Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and state races around the country. Enjoy!
Confirming what he has been intimating for months, term-limited Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) formally announced that he will not run for the Senate this year, choosing to concentrate on finishing his final year in office. The Republican Senate primary is already a crowded affair, featuring Attorney General Tim Brnovich, businessmen Blake Masters and Jim Lamon, and former Arizona Adjutant General Mick McGuire. The eventual GOP nominee will challenge freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D) who is on the ballot for a full six-year term.
The University of North Florida conducted a statewide survey of the Sunshine State electorate (2/7-20; 685 FL registered voters; live interview) and the results project Sen. Marco Rubio* (R) to a 46-34% double-digit lead over US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando). The Congresswoman has already become the consensus Democratic candidate, long before Florida’s scheduled August 23rd primary. The poll is significant since rarely do we see double-digit Republican leads here because the right-of-center vote is typically under-polled. This sample, however, appears to lean further to the right than what is usually found in a Florida survey.
Another survey taken within the same period, from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research (2/7-10; 625 FL likely voters; live interview), found the Senator holding a 49-42% advantage over Rep. Demings.
A new Missouri Republican primary US Senate poll is in the public domain, and former Gov. Eric Greitens still maintains a small lead with a great deal of time remaining between now and the August 2nd primary. Since late October, Mr. Greitens has held a stagnant edge in the Senate race and failed to break 28% support in referencing ballot test results from five individual polls.
The current Remington Research numbers (2/16-17; 917 MO likely Republican primary voters; interactive response device) find Mr. Greitens pulling his customary 25%, with Attorney General Eric Schmitt and US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) attracting 22 and 18%, respectively. US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield), attorney Mark McCloskey, and state Senate President Dave Schatz follow with single digit support: 8, 5, and 2%, respectively.
Resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R) endorsement of his chief of staff, Luke Holland, apparently isn’t stopping others from moving toward their own Senate candidacies. US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) officially declared his US Senate campaign and state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), who was challenging Sen. James Lankford in the Republican primary, announced that he will switch to the open special election, as reportedly will pastor Jackson Lahmeyer (R), who was also in the Lankford race. US Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Tulsa) is soon expected to follow suit.
Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced that he is continuing to seek re-election. The Oklahoma primary is June 28th with a runoff, if necessary, scheduled for August 23rd.
A newly released OH Predictive Insights poll of Utah voters (2/7-14; 739 UT registered voters; 366 UT Republican primary voters; online opt-in) finds Independent former presidential candidate Evan McMullin becoming a factor against Sen. Mike Lee (R). The three-way race would break 34-24-12% in Sen. Lee’s favor over Mr. McMullin and former State Department official Kael Weston, if he were to become the Democratic nominee.
Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute (2/17-18; 700 WA likely voters; live interview & text) projects that Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley is gaining on Sen. Patty Murray (D) according to the study’s analysis. The ballot test finds the Senator still holding a comfortable 50-41% lead, but the margin is an under-performance for a Washington Democratic incumbent.
The latest survey is a four-point gain for Ms. Smiley when compared to the November NPI survey (Public Policy Polling; 11/10-11; 909 WA likely voters) that posted the Senator to a 50-37% advantage. A month before that, Survey USA (10/15-28; 542 WA registered voters) found Sen. Murray holding a more substantial 49-31% margin. Therefore, enough data confirms at least a moderate swing toward Ms. Smiley.
U.S. House of Representatives
Northern California US Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) fared poorly in redistricting and, as a result, has hopped around to three districts in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys attempting to find a suitable place to seek re-election. When Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) announced his retirement, Rep. Harder switched from the Fresno area anchored 13th open district to run in the former’s 9th CD. The redistricting map placed his home in new District 5, which is a Republican seat where Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) is running for re-election.
Over the holiday weekend, Jose Hernandez (D), a former NASA astronaut who held then-Rep. Jeff Denham (R) to a 53-47% re-election victory in 2012, announced that he will enter the open seat 9th District campaign. San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti appears to be the leading Republican, meaning this race will be interesting in both the June 7th jungle primary and the general election.
Colorado state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) announced that he will attempt to qualify for the primary ballot through the state convention process. A candidate must secure 30% of the delegate vote to win ballot access. Contenders may also petition onto the ballot by collecting 1,500 valid signatures from registered party members in the particular district. Candidates who fail to obtain 30% but exceed the 10% threshold can revert to the petition process.
Incumbent Rep. Douglas Lamborn* (R-Colorado Springs) says he already has enough signatures to qualify but will participate in the convention process. The 5th District is a strongly Republican seat, so the Congressman’s re-election battle lies in the GOP primary. The Colorado nomination election is June 28th.
Florida Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), chairman of the House Ethics Committee who was first elected in a 2010 special election, announced that he will resign from the House when Congress recesses at the end of the session in order to head the American Jewish Committee advocacy organization. Mr. Deutch becomes the 31st Democrat not to seek re-election in 2022 as compared to 18 Republicans.
Freshman Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) in an interview with the Hawaii Star Advertiser indicated he and his family have decided that “DC is not some place right now that we would like to raise our family in and the best place that my family can be is here in Hawaii.” Rep. Kahele has been openly speculating about running for Governor, therefore, it is likely he will soon announce for the statewide office. The move will create an open seat in Hawaii’s 2nd District for the second time in two election cycles.
Freshman Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange) released her internal Victoria Research survey (2/10-15; 650 IL-6 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) that projects the Congresswoman tied with Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) at 37% apiece. The Newman campaign stresses that approximately twice as many of Rep. Newman’s carryover constituents live in the new 6th as compared to Rep. Casten’s. This race is one of the six incumbent pairings around the country and will be decided in the June 28th Illinois primary.
While Rep. Fred Upton* (R-St. Joseph) still has not officially announced that he will seek re-election to a 19th term, his actions are speaking louder than his words. According to news sources, the Congressman’s campaign is launching an ad wave beginning this week. Mr. Upton seeking re-election will yield a spirited paired incumbent Republican August 2nd primary with fellow US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland). State Rep. Steve Carra (R-Kalamazoo), who carries former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, is also a contender.
While no one has yet announced their candidacy to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester), who passed away at the end of last week, one potential leading candidate did make her intentions clear. State Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) said that she will not enter the congressional race, stating her preference to remain in the legislature.
Sen. Nelson ran in the 2018 congressional election, when the seat was last open, but placed a poor second to Mr. Hagedorn in the Republican primary. The special primary is scheduled for May 24th, with the special general on August 9th, concurrent with the statewide nomination election.
The new court-ordered Pennsylvania redistricting map was least kind to current 12th District Rep. Fred Keller (R-Middleburg) who saw his seat divided into three parts. Though he only represents 34% of the new 9th District, Rep. Keller announced he will seek re-election there and oppose current 9th District Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Dallas) in a Republican primary pairing. This becomes the seventh intra-party incumbent pairing in the country and fourth involving Republican members. Because more than 60% of the new PA-9 contains carryover constituents from Rep. Meuser’s current CD, he would be favored over Mr. Keller, but another spirited primary contest is certainly on tap.
Moore Information, polling for indicted Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s (R-Lincoln) campaign, released their internal survey (2/23; 405 NE-1 likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response and Peer-2-Peer systems) at the end of last week. The ballot test finds Rep. Fortenberry, scheduled to stand trial in Los Angeles on March 15th for campaign finance and lying to federal authorities charges, leading state Sen. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), 40-30%.
The MI analysis illustrates that this result is an improvement for Rep. Fortenberry from their January survey that found the two contenders separated only by two percentage points. Should Rep. Fortenberry be found guilty of the charges, this situation will undoubtedly change.
With the North Carolina congressional lines set for the 2022 election and the candidate filing deadline approaching on Friday, a state Representative attempting to run for Congress has changed his plans. State Rep. John Szoka (R-Fayetteville) announced he is scrapping his plans to challenge GOP Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord) in the state’s new 9th District.
Earlier in the year, state Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) withdrew from the US Senate race, which led to former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley becoming a virtual consensus candidate for the party nomination. The withdrawal, however, did not end his quest for federal office.
On Friday, Sen. Jackson announced that he will enter the new open 14th District congressional race now that the North Carolina map is final for the 2022 election. At this point, Sen. Jackson would be rated as the favorite for both the Democratic nomination and the general election in November.
With his 12th District eliminated in Pennsylvania’s interim court-ordered redistricting map, Rep. Fred Keller (R-Middleburg) initially said he would challenge Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Dallas) to a Republican primary battle in the new 9th District. Later, Rep. Keller had a change of heart. Saying, “with control of Congress - and the direction of our nation - at stake, this election is bigger than any one person,” Mr. Keller said he would not seek re-election this year, accepting his fate as the delegation’s “odd man out.”
The decision gives Rep. Meuser an easy ride through his primary and general election in a new district that the FiveThirtyEight statistical entity rates as a R+41 district.
Texas Primary Results
Reps. Henry Cuellar* (D-Laredo), and opponent Jessica Cisneros are forced into a secondary May 24th runoff election as the two came just short of the 50% mark. Mr. Cuellar posted 48.4% versus Ms. Cisneros’ 46.8%.
The outright winners were Reps. Dan Crenshaw* (R-Houston), Pat Fallon (R-Sherman), Jake Ellzey (R-Midlothian), Kay Granger* (R-Ft. Worth), Randy Weber* (R-Friendswood), Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso), Pete Sessions* (R-Waco), Chip Roy* (R-Austin), Troy Nehls* (R-Richmond), Tony Gonzales* (R-San Antonio), Beth Van Duyne* (R-Irving), Michael Burgess (R-Pilot Point), Michael Cloud (R-Victoria), John Carter (R-Round Rock), Marc Veasey (D-Ft. Worth), Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen), and Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin). All other incumbents were unopposed.
Non-incumbent outright winners appear to be Nathaniel Moran (R) in District 1, who will replace Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), Morgan Luttrell (R) succeeding Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), Monica de la Cruz* (R-McAllen) in the open 15th CD, Greg Casar (D-Austin) in the open 35th, and Wesley Hunt* (R) in the new 38th CD. Both Ms. De la Cruz and Mr. Hunt are 2020 congressional nominees. Mr. Casar is a member of the Austin City Council.
Because of slow counting in Harris County, the Luttrell and Hunt victories only became final at the end of the week. State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas), the leading candidate to replace retiring Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), is also forced to a runoff in falling just short of the 50% mark. She will face former Biden campaign Texas Director Jane Hamilton on May 24th.
Louisiana; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island
The Louisiana state legislature sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) an adopted congressional map that leaves the state’s 5R-1D delegation intact. Should the Governor sign the measure, civil rights groups are ready to file a lawsuit contending that another majority minority seat could be drawn in the state.
The special three-judge panel overseeing North Carolina redistricting quickly struck down the legislature’s latest creation and surprisingly pivoted to approve a map with no legislative input. It is this latter plan that was sent to the state Supreme Court for final adoption. All appeals to the high court were rejected, meaning the congressional and legislative plans are now final. The new map clearly favors the Democrats and should allow them to gain at least one seat in the delegation, and possibly two.
The result from this stage is a major blow to Republicans nationally in that North Carolina looked to be the only state where the party could gain multiple seats. Now, it is more likely they will lose strength. This decision will give the Democrats an advantage nationally when the redistricting process closes. The caveat with this and any court map is it only stands for the succeeding election and the map will again be re-drawn next year in the new legislature.
The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court late this week adopted, on a 4-3 vote, a new congressional map that will cost second term Rep. Fred Keller (R-Middleburg) his seat, but does give the Republicans a rather surprising chance to convert two seats in the eastern part of the state. Though Reps. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) and Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) must still be regarded as favorites for re-election, they will both again find themselves in highly competitive battles come November.
All other PA incumbents look to have a clear ride to re-election and the two open Democratic seats in the Pittsburgh area have been restored, both the downtown seat from which Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) is retiring, now numbered 12, and the western Allegheny County 17th CD that Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) is vacating to run for the Senate.
Gov. Dan McKee (D) signed the Rhode Island congressional map, which made little change between the state’s two federal districts. Both will continue as safely Democratic political domains. Only six states remain without completing at least an original version of their congressional map. Two, North Carolina and Ohio, have already had their original draws rejected by state courts.
Just after the primary, north Texas Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) announced he is withdrawing from the runoff, publicly admitting to an extra-marital affair. Apparently, affair rumors began to surface late in the primary contest. Clearly knowing the story would become common knowledge, he admitted the indiscretion and immediately announced that he would not contest the runoff election into which he was forced from Tuesday’s primary.
Under Texas election procedure, a candidate qualifying for a runoff election can decline to participate. The concession means the opponent automatically wins the party nomination. Thus, former Collin County Judge (Executive) Keith Self is the new 3rd District Republican nominee with an accompanying ticket to Washington, DC after the November 8 election.
Mr. Taylor only secured 48.7% of the vote in Tuesday’s primary, meaning that a majority of Republican primary voters chose another candidate. This is never a good sign for any incumbent and the chief reason that most incumbents fail when forced to the secondary election. Adding the personal baggage obviously told Rep. Taylor that his re-election chances were irreparably damaged.
Honolulu City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi (R) announced that she will run for Governor, becoming the first potentially strong GOP candidate to enter the race. Lt. Gov. Josh Green leads former First Lady Vicky Cayetano and ex-Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell in early open Democratic Party primary polling. The Hawaii nomination election is August 13th. Gov. David Ige (D) is ineligible to seek a third term. Democrats will be favored to retain the Governor’s position in the general election.
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) may have received 86% of the New York State Democratic Party convention delegate votes for official endorsement, but the latest polling numbers still show her under 50% with rank and file Democratic voters. Siena College (1/14-17; 803 NY registered voters; 396 NY likely Democratic primary voters) finds the Governor pulling 46% among Democrats, but is way ahead of NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) who draw 17 and 9% support, respectively. Within the respondent sample as a whole, Gov. Hochul’s personal favorability is 46:32% positive to negative. Her job approval ratio, however, is an upside down 44:51%.
Though a rather unimpressive showing for a sitting Governor within his own party leadership, the voting members of the Ohio Republican Party’s state central committee awarded Gov. Mike DeWine the official party endorsement, but only on a 36-26 vote. This vote further suggests that Mr. DeWine will face a potentially competitive gubernatorial primary on May 3rd against former Congressman Jim Renacci (R).
Texas Primary Results
Both Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) won their respective gubernatorial primary outright on Tuesday night. Gov. Abbott easily captured the nomination to run for a third term, defeating former Texas Republican Party chairman Allen West and ex-state Senator Don Huffines. Mr. O’Rourke topped a group of Democratic candidates to easily secure his nomination. Gov. Abbott will be favored in the general election.
Texas Primary Results
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R), and State Comptroller Glenn Hegar (R) were all easily re-nominated. Attorney General Ken Paxton, as expected, was forced into a Republican runoff election and will face Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in what will be a highly competitive contest. Mr. Bush’s open Land Commissioner position will also go to a secondary election with state Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) placing a clear first. The Texas runoff election is scheduled for May 24th.
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