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 University of New Hampshire’s Polling Center reports a result no other firm has detected in the Granite State’s 1st Congressional District, a seat that has defeated more incumbents than any CD in the nation since 2006. UNH has some big misses on their results resume but has been much more accurate in their latter years, and now returns what could be an outlier poll. The survey (10/24-28; 451 NH-1 likely voters; live interviews to pre-selected panel members) finds freshman Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) trailing GOP businessman Mike Mowers, 50-48%, in a race that has attracted little in the way of national attention.
St. Anselm College (10/23-26; 560 NH-1 likely voters; live interview) also was in the field within the same time period and found Rep. Pappas holding a 49-44% advantage.
Even the latter poll, however, still suggests this race is closing as the candidates move toward Election Day.
The state of New Hampshire has swung more wildly than any other during this 21st Century. Therefore, a close poll in one of the congressional districts, though eyebrow raising, is not altogether out of character for this politically volatile upper New England region. The University of New Hampshire polled the state and found a developing close race in the state’s 2nd CD, or the western district of the Granite State’s pair of districts.
According to UNH (10/9-12; 410 NH-2 likely voters; online), Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Nashua) leads former state Representative and 2018 congressional nominee Steve Negron (R) by only a 49-45% margin. Even if this poll is correct, it is unlikely the GOP can take advantage of the race status. Mr. Negron only had approximately $43,000 cash-on-hand through September 30th. Though her September report is not yet available, the Kuster pre-primary, August 19th, disclosure showed the Congresswoman with more than $2.4 million in the bank. The resource advantage here, in a state where political fundraising and spending is generally low, should be regarded as the clinching factor for Rep. Kuster.
New Hampshire, with its four electoral votes, has proven to be a swing state in the 21st century. Four years ago, the domain went for Hillary Clinton, but only with a 2,736 vote margin. Therefore, President Trump’s campaign is again targeting the state. A just-completed Emerson College poll (9/30-10/1; 700 NH likely voters; interactive voice response system), however, finds Democratic nominee Joe Biden now taking a 52-45% lead over President Trump, a range well beyond the polling margin of error.
The New York Times/Siena College polling series also looked at New Hampshire (9/8-11; 445 NH likely voters; live interview) where a tight race again appears to be unfolding that looks potentially similar to what we witnessed in 2016. In that election year, Hillary Clinton carried the state by just 2,738 votes (46.8 – 46.5%) from 744,296 ballots cast. According to the NYT/SC results, former Vice President Joe Biden maintains only a three-point, 45-42%, edge over President Trump.
On Tuesday night it was becoming clear even though the results were tight with thousands of votes to count that state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes (D-Concord) was Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) probable November opponent. Though the margin was close with still enough outstanding votes to turn the tide, such proved not the case. In fact, Mr. Feltes gained support as the counting process drew to a conclusion. In the end, Sen. Feltes defeated Executive Councilor Andru Volinksky, with a 52-48% margin, but begins the general election as a decided underdog to Gov. Sununu.
The turnout pattern was interesting, however. More Republicans (144,640) than Democrats (136,999) voted in the gubernatorial race, but more Democrats (150,796) than Republicans (137,085) cast their ballots in the US Senate contest. It is strange to see such a large vote juxtaposition in terms of participation for a pair of races at the top of the ballot.
Republicans went to the polls yesterday to nominate congressional candidates against Democratic Reps. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) and Ann McLane Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Nashua) who were unopposed, or virtually unopposed, for re-nomination.
In the eastern 1st District, the seat that has defeated more incumbents than any in the country since 2002, former Trump White House aide Matt Mowers was an easy 60% winner within a field of four candidates. He is an underdog against Rep. Pappas, but the last time an incumbent was re-elected in this seat occurred in 2008. Therefore, a close race could again unfold.
In the western 2nd District, Rep. Kuster seeks a fifth term averaging just 52.5% of the general election vote in her previous four elections. In the Republican primary race, 2018 congressional nominee and former state Representative Steve Negron scored a seven-point, 47-40%, win against former state Representative and military veteran Lynne Blankenbeker. Rep. Kuster is expected to win again in November and exceed her average vote total.
Businessman Corky Messner, taking advantage of his large resource advantage, defeated retired Brigadier General Don Bolduc last night in a relatively close an unofficial 51-42% victory margin. This sends Mr. Messner into the general election to face two-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who was a 94% winner in the Democratic primary. The Senator is favored for re-election, but New Hampshire voters have been restless throughout the 21st Century meaning that often the unexpected happens in Granite State politics.
Gov. Chris Sununu (R) seeks a third two-year term and apparently will face state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes (D-Concord) in the November election. Sen. Feltes leads 51-49% with ballots remaining to count from last night’s Democratic primary election opposite Executive Councilor Andru Volinksky, and it is probable that his margin will hold. So far, Gov. Sununu enjoys large general election polling leads but, in New Hampshire, the margins can quickly change.
The New Hampshire state primary, one of America’s last as compared to their first-in-the-nation status for the presidential primary, will be held Tuesday. A new University of New Hampshire survey (8/28-9/1; 1,949 Granite State panel members; 703 likely Republican primary voters; online) suggests that businessman Corky Messner (R), who has self-funded his campaign with a more than $3.8 million campaign loan, leads retired Army General Don Bolduc (R), 52-31%. If these numbers hold, Mr. Messner will advance into a shortened general election campaign as the underdog against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) who seeks a third term.
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