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Political Snippets 1.22.21

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

National

Democratic National Committee:  Jaime Harrison (D), the South Carolina Senate nominee who raised over $130 million for his failed effort against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), has been selected to become the new Democratic National Committee chairman. President Joe Biden also named Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) as the DNC’s Vice Chairs.

Prior to running for the Senate, Mr. Harrison served as chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Despite the Democrats’ large spending advantage, Sen. Graham won the race with a 54-44% victory margin.

U.S. Senate

Full Senate

Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday officially resigned her US Senate office in preparation for taking the oath of national office. After becoming Vice President, Ms. Harris then returned to the Senate chamber to administer the swearing in ceremonies for her successor, Senator-Designate Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Democratic Georgia runoff winners Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The actions mean that all 100 Senate seats are now filled.

Alaska

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is expressing extreme dissatisfaction with the Trump post-election situation and reportedly toying with the idea of leaving the Republican Party.  She is saying, however, that joining the Democrats is not an option.  Sen. Murkowski lost the 2010 Republican primary but was able to win in the general election by virtue of a write-in campaign.

Regardless of what Sen. Murkowski decides, a new voter-approved primary system will alleviate any further problems for her moving into the general election.  The new law guarantees that the top four finishers in a new jungle primary system will advance into the general.  Therefore, if Sen. Murkowski remains a Republican or becomes an Independent, she will be present on the general election ballot.

California

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D), who has replaced replace Vice President Kamala Harris when she resigned, is leaving no doubt to his intentions regarding seeking a full term in 2022. This week, Mr. Padilla confirmed that he will enter the 2022 statewide race.

The last two California Senate campaigns have produced double-Democrat general elections from the state’s jungle primary system, and a good chance remains that the same could again happen. Unless Senator-Designate Padilla draws a serious Democratic opponent, he will begin the campaign cycle with the inside track toward winning a full term in 22 months.

Pennsylvania

Before the Martin Luther King holiday break, state Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) was indicating that he would enter the open 2022 US Senate race. This week, however, he is said that he won’t make a final decision about his impending candidacy until the end of 2021. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) has already announced for the Senate race and begun raising money. It appears he has the early inside track to the party nomination, and with Sen. Street now apparently backtracking on his original statement further credence is lent to the analysis depicting Mr. Fetterman as the Democratic nomination favorite.

U.S. House of Representatives

CA-50

Former Santee City Councilman Stephen Houlahan (D), who unsuccessfully ran for the Mayoral position for the San Diego County city of just under 60,000 people, announced late last week that he will challenge Rep. Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) in next year’s midterm elections. Mr. Issa, now serving his tenth non-consecutive term, returns to the House after a two-year period in retirement. The Congressman was elected in a different district in 2020, the inland San Diego County’s 50th District, with a 54-46% victory margin to succeed resigned Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine).

FL-1

Though Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach/Pensacola) clearly shot down any idea that he was considering challenging Sen. Marco Rubio in next year’s Republican primary, he did admit to looking at a run for state Agriculture Commissioner. The incumbent, Democrat Nikki Fried, was elected in 2018 with the barest of percentages, 50.04%. All of the Florida state constitutional offices are on the ballot next year. The top vote getter scored only 52%, so we can expect competitive races from the top of the 2022 Florida ballot to the bottom.

IA-2

Since Congress is now embroiled in another impeachment controversy, the House Administration Committee does not yet have a full membership, meaning resolving the challenge to Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R-Ottumwa) six-vote victory remains on the back burner.  The House provisionally seated Ms. Miller-Meeks, who is the certified state winner, and she will serve until the Committee makes a decision on the 22 contested ballots. If they accept challenger Rita Hart’s (D) petition the entire House would then take the final action in awarding the seat for the current term. 

IA-3

When questioned late last week, two-term Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) confirmed that she would consider running statewide next year, reflecting that Iowa will have both a Senate and Governor’s race on the ballot in 2022. As has been pointed out, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) turning 89 years of age before the next election the chances of seeing him retire are strong. Sen. Grassley, at this time, refuses to comment upon his 2022 political plans. In the Governor’s race, incumbent Kim Reynolds (R) is expected to seek a second four-year term.

IL-16

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon), one of President Trump’s strongest GOP critics in relation to the latest impeachment vote, has already drawn a 2022 primary opponent. Gene Koprowski (R), a former marketing director for the conservative Heartland Institute prior to him being terminated due to sexual harassment claims, announced that he will challenge the six-term Congressman next year. While it may be unlikely that Mr. Koprowski will develop into a strong contender, it is probable that Rep. Kinzinger will draw viable opposition in the March 2022 Republican primary should he choose to seek re-election.

LA-2

Former US Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) resigned from the House on January 15th in order to prepare to accept his position in the Biden White House, and this week endorsed a successor for the March 20th special election. Mr. Richmond urges the voters of his former district to support state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans).

With candidate filing ending at the close of this week, seven contenders have announced, but others are expected to file. If no candidate receives majority support on March 20th, a runoff election between the two highest finishers will be held April 24th. The Democrats will retain this seat, and we can expect a double Democratic runoff to unfold for the secondary election.

LA-5

Julia Letlow (R), the widow of Rep-Elect Luke Letlow (R) who passed away suddenly just three weeks after winning his congressional race, announced late this week that she will compete in the special election to succeed her late husband. Activity has been light in anticipation of her entering the race. State Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), however, who lost the general election runoff to Mr. Letlow 24 days before his untimely passing, is still a potential contender. Candidate filing closes January 22nd. The jungle primary is scheduled for March 20th with a runoff, if necessary, set for April 24th. Republicans are a strong favorite to hold the seat.

MD-1

Citing how the country has changed in the last ten years, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Cockeysville), despite campaigning in 2010 that he would only serve six terms, announced earlier in the week that he will seek re-election again in 2022. Mr. Harris is the lone Republican in the eight-member US House delegation. Redistricting may be Rep. Harris’ biggest political hurdle to overcome in 2022, however, as Democrats have a power edge in Maryland but not full control.

MD-6

Maryland former state Delegate Aruna Miller (D) announced that she will run for Congress next year. She further stated she does not intend to challenge 6th District incumbent David Trone (D-Potomac), but believes the US Representative will soon announce his candidacy for the open Governor’s position and wants to get a head start in the campaign to replace him in the House.

MI-3

Freshman Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids), who scored an open seat 53-47% victory in November, has already drawn a 2022 Republican primary challenger. Tom Norton, who did not fare well against Rep. Meijer in the open 2020 Republican primary and lost previous races for the state legislature, announced on Thursday that he will challenge the new Congressman in next year’s Republican primary.

While Mr. Norton may not be the strongest of opponents for an incumbent, his move could be a precursor to a stronger candidate coming forward. Considering Rep. Meijer’s prominent position in supporting another impeachment of President Trump, the conservative base in the district will likely seek to rally around a stronger contender against the new Congressman.

NM-1

Arguably the Republicans’ strongest candidate in the budding special election to replace Interior Secretary-Designate Deb Haaland (D-Albuquerque) in the US House apparently won’t enter the race. 2020 US Senate candidate Mark Ronchetti, who held Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D) to a 52-46% statewide victory in November, returned to his position as an on-camera weatherman for the Albuquerque CBS television affiliate. This exposure gave him the residual name identification to make the open US Senate campaign competitive.

The special election will be called upon Rep. Haaland’s confirmation to her new position, at which point she will resign from the House. At that time, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) will take the necessary action to schedule the replacement special election in order to fill the vacancy. 

NY-1

In 2018, local Long Island Democratic Party leaders attempted without success to recruit 911 first responders advocate John Feal into the congressional race against Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley). Mr. Feal ultimately declined to run, but now admits he is considering a 2022 challenge particularly, he said, after Mr. Zeldin voted against certification of the Electoral College results last week. Rep. Zeldin defeated Democrat Nancy Goroff, 54-43%, in the 2020 election to win a fourth term.

NY-22

The legal process of determining a winner in New York’s 22nd District remains in suspension. Final oral arguments will be presented as the week closes, meaning we could finally see a ruling next week, almost three months after the original election. State Supreme Court Justice of Oswego County Scott DelConte, who admits he has “no great options” in deciding this case, continues to admonish the Oneida County Elections Office personnel now citing 2,418 individuals who met the voter registration deadline but whose applications failed to be processed; hence, they were denied the opportunity of voting.

Currently, the vote totals stand with challenger Claudia Tenney (R), a former Congresswoman, leading 116th Congress incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) by 29 votes of more than 311,000 ballots counted. The Brindisi legal team has presented 69 ballots they believe DelConte should add to the count. The Judge pointed out that the 69 are overwhelmingly Democratic and indicated that the Brindisi team was simply “cherry picking” favorable votes.

It is likely we will see a ruling sometime next week, and it is unclear how such a declaration will unfold. Chances are very high that the losing candidate will appeal the impending DelConte decision, meaning this embroiled contest will likely continue for quite some time. It is also possible that a new election could be ordered.

NC-5

Eight-term North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk/Gastonia) has drawn a 2022 GOP primary challenger. Bo Hines is a former football player for North Carolina State University. He announced late this week his intention to enter the 5th District primary, but redistricting may change the footprint of virtually every CD in the state. This means, while Mr. Hines may in fact run for Congress, he may or may not eventually face Rep. Foxx. For her part, the Congresswoman has already announced her intention to seek re-election next year.

OH-11

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland) is expected to easily win confirmation to her new post as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, so the Democratic field to replace her in the safe Cleveland-Akron congressional seat is already forming. Late this week, former state Sen. Shirley Smith indicated she would join the special Democratic primary that will be scheduled upon Rep. Fudge’s official resignation. Already saying they will enter the race are former state Senators Jeff Johnson and Nina Turner, ex-state Rep. John Barnes, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown, and Ms. Smith.

TX-22

Late last week, local Brazoria County NAACP President Eugene Howard announced that he will challenge freshman Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Richmond/Sugar Land) next year. Previously, marketing executive Jim Squires (D) declared his candidacy.

The two may or may not have an opportunity to challenge Rep. Nehls. The 22nd District is the most over-populated district in a state that is expected to gain three seats in the next apportionment. This means the congressional district boundaries for the whole south Houston suburban region will drastically change under a new map. Expect the new 22nd District to be drawn as a much more favorable Republican seat than the current version.

WY-AL

It didn’t take long for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) to draw a 2022 Republican primary opponent. State Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie) on Wednesday said he will enter the GOP race against Rep. Cheney directly because of her vote to impeach President Trump.

Rep. Bouchard was quoted in the Daily Kos Elections website as saying that Ms. Cheney’s, "long-time opposition to President Trump and her most recent vote for impeachment shows just how out of touch she is with Wyoming." It is likely that more people will join this race before candidate filing closes in May of next year. The Wyoming primary will be scheduled in mid-August ’22.

Governor

Minnesota

For the second time since the election, two-term Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Hermantown/ Duluth) has confirmed that he is not closing the door on entering the 2022 gubernatorial campaign and could compete to capture the Republican nomination in order to challenge Gov. Tim Walz (D).

Rep. Stauber’s consideration of running statewide is likely serious. Minnesota looks to lose a seat in reapportionment, now scheduled for a March 6th announcement, and it will likely mean that Reps. Stauber and freshman Michelle Fischbach (R-Regal) could find themselves competing for the same seat. Both his 8th and her 7th District have the lowest population figures.

Rhode Island: Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (D) confirmed at the end of last week that she is considering entering the state’s gubernatorial race next year. With Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigning her position upon being confirmed as US Commerce Secretary, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D) will assume the Governorship and become an unelected incumbent in preparation for the next campaign. Mr. McKee, who has a poor relationship with Gov. Raimondo, is expected to draw serious Democratic opposition despite him administering the office for well over a year by the time the September ’22 Democratic primary occurs.

States
 
IL House

For the first time since 1983, Democrats have a new official leader in the state House of Representatives. St. Rep. Chris Welch (D-Westchester) was elected Speaker of the House, thus ending the leadership career of now former Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) who presided over a legislative body longer than any person in US history.

Mr. Madigan served as Speaker since his original election in 1983 with only one break of service, that in 1995-96 when Republicans captured the House majority. He was long regarded as the most important figure in Illinois state politics and became a frequent Republican target in even statewide campaigns. Mr. Madigan suspended his Speaker campaign when it became evident that he did not have enough support within his own Democratic caucus.

Cities 

New York City

It appears that former Citigroup executive Raymond McGuire’s (D) campaign has jumped out to a strong start, but his opponents may actually see some benefit from his success, as well. Since mid-July, Mr. McGuire has raised over $5 million for his Mayoral effort and holds $3.7 million cash-on-hand.

Under the City’s public campaign finance law, a candidate not voluntarily agreeing to a $7.3 million spending limit for the primary election allows the barrier to increase at a 50% rate for all other candidates upon the non-conforming candidate exceeding the gross expenditure limit. With $5 million already raised, it appears a virtual certainty that Mr. McGuire will exceed the threshold, thus increasing the spending limit for his opponents.

Pittsburgh

Two-term Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto looks to face a Democratic primary challenge from his political left. State Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Pittsburgh) announced late this week that he will run for Mayor later this year and declaring that he is the more progressive. He will first have to dislodge incumbent Democrat Peduto in the party primary, an election that will be held on May 18th. Winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to claiming the citywide position in November.


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