Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin; St. Louis County) had a closer than expected election result in 2018 (51-47%), so significant Democratic challengers coming forward for the next campaign is expected. Cort VanOstran, the 2018 party nominee who climbed to within four points of the incumbent, has already said he will not return for a re-match. St. Sen. Jill Schupp (D-Ladue), on the other hand, is reportedly telling Democratic insiders that she will launch a challenge campaign against Rep. Wagner in the coming weeks and others could soon follow.
We can expect the eventual general election contest to become competitive here, though President Trump is expected to lead a Republican ticket that will do well in Missouri and within the 2nd District. In 2016, Mr. Trump carried MO-2 with a 53-42% margin. Prior to 2018, Rep. Wagner had averaged 60.9% over her three elections. Through the end of September, the Congresswoman had raised $1.6 million for her 2020 campaign and had over $2.1 million in her political account. The Missouri candidate filing deadline is March 31st for the August 4th primary.
The Democratic Governors Association released their commissioned Public Policy Polling survey (11/14-15; 921 MO likely voters) that yields a 45-36% lead for Gov. Mike Parson (R). The consensus Democratic candidate, state Auditor Nicole Galloway, while trailing well beyond the polling margin of error, has a strong base within the Democratic Party and actually leads Gov. Parson among Independents, 40-34%. Clearly, this is an area of vulnerability for the Republican incumbent.
Though Mr. Parson is the sitting Governor, he has not previously run for the office in his own right. He was elected Lt. Governor in 2016 and ascended to the state’s top executive job when elected Gov. Eric Greitens (R) resigned in scandal. Therefore, despite having what will be three full years in office by the time of the next election, Gov. Parson is engaged in his first gubernatorial campaign.
Just a few days after drawing a Republican primary challenge from term-limited state Rep. Jim Neely (R-Cameron), who says he doesn’t necessarily disagree with the incumbent on any key issue, Gov. Mike Parson (R) officially kicked-off his nomination campaign for a full term. Mr. Parson, elected Lt. Governor in the 2016 election, ascended to the Governorship when then-incumbent Eric Greitens (R) was forced to resign due to a sex scandal.
Democrats are coalescing around state Auditor Nicole Galloway, who, at this point in the cycle, appears to have an unencumbered path to her party’s nomination. Gov. Parson is favored to win a full term in November of 2020.
State Representative and physician Jim Neely (R-Cameron), serving in his last legislative session under the state’s term-limit law, announced that he will challenge Gov. Mike Parson in next year’s Republican primary. Gov. Parson, who ascended to the office from his position as Lt. Governor when elected Gov. Eric Greitens (R) resigned, will be running for his first elected term. He is the early favorite both in the Republican primary and general election. State Auditor Nicole Galloway is the lone announced Democrat and on her way to becoming a consensus candidate for the party nomination.
Bucking the latest trends that portray former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead to be narrowing, Remington Research released what could be the first poll of Missouri Democratic voters (7/10-11; 1,122 MO likely Democratic voters through an interactive voice response system). Here, Mr. Biden continues to enjoy a strong lead, walloping Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) 43-15-13%, and then destroying Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who record just 5 and 4%, respectively.
Frustrated with Missouri’s new restrictive abortion law, state Auditor Nicole Galloway says she will enter the Democratic gubernatorial primary to eventually challenge Gov. Mike Parson (R) who will be running for his first term. Gov. Parson was elected Lt. Governor in 2016 after serving twelve years in the Missouri legislature and another dozen years as the Polk County Sheriff. Mr. Parson ascended to the Governorship when elected Gov. Eric Greitens was forced to resign over a sexual scandal. The Governor will be favored for election, but Ms. Galloway will be capable of running a competitive race.
With the most liberal Democratic faction already saying they want to force 2020 primary challenges against veteran party office holders, at least one more looks to be a certainty. Nurse Cori Bush, who fell to Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay (D-St. Louis) by a 57-37% count last August, says that she will run again in 2020. Ms. Bush spent just under $150,000 for her primary battle against Rep. Clay, but her chances of attracting greater resources for the next campaign appear enhanced.
Lacy Clay is serving his 10th congressional term after spending 18 years in the Missouri legislature. He succeeded his father, Rep. Bill Clay (D), in the US House. The senior Mr. Clay was elected to 16 terms. Combined, the St. Louis city district has been represented by a member of the Clay family for just over 50 consecutive years.
We close out the 2018 election cycle with polling snippets from around the country that aren’t consistent with other published data. As we saw in the 2016 election cycle, some of the numbers that appeared to be running against the grain were actually the more accurate. Will it happen again? It won’t take long to find out.
Florida: More Erratic Polls: Around the country pollsters are reporting very different numbers for some key races at virtually the same time, but none have seen the type of polling as has been put forth in the Sunshine State. Looking at the recent extremes, Quinnipiac University (10/29-11-4; 1,142 FL likely voters) finds Sen. Bill Nelson (D) taking a lead over Gov. Rick Scott (R) beyond the margin of polling error, 51-44%. But, St. Pete Polls (11/1-2; 2,733 FL likely voters; automated) within the same polling period that Quinnipiac utilized saw Gov. Scott holding a one-point edge, 49-48%. Then, immediately afterwards, St. Pete re-tested (11/3-4; 3,088 FL likely voters; automated) and found Nelson rebounding into a 50-46% advantage.
While it appears that Sen. Nelson has the closing advantage, these numbers are similar to what Hillary Clinton held over Donald Trump back in 2016, but Trump scored the one-point statewide victory.
Missouri: Still Seesawing: The Show Me State is another place where the Senate race polls continue to bounce back and forth. In their 10/30-11/1 survey, NBC News Marist College (600 MO likely voters) found Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) leading Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), 47-44%. But, Emerson College in their slightly later, Nov. 1-3 survey with a bigger sample (732 MO likely voters), projected Mr. Hawley to hold a 49-46% advantage.
Sen. McCaskill seems to reach her support ceiling at 47%. In 50 polls that have been conducted and released of this campaign since July of 2017, the Senator has only broken 47% three times (the last time in July 2018) and never reached the majority support plateau. This suggests that Mr. Hawley has the slight advantage.
WI-6: A Major Outlier: Though Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District race hasn’t drawn much attention, it has been considered a foregone conclusion that two-term Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Fond du Lac) is in a close race against businessman Dan Kohl, nephew of former US Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI). But, a JMC Analytics/Bold Blue Campaigns survey (10/29-11-3; 500 WI-6 likely voters) finds the Congressman leading Mr. Kohl by a whopping 61-33%.
This is largely explained by a polling sample that is 57% Republican and only 27% Democratic. While the 6th is a Republican seat, its voting history does not suggest it is as strongly for the GOP as this polling sample would lead one to believe. Wisconsin does not register voters by political party, so voter history is the best available indicator. Chances are strong that this poll is an outlier and we will more than likely see a tight finish here tonight.
Georgia: An Outlier, or Not? The Trafalgar Group has just released a Georgia gubernatorial survey (10/30-11/1; 500 GA registered voters) that gives Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) a major 52-40% lead over former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D). Such a result is inconsistent with all other polling that gives Mr. Kemp only a small lead, and normally one within the polling margin of error.
But, we only need to return to an election from two years ago when the Trafalgar Group was the lone pollster predicting a Trump victory in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. They later predicted Republican Karen Handel to defeat Democrat Jon Ossoff in the GA-6 special election when virtually all other pollsters were predicting the opposite result. So, such a poll from a group with such a strong record maybe shouldn’t be so easily discounted.
Measures in four states would create redistricting commissions in order to take the map drawing process away from the state legislature and Governor in the respective states. Redistricting commissions would be created in Utah, Michigan, and Colorado should the measures pass. If Missouri voters adopt their ballot proposition, a demographer would be installed to draw maps using specific criterion similar to how maps in Iowa are drawn. The latter measure would only affect the state legislature, however. In the previous three places, congressional maps would be included.
Fox News, polling through the Anderson Robbins survey research firm (D) and Shaw & Company (R), released new data for six US Senate campaigns. The only two with clear advantages for one candidate came from North Dakota where Republican challenger Kevin Cramer has a 53-41% lead over Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D). The other finds Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) leading former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), 48-43%.
The remainder are all clearly within the polling margin of error: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) leading Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) in the Arizona race, 47-45%; Sen. Bill Nelson (D) edging Gov. Rick Scott (R), 47-46%, in Florida; Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) posting a two-point lead over businessman Mike Braun (R), 43-41%; and, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) tied at 43%, apiece.
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