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Political Snippets from Around the Country

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

Primary Results

Massachusetts

Voters in the Bay State of Massachusetts went to the polls to choose nominees this week but, for the most part, they stared at a ballot filled with unopposed candidates.
 
In the Governor’s race, Attorney General Maura Healey was virtually unopposed in the Democratic primary. She captured 85.5% of the vote opposite state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) who had previously withdrawn from the statewide race. On the Republican side, former state Representative and 2018 GOP US Senate nominee Geoff Diehl claimed the party’s gubernatorial nomination with just under 56% of the vote. Ms. Healey now becomes the prohibitive favorite to succeed retiring Republican Gov. Charlie Baker who chose not to seek a third term in office.
 
All nine Democratic US House incumbents were unopposed or renomination, and each is a heavy favorite to win the succeeding general election. On the turnout front, it appears that by an almost 2:1 ratio, more Democrats participated in the election than did Republicans.

New Hampshire

While the New Hampshire votes continue to be counted, retired Army General Don Bolduc has been projected as the Republican primary winner and he now advances to face Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). The Senator’s campaign wasted no time in attacking Bolduc, hitting him with an abortion ad the day after the primary ended. 

Gen. Bolduc’s margin of victory over state Senate President Chuck Morse* (R-Salem) will be in the neighborhood of 1,800 votes when all the counting is finally complete. Though former President Trump did not endorse a candidate in the Senate race, his supporters had a big night on Tuesday and are largely credited with delivering the victory. 

In responding to whether the national Republican establishment will support Bolduc, after many in the party question whether he is strong enough to defeat Hassan and a great effort was spent in trying to deny him the nomination, the query was basically answered. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, said his committee remains fully committed to New Hampshire as a key target race. The organization has over $9 million in media time already reserved for the general election.

In the tight House races, former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt won the GOP nomination in the swing 1st District, defeating 2020 nominee Matt Mowers, 35-25%, with former television news reporter Gail Huff Brown placing third with just under 18% of the party primary vote. Ms. Brown is the wife of former Massachusetts Senator and ex-Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown (D), who also ran for the Senate in 2014 from New Hampshire. 

Ms. Leavitt now advances into the general election to face two-term Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in the district that has defeated more incumbents than any other since 2004. In 2020, Mr. Pappas defeated Mr. Mowers, 51-46%, which is the strongest re-election margin for an incumbent since former US Representative, and now state Senate Majority Leader, Jeb Bradley (R) was re-elected 16 years ago with 63% of the vote.

The other outstanding race from the New Hampshire primary was the 2nd District GOP contest. This race was just as close as the Senate campaign, but it now is certain that former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns defeated Keene Mayor George Hansel by just under three percentage points or a little over 1,600 votes. He now advances to face five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord). 

Rhode Island

Gov. Dan McKee, who ascended to his office when then-Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to become US Commerce Secretary, eked out a close victory in the Rhode Island Democratic primary, securing about one-third of the vote, which was enough to claim a plurality win.

Gov. McKee defeated corporate CEO Helena Foulkes and RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who finished a close second and third. The Governor now advances into the general election to face the new Republican nominee, businesswoman Ashley Kalus (R), and is categorized as a heavy favorite in this most Democratic of states.

In the contested open 2nd Congressional District seat, as expected, state Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D), who left the Governor’s race to run in the open 2nd when 11-term Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick) announced his retirement, easily captured the Democratic nomination with a 54% victory total in a field of six candidates. Mr. Magaziner now opposes former Cranston Mayor and ex-gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung who wasn’t challenged in the Republican primary. Though the district is heavily Democratic, polling shows the open 2nd can become competitive in a shortened general election cycle.

U.S. Senate

Alaska

A new poll from the Fabrizio Ward/Impact Research organizations for AARP (9/6-11; 1,050 AK likely voters; 500 statewide sample; 550 voters 50 years of age and older; live interview & text) sees the Alaska Senate race heading in a much different direction than even the jungle primary results revealed.

The AARP poll finds former Alaska Administration Director Kelly Tshibaka (R) leading Sen. Lisa Murkowski* (R), 43-35%, which is a significant change from the August 16th primary vote when the Senator topped her main opponent, 45-39%. Moving to the Ranked Choice Voting rounds, the two candidates fall into a flat tie.

Arizona

In the 2020 special US Senate election, then-candidate Mark Kelly (D) consistently ran ahead of then-Sen. Martha McSally (R) and by an average of 7.1 percentage points in 21 polls conducted from October 1st to election day, but only won the race, 51-49%. In the 2020 cycle, we see much closer polling as two new surveys exemplify.

The pair of studies, both taken during the September 6-7 period, are from Emerson College (627 AZ likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) and the Republican research firm Insider Advantage (550 AZ likely voters). Emerson finds the race well within the polling margin of error at 47-45%, while the IA result projects a 45-39% division. Both post Sen. Kelly leading Republican nominee and venture capitalist Blake Masters.

Connecticut

Emerson College released new polling figures on the Connecticut Senate race, the first public numbers we’ve seen since the state’s early August primary. The Emerson poll (9/7-9; 1,000 CT likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) posts Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) to a 49-36% lead over Republican nominee Leora Levy, a former Ambassadorial nominee in the Trump Administration. While the Senator has a strong advantage, the margins suggest a potential climate of competitiveness developing, but it is doubtful the Levy campaign will have the ability to build serious upset potential.

North Carolina

Public Policy Polling released their new North Carolina survey (8/29-30; 601 NC voters) and consistent with all of the research studies we’ve seen here since July, the results are within the polling margin of error. In this particular survey, PPP finds former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) edging US Rep. Ted Budd* (R-Advance), 42-41%. There does appear to be a slight Democratic skew here. With the party polarization breaking virtually evenly, and Mr. Budd having a slight advantage within the Independent sector, one would surmise that he would have a small lead.

Since mid to late July, four NC Senate polls have been released. All show the margins within 0 to 4 points, with Ms. Beasley leading in three of the four. This is typical for North Carolina polling. Since there is also a general undercount of the Republican vote in typical Tar Heel State surveys, it is reasonable to believe that Mr. Budd may have the slight edge. It is clear, however, that we are headed for yet another tight finish in a North Carolina statewide race.

Ohio

After most polling had given author J.D. Vance (R) a small lead in the Senate race, Suffolk University’s new survey (9/5-7; 500 likely general election voters; live interview) finds US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/ Youngstown) claiming a slim one-point, 47-46%, advantage. Additionally, the Democratic firm, Impact Research, also went into the field (8/17-23; 800 OH likely general election voters) and sees Rep. Ryan holding a slightly larger 50-47% margin. This race continues to seesaw between the two candidates.

Utah

Utah Independent US Senate candidate Evan McMullin released a Democratic firm’s poll that yields him a one-point edge. Impact Research (8/29-9/1; 800 UT likely general election voters) found McMullin leading Sen. Mike Lee (R) by a 47-46% margin. Sen. Lee quickly countered with re-releasing his early August WPA Intelligence poll that saw him holding a major 50-32% advantage. The Center Street PAC then released their new Utah survey (9/6-9; 563 UT likely general election voters) that posts Sen. Lee to only a 43-39% edge. 

Washington

After a strong showing in the Washington jungle primary on August 2nd when Sen. Patty Murray (D) placed first with a 52-34% spread over veterans’ advocate and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R), a new Trafalgar Group survey finds a surprisingly close general election count. The Trafalgar survey (8/30-9/1; 1,087 WA likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) yields a ballot test with a Murray advantage of only 49-46%, the closest result we have seen since the primary.

The previous post primary survey came from McLaughlin & Associates, like Trafalgar, a Republican pollster (8/15-17; 500 WA general election likely voters; live interview & text). This ballot test featured a similar, but slightly stronger margin for Sen. Murray. The result broke 49-43%, just beyond the polling margin of error. A succeeding poll, from Public Policy Polling (9/6; -7; 620 WA voters; live interview & text) sees a different political landscape. The PPP results project Sen. Murray to a 48-39% advantage.

The McLaughlin poll found the respondents believing the country is on the wrong track by a major 24:68% margin, but President Joe Biden’s favorability index was 48:51% favorable to unfavorable, one of his better marks in the country. Sen. Murray remains the favorite in this election.

U.S. House of Representatives

AK-AL

The Fair Vote organization, which is the principal promoter of the Ranked Choice Voting system, released a further analysis of the RCV vote in the Alaska special election that elected Democrat Mary Peltola even though she attracted only 40% of the actual vote. The Ranked Choice advocates claim the system rewards the candidate who has the broadest support, but it tends to do the opposite since candidates with minority support have won most of the major races where the system has been used. 

The analysis suggests that had candidate Nick Begich III been opposite Ms. Peltola in the final round instead of former Governor and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, he would have won the race. The Fair Vote analysis reveals that 59% of the Palin vote would have gone Begich’s way as opposed to the latter woman gaining only 50.3% of the Begich second choice votes. The bigger difference, however, was Ms. Peltola attracting only 6% of the Palin second choice votes as compared to the 28% she received from Begich voters.

What the analysis fails to include, however, are the more than 11,000 Begich voters whose ballots were not counted in the second round. The analysis claims those people simply didn’t make an additional ranked choice, but in reality, it may be due to a lack of understanding the confusing system. In other places, attorneys who have challenged the system report that most ballots are disqualified because the voter inaccurately completed the ballot. Therefore, the Fair Vote conclusion that Ms. Palin lost because the Begich voters eschewed her may not be entirely accurate.

FL-15

While the open seat in the Hillsborough-Polk Counties region carries the number 15, it is actually the new 28th district that the state was awarded in reapportionment. The seat rates a R+7 classification from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, while the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate the partisan lean as 51.2R – 46.6D. Therefore, the GOP candidate should have a slight edge in the general election campaign.

Democratic pollster GQR Research conducted a survey of the new 15th CD (8/24-29; 400 FL-15 likely general election voters; live interview) and finds a polling result consistent with the aforementioned statistical projections. The GQR ballot test gives Republican former Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee a 47-44% edge over former television newscaster and two-time congressional nominee Alan Cohn (D).

NY-10

State Assemblywoman Yuh Line-Nioh (D-Manhattan) placed second to winner Dan Goldman in the hotly contested open Democratic primary for the new 10th District in the June 28th election, but she did claim the ballot line for the Working Families Party. This means she could have advanced into the general election under that party banner. Late this week, however, the Assemblywoman announced she would not pursue a third party bid, thus virtually guaranteeing Mr. Goldman the November election.

In this crowded Democratic primary, both Mr. Goldman and Ms. Line-Nioh finished ahead of US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), who decided to seek re-election in this district instead of the Upstate 17th or 18th.

NY-19

Though Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Poughkeepsie) won the NY-19 special election in late August, he is seeking re-election in the 18th District. Attorney Josh Riley is the succeeding Democratic nominee who is opposing Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro* (R). A new Garin Hart Yang Research Group poll (8/29-9/1; 403 NY-19 likely general election voters; live interview) again finds the race within the polling margin of error, like most competitive races around the country. The GHY data finds Mr. Riley leading Mr. Molinaro, 47-44%. 

New York

RMG Research, again conducting a series of polls for US Term Limits, tested three New York congressional districts and found close contests developing in each. 

In the open Long Island 3rd CD (8/27-9/2; 400 NY-3 likely general election voters; weighted) RMG projects a very tight contest between Democrat Robert Zimmerman and Republican George Santos. The pair were separated by just one-point on the ballot test, 42-41%, in the Democrat’s favor. In two other races, under identical methodology, Democrat Josh Riley leads Republican Marc Molinaro by a tight 44-41% margin in the open 19th CD, and Republican Brandon Williams holds a 43-40% edge over Democrat Francis Conole in the Syracuse anchored new 22nd CD. 

NC-13

The new North Carolina 13th Congressional District has something for everyone. The city of Fayetteville and south Raleigh suburbs tend to vote more liberal, while Johnston County’s conservatives neutralize those votes, thus making the district basically even from a partisan perspective. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see polling go back and forth.

Previously, we reported on two August polls, one from RMG Research and the other from Public Policy Polling, and now we see another new survey from the Democratic firm Global Strategy Group (8/29-9/1; 500 NC-13 likely general election voters; live interview). RMG found Republican Bo Hines leading 44-39%; PPP saw Hines and state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) tied at 40-40%; and, now GSG posts Mr. Nickel to a 44-40% edge. Obviously, this is a toss-up campaign.

OR-5

When centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader* (D-Canby) lost his Democratic primary election to attorney and former California local elected official Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the race in the competitive new 5th District took a major turn. A recently released survey from Republican pollster Clout Research (8/15-18; 410 OR-5 likely general election voters; live interview) finds businesswoman and local former Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R) opening up a significant lead over Ms. McLeod-Skinner, with a 44-34% spread.

The only other poll released here, one from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling in early June, also found Ms. DeRemer with an edge, but only one-point, 42-41%. With the available information, it appears that Republicans could well be positioned to see a future upset victory here in November.

OR-6

Another surprising Oregon Clout Research poll (8/14-19; 409 OR-6 likely general election voters; live interview) finds Republican Mike Erickson posting a lead over state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego). Though this district is considerably more Democratic than the neighboring 5th CD, D+7 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, Mr. Erickson holds a 43-34% advantage over Ms. Salinas according to the Clout results.

Predictably, the Democrats quickly countered with their own survey, but this data is even older than the Clout poll. During the August 10-14 period, GBAO Research conducted a live interview survey of 500 OR-6 likely voters. They, however, only posted Ms. Salinas to a rather unimpressive 48-45% count. The region’s aforementioned Democratic vote history would suggest a bigger margin, which is likely why the Democrats did not release this poll until they needed to respond.

WA-3

When Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler* (R-Battle Ground/Vancouver) failed to qualify for the general election, it appeared that the 3rd District general election contest would become more competitive. A new Democratic Expedition Strategies survey (8/25-30; 400 WA-3 likely general election voters; live interview) sees Democratic finalist Marie Glusenkamp Perez coaxing a 47-45% slight lead over Republican finalist Joe Kent.

The latter man carried an early Donald Trump endorsement to propel him over Rep. Beutler who was one of the ten House Republicans to vote for the former President’s impeachment. Ms. Perez, originally not expected to be a finalist or a strong candidate, now finds herself in a highly competitive position.

Governor

Arizona

The aforementioned pair of Arizona polls from Emerson College and Insider Advantage (see Arizona Senate race above) forecasts an even closer race for Governor than they do for US Senate. Emerson College projects a straight tie between Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and former Phoenix news anchor Kari Lake (R), with both candidates posting 46% support scores. Insider Advantage finds a similar result with Ms. Hobbs leading by the slightest of margins, 44-43%.

Minnesota

While early polling suggested a close race between first-term Gov. Tim Walz (D) and former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), a new survey finds the incumbent pulling away and now possesses a large lead. The Survey USA poll (8/30-9/4; 562 MN likely general election voters) projects Gov. Walz to be currently holding a 51-33% advantage.

New Mexico

Two surveys were just released in the New Mexico Governor’s race after a long period with no public data. Both Survey USA (9/8-12; 558 NM likely general election voters; online) and Emerson College (9/8-11; 1,000 NM likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) find Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) now developing a discernible lead over former television news meteorologist Mark Ronchetti (R). S-USA pegs the Governor’s advantage to be twelve points, at 48-36%, while Emerson sees her ahead, but in a closer 48-43% count. 

New York

A new survey, this one from the Republican survey research firm co/efficient, confirms an earlier poll that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) lead over US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) is down to single digits. The co/efficient survey (9/5-7; 1,194 NY likely general election voters; live interview & text) posts the Governor to only a 49-43% lead.

Last week, the Trafalgar Group released their poll (8/31-9/1; 1,091 NY likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) that gave the Governor a similar 48-43% edge. In between, however, Emerson College (9/4-6; 1,000 NY likely general election voters; online, text & interactive voice response system) produced a 50-35% ballot test in Gov. Hochul’s favor.

In response, Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling (9/6-8; 510 NY likely and probable general election voters; live interview & text) released their New York study and found the Governor leading 54-39% lead. This is just one of a series of states that is currently producing polling with wildly different results. Whether her lead is small or larger, Gov. Hochul remains the favorite to clinch victory in November.

Oklahoma

While some controversy had been brewing around Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), this week we saw the first evidence that the 2022 Oklahoma Governor’s race could become competitive. The Sooner Poll, a survey taken regularly in Oklahoma elections for two television news stations in the state (9/2-7; 402 OK likely general election voters; live interview) finds Gov. Stitt leading his Democratic opponent, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, by just a single percentage point, 44-43%.

The closeness stems from Gov. Stitt’s favorability index, which is upside down at 46:53% favorable to unfavorable. This race could be one to watch as it unfolds in the final weeks.

Wisconsin

While the Minnesota Governor’s race is becoming definitive, the neighboring Wisconsin battle appears to be getting even closer. For the second time, a polling firm found Gov. Tony Evers (D) and businessman Tim Michels (R) to be deadlocked in a flat tie.

The Trafalgar Group (8/22-25; 1,091 WI general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects the two candidates each pulling a 48% support factor in the contest’s most recently released survey. This result is identical to the previously reported OnMessage firm’s data derived during the same polling period (8/22-24; 600 WI likely general election voters; live interview).

State Races

Michigan

At literally the last minute to make a ballot-related decision, the Michigan state Supreme Court over-ruled the State Board of Elections that previously disqualified an abortion rights ballot proposition and one dealing with the elections code. The BoE struck both because they did not meet technical requirements. Both initiatives are believed to be key Democratic assets to spur the party’s base turnout.

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


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