The Supreme Court issued the rulings on the Maryland and North Carolina redistricting cases, which dictates that partisan gerrymandering is not an issue for the federal courts. The high court ruling stated that the legislatures and Governors, for the most part, have sole authority to draw the district boundaries.
In a blow to the Administration, and most likely the Republicans, the court also returned to the federal district court the census citizenship case. The majority opted to send the case for further investigation to determine the motive behind the Commerce Department decision to include the citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire. The court did affirm the government’s authority to add such a question to the census main document but will allow the lower court to determine if the reason to do so was tainted.
For the second time in two days, President Trump issued an early primary endorsement, and this time for North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R). The first-term Senator has primary opposition from wealthy venture capitalist Garland Tucker who has been attacking Tillis as not being strongly pro-Trump. Therefore, the President’s public support should go a long way toward helping Sen. Tillis win re-nomination before he faces what should be a competitive general election.
While it appears a certainty that Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval (D), who lost to Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), 51-47%, will not return for a re-match, two Democrats came forward yesterday to announce their candidacies.
Kate Schroder, a Vice President for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which is affiliated with the Clinton Foundation, sent communications to associates saying she is resigning her position to run for Congress. Also, yesterday, engineer and Air Force Iraq War veteran Nikki Foster said she will be entering the Democratic congressional primary.
Coming off a tough 2018 race that he won when most Republican incumbents in competitive races were losing, Rep. Chabot will be rated as the favorite to again hold the seat next year.
State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids) announced yesterday that she is joining the Republican primary to challenge Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township), who is the only member of the GOP conference to call for President Trump’s impeachment. Also in the race is state Rep. Jim Lower (R-Greenville) and ex-Sand Lake Village President Tom Norton. Without a run-off under Michigan election law, the more candidates opposing Amash, the easier it will be for the incumbent to win with just a base plurality vote.
Two weeks ago, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville conducted an internal Moore Information poll that projected him as the Republican primary leader. Now, we see independent Cygnal polling confirming that result.
In their new survey (6/22-23; 612 AL likely Republican primary voters) Mr. Tuberville leads Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile), 29-21%. Following is former state Supreme Court Chief Justice and 2017 US Senate nominee Roy Moore with 13%, with newly announced candidate John Merrill, the current Secretary of State, posting 12% support. The eventual winner faces Sen. Doug Jones (D) in the general election. The Alabama primary is March 3rd. If no candidate receives majority support a run-off between the top two finishers will be held on April 14th.
President Trump has involved himself early in the Arizona Senate race with a public endorsement yesterday of appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R). Many Republicans believe a divisive primary that McSally came through in 2018 put her in a difficult position for the general election, and in large part is the reason she fell to now-Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D). Mr. Trump’s involvement in the race is designed to help unite the Republicans around McSally so that another counterproductive primary is avoided.
The Democrats, likewise, are coalescing around their leading candidate, retired astronaut Mark Kelly.
The Supreme Court has been considering two major redistricting cases and another that pertains to whether the government can include the citizenship question on the 2020 census. Since tomorrow has been announced as the last day of the current session, all three of these rulings will be released this morning.
The North Carolina and Maryland cases could result in those states having to redraw their congressional boundaries, which could set the parameters for other states doing the same.
A new Chism Strategies survey of Mississippi Democrats for Millsaps College (6/20-21; 523 MS likely voters) finds former Vice President Joe Biden with a better than 7-fold lead over his next closest competitor. According to the Chism results, Mr. Biden has 50% support among the Democratic sample as compared to 7% for both Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Following is Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 5% and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with only 2% support. All others tally 1% or less.
As expected for the past several weeks, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill joined the Republican field of US Senate candidates hoping to win the party nomination to oppose Sen. Doug Jones (D). Mr. Merrill, the only current statewide elected official of the challenging group, will face US Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile), former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice and 2017 Senate nominee Roy Moore, and state Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Shelby County).
In terms of determining the Senate majority in the next election, this race could be the most important. Should the Republicans take this seat back and move their majority number to 54, it will become very difficult for the Democrats to convert enough GOP seats to establish their own new majority.
Speculation coming from central Pennsylvania suggests that state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will announce his congressional candidacy within or around the July 4th holiday break. Mr. DePasquale is ineligible to seek re-election to his statewide position and will be a formidable opponent for Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg). The court-mandated 2018 redistricting plan drastically changed this York-Harrisburg anchored seat from a safe Republican CD to a politically marginal district. Mr. Perry was re-elected last November against first-time candidate George Scott (D) with a 51-49% majority, and another close finish against Mr. DePasquale will be projected.
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