Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial from across the country.
Gov. Doug Burgum
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s campaign team announced late this week that the candidate has qualified for the first Republican debate on August 23rd in Milwaukee. Gov. Burgum is showing an uptick in backing from both Iowa and New Hampshire and has attracted enough small dollar contributions and polling support to qualify for a podium on the debate stage.
Gov. Burgum is the seventh debate participant joining former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Ex-Vice President Mike Pence remains the most well-known candidate who has not yet qualified.
Public Opinion Strategies, polling for the Citizen Awareness Project (7/22-24; 500 AZ likely general election voters; live interview), finds President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in a dead heat tie at 46% apiece within the critical state of Arizona. The Grand Canyon State is one of the four swing entities that will likely determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.
The numbers are clearer if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were to become the Republican nominee. In the pairing with he and President Biden, the Governor posted a rather strong nine point lead, 49-40%. It is unlikely, however, that Mr. DeSantis will win the party nomination.
A University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll was released during the week (7/13-17; 2,208 NH registered voters; 898 likely Republican primary voters; 743 likely Democratic primary voters; online), and it shows a tightening of the Republican presidential contest.
According to this data, former President Donald Trump’s lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has dropped to 37-23%. The second tier has also ascended. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and ex-UN Ambassador Nikky Haley all posted between 8 and 5% support.
On the Democratic side, 65% of President Biden’s voters say they will vote for him as a write-in if he doesn’t participate in the New Hampshire primary. This would likely be enough for him to beat Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, even without the President’s name on the ballot. New Hampshire is not likely to agree with the new Democratic National Committee primary schedule, so Biden may not participate.
USA Today is projecting that six GOP presidential contenders will qualify for the August 23rd debate, while another half-dozen may miss the cut. The candidates meeting the polling and donor requirements are, as expected, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The others are ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott, and former Gov. Chris Christie.
Those on the cusp of failing to meet the participation requirements are former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-Congressman Will Hurd, Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND), ex-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, and commentator Larry Elder.
Third Party Polling
A great deal of media attention has been paid to the possibility of an independent or minor party presidential candidate taking a significant vote share in the 2024 election. According to a Daily Kos/Civiqs research organization poll (7/22-25; 1,154 US registered voters; online), 66% of the respondents, including 78% of Democrats, 68% of Republicans, and 50% of Independents would not vote for such a candidate.
As the Civiqs analysis pointed out, in their January 2023 national survey, 62% said they did not want to see President Joe Biden run again, and 59% said the same about former President Donald Trump. Though we may see ancillary candidates emerge, it is likely that this election will follow the same pattern as almost all others, that is, the race will come down to a decision between the two major party nominees.
Democrats have not yet recruited a top candidate to challenge Sen. Rick Scott (R), but at least they now have a contender coming forward. Navy veteran Phil Ehr, who challenged Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Niceville) in 2020 and lost 65-34%, is now a US Senate candidate. While losing, Mr. Ehr did raise over $2 million, but he will need substantially more even to win the Democratic primary.
The only other challenger to Sen. Scott, who was also twice elected Governor, is Republican businessman Keith Gross. It was believed that Mr. Gross could fund a significant portion of his campaign, and so far he has added $661,000 to his political treasury. Outside of his personal loan, Mr. Gross only raised $9,000 during the 2nd Quarter fundraising period. At this point, Sen. Scott is a clear favorite for renomination and re-election.
Mitchell Research conducted a new poll of the Michigan electorate (7/11-13; 639 MI likely voters; SMS text) and finds Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) recording a 44-38% lead over former Rep. Mike Rogers (R) and an even larger 41-28% advantage over ex-US Rep. Peter Meijer (R). Both are potential Senate candidates. The accuracy level of this poll could be questioned, however. The sample number of 639 is low for a purely electronic poll, and the all-text questionnaire did not accept any respondent who failed to answer all of the survey’s 22 questions.
Additionally, two-term US Rep. Lisa McClain* (R-Bruce), who represents the region commonly referred to as “the thumb” since the state’s Lower Peninsula configuration resembles a human hand, said yesterday that she will not enter the open Senate race next year. The move presumes that she will seek re-election to the House in 2024.
Rep. McClain had been mentioned from time to time but was not considered as having a serious desire to run for the Senate, so her decision to pass on the statewide run is unsurprising. As the Republican Conference Secretary, Rep. McClain is part of the GOP majority leadership team.
The Club for Growth leadership several months ago said they would back US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) to the tune of $10 million if he decided to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D), as he did five years ago. In the 2018 election, Mr. Rosendale, then the state Auditor, lost to Sen. Tester, 50-47%.
Now, CfG president David McIntosh, himself a former Republican Congressman, is hedging on such a support level, saying that retired Navy SEAL and aerospace company CEO Tim Sheehy is an impressive candidate and Rep. Rosendale is needed in the House. Mr. Rosendale has long been a presumed Senate candidate but has yet to come forward and formally announce his political plans.
As has been long expected, a third major Republican has joined the US Senate primary hoping to advance into the general election to oppose incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown (D). Frank LaRose was first elected as Ohio’s Secretary of State in 2018 after serving two terms in the Ohio state Senate from the Akron area. He averaged 55.0% of the vote in his two victorious statewide campaigns.
Mr. LaRose is the only one of the three GOP candidates – the others being state Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and businessman Bernie Moreno – who has won a statewide race. Sen. Dolan ran for the US Senate in 2022 but lost the Republican primary. Mr. Moreno was also in that Senate race but withdrew before voting began seeing no reasonable victory path.
While Mr. LaRose is the only statewide official in the race, he begins well behind in the money race. Sen. Dolan has already invested $4 million into his campaign. Mr. Moreno reports raising $2.26 million in the 2nd Quarter.
Former state Senator Roger Roth, who was the Republican Lt. Governor nominee on the ticket that businessman Tim Michels led and lost as the gubernatorial contender to incumbent Tony Evers (D), is now considering a US Senate run. The GOP has yet to attract a top tier candidate to oppose Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), who is seeking a third term.
Wisconsin’s close voter history trends always make the state a major target for both parties. The 2024 election will be no exception. If Republicans are going to maximize their opportunity under a favorable Senatorial map, Wisconsin will be one of the states that attracts major right-of-center support.
The 2nd Quarter fundraising numbers have been released, and the 58 reporting Senate candidates in the 34 races attracted a cumulative $91.7 million and have over $228 million in their campaign accounts. This does not count any money that Super PACs have raised or plan to spend to affect the outcome of the 2024 US Senate electoral contests.
Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) was technically first in funds raised with $8.63 million, but $2.5 million of that total was transferred from his House committee. Rep. Allred’s potential general election opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz (R), ranked sixth overall but first among Republicans. He attracted $3.35 million in financial support.
California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was the net Q2 fundraising leader, bringing in $8.17 million without transferring from his House account. He also led the all-important cash-on-hand category with a whopping $29.8 million ready to spend on his Senate campaign. The total amounts raised during this early campaign phase suggests that we can expect another hotly contested campaign season next year.
U.S. House of Representatives
The Alabama legislature passed a new congressional map as directed, but the controversy appears far from over. The US Supreme Court decision that there could be another minority seat drawn on the Alabama map was addressed in the special session that Gov. Kay Ivey (R) called to comply with the SCOTUS ruling.
Assuming the Governor signs the new legislation creating the map, the Democratic plaintiffs have already said they will object to the new plan. The initial challenge to this new map will be before a three judge panel where the original Alabama draw was first declared unconstitutional.
It will be up to three Republican judges to determine if this plan meets the guidelines that the SCOTUS ruling outlined. We can expect detailed and possibly contentious arguments to occur when attorneys from both sides again appear before the judicial panel. The Alabama primary is being held concurrently with Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024, so expect the new lawsuit to be quickly filed.
Pastor Brett Dood, who had previously declared his congressional candidacy to compete against Rep. Josh Harder (D-Tracy), announced during the week that he will end his campaign. Mr. Dood then said he would support Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln (R) who recently became a congressional candidate.
Republicans now appear to be uniting behind Mr. Lincoln, meaning they will have a credible challenger against Rep. Harder in a district that can become competitive.
In 2021 redistricting, Rep. Harder fared poorly and moved into the 9th District to run after veteran Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) announced his retirement. Though Rep. Harder had less than 28% of the crossover population from his previous 10th District, he still recorded a 55-45% victory over San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R) but needed to outspend him by a 6:1 ratio in order to do so.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-9 as D+8. Though in an underdog position, this is the type of seat Republicans need to put in play to protect their small majority.
November, Golden State Rep. David Valadao* (R-Hanford) defeated then-state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D), 51.5 - 48.5%, in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+10. Mr. Salas, who many regard as the Congressman’s most difficult opponent from the group of candidates he faced during his five victorious federal campaigns, has already announced that he is returning for a rematch.
Now, however, further competition looms on the horizon. State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger/Bakersfield) has formed a congressional campaign committee and intends to enter the March 5, 2024, all-party jungle primary.
While Ms. Hurtado’s Senate district covers just over 96% of the 22nd Congressional District, she was only re-elected in November by just a 22-vote margin from more than 138,000 ballots cast. Therefore, it appears that Mr. Salas should still be favored to advance into the general election against Rep. Valadao.
Former state Rep. John Quinones (R), who ran for the 9th District seat in 2012 but lost soundly (63-37%) to then-Rep. Alan Grayson (D), is returning to run again in 2024, this time hoping to challenge incumbent Rep. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee). The 9th District, which contains the south Orlando area, was the most over-populated of the 27 Florida congressional districts prior to reapportionment and redistricting. It has 30% different territory from when Mr. Quinones ran the first time.
Rep. Soto was re-elected to a fourth term in November with a 54-46% margin, which was much lower than expected against an opponent who spent less than $600,000. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates FL-9 at a substantial D+16, with a partisan lean calculation from Dave’s Redistricting App of 58.8D – 39.2R.
The 2nd Congressional District of Maine will attract national attention next year because this is one of the seats that carries its own presidential electoral vote and could again give Donald Trump an extra national tally. Both Maine and Nebraska split their electoral votes where presidential candidates are awarded electoral votes through the statewide and congressional district vote totals. In 2016 and 2020, ME-2 voted for Trump while the state and 1st District supported the Democratic nominee.
Maine also uses the Ranked Choice Voting system, which, in 2018, allowed Democrat Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) to initially win the seat even though then-incumbent Bruce Poliquin (R) received more original votes. It is unlikely we will see Mr. Poliquin return next year after losing 53-47% in 2022’s final Ranked Choice round. Therefore, Republicans will be fielding a new candidate.
Reportedly, party leaders are attempting to recruit state House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor) or state Senate Minority Leader Trey Stewart (R-Presque Isle) into the 2024 congressional race.
The only announced Republican candidate is businessman Rob Cross. Expect this seat to again be competitive next year and become a major Republican conversion target.
There was no doubt that freshman Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) was going to face a major re-election battle in 2024. He was the 2022 election cycle’s big upset winner in defeating former Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen (D) in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+10. Now, however, it appears that Ms. Gillen, who has announced she is returning for a rematch, will face her own major challenge in the Democratic primary.
Two-term state Senator Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown) has filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission and entered the race. Expect this contest to draw significant national political attention from beginning to end.
A conservative North Carolina blog site is reporting that US Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) is planning to announce a statewide campaign for the state’s open Attorney General position in August. Should he follow through, his Charlotte anchored 9th District would become open. With the legislature committing to redrawing the congressional map, an open seat in the Charlotte area could be configured in a much different manner than the current 9th CD.
State legislative analyst Jeff Hauser (R) says he is interested in exploring a congressional candidacy next year in the seat that freshman Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) currently holds. Expect this district to significantly change once the new congressional map is drawn and passes the state legislature. With the new Republican state Supreme Court likely to approve the eventual map, expect NC-13 to become much better territory for the GOP.
Bo Hines (R), who lost in November to Mr. Nickel 52-48%, is said to be considering mounting a comeback. He proved, however, to be a weak candidate, so look for the GOP leadership to look in a different direction once the new map is presented and approved.
Though 22 candidates are in the special September 5th Democratic primary to replace resigned Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence), it appears we have a clear leader for the party nomination. Polling has shown Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos to be well ahead of the Democratic field and now we see the politically powerful Rhode Island Laborer’s Union has issued her an endorsement.
In addition to the Lt. Governor, we see six sitting or former state legislators and two local officials competing for the party nomination. Winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to election in what the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as a D+32 First Congressional District. The special general election is scheduled for November 7th, but the winner of the September 5th Dem vote will be a lock to ultimately win the seat.
One of the special election Republican candidates who lost the Utah Republican Party’s 2nd District endorsing convention and did not file petition signatures to continue his candidacy, has now filed a lawsuit challenging the officially endorsed candidate, Celeste Maloy who is resigning Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R-Farmington) legal counsel.
Two weeks ago, objection to Ms. Maloy’s voter registration status arose since she last cast a ballot in Utah during the 2018 election. She moved to the Washington, DC area to work for Rep. Stewart, thus explaining her absence from the state. Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson (R), who is the state’s chief elections officer, approved her petition, thus allowing her candidacy. Now, however, former candidate Quin Denning (R) is filing an official legal challenge to her status. He is claiming that Maloy reactivated her Utah voter registration at her sister’s house three days after filing her candidacy documents.
Former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committee chairman Bruce Hough have qualified via petition for the September 5th special primary election. The Democrats have nominated state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights). Rep. Stewart is scheduled to resign on September 15th.
Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers (R) announced this week that he will be resigning his position and it is anticipated that he will quickly declare his gubernatorial candidacy.
Though starting well behind the open race’s two front runners for the Republican nomination and the general election, US Senator Mike Braun and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Mr. Chambers, who has the financial ability to self-fund his campaign, may soon become the fourth credible candidate in the field. Venture capitalist Eric Doden also can attract enough resources to propel his candidacy. Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term. Sen. Braun is foregoing a second term in the Senate to enter the gubernatorial campaign.
The Republican State Leadership Committee released a new Public Opinion Strategies survey (7/19-20; 500 KY registered voters; live interview) showing a closing of the 2023 Governor’s race between incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R). The ballot test finds the Governor holding only a 49-45% edge. The poll counters another POS poll from late June for a public interest group that posted Gov. Beshear to a 52-42% lead. The election is scheduled for November 7th.
A recently released survey from the BDPC consulting firm (7/6-10; 600 LA registered voters; live interview) finds a tighter race than we have seen from other pollsters. The results from this study find Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) holding only a 30-28% edge over former LA Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) with no other candidate breaking the 6% support plateau.
The new fundraising disclosure reports show a much different picture of this developing statewide campaign. During the 2nd Quarter, Mr. Landry raised $4.7 million and has over $9.2 million cash-on-hand. Conversely, Mr. Wilson raised only $560,000 and reports $590,000 in the bank. The closest contender to Mr. Landry is state Treasurer John Schroder (R). While raising only $220,000 for the quarter, the Schroder campaign reports $2.2 million in their campaign account.
The all-party jungle primary is scheduled for October 14th of this year. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance into a November 18th runoff election. Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.
While Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, son of former Missouri Senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, is viewed to be the leader of the open gubernatorial Republican primary, the 2nd Quarter fundraising reports show him on the downside of the money count.
In a battle of supportive PACs, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe’s affiliated American Dream PAC raised $1.2 million as compared to the Committee for Liberty’s (Ashcroft) $290,000. St. Charles County state Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring), who has not yet officially announced for Governor, saw his leadership committee, BILL PAC, raise over $800,000.
GOP Gov. Mike Parson is ineligible to run for a third term. State House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) is the leading Democratic contender. Republicans are favored to win the open general election.
Former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte (R), who won a landslide 2010 victory with a 60-36% spread but lost her seat six years later to current incumbent Maggie Hassan (D) in a razor-thin 49-48% margin, announced that she will return to active politics with a run for Governor. Four-term incumbent Chris Sununu (R), who is not seeking a fifth two-year term, leaves behind what promises to be a hotly contested general election as well as two competitive party primaries.
In addition to Sen. Ayotte entering the Governor’s race, former state Senate President and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse is also an announced Republican candidate. The Democrats already feature a race for their party nomination between Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington.
*denotes candidate received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2023-2024 election cycle.
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