Just before the weekend began, Maryland three-term Rep. John Delaney (D-Potomac) announced that he will run for President in 2020, and thus will not seek re-election next year. He had been considered a potential gubernatorial candidate but will not enter that race, either.
Rep. Delaney will vacate his likely Democratic Washington, DC suburban district for the long shot presidential effort, a campaign he is beginning right away. Since the Congressman maintains a fortune of well over $100 million, he does have the personal assets to at least begin a professional campaign and has his sites set on Iowa.
The open 6th District becomes the 17th seat such seat for 2018, seven of which are Democratic. Since Delaney had been speculated upon as a gubernatorial candidate, two Democratic state legislators, Majority Leader Bill Frick and state Del. Aruna Miller, had already been organizing their congressional campaigns. We can now expect more candidates to enter the contest. Democrats will be favored to hold the seat, but Delaney’s close call (50-48%) in 2014 gives Republicans some hope of becoming competitive here.
Last week a Delphi Analytica poll projecting entertainer Robert Ritchie, known as Kid Rock, as leading Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) attracted significant media attention, but the results did not appear credible. Now, the Trafalgar Group, which was the only survey research firm to correctly project Donald Trump winning both Pennsylvania and Michigan, as well as forecasting Republican Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff in the recently completed Georgia special election, finds Ritchie pulling into a dead heat with Sen. Stabenow.
According to the Trafalgar numbers (7/25-27; 1,078 MI likely voter respondents from more than 50,000 attempted contacts), Stabenow would lead Ritchie only 43-41%. When those professing to be “leaning” to one candidate or the other are added to the tally, Ritchie actually pulls ahead, 49-46%.
Last week, new Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant (R) announced that he had filed a gubernatorial committee but said he had not yet fully decided whether to run for Governor. Now, he has made such a decision. On Friday, Mr. Bryant announced that he will challenge new South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in next year’s Republican primary.
Mr. McMaster became Governor in late January when Nikki Haley was confirmed as US Ambassador to the United Nations and resigned her chief executive post. She had originally been elected Governor in 2010. Mr. McMaster, the state’s Lt. Governor, ascended to the Governor’s position. To replace him, the state legislature elected four-term state Sen. Bryant (R-Anderson) as Lt. Governor during the same time frame.
In addition to Mr. Bryant, former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill and state Labor Department Secretary Catherine Templeton are already in the Republican primary race. South Carolina hosts a June primary. If no candidate receives majority support in the partisan primary, the top two advance to a run-off election. The eventual Republican nominee will be favored to hold the Governorship in the 2018 general election.
A new Alabama special election US Senate survey conducted for the regional Raycom News Network (Research Strategies, Inc. (Mobile, AL); 7/24; 3,000 AL registered voters) stakes appointed Sen. Luther Strange to a two-point lead over former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, 35-33%. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) trails with 16%, but his advertising campaign is just now beginning for the stretch drive. With only two weeks remaining before the special primary election, it appears a September 26th run-off will be necessary, and, at this point, the likely participants will be Sen. Strange and former Chief Justice Moore.
But the biggest surprise finding comes on the Democratic side. There, Naval Academy graduate and retired officer Robert Kennedy Jr., has opened up a surprising 49-28% advantage over Birmingham former US Attorney Doug Jones. Since these are the two most prominent Democratic candidates, the chances of one obtaining majority support on August 15th is much higher than for Republicans. Should this occur, the primary winner automatically advances into the December 12th general election contest.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D) confirmed yesterday that he will seek re-election next year. Most indications were that he would run for another term, but unconfirmed speculation did abound that he also might retire. Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-Huntington) oppose each other in what will become a heated primary battle for the Republican nomination.
Former state House Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer may be successfully lining up the Democratic establishment behind her gubernatorial candidacy, but two primary opponents are bringing substantial financial assets to the political table. According to recently released financial disclosure reports, Ms. Whitmer has raised $1.5 million for her campaign to-date, holding over $1.1 million cash-on-hand. But, businessman Shri Thanedar has partially self-funded to the point of having more than $3.5 million in the bank. Former Detroit Health Department director Abdul El-Sayed also raised over $1 million, with $644,000 remaining in his account.
No major statewide Republican candidate has yet stepped forward, but Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Attorney General and former US Congressman Bill Schuette are primed to soon do so.
As had been expected, businessman Kevin Nicholson (R) announced his candidacy for US Senate earlier in the week. Mr. Nicholson has strong financial donor ties as evidenced by a Super PAC already organized to promote his candidacy. More than $3.5 million has been raised for the entity, largely from one mega-donor.
Mr. Nicholson becomes the first credible candidate to enter the Wisconsin Senate race. Venture capitalist and former US Senate candidate Eric Hovde and state Senate President Scott Fitzgerald remain as potential Republican candidates. Sen. Baldwin was first elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving seven terms in the House. She defeated former four-term Gov. Tommy Thompson (R), 51-46%, to win the Senate seat five years ago.
Former state judge Mary Barzee Flores (D), who Sen. Marco Rubio (R) blocked from being confirmed to a federal judgeship during the Obama Administration, announced that she will enter the open seat South Florida race to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami). Ms. Flores becomes the seventh Democrat to declare her candidacy for the seat that may be the Democrats’ best national conversion opportunity. Some of the more notable Democratic candidates include state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, state Rep. David Richardson, Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell, and Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez. Former Miami-Dade County School Board member Raquel Regalado, the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro lead the Republican candidate contingent.
Yesterday, President Trump nominated Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) as the international US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, a position that recent legislation has greatly enhanced. Upon Gov. Brownback’s confirmation, he will resign the Governorship and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) will assume the state’s top job. The latter will then be able to run for a full term as the sitting incumbent. Mr. Colyer had not officially joined the Governor’s race, but was clearly planning to do so, and always understood that his chances of becoming the incumbent before the next election were actually quite high. This situation will continue to develop.
Just weeks before the August 15th special Republican congressional primary, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) weighed in with his endorsement. The Governor supports Provo Mayor John Curtis over the party endorsed candidate, Chris Herrod, and public relations executive Tanner Ainge, the son of Boston Celtics general manager and former Brigham Young University basketball star Danny Ainge. Both Messrs. Curtis and Ainge by-passed the state nominating convention, choosing to access the ballot through an arduous signature petition process. It is probable that the August 15th GOP primary winner will capture the seat in the November 7th special general election.
Physician Kathryn Allen secured the Democratic nomination in the March special convention. She has been an active fundraiser, attracting almost $680,000 through the end of June, with almost $500,000 cash-on-hand. Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Alpine/Sandy) resigned the seat to accept a position in the private sector.
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