Check out these political snippets on congressional and gubernatorial from across the country.
A new McLaughlin & Associates poll (3/10-13; 500 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview & text) finds a new leader in the Senate race and suggests the original favorite may not even qualify for a runoff. The McLaughlin ballot test projects Black Hawk down pilot and Alabama defense business owner Mike Durant leading former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt, 34-32%, with US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who carries former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, falling to just 18% support. The Alabama primary is May 24. If no one reaches the 50% plateau, the top two finishers will advance to a June 21 runoff election.
Many Republican leaders have been expressing fear that should resigned Governor Eric Greitens win the party’s open US Senate nomination the general election could be lost. Mr. Greitens left the Governor’s office in 2018 because of legal charges and an extra-marital affair. The charges were later dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct, but there was clear evidence of the affair.
A new Trafalgar Group survey (3/9-13; 1,075 MO likely Republican primary voters; live interview, interactive voice response, online, and text) gives credence to the previous analysis. Paired individually with two Democrats, Mr. Greitens only ties former state Sen. Scott Sifton, 45-45%, and holds the smallest of leads, 46-45%, over Iraq/Afghan War veteran Lucas Kunce.
Yet, US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) would defeat Sifton, 57-37%, and Kunce, 56-39%. Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) would also easily top the two Democrats (Sifton: 54-40%; Kunce: 55-40%). Earlier, in their 2/22-24 Republican primary poll, Trafalgar posted Mr. Greitens to a 31-23-17% Republican primary lead over Mr. Schmitt and Rep. Hartzler, respectively. Incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt (R) is not seeking a third term.
After two released February North Carolina Republican US Senate polls found former Gov. Pat McCrory opening up an 11-point lead over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in the open Senate race, a new Meeting Street Insights survey (2/26-3/1; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters; live interview) shows the race in much closer territory. The MSI results project Mr. McCrory’s lead to be a tighter 31-25%.
The North Carolina primary is May 17. Sen. Richard Burr (R) is not seeking a fourth term. Mr. McCrory was elected Governor in 2012, but defeated for re-election in 2016. Rep. Budd, who earned former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, was elected to the state’s 13th Congressional District in 2016.
Former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D), who represented the Oklahoma City district for one term before losing in 2020 to current Rep. Stephanie Bice* (R-Oklahoma City), announced that she will enter the special US Senate election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe* (R). The move is a curious one in that Oklahoma is strongly Republican and should be even more so in what most observers and analysts feel will be a favorable GOP political climate this November. Ms. Horn certainly gives the Democrats a credible standard bearer and will likely become a consensus candidate for the party nomination. Her chances for a general election victory, however, are slim.
On the Republican side, it was originally expected that US Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Tulsa) would join the Senate field, but such will not be the case. This week, the Congressman announced that he would seek re-election. The Senate field is crowded and Rep. Hern would have to risk his safe House seat and position on the Ways & Means Committee, a point he made last week when hedging about whether he would join the Senate special election contenders.
Blueprint Polling, a Democratic survey research firm, released their new Georgia statewide study, a result that stakes GOP candidate Herschel Walker to his largest lead of the early election cycle. Mr. Walker’s edge, however, is only three-plus percentage points. The Blueprint survey (3/2-8; 662 GA definite (90%) and probable (10%) voters; live interview) projects Mr. Walker to a 48.5 - 45.4% edge over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D).
Perhaps the poll’s most interesting result, however, pertains to the question about who the respondents would support in a presidential re-match. This universe retorted that they would back former President Donald Trump with a 50-36% margin. President Joe Biden carried the controversial Georgia result by 11,779 votes in 2020.
A new Fox News Ohio poll (3/2-6; 918 OH likely Republican primary voters; live interview) again posts businessman Mike Gibbons to a small lead in the GOP Senate primary. According to the surveyors, Mr. Gibbons holds a 22-20-11-9-7% edge over former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, the 2012 US Senate nominee, author J.D. Vance, ex-Ohio State Republican Party chair Jane Timken, and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), respectively.
The Ohio primary is May 3rd. US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) is the clear Democratic primary leader.
Fox News tested the Pennsylvania statewide races (3/2-6; 960 PA likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and, like the TargetPoint Consulting Republican primary survey released last week, sees former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick putting a clear distance between he and Dr. Mehmet Oz. The ballot test yielded Mr. McCormick a 24-15% advantage with no other candidate reaching double-digits. The others, however, in particular ex-Lt. Governor nominee Jeff Bartos and former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands, still remain within striking distance.
Despite former Obama State Department official Kael Weston filing in the Democratic Senate primary, there may be a move to deny him an endorsement at the Utah State Democratic Party convention. Not obtaining the requisite number of delegate votes to win a ballot placement would force Mr. Weston to enter the primary through the difficult signature gathering process. Many believe the party’s best strategy would be to unite behind Independent former presidential candidate Evan McMullin who looks to have much stronger appeal against incumbent Sen. Mike Lee (R) than Mr. Weston. The Utah state Democratic convention is scheduled for April 23. The state primary is June 28.
U.S. House of Representatives
After California state Senator Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) opened a Lt. Governor campaign committee but chose not pursue the race only to announce against US Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), she again did an about face just as candidate filing closed. Sen. Melendez did not enter the congressional race, meaning Rep. Calvert dodges what could have been a strong challenge. Four candidates are on the ballot against him, the most viable being Democratic former federal prosecutor Will Rollins. Rep. Calvert is favored to win a 16th term in November.
Saying that, “seeing what's happened in the last few years has just forced me to get off the sidelines and get back in the game…” former four-term US Rep. Dennis Ross (R), as quoted in the Daily Kos Elections site, indicated that he will again file for Congress in what is expected to be a new open seat. The proposed map that passed the legislature features an open district containing much of the area east of Tampa that Mr. Ross previously represented.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has threatened to veto the congressional map, so redistricting is not yet complete. Most of the prospective congressional map versions, including the plan that awaits the Governor’s action, features an open seat in the Hillsborough County area so the chances of seeing such a district in the eventual final map are high. Florida gained one seat in national reapportionment bringing the delegation size to 28 districts.
The special 2021 Democratic primary election that saw current Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Miramar) winning by just five votes will likely host a re-match only between the new Congresswoman and her closest previous challenger. Former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief (D), who originally indicated she would return to again run for Congress, is now saying that she will more likely challenge state Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book (D-Plantation). Former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, who finished just five votes behind the primary winner, has already announced that he will contest the new incumbent for re-nomination in the August 23rd Democratic primary.
Major party candidate filing concluded Tuesday and Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) is unopposed for re-nomination. Former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) is returning for a re-match of their 2018 campaign, a battle that Mr. Golden won through Ranked Choice Voting despite finishing behind Mr. Poliquin in the regular election. The former Congressman faces only Caratunk First Selectman Liz Caruso in the Republican primary. Caratunk is a northern Maine town of just 69 people.
The Minor Party & Independent candidate filing deadline is not until July 6. At that point we will see how many other candidates will be on the ballot and could again force the election into the Ranked Choice Counting method. If no candidate receives 50% in an election, the ranked selection counting process begins once the election has concluded. Voters rank their selections when casting their ballot in the regular election.
The system can only be used in Maine’s federal elections and party primaries. The state Supreme Court ruled the Maine constitution recognizes plurality election victories, but claims it has no jurisdiction over federal or party primary contests.
Earlier in the week, former President Donald Trump extended his congressional endorsement to Michigan Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) in his Republican primary battle against Rep. Fred Upton* (R-St. Joseph). Following Trump’s declaration, his pre-redistricting endorsed candidate, state Rep. Steve Carra (R-Kalamazoo), announced that he is exiting the congressional race and will seek re-election to the state House.
Like in the other districts of Republican incumbents who voted for the Trump impeachment, the former President is actively campaigning for their defeat. Rep. Upton is one of the ten GOP members who voted to remove him in the final days of his term. Because Michigan lost a congressional seat in national reapportionment, Reps. Huizenga and Upton were paired in a new southwestern Michigan 4th CD. Though he has already been running media ads, Rep. Upton still maintains he has not yet fully decided to seek re-election. The candidate filing deadline is April 19 for the August 2 primary.
Former Macomb County Judge and ex-prosecutor Carl Marlinga (D) announced that he will enter the Democratic primary in the new 10th District, which will play as a toss-up seat in the general election. Early polling suggests Mr. Marlinga is already the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination.
Though the FiveThirtyEight organization rates the District as R+6, Dave’s Redistricting App finds the Democrats having a slight edge on the composite scale, 49.4 - 47.8%. The eventual Republican nominee will likely be 2018 and 2020 US Senate nominee John James*. This will be one of the national House races to watch on election night.
Democratic Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) are again tied in a new poll. The two are paired in the new 11th District where carryover constituent territory favors Rep. Stevens, 46-27%, but all of Rep. Levin’s local political base is in the new seat as opposed to none from Ms. Stevens’ home area in Rochester Hills.
Lake Research Partners released their mid-February survey (2/15-20; 500 MI-11 likely Democratic primary voters) that pegs the two House members even at 36%. This largely confirms the previous published poll from Target Insyght (2/1-3; 400 MI-11 likely Democratic primary voters) that found the two tied at 41%. The Michigan primary is August 2nd, so much time remains for this race to define itself.
Candidate filing also closed for the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) who passed away on February 17. A total of ten Republicans, eight Democrats, and two minor party candidates filed for the May 24th special primary election.
Among the ten Republicans are the candidate’s widow, former Minnesota Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan, and state Reps. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) and Nels Pierson (R-Rochester), along with former state Rep. Brad Finstad. Ex-White House Counsel Richard Painter leads the Democratic contingent. Democrat Dan Feehan, who ran two close elections against Mr. Hagedorn, chose not to enter the special election.
Controversial Democratic Socialist Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) has drawn a notable Democratic primary opponent. Former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels filed a committee with the Federal Election Commission to challenge the two-term House member. The candidate filing deadline is May 31 for the August 9 primary, so Mr. Samuels has time to test the political waters to determine if Rep. Omar is vulnerable to a nomination challenge before filing official papers.
Attorney Todd Aldinger, who had launched a Republican primary challenge to Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park) in New York’s newly-configured 24th District, one of only four strongly Republican districts in the state, this week ended his political pursuit. Mr. Aldinger said he was unable to generate the necessary early support to wage a viable primary campaign against a sitting incumbent, even one that contains only 55% of the Congressman’s current 27th district. Remaining in the GOP primary race are US Intelligence analyst Andrew McCarthy, and software engineer John Murtari. Rep. Jacobs is favored in both the primary and general election from a district that the FiveThirtyEight statistical projection organization rates R+25.
Both the state court approved North Carolina and Pennsylvania congressional maps will be in place for the current election cycle, because six justices of the United States Supreme Court refused to hear a Republican motion to strike the plans down as not fully adhering to the US Constitution. This means the Democratic advantage gained through the courts will stand at least for this midterm election. Legislatures have the right to adopt permanent maps to replace the court plans, which are interim in nature, possibly in the legislative session beginning next year.
Saying another majority black seat could be created in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed the Republican legislature’s bill that made few changes in the state’s 6R-1D congressional map. The measure now returns to the legislature for an attempted veto override. Republicans were just short of two-thirds approval when they passed the bill, so they will have to convince the outstanding party members to support the measure. Odds are against the leadership succeeding, however. The last time the Louisiana legislature voted to override any gubernatorial veto came in 1993.
The aforementioned McLaughlin & Associates survey (see Alabama Senate above) also tested the GOP gubernatorial primary in which incumbent Kay Ivey is facing a challenge from real estate developer Tim James, son of former Governor Fob James, and ex-US Ambassador to Slovenia Lindy Blanchard. The ballot test finds the Governor winning the May 24th primary outright, posting a 60-13-10% wide spread against Mr. James and Ms. Blanchard, respectively.
Regular Georgia pollster Insider Advantage, surveying for Fox5 Atlanta (3/1; 750 GA likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system and online), finds former Senator David Perdue gaining on Gov. Brian Kemp in their latest Republican primary survey. The ballot test finds the Governor leading Mr. Perdue, 44-35%, which is a net ten point improvement for the challenger when compared to Insider Advantage’s December study. The Georgia primary is May 24th.
Gov. Kemp, however, rebounded in the Fox News Poll. According to this data (2/2-6; 914 GA likely Republican primary voters; live interview) Mr. Kemp holds a 50-39% Republican primary advantage. Though the Governor consistently leads in the early part of this race, the fact that he only hovers around the 50% mark among voters within his own party suggests that this race will severely tighten as we approach the May 24th primary election. Former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams is the consensus Democratic candidate.
A pair of polling firms recently surveyed the Iowa Governor’s race as incumbent Kim Reynolds (R) positions herself to run for a second full term. Selzer & Company, polling for the Des Moines Register newspaper (2/28-3/2; 813 IA adults; 612 likely IA voters; live interview), found the Governor leading Democrat Diedre DeJear by a 51-43% margin with a job approval rating on the tepid side, 49:44%.
The Cygnal research firm also polled the race (2/20-22; 610 IA likely voters; live interview & text) and found the Governor in stronger position, leading Ms. DeJear 55-38% with a much better 57:40% personal favorability ratio. The statewide Republican generic advantage from answers pertaining to party preference in voting for the House of Representatives was a whopping 54:37%.
Public Policy Polling tested the Republican gubernatorial primary (3/7-8; 580 NV likely Republican primary voters; automated phoning & text) and sees Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo building a strong lead against former US Senator Dean Heller and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee. The original ballot question projects the Sheriff holding a 26-13-13% advantage over his two major opponents.
Former Senator Heller’s comeback - he was defeated for re-election in 2018 - has so far not gone well as he continues to lag well behind with voters from his own party. Before serving in the Senate, Mr. Heller was a US House member, the Nevada Secretary of State, and a state Assemblyman.
State Sen. Tom Sherman (D-Rye), a physician who represents the southeastern New Hampshire area known as the Seacoast, announced that he will challenge Gov. Chris Sununu (R) later this year becoming the first credible Democrat to enter the state’s 2022 gubernatorial race. Gov. Sununu is attempting to become only the second Governor to win four consecutive two-year terms. Former Gov. John Lynch (D-serving 2005-13) is the only office holder to have won four terms to the state’s highest office.
After winning a three point victory in his first election in 2016 with 49% of the vote, Gov. Sununu, currently the most popular elected official in New Hampshire, has averaged 59% in his subsequent re-election campaigns. He has also made comments indicating that he is considering a 2024 presidential run.
The Fox News Poll also tested the Ohio Governor’s Republican primary (3/2-6; 918 OH likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and sees Gov. Mike DeWine holding a 50-21-18% lead over farmer/businessman Joe Blystone and former US Rep. Jim Renacci. The results are a surprise in that ex-Rep. Renacci, who had previously been polling competitively with Gov. DeWine, now trails a virtual unknown. While this poll may be an anomaly with regard to the Blystone-Renacci showing, once again we see Gov. DeWine failing to dominate a GOP primary field. This remains a race to watch as the campaign moves closer to the May 3rd Ohio primary.
Fox News also tested the Pennsylvania Governor’s Republican primary and found the multi-candidate contest becoming even tighter than other recent polling suggested. The Fox results find former Congressman Lou Barletta’s lead over state Senator and author Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) dropping to 19-18% with former Delaware County Commissioner Dave White and ex-US Attorney Bill McSwain closely trailing with 14 and 11%, respectively. The eventual winner, the identity of whom is obviously in doubt, will face Democratic consensus candidate Josh Shapiro, the state’s Attorney General in the November election.
TargetPoint Consulting previously tested the open GOP Governor’s contest in their statewide survey (2/25-28; 600 PA Republican likely primary voters). In this race, Mr. Barletta maintains his lead over Sen. Mastriano, Mr. McSwain, and state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) by a close 17-14-7-6% split. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.
In response to the legal haggling over the Maryland redistricting maps and understanding that the cases will not likely conclude before the state’s March 22nd candidate filing deadline, the state Court of Appeals this week moved the June 28th primary election to July 19th, and the candidate declaration deadline from the aforementioned March 22nd to April 15th.
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