Gov. Roy Cooper (D) set the schedule to fill the 3rd District seat left open by the recent death of Rep. Walter Jones (R-Farmville). The candidate filing deadline will be March 8th, with the partisan primaries scheduled for April 30th. If no candidate in any party receives 30% of the vote, a secondary runoff election will be held July 9th. Should all parties nominate on April 30th, the special general then would occupy the July 9th date. If a runoff is necessary, the special general won’t be held until September 10th.
The State Board of Elections will set the schedule for the disputed 9th Congressional District at their Monday meeting. It is presumed that they will adopt the same calendar Gov. Cooper just announced.
Now that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has again said he will not enter the 2020 open seat Kansas Senate race, movement is beginning to occur. Before the Pompeo statement, state Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R) had already declared his candidacy. Previously, Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) indicated that he would likely be moving toward the Senate race now that Mr. Pompeo is out. Yesterday, Attorney General Derek Smith (R) confirmed reports that he, too, is considering becoming a Senate candidate. State Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) is also indicating that she will also enter the statewide contest.
With a primary not until August of 2020, much time remains for political jockeying. Veteran Senator Pat Roberts (R), who is serving his fourth Senate term after spending 16 years in the House, is retiring.
Yesterday, Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R) lost his long battle with brain cancer and passed away at age 69. With no Lt. Governor, the Secretary of State assumes the Governorship in case of a vacancy. The office also has strong power with regard to redistricting, thus filling the position could render national implications. Oregon looks to be gaining a new congressional seat, so this redistricting cycle will likely be an important one in the Beaver State.
Gov. Kate Brown (D) has the authority to appoint a replacement for the late Mr. Richardson. The Governor indicated that she would consider naming a Republican provided the individual promised not to seek election to a full term in 2020.
The Dallas Morning News ran a story saying that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke has decided not to challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and will instead soon announce his presidential campaign. O’Rourke told the news reporter that he and his wife will have a “decision about how we can best serve our country” and “are excited to share it with everyone soon.”
Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has yet to schedule the special election to replace the late Rep. Walter Jones (R-Farmville), but that isn’t stopping candidates from announcing. Already, seven Republicans have launched campaigns for what projects to be a safe seat for the GOP.
Among the seven are three sitting state legislators: Reps. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville), Phil Shepard (R-Jacksonville), and Michael Speciale (R-New Bern). The candidate group also includes 2016 and ’18 GOP candidate Phil Law, who performed better than most experts projected in both of his primary elections against Rep. Jones, gubernatorial aide Jeff Moore, NC Republican Party Vice Chair Michele Nix, and accountant Sandy Smith. No major Democrat has yet declared his or her intention to run.
Republican Mark Harris, who finished first in the November election but was denied certification due to election fraud allegations that continue to be investigated, announced that he will not compete in the newly ordered special election. This will allow the Republicans to choose a new nominee with a better ability to compete.
Mr. Harris’ reputation was so badly tarnished during the post-election period in addition to his suffering recent health problems, led to the decision of not pursing the congressional seat whenever the new election is scheduled. Mr. Harris endorsed Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing as part of his announcement.
Over the weekend, former Governor and US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (D) publicly stated he would not challenge Sen. Joni Ernst (R) next year. The decision was a blow to Democratic strategists who believed Mr. Vilsack would be the party’s best candidate.
With the former Governor disqualifying himself, it now appears that freshman Rep. Cindy Axne (D-West Des Moines) becomes a recruitment objective. Ms. Axne upset Rep. David Young (R-Van Meter) in November and is now a familiar figure in the state’s largest media market. There is no word as to whether the Congresswoman is considering making a statewide move. Staying in the House will also lead to a competitive campaign, however, as Republicans plan to heavily target her 3rd District.
There is little discussion that Gov. Chris Sununu (R) will challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) next year, but that didn’t stop Emerson College from posing a ballot test question between the two office holders. According to their large-sample poll (2/21-22; 910 NH registered voters), the two candidates would tie at 44% support. It remains to be seen if this type of polling result encourages Gov. Sununu to run for the Senate, but plenty of time remains for him to decide. The next New Hampshire candidate filing deadline won’t occur until June of 2020.
Former US Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-Dunn), who served three terms in Washington before being denied re-nomination after a court-mandated redistricting plan paired her with fellow Republican Rep. George Holding (R-Raleigh), is surfacing again. The former Congresswoman is now planning to run for the open Lt. Governor’s position.
At this point, it is difficult to forecast electoral probability but her move into a statewide race will not go unchallenged. Ms. Ellmers can be expected to draw several Republican opponents in the statewide primary.
The Arizona Senate Democratic primary is getting off to a fast start as more activity is coming from astronaut Mark Kelly (D), who formally announced his candidacy last week. Immediately after Mr. Kelly declared, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Tucson) made a public endorsement of Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) for the Senate seat, even though the latter man has yet to make his 2020 political intentions known. All indications, however, suggest that Mr. Gallego will enter the race.
Countering the Grijalva statement, east Arizona Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) both came out in support of Mr. Kelly suggesting a split within the congressional delegation. While the primary will not be decided until August 25th of next year, this primary campaign promises to be a hard-fought contest that draws a great deal of national media attention.
The winner will likely face appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R), who appears intent on running in the 2020 special election in order to serve the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain’s final term. Whoever wins in November of 2020 will be eligible to seek a full six-year term in 2022.
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