Non-profit executive Pierce Bush, the grandson of former President George W. Bush, announced that he will join the huge field of Texas Republican candidates seeking the open congressional seat located south of Houston from which current Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) is retiring. With the candidate filing deadline expiring last night, as many as 17 Republicans could well have filed with the Texas Republican Party to run for the seat.
The top tier candidates so far include businesswoman Kathaleen Wall and Ft. Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls. Sri Preston Kulkarni, the 2018 Democratic nominee who captured 46% of the vote against Rep. Olson, is the odds-on favorite to win his party’s nomination. The Texas primary is March 3rd. The Republicans are assured of being forced to a run-off election on May 26th since it is a virtual certainty that no candidate will capture a majority of the primary vote.
Former Congressman Scott Taylor (R), who held the Virginia Beach anchored 2nd District for one term before current Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia Beach) unseated him in 2018, is reportedly ending his Senate bid against incumbent Mark Warner (D) and will instead enter the House campaign to seek a re-match with Ms. Luria. The Democratic incumbent will again be favored in a changing district that is moving more toward the Democrats. Rep. Luria won the 2018 election with a tight 51-49% victory margin.
North Carolina Rep. George Holding (R-Raleigh), who on Friday announced he would not seek re-election, may not be done running for Congress. Yesterday, Mr. Holding filed a new committee with the Federal Election Commission for the 2022 election cycle anticipating that the state will be awarded at least one new congressional district in 2020 reapportionment after the decennial census is complete.
The Harris survey research firm teamed with Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies (11/27-29; 1,859 registered voters; 756 registered Democratic voters; online) and finds that former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would return to a small lead if she were to enter the race. According to the national survey, Clinton would score 21% support, just ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden’s 20%. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would trail with 12 and 9%, respectively, while Mayor Pete Buttigieg would drop to 5% support.
Without Clinton in the field, Biden returns to a 29-16-13-8-7% consecutive advantage over Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, and ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
On Friday, four-term Rep. George Holding (R-Raleigh) announced that he would not seek re-election, saying the new district configuration is “terrible” for his 2nd District and there is no path to victory for a Republican. Hillary Clinton scored a 60-36% margin within the new district configuration.
Mr. Holding is now the 36th member to have announced his retirement or resignation, the 25th of whom are Republicans. Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro) will soon follow suit since his seat is the other GOP district that will now become heavily Democratic. The overall North Carolina delegation should now break 8R-5D, down from 10R-3D. The three-judge panel that invalidated the previous map has unanimously approved the new version, so the candidate filing deadline (December 20th) and state primary (March 3rd) will occur in accordance with the previously adopted political schedule.
Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Township/Atlantic City), who is one of two Democrats not to support the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, is getting closer to having defend himself in a Democratic primary.
West Cape May Commissioner John Francis confirms he is seriously considering launching a campaign against the new Congressman, though his small community provides him a diminutive political base. Additionally, since this seat was in Republican hands since 1994 to the 2018 election, Rep. Van Drew can also expect serious GOP competition. The New Jersey candidate filing deadline is March 30th for the June 2nd primary.
New Hampshire’s eastern district electorate has defeated more incumbents since 2006 than other CD in the country. Former state Republican Party Vice-Chairman, ex-Dover City Councilman, and Air Force veteran Matt Mayberry (R) says he will soon launch a congressional challenge to freshman Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester).
Though New Hampshire hosts the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, its state nomination calendar is one of the latest in the 2020 election cycle. The primary election is scheduled for September 8th, with a candidate filing deadline on June 12th. Therefore, much time remains before the potential contenders must declare their intentions.
Two more Democratic presidential primary polls were released, and both the Ipsos Reuters and Harris/Harvard studies find former Vice President Joe Biden leading. The surveys contain large undecided numbers, however, mostly because the other candidates preference numbers are falling.
Ipsos (12/4-5; 719 US adults) finds Mr. Biden’s lead at only 19-14% over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg trailing with just 9-6-4%, respectively. The undecided factor here is 38%.
Harris/Harvard (11/27-29; 1,859 US registered Democratic voters) sees Mr. Biden’s margin over Sens. Sanders and Warren, and Mayors Buttigieg and Bloomberg lying at 29-16-13-8-7%. The undecided factor here is 27 percent.
Another surprise retirement announcement came from northwest Georgia yesterday as six-term Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger/Rome) announced via social media that he will not seek re-election next year. With a 76% victory percentage in 2018 coming from one of the strongest Trump districts in the nation (Trump ’16: 75-22%), Rep. Graves was in strong political position but has decided he wants to return to family matters instead of continuing his political career.
We can expect a multi-candidate Republican primary that will lead to a run-off in order to determine the Republican party nominee. The Georgia primary is May 19th with a July 21st run-off date. The Georgia candidate filing deadline is March 6th, so potential candidates have time to prepare for what should be a tough open seat GOP nomination campaign.
Three-term Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro) has seen his district collapse under the new court-mandated congressional lines that will be in effect for the 2020 election. He now faces a decision about how to continue his political career.
Reports are surfacing that he could challenge Sen. Thom Tillis in the GOP primary now that challenger Garland Tucker has withdrawn or oppose fellow Republican House incumbent Ted Budd (R-Advance) in what is now a safe 13th District for their party. His other option is to sit out the 2020 cycle and see what 2021 redistricting brings to the congressional map. The state will gain at least one seat in reapportionment.
Should Sen. Richard Burr (R) not seek re-election in 2022, and he has already said he will not, Rep. Walker might have that open seat possibility, too. Other options include running for one of the many statewide positions that are on the ballot, but those races have not been included in his reported thinking. In any event, he will have to make a quick decision. Candidate filing for the 2020 cycle closes on December 20th.
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