Democrats are beginning to assess their chances of challenging Lone Star State Gov. Greg Abbott (R) who is preparing to seek a third term in 2022. So far, the Democratic field appears limited but does feature several big names.
Among them are former US Representative, presidential, and Senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, ex-Housing & Urban Development Secretary and presidential candidate Julian Castro, and the latter man’s twin brother, US Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio). Presumably, the two brothers will not oppose each other for the nomination. It will be interesting to see if any of these men make substantial moves toward forming a gubernatorial campaign in the early months of 2021.
Several news outlets have now projected former US Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) as the winner in California’s tight 21st Congressional District. Still with votes to count, but now holding a margin that looks beyond freshman Rep. T.J. Cox’s (D-Fresno) reach, Mr. Valadao has still not yet declared victory nor has Rep. Cox admitted defeat. With approximately 10,000 votes to count, Mr. Valadao’s lead is 1,618 votes. Analyst estimates suggest that Rep. Cox is forced to garner a likely unreachable percentage to overturn the Valadao lead. A Republican victory here moves the internal House GOP conference number to 210 with three races outstanding.
The congressional recount attempting to decide if state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R-Ottumwa) 47 vote lead over former state Senator and 2018 Lt. Governor nominee Rita Hart (D) will hold is likely to continue through Saturday. Under Iowa election law, counties have 18 days to conduct a recount. Therefore, the time will expire for some counties on Friday and the remainder at the Saturday’s end.
Approximately 17,000 “undervotes” are present, which are returned ballots without a choice in the congressional race, or where voter intent is not clear. Over 393,000 people are recording as casting a congressional vote, a 6% increase over the 2016 presidential election year total.
With Sen. Richard Burr (R) previously saying he will not seek a fourth term in 2022, potential successors are making moves. US Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who is retiring from Congress rather than choosing to compete in a newly drawn 6th District that is next to impossible for a Republican to win, publicly confirms that he is a potential statewide candidate.
State Sen. Erica Smith (D-Henrico), who raised just under $240,000 for her statewide bid but was helped by approximately $3 million in conservative group spending that attacked her for being too liberal, finished the Democratic primary campaign with 34.8% of the vote in losing to nominee Cal Cunningham by 22 points. Late last week, she announced her intention to enter the 2022 open seat Senate campaign. Conversely, another prominent North Carolina politico, White House Chief of Staff and former Congressman Mark Meadows, said he will not run for the Senate in two years.
San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott (R), who failed to reach the general election in the 2018 congressional race and fell to Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) 53-47% earlier this month, announced that he will run again in 2022. Redistricting will change this seat, and all others, so it is difficult to judge future political prospects at this point in time.
Quelling rumors that he would run for Governor or retire from politics, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran (R) announced yesterday that he will seek re-election to the US Senate next year. Considering Rep. Roger Marshall’s (R-Great Bend) convincing win in the open Kansas Senate seat this year, Sen. Moran looks to be a cinch to win a third term in 2022 and will likely draw little in the way of serious opposition.
With voting almost complete in New Jersey’s 7th CD, a race originally called for freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) but then put back in the undetermined column when late voting pulled state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R) back within shouting distance has now been resolved. Though Mr. Malinowski’s lead has dwindled to well under 5,000 votes, there are now less votes to count than the margin between the two candidates. Therefore, the Congressman has been re-projected as the winner.
In what appears to be a veiled attempt to keep his Youngstown anchored congressional seat intact in the face of Ohio losing another seat in the next reapportionment, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren) announced yesterday that he will not challenge Gov. Mike DeWine (R) or Sen. Rob Portman (R) next year and is not looking for a Biden Administration appointment. Mr. Ryan was briefly in the 2020 presidential race but dropped out when it became apparent that his national campaign had no political legs.
He further signaled that he would remain in the House assuming the Republicans do not eliminate his seat in the next redistricting. Republicans will be in full control of congressional redistricting and will decide which seat is eliminated from the 16-member delegation when reapportionment reduces the state to 15 districts.
It is more likely that the loss will come from the Republican side, however, since it would be difficult to eliminate one of the Democratic seats since the latter party currently controls only four. Taking a Democratic seat would likely make several Republican seats vulnerable in a general election, so it is probable they will eliminate a GOP district in order to keep an 11-4 split in their favor.
Atlanta-based Insider Advantage released new polling data for the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff elections. The survey (11/16; 800 GA likely runoff voters; live interview and interactive voice response system) found Democrat Raphael Warnock running slightly ahead of appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), 49-48%, in the special election to fill the balance of the unexpired term. In the race for the in-cycle six-year term, incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R) and documentary film producer Jon Ossoff (D) are tied at 49% apiece.
VCreek/AMG was also in the field, polling for the Americas PAC. This survey (11/10; 300 GA likely runoff voters; live interview and interactive voice response system) sees Sen. Loeffler running ahead of Rev. Warnock, 50-46%. We can expect close polling in these two races all the way to the January 5th election day.
Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond’s (D-New Orleans) announcement that he would resign from Congress to accept a position in the Biden Administration before January 20th has already led to a pair of state legislators declaring their candidacy for the eventual special election. State Sens. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) and Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) appear to the be the first of many to enter the new campaign. It is expected that more than a dozen individuals will become candidates.
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) will schedule the special election once Rep. Richmond officially resigns. It is likely the special election calendar will coincide with the municipal elections already scheduled for March 20th with a runoff date of April 24.
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