Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races from across the country.
Gov. Larry Hogan
Last weekend, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he would not join the Republican presidential field. Mr. Hogan explaining his decision stated, “I have long said that I care more about ensuring a future for the Republican Party than securing my own future in the Republican Party.”
Mr. Hogan had previously expressed his analysis that a crowded Republican field would only help Donald Trump win renomination, something the former Free State Governor wants to see avoided. He also indicated his belief that Mr. Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis running far ahead of the lesser-known candidates doesn’t leave the lower tier contenders much of an opportunity to compete for the win.
It appeared for a time that Democratic leaders were attempting to recruit Biden former White House chief of staff Ron Klain into the open Hoosier State Senate race. Incumbent Republican Senator Mike Braun is foregoing re-election to instead run for Governor.
The Klain idea, however, was not met with overwhelming acceptance. The 2022 Indiana Democratic Senate nominee, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, for example expressed opposition to Klain, pointing out that the Washington, DC political establishment did nothing to help him in his failed race against GOP Senator Todd Young despite several polls suggesting the race was close early. For his part, Mr. Klain responds saying he has never run for office and, therefore, has no plans to become a Senate candidate in 2024.
Both Tudor Dixon, the defeated 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate, and former Congressman Mike Rogers (R), who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during his tenure in office and was considering a political comeback in the open Michigan Senate race, announced they will not join the forming open US Senate field. Last week, three-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) entered the race, and is widely viewed as the favorite for the Democratic nomination and the seat. In December, four-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) announced that she will retire at the end of this Congress.
We can soon expect more Republican action in this race. Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder is the only announced GOP candidate. Others reportedly considering the race are US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland), and former Reps. Fred Upton and Peter Meijer. Of this group, Mr. Meier appears to be making the most moves to organize a campaign.
The OnMessage Republican polling firm released the results of their latest Montana US Senate poll (2/18-21; 600 MT likely voters with a 100 Republican oversample for GOP primary questions; live interview) and the results provide good news across the board for US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive).
Though no one has announced a Senate bid against three-term incumbent Jon Tester (D), OnMessage tested a hypothetical Republican primary consisting of Reps. Rosendale and Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish) along with former Secretary of State Corey Stapleton. For this question, Rep. Rosendale posted a 36-26-6% lead over Messrs. Zinke and Stapleton. Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R), who has also been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate, was not tested.
In the general election, in a reversal of a previous Political Company survey result, OnMessage finds Rep. Rosendale topping Sen. Tester, 46-41%. There is no report as to whether the pollsters tested the other candidates singularly against Sen. Tester.
Nevada’s lone Republican Congressman, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City), announced during the week that he will not challenge Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) next year. The Nevada race should be one of the most competitive campaigns in the country, just as it was in 2022. In that election, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) slipped past GOP challenger Adam Laxalt by only a 7,928-vote margin (48.8 – 48.0%), which was the closest raw vote spread of all ‘22 Senate campaigns.
2022 gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, who remains a state Senator, confirms he is considering running for the US Senate next year despite never becoming competitive in the Governor’s race upon winning the party nomination. In November, then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) easily defeated Sen. Mastriano, 56-42%.
At this point, 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick, who lost the party nomination to Dr. Mehmet Oz by just 950 votes statewide, is reportedly considering a comeback. Another ’22 Senate candidate, businesswoman Kathy Barnette who finished in third place, is also mentioned as a possible candidate. The 2024 Republican nominee will challenge Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D).
U.S. House of Representatives
Despite many key Arizona Republicans encouraging freshman Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-Tucson) to run for the Senate next year, he again issued a statement through his spokesperson reiterating that he is committed to running for re-election to his House seat. Arizona’s southeastern 6th District is politically marginal, so what is likely considered bad news for the National Republican Senatorial Committee is good news for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is making his political future known. Anticipating that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) will not seek re-election in 2024, Sen. Wiener has filed a congressional exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission. He says he will run for the 11th District seat, which covers most of the San Francisco peninsula, if Rep. Pelosi decides to retire.
He could be getting the jump on another scenario, also. Should Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly (D) resign later this year to mount a race for Governor of Indiana as many believe he will, odds are strong that Ms. Pelosi will be appointed as his replacement. If so, a special election would then be scheduled for District 11. Before his ambassadorial appointment, Mr. Donnelly served both in the Senate and House. He failed in his 2018 Senate re-election effort.
Businessman and former FBI agent Michael Maher (R) says he will return to launch another challenge campaign against veteran US Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) in the Central Valley congressional seat that contains most of the city of Fresno along with the Sanger and Exeter communities. Despite only spending $309,000 on his campaign effort, Mr. Maher held Rep. Costa to a 54-46% re-election victory in a district the 538 data organization rates as D+16.
Though it likely remains a stretch that Mr. Maher could come within victory range, it is certain that he will be able to raise more substantial resources in this election cycle to make his effort more competitive.
GOP Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) has won three elections in a seat that favors the Democrats against former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), but he’s almost certain to see a new challenger in 2024.
Franky Carrillo (D) was falsely imprisoned for 22 years, convicted for a murder later proven he did not commit and was awarded $11 million in compensation after winning a lawsuit against the state of California. Since then, Mr. Carrillo was appointed as a Los Angeles County Probation Oversight commissioner. This week, he announced that he will run for the US House next year.
It's clear that the Democrats must change the paradigm against Rep. Garcia, and it remains to be seen if Mr. Carrillo is the type of candidate who can alter the partisan flow of this northern Los Angeles County CD against an incumbent who has proven he can draw crossover votes.
Dundee Mayor David Russ (R) announced on Friday that he will return to again run for Congress in 2024. In the previous election, Mr. Russ placed sixth in a field of seven Republican candidates with only 3.8% of the vote, over 30 percentage points behind the GOP nominee, Mike Erickson. The latter man would hold then-state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Tigard) to a 50-48% victory margin in the 6th District’s first ever congressional race. Due to population growth, Oregon was awarded a new seat in the 2020 national reapportionment formula.
Last week, Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) announced that he is resigning his seat on June 1st to accept a position with a non-profit organization. While the list of potential Democratic candidates who might declare for the impending special election to be scheduled later this year is long, the first major contender just announced her plans late yesterday. Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos (D), the former President of the Providence City Council, formally declared her congressional candidacy.
The real political battle for this seat will be fought in the Democratic primary. In a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+32, it is a foregone conclusion that Rep. Cicilline’s eventual successor will be a Democrat. Expect a crowded field and a plurality primary victory that will lead to an easy Democratic special general election win.
Twice during the week, a Republican has come forward to announce a GOP primary challenge to two-term Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio) after the incumbent was censured by the Texas Republican Party for taking certain issue positions. Joining Medina County Republican Party chair Julie Clark in the race is retired ICE officer Victor Avila.
Since Texas is a runoff state, a crowded field does not necessarily help an incumbent. In a non-runoff state, a crowded field splitting the anti-incumbent vote would allow the latter to win with a plurality. The Texas primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5th with a runoff, if necessary, to be held on May 28th.
After much speculation abounded to the contrary, five-term US Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) announced that he will not join the open 2023 Governor’s race this year and will presumably seek re-election to the House in 2024. Mr. Graves said in his released written statement that he looks forward to helping unite the Republican Party behind a candidate “…with a bold, hopeful vision of Louisiana’s promise that is equal to her potential.”
Stephen Waguespack, the President and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry and former gubernatorial chief of staff announced his candidacy after Rep. Graves bowed out. State House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) is also expected to join a Republican field that includes Attorney General and ex-Congressman Jeff Landry, state Treasurer John Schroder, state Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R-Chalmette), and state Rep. Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville).
For the Democrats, former state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson appears to have successfully unified the party behind his candidacy. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who publicly supports Mr. Wilson, is ineligible to seek a third term. US Rep. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), the state’s lone Democratic Congressman, also announced his support of Mr. Wilson.
Raleigh based Public Policy Polling conducted a survey of the North Carolina electorate for the progressive left Forward Carolina organization (3/2-3; 704 NC registered voters) and finds an unsurprisingly tight battle developing between unannounced gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson (R), the state’s Lt. Governor, and Attorney General Josh Stein (D) who is an official contender. The poll results find the two locked in a dead heat with Mr. Robinson holding a 44-42% edge. The Lt. Governor’s strong 56-28% showing in the state’s substantial rural areas is what catapults him into the lead.
Mr. Robinson was elected Lt. Governor as a Republican in 2020 despite now term-limited Democratic Governor Roy Cooper (D) winning re-election. Mr. Robinson carried the state 51.6 – 48.4%. Attorney General Stein survived a close re-election battle in the same year, slipping past his Republican opponent with only a 50.1 – 49.9% victory margin. The open NC Governor’s race will undoubtedly feature a tight finish.
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