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Political Snippets 7.08.21

Listed below are political snippets on congressional, gubernatorial, state and city-wide races across the country. Enjoy!

Senate

Alabama

Former Alabama Business Council president/CEO Katie Britt (R), who declared her Senate candidacy with retiring Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R) endorsement – she was formerly his chief of staff – announced that she will report over $2.2 million raised in the quarter just ended June 30th. This is an impressive amount for an initial candidate report and would certainly qualify Ms. Britt as an early top tier candidate.

Florida

The Florida US Senate campaign is already kicking into high gear. Both Sen. Marco Rubio* (R) and Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) are on record-setting fundraising paces. Each will report raising over $4 million for the quarter ending June 30th. The full reports will be made public after July 15th.

Georgia

In an interview earlier last week on the new Clay Travis and Buck Sexton nationally syndicated talk radio show, former President Donald Trump said that University of Georgia football legend Herschel Walker (R) will run for the US Senate next year. 

Mr. Walker, in response, indicated that he hasn’t fully decided to enter the race but will do so shortly. He has just re-located to Georgia from Texas. He remained in the Lone Star State after retiring from the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys in 1997. Already in the Republican primary are state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and construction company owner Kelvin King. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) is standing for a full six-year term.

Missouri

Six-term Missouri Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) said during the week that he is still considering entering the open Senate race and is “making preparations” to form a campaign in case he decides to join the Republican field. In the GOP contest are former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia). Sen. Roy Blunt (R) is retiring after two terms.

Ohio

As has been expected for months, venture capitalist and author J.D. Vance, best known for his book “Hillbilly Elegy,” yesterday officially declared his US Senate candidacy at an event in his home city of Middletown, joining former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, ex-state Treasurer and 2012 US Senate nominee Josh Mandel, and businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno as announced Republican candidates.

The eventual GOP nominee will likely battle US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) who is becoming the consensus Democratic candidate vying to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R).

Pennsylvania

Carla Sands (R), the former US Ambassador to Denmark, announced her candidacy for Pennsylvania’s open US Senate seat. She joins businessman and former Lt. Governor nominee Jeff Bartos, and former congressional candidate Sean Parnell in the Republican battle to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R). Crowded fields are expected in both parties to decide what could well become the most hard-fought 2022 Senate campaign.

Utah

Former LDS Church spokesperson and ex-Kaysville City Councilmember Ally Isom says she will join the Republican primary against Sen. Mike Lee (R). Ms. Isom and former state Rep. Becky Edwards are opposing Sen. Lee from his political left, which won’t help either woman in the Utah Republican Party nominating convention. Therefore, it is likely that both will opt to petition their names onto the primary ballot. Their strategy, before one of the most conservative electorates in the country, appears dubious at best, so Sen. Lee is again in the driver’s seat for re-nomination and re-election.

House

KY-3

House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) drew what could become a serious Democratic primary challenge from state Rep. Attica Scott (D-Louisville). Ms. Scott, formerly a member of the Louisville Metro Council, defeated a Democratic incumbent in 2016 to capture her seat in the state House. She was unopposed for re-election in 2018 and 2020. Rep. Yarmuth was first elected in 2006, defeating then-Rep. Anne Northup (R). The 3rd District is fully contained within Jefferson County and includes the entire city of Louisville.

MD-2

Brittany Oliver, a communications consultant and Civil Rights activist, yesterday announced her Democratic primary challenge to veteran Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville). Ms. Oliver said the 2nd District is 35% black and 47% minority and should have more diverse representation in Congress, thus her main reason for running. Mr. Ruppersberger was first elected to the House in 2002 after serving a pair of four-year terms as the Baltimore County Executive.

MT-2

Two more individuals declared their candidacies for the yet undrawn 2nd District of Montana, the seat awarded the state in national reapportionment. The assumption is the state will be drawn in an eastern and western district configuration, as was the case before Montana dropped into at-large status in the 1990 census. Since Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-At Large) is from the far eastern part of the state, it is further assumed that a western district will be the open seat.

Earlier this week, former state Senator and statewide candidate Al Olszewski (R-Kalispell) declared his intentions to run for the new congressional seat as did attorney Monica Tranel (D), a former member of two US Olympic rowing teams. Previously declared candidates are former US Interior Secretary and ex-Congressman Ryan Zinke (R) and state Rep. Laurie Bishop (D-Livingston).

NE-2

Mental health counselor and defeated 2020 US Senate candidate Alisha Shelton announced that she will enter the Democratic primary hoping to oppose three-term Rep. Don Bacon* (R-Papillion/Omaha) next year. Mr. Bacon, who was a four-point re-election winner last November despite former President Donald Trump losing the 2nd District by over 22,000 votes, was considering a bid for Governor but has decided to seek a fourth term in the House next year.

NH-1

New Hampshire’s 1st District has defeated more incumbents since 2004 than any congressional district in the country, re-electing its US House member only twice in the eight elections during that time span. It is presumed that Republicans, who control this year’s redistricting process, will attempt to make the 1st District more Republican while conceding the swing 2nd District to Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Concord).

Earlier this week, state Rep. Tim Baxter (R-Seabrook) announced his congressional candidacy in what promises to be a crowded Republican primary. Incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester), who won re-election last November with 51.3% of the vote, may run for Governor if the seat is drawn Republican and incumbent Chris Sununu (R) decides to run for the Senate.

NJ-7

The New Jersey Globe news site is reporting that state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Ringoes), who is not seeking re-election to the legislature this year, will return for a re-match in 2022 with two-term US Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill). Last November, the two fought to a 51-49% finish, with Rep. Malinowski barely holding on to win a second term.

Redistricting will undoubtedly change some of the district, so it remains too early to properly analyze a second campaign between these two political veterans. Rik Mehta, the Republicans’ 2020 US Senate nominee, will oppose Mr. Kean in the GOP primary

NJ-10

Saying the Newark anchored congressional district “…has long been underserved by government officials and exploited by corporations,” former state legislative aide and progressive activist Imani Oakley announced her Democratic primary challenge to veteran New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark).  The Congressman remains a definitive favorite for re-nomination, which is tantamount to re-election in the 10th District.

NY-12

Community organizer Maya Contreras became the fourth Democratic primary challenger to oppose veteran Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) over the holiday weekend. Two other community organizers are also in the race along with 2018 and 2020 challenger Suraj Patel who held the Congresswoman to a tight 43-39% win in the most recent Democratic primary. In 2018, the 15-term Representative defeated Mr. Patel in a one-on-one race, 60-40%. Prior to being elected to Congress, Ms. Maloney served ten years on the New York City Council.

OH-11

Despite former state Senator Nina Turner’s strong financial lead in the special Democratic primary scheduled for August 3rd, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Shontel Brown is waging an increasingly competitive fight. A group called Democratic Majority for Israel just announced a six-figure independent expenditure to help Ms. Brown. Last week, Hillary Clinton and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) endorsed her for the Democratic nomination. Now, the Congressional Black Caucus has followed suit.

A total of 13 candidates are on the special Democratic primary ballot, but the race appears to be a two-person contest. The winner advances to the November general election and becomes the prohibitive favorite to serve the balance of the current term. Then-Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland) resigned the seat upon her confirmation as Housing and Urban Development Secretary.

OH-15

A new Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll for the Mike Carey for Congress Campaign (6/23-24; 400 OH-15 likely special election Republican primary voters; live interview) finds the Ohio Coal Association chairman topping the pack of GOP candidates. In the initial ballot test, Mr. Carey leads state Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-Lancaster) by a 20-9% clip with state Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Fayette County) and former state Rep. Ron Hood trailing with 7% apiece. State Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) lags behind with 6% support.

When the respondents are informed that former President Donald Trump has endorsed Mr. Carey, however, his lead swells to a huge 60-8-7-7-6% spread over Mr. Hood, Rep. LaRe, and Sens. Peterson and Kunze. The special primary is August 3rd, with the associated general election coming November 2nd. Early voting begins July 7th

WA-8

Jesse Jensen (R), the Iraq War veteran who held Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish) to a close 52-48% win last November, announced during the week that he will return next year for a re-match. Redistricting will undoubtedly change the district to a degree, but the outer King County CD will likely remain as a competitive seat. Prior to Dr. Schrier winning an open seat in 2018, the 8th District had been in Republican hands since its original creation as a new district from the 1990 national reapportionment. Considering his strong showing in 2020 with little outside help, Mr. Jensen is likely to be treated as a top tier contender in 2022.

Governor

Arizona

Businessman Steve Gaynor, who defeated a sitting Arizona Secretary of State in the 2018 Republican primary but would then lose the general election by slightly over 20,000 votes from more than 2.33 million ballots cast, announced that he is joining the open Republican gubernatorial campaign. Ironically, the Democrat who defeated him in the Secretary of State’s race, Katie Hobbs (D), is also a current gubernatorial candidate.

In the Republican primary are state Treasurer Kimberly Yee, former US Congressman and 2002 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon, ex-news anchor Kari Lake, and Arizona State University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson. In addition to Ms. Hobbs on the Democratic side is former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez, along with state Rep. Aaron Lieberman (D-Paradise Valley) who also just announced his candidacy. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is ineligible to run for a third term.

California

Once the legislature completed its administrative duties in finalizing the recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the state’s Lt. Governor, Eleni Kounalakis (D), wasted little time in scheduling the election. The candidate filing deadline will be a quick July 17th, and the recall vote will take place on September 14th.

Colorado

The Global Strategy Group conducted an internal poll for first-term Gov. Jared Polis (D) in June that was just released into the public domain. The survey (6/17-23; 800 CO registered voters; live interview & online) tested the Governor opposite University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl (R). The ballot test result found Mr. Polis leading Ms. Ganahl, who is a potential gubernatorial candidate, 54-34%. Against a generic Republican, however, the incumbent’s margin would drop to 49-39%. Gov. Polis is viewed as safe for re-election.

Kansas

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), who previously announced state House Speaker Ron Ryckman’s (R-Olathe) support in his Republican primary against former Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), now adds both former US Senator and GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole and retired Sen. Pat Roberts to his campaign endorsement list in an announcement made late this week. The Kansas primary is more than a year away, scheduled for August of 2022, and the eventual party nominee will then challenge first-term Gov. Laura Kelly (D) in the general election in what promises to be a competitive campaign.

Massachusetts

Former state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R), who challenged Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) in 2018 and lost 59-36%, announced that he will launch a Republican primary challenge to two-term Gov. Charlie Baker (R) in the September 2022 GOP primary. Gov. Baker, should he choose to seek a third term, is the clear favorite both in the Republican primary and for the succeeding general election.

New York: Over the weekend, the New York Republican Party county leaders met in convention and awarded 85% of their votes to Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) in his race for Governor. This means, according to the state chairman, that Mr. Zeldin is now the “presumptive” 2022 Republican Party gubernatorial nominee.  Previously, Mr. Zeldin had received party support individually from a majority of GOP county organizations.

The vote means that the party organization is now authorized to help Mr. Zeldin defeat his GOP primary opponents, former Westchester County Executive and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino, ex-Trump White House aide Andrew Giuliani, son of Rudy Giuliani, and Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli

Texas

As expected when he abruptly resigned the chairmanship of the Texas Republican Party in early June after less than a year in office, Allen West announced on the official Independence Day holiday that he will challenge two-term Gov. Greg Abbott in the 2022 Republican primary. Mr. West served one term in Congress from Florida and moved to the Lone Star State to run a non-profit organization soon after his defeat for re-election in 2012.

Already in the Republican primary is former state Sen. Don Huffines and five minor candidates. State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) said two weeks ago that he would not enter the gubernatorial primary in order to seek re-election to his current position. Gov. Abbott is favored for re-nomination and re-election.

Cities

Buffalo

Buffalo apparently has not heard the last of four-term Mayor Byron Brown (D). Last week, he lost re-nomination to self-proclaimed socialist India Walton by a 52-45% margin. That spread may close when absentee ballots count is released on July 6th. Early this week, however, the Mayor announced that he will run in the general election as a write-in candidate, hoping yet to salvage a fifth consecutive term in office.

Mr. Brown was first elected Mayor in 2005, after previously serving in the New York Senate, as chairman of the New York Democratic Party, and as a member of the Buffalo City Council.

Pittsburgh

When state Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Pittsburgh) defeated Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in the May Democratic primary, it appeared that the Republicans had no nominee for the general election, since no one filed in the GOP primary. Now, however, the party will have representation in the November election.

Tony Moreno, a former Pittsburgh police officer, placed third in the Democratic primary. It was confirmed during the week, however, that he received enough write-in votes in the Republican primary to qualify as the GOP nominee. Therefore, Mr. Moreno will face Rep. Gainey in the mayoral general election. Mr. Gainey remains a prohibitive favorite to win, but he is now no longer officially unopposed.

Localities

New York City

Throughout the counting chaos in the New York City Democratic mayoral primary that included city officials mistakenly adding placebo test ballots to the live count, Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams was finally declared the unofficial winner on the 7th round of Ranked Choice Voting from the June 22nd election.

His margin was tight, 50.5 – 49.5%, over former New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia who gathered late momentum and became Mr. Adams’ chief opponent. The original count found Mr. Adams holding a comfortable ten-point lead, but his advantage diminished when the city officials began counting more than 200,000 absentee ballots a week after the election. His margin is 8,426 votes of the almost 800,000 ballots that were finally counted.

Mr. Adams now advances into the November general election where he will face the Republican nominee, Guardian Angels organization founder Curtis Sliwa. With the Democrats having a 7:1 registration advantage in the city, the outcome is hardly in doubt. Expect Mr. Adams to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who was ineligible to seek a third term.

Staten Island

With a 290-vote margin, former US Rep. Vito Fossella captured the Republican nomination for Staten Island Borough president, defeating NYC Councilman Steven Matteo. Mr. Fossella served six-plus terms in the US House representing the Staten Island/Brooklyn district, not seeking re-election in 2008 when it was discovered after he was arrested for drunk driving that he maintained a second family in Virginia. He resurfaced in this local election and attracted support from former President Donald Trump and ex-NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Fossella now faces attorney Mark Murphy (D), the son of the late former Congressman John Murphy (D) in the general election.

Syracuse

The closest of all New York local elections finally ended late in the week, as Syracuse election officials released final results that found Common Council member Khalid Bey defeating Common Councilmember Michael Greene by just 36 votes of more than 6,300 ballots cast. Mr. Bey will advance to the general election to challenge incumbent Independent Mayor Ben Walsh.


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