CA-47: Poll Suggests Baugh and Min Advance to General: As the California candidates head toward the March 5th jungle primary, Republican Scott Baugh, who held Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) to a 52-48% victory in 2022 even though the incumbent outspent him by almost a 10:1 margin, released an internal poll for the upcoming race.
WPA Intelligence surveyed the CA-47 electorate (2/12-14; 366 CA-47 likely jungle primary voters; live interview and text) and sees Mr. Baugh placing first and advancing into the general election. In second place, despite being under heavy attack for his drunk driving arrest, is state Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) with 22%. Attorney Joanna Weiss (D), the third major candidate in the race, trails with 16%.
Under California election law, the top two primary finishers, regardless of party affiliation and percentage attained, will advance into the general election. The 47th CD, which the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+6 and the Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank as the 32nd most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference will be hotly contested in November.
MT-2: Ex-Rep Denny Rehberg to Run Again: While Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) still has not said whether he will seek re-election to the House after withdrawing from his short lived Senate campaign, other Republicans are moving forward. The latest to enter the race is former six-term Congressman Denny Rehberg. Serving from 2001-2013 and leaving the at-large House seat in an unsuccessful attempt at running for the Senate, Mr. Rehberg is attempting a political comeback after a long absence. He also was elected twice on the statewide ticket as Montana’s Lt. Governor prior to his service in Congress.
Assuming Rep. Rosendale does not run, Rehberg will have a lot of company in the Republican primary. A total of nine contenders have become candidates for the ostensibly open position with Mr. Rehberg, State Auditor Troy Downing, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, and state Senate President Pro Tempore Ken Bogner (R-Miles City) appear to be the most formidable of the group. It remains to be seen how many will continue their campaign if Rosendale decides to run again, but every day the Congressman delays in announcing his plans makes it all the more certain that the major players remain in the race. The Montana candidate filing deadline is March 11th.
NY-26: Republicans Choose ex-FBI Agent as Nominee: The 26th District Republican county chairmen have chosen West Seneca Town Supervisor and former FBI agent Gary Dickson as their special election nominee to replace resigned New York Congressman Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo). The 26th District is heavily Democratic, so state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo), the latter party’s nominee begins the race as the solid favorite. Even Mr. Dickson acknowledged his uphill battle saying, “the voters need an election and not a coronation.” The special election is scheduled for April 30th. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-26 as D+18.
OR-5: Democrats Coalescing: One of the major OR-5 Democratic contenders this week ended her bid and endorsed an opponent. Lynn Peterson is the President of Portland’s Metro Council and was an announced congressional candidate. Seeing the race trends, Ms. Peterson has dropped her bid and endorsed state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), following the lead of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The 2022 nominee, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, is in the race, but losing steam. She failed against now-incumbent Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Happy Valley) in 2022, and it’s clear the Democratic synergy is turning toward Rep. Bynum as the person most believe is the stronger candidate.
Oregon’s 5th District race will be one of the most hotly contested US House campaigns in the country and is one of the keys toward deciding which party will control the chamber in the next Congress. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates OR-5 as D+3. President Biden carried the seat by a 53-44% margin in 2020. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the ninth most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. In 2022, Ms. Chavez-DeRemer defeated Ms. McLeod-Skinner, 51-49%.
Decision Desk HQ: Projects Trump at 312 EVs: The Decision Desk HQ in association with The Hill newspaper has forecast a new 50-state electoral vote projection. All swing states are averaged based upon data from at least five recent polls. The new estimates give former President Donald Trump his largest ever electoral vote lead, 312-226.
The key swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are all landing in the Trump camp according to DDHQ. To win the 2024 election, Mr. Trump needs to convert states that equal 35 electoral votes. According to this projection, Mr. Trump is improving his stance by 80 electoral votes when compared with his 2020 performance.
California: Primary Battle Over Second Place: Emerson College surveyed the California electorate in a partnership with The Hill newspaper and the Inside California Politics blog (2/16-18; 1,000 CA registered voters; 935 likely jungle primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) again found US Rep. Adam Schiff (D) leading the open US Senate field, this time with 28% of the vote. In second place, and for the first time with a sizable advantage over the third place finisher, is former baseball great Steve Garvey (R) with 22 percent. Following are Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) with 16 and 9%, respectively.
The poll has a number of positive points for Mr. Garvey. Aside from the Emerson/Hill data suggesting he secures a general election slot, he does well with older voters. He registers a 33% preference total from those over 70 years of age, which is typically the highest turnout sector, and scores in second position with who voters believe would best handle the crime, homelessness, war in Israel, and immigration issues, while rating only 3 points below who would best handle abortion. Additionally, the third place finisher, Rep. Porter, does best with the youth vote, but this segment has the poorest participation history.
The California jungle primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5th. The top two finishers regardless of political party affiliation or percentage attained will advance to the general election. Sen. Laphonza Butler (D), who Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) appointed to replace the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), is not running for a full term.
Texas: Rep. Allred Establishes Strong Primary Lead; Cruz Likewise in General: YouGov, polling for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin (2/2-12; 1,313 TX registered voters; 1,200 TX likely primary voters; online), tested the Lone Star State electorate for the coming March 5th primary election, and found US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas), who has been using his resource advantage to advertise heavily, exceeding the 50% threshold within the Democratic primary segment. According to the YouGov results, Mr. Allred records a 52% preference figure as compared to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez’s (D-San Antonio) 14 percent. Former Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez and state Rep. Carl Sherman (D-Dallas) register support figures of only 5 and 2%.
Within the general election sample, however, the tables turn. Here, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) records his best polling stance of the current campaign, with a 46-32% margin over Rep. Allred. The Daily Kos Elections site analysts criticized the poll because the questionnaire did not assign a party label with each candidate. They reason that Allred would have received better support had such been the case.
Two points of disagreement: first, the primary question was asked before the general election question, thus the voters were already told that Allred was a Democrat. Second, it is more likely that Sen. Cruz, who has not been overly popular in the state, would have actually benefited more with party labels since Texas has been a solid state for the GOP since the early 1990s.
NJ-8: Dueling Internal Dem Primary Polls: Last week, Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City) released the results of his internal TargetSmart survey that posted him to a relatively strong 46-22% advantage over Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in their quest for the Democratic nomination. Yesterday, the Bhalla campaign countered with their own poll, this one from GQR Research another highly rated polling firm. This data (released 2/20; 403 NJ-8 likely Democratic primary voters) finds a much different ballot test, with the incumbent leading only 44-41%.
These polls, seemingly both well conducted, are far apart in how they view the race. This will be another of the most interesting primary contests to watch during our current election cycle.
Michigan: Rep. Tlaib Calling for Protest Vote: The Michigan presidential primary is scheduled for next Tuesday, and controversial US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) is calling for pro-Palestinian voters to “support Gaza” by voting for the Uncommitted Slate in the Democratic primary. While this tactic may gain some votes within the large Muslim community in the Detroit area, it will not deter President Biden from securing all of Michigan’s Democratic delegates. He is on track to mathematically clinch the nomination on the first convention ballot when the March 19th primaries conclude.
Wisconsin: Republican Candidate Files with FEC: Banking and real estate investor Eric Hovde, who ran for the Senate in the 2012 Republican primary, has filed a 2024 US Senate campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. Wisconsin is the last potentially competitive state where Republicans do not have a strong candidate. The national Republican leadership hopes Mr. Hovde will be viable enough to keep this state in play for November. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is seeking a third term.
In 2012, Mr. Hovde lost the Republican primary to former four-term Governor Tommy Thompson on a 34-30% count. Mr. Thompson would then lose to then-US Rep. Baldwin, 51-46%, in what proved to be the Senator’s first statewide victory. Wisconsin elections are always close, so this will be yet another race to watch as the election cycle proceeds.
Washington: Another Close Gov Survey: Once again, we see more survey data predicting a tight open seat campaign, this time in the Washington Governor’s race. Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute sees Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) and former US Representative and King County Sheriff Dave Reichert (R) advancing into the general election from the August 6th jungle primary. Messrs. Ferguson and Reichert recorded a respective 35-27-9% showing over Richland School Board member Semi Bird in the primary polling.
Though a previous PPP poll posted Mr. Reichert to a small lead, this sampling universe sees Mr. Ferguson inching ahead. The ballot test result favored the Democratic Attorney General within the polling margin of error, 46-44 percent.
Maricopa County, Arizona: Retiring Congresswoman to Run for Local Office: GOP Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) may be retiring from Congress, but not from elective politics. Ms. Lesko announced that she will run this year for an open seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The incumbent, Republican Clint Hickman who was re-elected four years ago with almost 59% of the vote, is retiring. Former President Trump carried the 4th Supervisorial District with 57% over President Biden in 2020. Each of the five county supervisors represent just over 900,000 people, just slightly larger than the size of a congressional district.
In recent election years several California US House members, then-Reps. Janice Hahn (D-Los Angeles), Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-San Bernardino), and Paul Cook (R-San Bernardino) also left the US House to run for a county board position. Reps. Hahn and Cook were successfully elected. Former Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D) is also a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, but she was elected after serving as US Labor Secretary in the Obama Administration.
Maryland: Hogan Doing Well in New Poll: A release from Emerson College (2/12-13; 1,000 MD registered voters; 543 likely Democratic primary voters; 246 likely Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds former Governor Larry Hogan (R) tied with US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), who has already spent $23 million in attempting to win the Democratic Party nomination, at 42% apiece. He would lead Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, 44-37%, if she were to become the Democratic nominee.
What is particularly surprising and may well not hold up once the campaign begins in earnest, is Mr. Hogan’s standing among Independent voters and even Democrats. If Mr. Trone were his general election opponent, Mr. Hogan would lead among Independents and rather stunningly attracts approximately one-quarter of Democratic voters. With Ms. Alsobrooks as his opponent, Mr. Hogan’s numbers are much better. Within this pairing, he would lead among Independents 43-18%, while converting 31% of Democratic voters.
Montana: Rosendale’s Quick Exit: After months of speculation as to whether US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) would enter the Montana US Senate race culminating with his declaration of candidacy on February 9th, we now see a quick end.
Yesterday, Mr. Rosendale announced that he will not file for the Senate, saying in a released statement that he has “been forced to calculate what my chances of success would be with Trump supporting my opponent.” On the day of Rosendale’s Senate announcement, Mr. Trump issued his endorsement of aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy. Mr. Rosendale indicated he will take time to ponder his next political step.
New York: Redistricting Commission Approves Cong Map: The New York Independent Redistricting Commission, on a vote of 9-1, yesterday adopted a new congressional map but it looks very much like the current court-drawn plan. It appears the Commissioners adopted a “least change” model in that the early reported change seems to adversely affect Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse), at least slightly, but conversely helps adjacent Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-Red Hook). Much more will be known about the map when statisticians delve into the partisan patterns of the new boundaries.
The “Independent Commission” is not so independent. The legislature must now approve the commission map and it is uncertain whether large Democratic majorities in both houses will accept a “least change” map.
SC-6: Rep. Clyburn Steps Down from Leadership Post: In a written release, US Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) announced that he will be resigning his leadership position. Mr. Clyburn is currently the Assistant to the Majority Leader. While stepping down from the Democratic Leadership tree, the 83-year old veteran House member who is completing his 16th term in Congress additionally said that he will seek re-election to his Columbia anchored seat in the South Carolina delegation. News reports suggest that Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette/Boulder) is a strong candidate to replace Mr. Clyburn as Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) Assistant.
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