Political Snippets from Around the Country

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


New Hampshire

Former President Donald Trump successfully won the New Hampshire Republican primary Tuesday night and did so by about eleven percentage points, but his performance is apparently not enough to convince former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to leave the race. In her concession speech, Ms. Haley pledged to continue moving forward and referenced her home state of South Carolina as a place that could reverse the political tide. Polling, however, suggests that she is not as strong there as in New Hampshire.

For the Democrats, President Joe Biden, despite not being on the primary ballot, won the election with write-in ballots that tallied 65.5% of the vote. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who said he had no fundamental disagreement with the President over issues but believes Democrats should have a choice particularly with an 81-year old in office, secured 20% of the vote. Author Marianne Williamson attracted most of the remaining votes with just over 4 percent.

The New Hampshire primary yielded a record Republican turnout. The final participation count exceeded 325,000. The previous record of 284,120 was set in 2016. The final Democratic turnout number is in the 118,000 range.


A new Survey USA poll for KTSP-TV in Minneapolis (1/24-29; 1,594 MN likely voters) finds a surprisingly tight presidential race with President Joe Biden leading Donald Trump only 42-39%.

Morning Consult/Bloomberg & Quinnipiac Polls

It’s a common saying in the National Football League that “on any given Sunday any team can beat another.” A similar phrase appears applicable in political polling, as well. On almost any given day, we can find polls that disagree over outcome even though conducted during the same time period. The new Morning Consult/ Bloomberg News and Quinnipiac University surveys are good examples.

The day began with Morning Consult/Bloomberg releasing their new regional survey series (1/16-22; 4,596 registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; online; part of regular tracking) that finds former President Donald Trump leading in all of the key swing states with margins between three (Arizona, Pennsylvania) to ten percentage points (North Carolina). Michigan and Wisconsin each posted five point Trump margins, while Georgia and Nevada were closer to the North Carolina number at +8.

Turning to their national track, MC/Bloomberg posted Mr. Trump to a two point advantage over President Joe Biden in the head-to-head ballot test.

Yet, the Quinnipiac University release, regarding a poll in the field within a similar same time frame as MC/Bloomberg though earlier in January (1/4-8; 1,680 US registered voters; live interview), posts President Biden to his biggest national popular vote lead of any recent poll, 50-44%. When the Independent and minor party candidates are added, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the Biden edge shrinks to just two percentage points, which is consistent with other pollsters.


Susquehanna Polling & Research released the results of their latest Pennsylvania statewide survey (1/15-21; 745 PA registered voters; live interview & online) and finds a surprising result. The Susquehanna data sees President Joe Biden assuming an eight point lead over former President Donald Trump, 47-39%, which is well beyond other pollsters’ findings during the past month.

During that time span, the Bullfinch Group, Redfield and Wilton Strategies, and Quinnipiac University were all testing the Keystone State electorate and determined much closer ballot test results. Those firms saw results ranging from Even support between the two candidates (Bullfinch), to Trump leading by one point (Redfield), and Biden up two (Q-Poll). We can expect to see regular PA polling from now to Election Day producing a myriad of results that will, at one time or another, favor each candidate.

South Carolina

A new Monmouth University poll for the Washington Post (1/26-30; 815 SC registered voters; live interview & online) sees Donald Trump posting a major 58-32% lead over former Governor Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina leading to the February 24th Republican primary election.

Mr. Trump holds an advantage among both men and women in the statewide voter sample, and within all age groups. He trails Ms. Haley only among college educated voters, but by only two points, and certain non-evangelical voter groups. Additionally, 90% of the respondents saying they would vote for Trump in the primary election would do so in the general election even if he is convicted of some of the many legal charges he faces.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (I) and Libertarian Party leaders confirm they are discussing the possibility of the former becoming the party’s presidential nominee. Though they are likely a long way from coming to an agreement, mostly because some of Kennedy’s major issue positions such as climate change and gun control do not align with the party leadership, the move makes practical sense for both entities.

First, being the Libertarian Party nominee would give Kennedy ballot access in all 50 states, something that is difficult for any Independent to obtain. The Libertarian Party was the only non-Democratic or Republican entity to achieve universal ballot status in 2020 (Libertarian nominee Jo Jorgensen appeared on the Libertarian line in 48 states and the District of Columbia; in Alabama and Tennessee, she appeared as an Independent), and they again would with Kennedy as their nominee.

Additionally, featuring Mr. Kennedy as their candidate, it is highly likely that the Libertarian Party would attract its highest historical number of votes. This is important for the organization’s future because many states base future party status upon performance in the national election.

U.S. Senate


As the March 5th Super Tuesday vote approaches, polling in the California Senate jungle primary consistently shows Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) nailing down first place, but second is undecided.

The latest released survey, from the University of Southern California for the Center for Urban Politics and Policy at California State University at Long Beach (1/21-29; 1,416 CA likely jungle primary voters) sees Rep. Schiff holding a 25-15-15-7% lead over Republican baseball great Steve Garvey (R) and US Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine). Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) trailed the other major candidates in fourth position.

Under the California system, all primary contenders compete on the same ballot with the top two, regardless of percentage attained and party affiliation, advancing to the general election.


A new internal Hickman Analytics poll for the David Trone for Senate campaign (1/18-24; 1,500 MD likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) sees Mr. Trone, the 6th District Congressman, leading Prince Georges County Executive Angela Alsobrooks by a 45-34% margin in the open Democratic US Senate primary. The poll contained an oversample of African Americans and females to emphasize the groups with which Rep. Trone is weakest.

Though the early numbers look good for the Congressman, it must be understood that his campaign has spent well over $15 million to date, and $7 million alone just since November according to the Inside Elections publication. Mr. Trone has been advertising since May.

The Alsobrooks campaign has yet to run an ad. Since it is clear that she cannot match the Congressman in an ad war with him self-financing the race from his huge personal wealth, the Alsobrooks strategists are waiting until late in the contest to unleash their own ad buys. She will be competitive as we get closer to the May 14th primary, so despite Trone’s polling and resource lead, this primary battle is far from over.


In the same Susquehanna Polling & Research study that produced an eight point lead for President (see Pennsylvania above in President’s section), the data firm returned the closest US Senate poll we’ve seen from Pennsylvania in more than a month. According to the Susquehanna results, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) edges Republican David McCormick by only a four-point margin, 46-42%. This is a surprising result from the same sample that produced an eight point lead for President Biden.

Other pollsters during the past 30-day period see the race trending significantly more one-sided than Susquehanna. The Bullfinch Group in mid-December found Sen. Casey holding a 15 point lead, while Quinnipiac University projects Sen. Casey topping Mr. McCormick, 53-43%. The Susquehanna poll is the first study within the current time frame to find the Pennsylvania Senate race falling within the polling margin of error.

U.S. House of Representatives


The California Secretary of State has attested that nine candidates have qualified for the March 19th special election to replace resigned former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). Controversy, however, still surrounds the favorite to win the electoral contest, Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield).

Since Mr. Fong had already filed for re-election before Rep. McCarthy resigned from the Congress, the Secretary of State ruled that he could not enter the congressional race because such action would violate a California election law that prohibits individuals from simultaneously running for multiple offices. Mr. Fong sued over the administrative ruling and won in Superior Court. Therefore, he has been slated as a congressional candidate while not being removed from the state Assembly ballot.

The state is appealing the court ruling so even if Mr. Fong wins the special election as expected, he could be hampered by a future court decision.

Also qualifying are Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R), and seven other Republicans, Democrats, and No Party Preference candidates. If no one receives majority support on March 19th, the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation will advance to a special general election on May 21st. The regular election cycle primary is scheduled for March 5th, featuring most of these candidates. The special winner will serve the balance of Rep. McCarthy’s term.


Originally being elected to Congress in 1992 and serving only two terms after a mid-decade court-ordered redistricting map changed the political landscape thus forcing him to retire, state Sen. Cleo Fields (D-Baton Rouge) announced that he will enter the race to fill the new court-ordered revamped 6th Congressional District that stretches from Baton Rouge to Shreveport. Therefore, Sen. Fields will attempt a long-awaited return to the US House, a body from which he departed 28 years ago.

We can expect a spirited open seat campaign among Democrats who will be competing to win the new district later in this year’s regular election. The seat is designed to elect an African American Democrat. Current 6th District incumbent Rep. Garret Graves* (R-Baton Rouge) will look to run elsewhere, probably in the new 5th District where he will be forced to challenge fellow GOP Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start).


Maryland US Rep. Charles A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) announced during the week that he will not seek a 12th term in the House, thus completing what will be 30 consecutive years in elective office counting his time in Congress and as Baltimore County Executive. He leaves a northern Maryland congressional district that could be on the cusp of competitiveness, but Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski (D) appears primed as Rep. Ruppersberger’s heir apparent.

The 2nd District covers the area just north of Baltimore city and extends all the way to the Pennsylvania border. It includes about 2/3 of Baltimore County, 90% of Carroll County, and about 30,000 residents in Baltimore City. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+11. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 52.5D – 41.4R partisan lean, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks MD-2 as the Democrats’ 62nd most vulnerable seat.


State Senator Carol Blood (D-Bellevue), who was the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and lost to now-Gov. Jim Pillen (R), 59-36%, announced that she will now challenge Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) in the state’s 1st District that surrounds the Omaha metropolitan area on three sides. Mr. Flood was elected in a 2022 special election after Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) resigned. He won a full term in November with 58% of the vote. Ms. Blood’s candidacy gives the Democrats a credible challenger in what is considered a safe Republican seat.


Democrats want to make a strong run against freshman New Jersey US Rep. Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), but one of their candidates decided to end his congressional bid. Summit Township Councilman Greg Vartan announced that he will suspend his campaign leaving former State Department official Jason Blazakis and ex-Working Families Party state director Sue Altman as the two competing Democrats.

Former Congressman Tom Malinowski (D), the man Rep. Kean unseated in 2022, recently announced he would not enter the Senate race. Speculation has surrounded him about seeking a congressional rematch, but there is no tangible evidence that the former Representative is planning to make a 2024 comeback.


The Daily Kos Elections and AdImpact organizations charted the spending in the special congressional election to replace expelled Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) as we approach the February 13th election day. According to their data, the overall Democratic operation is outspending the encompassing Republican effort by a large amount, $9.6 million to $5.7 million. The two candidates are former US Rep. Tom Suozzi for the Democrats, and Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip for the GOP.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, however, is coming in late to help even the score. They have reserved $2.6 million in television and digital ads to bring the final days spending into parity. In terms of spending booked for the final two weeks, the Democratic advantage narrows to $2.8 to $2.44 million.


New York US Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), who announced back in November that he would resign the House seat he has held for almost 20 years to take a position in the non-profit sector back in Buffalo, issued a statement saying that he is leaving Congress on February 2nd. Once the seat is officially vacant, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will have ten days to call the special election for a period no less than 70 and no greater than 80 days from the scheduling announcement.

The local Democratic county chairmen have already chosen state Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as the party’s special election nominee. Republicans are not likely to be competitive in the Buffalo anchored district which carries a partisan rating of D+18 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. At this point, the local Republican county chairs have not announced a special election nominee.


Earlier in the week, South Carolina US Rep. Nancy Mace*’s (R-Charleston) former chief of staff, Dan Hanlon, filed a congressional campaign committee to challenge her in this year’s Republican primary. Late this week, a former Nikki Haley gubernatorial cabinet official, Catherine Templeton, announced that she, too, will oppose the Congresswoman.

Ms. Templeton, the former director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ran for Governor in 2018 but finished third in the Republican primary, losing to Gov. Henry McMaster. As Lt. Governor in 2017, Mr. McMaster ascended to the Governorship when Ms. Haley was appointed UN Ambassador.

With the US Supreme Court still deciding whether the lawsuit challenging the 1st District as a racial gerrymander is valid, there is still a possibility that this seat could be redrawn before the candidates appear on the ballot. The South Carolina primary is June 11th, with a runoff scheduled for June 25th if no candidate receives majority support. Unless the district is ordered changed, the eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite in the general election.


Prince William County Supervisor Vesli Vega, the 2022 Republican congressional nominee who held Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) to a 52-48% re-election victory in what many believed was an under-performance for the GOP in a more favorable post-redistricting 7th CD, issued a statement earlier this week. Many believed that she would again enter the crowded candidate field but instead she endorsed defense contractor and retired Navy SEAL Cameron Hamilton (R).

Though we see a field of eight announced Republicans for what is now an open seat, the Vega endorsement will help Mr. Hamilton unite GOP voters behind his campaign. Six Democrats have announced for their party’s nomination including state Del. Briana Sewell (D-Woodbridge), Prince William County Supervisor Margaret Franklin, ex-state Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, and retired Army Colonel and National Security Council official Eugene Vindman.



With Gov. John Carney (D) being ineligible to run for a third term, Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Bethany Hall-Long (D) released the results of her internal Public Policy Polling Democratic primary survey (1/10-11; 643 DE likely voters; live interview & text). The study finds the Lt. Governor posting an early 30-23% lead over New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara, also an announced candidate, was not included on the Democratic primary ballot test. The Delaware primary is one of the latest in the cycle, scheduled for September 10th, so much time remains for this race to develop. The eventual Democratic nominee will be in commanding position to win the open race in November.


The Remington Research Group, the usual pollster for the Missouri Scout political blog, went into the field to test the open Republican gubernatorial primary to be decided in early August. The survey (1/17-18; 806 MO likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) sees Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R), son of former Missouri Senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, leading the field for the GOP nomination.

According to the Remington results, Mr. Ashcroft posts a 34-20-4% advantage over Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, and state Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring), respectively. The eventual Republican nominee will be a clear favorite to win the general election. Gov. Mike Parson (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

New Hampshire

A new University of Massachusetts at Lowell survey (1/6-16; 600 NH likely Republican primary voters; online) finds former US Senator Kelly Ayotte establishing a big lead over ex-state Senate President and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse. According to the survey results, Ms. Ayotte is staked to a 54-22% advantage.

The New Hampshire regular primary cycle is a long one, with the election not scheduled until September 10th. Democrats also feature two major candidates, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington and former Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is retiring after what will be four complete terms.

North Dakota

Former presidential candidate Doug Burgum (R) announced early this week that he will not seek a third term as North Dakota’s Governor despite high approval ratings. With his endorsement of former President Donald Trump, and the ex-chief executive indicating that Gov. Burgum would be primed for a position in a new Trump Administration should the 2024 election go the Republicans’ way, Mr. Burgum’s time in politics may not be coming to an end.

After Gov. Burgum announced his decision to retire, other North Dakota politicos began to declare their own political plans. At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong* (R-Bismarck) quickly said that he will run for Governor. Conversely, Attorney General Drew Wrigley (R), also viewed as one of the top potential contenders to succeed Gov. Burgum, announced that he will not run for Governor, instead opting to seek re-election to his current position. Former state Senator and ex-congressional candidate Tom Campbell (R) will also run for Governor.



The proponents of a ballot proposition to repeal the state’s Top Four and Ranked Choice Voting systems have presented 55% more than the minimum required number of signatures to reach the ballot, but they may be short on another qualifying requirement. While the group will likely have the proper aggregate number of valid signatures, there are questions as to whether they have met the requirement that certain numbers of the signatures must come from all the required districts. Therefore, it remains to be seen if this repeal measure will qualify for the 2024 ballot.

The Ranked Choice system could have a wide ranging effect on the coming presidential race, just as it has in the last two Alaska congressional campaigns.


Meeting the court-ordered requirement to draw a new majority minority seat in Louisiana, Gov. Jeff Landry (R) signed into law the legislature’s map. The new lines will cost the Republicans one seat, as an African American Democrat will be heavily favored to win a newly drawn 6th District that stretches from Baton Rouge all the way to Shreveport, cutting through the middle of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton) 4th CD.

Current 6th District Rep. Garret Graves* (R-Baton Rouge) says he will run for the House, which likely means challenging Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in the state’s newly drawn, and safely Republican, 5th CD. Rep. Graves also says he may file a lawsuit against the new map.

Additionally, as part of the special Louisiana state legislative session, the House and Senate are sending a bill to Gov. Landry, one that he initiated, to change Louisiana’s primary voting system from a top-two jungle system to a partisan primary. The changes would take effect for the 2026 election and would institute a modified system where registered members of the political party must vote in their own primary while non-affiliated voters would have their choice of where to cast their ballot.

North Dakota

At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong* (R-Bismarck) continues to solidify himself as the heir apparent to retiring Gov. Doug Burgum (R). Former state Senator Tom Campbell (R), an announced gubernatorial candidate, has already pulled out of the race. Instead, he will run for Rep. Armstrong’s open US House seat. It already appears that Mr. Armstrong is becoming a consensus gubernatorial candidate, and the real race will be the Republican primary to succeed him in the US House.

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

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