Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and state races around the country. Enjoy!
State Rep. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) announced that she will enter the 2022 US Senate race, challenging incumbent Lisa Murkowski* (R). Ms. Gray-Jackson becomes the first Democrat to become a Senate candidate.
The party nomination may be more valuable in this election than in any other because of changes to Alaska election law. The state’s new qualifying system will feature four jungle primary candidates advancing into the general election. With the chance of three Republicans qualifying for the general, a lone Democratic slot could be valuable as the GOP contenders would likely split the majority vote. Mostly because of the election system change, the Alaska Senate race becomes one to watch.
The Alabama Republican Senate primary is now becoming a three-way affair, as former “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant apparently has become a legitimate third contender in the coming nomination election scheduled for May 24th. According to three surveys conducted since January 25th, what originally looked to be a potential outright win for US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) now appears surely headed for a secondary runoff election.
Cherry Communications reports on their latest survey (2/2-6; 600 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview) conducted for the political arm of the Alabama Farmers Federation. The results post Congressman Brooks to a 34-29-24% lead over former Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Britt, whom FarmPAC supports, and Mr. Durant, who now runs a defense engineering company headquartered in Alabama.
Earlier, Ms. Britt released her internal Deep Root Analytics survey (1/29-31; 2,088 AL likely GOP primary voters; live interview; automated response calls; and online) that gave her a slight 29-28-23% split over Rep. Brooks and Mr. Durant. Finally, WPA Intelligence, polling for the Club for Growth who supports Rep. Brooks (1/25-27; 513 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview), saw the Congressman holding a 35-30-25% edge over Mr. Durant, who vaulted into second position in this poll, and Ms. Britt.
Solar Company executive Jim Lamon (R), who launched a major TV media blitz to promote his fledgling US Senate campaign, appears to be on the right track. According to a new independent co/efficent Arizona GOP primary poll (2/6-8; 755 AZ likely Republican primary voters; text & automated interview responses), Attorney General Mark Brnovich continues to lead the crowded primary, but his margin over Mr. Lamon is now only 17-13%. Closely following is venture capitalist Blake Masters at 12%, while former Arizona Adjutant General Mick McGuire posts only 3% support.
A pair of new statewide Ohio Republican US Senate primary surveys finds businessman Mike Gibbons overtaking former state Treasurer Josh Mandel to claim first place in the battle to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R). A co/efficent survey (2/6-8; 613 OH likely Republican primary voters; text & automated interview responses) posts Mr. Gibbons to a 20-18% lead over Mr. Mandel, with state Senator and Cleveland Guardians MLB club minority owner Mike Dolan, former state Republican Party chair Jane Timken, who Sen. Portman supports, and author J.D. Vance trailing with 7-6 and 5% support, respectively.
The new Cyngal research firm’s internal poll for the Gibbons campaign (2/8-10; 609 OH likely Republican primary voters; SMS text & email) gives their candidate a much larger margin over the rest of the field. The Cygnal numbers find Mr. Gibbons holding 23% support, with Mandel, Vance, Timken, and Dolan trailing with 11-9-8 and 6%, respectively. The Gibbons’ media blitz, to an extent featuring Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) endorsing the investment banker’s candidacy, has clearly succeeded in making Mr. Gibbons a top-tier candidate. The Ohio primary is May 3rd.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that he will not challenge Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) later this year. The decision is not a surprise, since Gov. Hogan has clearly been looking toward a national race in 2024 as opposed to running what could be an uphill battle for the Senate in Maryland. Though his favorability ratings are as strong as any Governor in the country, it appears to be more difficult in today’s political climate to change partisan vote trends for federal offices. Sen. Van Hollen remains a strong favorite for re-election.
The Trafalgar Group tested the Pennsylvania GOP electorate for the upcoming May 17th US Senate primary. The survey (2/1-4; 1,070 PA GOP likely primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; text) finds Dr. Mehmet Oz leading the Republican field with former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands making a significant upward move.
Dr. Oz pulls the largest preference share at 27% with former hedge fund CEO David McCormick second at 16%, virtually tied with Ms. Sands who polled 15% support. No other candidate reached double digits. On the Democratic side, previous polls have consistently found Lt. Gov. John Fetterman running substantially ahead of Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh). The Pennsylvania general election will be one of the top national 2022 Senate campaigns.
Former US Rep. Ben McAdams (D) is suggesting to Utah Democratic Party leaders that they not file a candidate for the US Senate nomination to oppose Sen. Mike Lee (R), who is running for a third term. Instead, Mr. McAdams is suggesting that Democrats coalesce with Independent candidate Evan McMullin, the former presidential candidate who received over 21% of the Utah vote in 2016, placing just behind Hillary Clinton’s 27%. Regardless of what the Democrats decide, Sen. Lee is a prohibitive favorite for re-election in the Autumn.
U.S. House of Representatives
Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha/Cedar Rapids) released a Public Policy Polling survey (2/2-3; 623 IA-2 registered voters; live interview and text) and the results find her running predictably close in a ballot test with freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson* (R-Marion). The PPP poll sees Rep. Hinson posting only a 43-42% edge. We can expect close polling such as this in three of the state’s four districts to occur throughout the election cycle. Districts 1 (Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks*-R), 2 (Rep. Hinson), and 3 (Rep. Cindy Axne-D) are all highly competitive and each of these Hawkeye State congressional campaigns are likely to land in the toss-up category well before the November 8th elections.
According to the Jewish Insider publication, the Target Insyght survey research firm conducted a poll of the Democratic primary in Michigan’s new 11th District that features an incumbent pairing between Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township). The TI numbers (2/1-3; 400 MI-11 likely Democratic primary voters) found the two members tied at 41% apiece. Last week, Ms. Stevens released her Impact Research internal poll posting her to a 42-35% advantage.
New Jersey US Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) late this week released his internal GQR survey (1/19-27; 600 NJ likely voters; live interview) that projects the two-term incumbent falling into a flat tie with 2020 Republican nominee and former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. The ballot test results find both candidates receiving 46% support. In the 2020 congressional race, Rep. Malinowski defeated Mr. Kean with a small 51-49% margin.
Freshman New York US Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), who unseated veteran Rep. Eliot Engel in the 2020 Democratic primary, now faces an intra-party challenge of his own. Westchester County Legislator and former United Nations official Vedat Gashi made his candidacy official this week. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano (D), a former state Assemblyman, is also considering entering the contest. With almost one-quarter added territory because the new 16th district is losing its Bronx section, the Democratic primary, scheduled for June 28th, could again become interesting. The NY candidate filing deadline is April 7th.
A new BK Strategies survey of New York’s Orange County anchored 18th Congressional District (2/5-7; 300 NY-18 likely general election voters) finds Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman and five-term New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) falling into a dead heat contest in his own re-election.
Though the new Empire State Redistricting plan slightly increased the district’s Democratic vote, reportedly under the Congressman’s guidance (538 organization stats: new district D+3; current district EVEN), the BK poll stakes Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-South Salem) to a one-point lead, 38-37% over the Democratic incumbent. Even though the district should play a bit more in Rep. Maloney’s favor, this will be a GOP targeted November contest.
Former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R), who was the Republican gubernatorial nominee in both 2014 and 2018, announced that he will enter the open 2nd Congressional District race in hope of succeeding retiring 11-term Congressman Jim Langevin (D-Warwick). Redistricting won’t change the state’s two congressional districts substantially, as the 1st District needs to shed only 5,617 people to the 2nd, and that will likely come from the Providence area. Both seats will remain reliably Democratic. Since it was believed that Rhode Island might lose one of its districts in reapportionment, at 548,690 residents per district the state has the second smallest CDs in the country.
Mr. Fung is a prohibitive favorite for the Republican nomination but will be a decided underdog to whomever wins the crowded Democratic primary. The Rhode Island nomination election won’t occur until September 13th.
Though redistricting made South Carolina’s 1st District more Republican, freshman Rep. Nancy Mace* (R-Charleston) now finds herself drawing a more legitimate Republican challenger. Katie Arrington, who defeated then-representative and former Governor Mark Sanford in the 2018 Republican primary but then went onto lose the general election, announced that she will make a political comeback here this year. Ms. Arrington, who former President Donald Trump endorses, lost her associated general election through campaign mis-steps and being an unfortunate victim of a serious car accident that kept her away from the campaign trail for an extended time. The Congresswoman, however, remains the favorite to win re-nomination.
The Trafalgar Group surveyed the WA-3 jungle primary race, and they again find, as was the case in their late October poll, that Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler* (R-Battle Ground/Vancouver) is in danger of not qualifying for the general election. According to Trafalgar’s latest study (2/11-14; 697 WA-3 likely jungle primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; text), Democrat Brent Hennrich would place first with 33%, thus coalescing a large share of his party’s vote, with retired Army officer Joe Kent (R) placing second at 26%. Rep. Herrera Beutler places third with 22%. Two other Republicans combine for 17%.
Under the Washington system, all candidates are placed on the August 2nd primary ballot, with the top two finishers advancing into the general election regardless of party preference. Rep. Herrera Beutler is one of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, and most of them are having problems in their succeeding GOP primary. The former President has endorsed Mr. Kent in this contest.
WPA Intelligence released a new internal survey for West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town), as he faces fellow GOP Rep. David McKinley* (R-Wheeling) in a paired incumbent new 2nd District. The Mountain State lost a seat in reapportionment, hence the need for the two being placed in the same CD.
According to the WPAi study (2/2-3; 406 WV-2 likely Republican primary voters; live interview), Rep. Mooney would command a 43-28% lead. A month before, Public Opinion Strategies released a survey (1/4-6; 400 WV-2 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) giving Mr. Mooney a similar 45-32% advantage. Before the first of the year, polling posted Rep. McKinley to the lead. Additionally, while former President Donald Trump supports Rep. Mooney, Gov. Jim Justice (R) this week announced his endorsement of Rep. McKinley.
In what may be an unprecedented move, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman in her Republican primary challenge to at-large Rep. Liz Cheney* (R-Wilson/Jackson). The fact that the party leader would support a challenge against one of his own incumbents is an astonishing statement as to how ostracized Rep. Cheney is from her own party. The McCarthy endorsement will now mean that the official Republican Party political apparatus can also get behind Ms. Hageman.
On a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court voted to stay the lower court ruling that invalidated the new Alabama congressional map. The Republican three-judge panel had ruled that a second majority minority district could have been drawn among the state’s seven congressional districts. Arguing for the majority, Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated that the lower court decision was made too close to the 2022 election to allow a full judicial review. Analysts say this ensures that the original map will be back in place for this year’s election. The new plan is virtually an extension of the current map, which elected six Republicans and one Democrat in the 2020 election.
Responding to the special master they appointed to draw the new congressional map, the Connecticut state Supreme Court justices yesterday approved a new “least change” plan that will likely keep the state’s 5D-0R map intact. The plan merely adjusted the population so that each district met the state per district population quota of 721,189 individuals. The most out of balance district was Rep. Jim Himes’ (D-Cos Cob) 4th CD, being 25,627 people over-populated. The seat closest to the mark was Rep. John Larson’s (D-East Hartford) 1st District that needed to add just 3,535 residents.
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed, as expected, the Republican legislature’s new congressional map that makes the 3rd District of Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park/Kansas City) more competitive. After obtaining the necessary 2/3 majority in the legislature to override Gov. Kelly’s veto means the new congressional map now becomes law. Democrats pledge to challenge the new map in court.
In what has almost been a decade-long game of gerrymander ping pong, the state Supreme Court rejected the new North Carolina congressional and state legislative maps, thus repeating their actions of two previous times the high court disqualified a Republican legislature’s map. The vote was 4-3, with all four Democrats voting in favor of declaring the map a political gerrymander, consistent with their past action, while the three Republicans voted to uphold the lower court ruling that validated the plans.
Whatever happens this year, there is a good chance we will see another re-draw before the 2024 election since Republicans have a strong chance of securing a majority on the high court in the coming elections. Two of the Democratic justices are on the ballot, one is retiring, and no Republican has to risk his seat. The NC primary is June 7th.
Seeing the state Supreme Court reject for the second time the legislature’s state House and Senate redistricting plans, House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) announced that he is referring the congressional map to the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The panel is largely advisory in that the legislature must approve the maps they construct. The Redistricting Commission members have until March 15th to draw a new map that meets the state Supreme Court’s objections to the federal map that they earlier disqualified.
The state legislature approved the Washington Redistricting Commission’s congressional lines, meaning the new 10-District map has been enacted as law. The Commission members made little change in the footprint that stood for the past ten years. All incumbents (7D-3R) receive a similar district to the one they currently represent with population adjustments. The most imbalanced seat vis-a-vis population was the 6th District of Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor), which was short 33,730 individuals.
GOP Gov. Kay Ivey defends her position against two challengers with either name ID or money, and the first post-candidate filing deadline poll finds the Governor positioned to win the nomination without facing a runoff. Cherry Communications, polling for the Alabama Farmers Federation’s political arm, FarmPAC (2/2-6; 600 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview) sees the Governor holding a major 55-11-10% lead over businessman Tim James and former US Ambassador to Slovenia Lindy Blanchard.
Former DeKalb County Executive and ex-state Rep. Vernon Jones, who served as a Democrat but became a Republican to support former President Donald Trump, announced that he is withdrawing from the contested gubernatorial contest. This sets up the one-on-one primary pairing, minor candidates notwithstanding, between Gov. Brian Kemp and former Sen. David Perdue. Mr. Jones then entered the open crowded 10th District primary that Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro) is vacating to run for Secretary of State, and with Mr. Trump’s endorsement. The former President was instrumental in talking Jones out of running for Governor.
The Democratic survey research firm Blueprint Polling (2/1-4; 632 MI likely and probable general election voters; live interview) finds former Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) falling into a dead heat with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). The two are tied at 44%, according to the Blueprint results. The other significant positive for Mr. Craig, as the crosstabs revealed, is his 41-32% advantage over the Governor among Independents.
Mr. Craig has been polling close in other early campaign surveys, to the point where all four studies released since the first of the year, from four different pollsters, find the Governor’s race general election projections within the polling margin of error.
Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Democratic Governors Association (1/25-26; 628 OH likely Republican primary voters), is the third data research organization (Fabrizio Lee; The Harris Poll being the other two) to recently project a brewing Republican primary battle for Gov. Mike DeWine. The PPP result finds the Governor with a 36:43% personal approval rating and a 40:41% positive to negative job approval score among the Republican voting sample. The respondents would prefer Mr. DeWine in only a 38-33% spread opposite former US Rep. Jim Renacci in the GOP primary pairing.
The Trafalgar Group released a new Republican primary survey in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania (2/1-4; 1,070 PA likely GOP primary voters; live interview, integrated voice response system, text message, and email) and projects that former Congressman Lou Barletta is topping state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) by a 24-20% margin. Messrs. Barletta and Mastriano are the only two candidates who break into double-digit support.
State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) lags badly behind at only a 5% preference level, just ahead of former US Attorney Bill McSwain and state Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) who both registered 4%. Sen. Martin, however, recently announced his withdrawal from the race after severely breaking a leg that will lead to a long rehab period. The eventual Republican nominee will face consensus Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro, the state’s Attorney General. The Pennsylvania primary is May 17th.
In an interview with the Bloomberg News organization, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who left office last year in response to multiple sexual harassment accusations and now says he regrets quitting because of them, refused to rule out again running for office, and maybe soon. According to CNN and the New York Daily News, Mr. Cuomo is seriously testing the waters for challenging the law enforcement official who officially initiated the charges against him, Attorney General Tish James (D). Mr. Cuomo served as the state’s Attorney General from the beginning of 2007 until the end of 2010, prior to his first election as Governor.
The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court issued a stay on the statewide candidate filing deadline (March 8) and the primary (May 17), as the panel attempts to sort out the congressional redistricting situation. The move suggests that both the filing deadline and the state primary stand a good chance of being postponed. A spokesman for the PA Clerk of Courts, however, said the May 17th election date will likely stand.