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Political Snippets 12.17.21

Listed below are political snippets on congressional and gubernatorial races around the country. Enjoy!

U.S. Senate

Alabama

The McLaughlin & Associates polling firm returned data that finds former Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Britt pulling to within single-digits of Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) for the Republican nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R). According to the polling results (12/6-9; 500 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview), Rep. Brooks holds a 31-26-17% lead over Ms. Britt, a former chief of staff to Sen. Shelby, and business owner and military veteran Mike Durant, respectively. Before November, Rep. Brooks enjoyed leads of greater than 23 points in statewide polling.

In Alabama, winning the Republican nomination will be tantamount to election in November. Only one Democrat has announced, former Brighton Mayor Brandaun Dean who does not factor to be a strong general election candidate. The Alabama primary is May 24th, with a runoff scheduled for June 21st if none of the candidates reach the 50% mark in the first election.

North Carolina

Former Tar Heel State Congressman and current US Senate candidate Mark Walker (R), who did not seek re-election in 2020 because the court-ordered redistricting tore his previous 6th District into several parts making his region unattainable for any Republican, is not yet committing to change races and run in the new 7th Congressional District. Many people on the right, including former President Donald Trump, are reportedly urging Mr. Walker to leave the Senate race and return to the House. The newly created CD-7 in the Greensboro area is winnable for Mr. Walker. So far, the Congressman is staying put.

On the Democratic side, state Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), who had raised more money than any other candidate competing for the party nomination, announced that he is withdrawing his candidacy. The move will allow Democrats to coalesce around former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who is leading in the published nomination election polling. Allowing the party to unite behind one candidate early will certainly help them set the stage for the general election.

Late last week, the state Supreme Court postponed the December 17th candidate filing indefinitely and moved the North Carolina primary from the early March 8th date to May 17th to allow the appointed three-judge panel more time to consider the redistricting litigation pertaining to the newly enacted congressional plan.

New Hampshire

A new Tarrance Group poll for potential US Senate candidate Corky Messner, the 2020 Republican Senate nominee, finds that the GOP continues to be competitive against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even without Gov. Chris Sununu (R) as the party’s nominee. According to the poll (11/14-17; 500 NH likely 2022 general election voters; live interview), Sen. Hassan would lead Mr. Messner by only a 47-45% margin, only slightly worse than when Gov. Sununu was paired with the incumbent.

Pennsylvania

The first Pennsylvania Senate poll since television host Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) announced he would run for the open Senate seat has been published. Data for Progress surveyed the state (12/3-5; 581 PA likely voters; online and text) and found Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) holding a surprisingly small 44-42% edge over Dr. Oz. This was the only ballot result DfP released and it is unclear if they tested any other candidates. One reason for his strong showing is Dr. Oz spending $3.6 million on a media blitz introducing his Senate campaign.

U.S. House of Representatives

CA-12

Quelling rumors that she might not seek re-election to the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that she will again file as a candidate from her San Francisco anchored district. The California filing deadline is March 11th for the June 7th primary election. The Speaker’s seat is not expected to greatly change in redistricting. Her 12th CD, which basically covers most of the city and county of San Francisco, needs to shed only 10,660 people so her district will remain largely in tact for the coming decade. She will be running for a 19th term, and expects another easy run for re-election.

CA-22

Believing that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will schedule a special election in the Central Valley district from which Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) will be resigning at the end of the year, two prominent Fresno area Republican office holders, state Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) and Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig (R), both say they will run for the vacant House district.

There may not be an election, however, and this seat could greatly change in redistricting. In a similar timed 2020 situation when then-Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) resigned his safe Republican seat, Gov. Newsom found a way to not call a special election, therefore leaving the 50th District constituency unrepresented for the entire year. He may do the same with the 22nd District. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission members also could now use the Nunes resignation to make the 22nd more favorable for Democrats under the new map that remains in the drafting stage.

CA-34

Movie executive David Kim, who held California Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) to a 53-47% re-election victory in the 2020 double-Democratic general election, announced that he will return for a re-match next year. Mr. Kim spent only $84,000 in his 2020 campaign, so we can count on seeing a more robust effort in the current cycle compared to his previous performance. The 34th District will substantially change as the seat must add 56,933 people just to meet the state’s new population quota.

CA-47

Veteran California Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election next year, becoming the 18th Democratic incumbent to either retire or run for another office. It was possible at the start of redistricting that Mr. Lowenthal’s 47th District, a compact seat that touches both Los Angeles and Orange County, could be eliminated in the new re-draw. Though preserved in the first draft, Rep. Lowenthal departing could change the California Citizens Redistricting Commission members’ plans for the Los Angeles/Orange County region. Reapportionment has reduced the California delegation from 53 to 52 members.

CO-5

In a typical pattern for eight-term Colorado Rep. Douglas Lamborn* (R-Colorado Springs), serious Republican primary opposition is forming. Late this week, state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) announced that he will challenge Rep. Lamborn, but with a different theme. He is claiming the Congressman is corrupt. Since his first election in 2006, Rep. Lamborn has defended himself against significant primary opposition in six of his seven re-election campaigns. The only exception came in his most recent election, 2020.

Colorado’s 5th District is self-contained within El Paso County, and is safely Republican. Therefore, the Republican primary will be the main focus of competition in this newly constructed congressional district.

FL-20

It appears that the South Florida special Democratic primary, which ultimately ended in a five-vote victory for businesswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, isn’t yet over. The losing candidate, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, has filed a lawsuit against Ms. Cherfilus-McCormick. He claims her support of the Universal Basic Income proposal that would provide $1,000 per month to the general public constitutes an illegal bribe. Therefore, Mr. Holness is asking the court to retroactively disqualify Ms. Cherfilus-McCormick from the ballot.

While this approach is unlikely to deny Cherfilus-McCormick a ballot slot for the January 11th special general election to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D), it does signal that Mr. Holness will be back in the regular 2022 August primary. This means the pair’s lengthy South Florida political fight will continue at least through next summer.

GA-7

The Georgia redistricting surprise was US Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) leaving her 6th District constituency that the new map made more strongly Republican to instead challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in the new 7th CD. Now, we see another unexpected development.

Explaining that neither US House member actually lives within the confines of the 7th District as newly drawn, state Rep. Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), who does represent the 7th’s anchor population region, this week entered the congressional primary. The election is scheduled for May 24th.

Illinois

Now that the Illinois congressional map has become official, incumbents and candidates are making their political moves. Rep. Rodney Davis* (R-Taylorville), despite representing only about a quarter of the new 15th District’s constituency, announced that he will not enter the Governor’s race, but intends to seek re-election to the House from this newly configured district.

In Mr. Davis’ former 13th District, drawn as a new open Democratic seat that stretches from Champaign to the St. Louis suburbs through Decatur and Springfield, former Obama Administration official Nikki Budzinski (D), who had originally declared against Rep. Davis, announced that she will run in the new 13th and immediately becomes the favorite to capture the seat.

IA-1

Non-profit organization executive and attorney Mike Mbanza (D) declared his congressional candidacy hoping to challenge freshman Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks* (R-Ottumwa) in the 2022 general election. Also in the Democratic primary is state Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City). Rep. Miller-Meeks won her initial election in the state’s 2nd District by a mere six votes. Her 2020 opponent, former state Senator Rita Hart (D), has already said she will not return for a re-match. The new redistricted 1st is a competitive district, so we can expect another hard fought campaign in the southeastern Iowa region.

MD-4

Public Policy Polling surveyed the Democratic field for Maryland’s open 4th Congressional District in light of incumbent Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) leaving the Prince Georges County anchored seat to run for state Attorney General. PPP’s polling (12/8-9; 403 MD-4 likely Democratic primary voters) found Prince Georges County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey opening up a large lead. Mr. Ivey pulled 31% support as compared to 8% for former Delegate Angela Angel and 5% for State House Democratic Caucus chairman Jazz Lewis. Candidate filing concludes on February 22nd for the June 28th Maryland nomination election.

Mississippi Redistricting

The Joint Congressional Redistricting Committee passed a new four-district map and sent it to the state House and Senate for final approval. The plan leaves in tact the core centers of the state’s individual congressional districts that will again likely return a 3R-1D delegation to Washington.

Rep. Bennie Thompson’s (D-Bolton) 2nd District will again encompass almost all of the state’s western border on the Mississippi River, including the Delta region. The 2nd needed an influx of 65,829 people to meet the state’s per district population quota of 740,320 individuals. All three of the other seats, those of Reps. Trent Kelly (R-Saltillo/Tupelo), Michael Guest (R-Brandon), and Steven Palazzo (R-Biloxi), needed to shed population, the most coming from the latter member’s District 4, a total of 37,196 residents.

New Mexico Redistricting

The New Mexico House and Senate sent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) a new congressional map that intends to give the Democrats a delegation sweep of the state’s three federal districts. Rep. Yvette Herrell*’s (R-Alamogordo) 2nd District was made more Democratic in order to maximize the map at 3D-0R, but in doing so weakened the 3rd District of freshman Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-Santa Fe).

The new 3rd, historically the state’s northern district, would now move down the state’s eastern border to annex some Republican territory from the current 2nd District. NM-2 would gain, for the first time, a share of Albuquerque, and drops from a 58-40% Biden 2020 district to a 53.7% Democratic base district according to the Dave’s Redistricting App statistical calculations. While Rep. Fernandez would certainly be favored for re-election, in a strong Republican year with a good candidate, this district could become highly competitive. Rep. Herrell’s seat moves a net 17 points toward the Democrats from 55-43% Trump to a Democratic base of 51.9% and will also be highly competitive next year.

NY-3

Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) has turned down NYC Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’ (D) offer to become one of the city’s Deputy Mayors and instead will run for Governor. This will be the second gubernatorial campaign for Mr. Suozzi. He lost the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary in a crushing 82-18% landslide defeat to then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

At this point, Rep. Suozzi opposes new Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Tish James, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in a growing semi-open Democratic intra-party election battle. Gov. Hochul assumed the state’s top office when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was forced to resign. She had been his running mate for Lt. Governor.

NC-2

Saying, “I’m not a far-left liberal Dem, and this is not a far-left, liberal-drawn district,” state Rep. James Gailliard (D-Rocky Mount) declared his congressional candidacy for the state’s new open 2nd District that sits in the northeastern part of the Tar Heel State. Veteran Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) has announced he is not seeking re-election next year. Rep. Gailliard becomes the fifth Democrat to enter the race in what is now a competitive political domain.

NC-4

State Rep. Charles Graham (D-Lumberton), who had originally announced his congressional candidacy against two-term Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) earlier in the year, has switched districts. As a result of the new North Carolina congressional map creating a competitive open seat anchored in Fayetteville, Mr. Graham announced that he will instead compete in the new 4th District. 

Already in the open Democratic primary is state Sen. Ben Clark (D-Cumberland County). Six Republicans have announced, including a state Representative and a former Fayetteville Mayor. The seat leans Republican.

OH-9

Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), who ranks fifth in current House seniority in serving her 24th term, has drawn two significant GOP challengers in her 9th District. The new version of the northwest Ohio CD is much more Republican than any the Congresswoman has previously represented. 

Former Miss Ohio Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R), an attorney and political commentator, announced her candidacy during the Thanksgiving holiday break. The race is expected to draw additional candidates. State Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) soon followed suit. The Ohio candidate filing deadline is February 2nd for the May 3rd partisan primary.

OR-4

Veteran Oregon US Rep. Peter DeFazio* (D-Springfield), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, late this week announced that he will retire after completing his 18th term next year. He ranks sixth in House seniority. Mr. DeFazio becomes the 19th Democrat not to seek re-election to the House, and the third full committee chair to retire.

The new 4th District was made stronger for Rep. DeFazio, thus allowing two other districts, including the state’s new 6th CD, to become more competitive. Republican Alex Skarlatos, who held Mr. DeFazio to the closest re-election outcome of his long career, 51-46%, had announced a re-match effort months ago. He will likely continue to be a consensus Republican candidate.

State Labor and Industries Commissioner Val Doyle (D) immediately declared her congressional candidacy upon Mr. DeFazio announcing his retirement. The 4th District race will be viewed as competitive, with the eventual Democratic nominee being cast as the favorite.

TX-1

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran (R) announced his congressional candidacy this week. He is a major contender vying to succeed Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), who is leaving the House to run for state Attorney General. A Texas county judge is equivalent to a county executive in most places. Smith County is the population anchor of the east Texas’ 1st Congressional District. The candidate filing deadline is December 13th for the March 1st primary. The 1st CD is safely Republican, so the GOP primary will almost assuredly determine the region’s next House member.

TX-30

Now that 15-term Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) has officially announced her retirement, we can expect to see several sitting state legislators come forward to declare candidacies in a growing field that already features eight contenders. The newest entry is state Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas), who announced her candidacy during the Thanksgiving holiday break. This race will be decided in the Democratic primary and runoff, which are scheduled for March 1st and May 24th, respectively. Rep. Johnson immediately endorsed Ms. Crockett.

VA-10

State Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) who is an announced candidate in the 7th District against Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen), declared over the weekend that he is switching to the new 10th District to oppose Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg). The new redistricting map, which the state Supreme Court will likely approve, completely changes the 7th CD from a central Virginia seat that begins in the Richmond suburbs to a northern Virginia district anchored in Prince William County. Rep. Spanberger represents no part of the new 7th, while Mr. Reeves currently has the city of Fredericksburg in state Senate district. His home in Spotsylvania County, however, was placed in the Wexton district.

WA-8

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn (R), son of the late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn (R) who represented the 8th District for six terms after serving eleven years as chair of the Washington Republican Party, announced his own congressional candidacy yesterday. Mr. Dunn will join the jungle primary to oppose second term Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish). Already in the primary is the 2020 Republican Attorney General finalist, Matt Larkin. Mr. Dunn, himself, was an Attorney General nominee in the 2012 election. The Washington qualifying election is August 2nd.

Wisconsin Redistricting

It is possible the Wisconsin state Supreme Court will rule on the redistricting maps sometime in February. Their first directive instructed the parties to submit “least change maps,” that would keep the current footprint in tact. This was a positive development for Republicans who have a 5R-3D advantage in the congressional delegation and control both houses of the legislature. This week, the political parties submitted their desired maps. The court set January 18th for oral arguments. The Supreme Court is drawing the map because Gov. Tony Evers (D) vetoed the legislature’s maps for the congressional delegation and the state legislature. The legislative bodies then failed to override his action.

Governor

Alaska

Freshman state Rep. Christopher Kurka (R-Wasilla) announced his challenge to Gov. Mike Dunleavy during the week. Mr. Kurka, a former director of the Alaska for Right to Life organization, is attacking Gov. Dunleavy from the ideological right. Previously, an organized recall group was opposing the Governor over his budgetary spending cuts.

Georgia

2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, the former state House Minority Leader, this week announced that she will run for Governor next year. In the previous election, she lost to now-incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R) by less than one percentage point. There was some recent speculation brewing that Ms. Abrams, who bypassed the 2020 US Senate cycle to concentrate on a gubernatorial re-match, would also sit the 2022 cycle out in order to prepare for a presidential run.

Now, all eyes will turn to former US Sen. David Perdue (R). He admits to be considering a Republican primary challenge against Gov. Kemp, whose numbers are lagging among the party faithful largely due to the post-election voter fraud controversy.

Massachusetts

Saying he doesn’t want to go through an ideologically based Republican primary campaign, Bay State Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that he will not run for a third term next year. Immediately, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) made public her plans also to retire from politics, saying she will not run for Governor.

The Daily Kos Elections site is reporting that while a number of new potential candidates are reported to be considering the race, four prominent individuals are ruling out launching gubernatorial candidacies. Former US Sen. Scott Brown (R), ex-Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D), Jonathan Kraft, son of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone (D) all say they will not enter the open gubernatorial contest.

Minnesota

Survey USA tested first-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) against a series of six potential Republican opponents (12/2-6; 675 MN adults; 591 MN registered voters; 506 MN likely general election voters; live interview) and the incumbent fares consistently well against all. The Governor’s support factor ranges between 47 and 48%, with his Republican opponents scoring between 31 and 36 percent.

The individual faring best is Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy at 47-36%, while the weakest potential Republican nominee, physician Neil Shah, records a 48-31% deficit. The Minnesota primary isn’t until August 9th, but most nomination contests are settled in a party convention that will be held over the May 13-14 period.

Nevada

A new survey was just released of the Nevada Governor’s race showing a tight contest brewing. ALG Research (12/1-7; 800 NV likely general election voters; online) finds Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) slightly leading former US Senator Dean Heller (R), 47-44%. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) comes in at virtually the same level, trailing 47-45%. The poll results differ somewhat from OnMessage, Inc.’s findings from their Nov. 16-18 study (600 NV likely general election voters) that saw Mr. Heller holding a 49-43% advantage over Gov. Sisolak, while Sheriff Lombardo posted an even larger lead at 51-41%. Compared, the polls tell us this early Governor’s race is headed to toss-up status.

Texas

Actor and Austin resident Matthew McConaughey, who was considering running for Governor of Texas as an Independent, has rather unsurprisingly decided not to enter the race.

 


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