Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and statewide races around the country. Enjoy!
Polling without Gov. Chris Sununu (R) as a potential Republican US Senate candidate, The New Hampshire Institute for Politics at St. Anselm’s College released their latest statewide survey (1/11-12; 1,215 NH registered voters; online). While the pollsters found the respondent sample in a state of general unhappiness with regard to New Hampshire’s political figures and direction of the country, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) is improving her ballot test numbers against potential Republican opponents even though her favorability index is down.
Retired Army General and 2020 US Senate candidate Don Bolduc fares best among the tested Republicans, trailing Sen. Hassan, 43-36%. She tops recent Senate campaign entries Chuck Morse, the Granite State Senate President, 41-27%, and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, 42-24%. On the negative side, she is six points in the red (45:51%) on her favorability ratio, and nowhere close to majority support on any ballot test scenario.
Two Tar Heel State Republican primary US Senate polls were released almost simultaneously, with both finding former Gov. Pat McCrory holding the edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). The ex-state chief executive’s advantage is not what one would expect for a well known party leader before his own partisan electorate, however. The McCrory campaign released their Strategic Partners Solutions survey (1/5; 800 NC likely Republican primary voters) that gives their candidate a 30-21-8% lead over Rep. Budd and former US Rep. Mark Walker.
The Civitas Institute’s latest Cygnal statewide poll (1/7-9; 600 NC likely Republican primary voters) found the McCrory edge to be only 24-19%. Pushing the 48% who said they were undecided for a decision and adding those preferences to the total actually finds Rep. Budd pulling into a small lead, 34-33%, when accounting for those who have “definitely” and “probably” made up their minds.
Businessman Bernie Moreno (R) released his internal poll, following the lead of some of his GOP nomination opponents, and the results again suggest that winning the intra-party contest is turning into a free-for-all. An internal survey that Kellyanne Conway conducted for the Moreno campaign (1/11-13; 600 OH likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds former state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) again holding the lead, but with a tightening margin over former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, 20-18%. Mr. Moreno, after spending $4 million in advertising media, moved into a third place tie with businessman Mike Gibbons and author J.D. Vance, with each commanding approximately 10% support.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune* (R), the Senate Minority Whip who had been weighing family considerations in light of seeking a fourth term, announced that he will run for re-election. Sen. Thune was first elected to the Senate in 2004 after serving three terms in the House from his state’s at-large congressional district.
The statewide Washington Crosscut.Elway poll was released earlier in the week (12/26-28; 400 WA registered voters; live interview and text) and it finds a tightening US Senate race between five-term Senator Patty Murray (D) and Republican Tiffany Smiley, a veterans advocate and motivational speaker. According to the survey, Sen. Murray’s lead has dropped to just 42-39% from a polling sample that rated the economy as the greatest area of concern, the first time in eight years that a Washington cell sample cast the national issue in such a manner.
A previous poll, from Public Policy Polling (11/10-11; 909 WA likely voters; text and online), found the Senator’s advantage to be 50-37%.
Saying that he wants to ‘continue to fight for freedom in the public realm,’ Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R) formally announced that he will stand for election to a third term in the Autumn. Sen. Johnson had been coy about his 2022 plans, especially in light of his promise made twelve years ago that he would only serve two terms.
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes released a new ALG Research poll (12/8-16; 842 WI likely Democratic primary voters; live interview and text) that finds the statewide official posting a big lead for his party nomination. According to the ballot test results, Mr. Barnes would lead Milwaukee Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, 40-11-10-8%, respectively.
U.S. House of Representatives
Eight-term California Democratic US Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) announced this week that he will not seek a ninth term later this year. Originally elected to a Bay Area anchored district in 2006 when he defeated veteran Rep. Richard Pombo (R), Mr. McNerney’s then-11th District was moved into the San Joaquin Valley because of 2011 redistricting. The new 9th District will still be anchored in the city of Stockton, but the updated version is somewhat more Republican than the current CA-9. The Congressman would have been favored for re-election.
Immediately upon California Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) announcing his retirement, the political musical chairs began. Fellow NorCal Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) abandoned his re-election plans in District 13 to run in the newly open 9th CD. Once Harder made his move, state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) quickly announced that he will run for Congress in the suddenly open 13th.
California's Central Valley is in a state of political flux. With the special election for resigned Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-Tulare) underway in the neighboring current 22nd District and the candidates having no place to run in the regular election, the 13th District could now become an attractive landing spot for one or more of the GOP special election contenders. A Republican will be an underdog in the new 13th, but at least the candidate would have a fighting chance to win a full term and the opportunity of seeking re-election if successful.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has scheduled a special election to fill the remainder of former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) term. The Congressman formally resigned the seat on January 3rd.
The CA-22 special election will be held April 5th, with a June 7th runoff if no one obtains majority support in the initial election. The candidate filing deadline is February 10th. This will be an interesting election in that the winner will likely serve only the balance of this year as redistricting split the current 22nd District into multiple pieces leaving very few viable options for election to a full term in November.
State Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose), who finds himself without a Senate district in which to run on the new redistricting map, announced that he will challenge freshman US Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) in this year’s Republican primary. Rep. Boebert quickly labeled Sen. Coram as a “super woke social liberal,” to which the latter retorted, “I have no idea what that means.” The Congresswoman will be a clear favorite in the June 28th Republican primary. The Colorado candidate filing deadline is March 15th.
Colorado US Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Arvada) announced that he will not seek a ninth term in the House later this year. Prior to his election to Congress, Mr. Perlmutter served eight years in the state Senate. He announced his gubernatorial candidacy in the 2018 election cycle, but withdrew before the filing period concluded and instead ran for re-election.
The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission changed the 7th District in the Republicans’ favor meaning that Mr. Perlmutter, still favored to retain his seat, would have seen a much more competitive general election in addition to representing much more rural territory toward the Centennial State’s central region. The open 7th District will begin with a Lean Democratic rating, but an open race could evolve into a highly competitive political situation.
Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, as expected, easily defeated Republican Jason Mariner last night in a district that gave President Joe Biden a 77-22% majority in 2020. Ms. Cherfilus-McCormick scored a 79-20% victory with more than 55,000 people voting and she will now serve the balance of the late Rep. Alcee Hastings’ (D-Delray Beach) final term.
Retired US Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Lakeland), who chose not to seek re-election in 2018 after serving four terms, confirms that he is considering launching a political comeback if the state’s new 28th District is placed in central Florida as expected. Florida may be the final state to complete redistricting. The state’s population growth pattern and the preliminary released congressional draft maps clearly suggest that the new district will land in former Rep. Ross’ area. We can expect the seat to at least lean Republican, thus yielding a crowded GOP primary. The Florida candidate filing deadline is not until June 17th for the August 23rd statewide primary.
Indiana US Rep. Trey Hollingsworth* (R-Jeffersonville), who originally limited himself to serving four terms, will leave the House after three. Mr. Hollingsworth, first elected in 2016 after moving to Indiana from Tennessee, announced last week that he will not seek re-election. He becomes the 12th Republican to retire in this election cycle in addition to California Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) resigning. Overall, the Hoosier State seat is the 46th open House district nationally when tabulating retiring Democratic and Republican incumbents, reapportionment transfer seats, and those created through the various redistricting processes. The southeastern Indiana 9th District is rated as safe Republican.
Former Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D), who gave up her 4th District congressional seat to challenge then-Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) for the state’s open Senate seat six years ago when then-Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) retired, announced that she is making a comeback. Current 4th District Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) is leaving the House to run for state Attorney General, thus the 4th District becomes open. Ms. Edwards will make an attempt to re-claim her previous position. Her main opponent in a crowded open Democratic primary appears to be former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey. The seat will remain Democratic in the general election. The Maryland candidate filing deadline is February 22nd for the June 28th statewide primary.
Bill Schuette, the former Congressman, Michigan Appellate Court Judge, Attorney General, and US Senate and gubernatorial nominee who Republican leaders hoped would challenge US Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flushing/Flint), said that he will not run for Congress this year. The new 8th CD was made slightly more Republican in redistricting, but Rep. Kildee would have been cast as the favorite even against Mr. Schuette.
Paul Junge, the former US Citizens & Immigration Service official and ex-television news anchor who held Rep. Kildee to a 54-42% re-election victory in 2020, remains in the race. With the district becoming more Republican, Mr. Junge’s chances will improve but he remains a clear underdog to the five-term incumbent.
Former state Representative Shanelle Jackson announced that she will launch a Democratic primary challenge to controversial US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit). Ms. Jackson describes herself as a “pro-business centrist” who says she wants to “calm down some of the antisemitic rhetoric.” She further said that “she (Tlaib) obviously is carrying the water of Palestine in all that she does. Meanwhile, Detroiters, we don’t have a voice. It’s just the truth.”
Ms. Jackson served three terms in the state House of Representatives. Rep. Tlaib, who currently represents the 13th District, chose to run in the new 12th after Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) announced her retirement. Rep. Tlaib said more of her constituents reside in the new 12th than the new 13th. The redistricted version of MI-12 is safely Democratic, so the winner of the party primary is virtually guaranteed victory in November.
State Senator Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), a former Speaker of the unicameral legislature and local news television network owner, announced that he will challenge indicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) for the 2022 Republican nomination. In October, Fortenberry was charged with concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities who were investigating illegal contributions made by a foreign national to the Congressman’s 2016 re-election campaign, according to the US Attorney in the Central District of California.
The new 1st District is reliably Republican, but became a bit more Democratic when the legislature added some of its GOP voters to the neighboring 2nd District to make the latter seat stronger for Rep. Don Bacon* (R-Papillion/Omaha). Democratic state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln) appears to be a consensus Democratic candidate. The Nebraska candidate filing deadline is March 1st for the May 10th statewide primary.
Citing family issues, four-term New York Rep. John Katko* (R-Syracuse) announced that he will not seek re-election this year. In addition to his family situation, Rep. Katko was arguably in the worst redistricting position of any New York incumbent and was likely staring at a paired situation with another GOP incumbent. Additionally, he was facing political pressure from his ideological right because he was one of ten Republicans who had voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, which would cause him problems in a Republican primary.
North Carolina Redistricting
The special three-judge panel considering the North Carolina redistricting challenge unanimously rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the congressional and state legislative maps are politically gerrymandered. The panel was comprised of two Republican judges and one Democrat.
With the plaintiffs pledging to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, we can expect the legal maneuverings to continue. The seven-member Supreme Court will have several of its members facing recusal motions because of their ties to the plaintiffs or state legislative leaders, thus making the future proceedings more intriguing. The court also installed a March 4th candidate filing deadline for the delayed May 17th statewide primary.
Ohio redistricting was not kind to veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), as her western state 9th District western moves from a 59-40% Biden CD to one that President Donald Trump carried 51-47%. The partisan swing is largely due to the removal of the Cleveland precincts from the district. During the week, state Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) announced that he will enter the expanding Republican primary field that already includes state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), attorney and former Miss Ohio Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, and Afghan War veteran J.R. Majewski. Candidate filing closes February 2nd for the May 3rd primary election.
As they did earlier with their state’s House and Senate maps, the Ohio State Supreme Court, on a 4-3 vote, invalidated the legislature’s congressional map, sending the re-mapping process back to square one. Therefore, previous analyses of the voided map’s competitiveness factor are now irrelevant. The elected official redistricting commission will re-draw all the maps and again submit to the legislature for approval. The Ohio candidate filing deadline is February 2nd for the May 3rd primary, so the legislature’s time frame is short.
Saying he’s been “burning the candle at both ends and needs a change,” 11-term Rhode Island US Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick) announced that he will not seek re-election later this year. For a long while, it appeared that Rhode Island would lose a congressional seat and revert to at-large status. Instead of running against fellow Democratic Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence), Mr. Langevin indicated that he would consider a bid for Governor. When reapportionment did not take Rhode Island’s 2nd District, it appeared that the Congressman would again have an easy run for re-election.
Mr. Langevin becomes the 28th House Democrat not to seek re-election, and RI-2 will now be the 49th open seat for the regular election. The open seat number includes incumbents not seeking re-election, new districts through reapportionment, and created seats from various redistricting plans. Democrats will hold this Ocean State congressional seat, but we can expect a competitive party primary late in the year.
Former Virginia State Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Woodbridge), who lost to ex-Governor Terry McAuliffe in the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial primary, said she will not continue her campaign for the US House in the re-drawn 7th District. Incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) benefited from the state Supreme Court’s redraw of the special masters’ draft to the point that at least some of the Congresswoman’s constituency lies in the new 7th District. Instead, Ms. Foy says she will run for the state Senate in 2023.
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) just released his internal Public Opinion Strategies poll (1/4-6; 400 likely WV Republican primary voters; live interview) that counters a previously publicized National Research survey. The POS data finds Rep. Mooney leading fellow Rep. David McKinley* (R-Wheeling), 45-32%, in their paired incumbent Republican primary battle for the state’s new 2nd District that covers central West Virginia all the way to Pennsylvania.
Late last week, Rep. McKinley released his own mid-December internal survey that paints a different picture. The McKinley poll, from Meeting Street Insights (12/13-15; 400 WV-2 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) shows a 40-34% lead for their client.
Even this latter data, however, shows movement for Rep. Mooney. In October, a National Research survey found the McKinley advantage to be 44-29%.
Citing poor fundraising results, Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee (R) announced that she will discontinue her Governor’s campaign and instead file for re-election to her current position. With Ms. Yee departing, 20 announced Republican candidates remain in the race to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Doug Ducey.
Former President Donald Trump has endorsed ex-television news anchor Kari Lake in the Republican primary. Ex-Congressman and 2002 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon is the only former elected official within the large group. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs appears to be the leading Democratic candidate. The Arizona candidate filing deadline is April 4th for the August 2nd statewide primary. Therefore, time remains for the large field to settle.
Financial company executive Bob Stefanowski (R), who held Gov. Ned Lamont (D) to a 49-46% win in their 2018 open race contest, announced that he will return for a re-match this year. He also said he was seeding his statewide campaign with a $10 million personal investment. Gov. Lamont will be favored, but we could again see a close race here if a Republican wave begins to develop.
The Glengariff Group, polling for the Detroit News and WDIV Channel 4 News (1/3-7; 600 MI voters; live interview), finds Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) posting strong leads against all potential Republican challengers. The individual coming closest is former Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) who trails the Governor 49-39% on the ballot test question. Governor Whitmer recorded a 48:40% personal favorability rating. Mr. Craig’s polling, however, shows something different. According to his new internal ARW Strategies study (1/4-6; 800 MI likely general election voters), Mr. Craig and Gov. Whitmer are tied at 46%. Polling margin of error could account for the discrepancy. It is expected that this will be a hotly contested national gubernatorial campaign.
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who left office at the beginning of this year after serving two four-year terms, announced that he will not enter the crowded Democratic field for Governor. Early polling showed Mr. de Blasio faring poorly against new incumbent Kathy Hochul, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove).
As year-end campaign financial reports begin becoming public, two sitting Governor’s are reporting major totals. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis reported raising $4.4 million in the month of December and holds a whopping $72 million in his campaign accounts. In New York, new Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), since taking office in late August, has raised a huge $21.6 million for her 2022 campaign, and with $21 million in the bank.
The original North Carolina primary was scheduled for March 8th, but this week the state legislature took action to transfer the election date for a second time. Due to ongoing redistricting litigation, the state Supreme Court moved the primary to May 17th. The legislative leaders, however, believing that the litigation process will drag on and possibly even to include recusal motions against three of the seven state Supreme Court justices, will move the primary again, this time to June 7th.
The Ohio State Supreme Court, on a divided 4-3 vote with the Republican Chief Justice voting with the three Democratic members, invalidated the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s state House and Senate maps for reasons of political gerrymandering. The Commission is comprised of elected officials whose produced maps require the Ohio legislature’s approval, but now must redraw the map with greater attention to statewide voter history percentages. The Court took no action on the new congressional map, but that challenge remains alive.