Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and local races from across the country.
The Michigan House of Representatives approved a measure to move the state’s primary to the fourth Tuesday in February, just ahead of the Super Tuesday voting primaries. Michigan was one of the states that President Joe Biden outlined in his suggested primary schedule changes. Dropping Iowa and adding Georgia along with the Wolverine State and keeping South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada as the five states with permission to vote before Super Tuesday recaps the President’s recommendations.
The Michigan Senate has already approved the primary election measure, which means the bill will head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) for her signature.
Republicans opposed the legislation because moving the primary would cause them to violate the GOP party rules that only allow Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to vote early. Such penalties could mean the forfeiting of 90% of a state’s delegate votes.
Expect the parties and states to come to a scheduling agreement in the near future. The first votes are scheduled for this time next year.
Presidential state polls are beginning to surface, and a recently released Moore Information South Carolina survey (1/18-24; 450 SC likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds former President Donald Trump leading the GOP field in one of the top early primary states while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis follows. The surprise result is that both South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and the Palmetto State’s former Governor and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley who is prepared to announce her own presidential run, fare poorly on the ballot test question.
According to the MI numbers, Mr. Trump holds a 41-31-12-5-4% advantage over Gov. DeSantis, Ms. Haley, Sen. Scott, and former Vice President Mike Pence, respectively. While the two South Carolinians don’t score well on the ballot test, their favorability ratings among the Republican faithful are on par with the two leading candidates. Mr. Trump has a positive rating of 83% and Gov. DeSantis 82%, while Ms. Haley and Sen. Scott score 79 and 78%, respectively. Mr. Pence is also viewed positively with a 70% favorable rating.
The Normington Petts survey research firm conducted a poll (1/18-23; 800 AZ registered voters) for three progressive left Arizona organizations testing Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) opposite Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and both 2022 Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R), who has not closed the door on running for the Senate, and former Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who says a Senate race is not even a point under his consideration.
While the poll sponsors were highlighting Gallego’s performance, it is Sinema’s standing that has greatly improved since previous polls were made public. In the configuration with Rep. Gallego and Ms. Lake, Sen. Sinema, while still running in third place, improves her standing to 24% as opposed to 14 and 13% in December and early January polls from Public Policy Polling and Blueprint Polling. Rep. Gallego and Ms. Lake were tied at 36% apiece.
When Normington Petts tested Sen. Sinema with Rep. Gallego and former Gov. Ducey, the Congressman held a 37-31-27% advantage over the GOP ex-state chief executive, and Sen. Sinema, respectively. The progression suggests that Sen. Sinema is coming into a competitive position as the prospective candidates begin to prepare for a three-way race.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), the veteran former House Speaker, said that she will support Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) in the 2024 US Senate race so long as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) decides to retire. An additional 14 California US House members also publicly pledged their support to Rep. Schiff. This, even though Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) is already in the race, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) is a virtual certainty to also enter. The March 5, 2024 California jungle primary is likely to advance two Democrats into the general election.
Sen. Rick Scott (R), who says he is “100% not running for President, and 100% seeking re-election to the US Senate,” may receive a significant Republican primary challenge according to several news sources. Surfacing as a potential Scott challenger is multi-millionaire Melbourne businessman and attorney Keith Gross (R), who started a conservative non-profit organization entitled “Advance Florida.” The activist entity’s goal is to “promote the Constitutional way of running and operating government.”
Sen. Scott, a major multi-millionaire himself, is certainly favored for renomination and re-election though he has raised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ire. Sen. Scott unsuccessfully challenged Mr. McConnell during the post-election organizational sessions. The Leader has made no secret that he would like to see an alternative to Scott, so outside resources coming to Florida to help a potential candidate like Mr. Gross would not appear out of the question.
Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who was considering entering the 2024 open US Senate race from his state, said he would not become a candidate. The announcement is good news for Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) who had previously declared his own Senate candidacy. Immediately after the Daniels announcement, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) heaped praise upon Rep. Banks, whom he described as one of the party’s “top recruits.”
Incumbent Sen. Mike Braun (R) is not seeking re-election in order to run for Governor. Republicans are prohibitive favorites to hold the seat in the general election.
Three-term US Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Birmingham) who defeated then-Rep. Andy Levin in a redistricting forced Democratic primary pairing last August, said that she would not pursue a race for Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D) open seat next year. Rep. Stevens believes she “can best serve Michigan’s working families, manufacturers, students, and small businesses in my current role.”
It had been expected that Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) was preparing an official announcement to enter the Senate race, but has yet to move forward. Despite a flurry of early activity among Democrats examining the open race, no one has yet formally declared their intention to become a Senate candidate.
Former US Rep. Mike Rogers (R), who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during part of his seven-term congressional career, confirms that he is considering making a return to elective politics with a potential US Senate run. The move would give the Republicans a strong contender in a state that routinely produces close statewide elections.
Former Long Island US Congressman Lee Zeldin (R), who held Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to a highly competitive 53-47% statewide re-election victory in November, sees his name being bandied about for many potential positions. Some Republican leaders want him to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) next year, which would likely be a political suicide run in a presidential year from one of the Democrats’ strongest states, while others are talking up the possibility of him running for Suffolk County Executive.
This latter election will occur later this year and is an open race since Democratic incumbent Steve Bellone is ineligible to run for a third term. Considering Mr. Zeldin carried his home county by a 59-41% margin in the Governor’s race and represented Suffolk in Congress for eight years, he would clearly be the Republicans’ strongest candidate for such a position. At this point, Mr. Zeldin has been quiet about what future political plans, if any, he may be contemplating
Sen. Jon Tester (D), answering reporters’ questions about whether he will run for a fourth term from Big Sky Country earlier last week, said he would make a decision by the end of the first quarter. Sen. Tester will face a difficult re-election in a state that has turned decidedly more Republican since he was re-elected in 2018. In that year, his victory margin was only 50-47% over Matt Rosendale (R) who was subsequently elected to the House in 2020.
Just after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Keystone State Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) indicated that he would be running for re-election once he recovers from his impending surgery. Clarifying his status, the Senator said running will be dependent upon his health once he completes his cancer treatment, but his goal is to run again. Mr. Casey said he is not yet ready to commit to launching another campaign.
Former US Housing & Urban Development Secretary and ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D) is reportedly considering entering the Texas US Senate race to challenge two-term incumbent Ted Cruz (R). US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) is also discussed as a possible candidate, but the Congressman has yet to confirm that he has interest in running statewide.
Though some speculation was beginning to percolate that Democratic Senator and 2016 Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine would retire, he instead officially announced that he will seek a third term. At this point, he becomes a prohibitive favorite to win the 2024 general election in a state that is moving into the reliable Democratic category even after the Republican success in the 2021 odd-year elections.
The budding Republican candidate field is not impressive so far, but retired Navy Captain Hung Cao, who scored 47% against Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) in a 10th District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+8 and Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 55.2D-42.99R, is apparently considering a Senate challenge.
Mr. Cao would provide Republicans with a credible and interesting candidate, but with the state continuing to move toward the Democrats, which is accentuated in a presidential year, means Sen. Kaine is in a strong political position as he begins his quest for a third term.
U.S. House of Representatives
Arizona state Senate Minority Leader Raquel Teran (D-Phoenix), also a former Arizona Democratic Party chair, confirms that she is considering entering the open primary to succeed Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), who is now officially running for the Senate. With the downtown Phoenix 3rd District voting overwhelmingly Democratic – the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+44 – the August 2024 party primary will determine the next Representative. A crowded field featuring a number of local and state elected officials is expected to form.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) running for the Senate has already led to a field of four viable 2024 candidates with two more announcements subsequently coming. State Senator Anthony Portatino (D-La Canada) and former Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer (D) announced that they will run for the congressional seat next year.
Already in the field are state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Los Angeles Unified School District board member Nick Melvoin, actor Ben Savage, and businessman John Bocanegra (D). The California jungle primary will be scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024. It is likely that two Democrats will advance into the general election from this D+45 rated CD.
Golden State Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County), fresh from a 52-48% victory in a new 45th District that contained only 16% carryover from the 48th District to which she was originally elected in 2020, has drawn a potentially new opponent for 2024.
Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Bernice Nguyen (D), a twice defeated County Supervisor contender, announced her congressional candidacy this week in a district that is 41.4% plurality Asian and over 72% minority. Community College Trustee Jay Chen (D), who held Rep. Steel to her four-point win in a district that contains a five-point Democratic lean according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, is also a potential candidate, but has not yet formally decided whether he will seek a re-match.
In late January, we saw an announcement from locally well-known community activist and fitness business owner Dom Jones (D) that she would be the fifth entry into what will be an open Orange County 2024 congressional race after California Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-Irvine) very early Senate announcement initiated a plethora of early political action.
Yet another person stepped forward to declare her candidacy. Hollywood television writer and producer Lori Kirkland Baker (D) joined the 47th District political fray and will compete against former US Rep. Harley Rouda (D), state Sen. David Min (D-Irvine), ex-state Assemblyman and 2022 congressional candidate Scott Baugh (R), IT consultant Brian Burley, and Ms. Jones. All will share the ballot in a March 2024 jungle primary that will yield two of the contenders advancing into the general election.
Ms. Baker is a significant figure in television, working on such shows as Frasier, Wings, and Desperate Housewives, among others. We can expect a very competitive open primary and general election campaign to shortly ensue.
Former Republican US Congressman and ex-Indiana state legislator Marlin Stutzman confirms that he is considering running for his previous position since Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) has declared for the Senate. At this point, the only formidable announced candidate in what will be an open safe Republican congressional seat anchored in the Ft. Wayne area is state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington). Rep. Banks’ successor will come from the May 2024 Republican primary.
While the fate of beleaguered freshman US Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) continues as a daily media story, Democrats are beginning to position themselves for what could be a special election if Santos is eventually forced to resign or in next cycle’s regular election. Some local Democratic leaders are reportedly attempting to convince former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), to make a political comeback for his former position.
Mr. Suozzi left the House last year to make a head-scratching run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, a race he had scarcely little potential to win. So far, the former Congressman has been non-committal about a future District 3 race. On the other hand, the man who Rep. Santos defeated in November, George Zimmerman (D), is preparing for another run. Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan (D), who lost the congressional nomination to Mr. Zimmerman in 2022, has already announced that he will run for the seat in the next election.
Manlius Town Councilmember Katelyn Kriesel (D) declared her congressional candidacy at the beginning of the week. She will challenge freshman Upstate New York Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) in what promises to be another close election.
In November, Rep. Williams succeed retiring US Rep. John Katko (R) with a 51-49% victory over former US Intelligence analyst Francis Conole (D) in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+2. We can expect further Democrats to come forward for this race, possibly including Mr. Conole for a re-match. NY-22 will likely be a national top Democratic target in 2024.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy just released a survey of the impending Kentucky Governor’s race (1/18-23; 625 KY registered voters; 404 KY likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and the data finds Gov. Andy Beshear (D) with high approval ratings and recording sizable leads against all potential Republican opponents. M-D projects the Governor’s job approval ratio 61:29% favorable to unfavorable, certainly in the top tier when compared with other state chief executives.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron has developed a big lead in the Republican primary according to the poll, topping former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft, state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, and state Auditor Mike Harmon by a 39-13-8-5% count.
Gov. Beshear enjoys lead of at least 19 percentage points over the latter three Republicans, but a much closer 49-40% divide against AG Cameron. It is likely this race will close before election day, but the incumbent Governor is clearly beginning his re-election drive in the favorite’s position.
Just before candidate filing closed in Mississippi, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr. (R) decided not to challenge Gov. Tate Reeves in this year’s Republican primary. In 2019, the two faced each other with Reeves prevailing, 54-46%.
At the end of last week, Secretary of State Mike Watson, another potential Reeves’ primary opponent, also said that he would not run. This leaves physician John Witcher as the Governor’s lone GOP primary challenger. Obviously, these developments enhance Gov. Reeves’ political standing. It is likely he will face Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) in the general election, in what should be a competitive race.
Despite his name being added to ballot test questions from some pollsters surveying the impending open North Carolina Governor’s race, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) made a definitive statement saying that he will not be a candidate for the state’s chief executive post. Sen. Tillis did say, however, that he expects a contested GOP primary to evolve. At this point, the leading Republican candidate appears to be Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein is the lone major announced contender in his party.
For the first time in this election cycle, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who had been trailing in every released poll since early December, has moved into the lead according to a recently released GBAO survey as the nine candidates move toward a February 28th non-partisan primary election. If no contender receives majority support in that election, the top two finishers will advance to an April 4th runoff.
The GBAO poll conducted for the Lightfoot campaign (1/18-22; 800 likely Chicago municipal election voters; live interview & text) projects the Mayor to a 25-22-18-11-9% leading edge over former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), businessman Willie Wilson, and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, respectively. No other individual breaks the 2% support mark.
This is the first poll that fails to project Rep. Garcia as the leader, but he is just now beginning his advertising campaign. It appears a virtual certainty that no candidate will reach majority support in the first election, thus triggering the runoff. Should Rep. Garcia ultimately win the election, a special vote would then be scheduled to replace him in the US House.
The Gallup research organization, as part of their Gallup Poll Social Services series (throughout 2022; 12 surveys; 10,000 live interviews; US Adults) recently concluded that 45% of their respondent universe identified as Republican or Republican leaning as opposed to 44% who align themselves with the Democrats. In the initial questions, the Independent classification led with 41% preference, with the two major parties tied at 28% apiece. The Independents were then questioned as to which party they more closely identified.
Though this is the first time in more than three decades that cumulative Republicans topped cumulative Democrats, the two entities were tied during both the 2003 and 2011 Gallup partisan identification report. The Democrats’ biggest advantage came immediately after President Barack Obama’s initial election when their cumulative total rose to 52%, while the Republicans sunk to 40%.
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