North Carolina: Ex-Rep. Walker Stays
Ending speculation that he would switch to the new Republican leaning 7th Congressional District and withdraw from the North Carolina US Senate race, ex-US Rep. Mark Walker (R) again publicly reiterated that he will continue with his statewide campaign.
Polling shows him badly trailing both ex-Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance), but Mr. Walker is choosing to remain in the race. Political uncertainty reins in North Carolina since the congressional map is under litigation, but it is likely that some type of legal ruling will be rendered before the primary election. For the second time, the 2022 statewide primary has been moved and is now scheduled for June 7th to allow further time for the court proceedings.
Without formally announcing his candidacy, Jonathan Jackson (D), son of Rev. Jesse Jackson and brother to former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Chicago), has filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. It appears Mr. Jackson, a construction company owner, will attempt to succeed retiring Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago).
Should he file for the office before the March 14th deadline, Mr. Jackson will enter a crowded Democratic primary that already features 14 candidates, including Rep. Rush’s endorsed contender, Chicago-Cook County Workforce Partnership CEO Karin Norrington-Reaves. The Illinois primary is June 28th. The state has no runoff law, so the eventual party nominee - winning the Democratic nomination is tantamount to general election victory in the 1st District - will likely win with a low plurality percentage.
TX-38: Early Runaway
The new Texas 38th Congressional District located wholly within Harris County looks to be a cakewalk for one candidate according to a new poll. Mortgage company executive, Iraq War veteran, and 2020 congressional nominee Wesley Hunt (R) looks to have a chance to win a crowded primary outright. According to his internal Moore Information campaign poll (1/24-25; 400 TX-38 likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system), Mr. Hunt would reach 54% of the vote. His next closest GOP opponent, state Republican Party Committeeman Mark Ramsey has only 3% support. The entire Republican field consists of ten candidates.
The new 38th District is rated as a 60.7% Republican district via Dave’s Redistricting App. The FiveThirtyEight data site categorizes the new district as R+27. The 38th is one of two new seats Texas earned through reapportionment. The other, District 37, is fully contained within Travis County where Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) has chosen to seek re-election.
VA-7: Clearing Rep. Spanberger’s Path
Virginia US Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) fared poorly in redistricting, but at least her Democratic primary victory path is clearing. At the end of the week, both state Delegate and defeated Lt. Governor candidate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William County) and Prince William County School Board chairman Babur Lateef (D) announced they will end their congressional campaigns.
Originally, Rep. Spanberger had nowhere to run under the state Supreme Court’s special masters’ map. Before the high court adopted the final map - the newly constituted Virginia Redistricting Commission members failed to produce maps by the legal deadline, thus kicking the process to court - the 7th District was changed to add about a quarter of her current constituents to the new CD.
In the general election, the new 7th appears as a marginal political district: Dave’s Redistricting App rates it as a 52.3% Democratic seat, while the FiveThirtyEight data organization categorizes the seat as D+2. Under the current Virginia map, a much different 7th District is rated R+5. According to the Daily Kos Elections site, President Biden would have carried the new 7th with a 52-45% margin, but Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) also would have won here with 52% in his recent 2021 election.
Hawaii: Rep. Kahele Showing Interest
Aloha State freshman Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) confirmed in an interview yesterday that he is considering entering the open Governor’s race later this year. Saying he hears many of his constituents indicating that they are not happy with any of the candidates, Rep. Kahele, a former state Senator, retorted that he would contemplate becoming a candidate himself. In 2020, Mr. Kahele succeed then-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) after she left the House to run unsuccessfully for President.
Hawaii has a late election cycle. The candidate filing deadline isn’t until June 7th for the associated August 13th primary election. Gov. David Ige (D) is ineligible to seek a third term. Currently in the Democratic race are Lt. Gov. Josh Green, former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano, and ex-Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
WV-2: Democrat Enters
While Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) and Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) square off in a paired Republican primary, it is now apparent that the eventual victor of that battle will face Democratic opposition in the general election. Former Morgantown City Councilman Barry Lee Wendell announced yesterday that he will compete in the general election. The winning Republican nominee, however, will have a huge advantage for the November campaign. The FiveThirtyEight organization rates WV-2 as a R+34 district.
Kentucky: Candidates File
Kentucky became the second state to close candidate filing, and a total of 31 candidates are running for the House of Representatives. Rep. James Comer (R-Tompkinsville) draws just one Democratic opponent in the 1st CD. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green) will face two Republican primary opponents and two Democrats will compete for their 2nd District party nomination.
Rep. John Yarmuth’s (D-Louisville) retirement yields only two Democrats running to succeed him in what is a safe 3rd District for his party. State Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) and state Rep. Attica Scott (D-Louisville) will contend for the party nomination, which is tantamount to election in this district. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Garrison) has three Republican opponents, while Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) filed for a 22nd term against three Republicans and one Democrat. Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington), now with an enhanced Republican seat, will face one Republican primary opponent. Two Democrats fight for the right to face him. The five incumbents seeing re-election are all heavy favorites to win again later this year.
With candidate filing officially now closed, The Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy firm early this morning released the results of their new Kentucky statewide poll (1/19-22; 625 KY registered voters; live interview) and project Sen. Rand Paul (R) to be in strong position opposite his likely general election opponent, former state Rep. Charles Booker (D-Louisville).
The ballot test gave Sen. Paul a 55-39% lead, with him carrying every region of the state with the exception of the Louisville metro sector. He led among Republicans, 89-5%, drawing a 54-39% advantage among Independents, and picks up 22% of Democratic voters. In the 2020 US Senate primary, Mr. Booker came within three percentage points of winning the Democratic nomination.
Arizona: Close Race Brewing
The Data for Progress organization just released their major statewide poll in the Grand Canyon State of Arizona (1/21-24; 1,469 AZ likely general election voters; approximately 1/3 of which are likely Democratic primary voters; online & text). The DfP finds Sen. Mark Kelly (D) already falling into a tight battle with Attorney General Mark Brnovich, should the latter man win the GOP nomination. The ballot test found Sen. Kelly holding a slight 49-47% edge but with a falling personal approval rating now in negative territory, 46:49% favorable to unfavorable.
Regarding Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the poll finds deep trouble within her own Democratic Party, but she performs well among Republicans and breaks even with Independents in terms of job approval (20:76% among Democrats; 47:48% from Independents, but 66:26% among Republicans). In a preliminary 2024 Democratic primary pairing with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), however, she would trail by a whopping 16-74%.
TN-5: Rep. Jim Cooper (D) to Retire
On passage of the new Tennessee congressional redistricting map that would significantly change the Nashville area, veteran Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) quickly announced that he will not seek re-election later this year.
The redistricting plan now goes to Gov. Bill Lee (R), and he is expected to sign the legislation.
Mr. Cooper is serving his 16th term in the House, winning his first election from the state’s east/southeastern 4th District in 1982, which he represented until he ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 1994. He returned to the House from the Nashville district in 2002 when then-Rep. Bob Clement (D-Nashville) left the seat to challenge then-Sen. Fred Thompson (R), the same man who defeated Mr. Cooper in his statewide bid.
During his second tour of duty in the House, Rep. Cooper was not seriously challenged for re-election. It appeared he was preparing for a Democratic primary challenge this year, but such is moot now that the new 5th District becomes decidedly Republican. Rep. Cooper is the 29th Democrat not to seek re-election. Counting the Democratic and Republican retirements along with the new and created (through redistricting) open seats, the House will see a minimum of 50 new members coming into office at the beginning of 2023.
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