A major candidate is reportedly soon to enter the newly open 5th District seat from which veteran Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menominee Falls) is retiring. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), whose brother Jeff Fitzgerald is a former state House Speaker, is telling confidants that he will run for Congress. The move is not a surprise particularly after former US Senate nominee and Fitzgerald ally Leah Vukmir decided not to run for the seat. The race will be settled in the 2020 Republican primary, which is scheduled for August 11th.
With Republicans clearly coalescing behind Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel to challenge California freshman Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach), a new TargetPoint poll already finds the race tied. The survey fielded a month ago but just now released (8/10-11; 336 “active” CA-48 voters) projects each candidate attracting 42% support. Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) represented the area comprising the current 48th District for 30 years until losing to Mr. Rouda, 54-46%, in last year’s election. The 2020 race here will be a top national Republican conversion target.
Freshman New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown), who claimed one of the closest victories in the 2018 election cycle (50.0 – 48.7%) may be drawing his first major re-election opponent. Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs (R), largely with the support of the Burlington County Republican apparatus, has filed a 2020 congressional exploratory committee to test her ability to unseat Mr. Kim. This seat will also be a top GOP conversion target.
A newly released internal Remington Research campaign poll (conducted for the Ralph Abraham for Governor campaign; 9/10-11; 1,144 LA likely voters via interactive response system) confirms previous polling that gives Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a large lead in the October 12th jungle primary. But, like the others, it doesn’t quite yet show him avoiding a run-off. Should the race advance to a November 16th run-off election, the tables could turn in the Republicans’ favor.
According Remington, Gov. Edwards commands 45% support as compared to US Rep. Ralph Abraham’s (R-Alto/Monroe) 27%, and developer Eddie Rispone pulling 19%. In a run-off election, however, the race tightens. Gov. Edwards would lead Rep. Abraham only 48-44%, and Mr. Rispone 49-44%.
The Governor is dominating Abraham in the money chase, however. Going into the campaign’s final weeks Mr. Edwards is showing $5.7 million cash-on-hand as compared to Rep. Abraham’s $1.4 million. Mr. Rispone, a self-funder who has already contributed $11.5 million to his campaign reports $6.3 million remaining in his campaign account.
Emerson College surveyed the Republican statewide electorate (9/6-9; 379 NH likely Republican primary voters) and found former Trump Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski jumping out to a large lead over his two Republican potential opponents. Mr. Lewandowski has not committed to running, and it is unclear at this time whether he will enter the race. Irrespective of his status, Emerson finds Lewandowski leading retired Army General Don Bolduc, and former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien, 23-9-7%.
The New Hampshire primary is not until September 8th, so a long jockeying period exists until the candidates must file on June 12th. Regardless of the Republican primary status, at this point Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) appears secure for re-election.
Two separate polls tested the Democratic Senate primary where the eventual winner will battle Sen. John Cornyn (R), and the results are similar. Neither shows any candidate in position to win the nomination or avoid a secondary run-off election. The University of Texas for the Texas Tribune news publication (8/29-9/8; 550 TX likely Democratic primary voters) find no candidate even reaching mid-double digits.
Retired Army helicopter pilot and former congressional candidate M.J. Hegar leads the group, but with only 11% support. State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) is second with 5%, followed by non-profit executive Cristina Ramirez at 3%, and former US Representative and gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell along with Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards notching only 2% apiece.
Ragnar Research Partners also surveyed the Democratic electorate during a more recent period (9/3-5; 600 TX likely Democratic primary voters) and found a comparable split, but with all of the candidates faring somewhat better: Hegar 12%, West, Ramirez, and Edwards all posting 10%, and Bell trailing with 9% preference.
The open 5th District Republican primary became even more of a race yesterday when former state Senator and 2018 US Senate nominee Leah Vukmir stated that she would not run for Congress next year. It appeared that Ms. Vukmir would be the early front runner if she were to enter the race. We can expect a crowded field, possibly including former Gov. Scott Walker’s son, Matt Walker, and several state legislators coming forth to run. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menominee Falls), second in House seniority, is not seeking a 22nd term next year.
With Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) scheduled to resign on September 23rd, jockeying to replace him continues. For the Republicans, whose special election nominee will have the inside track to winning the seat, state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) is working to become a consensus congressional candidate. Other legislators have not yet jumped into the race, and yesterday former Gov. Scott Walker publicly endorsed Sen. Tiffany. The 7th District has become a safe Republican seat, so Sen. Tiffany has already defined himself as the clear front runner.
Baton Rouge-based pollster Bernie Pinsonat of the Southern Media and Opinion Research firm just released his new survey of the Louisiana electorate (9/3-6; 500 “chronic” voters) and the results suggest that Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is on the cusp of winning outright in the October 12th jungle primary.
According to the Pinsonat data, Gov. Edwards commands 47% support as compared to US Rep. Ralph Abraham’s (R-Alto/Monroe) 24%, with developer Eddie Rispone pulling 16%. The key for the challengers, particularly Abraham who will be the one to advance if there is a run-off, is to force a November 16th secondary election. If no one receives majority support in the jungle primary, the top two finishers advance to a run-off. It is clear that Edwards will finish first. The question is will he go over the top or be forced into what could become, for him, a dangerous secondary election.
GOP nominees won both special congressional elections last night, as state Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) and state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) each overcame their Democratic opposition.
Mr. Murphy, as expected, easily won the 3rd District seat, 62-37%, and will succeed the late Congressman Walter Jones, Jr. (R-Farmville). He defeated former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas (D) in taking 16 of the district’s 17 counties.
The 9th District was a battleground that saw more than $10 million expended by both sides. Sen. Bishop scored a hard fought 50.7 – 48.7% victory over Democratic businessman Dan McCready even though the Republican nominee was outspent. In addition to spending over $5 million from his campaign committee for the special election, Mr. McCready had raised and spent over $6 million for the 2018 general election in a campaign that ended with a disputed result. For his part, Sen. Bishop raised and spent just over $2 million but was aided by the majority of outside spending.
Because of voter fraud allegations in Bladen County during the 2018 contest, the North Carolina Board of Elections refused to certify the results; hence, the need for this special election. For the first time in this Congress, all 435 seats are filled, though that will only last until later this month when Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) resigns due to family issues.
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