State Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) ended her US Senate campaign yesterday. State Republican Party chairman Mike Kuckelman last week had asked all candidates but Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) to leave the race in order not to split the vote. A crowded field situation theoretically would make it easier for former Secretary of State and failed 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach to therefore win the Senate nomination with plurality support.
The Kansas Senate race is an interesting one in that Democrats believe they can be competitive in what is normally a solid Republican domain if the GOP nominates Mr. Kobach. They successfully defeated Kobach in the 2018 gubernatorial election and polling suggests they would have a chance to repeat that performance in this year’s Senate race.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a new Kansas poll (5/17-19; 506 KS likely general election voters) pairing both Rep. Marshall and Mr. Kobach individually against consensus Democratic candidate Barbara Bollier, a party-switching state Senator who represents the Mission Hills area. The data finds Rep. Marshall leading Sen. Bollier, 46-35%, which is a typical range for a Kansas Senate race at this point in the election cycle. With Kris Kobach as the hypothetical nominee, the contest changes. He would hold only a slight 44-43% edge over Sen. Bollier, thus putting the seat in play during the general election.
A new entry into the polling scene, Victory Geek, released a new Maine Senate survey (5/13-18; 512 ME registered voters via interactive response device; 100 person Democratic voter over-sample) that finds former state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) opening up a larger lead over Sen. Susan Collins (R), 51-42%, while Democratic candidate Elizabeth Sweet only musters a one point edge. There is no question that Ms. Gideon will be the Democratic nominee, so the data pairing Ms. Sweet with Sen. Collins is largely irrelevant.
It’s difficult to analyze the viability of this poll since we have not previously seen Victory Geek’s work. While the population and political ratios look consistent with Maine population numbers and voting history, there is not enough past information from Victory Geek to determine their reliability factor. The idea that Sen. Collins is behind has become a recent pattern in recently released research, but whether such a trend holds for the long term remains to be seen.
The We Ask America research organization surveyed the Missouri electorate (5/26-27; 500 MO likely general election voters) and found Gov. Mike Parson (R), who ascended to the Governorship when elected incumbent Eric Greitens resigned two years ago, again posting favorable polling numbers. Against consensus Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nicole Galloway, the Missouri State Auditor, Gov. Parson again has a lead beyond the polling margin of error, 47-39 percent.
The Montana state Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling allowing county clerks to receive ballots after the June 2nd primary election so long as they are postmarked on Election Day. The ruling means the state returns to their long-held practice of requiring all ballots to be received by Election Day.
The HighGround Consulting firm poll (5/18-22; 400 AZ likely general election voters) released earlier this week that projected former Vice President Joe Biden to be running ahead of President Trump by less than two percentage points sees consensus Democratic candidate Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut, leading appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R), 51-41%. Polling has consistently shown Kelly with an advantage, and now his edge is regularly reported as being beyond the polling margin of error.
A new poll from the progressive left research firm Civiqs (5/23-26; 591 SC registered voters) sees Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) falling into a 42-42% tie with former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison, who has already raised over $15 million for his race.
Even in the poll analysis, however, the point is made that Sen. Graham is lagging a bit with Trump Republicans, a group in which he should be able to recover support. While the President maintains a ten-point advantage over Joe Biden within the overall sampling universe and has a 93% loyalty factor among Republicans, Sen. Graham commands only 78% support from the same partisan cell segment.
Perhaps Sen. Graham’s biggest negative, according to this poll, are his unfavorable approval ratings. His index is a poor 35:56% favorable to unfavorable, similar to former Vice President Biden’s 35:59%. Conversely, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) scores 48:30%, President Trump records a 51:47% ratio, and former UN Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) posts a 56:33% approval score. While the turnout model favors Sen. Graham in the general election, it is clear that this race is becoming more competitive.
More details about the congressional district convention to replace Director of US Intelligence John Ratcliffe as Texas’ 4th District Congressman are becoming public. The convention, scheduled for August 8th as previously reported, will only feature 158 voting precinct chairs from throughout the district’s 16 whole and two partial counties.
Candidates will be nominated at the convention, so there is no filing period. Therefore, various individuals announcing their candidacies carries no particular significance other than to inform the precinct chairmen they want to be considered for nomination. Additionally, the 158-voting number is set because a quirk in the party rules won’t allow the many vacant precinct slots to be filled prior to the vote.
Apparently, Democrats are weighing the option of filing a lawsuit to declare the convention process unconstitutional under the state of Texas. Doing so, and if successful, could mean the Republican Party would have no avenue of replacing Mr. Ratcliffe for the general election, meaning Democratic nominee Russell Foster, chosen in the March 3rd regular primary election vote, would face only Libertarian Party candidate Lou Antonelli in what is a 75% Trump district. Much remains to occur here before we see who emerges as Mr. Ratcliffe’s successor.
A Triton Polling and Research survey (5/18-26; 719 WV likely Republican primary voters) produces good news for West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, seeking re-election to a second term, but in his first run as a Republican. Mr. Justice was elected in 2016 as a Democrat but switched parties a year later.
The primary ballot test reports Gov. Justice pulling 53% support in anticipation of the June 9th primary as compared to ex-state Delegate Mike Folk at 15%, and former WV Commerce Department Secretary Woody Thrasher, who is running an active campaign and advertising on television, posting only 14% preference.
Y2 Analytics, polling for the Utah Policy Center and KUTV Channel 2, finds former NFL football player and Utah businessman Burgess Owens leading the Republican field for the June 30th primary election. The poll, however, has a high error rate of over 8% because the sample segment, 148 likely Republican primary voters drawn from a statewide general election sample of 1,099 Utah likely voters, is extremely small.
That being said, Mr. Owens, who had a long pro football career with the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, leads former radio talk show host Jay Mcfarland, state Rep. Kim Coleman (R-West Jordan), and banker Trent Christensen, 36-28-23-13%, respectively. The eventual Republican nominee faces freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City) in the general election.
President Trump’s nomination of former Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Heath/Rockwall) as Director of US Intelligence has led to a 4th Congressional District Republican Party convention gathering in early August to choose a replacement general election nominee. With four Republicans already running, including Rockwall City Councilman Trace Johannesen, Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt, yesterday, announced his own congressional candidacy. The 4th District is safely Republican, so whomever the convention delegates nominate will almost assuredly become the next Congressman.
The convention winner advances into the general election and then will take the seat in the next Congress. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has already announced that he will not call a special election to fill the balance of the current term.
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