Political Snippets from Around the Country

Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races from across the country. 


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr

During the week, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. obtained a ballot position in the critical swing state of Michigan on the Natural Law Party line. The Independent national candidate is also on the ballot in Utah, and his campaign says he will file the requisite number of signatures plus significantly more in Idaho, Iowa, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. His chances of obtaining 4,000 valid signatures in Maine are also strong.

Currently, Mr. Kennedy will compete in some critical swing states and could determine the outcome for one of the major party candidates if his vote coalition takes decidedly more votes from President Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Therefore, we see that his candidacy could tip the electoral vote count in Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and the 2nd District of Nebraska. All are expected to produce very close final tallies for the two major party presidential candidates.


With the Arizona state Supreme Court upholding a more than century old abortion law in response to the US Supreme Court overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, Fabrizio Lee & Associates tested the Arizona electorate for ex-President Donald Trump’s campaign (4/7-11; 400 AZ likely general election voters; live interview & text).

According to the poll analysis, the heavy coverage of the abortion issue in the state has not swayed the swing voters. While Democrats largely mention abortion as the most important recent issue, independents, and a category that Fabrizio Lee terms as “Persuadables,” do not.

Therefore, President Joe Biden is not gaining new Arizona votes according to this survey sample. Thus, the ballot test, which includes Trump, Biden, Independent Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and probable Libertarian Party nominee Lars Mapstead, finds Mr. Trump leading the field with a 42-37-10-2-1% margin, respectively. Arizona is one of the seven critical swing states that will determine the presidential election’s outcome.


It has been a consistent pattern in recent weeks that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and the minor party candidates have been routinely taking more support from President Joe Biden than from Donald Trump. The latest Michigan poll reveals the opposite trend.

The Marketing Resource Group, a regular Wolverine State pollster, was in the field testing the presidential race. Their survey (4/8-11; 600 MI likely general election voters; live interview) finds Mr. Trump leading President Biden 42-36% on a head-to-head ballot test question.

When Mr. Kennedy and the minor party candidates are added, the Trump margin shrinks to 37-34%, with Mr. Kennedy attracting 13%, and the remaining candidates taking an aggregate three more percentage points. When taking into account those who say they will vote for someone else, are undecided, or refused to answer the question, we see an additional 13% at this point falling away from the two major party candidates.


Recently, there has been an uptick in President Biden’s polling numbers, particularly in the critical Great Lakes states, and the turnout pattern in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary looks to verify those figures.

While we had consistently seen higher Republican turnout opposite the Democrats in the earlier primary states around the country, in the Keystone State, approximately 100,000 more Democrats look to have voted than Republicans once all cast ballots are recorded. President Biden recorded 88.8% in the Democratic primary, while Donald Trump took 82.8% on the Republican side.  


The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation conducted a recent poll of the Lone Star State electorate (4/5-10; 1,600 TX likely voters) and finds Donald Trump posting a twelve-point lead over President Joe Biden in a five-way race that includes the two major party candidates, Independent Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and potential Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver. The preference split was 46-34-9-2-1% in the above candidate order. Texas, the second largest state in population, will apportion 40 electoral votes to its presidential winner.

The most interesting part of the poll, however, was the vote division among Hispanics. Within this segment, Mr. Trump actually leads President Biden 41-37%, which is another indication that Trump has upward mobility among Hispanics while the President exhibits clear weakness within the community. Mr. Trump also does well with Texas women, leading the President, 44-34%, a trend not seen in many other places. His spread among Lone Star men is 50-34%.

U.S. Senate


The Tyson Group conducted an April survey of the Arizona electorate (4/10-11; 600 AZ likely general election voters; online). Without incumbent Kyrsten Sinema (I) in the candidate field, US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) scored a 39-34% preference vote over Republican Kari Lake, while businesswoman Sarah Williams drew a significant vote share (10%). With Donald Trump leading in this poll’s presidential ballot test, the fact that Ms. Lake trails within the same polling sample is a bad general election sign for the Senate GOP. 


Maryland Democratic Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks released the results of her most recent internal poll (Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group; 4/8-10; 600 MD likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) that found her lagging behind US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) by just three percentage points, 43-40%.

The Baltimore Sun newspaper was in the field simultaneously and arrived at a very different conclusion. According to their new survey (OpinionWorks; 4/7-10; 1,292 MD likely general election voters; 600 Democratic primary voters), Rep. Trone holds a commanding advantage over Ms. Alsobrooks, topping her 48-29%.

With such an obvious difference between the two professional polls conducted during the same time frame with identical sample sizes, it is clear we will need further data to better understand where this race resides. Expect heavy campaigning to occur as we move closer to the May 14th Maryland primary.


A new Tarrance Group poll for the National Republican Senatorial Committee produces good news for endorsed candidate Sam Brown, the businessman and Afghan War disabled veteran.

The survey (4/7-10; 500 NV likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Mr. Brown posting 58% support. His closest opponent, former state Assemblyman and past Secretary of State and congressional nominee Jim Marchant, records only a 6% preference factor. Former US Ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter, who has pledged to spend $3 million of his own money to fund his candidacy, and former Lt. Governor candidate Tony Grady each have only 3% support.

Aside from yielding Mr. Brown highly positive reviews, the survey data returns bad news for Mr. Gunter. When the respondents were asked for their second choice in the race, Mr. Marchant posted 30% as opposed to Mr. Gunter’s 4 percent. The winner of the June 11th primary then challenges Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) in what will be a premier general election campaign.

West Virginia

Research America published the results of their early April survey (4/3-9; 400 WV likely Republican primary voters; live interview & online) that again sees Gov. Jim Justice* (R) holding a huge lead over Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) as the two compete to succeed retiring Sen. Joe Manchin (D). As has been found in many other surveys, Research America pegs the Justice lead at 66-24% as the two enter the final month of campaigning. The West Virginia primary is scheduled for May 14th.

Winning the West Virginia race in November is critical to Republican hopes of capturing the Senate, and the eventual Republican nominee should have little trouble converting the seat in the general election. Doing so would even the Senate’s partisan division at 50D-50R.


Marquette University tested the Badger State electorate as they do every quarter (4/3-10; 814 WI registered voters). While we see former President Trump leading 48-45% within the sample’s likely voters, his edge drops to 41-40% when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s 13% support is added to the ballot test result in addition to the five percentage points that Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Independent Cornel West cumulatively attract. Therefore, like the recently released Michigan poll, we now see the Independent and minor party candidates beginning to take more from the Trump coalition than the commensurate Biden vote base. 

On the bad news front for the Democrats, the voter enthusiasm question cuts decisively against them. Only 66% of Democratic respondents said they were either very (43%) or somewhat (23%) enthusiastic about voting in November. This contrasts with 82% of the Republican respondents saying they are very (60%) or somewhat (22%) enthusiastic about casting their ballots in the general election.

Overall, the 52-47% break for Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) in the Senate race is good news for the GOP. After having trouble securing a candidate, businessman Eric Hovde (R) is already proving to be a close competitor. The numbers are even more encouraging for Hovde when we see that approximately 56% of respondents express unfamiliarity with his candidacy. This compares with just under 11% who are unfamiliar with Sen. Baldwin.

U.S. House of Representatives


It appears we have our first announcement of candidacy for the 2026 election cycle. Alabama US Rep. Jerry Carl* (R-Mobile) was defeated for renomination in March when he and Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) were paired in a new 1st District. This, in response to a court-ordered redistricting directive to draw another majority minority congressional seat. As a result, Mr. Carl has already filed a campaign committee for the 2026 election cycle.

Therefore, it appears we will see a rematch of the contest where Rep. Moore, who saw only 41% of his previous territory included in the new 1st District, defeated Rep. Carl by a 51.7 – 48.3% result even though the latter man outspent the winner by a 2:1 margin. Should this rematch actually transpire in two years, it will again be competitive.


As expected, Obama Justice Department official Shomari Figures, who placed first in the original Democratic primary back on March 5th, easily defeated state House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels by a 61-39% count. Mr. Figures, the son of parents who both served in the Alabama Senate, now advances to the general election where he will be favored to win a newly created district that President Biden would have carried 56-43%.

The Republican runoff ended with a surprise, as attorney Caroleen Dobson upset former state Senator Dick Brewbaker with a 58-42% victory. In the March 5th primary, Mr. Brewbaker led a field of eight candidates. Ms. Dobson trailed Brewbaker by over twelve percentage points and only qualified for the second runoff position by 632 votes over the third place finisher. Like Mr. Figures, Ms. Dobson will now advance into the November 5th general election.


The recount of the CA-16 primary that resulted in a tied result between San Mateo County Supervisor Joe Simitian (D) and Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) for the second general election qualifying position is underway. In Santa Clara County, the larger of the two municipalities that comprise the Silicon Valley 16th Congressional District, a reported 77 of the district’s 199 precincts have been machine recounted, and Mr. Simitian has so far captured a three-vote lead.

A political action committee with ties to first place finisher Sam Liccardo (D), the former San Jose Mayor, is reportedly financing the recount, which is likely to cost approximately $300,000. In almost every situation, a recount changes the election result at least by a few votes. This means we will likely see either Mr. Simitian or Mr. Low likely be declared the official second-place finisher once this process concludes. The votes were originally cast on March 5th.

If the two remain tied, both will advance to the general election to create a three-way race with Mr. Liccardo. If the latter man is behind the financing of the recount that neither Simitian nor Low requested, then it is clear that Liccardo believes a two-way race is to his benefit.


Now that Assemblyman Vince Fong* (R-Bakersfield) has successfully defended the Secretary of State’s lawsuit attempting to prevent him from running for Congress in the regular term and simultaneously for state Assembly with last week’s appellate court ruling, we see new favorable Fong survey data.

The Assemblyman placed first in the March 19th special election primary with 42.3% of the vote in a field of nine jungle primary candidates. Also advancing into the May 21st special general election is Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux (R) who posted a 25.8% support figure. The special election winner will immediately be sworn into Congress and finish the term from which former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) resigned.

WPA Intelligence surveyed the 20th District (4/1-3; 400 CA-20 likely special election voters; live interview) and finds Mr. Fong leading Sheriff Boudreaux by a 46-30% margin. He also has the advantage in three of the district’s four counties, Fresno, Kern, and Kings, while the latter man leads in his home of Tulare County.


Despite trailing in fundraising by a better than 5:1 margin, an early April OnMessage survey in Colorado’s 8th Congressional District (4/1-4; 400 CO-8 likely voters; live interview) projects state Representative Gabe Evans (R-Westminster) to have secured a 43-38% ballot test advantage over freshman Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton). This, in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+3. The Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians, however, calculate a different 48.3D – 47.0R partisan lean. In 2020, President Joe Biden carried the district 50.8 – 46.3%

The 8th CD was created through 2020 national reapportionment since Colorado gained a seat and was drawn as a suburban/outer-suburban district to the north and northeast of Denver. This race will be rated as a toss-up campaign all the way through the November election.


Potential Kansas congressional candidates are contemplating their political moves in response to two-term Rep. Jake LaTurner’s* (R-Topeka) surprise retirement announcement.

Republicans already expressing interest in announcing their candidacies are Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson and state Senator Caryn Tyson (R-Parker). Former state Attorney General and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Derek Schmidt acknowledges that his name is in the mix for the 2nd District but has not yet made a statement regarding intent. State Insurance Commissioner Vicky Schmidt is a possible candidate. Topeka Mayor Michelle de la Isla is mentioned as a potential Democratic contender.

The Kansas candidate filing deadline is June 1st. The real action is in the Republican primary as the seat will almost assuredly remain in the GOP column. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+21, and Donald Trump carried the district 57-41% in the 2020 presidential campaign.


On the last day of candidate filing in Michigan, Ottawa County Republican Party chairman Brendan Muir announced that he will challenge seven-term US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) in the 2024 Republican primary. This is Rep. Huizenga’s first term representing the post-redistricting 4th CD, however. Prior to the 2022 election, he was the 2nd District incumbent, but that seat was eliminated in reapportionment and redistricting.

Ottawa County, which houses Mr. Huizenga’s home city of Holland, is an entity housing just over 300,000 residents. The 4th District portion of Ottawa County – the municipality is split between the 3rd and 4th Districts – is the second largest voting bloc in the CD behind Kalamazoo County. Rep. Huizenga will be a heavy favorite both for renomination and re-election.


Another budding primary challenge faces Michigan freshman Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit). In 2022, he won an open Democratic primary with just 28% of the vote, and the second place finisher, then-state Sen. Adam Hollier who secured 21% in a field of nine Democratic candidates, long ago announced his return for a rematch. Now, former Southfield City Clerk Shakira Hawkins (D), who resigned from office before felony charges were levied against her, has announced her own congressional candidacy. Also in the Democratic primary race is Detroit City Councilwoman and former state Representative Mary Waters.

This will again be a competitive contest, but the more crowded the field, the better for Rep. Thanedar who has the financial wherewithal to outspend his opponents. Candidate filing has ended for the August 6th primary election, so the official field has formed. The 13th District, one of two anchored in Detroit, is heavily Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates it as D+46, so Rep. Thanedar’s race for re-election lies in the Democratic primary.


New Jersey US Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark), who suffered a heart attack earlier in April and unfortunately did not recover, passed away on Wednesday. His death means there are now six vacant congressional seats thus reducing the total membership number to 429.

Since candidate filing is closed for the regular cycle and Rep. Payne is the only candidate on the ballot for the 10th District Democratic primary, he will posthumously win the nomination contest. According to a story in the New Jersey Globe newspaper, once all candidates are certified for the general election by the June 17th deadline after the June 4th primary election, the Secretary of State will declare the seat vacant. The various Democratic county party committee members would then meet in convention to choose a replacement nominee.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has leeway regarding calling a special election for purposes of filling the remainder of the current term. He can schedule a special primary and general within the time limits proscribed by New Jersey election law, or he can make the special general concurrent with the regular election. The 10th District is heavily Democratic, so the party’s new nomination process will decide who succeeds the late Congressman Payne.


Earlier this week, expelled US Rep. George Santos (R) announced that he is dropping his Independent bid in the state’s 1st District. He entered the race in an attempt to deny Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County) re-election. In his statement, Mr. Santos said, “I don't want to split the ticket and be responsible for handing the House to the Dems. Staying in this race all but guarantees a victory for the Dems." Mr. Santos may be overestimating his ability to draw votes as an Independent or minor party candidate.

Rep. LaLota, in a post on X, said he believes Santos ending his candidacy means he is negotiating a plea bargain to the 23 federal charges he soon faces in trial. In closing, Mr. Santos indicated that, "it's only goodbye for now, I'll be back." Rep. LaLota, in a district that the new redistricting plan made slightly more Republican, is favored for re-election.


In the congressional races, the most competitive incumbent challenge occurred in the Pittsburgh anchored 12th District. While challenger Bhavini Patel ran a strong grassroots effort against freshman Rep. Summer Lee (D-Swissvale), the race ended in a projected 60.2 – 39.4% split in the Congresswoman’s favor. A combination of a major Lee resource advantage and staying away from any emphasis on her being part of the Socialist Democratic caucus’ “Squad,” allowed her to capture a definitive renomination victory.

In terms of challenger races, state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Emmaus) defeated technology business owner and 2022 congressional candidate Kevin Dellicker and attorney Maria Montero to win the GOP nomination in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton anchored 7th District. Mr. Mackenzie will now advance to the general election to face three-term Rep. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) in what figures to be another competitive campaign. Rep. Wild has averaged only 51.5% of the vote in her last two elections. Tuesday’s turnout in this seat proved to be about even between the two parties.

In the 10th District that featured a competitive Democratic primary for the right to challenge veteran Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg/Harrisburg), former local news anchor Janelle Stelson outpaced businessman Mike O’Brien and four others to claim the party nomination. Turnout favored the Republicans in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+9. Still, this is another campaign to watch in the coming general election.


After staying to vote on the foreign aid bills, Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher* (R-Green Bay) officially resigned his seat. His action reduces the total House Republican majority to 217-212. Mr. Gallagher joins former Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Bill Johnson* (R-OH), and Ken Buck (R-CO) who also left the House prior to finishing the current term.

Special elections to fill the balance of the terms will be held in all but Wisconsin and possibly New Jersey. The New York district will be filled April 30th, CA-20 on May 21st, the OH-6 seat on June 11th, and Rep. Buck’s Colorado CD on June 25th. Each party is expected to hold the seats of their departing members. If so, when the special election cycles conclude, the Republicans will have 220 seats and the Democrats’ 214 or 213 depending upon New Jersey.



Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) announced during the week that he is ending his 2025 bid for Governor and instead will enter what is expected to be an open contest for Lt. Governor. The move, at least for the short term, leaves Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Cove) as unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Mr. Stoney, however, is entering a contested primary for the secondary position. St. Sen. Aaron Rouse (D-Virginia Beach), a former NFL and UFL football player, also announced his bid for Lt. Governor. Sen. Rouse, also a former Virginia Beach City Councilman, was elected to the Senate in a special election in early 2023.

*denotes candidate received AGC PAC support during the 2023-2024 election cycle. 

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