Political rumors had been abounding for the past couple of weeks that former Rep. Jason Lewis (R) had decided to challenge Sen. Tina Smith (D), but the ex-Congressman and radio talk show host would only admit to be “considering” his political options. Apparently, the rumors are about to bear fruit. Minnesota sources indicate that Mr. Lewis will announce his Senate candidacy at the State Fair next week.
Sen. Smith, the state’s former Lt. Governor, was appointed to replace Al Franken when he resigned from the Senate early in 2018. She was then elected to fill the balance of the term, scoring a 53-42% win over state Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Mary’s Point). Mr. Lewis was elected to the House in 2016 with a 47-45% win over businesswoman Angie Craig (D). Last November, Ms. Craig rebounded to unseat Rep. Lewis with a 53-47% victory spread.
Sen. Smith will be favored for re-election, but President Trump targeting the state after losing by just 1.5 percentage points in 2016 suggests that serious political resources will be expended in the state that should assist Lewis in making the Senate race competitive.
Former one-term US Representative and veteran state legislator Pete Gallego (D) announced yesterday that he will not enter the open 23rd District race for his former seat. Instead, he made public his endorsement of 2018 Democratic nominee Gina Ortiz Jones who lost to retiring incumbent Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) by just 926 votes.
Mr. Gallego was elected to the US House in 2012 but lost his first re-election campaign to Mr. Hurd two years later. He lost again to Hurd in 2016. He then proceeded to drop a 2018 special election for the Texas Senate in a race where he was expected to easily prevail. The Lone Star State’s 23rd CD will again host one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the country. It may well become the Democrats’ top national conversion opportunity.
Yesterday, state Sen. Robert Ortt (R-Lockport) joined the enlarging group of Republicans declaring a primary challenge to indicted Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence/Batavia). Also running are state Sen. Chris Jacobs (R-Buffalo) and attorney and former local judge Beth Parlato. Democratic nominee Nate McMurray, who fell within less than a percentage point of unseating Rep. Collins in November, also says he will return for the 2020 campaign.
Mr. Collins is scheduled to stand trial for insider trading in February but promises a decision as to whether he will seek re-election before the legal proceedings begin.
In a move that has been building for the last several weeks, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper became the second candidate to end his 2020 presidential effort. With virtually no way to qualify for the September debate and barely registering on any poll, Mr. Hickenlooper yesterday announced that he would end his national campaign. He stopped short, however, of declaring a bid for the Colorado Senate seat, a race that would pit him against first-term Sen. Cory Gardner (R).
Early polling finds Mr. Hickenlooper with an overwhelming lead in the Senate Democratic primary, even with 13 announced opponents. While his entry into the statewide race is probable despite him earlier saying serving in the Senate would not be for him, we will have to wait a bit longer to see it actually happen.
The Change Research organization has previously conducted simultaneous online communication polls in several states, and they have done so again. Yesterday, the group released its surveys for Iowa and Wisconsin. The polls were both conducted over the August 9-11 period. The Iowa survey queried 621 likely Democratic caucus attenders, while the Wisconsin sampling sector featured 626 likely Dem primary voters.
Sen. Warren captures the lead in both states. In Iowa, she tops Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), 28-17-17-13-8%, respectively. Wisconsin breaks similarly: Warren 29%, Sanders 24%, Biden 20%, Buttigieg 9%, and Harris 5%. Obviously, this data shows an uptick for Sens. Warren and Sanders and a possibly dangerous downturn for Mr. Biden.
Yesterday we covered the Gravis Marketing New Hampshire survey that tested Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) against potential Republican opponents. But, Gravis did not include former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in the field of candidates. Fabrizio, Lee & Associates conducted their own New Hampshire poll (8/11-12; 400 NH likely Republican primary voters) that did include Mr. Lewandowski. According to their results, the former Trump politico would actually lead the Republican primary with 30% support as compared to retired Army General Don Bolduc’s 11%, and former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s 10% preference.
As has been surmised for the past few weeks, Indiana Republican state Treasurer Kelly Mitchell yesterday announced that she will enter the open 5th District congressional race. Ms. Mitchell is vying to replace retiring Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Carmel), and likely begins as the most credible Republican in the field. The 5th is a reliable Indianapolis/Marion County suburban GOP district that stretches to include an additional four counties north and east of the city and parts of three others.
Harper Polling conducted a statewide North Carolina survey (8/1-4; 500 NC likely voters) for the North Carolina-based Civitas Institute, individually pairing Gov. Roy Cooper (D) with three potential Republican opponents for next year’s gubernatorial election. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R), who is an announced gubernatorial candidate and commonly viewed as the leading Republican, would trail Gov. Cooper 48-36% in the general election ballot test. State Rep. Holly Grange (R-Wilmington) fares worse against Mr. Cooper, behind 48-30%. Finally, former Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who lost his re-election bid to Mr. Cooper in 2016 and is not a candidate in 2020, would trail 47-38%.
While Gov. Cooper fails to reach 50% support under any scenario, he’s close, and the consistency of his standing suggests that he is in strong position for re-election. At this early point in the election cycle, the Governor must be considered a clear favorite to win a second term next year.
The new survey from the international research firm YouGov, polling for The Economist magazine, finds Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) closing in on front runner Joe Biden, the former Vice President. According to the YouGov data (8/10-13; 592 likely Democratic primary voters), Mr. Biden has only a 21-20-16% edge over Sens. Warren and Sanders, while Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) follows with 8% support, and ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg each record 5 percent. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tie with 2% preference, and all others post 1% or less.
This is a small-sample poll, so the error factor is high, but it does verify recent survey trends that suggest the race is again tightening for Biden, while Sen. Harris is clearly losing significant support.
On the heels of Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) earlier this week announcing that she won’t become a Senate candidate, the Garin Hart Yang Research organization released their Colorado Democratic primary poll. The survey was conducted over the 7/25-28 period, but the number of respondents was not released.
In any event, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is still in the presidential contest but under pressure to exit and join the Senate race, leads the field with a whopping 61% followed by former state Senator and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston who just touches double digits at 10% support. Former state House Speaker and ex-Senate and congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff polls at 8%, with Ms. Griswold only registering 6% preference.
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