At this point, only three states saw incumbent Senators being defeated: Doug Jones (D-AL), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Cory Gardner (R-CO). Under Georgia law, since both of their Senate races, the regular cycle campaign and the special election, failed to produce a majority winner, a runoff election will be held for each position on January 5th.
In races of note, Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) defied pollsters projecting a Democratic victory for state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) and won by nine percentage points. Despite over $100 million being spent against both Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both were re-elected with victory percentages exceeding 58 and 54%, respectively. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters (MI) scored a close win over GOP challenger John James; Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) recorded strong victories despite polling suggesting that both could lose.
In the four open seat campaigns, the incumbent party won each. The new Senators are Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).
Two races, in addition to both Georgia Senate seats going to runoffs, remain uncalled but with a clear trend. With only 50% of the votes counted in Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) has a strong 62-32% lead. In North Carolina, with the post-election ballot reception period closing on November 12th, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) looks to have a small lead that won’t be surpassed, again despite polling projecting a Democratic victory for party nominee Cal Cunningham.
Assuming the uncalled races remain Republican, the GOP will have a 50-48 advantage heading into the Georgia runoffs, meaning they will retain the majority with a win in at least one of the two Senate races to be decided January 5th.
The Wyoming primary also provided no surprises as former US Rep. Cynthia Lummis, armed with President Trump’s support, scored a 60% win for the open Republican US Senate nomination over nine opponents and advances into the general election where she becomes an overwhelming favorite to win in November.
At-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) was an easy 74% winner in her GOP primary contest. She, too, is a lock for another general election win in what will likely be President Trump’s strongest state.
Nomination elections are occurring today in Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming. The Alaska federal elections are virtually set. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) will face a challenge from Independent/Democrat Al Gross, an Anchorage surgeon. In the House race, at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) will officially find himself in a re-match with education reform activist Alyse Galvin (I/D). In 2018, Rep. Young was re-elected with a 53-46% victory margin.
In Florida, we see action in eight congressional districts including two Republican open seats that will nominate candidates certain to become prohibitive favorites to replace retiring Reps. Ted Yoho (R-Gainesville) and Francis Rooney (R-Naples). The open Wyoming Senate race will also be decided and former US Rep. Cynthia Lummis, armed with President Trump’s support, appears a lock to win both the Republican nomination tonight and the general election in November.
Candidate filing in Wyoming is now complete in anticipation of the August 18th primary election. Former US Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) looks well positioned to capture the open GOP Senate nomination, which should be tantamount to election in November. The ten-candidate field actually features two candidates living in other states, one in Arizona and the other in Pennsylvania. The only sitting elected official competing is Converse County Commissioner Bob Short. Former County Court Judge John Holtz is also a contender.
At this point, Ms. Lummis, who served four terms as the state’s at-large House member before retiring at the beginning of 2017 and has raised over $1.2 million more than her closest competitor, Mr. Short, looks to be a prohibitive favorite both for the Republican primary and general election.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R) is retiring after four terms, and yesterday announced who he is supporting as his successor. Both he and fellow Sen. John Barrasso (R) are pledging their support for former at-large Rep. Cynthia Lummis who retired from the House before the 2016 election. Ms. Lummis served four terms in Congress and eight years as state Treasurer after winning terms in both houses of the state legislature to begin her political career. The eventual Republican nominee will become the prohibitive favorite to win the general election.
At-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) yesterday made her long-awaited statement about whether she will enter the state’s open Senate race this year. The Congresswoman announced to the Republican Conference members that she will remain in the House and in her leadership position. Rep. Cheney is chair of the House Republican Conference, the third position in minority leadership.
This means that former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R), who has been running for the Senate seat since soon after incumbent Mike Enzi (R) announced his retirement, is at least the short-term leader. The Cheney announcement is likely to encourage other potential candidates, and many of those who might have been thinking about running for the House if she had entered the Senate race, to enter the contest to succeed Sen. Enzi. Republicans are in the driver’s seat as Wyoming was President Trump’s strongest state in 2016, and he will again lead the ticket here in 2020.
While he had not been seriously mentioned as a US Senate candidate for incumbent Mike Enzi’s (R) open seat race next year, former two-term Gov. Matt Mead (R), who was ineligible to seek a third term in 2018, stated definitively late last week that he will not run for the Senate.
Retired investment company owner Foster Friess, who placed second in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, reiterated that he has not ruled out running for Senate. Ex-Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) is an active candidate, and most political observers believe that at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) will enter the race before candidate filing closes at the end of May in preparation for the August 18th Republican primary.
Montana State University-Billings’ Political Science Department leaders conducted a poll of the Big Sky Country and included a small sampling segment for Wyoming. The poll was conducted during the Oct 7-12 period, and resumed on 10/14 and 16. The total sample, however, was only 111 individuals in the Equality State, which means the study should be considered a single night track.
Since Wyoming voters are not routinely polled, any data gives us at least a glimpse into how the race may unfold particularly if one candidate enjoys a large lead. Such is the case here, as Montana State finds at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) standing strong in the Republican primary against former US Representative and declared candidate Cynthia Lummis. MSU sees a 37-17% spread in Ms. Cheney’s favor, well beyond even a large polling margin of error, which of course, is present in this poll. Ms. Cheney has not announced her intentions regarding the Senate race, but political insiders expect her to declare after the first of the year. Sen. Mike Enzi (R) is retiring, thus creating the open seat.
The Tarrance Group released their late June poll of the budding Wyoming open Senate race (6/22-24; 502 WY likely Republican primary voters). In a hypothetical Republican primary contest between Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson Hole) and ex-US Rep. Cynthia Lummis, the current at-large Congresswoman would lead the former at-large Congresswoman and state Treasurer, 56-34%. While Ms. Cheney has not indicated that she will run for the Senate, Ms. Lummis appears to be making moves to construct a new campaign.
Regardless of what at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) might do regarding retiring Sen. Mike Enzi’s (R) Senate seat, it appears that former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) is moving forward. Yesterday, the ex-Congresswoman took the step of changing the name of the federal campaign committee she still has from her days in the House. Instead of “Lummis for Congress,” her campaign committee is now called, “Lummis for Wyoming.”
Cynthia Lummis served both as Wyoming State Treasurer and as a member of Congress for eight years in each office. She also was elected to the Wyoming House and Senate prior to running for statewide office. She officially retired from the House at the beginning of 2017, choosing not to seek a fifth term in the 2016 election.
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