It appears the Georgia Senate race is likely headed to a runoff, though front runner Jon Ossoff (D) came very close to securing majority support (49%). Apparently, former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, after trailing most of the night, slipped past ex-Lt. Governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico who out-performed expectations. The Georgia count has been delayed due to possible irregularities in the Atlanta area, which means second position may still be undecided. A runoff could be avoided if Ms. Tomlinson chooses to not contest the nomination any further.
In the competitive House races, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) will face former Rep. Karen Handel (R) in the Atlanta suburban 6th District. This race finished 50-49% in 2018.
In the 7th, 2018 nominee Carolyn Bourdeaux, who came within 420 votes of winning the seat in that election, place first but fell short of winning last night’s Democratic nomination outright. She will face state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero (D-Norcross) in the August 11th runoff. On the Republican side, retired Navy officer and physician Rich McCormick claimed his party’s nomination outright with over 55% of the vote, an impressive total in a field of seven candidates. In a distant second place was state Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Gwinnett County). The general election will again be a toss-up contest in the Fall.
Runoffs are occurring in the safe Republican open 9th and 14th Districts. In Rep. Doug Collins’ (R-Gainesville) open 9th CD, state Rep. Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) and retired Navy officer Andrew Clyde advance to the August 11th runoff. Rep. Collins is not seeking re-election in order to run in the special US Senate election.
In the 14th, CD from where veteran Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger/Rome) is retiring, conservative activist Margorie Greene and surgeon John Cowan advance to the second round. Both seats will be decided in the August runoff, as the Republican nominee in each of these northern Georgia districts will win in November.
Long voting lines in Nevada and the decision to allow mail ballots to be postmarked on Election Day mean the results of these primaries, most particularly in the 3rd and 4th Congressional District Republican races to face Reps. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) and Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas), respectively, likely won’t be known for several days.
Early vote returns from most of the district give former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer a ten-point lead over ex-state Treasurer and frequent candidate Dan Schwartz in the 3rd, while former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant has opened a small early lead over insurance agency owner Sam Peters in District 4.
In South Carolina, state Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island), despite released polling that forecast a toss-up race, easily defeating Mt. Pleasant City Councilwoman Kathy Landing with over 57% of the vote. Ms. Mace will now challenge freshman Democrat Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston) in a district that should elect a Republican. Expect this to be a national campaign that is a must-win contest for the GOP.
No surprises in the North Dakota and West Virginia races. All incumbents in both states appear secure for re-election. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, in his first Republican primary since he was originally elected as a Democrat before switching parties, easily won nomination with more than 63% of the vote against two opponents.
Another five states will either nominate or begin the nomination process for their statewide ballots. Two of the five, Georgia and West Virginia, host presidential primaries that will assuredly put former Vice President Joe Biden over the top for the official first ballot delegate count when the Democratic National Convention meets in August. Additionally, two of the states will advance to runoff elections if the leading candidates fail to receive majority support in the various campaigns.
Senate nominations will get underway in Georgia, South Carolina, and West Virginia. All five states, the aforementioned along with Nevada and North Dakota, will nominate their US House candidates and those for state legislature along with some local offices. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) and North Dakota’s Doug Burgum (R) are the only gubernatorial incumbents on today’s ballot.
If candidates do not secure majority support in Georgia and South Carolina, the aforementioned runoff contests will occur on August 11th and June 23rd, respectively.
A new poll from the progressive left research firm Civiqs (5/23-26; 591 SC registered voters) sees Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) falling into a 42-42% tie with former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison, who has already raised over $15 million for his race.
Even in the poll analysis, however, the point is made that Sen. Graham is lagging a bit with Trump Republicans, a group in which he should be able to recover support. While the President maintains a ten-point advantage over Joe Biden within the overall sampling universe and has a 93% loyalty factor among Republicans, Sen. Graham commands only 78% support from the same partisan cell segment.
Perhaps Sen. Graham’s biggest negative, according to this poll, are his unfavorable approval ratings. His index is a poor 35:56% favorable to unfavorable, similar to former Vice President Biden’s 35:59%. Conversely, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) scores 48:30%, President Trump records a 51:47% ratio, and former UN Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) posts a 56:33% approval score. While the turnout model favors Sen. Graham in the general election, it is clear that this race is becoming more competitive.
One of the bigger upset victories coming in 2018 election was Democrat Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston) converting the open Palmetto State 1st District after then-Representative and former Governor Mark Sanford lost re-nomination in the Republican primary. Now, the eastern South Carolina district becomes a top tier challenge race for the GOP.
It appears the party has two capable challenger candidates, one of who will be competing in the general election against Rep. Cunningham after the June 9th primary. Both test at parity with the Congressman according to a survey from First Tuesday Strategies (5/15-18; 500 SC-1 likely general election voters).
If Mt. Pleasant Town Councilwoman Kathy Landing were the Republican nominee, she would lead Rep. Cunningham, 45-43%. Should state Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island) win the party nomination, she would edge the Congressman by an almost identical 45-44% split.
Progressive left voter groups are expanding their moves to file lawsuits in states that they hope will change the election system to one emphasizing mail voting. New suits have been filed to expand absentee voting options and outreach in Alabama, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The goal of the action is to increase mail voting not only for upcoming primary elections, but for the 2020 general election, as well, and probably beyond.
A new WPA Intelligence poll finds state Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island) establishing a clear lead for the Republican nomination and toward an eventual challenge to freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston). This will be a national campaign because SC-1 is a district that Republicans must re-claim if they are to have any chance of taking the majority in the 2020 election. The WPA poll finds Rep. Mace leading Mount Pleasant Town Councilwoman Kathy Landing 42-13% in the Republican primary, which remains scheduled for June 9th. If no candidate receives a majority vote, the top two finishers advance to a quick June 23rd runoff election.
The state legislature convened for one day at the end of last week to consider legislation to consider the State Election Commission recommendations that the excuse provision for obtaining an absentee ballot be waived for the June 9th primary and subsequent June 23rd runoff elections. The state Senate, however, recessed without passing the bill. Therefore, at this point, the South Carolina primary will be conducted with no procedural changes.
South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston), who reportedly just recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, is a top Republican target in this year’s election for a seat that is typically reliable for the GOP.
The challenger picture just became clearer this weekend, just before today’s candidate filing deadline. Beaufort County Councilman Mike Covert, who long ago announced his congressional candidacy, has decided not to pursue federal office. Instead, he will file today for a seat in the state House of Representatives. This is a major plus for state Representative Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island) who has already received House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s endorsement. This general election campaign will be a top national target.
Term-limited Springdale, SC Mayor Michael Bishop announced yesterday that he will challenge veteran US Rep. Joe Wilson in the June 9th Republican primary. Springdale, a Columbia suburb in Lexington County, is a town of fewer than 3,000 people and also Rep. Wilson’s hometown. Mr. Bishop indicates, however, that he will challenge Mr. Wilson over local issues and if elected will focus only on district concerns. Rep. Wilson remains a heavy favorite for re-nomination and re-election.
Former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison had already raised over $7.6 million by the end of 2019 for his race this year against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), and now a new poll finds him closing the spread. The Brilliant Corners survey research company (3/3-11; 804 SC registered voters) just released their results from a poll conducted two weeks ago that projects Mr. Harrison trailing Sen. Graham by just a 47-44% margin.
If this survey proves accurate, the race has significantly changed since NBC News/ Marist College released their poll taken in mid-February. Their online poll of slightly under 2,400 registered voters found Sen. Graham holding a substantial 54-37% edge over Mr. Harrison. Democrats believe this is a sleeper race for them, nationally, and with a strong fundraising operation already in place, the contest could turn competitive despite South Carolina’s strong Republican voting history.
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