Responding to several September polls that find the race between Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison falling within the polling margin of error, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced yesterday that they will invest “seven figures” into the state to help their party nominee. According to the Daily Kos Elections website, only one other outside group has entered this race, the Strength in Security PAC who reserved $1.6 million in television time months ago in order to support Sen. Graham.
Quinnipiac University is the latest to survey the South Carolina Senate race (7/20-8/3; 914 SC registered voters) and sees Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and former South Carolina Democratic state chairman Jaime Harrison (D) landing in a flat tie, 44-44%. Including the latest Q-Poll, six surveys from a half-dozen different pollsters have been publicly released of this race since late May, and all but one shows the contest languishing within four percentage points. The only outlier is the Gravis Marketing poll (7/17; 604 SC likely voters) that gave Sen. Graham a seven-percentage point advantage.
The Morning Consult research firm conducted a series of surveys and finds Republicans building big leads in two key states and falling into close contests in another pair where they should have a strong advantage.
In Kentucky (7/24-8/2; 793 KY likely voters), the MC data finds Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recording a 53-36% lead over retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath (D) who has raised a whopping $47 million+ for her campaign. Alabama GOP nominee Tommy Tuberville likewise holds a major Morning Consult detected advantage over Sen. Doug Jones (D). This poll (7/24-8/2; 609 AL likely voters) projects the retired Auburn University head football coach topping the Democratic incumbent, 52-35%, in what is a must-win conversion race for the GOP.
Morning Consult detects close races in two other states that should be much stronger for the respective Republican incumbent. The South Carolina survey conducted over the same period as the others (741 SC likely voters) finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) claiming only a one-point, 44-43%, edge over former South Carolina Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison, while in Texas, Sen. John Cornyn (R) posts only a six-point margin (2,576 TX likely voters from a pre-determined sample cell; online) over Democrat M.J. Hegar, 44-38%.
An ALG Research poll conducted for Democrat Jaime Harrison’s US Senate campaign (7/15-20; 591 SC likely voters) finds incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) leading Mr. Harrison, the former state chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, 49-45%, with leaners included for both men. Both have raised huge campaign war chests through June 30th. Sen. Graham has pulled in over $31 million cycle-to-date as compared to Mr. Harrison’s strong effort that has so far yielded a whopping $29 million in challenger campaign contributions. Sen. Graham has a substantial lead in cash-on-hand, however, $15 million to $10 million.
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.
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