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Political Snippets 12.18.20

Listed below are political snippets on the presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, state and city-wide races across the country. Enjoy!

President

Electoral College

The Electoral College members met on December 14th in the 50 state capitals and officially made Democrat Joe Biden President-Elect of the United States. Unlike in many years – 2016, for example, when seven electors did not support the candidate of their state – the total was exactly 306-232 electoral votes, properly reflecting the split among the eligible voting electorates. 

In 29 states and the District of Columbia, the electors are bound by state law to cast the electoral vote at the direction of the voters. In 21 states, however, the electors are free to stray from the state mandate. Next in the electoral process, the totals will be reported to the Congress on January 6th, at which point, Mr. Biden will be officially elected.

2024

McLaughlin & Associates has already posted a survey to test the potential 2024 Republican and Democratic presidential nomination fields. The poll was conducted during the December 9-13 period of 1,000 likely voters through live interviews. 

The McLaughlin results find President Donald Trump dominating the Republican field at 56%, followed by Vice President Mike Pence recording 11%. In single-digits are Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) with 5% support, Mitt Romney (R-UT) 4%, and former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley at 3% preference.

For the Democrats, assuming President-Elect Joe Biden does not seek a second term, former First Lady Michelle Obama leads Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris, 29-25%, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) attracting 7% support.

U.S. Senate

Georgia

The Insider Advantage polling firm just released new surveys that find both Republican contenders forging small leads over their Democratic rivals, margins consistent when compared with earlier polling.

According to the IA data (12/14; 500 GA likely voters; live interview), Sens. David Perdue* (R) and Kelly Loeffler* (R) hold an identical 49-48% edge over Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively. This is more evidence that the Georgia runoffs are becoming a turnout battle. The party best convincing their voters to participate will likely win both campaigns.

A pair of previously released Georgia Senate runoff polls also found the two races in toss-up mode. The Atlanta-based Trafalgar Group (12/8-10; 1,018 GA likely runoff voters; combination online and text responses) sees Sen. David Perdue (R) and documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff (D) tied at 49% apiece. In the special election, Trafalgar posts appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) to a three-point lead over Rev. Raphael Warnock (D), 50-47%.

The Fabrizio Ward/Hart Research team, featuring a bipartisan Republican and Democratic survey research approach (11/30-12/4; 1,250 GA likely voters; live interview with an emphasis on those 50 years of age and older), on behalf of the AARP organization, projects a similar result in the pair of campaigns but with the Democrats in better position. Fabrizio/Hart data finds Mr. Ossoff holding a two-point, 48-46% lead, with Rev. Warnock up a point, 47-46%, over Sen. Loeffler. 

Kentucky

State Rep. Charles Booker (D-Louisville), who lost a 45-43% Democratic Senate primary bid to retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath earlier in the year, is apparently not closing the door on potentially entering the 2022 Senate field to challenge Sen. Rand Paul (R). He recently told political news reporters to “stay tuned,” with regard to his future statewide electoral plans.

U.S. House of Representatives

CA-21

Fresh from losing his congressional seat, freshman Rep. T.J. Cox (D-Fresno) said this week that he will run again in 2022. Mr. Cox lost to former US Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford/Bakersfield) in November by 1,522 votes, or one full percentage point. In 2018, Mr. Cox unseated Rep. Valadao by 862 votes. 

The two regular political combatants, however, are already not alone in the 2022 candidate field. Former state Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D-Hanford), who served a three-term stint in the legislature more than a decade ago when the term limits law only allowed her a six-year service period, has already announced that she will be also become a congressional candidate in the next election cycle. 

CA-29

Fresh from a November 57-43% defeat at the hands of Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Pacoima/Los Angeles) in a double-Democratic general election, Human Resources executive Angelica Duenas (D) says she will make another run for the House in 2022. Ms. Duenas raised only $80,839 for her 2020 campaign, so her political apparatus must substantially improve if she is to become a serious intra-party challenger to the five-term Congressman.

CA-39

Outgoing California Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda) is already contemplating a re-match with Rep-Elect Young Kim (R) who defeated him in November. In public remarks during the week, Mr. Cisneros said that “everything is on the table” for the future while acknowledging that he could run again in what is now an Orange, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles County district. Redistricting, of course, will play a large role for all potential incumbents and candidates, which adds even more uncertainty to the 2022 pre-candidate filing periods. 

CA-48

California freshman Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) is already taking steps to begin a re-match campaign with the woman who unseated him in November, Rep-Elect Michelle Steel (R). 

Last week, Mr. Rouda filed a 2022 congressional campaign committee and, while stopping short of committing to run in two years, was quoted as saying, "while one campaign ends today, another is just beginning. I look forward to having voters compare my opponent's two years in Congress with my accomplishments on November 8, 2022." Ms. Steel, an Orange County Supervisor, defeated Rep. Rouda, 51.1 - 48.9%, a difference of just under 8,400 votes. 

LA-5

Former congressional staffer Luke Letlow*, capitalizing on his time running 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham’s (R-Alto) office, easily won the double-Republican runoff election on December 5. Mr. Letlow defeated state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), 62-38%, which was similar to the ratio that he recorded in the original blanket primary election held November 3rd. 

MD-5

Local Greenbelt, Maryland Mayor Colin Byrd announced that he will challenge House Majority Leader and 21-term incumbent Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville) in the 2022 Democratic primary. Mayor Byrd, who was elected to his position when just 27 years of age, said that Mr. Hoyer "can no longer represent adequately more diverse places like Prince George’s County and Charles County." In 2020, Mr. Hoyer also faced a Democratic primary challenge and was re-nominated with a 64-27% margin. 

Though he is not likely to unseat the veteran congressional leader, Mayor Byrd has the potential of becoming a credible challenger, so this situation merits watching. 

NM-1

New Mexico US Rep. Deb Haaland (D-Albuquerque), the former chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party and one of the first Native American females to be elected to the House of Representatives, has been nominated as President-Elect Joe Biden’s Secretary of the Interior. Upon confirmation and resignation from the House, a special election will be scheduled to replace her in the New Mexico congressional delegation.

Rep. Haaland will be the third Democratic House member to join the Biden Administration. She will join Reps. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). Mr. Richmond has been appointed as the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, while Ms. Fudge is slated to become Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

NY-22

New York Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte, who now has jurisdiction over the unresolved NY-22 congressional election, issued a ruling mid-week. This is the last uncertified or conceded House election in the country, and it appears it will be at least another couple of weeks before a winner is declared. The current count shows former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) leading freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) by a scant 12 votes from more than 317,000 ballots cast. 

The canvass process has discovered as many as 1,400 - 1,700 uncanvassed and possibly uncounted ballots, which could obviously change the outcome. Justice DelConte cited seven of the eight counties that comprise the 22nd District for not following New York election law regarding the counting of the early, mail and affidavit ballots. Therefore, he ordered a re-canvassing of the disputed ballots. He further ordered the counties to report back to him on December 18th. Therefore, it is possible we will not see a winner by the time the new Congress takes office on January 3, 2021.

OH-11

President-Elect Joe Biden announced that he will nominate Ohio US Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) as the Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary. This means another member will resign from the House in order to accept a new position. Previously, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) announced that he will resign before January 20th in order to head the Office of Public Engagement at the White House.

Like the LA-2 district, the OH-11 seat that stretches from downtown Cleveland to downtown Akron is safely Democratic. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will be tasked with scheduling a special election upon Ms. Fudge’s official resignation. Cuyahoga County Commissioner and local Democratic Party chair Shontel Brown and former state Senator and Bernie Sanders for President national co-chair Nina Turner announced their congressional candidacies and are the first to begin forming the Democratic special election contender field.

OR-5

Businesswoman Amy Ryan Courser (R), who lost to veteran Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby/Salem), 52-45% in November, filed a 2022 congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission thus taking the first step toward a re-match. Ms. Courser came within seven percentage points of the Congressman despite spending only $215,000 on her campaign in a non-targeted race.

Governor/States

Kansas

Names are surfacing for the 2022 Jayhawk State Governor’s race, as first-term incumbent Laura Kelly (D) looks to run for re-election after winning her office in 2018 after consecutive terms of Republican leadership. The biggest news of the past few days is that US Secretary of State, and former Kansas Congressman, Mike Pompeo (R) not ruling out a run for his state’s top office. 

Former Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), who ascended to the top office when then-Gov. Sam Brownback (R) resigned to accept a position in the Trump Administration but would lose the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary to then-Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is clearly making moves to enter the 2022 statewide campaign. Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), who eschewed a previous opportunity to run for the US House, is another potential gubernatorial candidate who is not denying his interest in entering the race.

Maryland

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is ineligible to seek a third term in 2022, and already potential open seat candidates are beginning to stir. There is clear reason to believe this Governor’s mansion will return to the Democratic column after the 2022 election since Maryland is one of the bluest states in the country. 

Three names surfacing this week as potential Democratic candidates are State Comptroller Peter Franchot, US Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Baltimore), and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. Former Lt. Governor and Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is the only prominent Republican so far being discussed.

Massachusetts

Former Massachusetts state Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Plymouth), who was the Republican US Senate nominee against incumbent Elizabeth Warren (D) in 2018, is making political noises suggesting he is considering challenging Gov. Charlie Baker (R) for re- nomination. Gov. Baker continues to be rated as one of the most liked Governors in the nation, often placing first in such polling among the 50 state chief executives, but those strong numbers largely come from the state’s Democratic voters. His standing within his own Republican Party is much weaker. 

There are also several Massachusetts Democratic names coming to the forefront. Already announced for Governor is Harvard University political theorist Danielle Allen. Media reports suggest that Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone (D) is also testing the waters for a statewide run.

Additionally, they mention top Democratic politicos such as Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and former state Senator Ben Downing as possible candidates, but there is no evidence that any of them will launch a campaign. Despite Massachusetts’ strong Democratic foundation, Gov. Baker appears well positioned to win a third term.

One individual who immediately said he won’t challenge Mr. Baker is outgoing Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton). Mr. Kennedy, just coming off a long US Senate primary campaign that he lost to Sen. Ed Markey (D), said this week that he is looking forward to “taking a breather from elective politics,” but holding a position within the new Biden Administration would be of interest.

Minnesota

Political blog reports in Minnesota indicate that two-term Rep. Pete Stauber* (R-Hermantown/Duluth) is assessing his viability as a potential 2022 challenger to Gov. Tim Walz (D). 

The potential political move makes sense for Rep. Stauber since Minnesota is likely to lose a congressional seat in reapportionment. With less population in the northern part of the state, there is a good chance that Rep. Stauber and incoming Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R), who just unseated 30-year congressional veteran Collin Peterson (D), could conceivably be paired in one large northern Minnesota congressional district.

Nevada

Northern Nevada US Rep. Mark Amodei* (R-Carson City), the state’s lone federal delegation Republican representative, confirmed in an interview late last week that he will “look at” potentially challenging first-term Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) when the latter man seeks a second term in 2022. Prior to his election as Governor, Mr. Sisolak was a member of the Clark County Board of Commissioners. 

New Jersey

State Republican Party chairman and former local Mayor Doug Steinhardt declared his gubernatorial candidacy yesterday for the 2021 campaign. He joins a Republican primary field that includes former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and businessman and former congressional candidate Hirsch Singh. The eventual Republican nominee will challenge first term Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in November of next year. 

North Carolina

Last Saturday, North Carolina State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley conceded her statewide judicial election to Republican Paul Newby, an Associate Justice of the court. After a full recount and the beginning of a hand sampling recount, Ms. Beasley ended the race, losing with a margin of just 413 votes from more than 5.4 million ballots cast.

Because the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice appoints special judicial panels, the new Republican chief justice will have the power to set the three-judge panels who will eventually hear redistricting challenges once the legislature enacts post reapportionment maps. North Carolina will receive at least one new congressional seat when the 2020 census apportionment is announced sometime after the first of the year.

Ohio

Former US Rep. Jim Renacci (R), who held Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) to a 53-47% win in 2018, again made statements suggesting he will soon launch a primary campaign effort against Gov. Mike DeWine (R). Mr. Renacci was quoted on Twitter saying, "I will be either supporting candidates who are taking [Gov DeWine] on or running against him myself."

The Governor has come under fire in Republican circles for his strong anti-COVID economic shutdown measures. Therefore, whether Mr. Renacci eventually enters the race remains a question, but it does appear that Gov. DeWine is likely to face GOP primary opposition in 2022.

Rhode Island

Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D), who has virtually no role in the Raimondo Administration despite being a member of the same party, confirms that he will become a gubernatorial candidate in 2022 when the position is open. The incumbent, Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is ineligible to seek a third term. Much Rhode Island press attention has been given to the fact that a major rift exists between the two office holders. 

A crowded field is expected in the Democratic primary, in which claiming victory is virtually tantamount to winning the general election. Another key figure considering running is ten-term US Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick). Rhode Island is likely to be reduced to at-large status in the next congressional reapportionment, meaning Rep. Langevin would at least face a Democratic primary with fellow Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) if he chooses to continue seeking public office. Therefore, he is not ruling out a run for Governor.

South Carolina

First Congressional District Representative Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston), who Republican Nancy Maceunseated in November, while saying he is not making any further political decision at the present time, over the weekend did not rule out a bid against Gov. Henry McMaster (R) when the incumbent seeks a second full term in 2022. Rep. Cunningham lost his re-election to Ms. Mace, a state Representative, 50.6 - 49.4%, a margin of 5,415 votes.

Virginia

The Virginia Republican Party executive committee met and voted to again nominate their slate of statewide candidates through the convention process and not a direct primary election. State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian), who had already announced her candidacy for the party’s gubernatorial nomination in anticipation of a primary, now says she will run in the general election as an Independent. Sen. Chase understands that she would not secure the party nod in the convention process. 

As expected, former Virginia Governor and ex-Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe announced in an email message this week that he is going to seek another term as Governor in 2021. Mr. McAuliffe promises that he will, “think big, be bold, and approach our challenges [as] never before if we’re going to move the Commonwealth forward.” 

Also, already in the Democratic primary are Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), and state Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Woodbridge). The leading Republican is expected to be state Delegate and former House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights).

Cities

Detroit

Two-term incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan, who won office in 2013 in the depths of the city’s economic calamity, announced yesterday that he will run for a third term next year. Mr. Duggan will be a heavy favorite for re-election as, to date, no one has yet come forward to announce a challenge

New York City

Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island), who lost his congressional seat to state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R) in November, has filed a campaign committee for the 2021 New York City Mayor’s race. Mr. Rose, however, stopped short of officially announcing his candidacy. 

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang was quoted as saying that he won’t make a decision about the Mayor’s race until after the Georgia Senate runoff elections are completed since he is working to help the Democratic candidates. Reports suggest, however, that he is making moves to establish a campaign and will join the burgeoning field of 11 candidates, including Rep. Rose, who are vying to replace term-limited Mayor Bill de Blasio


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