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Political Snippets 2.19.21

Listed below are political snippets on the presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and state races across the country. Enjoy!

President

Nevada

Last week we reported upon former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid beginning action to convert Nevada’s presidential caucus, now the third state to vote on the political calendar, into a primary with the goal of at least becoming the premier western nomination venue. Earlier this week, the Nevada Democratic Party fell into line with an endorsement of a particular state Assembly bill that would change the caucus structure to a primary and attempt to move the state into the prime early position with a proposed election date of January 23, 2024.

The state can easily convert into a primary system, as most are, but it will take much more to usurp New Hampshire as the first-in-the-nation primary. Long ago, Granite State lawmakers ensured that their state would remain the first by allowing the Secretary of State to schedule and move the state’s presidential primary at will.

Senate

Alabama

Responding to Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R) retirement announcement, former US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard (R) yesterday declared her candidacy for the open Senate seat and said she is putting $5 million of her own money into her race. The Republican primary is expected to be crowded with the eventual winner becoming a clear favorite to win the November 2022 election.

Georgia

Former Georgia Sen. David Perdue (R), who lost his seat in the January runoff election to current Sen. Jon Ossoff (D), may be preparing for an early comeback. He has filed a 2022 US Senate committee with the Federal Election Commission in order to potentially challenge freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), who won the special Senate election also in the January runoff. The filing of a campaign committee, however, does not commit an individual to file as a candidate.

Missouri

Former state Senator Scott Sifton (D-Affton/St. Louis County), who was briefly in the 2020 Governor’s race before yielding the Democratic nomination to State Auditor Nicole Galloway, announced that he will challenge Sen. Roy Blunt (R) next year. Reportedly looking at a Republican primary challenge is former Gov. Eric Greitens, who was forced to resign from office due to a sex scandal. Much of the legal proceedings against Mr. Greitens were later dismissed, but the controversy about his behavior certainly still lingers

Ohio

While admitting to considering running for open Ohio Senate seat, five-term Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) confirmed this week that she will not become a statewide candidate. At this point, the Democratic door appears open for Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) to begin as the leading candidate for the party’s Senate nomination. Mr. Ryan says he plans to officially announce his statewide campaign in March.

In an expected political move, former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, who resigned her position just last week in anticipation of organizing a campaign, confirmed that she will enter the open US Senate race next year. This is another critical open contest that expects to draw a large field of GOP primary candidates. Sen. Rob Portman (R) is retiring.

Pennsylvania

In what is expected to be a crowded field, the first Republican capable of spending resources announced his candidacy. Businessman Jeff Bartos, the GOP nominee in 2018 for Lt. Governor, announced that he will run for the Senate. Other individuals mentioned as considering the race are former Reps. Jim Gerlach and Ryan Costello, who consecutively represented the state’s 6th CD, and defeated congressional candidate Sean Parnell, among others. For the Democrats, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is an announced candidate and state Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), son of former Philadelphia mayor John Street, is a likely contender.

South Carolina

In what is expected to be a relatively easy re-election path for South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R) as he seeks a second six-year term, his first general election opponent came forward this week. Spartanburg County chair Angela Geter, who ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in a 2017 special election, announced that she will enter the Democratic US Senate primary next year. Sen. Scott remains a prohibitive favorite for re-election.

Wisconsin

Alex Lasry, who is a Senior Vice President for the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball franchise and son of the team’s billionaire co-owner is also a former White House aide to President Barack Obama. Yesterday, Mr. Lasry announced that he will enter the 2022 US Senate race. Incumbent Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R), who originally pledged to serve only two terms, has not yet announced whether he will retire or seek a third term.

The Wisconsin Senate race promises to be one of the most important campaigns on the 2022 election docket, and we can expect more Democrats coming forward to declare their candidacies, along with an active Republican primary should Sen. Johnson choose to retire.

House

Redistricting

Late last week, Census Bureau representatives announced another delay in sending the new 2020 population data to the states. The state legislative leaders have been informed not to expect data until September 30th at the earliest. Before, July 30th was the target date. Usually, states begin receiving their data early in the first odd-numbered year of the decade, in this case 2021, so that redistricting maps can be configured for ensuing elections.

Two states, New Jersey and Virginia, are always the first to receive their data because they have odd-numbered year elections for the state legislature. Both states have already adopted contingency plans to conduct the 2021 elections in their current districts. New elections could be ordered once the redistricting process is completed. States like Texas, California, North Carolina, and Illinois, which have March primaries, will probably have to move their nomination elections to later dates in order to provide enough time to draw maps and pass them through the legislative process.

The state reapportionment announcement, at this point, is still scheduled for April 30th. Apportionment assigns the number of congressional seats that each state will have for the current decade. At least ten CDs are expected to shift states.

AZ-6

Fresh from his 52% re-election victory in a race that many had predicted he would lose, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills/ Scottsdale) has drawn his first announced 2022 challenger. Democrat Eric Ulis, who is still investigating the 1971 disappearance of hijacker D.B. Cooper, says he will oppose the Congressman in the next election. The serious candidates will be coming forward once they see how the new district lines will be drawn. With a new congressional seat headed for the Phoenix Metropolitan area, all of the regional districts will see very different boundaries for the next five elections.

CA-25

California GOP Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) won his seat in a May 2020 special election and then captured a full term in November, both times defeating then-state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall). It doesn’t appear there will be a third race between the two despite only a 333-vote difference separating them in the general election, however.

Last week, Ms. Smith filed papers to run for her former seat in the state Assembly. Republican Suzette Martinez Valladares (R-Santa Clarita) converted the open seat in November for the GOP, and it appears that Ms. Smith will challenge her for re-election. Redistricting, however, could play havoc with this region so the 2022 political situation may prove uncertain come candidate filing time.

CO-3

Just a month into this congressional session, freshman Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) has already drawn her seventh 2022 Democratic challenger. Now coming forward is state Rep. Donald Valdez (D-La Jara) who announced his candidacy yesterday complete with a congressional campaign website. The most prominent candidate in the field is state Senate President Pro Tempore Kerry Donovan (D-Gunnison). She, too, has already produced a campaign video. Legislators Donovan and Valdez are the only elected officials so far in the burgeoning congressional candidate field.

GA-7 & 11

Physician and retired Navy officer Rich McCormick (R), who finished within 2 1/2 points of freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee/ Lawrenceville) in the November election despite being outspent 2:1, is indicating he will return for another attempt in 2022. The Democrats’ GA-7 victory is the only non-redistricting related conversion seat the party recorded nationally in 2020.

In another Atlanta metro district, biotech company executive Heather Kilpatrick (D) announced that she will challenge four-term Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) in a suburban 11th District that has not turned toward the Democrats as have the immediate adjacent seats. Rep. Loudermilk was re-elected 60-40% in November in a race that never developed since neither side even spent $1 million.

IL-1

Jahmal Cole has come to local notoriety in Chicago as a community activist and one of the most influential people in Chicago city politics. His organization, My Block, My Hood, My City, is a service organization that has drawn honors and positive reviews. Veteran Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago), however, is no stranger to primary opposition during his 15 terms in Congress, particularly in the last decade. This will be his fourth Democratic primary challenge since the 2012 election cycle. In the previous three races, Mr. Rush has been victorious with an average vote of 75.6%.

IL-16

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) has been one of the most high-profile Republican critics of former President Donald Trump and as a result has now drawn his fourth 2022 Republican primary challenger. Earlier in the week, management consultant Jim Marter announced that he will run, thus already expanding the field of challengers to almost a half-dozen.

With Illinois assuredly losing one seat in reapportionment, the district lines will greatly change so it is difficult to assess any political situation at this point. Since Illinois is a plurality state, the more opponents for Rep. Kinzinger the easier time he will have winning re-nomination with a smaller vote share. The Congressman could find himself in a serious race if all of the opponents would unify behind one challenger, but, at least at this point, such appears unlikely to happen.

NY-22

In a surprising move, and despite filing appeals of State Supreme Court of Oswego County Justice Scott DelConte’s various ballot acceptance and rejection rulings, former Congressman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) conceded the outstanding 2020 congressional election to ex-Rep. Claudia Tenney (R). The final count is a scant victory margin of 109 votes from a pool of 318,867 tallies recorded for a major party candidate.

NC-9

State Rep. Charles Graham (D-Lumberton), who claims to be one of the most conservative Democrats in the North Carolina legislature, announced earlier in the week that he will challenge Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) next year.

Mr. Bishop won an expensive special election in 2019 when the seat was declared vacant because of voter fraud charges levied against the previous apparent winner. He then clinched a full term last November with a 56-44% victory margin. With North Carolina gaining another congressional seat in reapportionment, the 9th District, and many others in the state, could look very different come the 2022 election. Therefore, it’s conceivable that a Bishop-Graham contest will not occur even if both run for the House.

NC-11

Retired Air Force Colonel Moe Davis (D), who spent more than $2 million in his race against North Carolina freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville), is beginning a fundraising drive in preparation for a re-match with his 2020 opponent.

Redistricting will change the district to a degree, but the western NC district is bordered on three sides by other states; therefore, the core configuration will remain intact. Rep. Cawthorn, at 25 years of age, is the House’s youngest member. He defeated Mr. Davis 55-42% in November, which proved a surprisingly strong result based upon pre-election predictions.

TX-22

Two-time Democratic congressional nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni (D), who lost last November to freshman Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Richmond/Sugar Land), is unlikely to return for a third congressional run in 2022. Mr. Kulkarni just accepted a position in the Biden Administration as the AmeriCorps chief of external relations. In his two congressional runs, Mr. Kulkarni recorded 46 and 45% of the vote in 2018 and 2020, respectively, despite having a better than 5:1 spending advantage in the latter campaign.

TX-34

Texas’ 34th District is anchored in the city of Brownsville and Cameron County near the Mexican border before it stretches northward to the outer San Antonio region. This past November, the district ran closer than in past elections with Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) winning a 55-42% victory against an opponent who spent less than $35,000. Former President Donald Trump pulled to within just four points of President Joe Biden in a 17-point improvement from his 2016 performance.

Late last week, Republican Mayra Flores stepped forward to announce that she will challenge the five-term Congressman. Redistricting will change the district because the 34th is one of just four Texas districts that apparently need a population influx. Additionally, the region itself may be changing, suggesting that this seat could get more Republican. The adjoining district, TX-15, which must shed population, saw its Congressman, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen), win with only 50.5% of the vote and President Biden eke out just a two-point win over former Mr. Trump.

WA-3

Former Trump Administration Selective Service System official Wadi Yakhour (R) announced a challenge to five-term Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground/Vancouver) late this week. Rep. Beutler is one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump after the Capitol insurgence.

Because Washington utilizes a top-two jungle primary structure, this is not a traditional nomination challenge. As a result, the system makes it more difficult for any challenger to deny an incumbent such as Rep. Beutler from advancing into the general election from what evolves into a multi-candidate August 2022 qualifying election.

WA-9

Washington educator Stephanie Gallardo (D), a national board member of the National Education Association, announced that she will enter the 2022 congressional race to challenge veteran Democratic Congressman Adam Smith (D-Bellevue), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Assuming the 9th District is not drastically changed in redistricting, the chances of two Democrats advancing into the general election from the August qualifying election are relatively high, meaning this particular challenge could develop into a cycle-long campaign.

Governor

Arkansas

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (R), who previously served two terms in the US House of Representatives, had earlier declared his intention to enter the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) but now has changed course. Now that former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, daughter of former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, joined the gubernatorial race Mr. Griffin opted to run for the open Attorney General’s position. That office’s current incumbent, Republican Leslie Rutledge, remains as a gubernatorial candidate

California

Organizers of the “Recall Gavin 2020” operation announced over the holiday weekend that they have now exceeded the 1.5 million mark in petition signatures for a recall election of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). The threshold is significant in that the minimum number of valid California registered voter signatures to force the election is 1,495,709, or 12% of the number of people voting in the last gubernatorial election (2018).

At this point, validity rate is running at 84.4%, meaning the organizers will need at least 233,330 more signatures if this acceptance rate remains consistent throughout the verification process. The signature submission deadline is March 17th but could be qualified earlier if the Secretary of State validates the overall minimum number prior to the deadline. The Recall Gavin 2020 movement has a goal of submitting at least two million signatures for verification.

Producing a much different result from the University of California at Berkeley poll we covered last week that projected voters would reject recalling Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office (45-36% against) should the petition effort against him ultimately qualify for the ballot, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) countered with his WPA Intelligence survey (2/12-14; 645 likely CA recall voters; interactive voice response system). This poll finds a 47-43% margin in favor of ousting Mr. Newsom.  The most surprising aspect portends 26% of self-identified Democrats saying they would support such a recall ballot proposition.

Florida

While Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is making a name for himself with conservatives by wanting to fight any travel restriction upon the state that President Biden may initiate, Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) released a video talking about how Florida “could be doing better” in handling the pandemic.

It was long thought that Ms. Fried, the state’s lone Democratic officeholder, would run for Governor in 2022 and her early moves suggest she is moving in that direction. Though Gov. DeSantis was elected by a very small plurality, 32,463 votes statewide, Ms. Fried’s margin was even less: 6,753 votes from more than 8 million cast ballots.

Illinois

Former state Senator and 2014 Attorney General nominee Paul Schimpf announced this week that he will enter the 2022 Governor’s race in an attempt to unseat first-term incumbent J.B. Pritzker (D). In his one statewide effort, Mr. Schimpf lost to then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D), 59-38%. The Illinois voting patterns have grown even more Democratic since then, suggesting that any GOP gubernatorial nominee will have a very difficult task of being seriously competitive in the next election.

Michigan

Software company executive Austin Chenge is the first individual to announce his 2022 gubernatorial candidacy. Mr. Chenge will compete for the Republican nomination for the right to challenge Wolverine State Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the 2022 general election.

Virginia

Businessman Peter Doran is the latest to announce his entry into the 2021 Republican gubernatorial campaign becoming the third serious private sector candidate. Already in the race are venture capitalist Pete Snyder and investment executive Glenn Youngkin, who are both running television ads in preparation for the closed nomination convention process.

Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), who was Speaker of the House when Republicans were in the majority, is the top elected official in the field of candidates. The eventual nominee will be a decided underdog to likely Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, the former Governor. Incumbent Ralph Northam (D) is ineligible to seek a second term from the only state that limits its chief executives from running in consecutive elections.

States

Illinois House

State Rep. Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), until earlier this month, had served 36 non-consecutive years as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, which is a national political record. Yesterday, he resigned his seat in the state House. Mr. Madigan, 78 years of age and also the Illinois Democratic Party chairman, leaves the elected office he first won in the 1970 election.

In the leadership organizing election for this term, Mr. Madigan fell short of obtaining the necessary support to retain the Speakership from within his own party caucus, ultimately losing the post to state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Westchester) thus ending the Madigan era. He will continue in his role as state party chairman, however, along with maintaining his local ward party chairmanship. The latter post allows Mr. Madigan to appoint his successor in the state House. Illinois does not hold special elections to fill vacant state legislative seats.


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