Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and local races the country. Enjoy!
Fabrizio Lee & Associates, conducting a survey for the Saving Arizona PAC (released 11/2; 800 AZ likely Republican primary voters; live interview) sees Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Republican primary lead shrinking, but still substantial. He leads 26-14% over venture capitalist Blake Masters in a Republican primary ballot test survey. Saving Arizona PAC is spending $1 million on media ads promoting Mr. Masters. In the firm’s August poll, the Brnovich lead was 29-5%. The August 2nd Republican primary winner will challenge freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in the November election.
Missouri State Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) announced that he will join the crowded Republican primary attempting to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R). He becomes the tenth announced GOP candidate. The competitive contenders are former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, US Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia), and Billy Long (R-Springfield), and attorney Mark McCloskey. At this point, the leading Democrat appears to be former state Sen. Scott Sifton.
At his long awaited news conference to announce his political plans for 2022, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) declared that he won’t challenge vulnerable Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan but instead will seek a fourth two-year term as Governor. Mr. Sununu, with his strong electoral record and approval ratings, was the national Republicans’ first choice to run for Senate, but now they will have to find another candidate. New Hampshire will still likely remain the Republicans’ top Senatorial conversion target for next year.
Potential GOP Senate candidates includes both 1st Congressional District candidates: Gail Huff Brown, wife of former Massachusetts Senator and 2014 New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown, and 2020 nominee Matt Mowers. Either, or both, could possibly switch to the statewide race. Another name, that of state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), is an individual who former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Mr. Brown are reportedly encouraging to run.
A new Civiqs poll (10/31-11/5; 799 PA likely primary voters; online panel) finds Iraq War veteran and 2020 congressional candidate Sean Parnell developing a substantial lead in the open Republican US Senate primary, but that could be short lived. According to the poll results, Mr. Parnell would have a 31-8-7-6-2% advantage over former US Ambassador Carla Sands, ex-congressional nominee Kathy Barnette, 2018 Lt. Governor nominee Jeff Bartos, and attorney Sean Gale, respectively. Simultaneously, however, Mr. Parnell’s ex-wife is leveling serious domestic and child abuse accusations against him in a child custody trial, all of which he denies.
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has opened up a whopping 52-12-5-2% lead over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh), state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh. Two-term Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not seeking re-election.
Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-VT), first elected in 1974, announced that he will not seek a ninth term next year in a bit of a surprise announcement. Earlier indications suggested he would run again, though he never publicly committed to doing so.
Responding to Sen. Leahy’s retirement announcement, several prominent individuals are already declining to run. Gov. Phil Scott (R), former Governor and ex-US Senate candidate Jim Douglas (R), and former Lt. Governor and 2020 Democratic gubernatorial nominee David Zuckerman all say they will not enter the open Senate contest. Meanwhile, reports suggest that at-large Rep. Peter Welch (D-Norwich) is telling his colleagues that he will announce his Senate candidacy in the coming days.
Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute (11/10-11; 909 WA likely voters; live interview and text) tested the Evergreen State electorate for their upcoming Senate race featuring incumbent Patty Murray (D) running for a sixth term. According to the survey, Sen. Murray holds a 50-37% advantage over Republican Tiffany Smiley. She is a prohibitive favorite for re-election.
U.S. House of Representatives
Veteran California Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough/San Mateo) announced this week that she will not seek an eighth full term in the US House and will retire at the end of the current Congress. Ms. Speier has been in elective office since 1980, serving on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, the California state Assembly, and the state Senate before winning a special election to the House in 2008 to replace the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA). Counting the newly created seats via reapportionment, at least 32 districts will be open in the 2022 midterm election.
Former US Rep. T.J. Cox (D), who unseated Rep. David Valadao* (R-Hanford/Bakersfield) in 2018 only to see the ex-Congressman “return the favor” two years later, won’t seek a re-match next year. After months ago converting his campaign committee into a political action committee, Mr. Cox this week endorsed state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), who will likely be the congressional candidate who advances into the general election against Mr. Valadao.
With all of the ballots counted in the South Florida special Democratic congressional primary, businesswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is finally the official five-vote winner over Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. The final vote total shows Ms. Cherfilus-McCormick, who challenged the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach) in the 2020 Democratic primary and lost 69-31%, recording 11,662 votes to Mr. Holness’ 11,657. A total of 11 candidates were on the primary ballot.
Ms. Cherfilus-McCormick will advance to compete in the January 11th special general election, a vote she will easily win in the heavily Democratic district. Mr. Holness will apparently not challenge the special election result in court but will likely return to run in the regular 2022 primary. Therefore, it is likely this district will again see a very competitive Democratic primary next August.
The Iowa legislature has approved the second iteration of the congressional and state legislative chamber plans for the coming decade. The congressional map features three very competitive House districts, even though former President Trump would have carried all four seats. The delegation’s only safe district would belong to Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull/Sioux City) in territory that covers all of western Iowa.
The new Iowa map places Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks*’ (R-Ottumwa) and Cindy Axne’s (D-Des Moines) residences in the same congressional district. To avoid an incumbent pairing in new District 3, Rep. Miller-Meeks, as expected, announced that she will run in the new 1st District, a slightly Republican seat that contains most of her current constituency. The new 1st, as was Rep. Miller-Meeks’ 2nd District, is anchored in Davenport and Iowa City.
Though the Illinois Democratic legislative leadership changed the redistricting map to undo the pairing between Reps. Sean Casten (D-Downer’s Grove) and freshman Marie Newman (D-La Grange), it appears the race is still on. The adopted map instead paired Rep. Newman with 4th District Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) in a seat that is heavily Hispanic. Despite her home area not being in the new 6th District, Ms. Newman is going ahead with the challenge against Rep. Casten since her chances of upending Mr. Garcia in a Hispanic dominated seat are minimal at best.
Quelling speculation that she might challenge Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), two-term Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) announced that she will seek re-election to the House in the new 3rd District. The 2021 redistricting map paired Reps. Axne and Mariannette Miller-Meeks* (R-Ottumwa), but the latter member announced that she would seek re-election in new District 1.
We can expect a competitive campaign in the 3rd District. Under the new lines, former President Donald Trump would have carried the seat, 49.3 - 48.9%, and Rep. Axne has not reached 49% in her two plurality congressional victories. The new boundaries yield a slightly more Republican voting history than her previous district. State Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) leads a field of four potential GOP challengers.
Despite redistricting that will greatly change the current 8th Congressional District, state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Lansing) announced that he will challenge two-term Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) even though the seat might become more Democratic.
North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) announced his retirement after nine-plus full terms in office because the new redistricting map makes his district much more competitive. The seat still leans Democratic, but President Joe Biden would have only carried it, 51-48%. His current 1st District yielded Mr. Biden a 54-45% victory margin.
Ex-state Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson (D), who held Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord) to a 53-47% re-election victory in the current 8th Congressional District, released a statement saying she would not become a candidate in new District 4, the open lean Republican district that includes the city of Fayetteville and Cumberland County.
Former Congressman Mark Walker (R), who is significantly behind front runners Pat McCrory, the state’s former Governor, and US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in the open Senate race, is reportedly considering instead running in the new open 7th District House seat that contains part of his former district and is Republican friendly.
Mr. Walker, who represented the Greensboro area in the US House for three terms but was drawn into an unwinnable seat when the state Supreme Court issued a new set of congressional district lines before the last election in the decade, has yet to make a significant movement in the open Senate primary but would be a formidable candidate in the new House district. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro), who represents part of this new 7th District is expected to run in the new 11th CD and opposite Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk).
Western North Carolina freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) announced his plans to seek re-election in the new strongly Republican 13th District instead of the more competitive 14th, in which he and the vast majority of his current constituents reside. Three of Rep. Cawthorn’s 11th CD’s best Republican counties, Polk, Rutherford, and McDowell were placed in new District 13, ostensibly designed for state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland County). Speaker Moore, however, announced late yesterday that he would seek re-election next year as Speaker instead of running for Congress. It remains to be seen who decides to also enter the CD 13 campaign.
Clearly, seven-term Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby/Salem) came out on the short end of the new Oregon redistricting map. His 5th District was split into a new 5th that moves from the Salem area all the way to Bend in more rural Oregon, and more than half of his current constituency went to the new 6th District, the seat the state gained in reapportionment. Though the presidential numbers show President Joe Biden defeating former President Donald Trump in the new 5th, 53-44%, this number may be a misnomer as to how the district typically votes because of Mr. Trump’s high negatives in the Beaver State. Therefore, we could see a highly competitive 5th District campaign next year.
With this background, Rep. Schrader until this week hadn’t committed to running in the new 5th or the 6th, the latter of which is a stronger Democratic seat. The 6th, however has already attracted a half-dozen Democratic hopefuls, including three individuals who have won elections at the state or local level. Though the field is to the ideological left of Rep. Schrader and the crowded slate of candidates could therefore play to his favor, the Congressman has now officially opted to stay in new District 5 where he currently resides.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Macungie) yesterday filed congressional committee papers with the Federal Election Commission ostensibly to challenge Rep. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) next year. In 2020, Mr. Mackenzie did the same, only to retreat and run for re-election to his state House position. Already in the race is 2020 nominee Lisa Scheller, a former Lehigh County Commissioner and business owner who held Rep. Wild to a 52-48% re-election victory, and technology firm owner Kevin Dellicker.
Fifteen-term Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), chair of the House Science Committee, indicated before the 2020 election that this would be her last term in the House. She has scheduled a “special announcement” for Saturday that many now believe will be a re-election announcement since the Congresswoman has refused to confirm her retirement when questioned. Several potential candidates for the safely Democratic Dallas anchored seat are waiting to run in case she does announce that she will step down.
Virginia state Delegate and retired Navy SEAL John McGuire (R-Glen Allen) became the ninth Republican and third state legislator to announce a congressional candidacy to oppose second-term US Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen). This group does not yet include state Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper), the 2020 nominee who held the Congresswoman to a 51-49% re-election victory.
Most of this early action, however, is likely moot. While the Virginia Redistricting Commission drew a new 7th District that would be very favorable to Republicans, the panel adjourned without coming to agreement on a new map. Therefore, the state Supreme Court will draw a new congressional plan from scratch, thus telling us little about how the new 7th CD boundaries will unfold.
A new Trafalgar Group poll (10/30-11/2; 682 WA-3 likely primary voters; combination live interview, interactive voice response system, and text) finds Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler* (R-Battle Ground/Vancouver) in potential danger of not advancing into the general election. Washington is one of three states that uses a top-two jungle primary system. All candidates are placed on one initial qualifying ballot and the top two finishers regardless of party advance into the general election.
According to Trafalgar, Rep. Beutler, one of the ten Republicans to support impeaching former President Donald Trump, places third on this ballot test. Republican Joe Kent, whom Mr. Trump has endorsed, leads the group with 35% followed by Democrat Brent Hennrich who posts 24% support. Rep. Beutler then places third with 23%, and another Republican, pastor and author Heidi St. John, records 10 percent. This will definitely become a race to watch. The Washington primary is scheduled for August 2, 2022, so much time remains for the campaign to develop.
Redistricting has been completed in Idaho, as the redistricting commission members have sent the congressional map to the Secretary of State for certification. With two districts, only 35,338 people need to move from the 1st District to the 2nd, and that transfer will occur in the Boise area. The fact that both seats will house more than 919,000 residents suggest that Idaho may be in line for a new seat come the 2030 census.
The 2021 Massachusetts congressional map has now passed both houses of the state legislature and is headed to Gov. Charlie Baker (R) for his approval. The nine-member delegation, all Democrats, would stay in tact with minimal changes to each individual district.
The Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission members have published about a dozen maps for public comment. They are expected to adopt a final plan on or about December 29th. Until then, it is difficult to assess any of the Michigan political situations since the state, losing a congressional seat in reapportionment, could witness drastic political changes coming forth.
The Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission, on a 3-2 vote with a Democratic member supporting the Republican plan, adopted the state’s new two-district congressional map. The western district, the 1st, will include the cities of Missoula, Bozeman, Butte, and Kalispell. The eastern 2nd District, where current at-large Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) will seek re-election, houses the state’s largest city of Billings, Helena, and Great Falls.
The Ohio plan that loses a congressional district through reapportionment looks to create three highly competitive CDs for the future, two of which the Democrats hold. The current 12R-4D delegation could stretch to 13R-2D, or drop to 11R-4D. The map passed both houses of the Ohio legislature this week and now await Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) signature.
The Nevada state Senate passed the congressional map in their special session and Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) immediately signed the legislation. The plan will likely strengthen the state’s current 3D-1R political margin.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed the congressional and state legislative maps. The congressional map will lock in the Republicans’ 4R-0D advantage.
Both houses of Wisconsin’s Republican legislature passed congressional and state legislative maps late last week, but Gov. Tony Evers (D), as expected, vetoed all of the plans. This means Wisconsin will have a court-drawn map.
State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R), who was faring very poorly in Republican gubernatorial polling opposite former White House Communications Director Sarah Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R), has ended her bid for Governor. Instead, Ms. Rutledge will enter the open Lt. Governor’s race.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli has officially conceded the 2021 New Jersey campaign, but immediately announced his intention to run again in 2025 when Gov. Phil Murphy (D) will be ineligible to seek a third term under the state’s maximum service law. The final vote totals yield a 51-48% victory spread for Governor Murphy, a vote spread of just under 75,000 votes statewide from a turnout of over 2.57 million votes. The participation level represents an increase of more than 500,000 cast ballots, an uptick exceeding 19%, when compared to the 2017 gubernatorial result.
As expected, former Congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) announced his challenge to two-term Gov. Greg Abbott (R) during the week. Prior to running for President, Mr. O’Rourke lost the Texas Senate race to incumbent Ted Cruz (R) by a 51-48% margin. He then launched an ill-fated campaign for President. Mr. O’Rourke was first elected to the US House in 2012, defeating then-Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) in the Democratic primary. Prior to serving his three terms in the House, Mr. O’Rourke was an elected member of the El Paso City Council, a position he held for six years.
In a city where the black population reaches almost 40% and President Joe Biden recorded a 40 point win in the 2020 presidential contest, Mayoral runoff voters on Tuesday night chose Republican City Councilman Daniel Rickenmann over Democrat Temeika Isaac Devine. The victory spread was 52-48%, a major change from the the 2020 general election margin that so heavily favored Mr. Biden. This suggests another underlying trend showing significant Republican improvement among areas housing large minority communities.