Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial and state races across the country. Enjoy!
Appointed California Sen. Alex Padilla (D) has earned endorsements of 40 of the state’s 42 US House members and senior Senator Dianne Feinstein (D). The two federal office holders who have not endorsed are Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) and Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles). Mr. Khanna is reportedly still deciding whether to run for the Senate himself, while Rep. Waters’ spokesperson indicated that the Congresswoman would “soon” be endorsing Sen. Padilla. The seat comes in-cycle in 2022.
A surprising announcement came this week from Georgia. Former US Representative and 2020 US Senate candidate Doug Collins (R), widely believed to again become a Senate candidate, said that he will not run for any office in 2022. Mr. Collins did not rule out again running for public office in the future, however. This could open the door for Georgia football legend Herschel Walker (R) to join the race.
State Attorney General Chris Carr (R), who had also been considered a potential US Senate, said that he will run for re-election to his current position. Should Mr. Walker decline to run, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler/Savannah) has indicated a desire to become a Senate candidate. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), who won the 2020 special election, will stand for a full six-year term in 2022.
Both former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D), who lost her position in the 2020 election by just 401 votes statewide, and US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) this week announced for the state’s open US Senate race. Ms. Beasley becomes the tenth Democrat to enter the race, but the only one who has ever been elected statewide. At this point, her most serious Democratic opponent appears to be state Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte). Rep. Budd faces former Gov. Pat McCrory and ex-US Rep. Mark Walker in the Republican primary. Sen. Richard Burr (R) is retiring.
As expected, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) officially announced that he will run for his state’s open US Senate seat next year. Mr. Ryan, first elected to the House in 2002, also briefly ran for President in the 2020 election cycle. With other prominent Democrats opting not to run, it appears the Congressman has a clear shot at the party nomination. He will face a strong Republican in the general election.
U.S. House of Representatives
The Census Bureau yesterday announced the national apportionment numbers from the 2020 census a full four months after the January 1 deadline, and the report contained more than a few surprises. First, only seven seats changed states and not the ten that analysts had projected. Texas gained two seats instead of the projected three. Florida, one instead of the predicted two. The states gaining one seat apiece were Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. The states losing one seat are California, for the first time in history, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. New York missed holding all 27 of their seats by just 89 people, apparently the second closest number in history. This allowed Minnesota to barely hang onto its eighth CD.
The surprises came with Texas and Florida gaining one seat less apiece than expected. Arizona was also projected to gain but did not. Alabama, Minnesota, and Rhode Island were expected to lose but were able to keep their full complement of districts.
The US population rose just 7.4% for the entire decade. Only the 1930 census report, with a 7.3% uptick rate, was lower in the modern era. Utah, with a growth rate of 18.4% during the previous ten years, is the fastest growing state in the country. Illinois, Mississippi, and West Virginia actually lost population during the decade.
Alaska at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), the Dean of the House who was first elected in a 1973 special election, announced during the week that he will return to seek a 26th term next year. Rep. Young is 87 years of age and has spent well over half his life as a member of Congress. In 2020, overcoming strong opposition, Rep. Young was re-elected with a 54-45% victory margin.
Soon after his 1,522-vote loss to Rep. David Valadao* (R-Hanford/Bakersfield), defeated Rep. T.J. Cox (D-Fresno) indicated he would return in 2022 for a re-match. Such may not be the case, however. Last week, Mr. Cox announced that he is converting his campaign committee into a PAC to help the Democratic Party and would not be raising money for himself, at least in the short-term. A spokesman said the move does not mean Mr. Cox won’t run in 2022, and that final decisions will be made after redistricting is settled.
Florida state Rep. Omari Hardy (D-West Palm Beach) announced that he will enter the special Democratic primary to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach). Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has yet to schedule the replacement election, but that has not stopped now eleven Democrats from announcing their candidacies. Winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to election in this congressional district that occupies most of the territory between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami with a segment stretching into Palm Beach County.
Last Saturday, New Orleans state Senator Troy Carter won the double-Democratic special election to replace resigned Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) with a 55-45% victory over his colleague in the legislature, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans). Turnout reached 87,806 voters, down a touch over 7% from the March 20th jungle primary that sent the two finalists into the runoff election.
The Carter victory will return the Democrats to 219 seats in the House upon the Representative-Elect officially taking office. Republicans will then drop to 211 when Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) resigns his seat on May 16th. The special primary election to fill the late Rep. Ron Wright’s (R-Arlington) North Texas seat is scheduled for this Saturday. The NM-1 vacancy will be filled on June 1st. The two Ohio vacancies, along with the open South Florida seat, have longer election cycles and come before the voters in 2021’s fourth quarter.
US Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines), who was one of only nine congressional winners to record less than 50% of the vote last November and says she is open to running statewide in 2022, has drawn her first congressional opponent of significance for the coming campaign. Former four-term state Representative Mary Ann Hanusa (R-Council Bluffs) announced that she will enter next year’s congressional race.
Ex-Rep. David Young (R), who lost to Ms. Axne in both 2018 and 2020 by small margins, has yet to say whether he will again become a candidate. Regardless of whether Rep. Axne runs for Senate, Governor, or re-election, the 3rd District will host another competitive political contest in 2022.
GOP state Rep. Mike Perkins (R-Oakland) announced on Friday that he has formed a federal exploratory committee to assess his chances of defeating two-term Maine US Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) next year. Rep. Golden was re-elected last November with a 52-46% victory over former state Rep. Dale Crafts (R) in the district that former President Donald Trump won to capture an extra electoral vote. Maine is one of two states that splits its electoral votes, Nebraska being the other. The 2022 congressional election here is likely to again be competitive.
Less than a week since the Census Bureau made official that Montana would gain a second congressional seat, former Interior Secretary and ex-US Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish) filed a 2022 Federal Election Commission committee for the state’s new CD. Since the new congressional map will likely divide the state into a western and eastern district, the way Montana used to look before the second district was lost in the 1990 census, it is clear that freshman at-large Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) will run in the eastern seat since his hometown lies so close to the North Dakota border. This means we will see a new open western district that will likely be the more Democratic of the two.
Ryan Zinke was elected to the House in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. Shortly after Donald Trump won the presidential election, he selected Rep. Zinke as his Interior Secretary. Mr. Zinke returned to Montana after serving two years in the Trump cabinet.
Tyler Kistner (R), the Marine Corps Reserve officer who held Rep. Angie Craig (D-Eagan) to a 48-46% tight win last November, filed a 2022 campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission late this week signaling that the re-match between he and Rep. Craig will soon be underway. We can expect another highly competitive campaign here next year.
Investment banker Frank Pallotta (R), who held Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) to a 53-46% re-election victory in November said late this week that he will return for a re-match next year. Mr. Pallotta can count on heavy funds being spent against him because Rep. Gottheimer is one of the strongest fundraisers in the House. In 2020, he raised just under $8 million for his re-election effort and he’s already obtained close to a $1 million in the 2022 election cycle. This race has competitive potential, but Rep. Gottheimer remains the definitive favorite for re-election.
Former Defense Department official Andrew McCarthy (R) says he will enter the open 23rd District race to replace retiring Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning). Mr. McCarthy indicated he would have challenged Rep. Reed in the Republican primary even if the Congressman had decided to seek re-election, so his plan was always to run for the House in 2022. The 23rd CD, however, is undoubtedly on the short list to be eliminated since reapportionment will cost New York at least one congressional seat. The 23rd is the least populated of the state’s 27 current congressional districts.
In a move that surprises no one, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that he will schedule the special election to replace outgoing Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) to run concurrently with the calendar for the 11th District special election necessary to replace HUD Secretary and former Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland/Akron). This means a primary on August 3rd, with the associated general election on November 2nd. Rep. Stivers has announced that he will leave the House on May 16th to become the President/CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
During the week, state Rep. Jeff LeRe (R-Violet Township) and Fairfield County Commissioner Jeff Fix (R) joined state Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Fayette County) and state Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Circleville) as special election candidates. The only Democrat so far to announce is actor Daniel Kilgore.
Ending rumors that western Pennsylvania US Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler) would either run for the open Senate or Governor’s position, the Congressman announced yesterday that he will run for neither but intends to seek re-election to his House seat. Rep. Kelly was re-elected to a sixth term in November with 59.3% of the vote after a close 52-47% result in 2018.
The Data for Progress research organization tested the North Texas special congressional election scheduled for May 1st (4/5-12; 344 TX-6 likely special election voters; text and web panel response) and found Susan Wright (R), widow of Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington), leading the pack of 23 candidates with 22% of the vote. In second place is 2018 congressional nominee Jana Lynne Sanchez (D) with 16% as state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie) trails with 13%. All others have 10% or less.
If Ms. Wright and Ms. Sanchez advance, the early ballot test gives the former a ten-point lead, 53-43%. In 2020, Rep. Wright was re-elected with a 53-44% margin. Once the primary vote canvass is complete and a runoff is officially necessitated, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will schedule the secondary vote likely for late June.
2020 Washington Republican gubernatorial finalist Loren Culp, the former police chief of Republic, WA, which is not in the 4th Congressional District, announced that he will challenge Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside/Yakima) in the 2022 jungle primary. Also in the race is state Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) and businessman Jerrod Sessler (R). Rep. Klippert not reporting any money raised for the campaign in the first quarter of 2021 may have spurred Mr. Culp into becoming and active candidate.
Washington has a jungle primary system, so it is possible that two Republicans could advance into the general election. Mr. Culp lost the Governor’s race to incumbent Jay Inslee (D) 56-43%, but he did carry the 4th District. Rep. Newhouse is one of ten Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump after the January 6th US Capitol insurrection. Nine of the ten already have 2022 Republican opposition.
Six weeks after more than 2.2 million signatures were presented demanding a recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from office, the Secretary of State’s office finally issued a statement officially qualifying the election. With counting still progressing, more than 1.6 million signatures have already been validated.
Reality TV star and Olympic Gold Medal winner Caitlin Jenner announced during the week that she will enter the California gubernatorial recall election. Once the vote is scheduled, likely in October or November of this year, California voters will first choose whether to recall him from office. If they do, then candidates such as Ms. Jenner will be voted upon within the same election framework. Currently announced as candidates are 2018 gubernatorial finalist John Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), and ex-US Rep. Doug Ose (R-Sacramento). Another 36 minor candidates have also declared their intention to run.
In what appears to be a prelude to another gubernatorial run, US Representative and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) has formed a state committee for what appears to be purposes of running for Governor next year. Mr. Crist served one gubernatorial term as a Republican from 2007-2011. Prior to winning the Governorship, Mr. Crist was elected Attorney General, Education Commissioner, and state Senator, all as a Republican, before winning his congressional seat in 2016 as a Democrat. He has also lost statewide races as a Republican, Democrat, and an Independent.
Florida CEO Nikki Fried (D) is also making preparations to run for Governor. Additionally, as noted above, state Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Orlando) said he wants challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) next year unless US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) decides to run. Gov. DeSantis is expected to seek re-election.
Former DeKalb County CEO and state Representative Vernon Jones, who switched from the Democratic Party to the Republicans and became a vocal African American supporter of former President Donald Trump, announced that he will challenge Gov. Brian Kemp in next year’s Republican primary. With the conservative base seemingly turning against Gov. Kemp over the election controversy, this campaign could develop into a major challenge, especially if Mr. Trump were to publicly support Mr. Jones.
John B. King (D), former President Barack Obama’s final Education Secretary, announced that he will join the open 2022 Governor’s contest in seeking the Democratic nomination. So far, state Comptroller Peter Franchot, former Prince Georges County Executive and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Rushern Baker, non-profit corporation executive Ashwani Jain, and policy executive Jon Baron are the officially announced Democratic candidates. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is ineligible to seek a third term.
Former Westchester County Executive and 2014 New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino, saying he would be “the adult in the room,” announced yesterday that he will again run for Governor next year. In 2014, a Republican landslide year nationally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) defeated Mr. Astorino, 53-39%. Also in the Republican race is US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/Long Island), and Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove/Long Island) is considering challenging Gov. Cuomo in the Democratic primary if the incumbent avoids impeachment and chooses to seek re-election.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), who was for a short time a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2018 before withdrawing when Richard Cordray returned to the state to run, announced that she will enter the 2022 primary with the goal of challenging Gov. Mike DeWine (R) in the general election. Mayor Nan Whaley was first elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. Prior to serving as Mayor, Ms. Whaley won two four-year terms on the Dayton City Commission (Council).
Other potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates are Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. After the Whaley announcement, Mr. Cranley was quoted as saying her entry does not affect his plans and he will announce for Governor in the coming weeks.
Democratic former Congressman Joe Cunningham, who lost his Charleston anchored seat after just one term, has filed documents to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in hopes of challenging Gov. Henry McMaster (R) next year. Mr. Cunningham has yet to make a public announcement, but the filing clearly suggests that he is planning on making the race.
The University of Texas at Tyler recently conducted an extensive poll for the Dallas Morning News (4/6-13; 1,126 TX registered voters; 290 live interviews; 836 online responses) and among the many questions put before the respondents was a ballot test featuring Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is preparing to run for a third term, and actor Matthew McConaughey (D). The latter man confirms he is considering running and describes his philosophy as “aggressively centric.”
According to the poll results, Mr. McConaughey would lead Gov. Abbott 45-33% while 22% said they would prefer another choice. While celebrities often perform better than politicians in early campaign polling, the fact that Gov. Abbott only records 33% in any poll suggests that he is losing some of the luster he enjoyed during most of his Governorship. It remains to be seen if Mr. McConaughey actually becomes a gubernatorial candidate, but the early numbers and demographic shifts in the state suggest that the 2022 Texas Governor’s campaign could be one of interest.
A new poll from Christopher Newport University of the Virginia Tidewater region (4/11-20; 800 VA registered voters) tested the Democratic primary electorate for the upcoming 2021 gubernatorial campaign. Confirming other data, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe maintains a big lead for the June 1st nomination election, 47-8-6-5-1% over Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), former state Delegate Jennifer Carroll-Foy, and state Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas), respectively. Mr. McAuliffe is expected to easily win the party nomination and begin the general election campaign as the favorite opposite whomever the Republicans nominate in their hybrid May 8th convention.
In an unusual move, and particularly so since the legislature is scheduled to adjourn this week, the state Senate Democratic conference voted unanimously to sack Minority Leader Gary Farmer (D-Ft. Lauderdale) and replace him with state Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation), who also represents part of Broward County.
Legislation to convert the Nevada primary to a top two jungle system similar to what Louisiana, California, and Washington use appears dead for this session. The bill failed to meet a mandatory legislative deadline, thus indicating that it will not be heard before the legislature adjourns.
On a straight party line vote of 216-208 with two Democrats and four Republicans not voting, the House passed HR 51 that would grant statehood to the District of Columbia. The bill now must overcome a filibuster in the Senate before going to President Biden’s desk for signature. The House vote saw no member of either party breaking ranks.
A state can be added to the Union through the normal legislative process. Under the Constitution no new state can form, however, from territory currently existing within a state. Furthermore, no current states may merge to become a different state.
A bipartisan bill in the Wisconsin state Senate would, if passed, institute a Top Five jungle primary to replace the current closed partisan nomination system. In this instance, all candidates would be placed on the same ballot with the top five finishers, regardless of party identification, advancing into the general election. It is unclear whether the legislation has a legitimate chance of being enacted into law