Listed below are political snippets on congressional and gubernatorial races around the country. Enjoy!
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas (D), who may well have been the Democrats’ strongest available open seat US Senate candidate, said this week that he will seek re-election later this year instead of venturing into the statewide campaign.
At this point, the Democrats’ leading candidate appears to be former St. Louis area state Senator Scott Sifton. The major battle looms in the Republican primary, as former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, US Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) and Billy Long (R-Springfield), and state Senate President Dave Schatz are preparing for a tough GOP primary campaign. Two-term incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt (R) is retiring.
In late December, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick of Pittsburgh announced he was forming a US Senate exploratory committee and would launch his effort with a major statewide media blitz. While he did run spots throughout the state around the holiday season that were part well wishing and part biography, the disclaimer didn’t even mention the U.S. Senate race. It’s unusual that a candidate would invest over $1 million in a statewide media promotion within the busy and expensive holiday advertising season and not indicate the ad’s purpose or contain an action request.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune* (R), the Senate Minority Whip, is reportedly leaning toward making a retirement announcement according to a story in the New York Times. While the report may or may not prove accurate, Sen. Thune did say earlier in the year that he was contemplating whether or not to seek another six-year term, and would announce his plans at the end of this year. Therefore, we should know shortly.
Should he decide upon retirement, expect at-large Rep. Dusty Johnson* (R-Mitchell) to declare for the Senate. If so, a major Republican primary battle for the open House seat will ensue. It is not anticipated that Gov. Kristi Noem (R) would run in an open Senate race, as she has repeatedly pledged to seek re-election.
U.S. House of Representatives
The Grand Canyon State was one of several places to complete their redistricting maps as the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission approved a congressional plan and new state legislative districts. In Arizona, a multi-member legislative district elects one Senator and two Representatives.
The congressional map will likely prove to be one of the nation’s most competitive, as the swing could move all the way from 6D-3R to 3D-6R depending upon a particular election year’s political winds. Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona), David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills), and Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) have the most challenging re-election districts, while the Tucson open seat of retiring Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) moves from a lean D to a toss-up rating.
Northern California Congressman Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) announced that he will seek re-election in the state’s new 5th District, a seat that stretches from the Sacramento area to Fresno. The new 5th contains about 40% of Mr. McClintock’s current 4th District constituency. The new 3rd CD houses just short of 60% of the Congressman’s current constituents, but the 5th is much more Republican.
State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay), who had already announced for the 3rd District in anticipation of McClintock choosing the 5th, will be the early front runner for that seat. Had he remained in Congress, former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) would have likely ran for re-election in the new 5th.
The third Democratic US Representative announced her intention not to seek re-election. Fifteen-term California congressional incumbent Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Downey) will retire after serving 30 years in the House when the current Congress ends. She succeeded her father in the seat, then-Rep. Ed Roybal, who retired in 1992 after serving his own 30 years in the House.
Congresswoman Roybal-Allard is the fifth California incumbent to not seek re-election. Four Golden State members, three Democrats and one Republican, are retiring from the House while Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) is running for Mayor of the state’s largest city. The total open seats for the 2022 election cycle, to date, has now reached 41 when including retirements, those seeking other offices, reapportionment seats, and the districts newly created in re-mapping process.
Though former Rep. Harley Rouda (D) had announced for a re-match with freshman Rep. Michelle Steel* (R-Orange County) after losing the 2020 election, the new redistricting map changed the fortunes of both potential 2022 political combatants. Rep. Steel is now seeking re-election in the new 45th CD, which is a more Republican friendly district, while Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) is running in the more Democratic 47th District. This leaves Mr. Rouda with no reasonable place to run, hence the decision to end his 2022 campaign.
Under the new California congressional redistricting plan, the state’s 49th District of Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) that stretches from Orange into San Diego County becomes slightly more competitive. Therefore, a stronger Republican contender has entered the race. Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett this week declared her congressional candidacy.
Rep. Levin scored an original 56% victory in 2018, but saw his percentage drop to 53% in the most recent election. The new district confines suggest an even closer electoral district. San Juan Capistrano Councilman Brian Maryott (R), who held Rep. Levin to his smaller 2020 re-election percentage, is also running again.
Amid cries that the California Citizens Redistricting Commission is anything but non-partisan, the members approved and sent toward final adoption a new 52-district congressional map that will likely give Democrats even more seats. The current partisan division is 42D-11R, but the new plan looks to possibly erode the Republican contingent to nine, though several of the districts could become competitive. The GOP might remain at parity or even net a slight seat gain in a Republican wave year.
California lost one seat in reapportionment. Therefore, the 47th and 40th Districts of retiring Reps. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Downey) were combined to construct a new 42nd CD, which is heavily Democratic. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), who is leaving the House to enter the campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles, sees her 37th District, which was on the chopping block in the first draft map, restored almost intact.
More research will be done on the likely-to-be-adopted California congressional map when detailed district descriptions become available, but it looks like several incumbent members will have decisions before them about where to run.
Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) sees his 10th District going from a R1 rating according to the FiveThirtyEight statistical organization analysis to R17. Therefore, it is unlikely he will run in what is now numbered District 5. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) may leave what is a new 13th District at D7 and move to the downtown Fresno seat, now labeled District 21, that has much of resigning Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-Tulare) territory but is rated a D16. Doing so might allow Rep. Harder to drop down into new District 13.
We will probably see a district swap between Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) and Jimmy Panetta* (D-Carmel Valley) due to geography and between Reps. Michelle Steel* (R-Orange County) and Katie Porter (D-Irvine) for partisan reasons.
In a surprising move, three-term Florida US Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park) announced that she will leave the House at the end of the current Congress. She is the third member of the Florida delegation to not seek re-election in addition to the state gaining a new seat in national reapportionment. Furthermore, the special election to fill the state’s vacant seat, the late Rep. Alcee Hastings’ (D-Delray Beach) 20th District, will be held on January 11th.
KS-3: Iraq/Afghan War veteran John McCaughrean (R) became the second Republican to announce his candidacy in the state’s Kansas City anchored 3rd District. Both Mr. McCaughrean and 2020 nominee Amanda Adkins, the former state Republican Party chair who garnered 44% of the vote, are vying to oppose two-term Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park).
Once redistricting happens, this district will likely become more Democratic. With a Republican legislature and a Democratic Governor, it is unlikely that the GOP legislative leaders will be able to draw the 4R-0D map that they may desire. Expect all four current incumbents to receive stronger partisan districts. The Davids’ district must shed 57,816 people to other CDs, thus giving map drawers the opportunity of consolidating more Democratic vote in her KS-3 seat.
Fifteen-term veteran Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) announced that he will retire. Prior to serving 30 years in the US House, Mr. Rush was a member of the Chicago City Council for ten years. Anticipating Rep. Rush’s decision, seven Democrats had already announced their congressional candidacies, but none are elected officials. With the open seat now official, we can expect several Democratic Chicago pols to run.
In addition to serving 15 terms, Mr. Rush’s claim to national fame was defeating then-state Senator Barack Obama in a 2000 Democratic congressional primary. Like former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Mr. Obama had lost a bid for the House of Representatives all early in their respective careers.
Freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland), whose district was torn apart in the Democratic congressional map re-draw thus forcing her into a paired situation with another Republican incumbent, announced that she will challenge Rep. Rodney Davis* (R-Taylorville) in the new 15th District.
Rep. Miller’s other choice would have been to oppose Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) in the southern Illinois seat. Ms. Miller represents more of the new 15th District constituency than Rep. Davis, a five-term US House veteran. The district is safely Republican, so whichever member wins the Republican primary will have an easy ride in the general election.
The 25th Democratic House member to leave Congress came to the forefront during the week as four-term Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) announced that she will retire when the current congressional session concludes at the end of this year. Ms. Lawrence currently represents the 14th District and has had easy re-election runs since her original victory in 2014. She was placed in the new 12th District under the adopted redistricting plan, but her Southfield political base remained intact within the altered boundaries.
Upon the Lawrence retirement announcement, neighboring Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) immediately said that she will now run in the 12th CD instead of the downtown Detroit 13th. This leaves the latter seat open, and we can expect a major Democratic primary battle as the precursor to winning the seat in November.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission completed work on the congressional map, a plan that pairs two sets of incumbents and creates at least three highly competitive districts.
Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) and Fred Upton* (R-St. Joseph) are paired in a new 4th District that includes the Democratic cities of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, while in the Detroit suburbs, Democratic Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills/Livonia) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) are paired in a new safe Democratic 11th CD. Reps. Peter Meijer* (R-Grand Rapids), Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly/Lansing) and Dan Kildee (D-Flint) also get competitive seats. The most likely scenario is Republicans dropping a net one seat, and possibly two; the former due to reapportionment reducing the state delegation from 14 seats to 13.
Several current and former African American Detroit state legislators announced they are suing the Michigan Redistricting Commission members for what they say are Voting Rights Act violations against African American voters in the city of Detroit. The legislators claim the boundaries the commissioners drew for the congressional, state Senate, and state House of Representative maps are illegal. The court officials will assign the case once the documentation is officially filed.
The Republican controlled Mississippi House of Representatives passed a new congressional map that will likely lock in the state’s 3R-1D party division delegation split. The state Senate will vote on the plan next week, and it is expected to be adopted. Democrats complained that the Delta area’s 2nd District, which now stretches through almost the state’s entire western border, drifted too far south. But, needing an additional 65,829 people, there was little option left to the map drawers but to expand the 2nd District borders.
Now that the Nevada congressional lines are complete and the three Clark County seats are all competitive but lean toward the Democrats, a new candidate has joined the growing 4th District field to challenge three-term Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas). State Assemblywoman Annie Black (R-Mesquite) this week announced her congressional candidacy, becoming the first elected official to enter the Republican primary. Already in the race are former NBA professional basketball player Tony Lane, retired pro boxer Jesse Vargas, and insurance agency owner and 2020 congressional candidate Sam Peters.
New Hampshire Redistricting
The New Hampshire state House of Representatives passed a new congressional map through to the state Senate that would give Republicans a much stronger chance of converting the swing 1st District, a seat that has defeated more incumbents than any other CD in the country since 2004. Moving the Democratic cities of Portsmouth and Durham to the 2nd District and adding stronger Republican areas along the eastern Massachusetts border will make the 1st more Republican friendly while sealing Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) into a secure Democratic seat.
New Jersey Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) announced that he will not seek a ninth full term in his 8th District US House seat next year. The Congressman was first elected in a 2006 concurrent special and general election replacing then-Rep. Bob Menendez (D) who had been appointed to the Senate. Prior to his election to the US House, Mr. Sires had been Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly. At the time, the eastern New Jersey district that borders the Hudson River across from New York City was numbered CD-13.
Expected to run to replace Rep. Sires is attorney Robert J. Menendez, Senator Menendez’s son. He apparently already has the key local party leaders’ support.
New Jersey Redistricting
It appears that the New Jersey Redistricting Commission comprised of six Democratic elected officials, six similar Republicans, and a state Supreme Court selected tie-breaking member, have agreed upon a new congressional map. New Jersey’s representation level remained constant with 12 seats, so it was a matter of adjusting the current districts.
New Mexico Redistricting
We can count on seeing strong competition in at least two of New Mexico’s three US House districts next year. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed the Democratic legislature’s new congressional map early last week, thus completing the redistricting process. The Democratic leadership, under some pressure from national party leaders, drew a map that they hope will bring them a 3D-0R delegation, but to do so they will have to win two relatively marginal districts.
Both the 2nd and 3rd favor the Democrats, but Republicans would be in position to conceivably win both in a wave election year. Freshman Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell* (R-Alamorgordo) is in the most difficult political position seeing her seat flip an approximate 15 points toward the Democrats. Still, she has a fighting chance to survive in the next election. As a result, freshman Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-Santa Fe) will be tasked with defending a much more competitive 3rd District that will stretch from the Colorado border almost to Texas along the state’s eastern border.
With the new Ohio map giving Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) a 50-48% Biden district (R+3 according to the FiveThirtyEight statistical organization analysis, a decrease of five Republican points from the current CD), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has successfully recruited Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman (D) to challenge the 13-term incumbent. The 1st District has typically been a swing seat, and the 2021 redistricting map makes the domain even more competitive. This campaign will likely evolve into a toss-up race.
Rhode Island Redistricting
Before reapportionment was announced, it looked like the Ocean State of Rhode Island would be reduced to at-large status. When the final census numbers were released, such did not happen, and the state retained its two congressional districts, albeit having the second smallest seats in the country at 548,690 residents per CD. Most states see per district population numbers over or around 760,000 people.
Montana has the smallest CDs at 542,113 individuals per seat, while Idaho has the largest at 919,553 residents in each of their two federal districts. To bring Rhode Island’s pair of districts into population balance, only 5,617 people had to move from the 1st District to the 2nd. Such a map was easily drawn.
With the South Carolina legislature apparently considering a new congressional redistricting map that would make the already political marginal 1st Congressional District even more Democratic, a new contender has come forward to announce his candidacy. Businessman and Marine Corps veteran Tim Lewis (D) says he will challenge freshman Republican Nancy Mace* (R-Charleston) next year.
The proposed map is far from being adopted, but any lessening of the 1st CD’s Republican strength will make the seat vulnerable. Four Republicans to date are challenging Rep. Mace in the party primary. None of the candidates had raised even $50,000 before the September 30th financial disclosure period. It remains to be seen if anyone has gained substantial backing since. The next Federal Election Commission reports will be published after January 15, 2022.
The Texas candidate filing deadline expired on December 13th, and now the parties have approved the 2022 candidates who will compete in the March 1st party primaries. Among the 38 seats, we see 32 incumbents seeking re-election. Republicans filed candidates in all 38 districts, while six Republican incumbents will head into the campaign cycle with no Democratic opposition. Assuming the Texas congressional map withstands the filed lawsuits, Republicans look to be in position to gain one seat in the upcoming electoral contests.
The court approved congressional redistricting map is significantly different than the special masters’ first version. The state Supreme Court changed the 7th and 10th Districts both in favor of the Democratic incumbents who fared poorly under the original draw. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) now gets a much safer Democratic 10th District, and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) can run here as the final District 7 version includes three counties that she currently represents.
The new 7th, however, is no longer as safe a Democratic seat as it became under the first special masters’ version. The most vulnerable incumbent remains Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) in a Tidewater region 2nd District that now leans Republican.
Former Pavillion Mayor Marissa Joy Selvig announced that she is leaving the Republican primary battle against at-large Rep. Liz Cheney* (R-Wilson), but will compete in the general election on the Constitution Party ballot line. Ms. Selvig is now the fourth GOP primary contender to leave the race after former President Donald Trump endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman (R). Remaining in the contest are GOP state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie) and retired Army Colonel Denton Knapp. The open Wyoming primary is scheduled for August 16th.
Two prominent state Republicans who were expected to run for Governor in their respective domains will not. Former Maryland Lt. Governor and ex-Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele* and commentator and 2021 California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder (R) both say they will not run for Governor in 2022. The Elder announcement is a surprise since he announced after the failed re-call of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) that he would return with a new campaign in 2022.
Saying that former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof "does not meet the constitutional requirements to serve,” Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) disqualified him from obtaining a ballot position in the upcoming open Governor’s election. Oregon has a three-year residency requirement before running for statewide office, a mandate that Kristof, who voted in New York’s 2020 elections, did not meet.
Saying that a "failing political establishment in Oregon has chosen to protect itself, rather than give voters a choice,” Kristof vowed to file a legal challenge against the residency law.