Maine US Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-North Haven/ Portland) says she “doubts” that she or her daughter, former state House Speaker Hannah Pingree (D), will challenge Sen. Susan Collins (R) next year. In addition to Rep. Pingree’s comments, neither woman appears to be constructing a statewide campaign nor raising money to support such an operation. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had hoped to recruit either Pingree into the 2020 race.
The DSCC leadership also made overtures to freshman Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston). With the Congressman declaring for re-election last week, it appears none of the party’s top three choices will enter the race. At this point, Sen. Collins appears in strong position for re-election.
The idea that ex-US Rep. Karen Handel (R), a former Secretary of State and Georgia gubernatorial candidate, would get a free ride for a re-match nomination against Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) is now an official pipe dream. After state Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) declared his candidacy even before Ms. Handel decided to run, we now see a Navy and Merchant Marine veteran coming forth. Yesterday, Nicole Rodden, who will be a first-time candidate, made public her intention to run.
Ms. McBath unseated then-Rep. Handel, by one percentage point, or 3,264 votes from more than 317,000 ballots cast. We can now expect a competitive Republican primary to ensue as well as a tough general election contest.
Reports from a local Montana news service are indicating that Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Bozeman) will soon announce his gubernatorial candidacy. Mr. Gianforte was the Republican nominee for Governor in 2016, losing to incumbent Gov. Steve Bullock (D), 50-46%. He since won a special US House election in 2017, and re-election to a full term in 2018. Already in the open race are Attorney General Tim Fox (R) and Secretary of State Corey Stapleton (R).
Rep. Gianforte’s House election percentages were both rather tepid: 50-44% in the special election, and 51-46% in the 2018 regular election, which may not bode well for him in a contested Republican primary. By contrast, President Trump racked up a 56-36% victory here in 2016, and Sen. Steve Daines (R) won his first term in 2014 with a 58-40% margin. Gov. Bullock, now an official presidential candidate, is ineligible to seek a third term.
Three-term New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is wasting no time declaring his next political move. Yesterday, the Governor said he will run for a fourth term in 2022. If successful, Mr. Cuomo will achieve a political mark that alluded his father. Republican George Pataki defeated then-Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) when the latter man ran for his fourth term in 1994.
The Club for Growth organization is making it clear they would like to see Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro) challenge North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis in next year’s Republican primary. The Club sponsored a new WPA Intelligence poll (5/19-21; 502 NC likely Republican primary voters) that finds Sen. Tillis below majority support in a GOP primary, but well over the minimum 30% threshold needed to win the party nomination.
According to WPA, Sen. Tillis would lead Rep. Walker and wealthy businessman Garland Tucker, who announced his Senate campaign earlier this month, 40-17-11%. When push questions are added, Walker’s standing greatly increases to the point where he leads the primary field.
Sen. Tillis’ favorability index is only 45:30% positive to negative among the Republican sample. For his part, Rep. Walker indicates that he is not planning to run for the Senate but says he’s “humbled to have the support and consideration of conservatives across North Carolina.” This response yields a much different tone then the clear “no” he gave last month.
At the end of last week, the US Supreme Court granted the Republicans’ motion to stay redistricting orders in Michigan and Ohio that would have forced the legislature to re-draw the respective states’ congressional maps before the 2020 election. The move could be a prelude to three important high court rulings scheduled for release at some point in June: those on the Maryland and North Carolina redistricting cases, and the constitutionality of including a citizenship question on the upcoming census questionnaire.
Former state Sen. Eric Brakey (R), who challenged Sen. Angus King (I) last year and lost 53-35%, is expressing interest in opposing freshman Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) in 2020. He also plans to meet with former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R), who has not yet decided whether he will run again. Mr. Brakey indicated that he did not envision a scenario where he and Mr. Poliquin would oppose each other for the Republican nomination.
Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) is drawing a primary challenge from his political left. Former Wall Street regulator Ihssane Leckey announced at the beginning of the holiday weekend that she would run against the four-term legacy Congressman and criticized his remark that we should be striving for “moral capitalism.” Ms. Lecky is running as a Democratic Socialist.
It is unlikely that she will be able to deny Rep. Kennedy re-nomination, but the contest may be worth watching.
Wealthy businessman and Vice Chairman of the Mississippi Lottery Board Gerard Gilbert said yesterday that he is considering challenging Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in next year’s Republican primary. So far, this race has been quiet after the Senator, appointed to serve the remainder of Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) final term in office after his resignation for health reasons, defeated former US Agriculture Secretary and ex-Mississippi Congressman Mike Espy (D) in a 54-46% special election victory last November.
Mega GOP donor Foster Friess, who finished second in the 2018 open Wyoming Governor’s primary losing 33-26% to now-Gov. Mark Gordon (R), is quoted as saying he is considering entering the open US Senate race now that incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi (R) is retiring. All political eyes, however, are still on at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) to see if she will announce for the Senate.
The Rundown Blog
Learn more about the candidates running in key elections across the United States.