Staring at another difficult US Senate map in 2022 where Republicans are forced to protect 20 Senate seats as opposed to the Democrats’ 13, new National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott (R-FL) looks to have his sights set on three GOP Governors, attempting to convince them to challenge incumbent Democratic Senators.
The reported Republican Senate candidate wish list includes Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (term-limited in 2022; would potentially oppose Sen-Elect Mark Kelly who must run for the full six-year term). The others are Govs. Larry Hogan (against Sen. Chris Van Hollen) and Chris Sununu (versus Sen. Maggie Hassan). There is no guarantee that any of the Governors will run for the Senate, but they represent the most formidable potential challenger to the Democratic incumbent in each situation.
The IA-2 open seat congressional election was certified for Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks as a 47-vote victory of 393,677 cast ballots. The Secretary of State’s office reports that the districtwide recount – 15 of the 24 counties are now complete – have reduced the Miller-Meeks edge over former state Senator Rita Hart (D) to just 36 votes. Further reports also suggest that Scott County, which has not yet reported, has found an additional net 30 votes in favor of Hart meaning the lead could be as little as six votes.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who did not seek re-election to the House because the state Supreme Court’s re-drawing of the North Carolina congressional map left him without a district, may formally announce his US Senate campaign as early as December 1st according to reports. Sen. Richard Burr (R) has stated publicly on several occasions that he will not seek re-election to a fourth term in 2022.
Democrats are beginning to assess their chances of challenging Lone Star State Gov. Greg Abbott (R) who is preparing to seek a third term in 2022. So far, the Democratic field appears limited but does feature several big names.
Among them are former US Representative, presidential, and Senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, ex-Housing & Urban Development Secretary and presidential candidate Julian Castro, and the latter man’s twin brother, US Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio). Presumably, the two brothers will not oppose each other for the nomination. It will be interesting to see if any of these men make substantial moves toward forming a gubernatorial campaign in the early months of 2021.
Several news outlets have now projected former US Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) as the winner in California’s tight 21st Congressional District. Still with votes to count, but now holding a margin that looks beyond freshman Rep. T.J. Cox’s (D-Fresno) reach, Mr. Valadao has still not yet declared victory nor has Rep. Cox admitted defeat. With approximately 10,000 votes to count, Mr. Valadao’s lead is 1,618 votes. Analyst estimates suggest that Rep. Cox is forced to garner a likely unreachable percentage to overturn the Valadao lead. A Republican victory here moves the internal House GOP conference number to 210 with three races outstanding.
The congressional recount attempting to decide if state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R-Ottumwa) 47 vote lead over former state Senator and 2018 Lt. Governor nominee Rita Hart (D) will hold is likely to continue through Saturday. Under Iowa election law, counties have 18 days to conduct a recount. Therefore, the time will expire for some counties on Friday and the remainder at the Saturday’s end.
Approximately 17,000 “undervotes” are present, which are returned ballots without a choice in the congressional race, or where voter intent is not clear. Over 393,000 people are recording as casting a congressional vote, a 6% increase over the 2016 presidential election year total.
With Sen. Richard Burr (R) previously saying he will not seek a fourth term in 2022, potential successors are making moves. US Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who is retiring from Congress rather than choosing to compete in a newly drawn 6th District that is next to impossible for a Republican to win, publicly confirms that he is a potential statewide candidate.
State Sen. Erica Smith (D-Henrico), who raised just under $240,000 for her statewide bid but was helped by approximately $3 million in conservative group spending that attacked her for being too liberal, finished the Democratic primary campaign with 34.8% of the vote in losing to nominee Cal Cunningham by 22 points. Late last week, she announced her intention to enter the 2022 open seat Senate campaign. Conversely, another prominent North Carolina politico, White House Chief of Staff and former Congressman Mark Meadows, said he will not run for the Senate in two years.
San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott (R), who failed to reach the general election in the 2018 congressional race and fell to Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) 53-47% earlier this month, announced that he will run again in 2022. Redistricting will change this seat, and all others, so it is difficult to judge future political prospects at this point in time.
Quelling rumors that he would run for Governor or retire from politics, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran (R) announced yesterday that he will seek re-election to the US Senate next year. Considering Rep. Roger Marshall’s (R-Great Bend) convincing win in the open Kansas Senate seat this year, Sen. Moran looks to be a cinch to win a third term in 2022 and will likely draw little in the way of serious opposition.
With voting almost complete in New Jersey’s 7th CD, a race originally called for freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) but then put back in the undetermined column when late voting pulled state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R) back within shouting distance has now been resolved. Though Mr. Malinowski’s lead has dwindled to well under 5,000 votes, there are now less votes to count than the margin between the two candidates. Therefore, the Congressman has been re-projected as the winner.
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