President – 5/31/23
Chris Christie: Ex-New Jersey Gov Making Moves to Enter Pres Race: Published reports are indicating that allies of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) are forming a Super PAC to aid his budding presidential efforts. After the PAC is formed, it is believed Mr. Christie will enter the race within the next two weeks, thus bringing the field to at least seven candidates with another four likely to step forward.
Polling suggests, however, that regardless of the number of entries, only two, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, consistently break into double digits. It is also clear, just as it was in 2016, that the large field helps Mr. Trump since he has the strongest base within the Republican primary voter universe.
Senate – 5/31/23
Ohio: Rep. Davidson Won’t Run for Senate: Citing the closeness of the House Republican majority through the next election, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy) announced yesterday that he will not join the US Senate race to oppose incumbent Sherrod Brown (D) but will seek re-election to his 8th District House seat. Mr. Davidson was first elected in a 2016 special election to replace former House Speaker John Boehner (R).
Though it appeared that Rep. Davidson was preparing to enter the race, he said his decision not to do so was based upon the amount of time that a statewide campaign would take away from his House duties. In the Senate race are state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), a 2022 Senate candidate who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball Club, and businessman Bernie Moreno, who Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance endorsed last week. Expected to join the campaign next month is GOP Secretary of State Frank LaRose. The Ohio Senate race promises to be one of the most competitive in the nation.
West Virginia: New Poll: Manchin Way Behind: East Carolina University released the results of their new West Virginia political poll (5/22-23; 957 WV registered voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; online) and the ballot test results post Gov. Jim Justice to a major 54-32% lead over Sen. Joe Manchin (D). If Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) were to win the Republican nomination, he would fall into a toss-up battle with Sen. Manchin, leading 42-41% according to this survey.
If these polling results continue, Sen. Manchin may find that running for President on the No Labels Party ticket may be his best political option.
House – 5/31/23
UT-2: Rep. Chris Stewart Prepares to Resign: Six-term Utah US Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington), who at one time was thought to be interested in launching a gubernatorial or US Senate campaign, is reportedly preparing to resign from the House possibly by the end of this week. Mr. Stewart’s wife’s ongoing health situation is the reason he will be leaving his position.
Gov. Spencer Cox (R) will set the special primary and general election calendar within seven days of Rep. Stewart officially resigning. The 2nd District political parties will first meet in a special district convention to select a candidate. The individual candidate eventually receiving majority support from the voting delegates will advance into the primary. Other candidates may petition onto the ballot. A general election will then follow. It is probable the special general will be held November 7, 2023, concurrently with municipal election in the state.
President – 5/30/23
California: New GOP Primary Data Shows Big Change: The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Government Studies surveyed the California electorate and found a major change from their February poll. This new survey (5/11-17; 7,465 CA registered voters; 1,853 registered Republicans; online) projects former President Donald Trump moving into a big lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which is a marked change from February when the reverse was true.
According to the ballot test results, Mr. Trump holds a 44-26% lead over Gov. DeSantis with no other candidate even reaching 5%. In February, Gov. DeSantis led 39-27%. The surprising data point is that both candidates still maintain very high favorability indexes from the California GOP electorate, unusual when one candidate has such a big lead. Mr. Trump holds a 74:23% favorable to unfavorable ratio while Gov. DeSantis registered 75:15%. It is important to remember, however, that California uses a congressional district delegate apportionment system, so the statewide numbers are less important than in other places.
Iowa: Trump Leading Big in New Poll: The latest Emerson College survey of Republican potential Iowa Caucus voters (5/19-22; 442 IA likely GOP caucus voters; multiple sampling techniques) gives former President Donald Trump a huge 62-20% advantage over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with no other candidate reaching 6%. It is important for DeSantis to do well in the early nomination events if he is to overtake Mr. Trump but starting this far behind makes his task all the more difficult.
Senate – 5/30/23
Pennsylvania: Mastriano’s Surprise Announcement: Despite signals to the contrary, state Senator and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano (R-Chambersburg/ Gettysburg) announced at the beginning of the weekend that he would not run for the US Senate and will instead seek re-election to his state Senate position. The move opens the door for 2022 Senate candidate and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick to run virtually unencumbered for the nomination, something that will be necessary in order to fully compete against Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D).
Though this allows the Republicans to field a stronger candidate than Mastriano, who was defeated 56-42% in the Governor’s race, Sen. Casey must still be viewed as the favorite to win re-election next year.
House – 5/30/23
AZ-3: Late Congressman’s Daughter Enters Race: Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor (D) announced that she will run for the open Phoenix anchored 3rd District, the seat her late father, Rep. Ed Pastor (D), represented for seven terms. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) currently represents the seat, but is leaving the House to run in the three-way contest for US Senate.
Along with Ms. Pastor, Osborn School Board Member Ylenia Aguilar, Phoenix City Councilwoman Yassiman Ansari, Glendale School Board Member Hector Jaramillo, and former state Senate Minority Leader Raquel Teran comprise the early Democratic primary. The 3rd District is heavily Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+44, so the battle to succeed Rep. Gallego will be fought in the Democratic primary.
MN-2: New Candidates Coming Forth: In the last two election cycles, Republicans fielded USMC Reserve Officer Tyler Kistner as their 2nd District congressional nominee, but he lost twice to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Prior Lake) by close margins: 48-46% in 2020, and 51-46% last November. Now, others are coming forward believing a fresh candidate would provide the GOP a better chance of upending Rep. Craig.
Originally, former Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy (R) announced his candidacy and now Attorney Tayler Rahm joins the field. Apparently, Mr. Kistner has not ruled out making a third run against Rep. Craig, but he has also made no discernible move to enter the race. Regardless of what happens in the Republican nominating convention and/or primary election, Rep. Craig will be favored for re-election.
Senate – 5/26/23
Arizona: Robson Won’t Run: Former University of Arizona Regent Karrin Taylor Robson (R), who lost a 48-43% gubernatorial Republican primary to Kari Lake in 2022, announced yesterday that she would not enter what will be a three-way Senate race among the eventual GOP nominee, Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and who appears to be a consensus Democratic candidate, US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix). Ms. Lake is a likely GOP Senate candidate.
The Arizona race continues to evolve as possibly the most interesting campaign in the election cycle considering it yields a three-way contest where each of the major candidates, Sen. Sinema, Rep. Gallego, and the undetermined Republican will have a legitimate path to victory.
California: Second Poll Confirms First: A second California Senate poll released in consecutive days, this one from the University of California at Berkeley for the Los Angeles Times (5/17-22; 7,465 CA registered voters; 5,236 likely jungle primary voters; online), found similar results to Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Oakland) internal data from the FM3, Evitarus, and HIT Strategies research firms that was released on Wednesday.
Like in the Lee survey, Republican Eric Early is the jungle primary leader. The LA Times/UC survey finds him attracting 18% support, with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) close behind at 17%. Following are Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Ms. Lee who post 14 and 9%, respectively. The Lee poll found a 27-24-21-11% division in the same order but Mr. Early posting a larger margin.
Texas: First 2024 Senate Poll Released: Building upon Rep. Colin Allred’s (D-Dallas) US Senate announcement, the University of Texas at Tyler’s recent poll (5/10-21; 1,413 TX registered voters; live interview & online) finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leading his probable general election opponent, 42-37%. If Texas polling history remains constant in 2024, we can expect relatively close ballot tests reported throughout this campaign between the two-term incumbent and Rep. Allred, with Sen. Cruz in the end winning with a larger margin than forecast.
House – 5/26/23
AZ-6: Contested Dem Primary: The 2022 battle for Arizona’s southeastern politically marginal 6th Congressional District saw Republican Juan Ciscomani defeating then-state Sen. Kirsten Engel (D) by a tight 50.7 – 49.3% margin. Ms. Engel is returning for a re-match, but she will not have a clean primary.
Already, two Democrats have announced their candidacies, one just this week. Previously, former local school board member Vieri Tenuta declared for the seat. Now, business consultant and non-profit organization executive Jack O’Donnell has also entered the Democratic primary. The nature of the district suggests another close general election battle, but the contested August primary will likely help Rep. Ciscomani better position himself for the November election.
DE-AL: Preliminary Moves Being Made: Though at-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) has yet to say she will run to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Carper (D), already we see four state legislators beginning to position themselves to run for what they believe will be an open US House seat. State Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend (D-Newark), Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman (D-Wilmington), Senator and former Obama White House aide Sarah McBride (D-Wilmington), and state Rep. Kerri Evelyn Harris (D-Dover) are all considered potential federal candidates.
President – 5/25/23
Gov. Ron DeSantis: Officially Declared: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis formally made his long-awaited presidential announcement yesterday in a technically flawed Twitter interview with Elon Musk. Simultaneously, the Never Back Down Super PAC, an organization supporting Mr. DeSantis, said they are planning to recruit an operation of 2,600 people to visit targeted homes of voters in the key early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Therefore, with other candidates soon to announce, the slow developing 2024 presidential campaign finally looks to be getting underway in earnest.
Senate – 5/25/23
Nevada: Another Takes Pass: April Becker, the Republican congressional nominee who held Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) to a 52-48% re-election victory last November and was reported to be considering entering the 2024 US Senate race, has made a decision about her political future. Instead of running for the Senate next year, she will launch a campaign for the Clark County Commission. At this point, it appears that disabled American veteran Sam Brown could become the leading GOP Senate candidate.
California: Rep. Lee Releases New Poll: California US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) released the results of a three-pollster conglomeration that included 1,380 California likely voters mostly via live interview with some text responses over the May 13-21 period. The three involved polling firms were FM3, Evitarus, and HIT Strategies.
For the first time in a statewide open US Senate poll, a Republican candidate, former Attorney General contender Eric Early was added to the questionnaire. With a split among the three Democratic House members of Reps. Lee, Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Mr. Early placed first in this comprehensive jungle primary survey with a preference figure of 27%. Reps. Porter, Schiff, and Lee followed with 24, 21, and 11%, respectively.
The result is interesting in that the ballot test result suggests a Republican could well advance into the general election with two of the Dem House members eliminated from the competition. Clearly, this jungle primary will be another of the most interesting races we will see on the March 5th Super Tuesday election calendar.
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