Eight-term Texas Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Midland) has scheduled an announcement for this morning at which he reportedly will inform the public that he has decided not to seek re-election in 2020. If the reports are accurate, Mr. Conaway will create the 15th open seat in this election cycle and the fifth in the past week. Texas’ 11th District is one of the safest Republican seats in the country. At 79% support, it is President Trump’s third best district in the country. Therefore, the successor to Rep. Conaway will be determined in a hard-fought Republican nomination cycle.
Sara Weir, the former president of the National Down Syndrome Society, announced her congressional candidacy yesterday. She has a strong chance of coalescing Republicans around her political bid before the August 2020 primary, which will help her build a strong campaign organization against freshman Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas City). Ms. Davids unseated four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) in November, and the 3rd District electorate has typically voted in swing fashion. This could be a race to watch.
Former Congressman Nick Lampson (D) represented the Beaumont district from 1997-2005 until he was unseated in the 2004 election. He returned to win the 22nd District in 2006 but lost it in 2008. On Monday, Mr. Lampson, now 74 years old, says he is considering attempting a comeback now that the 22nd is open again. Democrats already have three candidates, including 2018 nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni who posted 45% of the vote against retiring Congressman Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land). A crowded Republican primary is expected, and this field will yield a highly competitive general election contest.
The Michigan Information and Research Service and the Target-Insyght polling firm, frequent Wolverine State pollsters, tested controversial freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) in a hypothetical Democratic primary. According to the MIRS/Target results, the Congresswoman is standing strong. Paired against Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, who she beat by only one percentage point in the regular 2018 Democratic primary, Rep. Tlaib scores a 56-19% lead among likely Democratic voters from what is one of the safest districts for her party in the entire country.
With the second debate now underway, some qualifiers for the third debate, from Houston over September 13-14, were announced. The top candidates of course qualify: Ex-VP Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), along with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Also to be present are a pair from the lower tier, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX). Close to making the next stage are Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and businessman Andrew Yang. The requirements mandate the candidates at least have 130,000 individual campaign donors and receive 2% support in a series of polls that the Democratic National Committee recognizes. The qualifying deadline is August 28th.
President Trump announced that he will nominate three-term Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath/Rockwall) to replace outgoing National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, thus opening a second Texas seat. The development means that 14 districts will feature incumbent-less campaigns.
Post-confirmation, it is likely a special election will be held to fill the balance of the current term. We can expect a hard fought Republican special and regular election primary to occur in this district that gave President Trump 75% of its votes. Mr. Ratcliffe was re-elected in November with 76 percent.
It appears that Tennessee Republicans are beginning to seriously coalesce behind Ambassador Bill Hagerty to succeed retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R). Yesterday two-term Rep. David Kustoff (R-Germantown) said he would not enter the statewide race and will presumably seek re-election to the House. The only serious Republican candidate other than Mr. Hagerty, who has yet to formally announce, is Nashville surgeon Manny Sethi. For the Democrats, attorney and Iraq War veteran James Mackler has the early field all to himself.
This race is slow to develop, but Tennessee features a long primary season. The candidate filing deadline is April 2nd with an August 6th partisan primary date.
With almost 30 viable primary challenges to Democratic House members already underway, two-term New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wycoff) has now attracted an opponent. Glen Rock City Councilwoman and neuroscientist Arati Kreibich announced her candidacy yesterday, saying that “incremental change isn’t cutting it.”
Ms. Kreibich will find that denying Rep. Gottheimer re-nomination is a difficult task. The Congressman is one of the better prepared incumbents, thus making her undertaking even more difficult. Mr. Gottheimer has already raised $1.74 million for his 2020 campaign and has more than $5.6 million in his campaign account.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy (7/24-27; 500 MS likely Republican primary voters) released a new pre-primary poll just days before the August 6th Mississippi nomination election.
While the Democrats are poised to nominate Attorney General Jim Hood, Republicans are likely headed to an August 27th run-off election. According to the M-D data, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has only a 41-31-13% lead over retired state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller and state Rep. Robert Foster (R-Hernando). To win nomination, a candidate must receive 50% support.
The Mississippi Governor’s race is open because incumbent Phil Bryant (R) is ineligible to seek a third term. The Governor has endorsed Lt. Gov. Reeves as his successor.
While many Democratic incumbents are attracting credible primary challengers, one who appears to have avoided one is two-term Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove). Former Democratic National Committee member Bob Zimmerman, who had been publicly considering running and was actively exploring his chances, yesterday said he would not challenge Rep. Suozzi. The Congressman is, at least for the time being, left with only minor opponents.
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