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Political Snippets from Around the Country

Check out these political snippets on primary results, congressional and gubernatorial races from across the country. See how two AGC members and one former one fared in their elections earlier this week. 

Recent Primaries

Alabama

As the post-primary polling unanimously foretold, Katie Britt*, the former president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama organization and ex-chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), won the Republican US Senate nomination with a landslide 63-37% margin over Alabama US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in the runoff election. Ms. Britt’s victory was complete in that she carried 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties en route to claiming the party nomination, and a veritable ticket to the US Senate. She now faces pastor Will Boyd who won the Democratic nomination outright on May 24th in what will prove to be a perfunctory general election in this safely Republican state.

Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong* (R) defeated former Deputy Army Secretary Casey Wardynski with just over 63% of the Republican runoff vote. Like Ms. Britt, Mr. Strong has punched his ticket to Washington with this victory. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates AL-5 as R+32, leaving little doubt that Mr. Strong is now the prohibitive favorite to defeat Democratic nominee Kathy Warner-Stanton who won her party’s nomination outright in the regular primary contest.

Colorado

As expected, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl captured the Republican gubernatorial nomination with a 53% majority over GOP nominating convention winner Greg Lopez. In the Senate contest, as most predicted, construction company owner and AGC member Joe O’Dea* defeated state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose) with just under 55% of the vote. Like Mr. Lopez, Rep. Hanks also won the Republican nominating convention endorsement.

The two will advance to the general election against Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D). Neither incumbent was opposed for re-nomination and both are now heavy favorites to win re-election in November.

Despite an effort from Democrats to flood the 3rd District GOP primary, freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) easily won re-nomination with 65% of the vote. She will face former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D) and begins the general election as a clear favorite to prevail in November.

In the Colorado Springs anchored District 5, incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) was re-nominated, but with only 49% of the vote against three GOP challengers. The 5th is safely Republican, so Rep. Lamborn, for all intents and purposes, won re-election last night.

An upset occurred in the open 7th District Republican primary. Iraq War veteran Eric Aadland scored a 13-point victory over businessman Tim Reichert, the leading fundraiser in the primary race and the individual most outsiders expected to prevail. Mr. Aadland will now challenge state Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) in the general election. The open district leans Democratic, so Ms. Pettersen begins the November campaign in the favorite’s position. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Arvada) is retiring after serving what will be eight full terms in the House.

In the new 8th CD, Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Eastlake) was unopposed for the open seat party nomination. State Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer (R-Weld County) defeated Thornton Mayor Jan Kulann and Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, 41-23-20% to claim the GOP nomination. The new 8th is a clear toss-up district, so we can count on seeing a hard fought, expensive northern Colorado campaign in the Autumn.

Georgia

Georgia proved another tough election night for former President Donald Trump, as his two key candidates in House runoff races, Jake Evans in created open District 6 and Vernon Jones in the open 10th CD, both went down in landslide proportions. These results, added to Trump candidates David Perdue and Rep. Jody Hice losing the Governor and Secretary of State’s races in the May 24th primary, suggests that the Peach State will likely prove to be Mr. Trump’s worst endorsement state. Dr. Rich McCormick*, a retired Navy physician who was the 7th District GOP nominee in 2020, scored a 67% win over Mr. Evans. In District 10, businessman Mike Collins, a trucking company owner and son of the late former Congressman Mac Collins, recorded almost 75% of the runoff vote.

Illinois

The big news from Tuesday’s primary election surrounded the two paired districts. In the Chicago suburbs, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove), who unexpectedly lost his 17-year old daughter just two weeks ago, scored a landslide win over fellow Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange) in the new 6th District that contained more of the latter member’s current turf.

The two were paired in order to create a new Chicago anchored Hispanic district. State Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) easily won the Democratic nomination in this seat, and now becomes the prohibitive favorite for the general election.

In the downstate Republican 15th CD, freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland), armed with an endorsement and rally appearance from former President Donald Trump, scored a decisive 57-43% over veteran Rep. Rodney Davis* (R-Taylorville). The latter man will now see his congressional career draw to a close after serving what will be ten years in the House.

In what could be the most competitive Illinois general election district, attorney Esther Joy King*, who held retiring Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline) to a 52-48% victory in 2020, was easily re-nominated. Former television meteorologist Eric Sorensen topped a field of five Democratic opponents, and will now do battle with Ms. King in the general election. The district tilts Democratic, but Republicans will be spending heavily in an attempt to claim this competitive seat.

State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) won an outright majority with 57% of the vote opposite five opponents. He advances to the general election to oppose Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D). The incumbent is a heavy favorite to win again in 2022.

Conservative activist Kathy Salvi won the Republican Senate nomination, and now faces a likely insurmountable opponent in Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D). In the 7th Congressional District Democratic primary, veteran Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago) successfully won re-nomination, but with only 52% of the vote.

MS-3 & 4

As predicted, despite a scare in the primary election, 3rd District Rep. Michael Guest* (R-Brandon) easily won re-nomination in the Mississippi congressional runoff election. He topped challenger Michael Cassidy with two-thirds of more than 70,000 votes that were cast. Rep. Guest will now have an easy run in the general election.

Rep. Steven Palazzo* (R-Biloxi) was not so fortunate in his southern Mississippi 4th CD. He failed to overcome Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell and lost his seat in a 54-46% count. Mr. Palazzo becomes the eighth House incumbent to be denied re-nomination and the fourth who lost to a challenger that was not a fellow incumbent forced into a paired district. Sheriff Ezell is now the heavy favorite to win the seat in November.

NE-1

Another special congressional election, and this result ended in a closer final tally than originally expected. State Sen. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), a media company owner, claimed the seat with a 53-47% victory over fellow state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln) in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+17.

Mr. Flood took eleven of the district’s twelve counties, but lost the largest population center, Lancaster County, that houses the capital city of Lincoln and the state’s main college campus, the University of Nebraska. There, Ms. Pansing Brooks took 57% of the vote, translating into a 9,154 vote margin that made the race competitive. Mr. Flood will be sworn into the House upon official election certification. He will replace convicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln). Rep-Elect Flood and Sen. Pansing Brooks will see each other again. Both are the party nominees for the regular general election in November.

New York

The New York statewide contests also ended as expected. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who ascended from the Lt. Governor’s position when Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, easily defeated NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), 68-19-13%. Mr. Williams was unopposed for the Working Families ballot line, so he will advance into the general election despite his loss.

The Republican battle was a bit closer.  US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; East Long Island) topped Andrew Giuliani, son of ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in a 44-23% split.  Former Westchester County Executive and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson recorded 18 and 15%, respectively.

Oklahoma

As polling correctly predicted, former AGC member and Oklahoma US Rep. Markwayne Mullin* (R-Westville) built a major advantage in the special US Senate GOP primary and claimed first position with 44% of the vote, but it was not enough to win the party nomination. Former state House Speaker T. W. Shannon (R) is well behind, but his 18% is enough to capture second place and advance to the August 23rd runoff election opposite Rep. Mullin. Following, but eliminated from the race are, state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), former Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland, who had outgoing Sen. Jim Inhofe*’s endorsement, and former EPA Administrator and ex-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The eventual Republican nominee will be favored in the general election over former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D). The latter woman was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

Both Sen. James Lankford* and Gov. Kevin Stitt easily won re-nomination and have ostensibly been re-elected to new terms.

In Rep. Mullin’s open 2nd District a total of 14 Republicans were on the ballot and the top five candidates all finished within a four percentage point range. AGC member and State Rep. Avery Frix* (R-Muskogee) is the first place finisher and he clinched a runoff position for the August 23rd secondary election. It appears that former state Sen. John Brecheen will edge Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee for the second qualifying position. The eventual Republican nominee will take the seat in the Autumn.

South Carolina

The Democratic runoff to produce an opponent for Sen. Tim Scott* (R) this November ended with a 56-44% victory for state Rep. Krystle Matthews (D-Ladson). She is a decided underdog in the general election.

Virginia

As predicted, state Sen. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach), a US Navy veteran and nurse practitioner, topped a field of four Republican candidates with a convincing 56% of the vote. She will now oppose Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) in what promises to be one of the most hotly contested GOP challenger races in the country. Moving to northern Virginia, Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s (D-Glen Allen) politically marginal 7th CD produced a general election Republican challenger. Prince William County Supervisor and former law enforcement officer Yesli Vega defeated five GOP opponents on her way to a tight 29-24-20% victory spread. The Spanberger-Vega general election will be hard fought. While the Congresswoman has a slight advantage in partisan voting history, the potential turnout pattern suggests that this seat is still very much in play for a potential GOP upset.

Utah

Sen. Mike Lee (R) clinched his nomination for a third term with a 62-30-8% primary win over former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Kaysville Councilwoman Ally Isom. As previously stated, the Utah general election is now more interesting because the Democrats are not fielding a candidate and have instead coalesced behind Independent Evan McMullin. This could make the general election slightly more competitive, but Sen. Lee remains a clear favorite to win again.

All four Republican US House incumbents had primary opposition, and each easily prevailed. Reps. Blake Moore* (R-Salt Lake City), Chris Stewart (R-Farmington), John Curtis (R-Provo), and Burgess Owens* (R-Salt Lake City) all presumably clinched another term with their primary victories.

U.S. Senate

Georgia

The new Georgia Quinnipiac poll (6/23-27; 1,497 GA registered voters; live interview) finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) claiming a 54-44% lead over Republican Herschel Walker, the most lopsided pro-Democratic ballot test to date. The previous polling from December to mid-April (six polls) had given Mr. Walker a slight edge. As point of reference, the same polling sample finds Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) tied at 48%.

Missouri

Answering ex-Sen. John Danforth’s (R) call for a new candidate in the Senate race, former US Attorney John Wood announced his plans to enter the contest as an Independent. He claims this is a move to potentially stop former Gov. Eric Greitens from prevailing in the general election should he win the Republican nomination. In reality, however, splitting the vote in such a manner, if Wood were to become a top tier candidate, would likely elect the Democratic nominee. To qualify for the ballot, an Independent candidate must submit 10,000 valid registered voters’ signatures by an August 1st deadline.

North Carolina

A Survey USA poll (6/8-12; 650 NC likely voters; online) that gave Democratic former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley a 44-40% edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in the open North Carolina Senate campaign. Last week, the Cygnal polling firm released its latest data (6/17-19; 600 NC likely voters; live interview & text) that projects a different conclusion. These results show Rep. Budd holding a virtual mirror image 45-40% lead. Of those definitely voting for one candidate or the other, Rep. Budd leads in that response, 38-31%.

Pennsylvania

Two surveys, a combined poll from Republican firm Fabrizio Ward & Associates and the Democratic Impact Research entity (6/12-19; 1,382 PA likely voters; live interview & text), and Suffolk University (6/10-13; 500 PA likely voters; live interview), both find Democrat John Fetterman leading Republican Mehmet Oz even though the Democratic fundamentals in terms of direction of the country, views on the economy, and wanting their vote to be a message to Washington, are inconsistent with support for the party’s nominee. Fabrizo/Impact finds Fetterman’s advantage at 50-44%. Suffolk finds a similar 46-37% split in Mr. Fetterman’s favor.

Utah

Coming on the heels of a Dan Jones & Associates survey (5/24-6/4; 810 UT registered voters) that found Sen. Mike Lee (R) holding only a 41-37% lead over Independent Evan McMullin, who has coalesced with the Democrats, a new WPA Intelligence poll puts the Senator in much better position. According to the WPA results (6/14-16; 300 UT likely general election voters) the Senator’s lead is 52-33%. Both surveys have issues. The Dan Jones poll has a very long sampling period and is of registered and not likely voters. The WPAi survey has a sampling university of only 300 individuals, which is low for a statewide study in Utah.

Washington

Republican Tiffany Smiley, who has been polling closer to Sen. Patty Murray (D) than one might expect for a Washington Senate race, just released the results of her internal Tarrance Group poll (6/14-16; 17-18; 600 WA registered voters). The results find Sen. Murray’s lead dropping to 48-43%. A great deal of the downturn is likely due to President Biden’s job approval rating moving into upside down territory with a 53% unfavorable in a state that he carried 58-39%. Sen. Murray is countering with an ad blitz on the Roe v. Wade decision.

U.S. House of Representatives

AK-AL

Surgeon Al Gross, who was the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee against Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) but running as an Independent in the US House special election, decided to end his campaign. Dr. Gross had qualified for the four-candidate runoff with his third place finish in the special primary on June 11th. He simply said he had “great hope for Alaska” in his departing statement but did not offer a particular reason for making the decision to prematurely end his campaign.

Officials from the Alaska Division of Elections, grappling with the new top-four qualifying system, have changed their initial ruling after finalist Gross announced his withdrawal decision. The Division officials initially were leaning toward placing the fifth place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, into the group of four finalists, but they have since reversed themselves. Therefore, the final ruling does not add a replacement for Dr. Gross, meaning that only former Governor Sarah Palin, businessman Nick Begich, III (R), and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will advance into the special general election scheduled for August 16th. Ms. Sweeney followed with an announcement that she will not challenge the Elections Division’s ruling.

FL-2

Though the new northern Florida’s 2nd District is rated R+16 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. A recent Sachs Media poll (6/20-23; 400 FL-2 likely general election voters), however, finds Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) leading Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) by only a 43-40% margin. Perhaps the most troubling segment for Rep. Dunn is the unaffiliated voters who are breaking for Mr. Lawson by a 42-18% margin.

MI-7

State Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Lansing) released an internal Cygnal campaign poll (6/14-16; 400 MI-7 registered voters; peer-to-peer text) that gives the candidate a 46-44% ballot test lead over two-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly). In 2020, Rep. Slotkin was re-elected to the 8th CD with a 51-47% margin. The new 7th District contains just over 38% new constituents for the Congresswoman. The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission drew several toss-up congressional districts, similar to the statistics we see from the new 7th CD.

MN-1 Special

An Expedition Strategies survey of the MN-1 special election (6/6-9; 400 MN-1 likely special election voters; live interview) scheduled for August 9th finds the two party nominees, Republican former state Representative Brad Finstad and ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) falling into a virtual tie. The ballot test gives Mr. Finstad a 48-47% edge in a district that is no stranger to close elections. The winning percentage in the last three congressional elections was 48.6%, 50.1%, and 50.3% in 2020, 2018, and 2016. The seat is in special election because incumbent Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in February.

NV-3

The Tarrance Group, polling for the April Becker* (R) campaign (6/20-23; 400 NV-3 likely general election voters), posts their client to a 46-44% edge over incumbent Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas). Likely most troubling for the Lee campaign is her deficit among Hispanic voters who comprise almost 19% of the 3rd District’s population. Within this segment, Ms. Becker leads the Congresswoman 48-42%.

NY-19 Special

A Triton Polling & Research survey conducted for the Freedom Council USA (6/16-20; 505 current NY-19 registered voters; interactive voice response system) finds Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) leading Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan (D) by a large 52-38% clip in the special election race to replace resigned US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D). The Congressman left the House to accept his appointment as Lt. Governor. A Molinaro victory would mean another special election GOP conversion of a Democratic seat as we saw in Texas on June 14th when Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez and two minor candidates to win the seat from which Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) resigned.

OH-13

Two political pollsters, the Remington Research Group and the Democratic polling firm GQR released survey results of what should be a very tight general election campaign in the new Akron anchored CD-13. Here, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is competing against Republican nominee and attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert. Both surveys were conducted in May but released well into June.

According to Remington (polling for US Term Limits; 5/19-20; 500 OH-13 likely general election voters), Ms. Gilbert opens with a 46-37% lead. GQR has a different take. Their survey (5/213-31; 700 OH-13 likely voters with a 200-person over-sample of African Americans; live interview) projects that the two candidates are virtually tied with Rep. Sykes holding a 47-45% edge. This race is categorized a toss-up in a seat that the 538 data organization rates R+2. Conversely, President Joe Biden carried the new 13th by a 51-48% spread.

RI-2

Though Rhode Island’s open 2nd District is rated as heavily Democratic, D+17 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, a new Suffolk University poll (6/19-22; 423 RI likely general election voters; live interview) finds former Cranston Mayor and 2014 and ‘18 Republican gubernatorial nominee Allen Fung taking a 45-38% lead over state Treasurer Seth Magaziner who is the Democratic primary polling leader. Former state Rep. Bob Lancia (R) decided not to enter the race at the filing deadline. Trailing badly in the primary polls to Mr. Fung, Mr. Lancia ended his campaign to allow the former man to run unopposed for the party nomination.

TX-28

The tight Democratic primary and runoff campaign featuring veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar* (D-Laredo) and attorney and 2020 congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros has finally come to an official end. The Texas Secretary of State has reported the final results of the runoff recount. Counting the ballots again actually increased Mr. Cuellar’s lead by eight votes. The final counts shows a 22,901 to 22,612 margin in favor of Rep. Cuellar, a spread of 289 votes, or 50.3% of the runoff electorate. Rep. Cuellar now advances into a general election against former Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) staff member Cassy Garcia. This could become a competitive general election in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+7. Though Ms. Garcia will have the ability to run a credible campaign, Rep. Cuellar is now viewed as the favorite to win a 10th term.

Redistricting

Louisiana

The federal judge’s ruling that disqualified the new Louisiana congressional map because it did not draw a second black district has been stayed. The United States Supreme Court took the action to at least temporarily block the ruling from taking effect. The conclusion will mean the legislature’s map will return at least for the 2022 election.

The courts, either through this case or the Alabama Voting Rights case that the SCOTUS has already scheduled for hearing, will likely determine how the Voting Rights Act is to be interpreted moving forward. This could mean that the Louisiana map and many others will be re-drawn for the 2024 election and beyond.

Governor

Arizona

Former US Representative Matt Salmon, who was the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2000, dropped his comeback bid on Tuesday. In an announcement, Mr. Salmon said, “the numbers are the numbers,” meaning he doesn’t believe he can overcome former television news anchor Kari Lake’s large GOP polling lead. The move leaves Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson as Ms. Lake’s most credible Republican primary opponent.

Florida

A surprising poll released earlier in June (Global Strategy Group; 6/8-13; 600 FL likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) found state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried pulling to within a 38-34% margin against US Representative and former Governor Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg). Now, a new St. Pete Polls survey (6/16-17; 1,007 FL likely Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) posts the latter man back to a more substantial spread, 49-24%. The Florida primary is scheduled for August 23rd. The Democratic winner will then challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

New Mexico

A pair of new surveys coming from two different polling organizations simultaneously arrived at virtually the same conclusion. That is, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and challenger Mark Ronchetti (R) are already in a toss-up campaign. Public Policy Polling, surveying for the New Mexico Political Report (6/13-14; 642 NM voters; live interview & text), finds Gov. Lujan Grisham topping Mr. Ronchetti, a former Albuquerque weatherman who was the 2020 Republican US Senate nominee, by only a 45-42% margin.

The closeness is confirmed and then some from an internal Public Opinion Strategies poll that the Ronchetti campaign released. According to this study (6/11-14; 600 NM likely general election voters; live interview), Mr. Ronchetti holds a tight one-point lead, 46-45%. The New Mexico gubernatorial race is quickly becoming a key nationally watched race.

Rhode Island

Gov. Dan McKee won a solid 56% endorsement vote at the Rhode Island Democratic convention, and he will be the official party supported candidate for the September 13th primary. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, however, leads McKee in a new Democratic poll (Suffolk University; 353 RI likely Democratic primary voters; live interview), 24-20%.  

* denotes the candidate has received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2021-2022 election cycle. 


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