Listed below are political snippets on congressional and gubernatorial races the country. Enjoy!
Two weeks ago, the Cygnal polling firm released its results for the Alabama Governor’s race, and now their Yellowhammer State Senate numbers are public. The poll (8/17-18; 600 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview, interactive voice response system, and text) finds US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) opening with a healthy 41-18-3-2% GOP primary lead over former Alabama Business Council president and CEO Katie Britt, businesswoman Jessica Taylor, and ex-US Ambassador Lynda Blanchard, respectively.
For the second time, reports are surfacing that Republican Senate hopeful Herschel Walker threatened gun violence against a significant other. In this case, however, the accuser is speaking posthumously. Myka Dean made the allegations against the former football star in 2012 in a police report. Though she passed away in 2019, the police report has now appeared publicly just after Mr. Walker filed a Senate campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.
A new St. Anselm College poll from its New Hampshire Institute of Politics finds Gov. Chris Sununu (R) enjoying his largest early polling lead over Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). According to St. Anselm’s results (8/24-26; 1,855 NH registered voters; online; weighted responses), Gov. Sununu would hold a 49-41% lead over Sen. Hassan. Mr. Sununu carries a 64:34% positive to negative job approval ratio, while Sen. Hassan is upside down at 44:47%, but with a concerning 34% strong disapproval rating
The EMILY’s List organization commissioned a Public Policy Polling survey (8/31-9/1; 700 NC likely Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) for the North Carolina Democratic US Senate primary and found their endorsed candidate, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, leading state Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) by a nine-point, 33-24%, margin.
While 11 Democrats have announced for the open primary, the early contest is clearly segmenting into a two-way battle between Ms. Beasley and Sen. Jackson. Incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R) is retiring. The leading Republican candidates are ex-Gov. Pat McCrory, US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance), and former US Rep. Mark Walker.
London-based pollster Redfield & Wilton Strategies released their latest results for the open Ohio Senate race (8/20-24; 1,200 OH likely voters) that show former state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) faring best among the GOP candidates opposite US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/ Youngstown). The R&W results see Mr. Mandel holding a 41-37% edge among those most likely to vote. Rep. Ryan holds small leads over author J.D. Vance (37-36%) and former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken (38-36%).
Despite a very low probability of ousting Sen. Ron Wyden (D) next year as he seeks a fifth full term, a third Republican has announced his candidacy. Grant County Commissioner Sam Palmer is now a declared candidate joining frequent statewide campaigner Jo Rae Perkins, and Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe. Mr. Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is a lock for re-election.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney has indicted US Senate candidate and Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis (D) on five counts of embezzling over $20,000 from her campaign and the Milwaukee Common Council travel fund. Ms. Lewis claims the transactions were “accounting errors,” and she promises to “make the necessary corrections.” Her attorney says he will file a dismissal motion. It appears Ms. Lewis will continue her US Senate campaign.
U.S. House of Representatives
State Rep. Randy Friese (D-Tucson), long thought of as the favorite to replace retiring Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) next year, has decided to end his congressional candidacy. Dr. Friese, a surgeon who came to statewide prominence as the physician who saved then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D) life after she was tragically shot in 2011, says the increase in COVID cases is requiring him to spend fulltime treating patients in his practice.
Pastor and former NFL football player Jerone Davison (R) announced his congressional candidacy last week hoping to oppose two-term Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix), the former Phoenix Mayor. Rev. Davison becomes the tenth Republican to announce, a surprising number in what is currently a solid Democratic seat (Biden ’20: 61-37; Stanton ’20: 62-38%). Rumors abounded early that Rep. Stanton might opt for a statewide race, particularly the open Attorney General’s position, but the Congressman has not made any moves to suggest he will run for anything but re-election.
Eight Democrats, including state Sen. Kirsten Engel (D-Tucson), are announced candidates. Others may join post-redistricting. The eventual Democratic nominee, at least if the new boundaries are similar to what currently exists, will be favored to hold the seat in the 2022 general election.
The candidate field attempting to deny California Rep. David Valadao* (R-Hanford) re-election continues to grow. Five-term state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) declared his candidacy. Republican Adam Medeiros, a member of the King County School Board, also publicly announced his intention to become a congressional candidate.
The total field of Valadao opponents now reaches seven, but under the California top two jungle primary qualifying system, the chances of a Republican other than the GOP incumbent advancing into the general election are remote at best. The most likely general election pairing is Mr. Valadao defending his seat against Assemblyman Salas.
The second Centennial State redistricting map was released, this time from the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission staff. The map was the result of listening to public input from a series of hearings. While the new map is much different from the first, it still creates a marginal new district that each party can win along with a district for each incumbent to seek re-election.
A new round of public hearings will now begin. Under the state redistricting deadlines, the Commission members, with minimum support from eight of the 12-member body, must pass a map to the state Supreme Court for review by September 28th. If the Commission members cannot agree with a super majority, the staff then submits directly to the high court. The state Supreme Court must approve the congressional and state legislative maps by December 15th.
Earlier in the month, a story appeared suggesting that Illinois Democratic leaders are planning to collapse Rep. Adam Kinzinger*’s (R-Channahon) seat in redistricting to help feed retiring Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ (D-Moline) and second-term US Rep. Lauren Underwood’s (D-Naperville) districts with more Democrats.
Ms. Underwood defeated state Senator and frequent candidate Jim Oberweis (R) by only a 51-49% margin in a seat that previously elected Republicans on a consistent basis. The redistricting move hasn’t deterred one potential 2022 Underwood challenger, however. Retired Army officer Mike Pierce (R) announced last week that he will oppose Rep. Underwood in the new 14th.
Veteran Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), who was one of ten Republicans to support impeaching then-President Trump over the January 6th Capitol invasion, now faces a Trump-endorsed opponent. The former President announced that he is backing state Rep. Steve Carra (R-Kalamazoo) in his challenge to Rep. Upton.
At this point, five Republicans have announced their primary bids, but Rep. Carra is the only one who has even raised $100,000 in the early going. The Trump endorsement will likely further establish Mr. Carra as the Congressman’s chief Republican opponent. Rep. Upton has not yet announced his bid for re-election, but he is expected to run. The Congressman was first elected in 1986.
As expected, former television news reporter Gail Huff Brown (R), wife of former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R), last week formally declared her candidacy for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District race. Redistricting is expected to make this wildly swing seat more Republican, hence the interest among several candidates. Matt Mowers, the former Trump White House aide who held incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) to a 51-46% re-election win, is returning for another run. Karoline Leavitt, another ex-Trump White House aide, and state Rep. Tim Baxter (R-Portsmouth) are also announced candidates.
Republican Kyle Van de Water, saying he “can no longer give 110% effort to this endeavor,” announced that he won’t return for a re-match with Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck). His effort was not particularly strong in 2020, however, as he spent just over $118,000 in his campaign, losing 51-41%. Conversely, Rep. Delgado spent just under $3 million to secure re-election.
US Intelligence Analyst and Iraq War veteran Francis Conole, who lost the 2020 Democratic primary to previous nominee Dana Balter by almost a 2:1 margin, announced that he will return for the 2022 campaign with the goal of opposing four-term Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse) in the general election. Currently, Mr. Conole faces financial management consultant and retired Army officer Steve Holden in the Democratic primary. Ms. Balter has already said she will not return for a third run. Rep. Katko has one Republican primary opponent, parental rights advocate John Murtari.
Democrat Abby Broyles, a former television news reporter who as the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee lost 63-33% to veteran Sen. Jim Inhofe (R), announced that she will return to candidate status, but this time for the US House. Ms. Broyles announced her intention to oppose freshman Rep. Stephanie Bice* (R-Oklahoma City) next year. Ms. Bice, then a state Senator, unseated one-term Rep. Kendra Horn (D) in November.
The Broyles move suggests that Ms. Horn will not be resigning her federal appointment in the Biden Administration to attempt to regain her House seat. Rep. Bice will be favored for re-election in what has traditionally been a Republican seat.
As last week closed, hospital executive John Porro (R) announced that he is joining the growing field of GOP candidates positioning themselves to challenge Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) next year. The field includes 2020 nominee Genevieve Collins (R) who fell to Rep. Allred, 52-46%.
The large contender field is surprising because redistricting will likely award Rep. Allred a much stronger Democratic seat considering the recent Dallas County voting trends. With a new district likely coming to the Dallas metro area, expect most of the competition to transfer to that seat, when it is eventually drawn, and away from a direct challenge to Rep. Allred.
Harriet Hageman, who just resigned her position as the Republican National Committeewoman from Wyoming, joined the crowded field of candidates opposing at-large Rep. Liz Cheney* (R-Wilson). Immediately, former President Donald Trump endorsed Ms. Hageman. Now we will see an effort to unite the anti-Cheney Trump Republicans behind the newly endorsed candidate. Harriet Hageman ran for Governor in 2018, finishing third in the GOP primary. The open Wyoming primary does not conclude until August 16, 2022.
Now just days away from the California gubernatorial recall election, polling continues to indicate that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is in position to remain in office. Three new surveys were just released, from the Trafalgar Group, Targoz Market Research, and the Public Policy Institute at the University of California at Berkeley.
The cumulative ballot tests produce a Newsom victory (meaning a NO vote on the recall question), spanning from ten to 19 points. Trafalgar (9/2-4; 1,079 CA likely voters; live interview, interactive voice response system, email & text) finds Newsom surviving, 53-43%, and Targoz (8/23-25; 797 CA likely voters; online) sees a similar 51-41% split. UC Berkeley, a regular California pollster (8/20-29; 1,080 CA likely voters; live interview) projects an even larger Newsom survival margin, 58-39%.
While these polls suggest the trend is clearly favoring a Newsom retention, his approval numbers remain weak and his strength among the key Hispanic minority group is waning. Turnout in this irregular election will be the determining factor.
Saying he has already identified over $10 million in campaign support, venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan (R) late this week announced his entry into the 2022 Illinois Republican gubernatorial primary from which he hopes to challenge Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in the regular election. Gov. Pritzker, himself a venture capitalist, spent more than $171 million of his own money to win his position in 2018 defeating then Gov. Bruce Rauner (R).
Former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) has ended his 2022 gubernatorial bid for health reasons. Since then, endorsements have been forthcoming, including those from all three Kansas Republican US House members, for Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s (R) gubernatorial bid. AG Schmidt was Mr. Colyer’s chief GOP opponent.
Now, it appears the party is fully uniting behind Mr. Schmidt. Late last week, former Lt. Governor nominee and ex-gubernatorial candidate Wink Hartman, who was said to be considering another run for Governor, also announced his support for Mr. Schmidt. It is now highly probable, just under a year before the August 2nd Kansas primary, that we will see Mr. Schmidt nominated to challenge first-term Gov. Laura Kelly (D) in what is likely to become a toss-up campaign.
Auto dealership owner Kevin Rinke (R) is launching a gubernatorial exploratory committee to assess his chances of unseating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Mr. Rinke pledges to invest $10 million of his own money into the campaign should he officially become a candidate. Credible contenders already in the Republican primary are retired Detroit Police chief James Craig and talk show host Tudor Dixon.
State Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-East Gulf Lake), who recently stepped down as the state Senate’s Majority Leader, announced that he will enter the Republican gubernatorial primary with the goal of opposing Gov. Tim Walz (D) next November. Mr. Gazelka joins state Sen. Micelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), former state Senator and physician Scott Jensen, Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy, and physician Neil Shah in running for the GOP nomination. At this point, Gov. Walz is a strong favorite for re-election.
The Fabrizio Lee polling firm, conducting a statewide New Jersey survey for the Club for Growth organization (8/24-29; 600 NJ likely 2021 election voters; live interview), finds former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R) pulling to within a 43-41% margin of Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the first research study that forecasts a close 2021 Garden State gubernatorial campaign.
The aforementioned Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/20-24; 1,200 OH likely voters) also tested the Ohio Governor’s race. The data finds incumbent Mike DeWine (R) in strong position against his potential opponents. He leads Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), 46-27%, and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley (D), 47-25%. Numbers as to how Gov. DeWine would fare in a contested Republican primary against former US Rep. Jim Renacci were either not released or the segmented question not asked.
In what is one of the slower moving open seat statewide races in the country, the Democrats finally have a contested primary in an open seat race for a major position their party controls. Late last week, state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) announced that she will run for Governor, attempting to succeed term-limited Democratic incumbent Kate Brown. The only other announced Democratic candidate is Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla. The leading Republican appears to be 2016 gubernatorial nominee Bud Pierce, who lost to Gov. Brown, 51-43%.
WPA Intelligence, polling for the Glenn Youngkin for Governor campaign (8/30-9/2; 734 VA likely voters), finds former hedge fund CEO Youngkin taking his first lead in the 2021 Virginia Governor’s campaign. According to the WPAi results, Mr. Youngkin tops former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), 48-46%. Despite the lead change, this poll is in line with all others that forecast a tight vote featuring both candidates consistently landing in the 40s.
Former White House Chief of Staff and ex-Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said this week that he will not enter the 2022 Wisconsin Governor’s race. Mr. Priebus was viewed as a dark horse candidate, so this decision is not particularly surprising.
A just released Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey (8/20-24; 730 WI registered voters) finds Gov. Tony Evers (D) and former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R), who has already filed a gubernatorial committee and is expected to formally announce next week, in a 41-41% tie among those who self-identify as likely voters. Redfield & Wilton is a London based research company who rates as a B/C pollster on the FiveThirtyEight pollster ranking system.