Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and state races from across the country.
While the first Republican presidential debate featured a livelier discussion than many expected, a new national poll continues to find that President Biden leads his GOP opposition despite a majority believing he is unfit for the job. This suggests that Republicans must find stronger ways to communicate their message.
The GOP candidates sans Donald Trump gathered in Milwaukee, debating in the very arena that will host the 2024 Republican National Convention. Post-debate analysis seemed to indicate that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy performed best.
Perhaps the evening’s biggest surprise was who the other candidates attacked and who stood above the fray. Mr. Ramaswamy, moving up in the polls to the point where most Republican ballot tests see him in third place if not second, was the participant the others routinely targeted.
The harshest attacks came from former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley about his inexperience in the political arena and lack of foreign affairs knowledge, respectively. Gov. DeSantis, who was thought to be the major target, was able to stand above the onslaught.
The Victory Polling organization surveyed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ home state of Florida’s electorate (8/21-23; 590 FL likely Republican primary voters) and delivered bad news for the host politician. The Victory results find former President Donald Trump holding a commanding Sunshine State lead of 59-23% over Gov. DeSantis with no other candidate even reaching 5% support. It will be curious to see if Gov. DeSantis’ strong debate performance begins to change some voters’ allegiance.
The Hawkeye State’s proven most accurate pollster, Selzer & Company, released their pre-debate poll in partnership with NBC News and the Des Moines Register newspaper (8/13-17; 406 IA likely GOP Caucus attenders). This research study provides some needed good news for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as his 66% positive rating is the best of any presidential candidate, although only one percentage point better than former President Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump still leads the first choice ballot test, however, with 42-19-9-6-6% split over Gov. DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former Vice President Mike Pence, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, respectively. He tops Gov. DeSantis by only two points when first, second, and “considering” categories are added and assigned an aggregate point value. The Iowa Republican Caucus is scheduled for January 15, 2024
The presidential primary calendar is beginning to take official shape. With the Iowa Republican caucuses scheduled for January 15th, the South Carolina primaries for February 3rd (Democrats) and February 24th (Republicans), and the Michigan primary on for February 27th, Nevada has now secured its dates.
Adhering to the Democratic National Committee recommended timetable, the Nevada primaries are now tabbed for February 6th. The Republican contest, however, will not be part of the delegate allocation formula. The 26 Republican delegates will be assigned based upon the results of the Nevada Republican Caucus, which will be held two days after the primary on February 8th.
The combined action suggests that New Hampshire, which has yet to formalize its calendar, will likely move to January 23rd. It is clear that the state will not conform to the Democratic National Committee schedule, which places the New Hampshire primary on February 6th, a day it would share with Nevada. The Granite State leadership wants to maintain its first-in-the-nation primary status, meaning the Secretary of State will ultimately have to move the vote to a date in January, making it the earliest ever New Hampshire primary.
The Granite State Echelon Insights data (8/15-17; 800 NH likely Republican primary voters; live interview & text) sees former President Donald Trump leading the pack of candidates with a rather low support factor of 34%. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was second with 14%, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy follows in third position at 11% support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis posts a disappointing 9%.
It is likely the New Hampshire primary will be scheduled for January 23rd, eight days after the Iowa Caucus and 11 days before the South Carolina Democratic primary. The South Carolina Republicans will vote on February 24th, followed by the Michigan primary three days later. Super Tuesday is scheduled for March 5, 2024.
The North Carolina Board of Elections, on a 4-1 vote, certified the No Labels Party for a 2024 ballot position. The Tar Heel State is the tenth place to recognize No Labels. They join Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, and Utah as domains granting the minor party a ballot line. Though the aggregate number of qualified states is only 1/5 of the total number, No Labels can already have a major effect upon the presidential election outcome. Alaska, with their new Ranked Choice Voting system, Arizona, Nevada, and North Carolina are among the small group of swing states that will largely determine the next general election result.
Franklin & Marshall College, a Lancaster, PA institution that regularly polls the Keystone State, released their new small-sample Republican statewide survey (8/9-20; 723 PA registered voters; 297 Republican primary voters; live interview) and the results show a tightening presidential field when compared with most other states.
While former President Donald Trump still leads the group, his margin is becoming somewhat smaller. The F&M numbers find him commanding 39% support as compared to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 21%. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is third with 9%, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) pulls 6%, and no other exceeds the 5% threshold.
Regular Michigan media pollster EPIC-MRA went into the field to test a potential open Michigan Senate general election between US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) and former seven-term US Congressman Mike Rogers (R). The poll (8/6-11; 600 MI likely voters; live interview) sees Rep. Slotkin leading Mr. Rogers, 42-37%, which is similar to Emerson College’s Michigan poll (8/1-2; 1,121 MI registered voters; multiple sampling techniques) that found a 44-38% ballot test between the pair.
Both candidates are relatively unfamiliar to the statewide respondent sample. A total of 54% said they did not recognize Rep. Slotkin, and 72% responded in the same way when asked about Mr. Rogers. The latter man left office at the beginning of 2015. Ms. Slotkin was first elected to the House in 2018.
Public Opinion Strategies, polling for the Duty First Super PAC, an organization supporting candidate Sam Brown (R), released the result of their first Nevada Senate Republican primary survey (8/15-17; 500 NV likely Republican primary voters; live interview). The tally finds Mr. Brown, an Afghan War veteran, leading former state Assemblyman and frequent candidate Jim Marchant, 33-15%, with five other announced candidates failing to reach even the 3% support plateau.
Mr. Brown, the 2022 US Senate candidate who raised over $4 million for his unsuccessful primary effort against former Attorney General Adam Laxalt and now has National Senate Republican Committee chairman Steve Daines’ endorsement, also leads in all segmentation divisions. Most importantly, of the respondents who are familiar with both Messrs. Brown and Marchant, the former leads the latter by a strong 59-21% cut.
The Nevada primary is scheduled for June 11, 2024. The eventual Republican nominee will challenge first-term Senator Jacky Rosen (D) in what promises to be a hotly contested general election campaign.
A Noble Predictive Insights survey conducted a month ago but just released just yesterday (7/7-18; 598 UT registered voters; 301 likely Republican primary voters; online) finds Utah Sen. Mitt Romney* drawing only 30% support among a respondent sample of his own Republican primary voters.
Despite the low preference number, Sen. Romney leads a group of potential GOP opponents. Closest to him is Attorney General Sean Reyes, an unannounced Senate candidate, who posted 13% support. The two official candidates, state House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) and Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs posted 5 & 3%, respectively. When asked of the entire sample whether they believe Sen. Romney should run for re-election, 39% answered affirmatively, while 44% replied with a negative response.
U.S. House of Representatives
California state Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) who, in 2018, was the youngest woman elected to the Senate in state history (30 years old) but was re-elected by only a 13-vote margin last November, announced that she will enter the 22nd District congressional race. Previously, she had filed an exploratory committee.
In the congressional race’s jungle primary, Sen. Hurtado will face US Rep. David Valadao* (R-Hanford) and former state Assemblyman and 2022 congressional general election finalist Rudy Salas (D). The latter man, due to his close run against Rep. Valadao last November, looks to be the favorite, but Sen. Hurtado’s district encompasses 96% of the 22nd CD. California is one of two states, Texas being the other, where the state Senate districts are bigger than CDs.
Rep. Valadao, who represents the second most Democratic seat – D+10 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization – was re-elected to a fifth non-consecutive term in November with a 52-48% victory margin over Mr. Salas. The California primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024. The top two finishers will advance to the general election. This district will then host another highly competitive general election.
A day after attorney Aditya Pai (D) announced that he was leaving the campaign trail because he found “no joy” in his effort, he reversed himself. Now, Mr. Pai is back in the race. Three other Democrats are competing, so it is probable that Mr. Pai fails to advance from the jungle primary. Rep. Michelle Steel* (R-Orange County) is the two-term incumbent and is a lock to secure the first general election ballot position. Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Nguyen and attorney Cheyenne Hunt appear to be the leading Democrats. The California jungle primary is held concurrently with Super Tuesday on March 5, 2024.
A Keating Research poll conducted for Democratic challenger Adam Frisch in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District (August dates not published; 801 CO-3 likely voters), often referred to as the “Western Slope” seat, finds US Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) trailing her 2022 opponent by a slight 50-48% margin. The previous campaign ended in a surprisingly tight 546-vote margin for the Congresswoman who was first elected in 2020. The ’22 result proved to be the closest House contest in the country.
The ballot test tally is not particularly surprising since Mr. Frisch has already spent almost $2.3 million in the current election cycle of the $4.4 million he has raised. Therefore, some expected Frisch’s margin to be greater in early polling. In order to advance into the 2024 general election, Mr. Frisch must first clear the June 25, 2024, Democratic primary where he faces at least four opponents, including Grand Junction City Councilwoman Anna Stout.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CO-3 as R+15, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 52.6R - 43.3D.
Veteran Georgia US Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) surprised many by recently announcing he would run for a 12th term. Now, he has drawn a Democratic primary challenger. East Point Utility Board chairman Mark Herring did not attack Rep. Scott in his announcement address, only saying he is running to make a “positive difference.” Others are expected to join, thus creating a multi-candidate Democratic primary.
GA-13 is another district where winning the Democratic nomination is tantamount to election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+52. Rep. Scott faced three Democrats in the 2022 congressional primary, winning with 66% of the vote. In 2020, however, the outcome was much tighter as he avoided a runoff with just 52.9%, again opposite three opponents.
Former Iowa state Representative Christina Bohannon (D), who lost to Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks* (R-Le Claire) on a 53-47% count, announced that she will seek a re-match next year. In 2022, Ms. Bohannon was unopposed for the Democratic nomination after Ms. Miller-Meeks won the 2020 election by just six votes over former state Senator and 2018 Lt. Governor nominee Rita Hart (D).
Iowa’s 1st District, which encompasses the state’s southeastern quadrant, is highly competitive with a Republican tilt. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates it as R+4. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 50.0R – 47.0D. In 2020, former President Trump carried the seat with a 50.5 – 47.6% margin.
Attorney and non-profit organization founder Sarah Gad (D), who overcame opioid addiction to attend law school and pass the bar, becomes the first individual to enter the 2024 Minnesota Democratic primary against controversial three-term Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis).
In 2022, Rep. Omar found herself in a very tight primary campaign, outlasting former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels by just a 50.3 – 48.2% margin, a difference of 2,466 votes of 114,567 ballots cast. Likely, and possibly including Mr. Samuels, others will enter what should be another competitive Democratic primary race.
Two Republican statewide officials have filed congressional exploratory committees with the Federal Election Commission. Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen and State Auditor Troy Downing have taken action in anticipation that Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) will run for the Senate.
Both qualify that their interest in the 2nd District seat is present only if Rep. Rosendale foregoes re-election and formally enters the Senate race. Mr. Downing has run for Congress before. He entered the 2018 US Senate primary and placed third with 19.1% of the vote. Ms. Arntzen has twice won the Superintendent of Public Instruction election but is ineligible to seek a third term.
Former State Department official Jason Blazakis (D) filed a congressional exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission for a potential run in New Jersey’s 7th District against GOP freshman Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield). Should Mr. Blazakis officially enter the Democratic primary he would have to get past Roselle Park Mayor Joe Signorello and Working Families Party state Director Sue Altman in order to advance into the general election. Another State Department official previously represented the district, former Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), who lost his 2022 re-election campaign to Mr. Kean after defeating him in 2020.
New Jersey’s 7th CD covers about one-third of Union County, all of Hunterdon and Warren, and parts of Morris, Somerset, and Sussex counties. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+3. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 51.5R – 46.6D. Rep. Kean will have the edge for re-election, but we can anticipate seeing a competitive campaign develop.
Late last week, Nancy Goroff, the 2020 NY-1 Democratic nominee who lost to then-Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) 56-44%, announced that she will enter the 2024 Democratic primary in hope of challenging freshman Rep. Nick LaLota* (R-Suffolk County). First, however, she will have to overcome a bid from former state Senator Jim Gaughran, who announced two days before Ms. Goroff. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-1 as R+5. Dave’s Redistricting App, however, calculates the partisan lean in the Democrats’ favor at 51.1D – 47.1R.
Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R), who lost the open Akron anchored 13th Congressional District race to now-freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) last November, announced that she will end her abbreviated 2024 rematch campaign and instead serve as a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.
The 13th District, that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+2, is competitive and we can expect Republicans to again put forth a strong challenge effort. Currently in the GOP race are Greg Wheeler, who finished second in the 2022 GOP congressional primary and Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg. Former Ohio Republican Party chair and 2022 US Senate candidate Jane Timken indicates she is considering entering this contest.
State Representative Rob Mercuri (R-Gibsonia) announced that he will enter the 2024 GOP congressional primary with the goal of challenging freshman Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-Aspinwall) next year. Mr. Deluzio defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer 53-47% in a result that was largely regarded as a GOP under-performance. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates PA-17 as D+1, but Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a much stronger Democratic partisan lean at 53.8D – 43.8R. President Joe Biden carried the seat 52-47% in 2020. Republicans have now recruited a strong candidate, meaning this will become a highly competitive 2024 general election race.
A new Blueprint Polling survey (8/15-17; 451 definite and probable RI-1 special election voters) finds former state Representative and 2018 Lt. Governor candidate Aaron Regunberg now leading the large field of 12 candidates vying for the all-important Democratic primary in this district.
Mr. Regunberg tops former Obama and Biden White House aide Gabe Amo, 28-19%. Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, the previous polling leader, drops to a virtual tie for third place with state Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket) with 11% apiece. The special primary is scheduled for September 5th. Former Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) resigned in June. Winning the Democratic primary here is tantamount to clinching the November 7th special general.
Political speculation suggesting that Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) will not seek re-election in order to prepare for a 2025 open Governor’s race has already encouraged potential Republican candidates to come forward. Several are now testing the political waters for a 2024 run in the politically marginal 7th Congressional District.
Two military veterans, retired Navy SEAL and defense contractor Cameron Hamilton and Iraq War veteran Jon Myers, a retired Marine Corps officer, have both filed congressional campaign committees with the Federal Election Commission. Business consultant Bill Moher and Army veteran Shaliek Tarpley are previously announced Republican candidates.
Should Rep. Spanberger retire, we can expect a very crowded Republican and Democratic primary season. Republicans will likely hold either a nominating convention or what they term as a “firehouse primary” (where only a few polling places are open throughout the sprawling district), while Democrats typically hold a traditional primary. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates VA-7 as a highly competitive D+2.
Lorenzo Santos (D), a Racine County Emergency official, joined the Democratic primary with the goal of challenging three-term Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) next year. Already running is former local official Anthony Hammes (D). This race is beginning to attract attention because of the possibility that the Wisconsin congressional map will be redrawn. If that happens, there is a strong probability the 1st District becomes more Democratic and enhances the possibility that Rep. Steil may opt for a Senate bid. We can expect further action coming from southern Wisconsin as the potential of a district reconfiguration begins to grow.
Bayou State voters will choose a new Governor later this year, and a new Faucheux Associates poll conducted for the Advocate online publication, the Urban League of Louisiana, the Public Affairs Research Council of Baton Rouge, and three Louisiana television stations (8/14-19; 800 LA likely voters; live interview) finds Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) and former LA Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) developing strong leads to capture the two runoff positions from the upcoming October 14th jungle primary.
Mr. Landry attracts 36% support as compared to Mr. Wilson’s 26%. The two are far ahead of the other five candidates, none of whom even reach 8% support. Should no candidate receive majority support in the October 14th primary, the top two finishers will advance to a November 18th runoff election. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.
Former US Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) is starting her campaign for Governor with a positive edge according to a new Emerson College poll. According to the results, Ms. Ayotte would lead Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D) 46-37%, and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington (D) by a larger 47-34% span. The poll did not test the Republican primary. At this point, former state Senate President and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse is opposing Ms. Ayotte for the Republican nomination and he trails her 45-9% in the initial Republican primary trial heat. Mayor Craig opens with a 52-15% advantage over Councilor Warmington on the Democratic side. Incumbent Governor Chris Sununu (R) is not seeking a fifth term.
Hoping to split the Democratic vote between US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) and veteran state Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston), former at-large City Councilman Jack Christie (R) announced that he will now compete in the open Mayoral race scheduled for November 7th. The structure is a jungle election contest where all 14 declared candidates would appear on the same ballot. If no contender receives 50% of the vote in the first election, a runoff will be scheduled between the two top finishers.
Though the field is large, polling suggests that Sen. Whitmire and Rep. Jackson Lee are well ahead of the remaining candidates who comprise the pool. Therefore, Mr. Christie’s strategy of coalescing the minority Republican vote and come from the outside to capture a runoff position could potentially become viable. Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) is ineligible to run for a third term.
*denotes candidate received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2023-2024 election cycle.
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