For months, state Treasurer Jake LaTurner has been challenging freshman Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Topeka) in the Republican primary. Just as the candidate filing deadline was expiring a surprise candidate joined the race.
Former Kansas Department of Administration director and previous congressional candidate (1982) Dennis Taylor is now the third candidate in the race. Rep. Watkins is vulnerable in this primary, and the addition of Mr. Taylor could actually help him win re-nomination with just a plurality.
This is an August 4th primary to watch. The general election looks to be competitive as well. Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
A pair of Rep. Eliot Engel’s (D-Bronx) Democratic primary opponents have joined forces. Middle School principal Jamaal Bowman appears to be the 16-term incumbent’s top opponent, and now educator Andom Ghebreghiorgis has ended his campaign and endorsed Mr. Bowman. The 16th District is heavily Democratic (Clinton ’16: 75-22%) so the victor in the June 23rd primary wins the general election. Republicans did not even file a candidate.
Rep. Engel, now chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is favored to win re-nomination but his vote percentage will likely be down. Despite his withdrawal, Mr. Ghebreghiorgis’ name remains on the ballot.
Candidate filing in Wyoming is now complete in anticipation of the August 18th primary election. Former US Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) looks well positioned to capture the open GOP Senate nomination, which should be tantamount to election in November. The ten-candidate field actually features two candidates living in other states, one in Arizona and the other in Pennsylvania. The only sitting elected official competing is Converse County Commissioner Bob Short. Former County Court Judge John Holtz is also a contender.
At this point, Ms. Lummis, who served four terms as the state’s at-large House member before retiring at the beginning of 2017 and has raised over $1.2 million more than her closest competitor, Mr. Short, looks to be a prohibitive favorite both for the Republican primary and general election.
Just a day before the postponed Pennsylvania primary, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that he is issuing an order to extend the deadline for receiving ballots beyond today’s election. Though he was not completely specific in his announcement as to when the primary will actually end, the Governor did indicate ballots can still be received, if postmarked today, at least seven days after the election. Therefore, if certain primaries are tight, it could be at least a week before we see who advances into the general election in certain political situations.
A total of 24 states will host nomination elections in June, ten of which are postponed from earlier dates. Tomorrow is the biggest day, with ten states holding elections. Eight will vote in their presidential primaries (Iowa and Idaho held their presidential nominating votes earlier in the year).
June 2nd hosts regular state primaries on their originally scheduled date in Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has postponed the presidential and state primary to July 7th, thus opting out of its traditional early June nomination date because of Coronavirus precautions.
A presidential stand-alone event is occurring in Rhode Island tomorrow, necessary since their regular state primary is scheduled as one of the latest in the country on September 15th. Postponed state primaries from earlier in the year are happening in the District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Going into tomorrow’s Indiana primary, both Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers (D) are unopposed for their respective Republican and Democratic parties’ nomination, but a new poll suggests the general election campaign isn’t at all competitive.
A BK Strategies survey (5/20-21; 600 IN likely general election voters) finds Gov. Holcomb, boasting a 79:15% favorable to unfavorable rating, and jumping off to a 43-point lead over Mr. Myers, who is virtually unknown to the statewide electorate. According to the BK Strategies results, Gov. Holcomb enjoys a 64-21% lead with only 18% saying they know enough about Mr. Myers to form an opinion.
Gov. Janet Mills (D) moved the Maine June 9th primary to July 14th, but it still appears that we will see a traditional primary election in the Pine Tree State. Gov. Mills said on Friday she has no plans to change the election format to all-mail. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (D) indicated that the Governor would only have until June 14 to change her mind with regard to moving to all-mail, arguing the state’s county clerks would need a month to implement a universal postal system.
Candidate filing closed in Vermont, and Republican Gov. Phil Scott seeks a third two-year term. Three Democrats filed for their party nomination, as expected. Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (D) is the favorite to become the party standard bearer, and he faces former state Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, and attorney Patrick Winburn. Mr. Zuckerman will also be awarded the Vermont Progressive Party ballot line. Like in New York, candidates may run on multiple party lines and all votes earned are added to individual’s grand total.
State Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) ended her US Senate campaign yesterday. State Republican Party chairman Mike Kuckelman last week had asked all candidates but Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) to leave the race in order not to split the vote. A crowded field situation theoretically would make it easier for former Secretary of State and failed 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach to therefore win the Senate nomination with plurality support.
The Kansas Senate race is an interesting one in that Democrats believe they can be competitive in what is normally a solid Republican domain if the GOP nominates Mr. Kobach. They successfully defeated Kobach in the 2018 gubernatorial election and polling suggests they would have a chance to repeat that performance in this year’s Senate race.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a new Kansas poll (5/17-19; 506 KS likely general election voters) pairing both Rep. Marshall and Mr. Kobach individually against consensus Democratic candidate Barbara Bollier, a party-switching state Senator who represents the Mission Hills area. The data finds Rep. Marshall leading Sen. Bollier, 46-35%, which is a typical range for a Kansas Senate race at this point in the election cycle. With Kris Kobach as the hypothetical nominee, the contest changes. He would hold only a slight 44-43% edge over Sen. Bollier, thus putting the seat in play during the general election.
A new entry into the polling scene, Victory Geek, released a new Maine Senate survey (5/13-18; 512 ME registered voters via interactive response device; 100 person Democratic voter over-sample) that finds former state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) opening up a larger lead over Sen. Susan Collins (R), 51-42%, while Democratic candidate Elizabeth Sweet only musters a one point edge. There is no question that Ms. Gideon will be the Democratic nominee, so the data pairing Ms. Sweet with Sen. Collins is largely irrelevant.
It’s difficult to analyze the viability of this poll since we have not previously seen Victory Geek’s work. While the population and political ratios look consistent with Maine population numbers and voting history, there is not enough past information from Victory Geek to determine their reliability factor. The idea that Sen. Collins is behind has become a recent pattern in recently released research, but whether such a trend holds for the long term remains to be seen.
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