Political Snippets from Around the Country

Check out these political snippets on congressional and gubernatorial races from across the country.



Venture capitalist Blake Masters, armed with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump who remains a strong force in Republican primaries, has defeated businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich with a 39-29-18% vote margin with about 80% of the expected vote tabulated. Now, Mr. Masters advances to the general election to face a tough political opponent in Sen. Mark Kelly (D).

Mr. Masters has the ability to command significant resources for the general election, all of which he will need to overcome Sen. Kelly’s huge war chest. In the 2020 special election campaign, Kelly topped $101 million in campaign fundraising, and is on track to do so again in the regular election.


The University of Georgia, polling for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper (7/14-22; 902 GA likely general election voters; live interview), finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) clinging to a small lead in the US Senate race, the third consecutive published poll to project Warnock’s edge margins between 3 and 9 points. The UGA/AJC ballot test sees Sen. Warnock holding a 46-43% edge over retired NFL football star Herschel Walker (R).

Another poll, from Survey USA (7/21-24; 604 GA likely general election voters), posts the Senator to a 48-39% advantage. Mr. Warnock holds the lead despite the Republicans having a 46-41% lead on the UGA’s generic ballot question, with the right track/wrong track ratio at 10:78%, and President Joe Biden reaching a 60% disapproval rating.


The Victory Research organization polled the Illinois Senate contest between incumbent Tammy Duckworth (D) and attorney and conservative activist Kathy Salvi (R). The survey (7/17-19; 1,208 IL likely general election voters) arrived at a much closer result than one would have expected. According to the VR data, Sen. Duckworth’s lead over Ms. Salvi is 43-34%. The result is surprising not so much in the margin between the two candidates, but that the Senator is so far below the 50% mark. It is still highly likely, however, that Ms. Duckworth wins re-election in the Autumn.


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% 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 Democratic firm Blueprint Polling released a new PA statewide poll (7/19-21; 712 PA likely voters; live interview) and found Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), still recovering from a serious stroke he suffered just before the primary election, expanding his lead to 49-40% over Dr. Mehmet Oz (R). Fox News (7/22-26; 908 PA likely general election voters; live interview) sees an even larger lead for Mr. Fetterman, 47-36% with Dr. Oz holding a poor 35:55% favorability rating.


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.


On Monday Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson (D), whose campaign for US Senate never caught fire, formally ended his statewide effort. On Wednesday, Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive and former Obama Administration official Alex Lasry then followed suit and also departed the race. The latter move was the more surprising since Mr. Lasry had loaned his campaign over $12 million and all polling found him placing second in the field.

In their concession statements, both Messrs. Nelson and Lasry endorsed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, which could pave the way for him clinching the party nomination and advancing to challenge Sen. Ron Johnson* (R) in the general election.

U.S. House of Representatives


A just released Public Opinion Strategies survey for the George Logan (R) congressional campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee (6/29-30; 400 CT-5 likely general election voters; live interview) suggests that the 5th District congressional race might become competitive. The survey finds US Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Wolcott) holding only a 46-41% edge over former state Senator Logan. This may become a race to watch. According to the Federal Election Commission second quarter financial disclosure report, Rep. Hayes has a huge $1.69 million to $205,000 cash-on-hand advantage. To even the financial score, however, the Daily Kos Elections Blog reports that the Republicans’ Congressional Leadership Fund has already reserved $1.75 million of media time for the western Connecticut market.


Iowa Districts 1, 2 & 3 were cast as toss-up seats in the 2021 redistricting plan, and the most recent polling suggests that each electorate is performing as projected. In the southeastern Iowa 1st District, freshman Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks* (R-Ottumwa), no stranger to close elections after winning her 2020 race by just six votes, is in another predictable tight contest. According to the early July Change Research survey (6/30-7/4; 375 IA-1 likely general election voters part of a 1,488 person statewide sample; online) Rep. Miller-Meeks edges state Representative Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City), only by a 39-38% factor.

A more recent Public Policy Polling survey (7/19-20; 594 IA-2 voters) finds freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson* (R-Marion) and state Rep. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha) tied at 44% apiece in the Cedar Rapids anchored 2nd CD. In Rep. Cindy Axne’s (D-Des Moines) 3rd CD, she and state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) are deadlocked at 43% in a Moore Information Group study (7/9-11; 400 IA-3 likely voters; live interview).


State Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) has spent over $8 million of his own money to attempt to win the open Detroit anchored 13th Congressional District race. It appears his expenditures are working. A Target Insyght survey (7/19-22; 500 MI-13 likely Democratic primary voters) finds Rep. Thanedar leading Michigan Civil Right Commission member Portia Roberson and state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), among six other contenders, including John Conyers, III, son of the late veteran Congressman. Mr. Thanedar’s polling margin is 22-17-16-7% over Ms. Roberson, Sen. Hollier, and Mr. Conyers.

Mr. Thanedar’s personal spending edge is 8:1 over his next closest financial rival, Sen. Hollier, but that does not count a seven-figure expenditure from the American-Israel Publica Affairs Committee intended to promote the latter man. The Michigan primary is Tuesday. The 13th District is open because Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) is retiring and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) chose to seek re-election in the new 12th District.


State Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake), who lost the special primary election to succeed the late US Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) by just 427 votes, confirms he is running to win the regular primary election. This means that former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R), who won the special primary, must continue conducting two separate campaigns through the August 9th election.

In slightly different district configurations, Mr. Finstad must separately win the special general election against former Hormel Corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D), and the nomination for the regular term since the special general is being run concurrently with the regular statewide primary. With Mr. Munson competing in the regular election, the confusing scenario of having two different District 1 Republican winners could occur. With the only public post-special primary poll suggesting a dead heat between Messrs. Finstad and Ettinger, so many mixed messages could yield a Democratic special election upset.


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.


According to a new Grassroots Targeting survey (7/13-19; 625 NJ-1 likely general election voters), New Jersey Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City) lies barely beyond the polling margin of error in yet another potential warning sign for Democrats.

The GT results find Rep. Norcross topping Republican nominee Claire Gustafson, 49-44%, despite the fact that 83% of the respondents said they have not heard of the GOP nominee. To underscore matters, Rep. Norcross’ favorability index has dropped to 42:41% favorable to unfavorable. This contrasts with his 2020 re-election margin of 62-38%, similar to what President Joe Biden recorded in the district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NJ-1 as D+20, so seeing a close poll featuring an unknown Republican with little money from this district is surprising to say the least.


A new Change Research poll for candidate Elizabeth Holtzman finds the Democratic primary for this open seat turning into a race that any one of six candidates could win. This is the first poll conducted and released since former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) exited the contest because of poor performance. The CR poll (7/19-23; 437 NY-10 likely Democratic primary voters; online) finds former Trump impeachment counsel Daniel Goldman taking first position with 14% preference. Ms. Holtzman, who was last on a ballot in 1993, a losing re-election effort for NYC Comptroller, places second at 12% support.

Tied with 10% are NYC Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, who led the last two published surveys, state Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou D-Manhattan) and Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn), and US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County). The new 10th, an open seat created when Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler were paired in a new 12th CD, encompasses Lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn. The Democratic primary winner on August 23rd will claim the seat in the general election.


Veteran Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is having trouble securing his new district according to a recent publicly released research survey. The Congressman created post-redistricting controversy when he decided to challenge Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) in the 17th CD rather than staying in his own 18th District, thus forcing the freshman incumbent to seek re-election in a New York City CD.

McLaughlin & Associates, polling for the Mike Lawler for Congress campaign (7/19-21; 400 NY-17 likely general election voters; live interview), finds Rep. Maloney trailing his Republican opponent, 46-44%. The McLaughlin data also shows state Assemblyman Lawler claiming a lead over state Sen. Allessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) if she were to upend Rep. Maloney in the August 23rd Democratic primary. Under this scenario, Mr. Lawler would post a 47-41% advantage in such a subsequent general election pairing. The 17th is one of three Upstate NY congressional districts that will be hotly contested in the November campaign.


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 Trump.

From the Vancouver area anchored 3rd CD, Democratic businesswoman Marie Perez, taking advantage of the badly split Republican vote, looks to have 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.



The aforementioned University of Georgia/Atlanta Journal-Constitution (see Georgia Senate above) survey also tested the Peach State Governor’s contest. Here, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leads former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) by a 48-43% count. The accompanying Survey USA poll shows a much closer 45-44% Kemp edge. This is the 15th poll conducted of this race since the beginning of 2022, and Mr. Kemp has led in all but one. In that stand-alone survey, the two were tied. The Governor’s job approval rating is 54:42% favorable to unfavorable. The UGA/AJC and S-USA studies are the second and third consecutive polls that place Gov. Kemp ahead in the Governor’s race while fellow Republican Herschel Walker (R) trails in the Senate contest.


The Nevada Governor’s race is expected to be another close contest on election night, and two recently released surveys conducted during the same time period confirm the early prognostications. The Tarrance Group, polling for the Joe Lombardo for Governor campaign (7/5-10; 600 NV likely general election voters; live interview) and Emerson College (7/7-10; 2,000 NV registered voters, 500 from each of the four congressional districts; interactive voice response system, online & text) both see the Governor’s race already falling within the polling margin of error. Tarrance finds Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) topping Clark County Sheriff Lombardo (R), 46-44%, while the Emerson College result is 44-40%, also with Gov. Sisolak leading.

* denotes the candidate has received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2021-2022 election cycle. 

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