newspaper reports that the Mayor has already raised over $500,000 for his campaign. Therefore, this primary has legitimate upset potential.
Embattled New York Congressman George Santos (R-Long Island), understanding that he cannot win re-election considering the ethics and criminal investigations that plague him, announced that he will not seek re-election next year. The move may not be enough for those who want to see him out of the House now. According to reports covering the House Ethics Committee report about Mr. Santos’ activities, the content is damning to the point that he may now be vulnerable to another budding expulsion resolution.
New York US Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) clarified over the weekend that he will resign from the House in February in order to become president of the Shea’s Performing Arts Center in his home city of Buffalo. Rep. Higgins was first elected in 2004 from a 26th District that includes two-thirds of Erie County and almost three-quarters of Niagara County. The Democrats should have little trouble holding this district, though a new open seat in western New York could influence what is likely a second round of redistricting to come early next year. Therefore, the confines of the Buffalo anchored district could change.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-26 as D+18. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 61.4D – 36.1R partisan lean. President Biden recorded a 61-37% win here in the 2020 election. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks this district as the 78th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.
Six-term Ohio US Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Hillsboro) announced via video message on Friday that he will not be seeking re-election in 2024. Mr. Wenstrup first came to Congress in 2012 when he scored an upset victory over then-Rep. Jean Schmidt in that year’s Republican primary. The Congressman has not been seriously challenged since.
Ohio’s 2nd District contains all or parts of 16 southern counties that stretch from the eastern Cincinnati suburbs all the way to West Virginia. Republicans will have little trouble holding the district as an open seat and Mr. Wenstrup’s successor will be determined in the March 19th GOP primary. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+49. Former President Donald Trump carried the seat in 2020 with a whopping 72-27% majority. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks OH-2 as the 13th safest Republican seat.
Former Biden and Obama White House aide Gabe Amo won the special general election to replace resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence). He virtually assured himself of the seat when he clinched the September 5th special Democratic primary. Mr. Amo easily scored a 64-36% victory over Republican Gerry Leonard in Tuesday’s special general election. He will now be sworn into the House and serve the balance of the current term.
The Amo victory will bring the Democrats back to their full 213-member compliment in the House. The next special election, in UT-2, will be held on November 21st. Republican Celeste Maloy is favored to hold resigned Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R-Farmington) seat. Should she win, the House will be restored to its post regular election division of 222R-213D.
Earlier in the week, Texas Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco) declared that he would not seek re-election to the US House and instead filed papers to run for the state Senate seat that he vacated to initially run for Congress. A day later, however, he announced a change of heart and will run for re-election after all. Rep. Fallon will have little trouble winning a third term despite his equivocation about what office to seek. Therefore, take TX-4 off the open seat list.
Veteran Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Pilot Point), in a 26th District that covers three-quarters of Denton County, all of Cooke, and two-thirds of Wise County in North Texas, announced that he will not seek an 11th term in the House. The 26th District seat is safely Republican. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates TX-26 as R+26. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 127th most vulnerable seat in the GOP Conference.
Two-term Virginia Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg), one of the outspoken Freedom Caucus members who was a leader in the move to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, will have a renomination challenge next year.
John McGuire III, a state Delegate first elected in 2017 who then won a state Senate seat last week in unopposed fashion, yesterday filed a congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. Mr. McGuire, a retired Navy SEAL, ran for Congress once before, losing in the former 7th District’s 2020 Republican nominating convention. State Delegate Nick Freitas, who defeated Mr. McGuire that year, would then lose a close battle to Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Ellen) in the general election.
Rep. Good was first elected to the Campbell County Board of Supervisors in 2015. He defeated then-US Rep. Denver Riggleman (R) in a district convention that his key supporters controlled. Assuming Rep. Good is as strong with the local Republican Party as he was during his first election campaign, it would be very difficult for Mr. McGuire to upset him within such an incumbent favorable venue.
Three-term US Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) announced that she will run for Governor of Virginia in 2025. The move means she will not seek re-election to the House in 2024.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), under Virginia’s unique one-term limit law for its state chief executives, is ineligible to seek re-election. Rep. Spanberger reports over $1.4 million cash-on-hand in her congressional committee, all of which is transferrable to a Virginia state campaign. Without Ms. Spanberger seeking re-election, the 7th District becomes highly competitive in the general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+2. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates 51.1D – 47.2R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks VA-7 as the 17th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.
Another six-term US House member also announced his retirement. Washington Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) will leave the House after what will be twelve years in office at the end of the current Congress. Washington’s 6th District encompasses the Olympic Peninsula, the large area west of Seattle and the Puget Sound, that stretches to the Pacific Ocean. The 6th is reliably Democratic. The August partisan primary will likely determine Mr. Kilmer’s successor. Before he won the seat in 2012, then-Rep. Norm Dicks (D) held the 6th for 36 years.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates WA-6 as D+10, but Dave’s Redistricting App suggests a stronger 55.8D – 42.4R partisan lean advantage. President Biden won the 6th District constituency with a 57-40% victory margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks WA-6 as the 57th most vulnerable Democratic seat.
Governors Andy Beshear (D) and Tate Reeves (R) in Kentucky and Mississippi, respectively, were re-elected to new four-year terms on Tuesday with similar victory margins. Polling in the two states suggested a closer result for both incumbents, but each was favored to win. In 2022, 55 of the 56 US Senators and Governors who ran for re-election won. In the US House elections, 98.1% of incumbents who ran for re-election were successful. This week, we saw two more incumbent Governors win again.
Ohio voters on Tuesday night, largely on a relatively consistent 55-45% majority, passed ballot measures adding abortion rights to the state constitution and legalizing the possession and use of marijuana. Moves are already underway in the legislature to begin determining the parameters for legal marijuana and how much the state will both tax it as a product and regulate its use.
Largely due to new court-imposed redistricting maps that radically changed the complexion of most districts, Virginia voters elected Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature. Democrats will now have at least 21 of 40 seats in the Virginia state Senate and 51 of 100 in the House of Delegates. The party division margin differences yield no change in the Senate, while Democrats converted at least three seats in the House.
State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) advanced to a December 9th runoff election to determine the city’s next mayor. Mr. Whitmire placed first in the field of five candidates with 42.5% of the vote. Ms. Jackson Lee finished a strong second at 35.7%. Polling finds Sen. Whitmire, the state’s second longest-serving state legislator, as the early leader for the secondary vote.
Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) is ineligible to seek a third term. After Tuesday’s vote, Mr. Turner announced his support for Rep. Jackson Lee.
New York City
Yusef Salaam, one of the “Central Park 5” who was falsely accused of raping a woman in Central Park back in 1989 and wrongly imprisoned for seven years before being exonerated, was elected on Tuesday night to an open seat on the New York City Council. His election became a foregone conclusion when he won the Democratic primary back in late June.
In the Bronx, Republican Kristy Marmorato defeated incumbent Democratic Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez to become the first member of the GOP to represent the Bronx on the New York City Council in 20 years. Ms. Marmorato unseated Councilwoman Velazquez by a 53-47% margin, to cap her stunning victory.
Suffolk County, NY
While the prevailing analyses suggest that the Republicans had a poor electoral night on Tuesday, one place where their numbers improved was on Long Island, NY. It is confirmed that Republican Ed Romaine defeated Democrat Dave Calone to win the Suffolk County Executive position. This, coupled with Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, gives the Republicans full control of the Long Island local governments for the first time in decades. In an interview with the New York Post, former Sen. Al D’Amato (R) described the results, along with winning all of the Island’s congressional seats in 2022, as “a political earthquake.”
*denotes candidate received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2023-2024 election cycle.
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