Political Snippets 4.16.21

Listed below are political snippets on the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races across the country. Enjoy!


Late this week, former Vice President Mike Pence announced the formation of his new national advocacy organization, entitled Advancing American Freedom. It is expected to be a vehicle to position Mr. Pence for a presidential run in 2024. Among the board members are Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, ex-White House advisors Larry Kudlow and Kellyanne Conway, former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former US Intelligence Director and Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe.

U.S. Senate


The battle to replace retiring Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby (R) may not draw as many candidates as anticipated. Late last week, former President Donald Trump already weighed in to endorse Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in the Senate Republican primary. The race, so far, has drawn only one other announced candidate: wealthy former Trump-appointed Ambassador Lynda Blanchard (R) who has already pledged $5 million of her own money for the campaign. No Democrat has come forward to run at this time. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) had considered the statewide race but announced that she will instead seek re-election to the House.


2020 Independent/Democratic nominee Al Gross, who raised over $19 million for his challenge against Sen. Dan Sullivan (R), confirms that he is considering challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski* (R) next year. The new top four jungle primary system would virtually guarantee that both Sen. Murkowski and Dr. Gross would advance into the general election, so should both decide to run – Sen. Murkowski has not yet declared her intentions for 2022 – we can count on a campaign lasting well over a year. Dr. Gross lost to Sen. Sullivan, 54-41%, despite exceeding the incumbent’s fundraising totals by almost a 2:1 margin. Already announced is Republican former State Administrative Director Kelly Tshibaka.


The Club for Growth organization released a brand new WPA Intelligence survey (4/5-6; 505 AZ likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and found Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) leading Gov. Doug Ducey, 46-45%, in a hypothetical Republican primary US Senate poll. Gov. Ducey, however, has already said that he will not become a US Senate candidate. Interestingly, the poll found that should former President Donald Trump endorse Biggs, his margin over the Governor would rise to 59-32%. Sen. Mark Kelly (D), who won the 2020 special election, will stand for a full six-year term next year.


Former Louisville state Representative Charles Booker, who lost the 2020 US Senate Democratic primary to party nominee Amy McGrath in a close 44-42% result, has filed an exploratory committee for purposes of assessing his chances against Sen. Rand Paul (R) in a 2022 campaign. It is expected that Mr. Booker will soon officially enter the race.

North Carolina

Former Tar Heel State Gov. Pat McCrory (R) declared his US Senate candidacy this week. Reports are emanating from the Piedmont Triad region that three-term Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) will also soon enter the NC Senate race. Public Opinion Strategies just released a survey for the ex-Governor who was defeated for re-election in 2016. The poll (4/6-8; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters; live interview) found Mr. McCrory staked to a large 48-13-9% over former Rep. Mark Walker, the first candidate to announce, and Mr. Budd, respectively. The North Carolina race will be a premier national Senate campaign.


Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, who dropped $2.6 million of his own money into his 2018 US Senate campaign and lost to then-Congressman Jim Renacci 47-32% in the Republican primary, announced yesterday that he will enter the growing field of 2022 open seat candidates hoping to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R).

According to an Axios news report, venture capitalist and author J.D. Vance (R) is telling associates that he will also enter the open US Senate race at an undetermined time. The move had been expected. Mr. Vance came to fame in authoring the best-selling book Hillbilly Elegy, which, as described on the cover is “A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.”

Already in the race are ex-state Treasurer and 2012 Senate nominee Josh Mandel and former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus), Mike Turner (R-Dayton), Bill Johnson (R-Marietta), and David Joyce (R-Russell Township) are possible entries, while Mr. Renacci, and state Senator and Cleveland Indians baseball team minority owner Matt Dolan are also potential candidates. The Democratic field appears to be winnowing down to Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown), but he has yet to formally announce his Senate campaign.


While Philadelphia Congressman Brendan Boyle (D) announced earlier in the month that he will not enter the open US Senate campaign next year, two more Democrats announced early this week that they will run. Montgomery County Commission chair Val Arkoosh and physician Kevin Baumlin (D) both announced their candidacies. Including these two latest entries, Democrats now have 11 active candidates running for the state’s open US Senate seat.

South Carolina

Two-term State Representative Krystle Matthews (D-Ladson) announced that she will challenge Sen. Tim Scott (R) next year with a goal of registering 150,000 new Democratic voters. Ms. Matthews’ is the first elected official to formally announce a challenge to the Republican Senator. Mr. Scott was originally appointed to the Senate in early 2013 after then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R) resigned. He won the 2014 special election and a full term in 2016 both with 61% of the vote. He is a heavy favorite for re-election in 2022.


State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski (D), originally elected in 2018, declared this week her intention to run for the US Senate next year. She joins two other credible Democrats in the primary, Milwaukee Bucks basketball organization executive Alex Lasry, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson. Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has yet to announce his political intentions for 2022. He is a retirement possibility because he originally pledged to serve only two terms when he first ran in 2010.

U.S. House of Representatives


Attorney Tiffany Shedd, the 2020 Republican congressional nominee who held Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) to just over a three-point victory, will not run for Congress next year. Late this week, Ms. Shedd announced that she will enter the open Attorney General’s contest in 2022. Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R), a potential candidate for either Governor or Senator, is ineligible to seek a third term in his current position. Ms. Shedd is the first person from either party to declare for the open AG position.


Freshman California Rep. Young Kim (R-La Habra/Fullerton) and ex-Rep. Gil Cisneros (D) had run against each other twice with both winning one time. It appears that President Joe Biden has decided there won’t be a re-match, at least in 2022. Yesterday, the President announced that he has appointed Mr. Cisneros as Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness. Redistricting will change the 39th CD and it is a certainty that Rep. Kim will face a highly competitive Democratic opponent next year, but that individual will now likely be someone other than Mr. Cisneros.


As expected, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness (D), a former Broward County Mayor, officially announced that he will enter the yet-to-be-scheduled special congressional election to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach) who passed away from cancer last week after serving 28 years in the House of Representatives. At the announcement event as a show of family support was Alcee “Jody” Hastings II, the late Congressman’s son. Also in the Democratic race is Mr. Holness’ Broward County Commission colleague, Barbara Sharief and former Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor. State Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale), a former state House Minority Leader, is also expected to be a major candidate for this impending race.


Last week, author and US Army veteran Harold Earls (R) announced that he will challenge two-term Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) next year. Mr. Earls’ move may be a bit early, however. While the current 6th District is competitive, an eventual final redistricting plan may make this seat safely Democratic. It would not be unusual to see the Republican map drawers craft the 6th as a Democratic CD while making the politically marginal and adjacent 7th District much more Republican.


Insurance broker and former US Marine Charlie Helmick (R) announced that he will enter the 2022 race against Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline). Esther Joy King, who held Rep. Bustos to a closer than expected 52-48% re-election victory, is returning for a re-match and faovred for the GOP nomination. Navy veteran Corey Allen is also an announced Republican candidate. Rep. Bustos’ 17th District, with Illinois sure to lose a seat in reapportionment, will see significant change in the coming re-draw. It is likely this race will be highly competitive in 2022.


2020 Republican congressional nominee Amanda Adkins, who lost to Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park/Kansas City) on a 54-44% count, announced that she will return for a second run in 2022. Ms. Adkins hopes for a more favorable 3rd District from the Republican legislature in redistricting, but Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly will be in position to veto any major changes. Regardless of redistricting, it is probable that we will see a more competitive race here next year.


Harford County Executive Barry Glassman (R), who had been considering running for Governor or challenging US Rep. Andy Harris (R-Cockeysville) in the 2022 Republican primary, yesterday announced instead that he will run for State Comptroller. Incumbent Peter Franchot (D) is already declared gubernatorial candidate, so the Comptroller’s post will be an open race.

While no Republican has yet declared against Rep. Harris, four Democrats including 2014 gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur have said they will enter their congressional primary. Rep. Harris is the lone Republican in the Maryland congressional delegation and redistricting could make the 1st CD much less hospitable for him in 2022.


Last week, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell (R) launched a Republican primary challenge to six-term Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Biloxi). Rep. Palazzo won his congressional seat in 2010, defeating then-incumbent Gene Taylor (D). Having a primary challenge is nothing new for the Congressman having won four other intra-party battles including one against the man he originally unseated. Mr. Taylor switched parties and challenged Rep. Palazzo in the 2014 Republican primary, a race the Congressman won 50-43%. Mr. Palazzo has averaged 73.4% of the vote in his five re-election campaigns including running unopposed last November.


High school basketball coach and former UNLV basketball player Tony Lane (R), who had a short career in the NBA, announced that he will challenge Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) next year. Already in the race is insurance company owner Sam Peters who placed second in the 2020 Republican primary. Rep. Horsford won a 51-46% victory last year over former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant (R).


On the heels of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) announcing for Governor, Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, who placed third in a field of four Democratic primary candidates in the 2020 race though still within nine points of nomination winner Nancy Goroff, announced that she will enter the open 2022 congressional race. We can expect a large field on both sides in what can be a competitive seat though one that decidedly leans Republican.


Earlier in the month, both Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and her Democratic opponent from the last two elections, businessman and former Obama Administration official Suraj Patel, announced that they will run again in 2022. In the 2020 contest, Mr. Patel came within a 43-39% margin of denying the Congresswoman re-nomination.

Last week, Socialist Democrat community organizer Jesse Cerotti also joined the race. Considering Rep. Maloney only won her last primary with plurality support suggests the more opponents she draws the better for her, so the Cerotti entry could actually help the incumbent. Rep. Maloney was first elected from a safe Democratic “silk stocking” New York City district in 1992.


GOP state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-Washingtonville) declared this week that he will seek the Republican congressional nomination in order to challenge five-term Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring/Orange County). As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Rep. Maloney will have little trouble raising whatever funds he needs should his re-election become more competitive post redistricting. In 2020, Rep. Maloney was re-elected in a 56-43% spread over engineer and businesswoman Chele Farley who was also the 2018 Republican US Senate nominee


Democrat Dana Balter, the Upstate New York college professor who twice challenged Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse), said this week that she will not return for a re-match in 2022. Ms. Balter raised a total of $6 million for her two congressional runs and was a competitive challenger but lost by six points even in the strong Democratic year of 2018, and then saw Rep. Katko’s victory margin increase to ten points last year. Redistricting will likely significantly change the 24th CD, but the anchor city of Syracuse will likely remain intact and part of the new district configuration.


Since 2020 Democratic congressional nominee Moe Davis changed his mind about running again next year, several party members have declared their candidacies in hope of challenging freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville/Asheville). At this point, two contenders appear credible with the second, local pastor and former University of North Carolina football player Eric Gash, just this week announcing his candidacy. Already in the race in Buncombe County Commissioner and pastor Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. Also announcing during the week is Democratic Army veteran Jay Carey. Amid controversy, Rep. Cawthorn, now the youngest member of the House, still notched a strong 54-42% election victory last November.


Danny O’Connor (D), the Franklin County Recorder who held Republican Troy Balderson to a bare 50-49% win in the 2018 special congressional election and then fell to him 51-47% in that year’s regular election, will now return for a re-match. In November, Rep. Balderson defeated Democrat Alaina Shearer, 55-42%. The 12th District contains all or parts of seven counties north and east of Columbus. Ex-President Trump carried the district over President Biden, 52-46%.


Community organizer Odessa Kelly (D) announced her 2022 Democratic primary challenge to Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) yesterday armed with support from the progressive left Justice Democrats political action committee, which is closely associated with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx). In 2020, Mr. Cooper won a primary challenge opposite Nashville attorney Keeda Haynes with a 57-40% vote margin despite her only spending about $147,000. With the Justice Democrats involvement, the 2022 race could prove even more competitive for the Congressman than was his 2020 intra-party battle.


House Ways and Means Committee ranking Republican Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced that he will not seek a 14th term in the House, thus opening what should remain a safe Republican post-redistricting seat. Mr. Brady was first elected to Congress in 1996 after spending three terms in the Texas House of Representatives. He averaged 81.6% of the vote over his twelve federal re-election campaigns.


Republican state Senator Jen Kiggans announced that she will enter the Republican primary to challenge two-term Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) in the Virginia Beach anchored seat. Like Rep. Luria, Senator Kiggans is a Navy veteran in a region that this particular military service dominates. The 2nd District is competitive, so a fresh Republican nominee such as Sen. Kiggans has the opportunity to make this race one to watch nationally.



In responding to a reporter’s question about whether she will seek re-election, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) answered that her “plate’s pretty full right now, and it’s just not time to make that decision known.” Gov. Ivey, who will be 77 at the time of the next election, assumed the Governorship when then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) was forced to resign as part of a plea bargain over campaign finance violations in April of 2017. She was elected in her own right a year later with 59% of the vote. If Gov. Ivey runs in 2022, she will be a heavy favorite for re-election.


Former Prince Georges County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, who placed second in the 2018 Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary, announced that he will enter the open Governor’s campaign next year. Mr. Baker lost the party nomination to former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous, 40-29% within a field of nine candidates. It is also expected that Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski (D) will soon become a Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Mr. Olszewski won the 2018 County Executive Democratic primary by just 17 votes after serving in the state House of Delegates but lost a state Senate election in 2014. Gov. Larry Hogan is ineligible to seek a third term.

Turning to the GOP side, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said he will not seek the Governorship next year. State Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz (R), hoping to capture the Maryland Republican Party’s Larry Hogan faction, announced that she will enter the race. Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele confirms that he is considering running as well.


Saying that the Nevada Democratic Party’s move to the far left – three Socialist Democrats were recently elected to state Democratic Party leadership positions – North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee on Tuesday officially left the Democratic Party to join the Republicans.

Mr. Lee had served in the Nevada Assembly and Senate as a Democrat and developed a record of being one of the most conservative members of the party. He lost re-election to the Senate in 2012 but was elected Mayor of Nevada’s fourth largest city a year later. He won re-election in 2017. There is strong speculation he will soon launch a bid for Governor against incumbent Steve Sisolak (D)

New York

Long Island US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) said this week that he is considering challenging embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the 2022 Democratic primary should the incumbent seek re-nomination. Rep. Suozzi was re-elected to a third term in the House last year with a 56-43% margin. He served two terms as Nassau County Executive but was defeated for re-election in 2009 and lost again four years later in a comeback campaign.


Public Policy Polling surveyed the Virginia Democratic electorate in anticipation of the June 8th statewide Democratic primary. The survey (4/12-13; 526 VA likely Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system), to no one’s surprise, finds former Gov. Terry McAuliffe holding a wide lead over the other contenders. According to the PPP results, McAuliffe leads state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), former state Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and state Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas), 42-8-8-7-4%, respectively.

The former Virginia chief executive and ex-Democratic National Committee chairman is the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination and will begin the general election with a large polling lead over whomever the Republicans nominate in their May 8th hybrid convention process.


National Voting Procedures Poll

In the midst of the controversy over the Georgia vote security measure, the Associated Press contracted the NORC survey research firm to conduct a nationwide poll of 1,166 adults over the March 26-29 period. While they find just over half the respondents indicating they favor no-excuse absentee voting (52-33%) and 60% favor automatic voter registration (60-19%), an even stronger majority (72-13%) supports voters having to produce identification as a prerequisite to casting a ballot. When asked if every voter should automatically be sent an absentee ballot, the survey sample was mixed. A total of 43% favored such a procedure while 39% opposed.

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