Check out these political snippets on the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial from across the country.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R), who was unable to jump start a long shot presidential campaign and culminating with not qualifying for the first presidential debate, announced earlier in the week that he is officially ending his national bid. The move came with little in the way of surprise since, for the most part, he was not even registering in national polls.
Emerson College, Ipsos/Reuters and Big Village released their post-debate, post-indictment national surveys and they become the third, fourth, and fifth pollsters to find former President Donald Trump topping incumbent President Joe Biden in just this past week.
The Emerson numbers (8/25-26; 1,000 US registered voters; multiple sampling techniques) give Mr. Trump a 46-44% edge without including a minor party candidate. In the question that added Green Party candidate Dr. Cornel West, Trump increased his lead over Biden to 44-39%. Dr. West garnered 4% support, which is consistent with his showing in other polls. Ipsos/Reuters (8/24-25; 1,004 US adults; online) finds Mr. Trump leading President Biden, 38-32%, with a high undecided factor. Big Village (8/25-27; 2,029 US adults; online) sees Mr. Trump leading the President, 42-38%.
The Ipsos/Reuters poll analysis indicated that those not choosing Trump or Biden were either undecided, would vote for another candidate, or wouldn’t vote at all.
The new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll that the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs conducts (8/16-23; 807 likely and probable Republican primary voters; live interview) finds former President Donald Trump posting his strongest Republican primary number in the state despite now being under indictment by the Fulton County (GA) legal establishment.
According to the AJC survey, Mr. Trump captures 57% of the Republican primary respondents’ support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a distant second at 15% with no other contender even reaching the 5% support threshold. Since pollsters began testing the Georgia 2024 Republican presidential race, this current AJC poll reveals Trump’s strongest standing within the Peach State electorate. At the end of March, for example, WPA Intelligence detected a one-point DeSantis lead over Trump at 37-36%.
Public Opinion Strategies tested the Iowa electorate just after the Republican presidential debate (POS for Citizen Awareness Project; 8/24; 400 IA likely Republican Caucus attenders; live interview) and their flash poll numbers show some movement within the Hawkeye State voting pool. The ballot test projects former President Donald Trump to hold a 41-21-11-7-7% lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
The numbers represent a seven-point gain for Gov. DeSantis, who most believe delivered the strongest debate performance. Ms. Haley also gained eight points while Sen. Scott and Mr. Ramaswamy lost one and three points, respectively, when compared with the pre-debate POS survey.
Reports are surfacing from Arizona that 2022 Republican US Senate nominee Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who fell to Sen. Mark Kelly (D) by a 51-47% margin, will soon enter the current three-way Senate race. Independent incumbent Kyrsten Sinema is expected to seek re-election possibly as the No Labels Party candidate, while Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) is already becoming a likely consensus Democratic contender. The Grand Canyon State contest will prove unpredictable because all three contenders, Sen. Sinema, Rep. Gallego, and the eventual Republican nominee, will have a pathway to victory.
Should Mr. Masters choose to enter the campaign, he will likely have Republican primary opposition. Kari Lake, the former news anchorwoman who received 49.6% of the gubernatorial vote in a losing effort against current incumbent Katie Hobbs (D), is also expected to become a Senate candidate. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb is already in the race and has been campaigning for the party nomination over a period of months.
As expected, via a strong video announcement, former US Representative Mike Rogers, who served in Congress from 2001 to 2015 and rose to chair the House Intelligence Committee, officially declared his US Senate candidacy. The Rogers entry gives the Republicans a top tier candidate in a state that has trended against the GOP in the last two elections. Polling suggests the favored Democratic candidate, US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), who represents the same Michigan congressional district as did Mr. Rogers, would have only a small lead to start the campaign.
Former US Rep. Peter Meijer is also a potential Republican candidate, though the Rogers entry would make him a major underdog in a statewide primary. Mr. Meijer was elected to the House in 2020 but lost his bid for renomination in 2022. Rep. Slotkin faces state Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, actor Hill Harper, and former state Representative Leslie Love in the Democratic primary. Both Rep. Slotkin and Mr. Rogers should be viewed as heavy favorites to win their respective partisan primaries.
A J.L. Partners survey released to the Semafor online news site (8/12-17; 418 MT likely Republican primary voters; live interview) projects two-term Congressman Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) holding a big 55-19% lead over aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy (R). The latter man is the party endorsed candidate. He has support from Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), and 1st District Congressman and former US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish).
Both men fare well against Sen. Jon Tester (D). Rep. Rosendale, who lost to Sen. Tester 50-47% in 2018, would lead this race 46-42%. Mr. Sheehy would hold a similar 46-43% edge over the Senator.
Rancher and former gubernatorial candidate Chuck Herbster (R), who lost the 2022 open Republican nomination for Governor despite receiving former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, indicates he is still “considering” challenging appointed Senator and former Governor Pete Ricketts (R) next year, but clearly doesn’t have running on his front burner. He said, while still thinking about the race, his top objective is working to see that Mr. Trump returns to the White House.
The response suggests that Mr. Herbster is unlikely to challenge Sen. Ricketts. If not, it is probable that the new Senator will have an easy run for the Republican nomination and in the general election. Sen. Ricketts, appointed when former Sen. Ben Sasse (R) resigned to become the University of Florida’s president, must stand for election in 2024 to fill the balance of the unexpired term. Assuming he wins next year, he will then seek a full six-year term in 2026.
Republicans in the Texas legislature have been coalescing in an attempt to strip Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez (D) from his office for failing to prosecute large numbers of criminals, following the lead of several big city DA’s such as those in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.
Instead of dealing with a potential legislative battle, Mr. Gonzalez abruptly resigned his post and then declared his candidacy for the US Senate. He, however, must first face US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) and state Senator Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) in the Democratic primary before getting a chance to make a statement in opposing incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R). In what the Democratic leadership was hoping would become an easy primary for their favored candidate, Rep. Allred, is now evolving into something quite the opposite.
Research America conducted a survey for MetroNews West Virginia that was presented at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce meeting (8/16-26; 402 WV registered voters; oversample of 337 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) just before the Labor Day break commenced.
The results again find Gov. Jim Justice (R) holding a healthy lead over incumbent Joe Manchin (D) in the Senate ballot test. A majority of 51% favors Gov. Justice versus just 38% who would vote to re-elect Sen. Manchin. If, however, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) were to defeat the Governor in the Republican Senate primary, he would trail Sen. Manchin 45-41% in their hypothetical general election pairing.
In the Republican primary, though from a small polling sample (337 respondents), Gov. Justice would hold a substantial 58-26% advantage over Congressman Mooney.
The West Virginia Senate race continues to be the top Republican conversion target in the country. Though Sen. Manchin’s approval rating in the state has improved to 51:34% favorable to unfavorable according to this survey, a plurality of 40% would still like to see him retire as compared to 36% who believe he should run for re-election. A total of 24% said they feel he should run as a minor party candidate for President.
U.S. House of Representatives
During the week, a federal three-judge panel in Alabama struck down the legislature and Governor’s new map enacted to comply with the US Supreme Court’s June ruling that ordered a redraw for racial considerations. The argument rested upon census numbers indicating that a second majority minority seat could be drawn in the state.
The legislature’s map increased the African American population in District 2 from 30 to 39%, but the three-judge panel ruled the new plan did not go far enough. The judicial panel also ordered a special master to draw a new map with a deadline before the end of September.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) stated immediately after the new ruling that the state will appeal the decision. Redistricting appeals automatically go to the US Supreme Court. Considering the time required for the appeal to be heard and ruled upon, there is some chance that a new map will not be in place until after the 2024 election.
The Sunshine State congressional plan that elected 20 Republicans and only eight Democrats in 2022 has been declared unconstitutional. A Lee County state judge rendered the ruling, tying the map to the recently decided US Supreme Court decision pertaining to the Alabama racial gerrymandering case.
The crux of the disqualification was the elimination of then-Rep. Al Lawson’s (D-Tallahassee) 5th District that stretched all the way from Tallahassee to Jacksonville in order to create a majority minority district. The Republicans, citing the communities of interest argument changed the north Florida configuration into a more compact draw.
The state will likely appeal this ruling. Doing so means the final decision on this issue will eventually lie with the Florida Supreme Court justices. Whether a new map will be drawn before the 2024 election is unclear at this point.
Guiding the decision through the state’s appellate system may require a longer period than what remains in the current election cycle, even when considering Florida’s late primary (August 20, 2024) and candidate filing deadline (April 26, 2024).
The Ohio State Supreme Court late this week rejected plaintiffs’ arguments that a new congressional map should be drawn, meaning the current lines will remain intact for the 2024 election. Under the original redistricting act’s passage, the map was to be reconfigured after four years, meaning before the 2026 election. Such remains to be the case. In the meantime, activists are attempting to qualify a ballot initiative that would transform the Ohio redistricting system into a citizens’ commission. The initiative organizers need 413,000 valid Ohio registered voter signatures to qualify their measure for a vote in the 2024 election.
Before being elected to the US House in 2020, Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Miami) served as Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Apparently, he is now considering not seeking re-election in 2024 in order to challenge his successor, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, to regain the municipal post. FL-28 is a South Florida politically marginal district that stretches from Miami all the way through the Florida Keys, and then westward to the Alabama border.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this South Florida seat as R+4. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 51.0D – 47.6% and is one of twenty districts in the country where the two organizations differ as to which party has the advantage. Former President Donald Trump defeated current President Joe Biden here, 52.9 - 46.5%. In an open seat situation, the seat will likely be rated a toss-up. Mr. Gimenez first won here in 2020, defeating then-one-term incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), 51.7 – 48.3%, in the district then numbered 26. Ms. Mucarsel-Powell is now running for the US Senate.
In 2022, then-freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Highland/Gary) fought back a tough challenge from Republican Jennifer-Ruth Green and recorded a 53-47% victory in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+7 and Dave’s Redistricting App sees the partisan lean dividing 56.5D – 41.0R. Though Rep. Mrvan, an upset winner in the 2020 Democratic primary after veteran Rep. Peter Visclosky (D) retired, was re-elected his victory percentage should be viewed as an under-performance.
While Ms. Green may still be thinking about launching a re-match campaign, Lake County Councilman, business owner, and local Republican Party chairman Randy Niemeyer is making plans to enter the race. Though the district is definitively Democratic, and the African American population reaches just under 20% to form a solid base for any Democratic standard bearer, the seat is beginning to appear more competitive. Whether the eventual Republican nominee is Ms. Green or Mr. Niemeyer, the IN-1 race is 2024 will merit political attention.
Austin Theriault (R), a retired NASCAR driver who is now a state Representative from one of the Canadian border districts in northern Maine, is reportedly planning to challenge Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) in the most Republican district that elects a Democrat to the House. Rep. Golden has twice defeated now-former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) with the help of the Ranked Choice Voting system that eliminates the possibility of a plurality victory.
Without Mr. Poliquin making a return appearance, Republicans need a fresh candidate to potentially take advantage of what could be a more favorable GOP turnout model. Former President Donald Trump has twice carried the 2nd District, in 2020 by six percentage points, so running with him in 2024 is more attractive than in other election years.
Freshman Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island), under indictment for several charges, saw his court date this week postponed. Both sides explained to the judge that they are currently attempting to arrive at a solution, meaning a plea deal. Should any plea agreement involve Mr. Santos resigning his seat, a special election will be scheduled. Eight Republicans and seven Democrats have already announced their congressional candidacies for the next election. Former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), who left the House for an ill-fated gubernatorial run last year, says he would run in a special election but will not contest the seat in an open 2024 race.
Calling six-term Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg/Harrisburg) “a right-wing extremist…” and himself “real patriot,” retired Marine Corps officer and former Top Gun pilot Mike O’Brien (D) announced his congressional candidacy in a central Pennsylvania district that remains competitive. Rep. Perry was re-elected in 2022 with 54% of the vote. He has averaged 52.8% in the three elections since the state Supreme Court drastically reconfigured the district now labeled as number 10 (previously CD-4). The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates PA-10 as R+9. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 50.6R – 46.9D.
The long awaited special primary election to replace resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D) was held, and former Biden and Obama Administration official Gabe Amo clinched the crowded Democratic primary with a 32-25-14% victory over former state Representative Aaron Regunberg and state Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket). The remaining nine candidates, including Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, failed to even reach the 10% threshold.
Mr. Amo, will be a lock to defeat the Republican winner, military veteran Gerry Leonard, Jr., in the November 7th special general election and upon election will be the first person of color to represent Rhode Island in Congress.
Terrell County Sheriff Thaddeus Cleveland (R) announced that he would not follow through with plans to challenge two-term Rep. Tony Gonzales* (R-San Antonio). Earlier in the year, Sheriff Cleveland had filed a congressional exploratory committee. In the Republican primary race are retired ICE agent Victor Avila and Medina County Republican chair Julie Clark, along with two minor candidates. Surprisingly, Democrats have yet to recruit a strong candidate in this district that has a history of flipping back and forth between the parties.
State Senator Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse), who did surprising well in the 2022 WI-3 congressional race in losing to freshman Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien) 52-48% even though Democratic party leaders virtually conceded the open race, has made a decision about seeking a re-match.
Since Sen. Pfaff’s four-year term in the legislature expires at the end of next year, he announced late this week that he will seek re-election instead of embarking upon another congressional challenge. In the upcoming 2024 campaign, however, Democrats are likely to make a stronger run since Mr. Pfaff exceeded expectations in 2022, but now it will be with a new candidate.
Last week, we reported upon an Impact Research poll conducted for Democrat Brandon Presley’s gubernatorial campaign, which projected that he and Gov. Tate Reeves (R) have fallen into a 46-46% tie. Expected was a quick counter poll, and now we have seen such a survey.
Siena College, polling for the Mississippi Today news site (8/20-28; 650 MS likely voters; live interview), reported their finding and, contrary to the Impact Research data, suggests that Gov. Reeves holds a 52-41% lead over Mr. Presley. The Mississippi gubernatorial election is scheduled for November 7th.
New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut (R), a former state Representative and 2016 gubernatorial candidate, announced during the week that he will not enter the 2024 open Governor’s campaign.
The Edelblut decision likely means the Republican battle will evolve into a race between former US Senator Kelly Ayotte and ex-state Senate President and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse. On the Democratic side, the contest is already looking like a two-way campaign between Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is not seeking a fifth two-year term.
The Research America survey for MetroNews West Virginia that posted Gov. Jim Justice (R) to a 51-38% advantage over Sen. Joe Manchin (D), also tested the open Republican gubernatorial primary. Gov. Justice is ineligible to seek a third term in his current position.
The Research America results are very different from a National Research survey conducted back in early March. At that time, the NR data found Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leading the Republican field with 28% support. State Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), the son of US Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R), was second with 15%.
The new data finds the candidates transposed into an inverted order. Mr. Capito has now assumed the lead with 32% backing while AG Morrisey has remained constant, around 27 percent. No other contender even reaches the 10% threshold. The West Virginia primary is slated for May 14, 2024.
*denotes candidate received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2023-2024 election cycle.
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