Check out these political snippets on primary results, congressional and gubernatorial races from across the country.
With just under 70% of the voting tabulated, and as expected by consolidating the smaller Democratic vote, former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district left vacant when veteran Rep. Don Young* (R-Ft. Yukon) passed away in March.
Former Governor and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) holds a 5,266 vote lead over Nick Begich, III (R) for the all-important second place position. Under Alaska’s new voting procedure, ballots postmarked yesterday have until August 31st to reach the county clerk’s office and be tabulated. The extra time is important for the outlying rural areas to be included.
Second position is so important because the third-place finisher in this electoral situation, at this point Mr. Begich, will be eliminated and the Ranked Choice Voting process will begin. If Begich is eliminated, the ballots listing him as the first choice will be found and the second choice votes from only these ballots will be added to the process.
Considering the combined Republican vote total is 91,342 as compared to 56,892 for Ms. Peltola, the lone Democrat on the special election ballot, there is a strong chance that the eventual second-place finisher will win the special election in political overtime. We can expect updates coming throughout the continuing tabulation period. The special election winner will immediately be sworn into the House.
In the regular election primary, all three of the aforementioned candidates have officially advanced to the general election. The fourth position is undecided, but the most likely finisher is Republican Tara Sweeney. In the November election, voters will rank their choices among these four candidates, and the laborious counting process will again be repeated for that election.
Turning to the US Senate race, incumbent Lisa Murkowski* (R), running for a fourth full term, is first at this point in the counting process with 43.7% of the vote among 19 jungle primary candidates, and just ahead of former Alaska Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka (R), who former President Donald Trump long ago endorsed. Ms. Tshibaka’s current vote percentage is 40.4. It appears Democrat Patricia Chesbro (6.2%) is well-positioned to take a distant third place, while vying for the fourth and final position is between Republicans Buzz Kelley and Pat Nolin.
Venture capitalist Blake Masters, armed with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump who remains a strong force in Republican primaries, defeated businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich with a 39-29-18% vote margin with about 88% of the expected vote tabulated from Tuesday’s primary election. Now, Mr. Masters advances to the general election to face a tough political opponent in Sen. Mark Kelly (D).
A new OnMessage survey already shows Mr. Masters within striking distance of Sen. Kelly. The poll (8/1-2; 600 AZ likely general election voters) finds the Senator leading Mr. Masters, 49-44%.
In the open Governor’s race, Trump endorsed former news anchor Kari Lake has been projected a close winner over Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, who both former Vice President Mike Pence and term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey supported. Ms. Lake will now face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who scored a landslide 73% victory in the Democratic primary. The winner will replace Mr. Ducey next year.
In House races, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) looks to have won re-nomination in the new Scottsdale anchored 1st District, but in unimpressive form. With 88% of the expected vote counted at this writing, Rep. Schweikert only has 43% Republican support. He now faces businessman Jevin Hodge, who won the Democratic primary, in what will be a competitive general election.
In the very different 2nd District that now will favor a Republican candidate as opposed to Democratic incumbent Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona), retired Navy SEAL Eli Crane, another Trump endorsed candidate, has defeated state Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) to win the GOP nomination. At this writing, Mr. Crane has a nine-percentage point lead, which could change slightly when the final totals are recorded. A O’Halleran-Crane general election now becomes one of the top GOP conversion target races in the nation.
The new competitive 4th District where Rep. Greg Stanton* (D-Phoenix) sees his partisan index drop to just D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, saw a surprise winner in the Republican primary. Though former Phoenix Suns executive Tanya Wheeless was attracting the most media attention, the district’s GOP electorate looks to have instead chosen local businessman Kelly Cooper as the party nominee. Mr. Cooper leads the primary race by three percentage points with 91% of the votes counted. He looks to be a strong general election candidate, and this will be a real race in the Autumn.
In the Tucson anchored open 6th District, from which Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) is retiring, former gubernatorial aide and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani, as expected, easily captured the Republican nomination. He will now face former state Senator Kirsten Engel who was a strong winner on the Democratic side. The general election features a tight political district, but the area and national political prognosticators promote Mr. Ciscomani as the favorite to win the general election and convert this southeastern Arizona seat for the GOP.
Former Trump ambassadorial appointee Leora Levy, though she failed to win Senate confirmation, easily won the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut. Ms. Levy defeated former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides by a significant 51-40% share of the statewide vote. She now advances to challenge Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) who is seeking a third term.
The big story in the Michigan primary and perhaps the overall national primary result among the five states voting was the defeat of freshman Rep. Peter Meijer* (R-Grand Rapids) in the GOP nomination campaign. He fell 52-48% to former Housing & Urban Development Department official John Gibbs who had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. The new 3rd District leans Democratic, so Mr. Gibbs faces a tough challenge against 2020 party nominee Hillary Scholten (D) in the coming general election.
The other Michigan congressional defeat came in the Democratic pairing from the state’s suburban Detroit 11th District. There, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) scored a 60-40% win over fellow Democratic Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township), as late polling predicted would occur.
Another of the key August 2nd primary races ended as projected. Late in what had been a tightly fought campaign, Attorney General Eric Schmitt looked to have broken away from the candidate pack and scored a 46-22-19-5% open Republican primary victory over US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, and US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield), respectively.
Mr. Schmitt now becomes a strong favorite in the general election to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R). In November, he will face philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the Anheuser Busch beer family. She defeated Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce, 43-38%, to capture the Democratic nomination, overcoming a heavy negative attack campaign.
The two US House members, Reps. Hartzler and Long, left open a pair of solidly Republican congressional districts that featured crowded Republican primaries. Former news anchorman and conservative commentator Mark Alford and state Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield/Springfield) were strong winners in the 4th and 7th District congressional nomination contests. Both men have effectively punched their tickets to Washington, as each should easily win the general election.
Last week, Minnesota former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R) appears to have won the open 1st District special congressional election left vacant when Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in mid-February. Mr. Finstad defeated former Hormel corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D) 51-47% with all counties reporting and 99% of the expected vote tabulated.
Mr. Finstad’s vote margin was 4,774 votes. The currently recorded turnout of 118,018 votes is high for a special election. Mr. Finstad carried 16 of the district’s 21 southern Minnesota counties.
Mr. Finstad also easily won the regular Republican primary in the 1st District after state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake) made a run at the nomination despite losing the special election primary back in late May. Following suit on the Democratic side, Mr. Ettinger was a big winner in the regular primary, so the two will again do battle in the regular term for a House seat that has been trending more Republican in recent years.
In the 5th District, suggestions that former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels could give two-term controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) a highly competitive battle proved correct. Rep. Omar was renominated in a 50-48% squeaker over Mr. Samuels, thus guaranteeing her another term in the November election.
The Volunteer State voters engaged in the country’s only Thursday primary, and the open 5th District (Rep. Jim Cooper-D retiring) was the evening’s key race. The crowded Republican primary winner was Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. He defeated former state House Speaker Beth Harwell and retired National Guard General Kurt Winstead along with six others.
Redistricting transformed this seat into a Republican domain, so Mr. Ogles becomes a heavy favorite to defeat state Sen. Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville) in the general election. The three incumbents who faced competition, Reps. Chuck Fleishmann* (R-Chattanooga), David Kustoff (R-Germantown), and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) were all easily renominated.
The Democratic Governor’s race remains tight. With 98% of the votes tabulated, physician Jason Martin leads Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley, Jr. by just 1,468 votes. The winner faces an uphill battle against Gov. Bill Lee (R) in the general election.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott was a 69% winner in his state’s Republican primary. As expected, the Vermont Democratic open Senate primary resulted in a landslide 87%+ victory for at-large Congressman Peter Welch (D-Norwich). He automatically becomes a prohibitive favorite against the new Republican nominee Gerald Malloy, a retired Army officer.
With Rep. Welch running for the state’s open Senate seat, now in strong position to succeed the retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), the open al-large House seat will go to the Democratic primary winner, state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Burlington). Her 60%+ primary win puts her in position to score a landslide general election victory in November.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), despite earlier polling suggesting a competitive re-election race, easily placed first in the state’s jungle primary. Though only about half of the vote is tabulated under Washington’s all-mail election system that allows ballots to be received and counted after the election, it is clear that Sen. Murray placed first in the multi-candidate field with 54% of the vote.
In second place, as expected, and also advancing into the general election is veterans’ activist and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R) who garnered 32% of the votes tabulated at this writing. It appears that Sen. Murray is now a heavy favorite for re-election to a sixth term.
The more watched races occurred in congressional districts 3 and 4. It appears that both Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler* (R-Battle Ground) and Dan Newhouse* (R-Sunnyside) will advance into the general election, but with low vote percentages. Each voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.
From the Vancouver area anchored 3rd CD, Democratic businesswoman Marie Perez, taking advantage of the badly split Republican vote, has secured first position from the jungle primary and will advance into the general election. Rep. Herrera Beutler, with just 24.5% of the tabulated vote, which is from 57% of the expected total, looks to have enough of a cushion over retired Army officer and Trump endorsed contender Joe Kent (R) despite her low percentage. The total Republican vote, however, spread among four GOP candidates is approximately 63%, which portends well for Rep. Herrera Beutler in the general election.
In Washington’s middle-state 4th CD, incumbent Newhouse is holding first place, but with only 27% of the jungle primary vote. It appears that he and Democratic businessman Doug White will advance into the general election in what is the Evergreen State’s most Republican district. Trump-endorsed candidate Loren Culp (R), the former town police chief who was a finalist in the 2020 gubernatorial election, placed third and will be eliminated. The cumulative Republican vote here is 74%, so Rep. Newhouse, facing a Democratic opponent in the general election, should be safe for re-election.
Wisconsin Democratic voters confirmed that Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will be their candidate to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson* (R). With his three major opponents dropping out of the race within the past two weeks and all endorsing Mr. Barnes as a show of party unity, the Lt. Governor captured 77%+ of the Democratic primary vote. Sen. Johnson topped 83% in the Republican primary.
Finally, the lone competitive Wisconsin House primary also resulted as expected. State Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse) recorded a 39% plurality victory over three opponents to win his party’s nomination for the open 3rd District House seat of retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). Sen. Pfaff earned Rep. Kind’s pre-primary endorsement as his successor.
Republican Derrick Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL who held Rep. Kind to a tight 51-49% re-election win in 2020, returns in another attempt to capture the seat. Mr. Van Orden was unopposed in Tuesday’s election. Winning this seat in November becomes a must for Republican House majority prospects in the Autumn.
Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) is brandishing a new poll that finds she and Sen. Marco Rubio* (R) tied at 45% apiece. This is only the second poll of the ten released this year that does not project the Senator as the race leader. The Clarity Campaigns survey (7/26-31) conducted an online survey of 2,244 registered voters from a pre-selected panel. Since 2016, pollsters have typically underestimated Republican strength in Florida, so it is reasonable to add a couple of percentage points for the Republican candidate in a typical Sunshine State poll.
Blueprint Polling released a new North Carolina US Senate poll (8/4-6; 656 NC registered voters; live interview) that projects former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) to be holding a 46-42% edge over US Rep. Ted Budd* (R-Advance). A Republican being down in a North Carolina poll is nothing new, however. In 2020, GOP Sen. Thom Tillis found himself outside the lead in 26 of 28 October public polls but won the race by two percentage points.
Riding a major campaign spending wave, thus taking advantage of his abundant campaign war chest, US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) again sees a developing lead in his race against Republican nominee and author J.D. Vance. The just released Impact Research survey (7/21-28; 800 OH likely general election voters) projects Mr. Ryan as holding a 48-45% edge in the race for the open Ohio Senate seat. Last month, the same firm also found Mr. Ryan holding an almost identical lead at 48-45%.
The Ryan campaign has spent over $6.5 million on the airwaves since the end of May according to the Politico news publication, with virtually no counter media push from the Vance forces. Though Rep. Ryan has had the field virtually to himself in the early going, he still does not expand beyond the polling margin of error. When Vance does counter, we are likely to see a Republican rebound here.
U.S. House of Representatives
RGM Research conducted polls in House districts throughout the country including three in northern California contested districts. All three are in close competition at this point. All of the polls consisted of 400 respondents in each district. The CA-9 poll was conducted during the July 19-26 period.
In the Stockton anchored district, Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) and San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R) are tied at 38%. In the new open 13th CD that stretches from Sacramento to Fresno, the survey was conducted during the July 26 - August 2nd period, rancher John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) are tied at 37%.
In Rep. David Valadao*’s (R-Hanford) 22nd CD, the poll (7/30-8/5) sees state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) leading the Congressman, 39-34%.
Democratic polling firm Keating Research released a survey of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, termed the “Western Slope Seat,” that features freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) and former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D). The poll (released 8/2; 550 CO-3 likely general election voters) gives Rep. Boebert a 49-42% advantage over Mr. Frisch. The 3rd District was largely kept intact in redistricting, and rates as R+15 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization.
Despite inheriting a slightly more favorable district for Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar* (R-Miami) post-redistricting, but one that still favors the Democrats, a new Alvarado Strategies Poll for the Floridians for Economic Advancement PAC (7/26-29; 440 FL-27 likely general election voters; online) stakes the Congresswoman to a lead slightly beyond the polling margin of error. Though the ballot test shows a large undecided factor of 27%, Rep. Salazar posts a 39-34% margin over state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami).
Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), as expected, announced that the special election to replace the late Rep. Jackie Walorski* (R-Elkhart) will be held concurrently with the November 8th general election. Republicans will gather in a precinct committee convention on August 20th to choose a nominee for the special election, and a replacement for Ms. Walorski, who won the May Republican primary, in the regular election. Democrats are expected to nominate the party’s regular election nominee, educator Paul Steury.
Freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell* (R-Alamorgordo) was dealt a difficult blow in redistricting, and a new Global Strategy Group poll conducted for Democratic nominee Gabe Vasquez, a Las Cruces City Councilman (7/19-25; 500 NM-2 likely general election voters; live interview), projects a dead heat already forming for the general election.
According to the GSG survey, Mr. Vasquez would hold a slight 45-44% edge over Rep. Herrell. The 2nd District was drawn as a D+4 district according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization transforming it from the R+14 seat that Ms. Herrell currently represents.
Emerson College tested the upcoming Democratic paired incumbent primary between Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). The survey (8/1-2; 1,000 NY-12 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview, text & interactive voice response system) finds Rep. Nadler, largely with the overwhelming support of men, leading Rep. Maloney 40-31%, with the third candidate, businessman and former congressional candidate Suraj Patel attracting 11% support. The Patel outside support forces countered with a Slingshot Strategies survey that posted Rep. Nadler to only a 29-27-20% edge over Rep. Maloney and Mr. Patel. The New York congressional primary is scheduled for August 23rd
Last week the Carl Padalino campaign released a WPA Intelligence survey that suggested the former New York Republican gubernatorial nominee owns a wide 30 point lead over NY Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy in the primary election battle to replace resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning). Now, the Langworthy campaign is citing a Zeplowski Research survey (8/1-2; 400 NY-23 likely special election voters) that finds the ballot test at only 39-37% in Mr. Padalino’s favor.
The race is getting testy between the two candidates as the contest for the safe western New York Republican district is drawing to a close. The New York congressional primary is scheduled for August 23rd. The eventual GOP winner advances to the general election against unopposed Democratic candidate Max Della Pia, a retired US Air Force officer and attorney.
Early in last night’s Wyoming vote counting process, At-Large Rep. Liz Cheney* (R-Wilson/Jackson) lost her US House seat at the hands of attorney Harriet Hageman, the candidate who former President Donald Trump supported early.
The Trump endorsement helped clear the field for Ms. Hageman so she could basically drive an unimpeded challenge against the controversial two-term incumbent. Ms. Cheney continued to launch running attacks against Mr. Trump from her pulpit on the January 6th Committee before a Wyoming electorate that performed as the former President’s strongest in the country during both of his national elections.
The vote count was a landslide for Ms. Hageman, 66-29%, who ran a measured campaign. Her theme was concentrating on serving the constituency while highlighting that Rep. Cheney is using the position to fulfill her own political goals.
The incumbent carried only her home county of Teton, which houses the cities of Jackson and Jackson Hole, and southeastern Albany County, while Ms. Hageman topped the vote totals in the state’s other 21 counties.
The RMG Research firm is polling around the country and found an additional four races where the incumbent House member is trailing. This, in addition to Rep. David Valadao* (R-CA) falling behind in his Fresno/Bakersfield seat as covered in the California section above.
In Iowa, state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) holds a substantial 49-41% advantage over Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) according to 400 respondents on the RMG survey conducted over the July 29 - Aug 5 period. Former New Jersey state Senator and 2020 Republican congressional nominee Tom Kean, Jr. leads Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) 46-38% on the 400-person sample RMG Research survey conducted in the Garden State’s 7th CD (7/23-28).
Moving to the Kansas City, KS area, challenger Amanda Adkins, the 2020 Republican congressional nominee holds a 46-45% edge over Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park). This RMG poll also surveyed 400 likely voters but over the period of July 21-28. Finally, in the Las Vegas area, the RMG poll for Nevada’s 3rd District (7/23-29; 400 NV-3 likely general election voters) finds challenger April Becker* (R) holding a 44-41% lead over two-term Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas).
Incumbent Mike Dunleavy (R) looks to have secured first position with 41.7% of the jungle primary vote among ten candidates. Also clinching general election ballot slots are former state Representative Les Gara (D) with 22.0% of the vote, and ex-Gov. Bill Walker (I) who so far has posted a close 21.9%. The final general election qualifying position appears undecided between two Republicans, Charlie Pierce and Christopher Kurka.
Like in the congressional race, the Senate and Governor’s race could lapse into a Ranked Choice Voting count if no one reaches the 50% threshold in the general election. It appears the Senate general campaign will continue to be highly competitive between Sen. Murkowski and Ms. Tshibaka but the Republicans will capture the seat no matter which of the two ultimately wins the general election.
In all of these elections, just under 70% of the expected vote has been recorded. Estimates suggest that another 65,000 or so ballots are projected to be received before the process is finalized.
A just-released Cygnal group survey of the Minnesota electorate (7/18-19; 500 MN likely general election voters; live interview & text) sees Gov. Tim Walz (D) leading Republican nominee Scott Jensen, a physician and former state Senator, but only by a few percentage points. According to the Cygnal poll, Dr. Jensen trails the Governor by a tight 50-46% margin.
The Cygnal poll found Gov. Walz with a 49:45% favorability rating and Dr. Jensen scored a 32:24% positive index. President Joe Biden’s rating is an upside down 42:56% positive to negative ratio. Within the polling universe, 43% believe Minnesota is on the right track, while 48% feel the state has veered in the wrong direction.
The Democratic online polling firm Change Research released their latest Oklahoma Governor’s survey (7/22-26; 2,079 OK likely general election voters; online) and sees Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) in a tighter battle than expected against OK Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D). The ballot test projects the Governor to be holding only a 42-34% advantage.
The main reason for Stitt’s downturn apparently relates to his falling job approval rating. According to the Change numbers, the Governor’s favorability index has slid to 42:56% favorable to unfavorable. It is probable, however, that the Governor will be able to rebound and score a convincing win in November. It is difficult to predict a deep red state like Oklahoma going Democratic in what appears to be at least a relatively strong Republican election year.
* denotes the candidate has received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2021-2022 election cycle.
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