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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.

Recent Primaries

AK-AL

Alaska held its first election under the state’s new top-four jungle primary format and former Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) finished in first place. The special election is held because veteran Rep. Don Young* (R-Ft. Yukon) unexpectedly passed away in March.

The already confusing Alaska voting system has apparently even confounded those who are charged with its implementation. A finalist deciding to end his campaign earlier in the week for the special election has led officials from the Alaska Division of Elections governing body to change how the race would proceed.

Surgeon Al Gross (I/D), who finished third in the qualifying election that whittled the field from 48 candidates to four, announced two days ago that he is withdrawing from the campaign. The Division officials initially were moving toward placing the fifth place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, into the group of four finalists, but yesterday they reversed themselves.

The governing authorities are now saying a replacement within the final four general election finalists will not be added, meaning only former Governor Palin, businessman Nick Begich, III (R), and ex-state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will advance into the special general election scheduled for August 16. Ms. Sweeney then quickly made an announcement saying that she will not challenge the Elections Division’s ruling.

California

Former state Assemblywoman Connie Conway successfully won the special congressional election in the 22nd District and will assume office immediately after race certification to fill the unexpired portion of resigned Rep. Devin Nunes’ final congressional term. Additionally, Rep. Mike Garcia* (R-Santa Clarita), in a district that was made more Democratic, finished substantially ahead, 50-35%, of former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), the opponent he has twice beaten including a 333 vote win in 2020. 

In Orange County, incumbent Reps. Young Kim* (R-La Habra) and Michelle Steel* (R-Orange County) qualified for their respective general elections against physician Asif Mahood and Community College Trustee Jay Chen (D) as expected.  Former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh, who was thought to be a strong Republican challenger to Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) in the coastal Orange County seat, saw the incumbent top 50%, some 20 points ahead of him, meaning this race may not be as competitive in November as once predicted.

Iowa

Early in the election cycle, it appeared that former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer had the inside track to the Democratic US Senate nomination, but such was not to be as retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken easily defeated her by a 55-40% count to become the party standard bearer. He will face Sen. Chuck Grassley* (R) who won a landslide re-nomination for what would be an eighth six-year term.

The Governor and House races, most of which were unopposed, all went as predicted. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) runs for a second full term and will square off against marketing consultant Deidre DeJear. As expected, state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Altoona) was an easy Republican primary winner in the state’s 3rd District. He will now oppose two-term Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) who has yet to reach 50% in any of her campaigns. Freshmen Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks* (R-Ottumwa) and Ashley Hinson* (R-Marion/Cedar Rapids) will both defend their competitive seats each against a pair of sitting state legislators, state Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City) and state Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha), respectively.

Mississippi

Two Mississippi GOP congressional incumbents, Reps. Michael Guest* (R-Brandon) and Steven Palazzo* (R-Biloxi), will have to run in a secondary election to win re-nomination, an ominous sign for any southern incumbent. Because a majority of the voters chose a candidate other than the incumbent a runoff vote will occur on June 28 between the top two finishers. Therefore, both Reps. Guest and Palazzo face difficult re-nomination prospects at the end of this month.

Montana

In a surprisingly tight congressional race for Montana’s new western congressional district, a seat the state gained because of its strong population growth in national reapportionment, former US Interior Secretary and ex-Congressman Ryan Zinke appears to be successfully returning to the House but in a very close margin. 

Nevada

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo scored a 38-28-13-8% Republican primary win over retired professional boxer Joey Gilbert, ex-US Senator Dean Heller, and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee to set the general election card. As polling predicted, former Attorney General and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Adam Laxalt claimed the Republican US Senate nomination, defeating Afghan disabled veteran Sam Brown and several others. The GOP primary sets up a key Senate map between Mr. Laxalt and first-term Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

WPA Intelligence, polling for the Club for Growth organization just before the Nevada primary but released a day after (6/4-6; 502 NV likely voters; live interview) projects Clark County Sheriff Lombardo taking a one-point, 48-47%, edge over Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak. The poll appears to undercount the non-affiliated voters, which is the largest of the party division segments. It is already clear, however, that this race begins as a toss-up.

In the 1st Congressional, investment advisor Mark Robertson claimed the Republican nomination defeating former Congressman Cresent Hardy among others. He advances to challenge Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) in the general election.

Rep. Mark Amodei* (R-Carson City) turned back a challenge from perennial GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian in the state’s northern congressional district’s party primary with a 54-33% victory margin. In competitive District 3, the Republican establishment’s choice, attorney April Becker*, easily won the GOP nod and will oppose Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) in the November election.

Insurance agency owner and Army veteran Sam Peters was projected the winner of the 4th District Republican primary a day after the election, with a 48-41% victory spread over Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black (R-Mesquite). Mr. Peters now advances to challenge incumbent Steven Horsford* (D-Las Vegas) in a seat that rates D+5, but is staged to be competitive in 2022.

New Jersey

Without a statewide race on the ballot in 2022, New Jersey appears politically quiet this year. The top race in the state is a 7th District re-match between Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) and former state Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R). The two battled to a 51-49% finish two years ago. Mr. Kean easily defeated a crowded Republican field to earn another shot at Mr. Malinowski who faces his Republican opponent in a less Democratic district post-redistricting. The seat now trends Republican, thus making this one of the GOP’s top conversion opportunities in the nation.

New Mexico

Former Albuquerque TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti, who held Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D) to a closer-than-expected 52-46% win in 2020, romped to a win in the Republican Governor’s primary topping the 58% mark after failing to qualify for the ballot through the Republican nominating convention. The Ronchetti win sets up a competitive battle with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) in the Autumn. In the gerrymandered southern 2nd District, freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell* (R-Alamogordo) will face Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez (D) in a district that now leans Democratic with the inclusion of part of Albuquerque. This will be a highly competitive general election campaign and a must-win for Republicans if they are to capture the House majority as many predict.

South Dakota

In an unsurprising result, both Sen. John Thune* (R) and Gov. Kristi Noem (R) scored landslide Republican primary victories with each topping the 70% mark in voter support. In the state’s at-large congressional primary, second-term Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-Mitchell) defeated Rapid City state Rep. Taffy Howard with a 59-41% spread to win re-nomination for a third two-year term. All three of the statewide GOP incumbents now become prohibitive favorites for re-election in November.

South Carolina

The first of six Republican House members who are seeking re-election and voted to impeach former President Trump went down to defeat in the June 14 primary. South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice* (R-Myrtle Beach) lost outright to Mr. Trump’s endorsed candidate, state Rep. Russell Fry (R-Murrell’s Inlet). Mr. Fry defeated Rep. Rice, 51-24%, with the remaining 25% being split among the other five candidates.

Elsewhere, Rep. Nancy Mace* (R-Charleston) defeated Republican primary challenger and 2018 congressional nominee Katie Arrington by a close 53-45% that proved a defeat for a Trump endorsed candidate. Fourth District Rep. William Timmons (R-Greenville), in a race that Mr. Trump did not particularly affect, was also renominated but only by a 52.7% vote share opposite three challengers.

Statewide, both Republican incumbents, Sen. Tim Scott* and Gov. Henry McMaster, were easily re-nominated. Gov. McMaster will now face former Congressman Joe Cunningham (D), who won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination outright with 56.5% of the vote, while the Democratic Senate candidates fell into a tight three-way finish. Two of the contenders, author Catherine Bruce and state Rep. Krystle Matthews (D-Ladson), will advance to a runoff election on June 28. Both Gov. McMaster and Sen. Scott are prohibitive favorites for re-election.

TX-34

Republican Mayra Flores, a health care professional, won the open special election in a 51-43% spread over former Cameron County Commissioner Dan Sanchez (D) and two others. The district was left vacant when then-Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) resigned from the House to accept a position with a legislative advocacy firm.

Ms. Flores’ win will boost the Republican count to 214 in the House when all of the special elections are complete, just four away from creating a new majority. For Rep-Elect Flores, winning a full term in November, however, is a more difficult challenge. The new 34th is rated 12 points more Democratic than the seat she won in the special and will face 15th District Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) in the unfolding general election.

Mr. Gonzalez chose to seek re-election in the new South Texas 34th when Mr. Vela announced his retirement, and thus won the party primary in March. We can expect the Republican national political apparatus to pull out all of the stops in an attempt to re-elect Ms. Flores in the Autumn, thus making the 34th CD a political battleground.

U.S. Senate

Arizona

A new Data Orbital poll (6/1-3; 550 AZ likely Republican primary voters) again finds a three-way virtual tie for the party’s US Senate nomination that will be decided on August 2. In the last ten published polls, all three top candidates, Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessmen Blake Masters, who now has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, and Jim Lamon have led in at least two polls apiece. The latest Data Orbital results also suggest that any of the three can win the primary. In their ballot test results, Mr. Lamon leads AG Brnovich and Mr. Masters, 20-18-15%. The eventual winner will challenge Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in what promises to be a competitive general election campaign.

Georgia

East Carolina University tested the Georgia electorate (6/6-9; 868 GA registered voters) and finds Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker tied at 47% apiece. The Peach State race will be one of the key battleground contests in the 2022 general election cycle.

North Carolina

Survey USA, polling for WRAL-TV in Raleigh (6/8-12; 650 NC likely voters; online) projects former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley taking a 44-40% lead over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). It is probable that we can expect to see close polls like this all the way through the general election.

Ohio

After the May 3 primary, Suffolk University was first in the field (5/22-23; 500 OH likely voters) and found Republican J.D. Vance leading US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) by a slight 42-39% spread. Now, a new study from Democratic pollster Grow Progress (conducted for the Innovation Ohio organization; 5/30-6/3; 2,018 OH registered voters; online) finds Rep. Ryan holding a 44-41% edge. The Ohio electorate typically polls close and these surveys indicate that such a pattern continues in 2022. We can expect toss-up survey research results to continue well into October. At that point, a victory trend will develop for one candidate or the other.

Pennsylvania

A new Suffolk University survey looks to be the first poll taken after the marathon Republican primary finally settled for Dr. Mehmet Oz by a total of 951 votes of 1.345 million ballots cast. The Suffolk poll (6/10-13; 500 PA likely voters; live interview) produces interesting and mixed results. On the ballot test, Democratic nominee John Fetterman, the state’s Lt. Governor, leads Dr. Oz 46-37%, but a full 50% of the respondents said they want their vote “to change the direction President Biden is leading the nation.”

While President Joe Biden is upside down in job approval, 39:54% favorable to unfavorable, Dr. Oz surprisingly records an equivalently bad 28:50% ratio. On the other hand, Mr. Fetterman, at home recovering from a stroke suffered from a blood clot to the heart, records a positive 45:27% favorability index.

Washington

Public Policy Polling, conducting another in a series of their polls for the Northwest Progressive Institute (6/1-2; 1,039 WA registered voters; live interview & text), again finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) leading the 2022 general election contest over Republican Tiffany Smiley but without her usual overwhelming majority. The new results post the Senator to a 50-41% lead, which is consistent with their previous polls conducted earlier in the year. Sen. Murray is the clear favorite to win a sixth term, but we can expect to see an unusually hot general election in one of the Democrats’ most reliable political states.

U.S. House of Representatives

FL-2

In another indication that the congressional redistricting map Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) drove through the legislature will be the plan at least for the 2022 election despite its legal challenges, Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee), whose 5th District was collapsed in the draw, announced his re-election intentions. He will challenge GOP Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District. Former President Donald Trump would have carried this new district 55-44% in the 2020 election. Looking at these ratings and numbers suggests that Rep. Lawson has a difficult road ahead of him if he is to return to the House next year.

MO-1

A new internal campaign poll suggests that controversial freshman Missouri Rep. Cori Bush (D-St. Louis) has a competitive race on her hands as the candidates look ahead to the August 2 state primary. State Sen. Steve Roberts (D-St. Louis) released a Lincoln Park Strategies poll (5/24-29; 500 MO-1 registered voters; live interview) that finds the Congresswoman leading by only a 36-19% spread over the poll sponsor, and that obviously places the incumbent far below the 50% threshold. Three other Democrats are also on the ballot, suggesting that the winner can claim the party nomination with only a plurality margin.

NY-23

Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park), who was just elected to his first full term in 2020, announced that he is now abandoning plans to run in the new post-redistricting 23rd District largely due to fallout over his position on the gun control issue and related impending legislation. This opens a safely Republican and vacant 23rd District and completely changes both the regular election primary and the upcoming special election both concurrently scheduled for August 23.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) scheduled the special concurrent with the regular congressional primary on August 23. Republican county chairmen who comprise the current 23rd have selected New York Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy as the special election nominee. Democrats chose retired Air Force Colonel Max Della Pia. We can expect both Messrs. Langworthy and Della Pia to win their respective regular election primaries, so we can count on seeing the two battle not only on August 23 but also in the general election.

Texas

Though recounts are likely to be called, the canvassing process for the state’s two unresolved May 24 runoff elections has concluded. At the end of the counting, both leaders heading into the canvass gained strength. In Rep. Henry Cuellar*’s (D-Laredo) 28th CD, the Congressman increased his lead from a small spread of 177 votes in the unofficial count to 281 votes. In the open McAllen anchored 15th CD, businesswoman Michelle Vallejo (D) increased her tiny lead from 23 votes to 30. In the latter race, attorney and Iraq War veteran Ruben Ramirez is asking for the ballots to be counted again citing the razor-thin difference between the two competitors.

WY-AL

A new survey that the Fabrizio Lee & Associates firm conducted for the Wyoming Values PAC (6/1-2; 400 WY likely Republican primary voters; live interview and text of a repeat universe from the December 14-15 poll) reveals a brewing landslide for challenger Harriet Hageman in her August 16 Republican primary contest with at-large US Rep. Liz Cheney* (R-Wilson/Jackson). The poll shows just how upset the Wyoming Republican voter base is with Rep. Cheney, as her personal favorability of 26:73% favorable to unfavorable is even worse than her atrocious job approval rating of 27:70%. On the ballot test, Ms. Hageman leads the Congresswoman 56-28% with state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie) trailing badly at the 8% support level.

Governor

Georgia

The aforementioned East Carolina University poll (see Georgia Senate above) finds Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leading ex-state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D), 50-45%, in another race that is expected to go down to the wire. The two fought to a 50.2 - 48.8% finish in 2018.

Michigan

Former Detroit Police chief James Craig, who was disqualified from the ballot because of submitting a lack of valid petition signatures, said on Friday that he would launch a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination. With half the GOP field rejected for the same reason, the race against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has radically turned.

Pennsylvania

The aforementioned Suffolk University poll (see Senate section above), while finding Republican nominee Mehmet Oz trailing Lt. Gov. John Fetterman well outside the polling margin of error, shows state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) trailing Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) by only a 44-40% margin.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s job approval is a very poor 38:60% favorable to unfavorable. And, by a 29:54% ratio, the respondents believe Pennsylvania is on the wrong track. Though Sen. Mastriano is viewed by many as being extreme, the sour taste voters apparently have for the current gubernatorial administration and their poor perception of how the state is performing economically is putting the new Republican nominee in competitive position despite whatever perceived negative baggage he might be carrying.

Texas

A new Democratic Blueprint Polling survey of the Texas electorate (6/8-10; 603 TX likely general election voters) finds Gov. Greg Abbott (R) re-establishing a huge polling lead. In this survey, the ballot test breaks 56-37% over former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso). Gov. Abbott is seeking a third four-year term.

Quinnipiac University, in their most recent Texas survey (6/9-13; 1,257 TX registered voters; live interview), found a much different result, however. The Q-Poll sees Gov. Abbott’s lead over O’Rourke closing to just 48-43%, with the Governor possessing an upside down job approval rating of 46:48% favorable to unfavorable. More data will be required to see which of these two pollsters, surveying basically during the same sampling period, is the most accurate.

Redistricting

Louisiana

A federal judge has struck down the Louisiana legislature’s 2022 congressional map under the argument that another minority seat can be drawn in the state. The current map and the new plan features a 5R-1D delegation split with the lone Democratic seat, which is 58.6% black and 70.2% minority, stretching from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. The judge ruled that such a plan violates the Voting Rights Act. Expect the Republicans to appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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


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