The National Republican Congressional Committee yesterday announced that they have reserved $690,000 in cable television ads to support their special election candidate, retired Iraq War fighter pilot Mike Garcia, in his campaign opposite state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall) for the right to succeed resigned Rep. Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce/Palmdale).
It is likely the Democratic committees and their outside allies will outspend the Republicans in this contest, but it is apparent that this politically marginal district is a priority for both parties. While Ms. Smith placed first in the special election jungle primary with 36.1% of the vote, the aggregate Democratic vote exceeded that of the combined Republican candidates by just a 50.5 – 49.5% margin. In the regular primary election featuring a slightly altered field of candidates but on the same ballot, the aggregate Republican vote was slightly larger than that of the combined Democrats, 49.6 - 48.9%, with an Independent candidate receiving 1.4 percent.
The special election will be held on May 12th, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced last week that voting will be conducted through the mail.
Former Housing & Urban Development Secretary and presidential candidate Julian Castro (D) yesterday announced his endorsement for school board trustee and Texas runoff congressional candidate Candace Valenzuela in the open DFW area’s 24th Congressional District.
Ms. Valenzuela placed second in the March 3rd Democratic primary, trailing retired Air Force Colonel Kim Olson 51-40%. Both advance to the newly scheduled July 14th runoff election for the Democratic nomination because no candidate secured majority support. The Castro move is clearly designed to motivate Hispanics to participate in the runoff election and vote for the Hispanic candidate, which could be definitive in helping to determine the ultimate outcome. The district’s Hispanic population is 14 percent, but represents a disproportionately larger composition in a Democratic runoff electorate.
ABC News and the Washington Post released their latest presidential research data (3/22-25; 1,003 US adults; 845 US registered voters) that projects former Vice President Joe Biden’s national lead over President Trump dropping to just two points, 49-47%, while revealing positive elements for each man.
While Mr. Biden has a surprisingly substantial lead among those aged 65 and over (57-42%), President Trump’s percentages are improving among younger voters (trailing 41-51% between those aged 18-29; 45-51% within the 30-39 group). While Biden is preferred as the person to best handle healthcare (51-41%), the same respondent sample favors Trump to handle the COVID-19 virus situation (47-43%), and the US economy (52-42%). Conclusion: not surprisingly, a close race November race is projected.
Late last week it was reported that former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman was having difficulty in qualifying for the Utah gubernatorial ballot through the signature process because almost half of his gathered petition names were ruled invalid. Now, a new Dan Jones & Associates poll for the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce (reported as “mid-March”; 798 UT registered voters; 338 likely UT Republican primary voters) brings him further bad news.
According to the poll results, while Mr. Huntsman leads among all voters, he now trails Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, 30-27%, with former state House Speaker Greg Hughes at 12% among likely Republican primary participants. Other minor candidates are all below 10 percent. The Utah primary is scheduled for June 23rd. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) is retiring. The eventual Republican nominee will become the prohibitive favorite in the open general election.
The latest track in a four-poll series from the Battleground Connect research organization (3/24; 1,025 GA likely jungle primary voters) finds Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) beginning to establish a strong lead over the bipartisan candidate field though the jungle primary, concurrent with the November 3rd general election, is still a long way away.
The track finds Mr. Collins capturing 34.1% on the ballot test with Atlanta businessman Matt Lieberman (D), son of former Connecticut Senator and 2000 Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, in a distant second position with 18.4%. Appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) falls to third position with just 13.6%, just ahead of Rev. Raphael Warnock’s (D) 13.3 percent. Former US Attorney Ed Tarver (D) is way back with only 5% support. When the tracking series began on March 7th, again with 1,025 respondents, Mr. Collins’ advantage was 29-20-16-12-5% over Sen. Loeffler, Mr. Lieberman, Rev. Warnock, and Mr. Tarver, respectively.
Though the poll did not determine the reasoning behind candidate selection, Loeffler’s steep drop in support coincides with news stories reporting that she sold millions of dollars in stocks just after receiving the first COVID-19 briefings that Senators were provided.
Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Garrison/ Covington), who objected to unanimous consent on the COVID-19 stimulus package thus causing a delay in its passage, has drawn President Trump’s ire. In one of his tweets, President Trump called for “throwing Massie out of the Republican Party.” Attorney Todd McMurtry opposes Rep. Massie in the May 19th GOP primary. A Trump endorsement for Mr. McMurtry may be forthcoming.
South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston), who reportedly just recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, is a top Republican target in this year’s election for a seat that is typically reliable for the GOP.
The challenger picture just became clearer this weekend, just before today’s candidate filing deadline. Beaufort County Councilman Mike Covert, who long ago announced his congressional candidacy, has decided not to pursue federal office. Instead, he will file today for a seat in the state House of Representatives. This is a major plus for state Representative Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island) who has already received House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s endorsement. This general election campaign will be a top national target.
More Governors and election officials are keeping their primary calendars intact but are changing their voting systems. As a precaution for COVID-19, a significant number of states are now implementing procedural changes from in-person voting to casting their votes by mail.
At the end of last week, political leaders in the following entities are the latest to take such action in relation to their upcoming primaries: Massachusetts (May 30 local elections), Minnesota (Aug 11 statewide primary), Nebraska (May 12), New Jersey (June 2), North Dakota (June 9), Ohio (ballots must be post-marked on or before April 27), and West Virginia (May 12).
Late last week it was reported that former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, running this year for his former position, will have difficulty qualifying for the ballot through the signature process. According to news accounts, more than half of Mr. Huntsman’s petition signatures have been ruled as invalid. This means he must obtain more than 11,000 new and legitimate signatures before April 10th.
The other way to qualify for the primary ballot is through the Utah state Republican Convention’s nominating process. The delegates can award nomination if a candidate for office reaches a minimum 60% floor vote. If no one receives 60%, the top two qualify for the primary election. Any candidate who does not meet the signature process requirements and fails to obtain at least 40% of the convention vote is eliminated for further competition.
On successive days, stories have floated in regional and national publications that former Vice President Joe Biden’s lock on the Democratic presidential nomination may not be such a foregone conclusion. The articles’ premise that drafting a candidate such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is even a remote possibility at this point is not substantiated through any vote count.
For a brokered convention to now occur means convincing enough Democrats in the remaining 25 states and territories to support a candidate other than Biden in order to deny him a majority on the first ballot. Such would force a second ballot at which time delegates could begin peeling away from Biden and toward Cuomo or another candidate.
Keep in mind that Mr. Biden only needs to commit 46% of the remaining 1,688 bound first ballot delegates in the remaining states and territories to clinch the nomination. In the post-Super Tuesday primaries that have been held after becoming clear that the former Vice President is now the prohibitive front runner, Mr. Biden has averaged 53.9% of the aggregate vote.
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