Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races from across the country.
The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Government Studies surveyed the California electorate and found a major change from their February poll. This new survey (5/11-17; 7,465 CA registered voters; 1,853 registered Republicans; online) projects former President Donald Trump moving into a big lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which is a marked change from February when the reverse was true.
According to the ballot test results, Mr. Trump holds a 44-26% lead over Gov. DeSantis with no other candidate even reaching 5%. In February, Gov. DeSantis led 39-27%. It is important to remember, however, that California uses a congressional district delegate apportionment system from its 52 districts, so the statewide numbers are less important than in other places.
The latest Emerson College survey of Republican potential Iowa Caucus voters (5/19-22; 442 IA likely GOP caucus voters; multiple sampling techniques) gives former President Donald Trump a huge 62-20% advantage over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with no other candidate reaching 6%. It is important for DeSantis to do well in the early nomination events if he is to overtake Mr. Trump but starting this far behind makes his task all the more difficult.
Retired Los Angeles Dodger and San Diego Padre Steve Garvey (R) is considering entering the open US Senate race according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. Though Mr. Garvey has been retired as a player for 36 years after playing from 1969-1987, he still serves as an expert commentator, and his name remains well known in California’s two largest metro areas, Los Angeles and San Diego. For Republicans to have any chance in such a large state, they must begin with a candidate who is already well known.
A Garvey candidacy would give Republicans the opportunity of securing one of two general election slots coming from the all-party jungle primary. This would mean that two of the three prominent House members, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), would be eliminated in the March 5, 2024, jungle primary.
Citing the closeness of the House Republican majority through the next election, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy) announced this week that he will not join the US Senate race to oppose incumbent Sherrod Brown (D) but will seek re-election to his 8th District House seat. Mr. Davidson was first elected in a 2016 special election to replace former House Speaker John Boehner (R).
Though it appeared that Rep. Davidson was preparing to enter the race, he said his decision not to do so was based upon the amount of time that a statewide campaign would take away from his House duties.
In the Senate race are state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), a 2022 Senate candidate who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball Club, and businessman Bernie Moreno, who Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance endorsed last week. Expected to join the campaign next month is GOP Secretary of State Frank LaRose. The Ohio Senate race promises to be one of the most competitive in the nation.
Despite signals to the contrary, state Senator and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano (R-Chambersburg/ Gettysburg) announced at the beginning of the weekend that he would not run for the US Senate and will instead seek re-election to his state Senate position. The move opens the door for 2022 Senate candidate and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick to run virtually unencumbered for the nomination, something that will be necessary in order to fully compete against Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D).
Though this allows the Republicans to field a stronger candidate than Mastriano, who was defeated 56-42% in the Governor’s race, Sen. Casey must still be viewed as the favorite to win re-election next year.
East Carolina University released the results of their new West Virginia political poll (5/22-23; 957 WV registered voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; online) and the ballot test results post Gov. Jim Justice to a substantial 54-32% lead over Sen. Joe Manchin (D).
If Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) were to win the Republican nomination, he would fall into a toss-up battle with Sen. Manchin, leading 42-41% according to this survey. If these polling results continue, Sen. Manchin may find that running for President on the No Labels Party ticket may be his best political option.
U.S. House of Representatives
Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor (D) announced that she will run for the open Phoenix anchored 3rd District, the seat her late father, Rep. Ed Pastor (D), represented for seven terms. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) currently holds the seat but is leaving the House to run in the three-way contest for US Senate.
Along with Ms. Pastor, Osborn School Board Member Ylenia Aguilar, Phoenix City Councilwoman Yassiman Ansari, Glendale School Board Member Hector Jaramillo, and former state Senate Minority Leader Raquel Teran comprise the early Democratic primary. The 3rd District is heavily Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+44, so the battle to succeed Rep. Gallego will be fought in the Democratic primary.
California Board of Equalization member Mike Schaefer (D), an announced congressional candidate for the 45th District seat that Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County) holds, has decided to end his campaign and re-establish it in neighboring District 47, which will be an open seat.
The Democratic side in the Steel district is packed. Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Nguyen, and attorneys Cheyenne Hunt, Aditya Pat, and Jimmy Phan are all announced and active candidates. The 47th District, that which Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) is vacating to run for Senate, finds state Sen. David Min (D-Irvine), television writer Lori Kirkland Baker, and several minor candidates running.
With Sen. Min’s recent conviction for drunk driving, and ex-Rep. Harley Rouda (D) having to withdraw for health reasons, Mr. Schaefer perceives his opening. The eventual November Democratic finalist will likely oppose Republican former state Assemblyman and 2022 congressional finalist Scott Baugh. The California all-party jungle primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
In the last two election cycles, Republicans fielded USMC Reserve Officer Tyler Kistner as their 2nd District congressional nominee, but he lost twice to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Prior Lake) by close margins: 48-46% in 2020, and 51-46% last November. Now, others are coming forward believing a fresh candidate would provide the GOP a better chance of upending Rep. Craig.
Originally, former Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy (R) announced his candidacy and now Attorney Tayler Rahm joins the field. Apparently, Mr. Kistner has not ruled out making a third run against Rep. Craig, but he has also made no discernible move to enter the race. Regardless of what happens in the Republican nominating convention and/or primary election, Rep. Craig will be favored for re-election.
J.R. Majewski (R) who lost a 57-43% decision to veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+6, said yesterday that he will not return for a re-match after originally planning to run. Mr. Majewski says his mother’s health situation forces him out of the race.
The major political benefactor could be former state Rep. Craig Riedel (R), who lost the 2022 primary to Mr. Majewski when he and state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) split much of the vote to allow Majewski to capture the party’s right faction and win with a plurality of 36% of the vote. Mr. Riedel finished second with 31%. Sen. Gavarone has already announced that she will seek re-election to the state Senate instead of making another congressional run. A local mayor and former local mayor are both in the race, but Mr. Riedel should be viewed as the leading candidate for the GOP nomination.
As was first announced in February, Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) left the House on June 1 to become the executive director of a major Rhode Island non-profit organization. In his wake, a primary of 18 announced Democratic candidates will begin vying for the party nomination in anticipation of a September 5 primary election. The winner will easily capture the seat in the November 7 general election.
The Rhode Island candidate filing deadline is June 30, and then it will be known if all 18 candidates decide to officially enter the race. Of the 18 announced individuals, the field contains Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, five sitting state legislators, three local officials, one former state Representative, and an ex-White House aide.
Six-term Utah US Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington), who at one time was thought to be interested in launching a gubernatorial or US Senate campaign, announced during the week that he will resign from the House at an undetermined time. Rep. Stewart said he will “retire from Congress after an orderly transition can be ensured.” Mr. Stewart’s wife’s ongoing health situation is the reason he will be leaving his position.
It is possible that Mr. Stewart’s undefined resignation date could be influenced by Utah’s special election law. Under the current statute, Gov. Spencer Cox (R) will set the special primary and general election calendar within seven days of Rep. Stewart officially resigning. He must, however, place the special concurrently with a previously scheduled regular election. Otherwise, the affected local governments must pay for the election.
Once the election date is settled, the 2nd District political parties will first meet in a special district convention to select a candidate. The individual candidate eventually receiving majority support from the voting delegates will advance into the primary. Other candidates may petition onto the ballot. A general election will then follow. UT-2 is safely Republican. With both Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and GOP Rep. Stewart resigning, both parties will be down a seat for the foreseeable future.
Earlier in the year, the Mississippi Democratic Party, largely in an effort to clear the gubernatorial field for Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, disqualified candidate Bob Hickingbottom for not filing certain documents on time and because he once ran on the Conservative Party ballot line.
A Mississippi state court ruled this week that the MDP exceeded its authority in disqualifying Mr. Hickingbottom and reinstated him on the ballot. Therefore, it appears he will compete with Mr. Presley for the Democratic nomination in August. It is unlikely that this decision will derail the Presley campaign.
The Public Service Commissioner, a cousin to the late rock ‘n roll icon Elvis Presley, should easily win the Democratic primary and then face Gov. Tate Reeves (R) in this year’s November campaign. Gov. Reeves also faces minor Republican competition for his party’s nomination.
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