New York: Ex-Rep. Zeldin’s Contemplation: Former Long Island US Congressman Lee Zeldin (R), who held Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to a highly competitive 53-47% statewide re-election victory in November, sees his name being bandied about for many potential positions. Some Republican leaders want him to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) next year, which would likely be a political suicide run in a presidential year from one of the Democrats’ strongest states, while others are talking up the possibility of him running for Suffolk County Executive.
This latter election will occur later this year and is an open race since Democratic incumbent Steve Bellone is ineligible to run for a third term. Considering Mr. Zeldin carried his home county by a 59-41% margin in the Governor’s race and represented Suffolk in Congress for eight years, he would clearly be the Republicans’ strongest candidate for such a position. At this point, Mr. Zeldin has been quiet about what future political plans, if any, he may be contemplating.
NY-3: Dems Positioning for Next Race: While the fate of beleaguered freshman US Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) continues as a daily media story, Democrats are beginning to position themselves for what could be a special election if Santos is eventually forced to resign or in next cycle’s regular election. Some local Democratic leaders are reportedly attempting to convince former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), to make a political comeback for his former position.
Mr. Suozzi left the House last year to make a head-scratching run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, a race he had scarcely little potential to win. So far, the former Congressman has been non-committal about a future District 3 race. On the other hand, the man who Rep. Santos defeated in November, George Zimmerman (D), is preparing for another run. Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan (D), who lost the congressional nomination to Mr. Zimmerman in 2022, has already announced that he will run for the seat in the next election.
Chicago: Poll Shows Five Competitive Candidates: There has been a lot of attention paid to the Chicago Mayor’s race because the incumbent is in trouble and the election is fast approaching, now less than a month away on February 28th.
A new Victory Research survey (1/23-25; 806 Chicago likely voters; live interview) finds former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a virtual tie at 19% support apiece. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) is a close third with 17%, while Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, and businessman Willie Wilson follow with 15 and 12%, respectively. This shows that two of these candidates will head to a runoff election on April 4th, but it remains unclear as to which pair will advance.
Republican National Committee: Ronna McDaniel Re-Elected: On Friday, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel was easily re-elected to her position, capturing 66% support among the 168 voting members. Former President Donald Trump originally appointed Ms. McDaniel and continued to support her through this election. California National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, who criticized McDaniel for the party losing touch with the grassroots and drew support from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, finished a distant second with 53 votes. My Pillow company founder Mike Lindell received four votes. Ms. McDaniel will serve through the 2024 presidential election.
California: Now, Rep. Schiff Announces: As the California US Senate race continues to ripen even though incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) says she will not decide about her own political plans “for a couple of months,” another Democratic candidate yesterday announced for the statewide position.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), a day after being stripped of his House Intelligence Committee position, officially entered the 2024 US Senate contest that will first begin with a March jungle primary election. Fellow southern California Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) was the first to officially enter, doing so in the early part of this month. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) is reportedly telling supporters that she, too, will enter the Senate race. Her fellow San Francisco Bay Area colleague, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont), says he will assess the political situation after Rep. Lee makes a decision.
Rep. Schiff says he talks to Sen. Feinstein frequently and “has her blessing” to run, though he did confirm that such a statement does not mean she is endorsing his candidacy. It is presumed that two Democrats will advance to the general election, but such did not happen in the 2022 Governor’s race. Therefore, the March 5, 2024 Super Tuesday California primary will feature much more intrigue than just what happens in the presidential contest.
Kentucky: Gov. Beshear (D) in Strong Polling Shape: Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy just released a survey of the impending Kentucky Governor’s race (1/18-23; 625 KY registered voters; 404 KY likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and the data finds Gov. Andy Beshear (D) with high approval ratings and recording sizable leads against all potential Republican opponents. M-D projects the Governor’s job approval ratio 61:29% favorable to unfavorable, certainly in the top tier when compared with other state chief executives.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron has developed a big lead in the Republican primary according to the poll, topping former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft, state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, and state Auditor Mike Harmon by a 39-13-8-5% count.
Gov. Beshear enjoys lead of at least 19 points over the latter three Republicans, but a much closer 49-40% divide against AG Cameron. It is likely this race will close before election day, but the incumbent Governor is clearly beginning his re-election drive in the favorite’s position.
Mississippi: Sec of State Watson Says No: It appears what could have been a major 2023 Republican primary challenge for Gov. Tate Reeves later this year probably won’t materialize. Yesterday, Secretary of State Michael Watson (R), who was publicly contemplating a gubernatorial run, said that he will not challenge the incumbent. With the candidate filing deadline scheduled for February 1st, it is unlikely now that a major GOP player will come forward.
Dr. John Witcher, who is an anti-Covid vaccination physician, formally declared his candidacy earlier this week but is not expected to become a strong challenger. Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr. (R), who ran against Mr. Reeves four years ago, is still a potential candidate, however.
Arizona: Republicans Court Sen. Sinema: Reports suggest that Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is leading the group of GOP Senators who are attempting to convince newly Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to join the GOP caucus. If successful, the Republicans would then draw even with the Democrats in that both parties would have 50 Senators. The main benefit for the GOP would be neutralizing the Democratic advantage on all committees since the Sinema move would force committee membership parity, just as was the case in the last Congress.
It is unlikely that Sen. Sinema will coalesce with the Republicans, however. From a re-election standpoint, her best position would be running as an Independent in a three-way general election. An inability to clinch renomination in the Democratic Party primary was one reason she bolted, but winning a GOP nomination would likely be just as difficult. Therefore, cobbling together an Independent coalition that can reach a plurality figure of 35% with a Democratic and Republican nominee almost splitting evenly the remaining votes is her best victory scenario. Count on the Arizona Senate race again becoming a major national campaign in 2024.
Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot Rebounds in New Poll: For the first time in this election cycle, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who had been trailing in every released poll since early December, has moved into the lead according to a just released GBAO survey as the nine candidates move toward a February 28th non-partisan primary election. If no contender receives majority support in that election, the top two finishers will advance to an April 4th runoff.
The GBAO poll conducted for the Lightfoot campaign (1/18-22; 800 likely Chicago municipal election voters; live interview & text) projects the Mayor to a 25-22-18-11-9% leading edge over former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), businessman Willie Wilson, and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, respectively. No other individual breaks the 2% support mark.
This is the first poll that fails to project Rep. Garcia as the leader, but he is just now beginning his advertising campaign. It appears a virtual certainty that no candidate will reach majority support in the first election, thus triggering the runoff. Should Rep. Garcia ultimately win the election, a special vote would then be scheduled to replace him in the US House.
Arizona: Rep. Gallego Officially Declares for Senate: As expected, five-term Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) yesterday announced his 2024 US Senate campaign saying he is not opposing incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) because “she abandoned the Democratic Party – it’s that she abandoned Arizona.” Rep. Gallego, who was long expected to be a Democratic Senate candidate long before Sen. Sinema switched her partisan allegiance in December, at this point sees no major intra-party opposition. US Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix), who would have been a top contender, on Friday said he would not enter the statewide contest.
The Arizona nomination system is long, and we are still more than a year away from the April 2024 candidate filing deadline, so much will happen in this Senate contest before the political dust settles. Should Sen. Sinema seek re-election, a legitimate three-way race among she, presumably Rep. Gallego on the Democratic line, and a Republican nominee would yield a race in which any of those three contenders, under the right circumstances, could win the general election.
The Rundown Blog
Learn more about the candidates running in key elections across the United States.