Snippets from Around the Country

Listed below are political snippets on congressional and gubernatorial races across the country. Enjoy!

U.S. Senate Races


After five consecutive Iowa statewide post-primary surveys found Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield edging Sen. Joni Ernst* (R) by 2-3 percentage points, the new Monmouth University poll (7/30-8/3; 401 IA likely voters) shows the incumbent holding the same small lead, 48-45%. The Iowa race is part of the four-state Republican majority firewall that includes Alabama, Maine, and Montana. All four races are must-win GOP contests if the party is to hold their tenuous Senate majority.


Survey USA immediately went into the field after the Kansas August 4 primary (8/5-9; 1,202 KS likely voters) and sees new Republican nominee Roger Marshall*, the 1st District US Representative, running slightly ahead of state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills), 46-44%. This, right after an intense primary campaign that saw Mr. Marshall defeating former gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach and Kansas City businessman Bob Hamilton, 40-26-19 percent.


The University of Massachusetts at Amherst released a new statewide Democratic primary poll and though the error factor is high, the ballot test produces a major surprise. According to this data (7/31-8/7; 500 MA registered voters; 199 likely Democratic primary voters; 163 likely Independent voters intending to enter the Democratic primary), Sen. Ed Markey (D), in a race that had, heretofore, been close leads Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) by a large 50-32% margin, and 51-36% when those who said they were leaning to one candidate or the other were included. In UMass’ last poll conducted back in February, the candidates were separated by three percentage points. 


The aforementioned Emerson College survey also asked a question about the Minnesota Senate race that is now officially between Sen. Tina Smith (D) and former US Rep. Jason Lewis (R). While other polls have yielded the Senator a lead of approximately ten percentage points, this survey finds her margin dropping to only three points, 48-45%.  Both Sen. Smith and Mr. Lewis were easy winners in their respective primary campaigns this week.


In a race that has drawn scant attention in 2020, a new Garin Hart Yang Research poll (7/30-8/9; 600 MS likely voters) finds Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s* (R) lead over former US Agriculture Secretary and ex-Mississippi Congressman Mike Espy (D) dwindling when compared to earlier polls. The GHY survey finds Sen. Hyde-Smith topping Mr. Espy, 47-42%. An Impact Management Group poll in early May posted the Senator to a 28-point advantage.


The Emerson College Polling Institute released their new Montana poll (7/31-8/2; 584 MT likely voters via live interview) and while the results find President Donald Trump outpolling former Vice President Joe Biden, 53-42%, the more important story is Sen. Steve Daines* (R) reaching beyond the polling margin of error for the first time in this cycle in his race against Gov. Steve Bullock, the Democratic US Senate nominee. Emerson finds Sen. Daines leading Gov. Bullock, 50-44%. 

Morning Consult Polls

The Morning Consult research firm conducted a series of surveys and finds Republicans building big leads in two key states and falling into close contests in another pair where they should have a strong advantage. 

In Kentucky (7/24-8/2; 793 KY likely voters), the MC data finds Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell* (R-KY) recording a 53-36% lead over retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath (D) who has raised a whopping $47 million+ for her campaign. Alabama GOP nominee Tommy Tuberville likewise holds a major Morning Consult detected advantage over Sen. Doug Jones (D). This poll (7/24-8/2; 609 AL likely voters) projects the retired Auburn University head football coach topping the Democratic incumbent, 52-35%, in what is a must-win conversion race for the GOP.

Morning Consult detects close races in two other states that should be much stronger for the respective Republican incumbent. The South Carolina survey conducted over the same period as the others (741 SC likely voters) finds Sen. Lindsey Graham* (R) claiming only a one-point, 44-43%, edge over former South Carolina Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison, while in Texas, Sen. John Cornyn* (R) posts only a six-point margin (2,576 TX likely voters from a pre-determined sample cell; online) over Democrat M.J. Hegar, 44-38%.

South Carolina

Quinnipiac University is the latest to survey the South Carolina Senate race (7/20-8/3; 914 SC registered voters) and sees Sen. Lindsey Graham* (R) and former South Carolina Democratic state chairman Jaime Harrison (D) landing in a flat tie, 44-44%. Including the latest Q-Poll, six surveys from a half-dozen different pollsters have been publicly released of this race since late May, and all but one shows the contest languishing within four percentage points. The only outlier is the Gravis Marketing poll (7/17; 604 SC likely voters) that gave Sen. Graham a seven-percentage point advantage.

U.S. House of Representatives Races


Democratic pollster Lake Research Partners released a survey (released 7/28; 650 CA-4 likely general election voters via interactive response device) that shows a close race between veteran Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove/Sacramento) and his challenger, software executive Brynne Kennedy (D). The ballot test gave Rep. McClintock only a 45-42% lead while President Donald Trump is only up one percentage point in one of the eight California districts (of 53) that elects a Republican to the House. The polling is similar to what we saw here in 2018 when Rep. McClintock was running against challenger Jessica Morse. Despite Ms. Morse spending approximately $2 million more than Rep. McClintock, the Congressman was re-elected with a 54-46% margin. 


St. Pete Polls (8/12; 594 FL-15 registered Republican voters; via automated telephone system) tested the upcoming Florida primary election contest between freshman Republican US Rep. Ross Spano* (R-Dover/Lakeland) and Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin. Rep. Spano has been under a cloud since being investigated for administering inappropriate political loans during his 2018 general election campaign. The St. Pete results find Rep. Spano leading Mr. Franklin by a scant 42-41% margin. The poll suggests that this could be an interesting primary on Tuesday night.


Controversial businesswoman Margorie Taylor Greene easily won her Republican runoff election during the week with a 57-43% victory margin over Rome area surgeon John Cowan. Ms. Greene is associated with the QAnon movement whose affiliates believe a “deep state bureaucratic underground” is attempting to undermine President Trump. Since the 14th District is strongly conservative, Ms. Greene is a heavy favorite to win in November and replace retiring Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger/Rome).

In the northeast Georgia 9th District, retired Navy officer and firearm company owner Andrew Clyde*, who self-funded most of his campaign, defeated state Rep. Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger), 56-44%, to claim the Republican nomination. Mr. Clyde advances into a general election where he becomes the heavy favorite to succeed Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) who is running for the Senate.


In Saturday’s Hawaii primary election, reports from the state find that state Sen. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) was an easy winner in the open Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Kailua).  Mr. Kahele captured a whopping 76% of the vote. He now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the seat in November, as he should easily defeat new Republican nominee Joe Akana, a business development consultant and US Air Force veteran. 


Monmouth University went into the field to survey the Hawkeye State vote and divided the large sampling universe into segments for purposes of testing each of the state’s four congressional districts. The survey (7/25-8/3; 1,665 IA registered voters; 400 via live interview and 1,265 online; congressional district sample sizes were not released) finds two Democrats and a pair of Republicans leading in the four districts.

In the 1st, and all of the succeeding reported numbers are under the high voter turnout model, freshman Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Dubuque) leads Cedar Rapids state Rep. Ashley Hinson* (R), 52-41%. 

In the 2nd, and confirming an earlier Harper Polling survey that found the race tight, state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks* (R-Ottumwa) holds a slight edge over former state Senator and 2018 Lt. Governor nominee Rita Hart (D), 48-44%. 

Third District freshman Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) records a 50-42% advantage over former US Rep. David Young* (R). 

In the western 4th CD, state Sen. Randy Feenstra* (R-Hull), who defeated Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) in the June GOP primary, is establishing a large lead over 2018 Democratic nominee J.D. Scholten, 55-34%.

Kansas Primary Results

The open 1st District went to former Lt. Governor Tracey Mann (R), who will ultimately replace Rep. Roger Marshall* (R-Great Bend) in the House. Mr. Mann becomes a prohibitive favorite in the November election after easily winning the open Republican primary. 

Turning to the 2nd Congressional District, freshman Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Topeka), who was indicted within the past two weeks for voter fraud in an election not his own, fell to state Treasurer Jake LaTurner in last night’s primary battle. Mr. LaTurner ousted Rep. Watkins, 49-34%, thus advancing him into the general election where his opponent will be Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla who was an easy winner on the Democratic side. Mr. LaTurner will be favored to hold the seat.

Former Kansas Republican Party chair Amanda Adkins* defeated four intra-party opponents to win the 3rd District party nod. She will now embark upon an underdog challenge against freshman Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park/Kansas City) in the Fall.

Michigan Primary Results

Beginning with the 3rd District, Peter Meijer, whose family owns the Meijer grocery stores with 253 locations throughout the Midwest, easily won the open Republican primary. Mr. Meijer now becomes the general election favorite against attorney Hillary Scholten who was the unopposed Democratic candidate. The November winner replaces retiring Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids). 

Michigan’s 6th District delivered two surprises. First, 17-term Rep. Fred Upton* (R-St. Joseph) was re-nominated, but with only a 63% victory against realtor Elena Oelke who spent virtually no money on her campaign. But, the Democratic side of this race was even more surprising as teacher Jen Richardson, who raised under $80,000 for her campaign almost slipped past state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) despite the latter man pulling in almost $1.4 million. The general election will be competitive.

In the state’s open 10th District Republican contest, financial executive Lisa McClain, who self-funded $1.4 million of the $1.6 million she spent, defeated state Rep. Shane Hernandez (D-Port Huron), 42-36%, to secure the GOP nomination. In this Republican district, doing so is tantamount to winning the seat in the Fall.

In her primary campaign, freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) easily defeated Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, in Detroit’s 13th District, 66-34%. In 2018, Ms. Tlaib defeated Ms. Jones in the regular Democratic primary by just one percentage point.


A week after the Michigan primary that saw state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) win a surprisingly tight Democratic primary victory and veteran Rep. Fred Upton* (R-St. Joseph) score only 63% in his GOP primary race, a new poll finds the challenger opening with a small advantage. RMG Research, polling during the primary voting period (7/30-8/6; 500 MI-6 registered voters), finds Mr. Hoadley taking a four-point, 40-36%, lead over Mr. Upton.


Polarizing US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) defeated local Democratic attorney Antone Melton-Meaux, 57-39%, in their expensive Democratic primary contest that drew over 160,000 voters. Both candidates raised well over $4 million for their respective campaign efforts. 


Both veteran Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Detroit Lakes) and former Lt. Governor and ex-state Senate President Michelle Fischbach (R) easily won their respective congressional primaries on Tuesday night, but a pre-primary poll just released projects the challenger in unusually strong shape. According to a Tarrance Group poll (8/2-5; 413 MN-7 likely voters), Ms. Fischbach would lead Rep. Peterson by a full 10-point margin, 52-42%. This, in President Donald Trump’s strongest congressional district (Trump ’16: 62-31%) that sends a Democrat to the House of Representatives. Rep. Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, is running for a 16th term. 


Also, on Tuesday evening, ten-term Rep. Lacy Clay (D-St. Louis) also lost his bid for re-nomination. Cori Bush, a pastor and 2018 congressional candidate, returned for a re-match and with the help of the Justice Democrats PAC upset the veteran House member, by 4,600 votes or just over three percentage points. Ms. Bush now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the general election and is expected to join the group of young minority House members on the Democratic Party’s far left spectrum. Messrs. Watkins and Clay now becomes the sixth and seventh House members, respectively, to be denied re-nomination in the 2020 election cycle.


Two Democratic polls post mental health advocate Amy Kennedy (D), the wife of former Rhode Island US Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D), to small leads over freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis Township/Atlantic City) who was elected as a Democrat in 2018 but switched to the Republican Party in the middle of his first term. According to the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Group (8/4-6; 400 NJ-2 likely voters), Ms. Kennedy tops Rep. Van Drew, 51-46%. The Global Strategy Group (8/1-5; 400 NJ-2 likely voters), sees a much more modest edge, however, 46-45%. This is yet another competitive New Jersey campaign in a state that is one of the most important toward determining the majority in the next Congress.

New York

Six full weeks after the June 23rd primary in New York City, we finally have official winners in the two outstanding congressional races. As predicted, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) has defeated challenger Suraj Patel in a close vote count. Congresswoman Maloney will now sweep to an easy general election victory in the Fall. She was first elected to the House in 1992 after spending ten years as a member of the New York City Council.

New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, who led the counting throughout the entire marathon counting process in his Bronx anchored 15th Congressional District, has won the open Democratic primary and will replace retiring Representative Jose Serrano (D). This is the safest Democratic seat in the nation – President Donald Trump received 5% of the vote in 2016, for example – so Mr. Torres will become the new House member.

Tennessee Primary Results

The open 1st District was Thursday night’s most interesting race. There, pharmacist and political activist Diana Harshbarger claimed the open seat Republican nomination with just over 19% of the vote against 13 other GOP candidates. She ran hard to the right and spent the most money on her race, over $1.3 million, most of which was self-funded.  In a 77% Trump district, Ms. Harshbarger’s GOP nomination win virtually assures her of election in the Fall. She will succeed Rep. Phil Roe* (R-Johnson City) who is retiring after serving what will be six terms at the end of this congressional session.

In the 5th District, veteran Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) survived a Democratic primary challenge with a 57-40% victory margin. This primary election win re-elects Mr. Cooper in November because Republicans did not file a candidate. The seven other House incumbents were either unopposed for re-nomination or won with at least 71% of the vote. All nine Tennessee seats will remain with their respective party in the general election.


Fourth Congressional District precinct chair delegates gathered in convention to choose a replacement nominee for former US Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Rockwall) who resigned in May to become the Director of US Intelligence. The winner: state Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Wichita Falls). He came to the party conclave with US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who delivered an endorsement speech on Sen Fallon’s behalf. The 4th District seat will remain vacant for the rest of the year since Gov. Greg Abbott (R) chose not to call a special election. Therefore, Sen. Fallon becomes the regular election nominee. The 4th District is heavily Republican (Trump ’16: 75-22%), so the new nominee becomes a prohibitive general election favorite and, barring a GOP political catastrophe, will take the seat in January with the incoming freshman class.


Recalling a late July poll from Meeting Street Insights (7/19-22; 400 TX-22 registered voters) that found Ft. Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls* (R) leading es-Foreign Service officer Sri Preston Kulkarni (D) 44-32%, RMG Research (7/27; 8/2; 500 TX-22 registered voters) now finds the two candidates tied at 39% apiece. The district, formerly a safe Republican seat, has been moving more toward the political center, so a tie at this point in the campaign does seem a reasonable conclusion.


Retired Navy non-commissioned officer Tony Gonzales* scored an apparent seven-vote victory on election night in the July 14 Republican runoff contest. With the official canvass now complete, Mr. Gonzales’ official margin increased to 45 votes. His opponent, homebuilder and retired Air Force officer Raul Reyes, is seeking a re-count. Eventually, one of these two men will face Democratic nominee Gina Ortiz Jones who has become the clear favorite to convert this seat to her party’s column. Republican Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) is retiring.


Though ballot counting continues from the August 4 all-mail primary, it appears that the general election is set. Two Democrats from the state’s jungle primary format for the open congressional seat, former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and state Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia), will advance into the general election from the field of 19 candidates. Ms. Doglio’s small lead over former state Rep. Kristine Reeves (D) is holding and, considering the number of ballots remaining to count, it is clear that the latter woman cannot erase the former’s slight advantage. Therefore, we will see a competitive double Democrat general election. 


Most of the US House incumbents and candidates were running unopposed in this week’s primary, but one future Congressman was identified. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) attracted more than 77% of his district’s primary votes and becomes the prohibitive favorite to win in November. He will replace retiring Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) who will leave the House after 42 years of service, second in seniority to only Alaska at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) who was elected five years earlier. 

Gubernatorial Races

Primary Results

Missouri and Washington had Governors’ campaigns as part of their August 4 primary. Both incumbents easily advanced into the general election. In Missouri, Republican Gov. Mike Parson scored a 75% primary victory and now faces state Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) in the general election. 

The Washington jungle primary yielded two-term Gov. Jay Inslee (D) topping the field of 35 candidates with just over 51% of the combined vote. He advances to the general election as a big favorite over Republic Police Chief Loren Culp (R) who placed second within the massive candidate field.


Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman scored a 51-40% Democratic primary win over former state Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe to secure the gubernatorial nomination. He will also carry the Vermont Progressive Party ballot line in November. Mr. Zuckerman will now challenge two-term Gov. Phil Scott (R) in a state that heavily favors his Democratic Party. 

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