For weeks speculation has been rampant that former state Supreme Court Chief Justice and 2017 failed US Senate candidate Roy Moore is contemplating another run next year. Mr. Moore now confirms that he is considering again becoming a statewide federal candidate and says he will make a decision in the next few weeks.
President Trump has publicly urged Judge Moore not to run, and his input has proven definitive in many Republican primaries. Already in the race are US Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile), former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, state Auditor Jim Zeigler, and state Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs/Birmingham). The latter man was chairman of Rep. Mo Brooks’ (R-Huntsville) 2017 Senate campaign and decided to run himself when the Congressman announced he would not launch another statewide campaign next year.
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Coppell/Carrollton) was first elected in 2004 and, until November, was not in a close re-election. With a changing district and 2018 Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke (D) topping incumbent Ted Cruz (R) in this CD that surrounds DFW Airport, Rep. Marchant’s victory margin dropped to 51-48%.
Yesterday, 2018 Democratic nominee Jan McDowell, who didn’t even spend $100,000 on her campaign, confirmed that she will run again. So will 2018 Agriculture Commissioner candidate Kim Olson, a retired Air Force Colonel who ran well statewide, 51-45%, in a losing effort. Also in the Democratic primary is Carrollton-Farmers Branch School Board Trustee Candace Valenzuela. Therefore, in what has traditionally been a quiet political district, we can expect to see serious competition in both the Democratic primary and general election next year.
Former one-term Houston Congressman Chris Bell (D) announced that he is forming a US Senate exploratory committee. If he decides to run, Mr. Bell will oppose retired Army helicopter pilot and 2018 congressional candidate M.J. Hegar for the Democratic nomination. The winner opposes three-term Sen. John Cornyn (R) in the general election.
Since losing his House seat in 2004, Mr. Bell has attempted political comebacks in races for Governor, state Senate, and Mayor of Houston and lost each time.
Yesterday, four African American voters, with the backing of former US Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, filed suit to challenge the long-held Mississippi electoral practice of requiring statewide candidates not only to win a majority of votes, but also carrying a majority of state House districts. If the top vote-getter fails to win a majority of votes or House districts, the election is deferred to the state House to resolve the outcome.
We shall see if the lawsuit has legs. The last time an electoral contest was referred to the House came in the 1999 Governor’s election, when Democrat Ronnie Musgrove was chosen over Democrat-turned-Republican Congressman Mike Parker.
The Mississippi statewide election system has been in effect since 1890. No first-place candidate in the statewide vote has ever been denied their office when the final vote was sent to the state House.
In the 2019 gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Attorney General Jim Hood (D) are the clear leaders in their respective parties and both are expected to easily win their nominations in the August primary.
Things are looking positive for former state Senator and Lt. Governor nominee Rita Hart to become a consensus Democratic candidate in the battle to replace retiring Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa City). Yesterday, Rep. Loebsack publicly endorsed Ms. Hart as his successor.
At this point, Ms. Hart is the only announced Democratic candidate. Republicans are expected to field several significant contenders but, so far, only Osceola Mayor Thomas Kedley is an announced candidate. The 2nd performs as a reliable Democratic district, but President Trump carried the seat 49-45% in 2016. Therefore, as an open contest, this race could become competitive.
Former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush (D), who challenged Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez/Western Slope) announced yesterday that she will run again next year. While Ms. Bush lost 52-44% to Mr. Tipton, she did manage to outspend him $1.9 million to $1.7 million. Rep. Tipton is presumed to become a candidate for a sixth term in 2020. He will be favored for re-election in a district that President Trump carried, 52-40%.
Former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jamie Harrison, who formed a US Senate exploratory committee in February, announced yesterday that he will become a full-fledged candidate against Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R).
Any real threat to Sen. Graham comes in the Republican primary, but he appears secure for re-election. At this point in time, no major Republican has declared his or her candidacy. According to the Morning Consult national Senate rankings, Sen. Graham scores a 52:31% favorability index, the 13th highest of the body’s 100 members.
The Republican Senate Leadership Fund is adopting a new and interesting media attack strategy. This week the SLF began running ads against Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) for using public resources for political purposes, i.e., bringing state police officers on his presidential campaign trips and his past use of the state airplane for purely political visits.
The strategy is to attack Gov. Bullock now in order to make tougher his option of eventually dropping back to challenge GOP Sen. Steve Daines. It is already becoming obvious that his chances of winning the presidential nomination are slim at best. We might soon see a similar tact targeted toward former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper who could also eventually leave the presidential contest in order to challenge first-term Sen. Cory Gardner (R).
Former Vice President Joe Biden again leads a new national Morning Consult large sample poll (5/20-26; 16,368 US registered Democratic voters) but remains well under the 50% support he will need to clinch a first ballot win at next year’s national convention in Milwaukee. The MC numbers find Mr. Biden holding a 38-20% advantage over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while all others hover in single-digits. Topping the second tier, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) captures 9% and South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg and California Senator Kamala Harris both record 7% support.
The new data coming from JMC Analytics (5/21-24; 350 NC-9 registered voters) reminds us that the south-central North Carolina congressional district is still Republican in nature. Despite Democrat Dan McCready raising huge sums of money (over $2 million cumulative within the pre-primary disclosure report filing period), new Republican nominee Dan Bishop, a Charlotte state Senator, has taken an early 46-42% lead in the first published poll for the September 10th special general election.
The 9th District has been vacant all year. The 2018 results were held in suspension due to vote fraud irregularities. Therefore, the individual placing first in that election, Republican Mark Harris who is not running again, was not certified as the official winner thus forcing a new election cycle. Expect this race to become a major battle as the summer progresses.
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