Political Snippets from Around the Country

Check out these political snippets on the presidential and congressional from across the country. 



According to reports from CNN, neither presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy nor Chris Christie have qualified for the January 10th debate. Therefore, the forum will feature just two contenders, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Fox News will simultaneously host a town hall meeting with former President Donald Trump.


The Aurora Party, a newly qualified political party in Alaska, announced that Dr. Cornel West will become their presidential nominee. Alaska is the first state to award Dr. West a ballot line. This is a significant occurrence since Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting system could take effect if no candidate receives majority support. Therefore, even a small number of votes for Dr. West could affect the state’s electoral vote count, which could well change the course of the national presidential election result.


The Colorado State Supreme Court barring former President Donald Trump from the primary 2024 ballot because the justices maintain he violated the 14th Amendment by engaging in insurrection has predictably ignited fierce responses. The Trump campaign says they will immediately appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court. Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says he will withdraw from the Colorado ballot in protest and urges the other Republican presidential candidates to do the same. The Colorado Republican Party leadership is saying they may withdraw from the presidential primary and move to an internal party-run caucus format.

Other state Supreme Courts, most notably Arizona and Minnesota, have also ruled on Trump’s ballot status but they arrived at the opposite conclusion, thus allowing him to compete in their state primaries. Even if the Colorado ruling stands and Mr. Trump is not on the Centennial State primary or general election ballot, it is unlikely to affect the presidential race outcome. President Joe Biden is a lock to carry Colorado with or without Trump’s name on the ballot, so the national electoral vote count won’t change regardless of how this controversy is ultimately resolved.

New Hampshire

Two recent polls have shown the New Hampshire Republican primary getting closer. The American Research Group survey (12/17-20; 1,100 NH adults; 990 NH registered voters) finds former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley pulling to within a 33-29% split with former President Donald Trump. Another poll, this from St. Anselm College (12/18-19; 1,711 NH likely voters; online), sees Mr. Trump posting 44% support while Ms. Haley trails at 30% and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with 12%. Under New Hampshire procedure, non-affiliated voters can vote in a partisan primary, and this plays a major factor in the support numbers for both Ms. Haley and Mr. Christie.

Harvard-Harris Poll

Originally when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. had announced as an Independent for President, the subsequent early polls found him taking slightly more support from Donald Trump than President Joe Biden. Recently, that trend has reversed. The new Harvard University national survey that The Harris Poll and HarrisX conducted (12/13-14; 2,034 US registered voters; online) is now more typical. They find Mr. Kennedy and the other minor party/ independent candidates apparently securing more support from President Joe Biden than his future general election opponent.

In the isolated Biden-Trump ballot test, Mr. Trump would lead 52-48%. Adding just Mr. Kennedy, the Trump advantage expands to 44-36-20%. A third ballot test, that included Messrs. Biden, Trump, Kennedy, independent Dr. Cornel West, and likely Green Party nominee Jill Stein, saw a 43-35-17-2-2% division.

U.S. Senate


Reversing a polling trend that places Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) as the leading US Senate candidate, VCreek/AMG just released a new statewide survey (12/1-8; 694 AZ probable general election voters; live interview) that projects former television news anchor and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R) as leading the Senatorial field. Ms. Lake would post a 41-35-16% edge over Rep. Gallego and incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I). The previous three polls, all conducted in October and November, found Rep. Gallego holding a similar sized lead to what VCreek/AMG now posts for Ms. Lake.

In most of the Arizona Senate surveys, Sen. Sinema typically records support percentages in the teens. She rose to 29% in the Noble Predictive Insights most recent poll (10/25-31; 1,010 AZ registered voters; online), however. At this early point in the campaign, Sen. Sinema has finished third in all but one of the 13 polls published from December 2022 to the present. She does, however, have the ability to rebound. The three-way Arizona Senate race is likely to remain in wild card status all the way through the 2024 general election.


A pre-Christmas survey, this one from Politico/Morning Consult (12/15-19; 858 CA likely jungle primary voters; online with leaners), finds US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) posting his largest polling lead over the large multi-party candidate field and is the second to show retired baseball great Steve Garvey (R) claiming second position.

The Morning Consult data records Rep. Schiff at 28% and Mr. Garvey following with 19% including leaners for all candidates. If this trend were to continue, Schiff and Garvey would advance into the post-March 5th general election. US Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) trail with 17 and 14%, respectively. If this poll were the final vote, both Reps. Porter and Lee would be eliminated from further competition.

New Jersey

Though indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) for now remains in the 2024 Senate race, the Democratic primary battle appears to be a contest between US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and the state’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy. Approximately a month ago, Public Policy Polling released a survey favoring Ms. Murphy for the party nomination by a large 40-21% spread.

This week, Rep. Kim released his internal Breakthrough Campaigns survey (12/7-14; 1,004 NJ likely Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) that produced a virtual mirror-like result. This study found Rep. Kim leading Ms. Murphy, 45-22%. Sen. Menendez, as was the case in the PPP survey, languishes in single digits. The dueling wide discrepancy polls suggest the statewide Democratic primary will be an interesting one to chart. The New Jersey primary is scheduled for June 4th.


Survey USA released their latest Ohio US Senate poll (released 12/18; no methodology available) and finds a much different result than other recent polls. The last two studies released earlier in the month, from McLaughlin & Associates and Fabrizio Lee & Associates, found businessman Bernie Moreno posting very small (one to two points) Republican primary leads over Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls).

The S-USA data sees a wholly different result. Here, Secretary LaRose maintains a large 33-18-12% advantage over Sen. Dolan and Mr. Moreno. We will need more data to gain a better picture of this primary race as the candidates move through January and February to the nomination election on March 19th. The Ohio primary is plurality based, meaning the candidate with the most votes, regardless of percentage attained, will win the nomination in this one election. The eventual nominee will then challenge three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the most important Senate general elections in the 2024 voting cycle.


With Monday’s candidate filing deadline in Utah fast approaching, two more key Senate candidates officially joined the fray. As expected, four-term Rep. John Curtis* (R-Provo) announced that he will relinquish his safe eastern Utah congressional district to enter the open Senate race and compete to replace retiring Sen. Mitt Romney* (R). In a bit of a surprise, attorney and former George W. Bush White House aide Brent Orrin Hatch (R), son of the late seven-term Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), announced that he, too, will run for what was his father’s seat for almost half a century. 

Already in the race are seven Republicans including former state House Speaker Brad Wilson, and local mayor Trent Skaggs. Others, such as Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, former state Representative and US House and Senate candidate Becky Edwards, and Republican National Committeeman Brad Bonham are still considered possible candidates. The eventual Republican nominee becomes the prohibitive favorite in the November election. The last Democrat to win a Senate election in Utah is former Sen. Frank Moss, who was re-elected in 1970.

U.S. House of Representatives


Once again, Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting system may re-elect at-large Democratic US Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) even though more voters select a Republican candidate. Under the state’s primary system, four candidates advance into the general election. If no candidate receives majority support in the November vote, Ranked Choice Voting takes effect.

The Remington Research Group conducted a new poll for Republican candidate Nick Begich III (12/11-14; 672 AK likely primary voters; live interview) and the ballot test finds Rep. Peltola attracting 42% support. Mr. Begich follows in second place with 28%. Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R) is third with 9%, while Libertarian Chris Bye, running on the No Labels ballot line, would secure the fourth position with 7% of the prospective vote. If this were the actual vote totals, RCV would begin with Bye being eliminated and his second choice votes added to the aggregate.

Rep. Peltola has been successful in the Ranked Choice process in both of her elections. In this case, the RCV process would begin because no candidate reached the majority support level.


Reversing the California Secretary of State’s ruling, a California Superior Court judge ruled that state Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield) can run for the open 20th Congressional District seat that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has vacated. Because Mr. Fong had filed and been qualified as a candidate for re-election to the Assembly, the Secretary of State ruled that he could not enter the regular congressional election campaign after Mr. McCarthy announced his intention to retire. Mr. Fong challenged the administrative ruling and will now become a congressional candidate. 

Also in the regular jungle primary are Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux, five other Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents. CA-20, carrying a R+31 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, is the safest Republican seat in California. A special election to fill the balance of the current term should be called now that Mr. McCarthy has officially left office.


Saying, "I will not allow dark money that is directed at destroying me personally to steal this seat; it’s not fair to the 3rd District and the conservatives there who have fought so hard for our victories," US Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) announced she is leaving her western Colorado congressional seat to seek re-election in eastern Colorado’s 4th CD. The 4th is open because five-term Rep. Ken Buck (R-Windsor) is retiring.

Ms. Boebert, who won with the closest 2022 re-election margin of any House race in the country (a 546 vote spread from 327,132 cast ballots), severely underperformed in a 3rd District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+15. It was clear that she would be the most endangered incumbent seeking re-election in a non-redistricting political situation.

Therefore, her switch to the 4th CD, Colorado’s safest Republican seat (538: R+26; Daily Kos Elections ranks it as the 115th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference), not only enhances Rep. Boebert’s ability to remain in Congress but is a major boon to the Republican Party in that a new 3rd District GOP candidate will be at least on an even footing with the eventual Democratic nominee.

Undaunted by Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Silt) presence as a candidate in Colorado’s open 4th District, state House Minority Leader Mike Lynch (R-Wellington) continued with his political plan and announced his congressional candidacy. Including Ms. Boebert and now Mr. Lynch, a total of eleven Republicans are competing for the party nomination to succeed retiring Rep. Ken Buck (R-Windsor).

We can expect a major battle at the 4th District nominating assembly, which can send candidates directly to the primary ballot. Those not winning 30% of delegate support must petition onto the ballot. Candidates participating in the assembly but failing to reach the 10% threshold are disqualified from further competition.

At R+26 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, CO-4 is Colorado’s safest Republican seat. The eventual GOP nominee will become a prohibitive favorite to hold the seat in the general election. Former President Donald Trump carried this district with a 58-39% margin over President Biden in the 2020 election.


Georgia US Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-The Rock/Carrollton) announced that he will not seek a fifth term in the House, saying that “Georgia is a special place, and it’s calling us home.” Mr. Ferguson, first elected in 2016, served two terms as the Republican Chief Deputy Whip and is a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He averaged 66.9% of the vote in his four successful congressional campaigns.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district as R+38, while the Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the seat as the 51st safest in the Republican Conference. Donald Trump defeated President Biden here 64-34% in the 2020 election. GA-3 becomes the 38th open US House seat headed to the next election.

GA-6 & 7

During the holiday break, two Georgia US House members declared for re-election from different districts than the one in which they currently represent.

Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) announced that she will cross the Atlanta metropolitan area and seek re-election in a newly drawn 6th Congressional District that was constructed to elect a minority representative. The federal courts ordered the change, and the legislature completed the new map, which has now received legal approval.

The new 6th is heavily Democratic, carrying a 72.7D – 25.6R partisan lean according to the Dave’s Redistricting App website statisticians. This new district is majority minority with a total black population of 51.7%. Rep. McBath should have little trouble winning re-election from this newly configured CD.

Conversely, freshman Rep. Rich McCormick* (R-Suwanee), who currently represents District 6, is redistricted into new CD-7, and announced his re-election candidacy for this seat. With a partisan lean of 61.5R – 36.3D according to the Dave’s App calculations, Rep. McCormick becomes the prohibitive favorite toward winning a second term.


Now that the Georgia congressional map is set for the coming election, US Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) has drawn a third primary challenger. Attorney Brian Johnson joins utility board chairman Mike Herring and former Democratic National Committee member Liz Johnson in the May 21st Democratic primary election.

Rep. Scott, first elected in 2002, had a relatively close primary against three opponents in 2020 where he received 52.9% of the vote. Dropping below 50% would force him to a runoff election. In 2022, he rebounded to a 65.7% Democratic primary victory against a much tougher field of opponents. He enters the 2024 nomination race as the clear favorite.


Eight-term Missouri US Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer* (R-St. Elizabeth) announced yesterday that he will join the growing group of members not seeking re-election next year. Mr. Luetkemeyer becomes the 41st House member, and 17th Republican, to announcement his retirement from Congress.

The 3rd District will remain in Republican hands. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+33, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks MO-3 as the 71st safest seat in the Republican Conference. The Missouri candidate filing deadline is not until March 26th, so potential candidates have time to test their viability in what will surely become a crowded open seat Republican primary.

The 3rd District begins just north of St. Louis on the Illinois border and stretches halfway across the central part of the state before coming back around the western and southern borders of Congressional District 2. The seat houses Missouri’s capital of Jefferson City and the University of Missouri at Columbia. The district contains eleven counties and parts of five others including populous St. Charles County.


State Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (R-Las Vegas), who was viewed as a top challenger to incumbent US Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas), announced that she is dropping her federal campaign in order to seek re-election to the state Assembly.

Ms. Kasama said her rationale for the move is attempting to keep the Assembly from becoming a veto-proof chamber against Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo. The aftermath leaves the GOP temporarily without a topflight candidate in a highly competitive district (FiveThirtyEight: D+2; the Daily Kos Elections site ranks NV-3 as the 25th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference). 


Earlier reports suggested that a special election in Ohio could not be called if an incumbent resigned after the candidate filing deadline for the next regular election. Such reports have now been proven erroneous as Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has ordered the special election to replace resigning Rep. Bill Johnson* (R-Marietta) for June 11th. The qualifying special primary is scheduled concurrently with the regular election primary on March 19th. Mr. Johnson is resigning from the House on January 21st to become president of Youngstown State University.

Three Republicans have filed for the regular congressional election: state Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Leetonia), state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Township), and chiropractor Rick Tsai. It is presumed that all three will file for the special election. The Republican primary winner will be the prohibitive favorite to hold the seat for the GOP. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as safely Republican at R+31.


A former Democratic state House of Representatives candidate has filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania seeking to deny six-term US Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg/Harrisburg) a ballot position for the 2024 election. Among his charges, Gene Stilp accuses the Congressman of “engaging in insurrection or rebellion,” because he “communicated with White House officials and Trump campaign staff to discuss election fraud and procedural mechanisms.” Rep. Perry has not been charged with committing any offense.

Since the Colorado State Supreme Court denied former President Donald Trump ballot placement in the state’s primary election, and a similar course of action then followed in Maine, we can expect more of these political moves coming. The cumulative effect will very likely force the US Supreme Court to make a definitive binding ruling as it relates to insurrection, ballot access, and the 14th Amendment.


As reported in the Cook Political Report and by the Daily Kos Elections site, former Cranston Mayor and ex-gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung (R), who held freshman Rhode Island Rep. Ira Magaziner (D-Cranston) to a 50-46% win in a 2nd District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+17, will not return to run again in 2024.

Mr. Fung is clearly the Republicans’ best possible candidate, so this seat will not be considered a GOP conversion target in 2024 despite the closeness of the most recent campaign. Polling had indicated Mr. Fung was in position to score a major upset in 2022 but fell short when the votes were actually counted.


With incumbent Rep. John Curtis* (R-Provo) announcing his US Senate bid, five Republicans immediately jumped into the new open seat race. State Senator and physician Mike Kennedy (R-Cedar Hills), who formed a congressional exploratory committee in December when it appeared that Rep. Curtis would move into the Senate race, is the early leading candidate. Also running are accountant Tate Howell, businessman Case Lawrence, and former Utah Republican Party chairman Stewart Peay. Roosevelt Mayor Rod Bird, Jr., originally a Senate candidate, is instead going to file in the open 3rd District House race.

More are expected to enter, specifically state Auditor John Dougall who just announced he would not seek re-election to his current position. Ex-state Representative and congressional candidate Chris Herrod and former congressional candidate Bruce Hough are also potential open seat GOP candidates. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates UT-3 as R+26, so the eventual Republican nominee becomes the clear favorite in November.


Census Estimates

The Census Bureau released its 2023 estimates and calculated the population shifts in the 52 covered entities (all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023. Here, the Bureau found 11 places where the population grew 1% or more during the period.

The fastest growing, or “move-in,” entities are: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah, with Texas and Florida seeing the most growth. Those growing between a ½ percent and 1% are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.

A total of nine entities lost population during the test period led by New York and California. The nine “move-out” entities are: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and West Virginia. Oregon is the big surprise on the move-out list since it grew so much in the previous decade as to gain a new congressional seat in the 2021 national reapportionment.

*denotes candidate received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2023-2024 election cycle. 

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