New York: Ex-Rep. Zeldin Considering Gillibrand Challenge: Four-term Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin (R), who gave up his congressional seat to challenge Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in November and lost 53-47%, says he is considering launching a campaign against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) next year. Mr. Zeldin said “it would be a pretty epic clash” between the two if he decided to make the run.
This would be a tough race for Mr. Zeldin, or any Republican, in a presidential year. New York will surely back the Democratic presidential nominee meaning it would be even more difficult to defeat a sitting incumbent Senator who will be enjoying what should be a favorable turnout model in one of the country’s strongest Democratic states.
OH-13: Republican Eyeing Re-Match: Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R), who lost to now freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) in a tight 53-47% November contest, is reportedly mulling taking another shot at winning the seat in 2024. Should the Ohio map be re-drawn, which is a possibility before the 2024 election, this district could become more Republican. If not, then Rep. Sykes will be considered a clear favorite for re-election.
The newly created OH-13 contains the city of Akron and its surrounding areas. The FiveThirtyEight data organization actually rates the seat R+2, but Dave’s Redistricting App sees the partisan lean at 50.7 – 47.0 favoring the Democrats, a split that will only grow once the ’22 race is added to the calculation formula. President Biden carried the district with a result very close to the Dave’s App overall partisan lean, 50.7 – 47.9%.
Chicago: Two New Mayoral Polling Leaders: As we approach the February 28th non-partisan mayoral election in Chicago, an independent IZQ Strategies survey (1/27-2/2; 1,040 likely Chicago primary voters; SMS text) sees former Chicago Schools CEO Paul Vallas taking the lead within the crowded candidate field with 25% support.
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who US Reps. Jonathan Jackson (D-Chicago) and Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) support, pulls into second place with 15%, while Mayor Lori Lightfoot and US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) drop into a tie for third position with 12% preference apiece. From the field of nine candidates, the top two will advance to an April 4th runoff election, assuming no one receives majority support on the 28th.
Mr. Vallas, though a Democrat, is clearly the most conservative candidate in the field. This can help him traverse a crowded primary, but will make it more difficult to win a runoff election. It is also the first poll where we see neither Mayor Lightfoot nor Rep. Garcia finishing in the top two. It is clear that this mayoral race is anybody’s game at this point as we enter the final three weeks of the campaign.
Philadelphia: Michelle Obama Calls Out Mayoral Candidate: The crowded primary to replace term-limited Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) has created a national controversy. One of the ten Democrats vying for the position, businessman Jeff Brown, has been running a commercial with film of former First Lady Michelle Obama praising him at an event.
According to an official response statement from Ms. Obama, the film is doctored and she was including both Mr. Brown and another individual as praiseworthy for their business and community efforts at a gathering that occurred several years ago. Ms. Obama further stated that she does not take sides in Democratic primaries, and is supporting no candidate in the Philadelphia race.
The field of ten Democrats vying to win the May 16th primary in order to advance to the November general election features state Representative Amen Brown (D-Philadelphia), and former City Councilmembers Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Derek Green, Cherelle Parker, and Helen Gym, ex-Philadelphia Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, former Municipal Court Judge Jimmy DeLeon, frequent candidate Warren Bloom, and Jeff Brown.
Michigan: GOP Senate Action Beginning: When Wolverine State Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced on January 5th that she would not seek re-election in 2024, a spate of speculative activity occurred particularly among Democrats as to who may run to succeed the veteran incumbent. Despite the seemingly heightened interest level, no major candidate has yet to announce. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) was thought to be on the verge of declaring her Senate candidacy and is still expected to at some point, but she has yet to come forward.
The Republicans were quiet immediately after the Stabenow announcement, which caught many by surprise, but now increased chatter is evident. Last week, former US Rep. Mike Rogers said he is considering running, and this week speculation is surrounding potential Senate bids from Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) and former US Rep. Peter Meijer. The latter man was denied renomination in the 2022 election cycle. The Michigan race promises to be highly competitive, but Democrats will be favored to win a close open seat contest.
CA-13: Ex-Candidate Declares Against Rep. Duarte: Fresno area financial advisor and ex-Democratic congressional candidate Phil Arballo (D) says he will return in 2024 to hopefully challenge freshman Rep. John Duarte (R-Modesto) in the general election. The Congressman recorded the 2022 election’s second-closest victory margin nationally, a 565-vote win over then-state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D).
Mr. Arballo first came on the political scene in 2020 when he challenged then-Rep. Devin Nunes (R). He raised over $5 million for that campaign but secured only 46% of the general election vote. He entered the 2022 race in new District 13 but failed to become a November election finalist, placing third in the jungle primary with a 17.4% preference total after raising $1.6 million.
The 13th District race will be a major national Democratic conversion target, so we can expect a large jungle primary field to form. At this point, there is little indication that Mr. Gray will return for a re-match.
NY-19: Field Forming to Challenge Rep. Molinaro: We’ve already seen brisk political activity in several New York Upstate districts. Over the weekend, Dan Butterman (D), an insurance executive who has three times failed to win a state Assembly seat, says he will join the growing field to challenge freshman Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-Red Hook). Also in the race are Democratic activist Joe Cerullo and Independent marketing executive Hal Stewart. Stronger Democratic candidates are expected to emerge.
Mr. Molinaro won the 19th District general election with a 51-49% victory over attorney Josh Riley (D), after the new Congressman lost the special election conducted earlier in the year to replace former US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D) who resigned from the House to become Lt. Governor.
In two other Upstate districts, former Congressman Mondaire Jones (D) is contemplating a comeback effort against freshman Rep. Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) in the Westchester County anchored 17th CD, and a pair of Democrats have announced their candidacies against freshman Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) in the 22nd District.
North Carolina: Former Congressman Considering Gov Race: Former Tar Heel State three-term Congressman Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who was redistricted out of his 6th District seat and then subsequently lost a GOP US Senate primary, indicated he is now interested in running for Governor next year.
Mr. Walker fared poorly in the 2022 US Senate contest, however, placing a distant third to now-Sen. Ted Budd in the Republican primary. In that race he secured only 9.2% of the GOP vote. In the Governor’s race, Mr. Walker would face Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) and likely several others. Incumbent Governor Roy Cooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.
It is probable that a new congressional redistricting map will be drawn to replace the current interim court map before the 2024 election. As has been the Republican map drawers’ past practice, a new plan would reconfigure one of the seats in the Greensboro area to favor a Republican candidate. Therefore, again running for the House could be another option for Mr. Walker.
DNC: Votes to Change Primary Schedule: At the Democratic National Committee’s Winter Meeting in Philadelphia over the weekend, the membership officially adopted President Biden’s recommendations for a new pre-Super Tuesday primary voting schedule. As part of the major action, party members removed the Iowa Democratic Caucuses from their traditional first voting state slot. This means the Hawkeye State nomination schedule is forced to move after the Super Tuesday date of March 5, 2024.
The new schedule propels South Carolina, home to DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison, as the first primary state, which will presumably be scheduled for February 3, 2024. New Hampshire and Nevada would share a primary date exactly a year from today on February 6, 2024. Georgia would then vote on February 13th, with Michigan following on February 27th. The Committee is giving both New Hampshire and Georgia, which are asked to comply with the new DNC schedule, until June 3, 2023 to enact new election laws. Considering the two states have Republican Governors and legislatures, it appears such approval will not be easy to obtain. The Michigan legislature and Governor have already taken action to move their primary.
On the other hand, Republicans are keeping the traditional early schedule of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. This means we could see at least some of these states holding separate nominating events for each party.
Montana: Potential New Candidate: The National Journal is reporting that first-term state Attorney General Austin Knudsen, the former eastern Montana Roosevelt County District Attorney, is considering a US Senate run. Most of the attention, in terms of potential opponents for Sen. Jon Tester (D), has centered around US Reps. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) and Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish). A spokesperson for AG Knudsen did not confirm or deny the report, only to say that “announcements regarding future plans will come at a later date.”
The Montana race will be a top Republican conversion target in 2024. Sen. Tester said he will make a decision about seeking a fourth term before the end of March. Should Mr. Knudsen enter the Senate race, he would risk his current position as his office is also on the ballot in 2024.
IN-5: Rep. Victoria Spartz (R) to Retire: Second-term Indiana US Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) announced on Friday that she will not enter the open US Senate primary, and won’t even seek re-election to the House. Rep. Spartz had previously confirmed that a Senate race was under consideration, but she was not viewed as a particularly strong potential candidate. The surprise decision, however, was her saying that she will retire completely from elective politics when her current term ends. The Congresswoman said she has teenage daughters who need her guidance at home.
Indiana’s post-redistricting 5th CD is securely in the Republican column. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+22, and Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 57R – 40D. The major population centers are the communities of Fishers, Muncie, Noblesville, and Kokomo.
The Spartz retirement decision means six seats will already be open in the 2024 election cycle. Aside from the Indiana Congresswoman leaving the House, Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Katie Porter (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jim Banks (R-IN), and Alex Mooney (R-WV), have all formally announced their intentions to run for the Senate.
North Carolina: State Supreme Court will Reconsider Election Rulings: In a continuing game of political football between what was the Democratic controlled state Supreme Court and the Republican legislature, the new Supreme Court voted to reconsider two election-oriented decisions that the previous panel rendered at the end of its tenure in January. The previous court, a 4D-3R majority, struck down the North Carolina state Senate map as a partisan gerrymander, and determined the state’s voter ID law is unconstitutional. The new court, a 5R-2D majority, will now reconsider each of those rulings.
North Carolina redistricting has been a decade-long battle between the state Supreme Court and the legislature. In the Tar Heel State, the Governor has no veto power over redistricting. Now that the high court is in Republican hands, it is likely the justices will interpret the laws closer to what the Republican majority in the legislature has repeatedly enacted. This, and the US Supreme Court hearing the North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case, is likely to soon stabilize the NC redistricting and election law situation.
The Rundown Blog
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