CA-50: Rep. Hunter Up
A new Tulchin Research survey (7/17-23; 400 CA-50 likely voters) tested Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine/San Diego) opposite the poll sponsor and Democratic nominee Ammar Campa-Najjar. Because the FBI is investigating congressman Hunter, and has been for well over a year, there is a sense of potential vulnerability surrounding the three-term southern California Congressman despite the 50th District being safely Republican.
According to the Tulchin data, Mr. Hunter leads Campa-Najjar, 51-42%, well beyond the margin of error. Such could obviously change, and particularly so if actual charges are filed against him for campaign finance violations. Without legal problems, this poll suggests that Congressman Hunter will again be re-elected in this seat that his father, Rep. Duncan L. Hunter (R-Coronado), held for 28 years. The 50th District covers much of the San Diego County rural and agricultural region along with a sliver of Riverside County. President Trump scored a 55-40% victory here in 2016, making this his third best California district.
TN-8: Trump Support a Boost
Freshman Tennessee Representative David Kustoff (R-Germantown) is in a fight for re-nomination in this Thursday’s Republican primary. He again faces local physician and former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, who has the financial wherewithal to spend heavily on his political campaigns. In the 2016 open Republican primary that featured 13 candidates, Mr. Kustoff was nominated with only 27% of the vote topping Mr. Flinn’s 23%, which allowed him to finish second. Now, in his fourth run for a congressional seat, Mr. Flinn is forcing a re-match.
This weekend President Trump decided to involve himself in the race and endorsed Congressman Kustoff. This could have a significant effect on the western Tennessee district since the President captured 66% of the vote here in the 2016 general election. The 8th District primary will be one of the many interesting races on the Tennessee primary ballot come this Thursday.
FL-16: Rep. Buchanan With Edge
A new St. Pete Polls automated study (7/28; 681 FL-16 likely voters via automated response device) finds six-term Congressman Vern Buchanan leading attorney David Shapiro, his probable Democratic opponent, by a ten-point margin, 44-34%. The 16th district is a reliable Gulf coast Republican seat, but the GOP did lose a key special state Senate election with in the district confines earlier in the year. Therefore, this gives Democrats hope that they can build upon such success and seriously challenge Mr. Buchanan in the fall. The St. Pete data again suggests that the Congressman is in relatively strong political shape, and having millions of dollars at his personal disposal means he will never be without the resources to adequately communicate his political message in order to drive Republican turnout.
MA-7: Pressley Endorsed
Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is challenging 20-year incumbent Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) in the September 4th Democratic primary. Yesterday, she earned a high profile endorsement from Attorney General Maura Healey, the first prominent Massachusetts Democratic elected official to make such a political statement. Most of the other leaders are backing Congressman Capuano.
Curiously however, the state’s two Democratic Senators, Elizabeth Warren, who is also standing for re-election this year, and Ed Markey, are both remaining neutral in the race despite serving with Capuano over his entire career in the case of Sen. Markey. Ms. Pressley is an at-large member of the Boston city Council, and was a top vote getter in her last citywide election. The primary challenge is a serious one, but Mr. Capuano remains the favorite for re-nomination and re-election.
Kansas: Challenging Gov. Colyer
Before the announcement that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) would become the US Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom, several Republicans had declared for what, at the time, was an open seat. Upon confirmation to his federal position, Gov. Brownback will resign and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will ascend to the Governorship. Though Mr. Colyer had not yet announced his gubernatorial campaign, it is presumed that he will become a candidate.
Now, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, prominent oil businessman Wink Hartman, former state Sen. Jim Barnett, and former state Rep. Ed O’Malley, all active GOP gubernatorial candidates, must make a decision about presumably running against a new incumbent. According to Secretary Kobach, who is Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, believes Mr. Colyer becoming Governor does not “fundamentally change the dynamic of the 2018 race.”
Mr. Colyer will become the fourth Lt. Governor to ascend to the Governorship since the beginning of this year. He will join Henry McMaster (R-SC), Kim Reynolds (R-IA), and Kay Ivey (R-AL), all who have previously taken over their respective top state job.
IL-6: Rare Poll
Victory Communications conducted an independent survey of the hotly contested 6th Congressional District campaign (7/23-25; 600 IL-6 likely general election voters) and found 12-year incumbent Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) leading businessman and climate change activist Sean Casteel (D) in the Chicago suburban area campaign. The poll finds 44% of the respondents supporting Rep. Roskam, while 37% back Democratic challenger Casteel. The Congressman’s personal favorability index ratio was recorded at 47:37% positive to negative.
Michigan: Trump Endorses
In the close Michigan US Senate Republican primary contest, President Trump announced his official support for retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James, as he battles venture capitalist Sandy Pensler for the party nomination. Polls have projected a tight race, so the Trump endorsement could make a significant difference in the final totals. The winner faces an uphill climb against three-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D). The Wolverine State primary is scheduled for August 7th.
Despite Gov. Bill Haslam (R) asking for out-of-state political leaders to stay out of the Republican gubernatorial primary, Vice President Mike Pence made clear his support of US Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin), and issued a formal endorsement. The Tennessee race began with four first-tier candidates, but the contest realistically appears to be coming down to a battle between Rep. Black and businessman and former state Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd. The Tennessee primary is scheduled for this coming Thursday, August 2nd.
Kansas: Gov. Colyer Trailing
A new JMC Analytics survey (7/24-26; 500 KS likely Republican primary voters, including some who have already cast early ballots) finds new Gov. Jeff Colyer trailing Secretary of State Kris Kobach as the candidates enter the last full week of campaigning before the August 7 primary election. According to the poll, Mr. Kobach has opened a 34-25-11-8% GOP primary advantage over Gov. Colyer, former state Sen. Jim Barnett, and state Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, respectively. Gov. Colyer, originally elected Lt. Governor, ascended to the state’s top position in January when then-incumbent Sam Brownback (R) resigned to accept a position in the Trump Administration.
Florida: New Data; Same Story
The Florida Senate race, one of the top campaigns in the country, has been bouncing back and forth between three-term incumbent Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R). Though the Sunshine State primary isn’t until August 28th, it is a foregone conclusion that both men will advance to the general election.
A new Florida Atlantic University survey was just released (7/20-21; 800 FL registered voters) and it finds Gov. Scott leading Sen. Nelson, 44-40%, which, interestingly, is the same result they found from their May statewide poll. Gov. Scott also led substantially on job approval ratings in the current poll. According to the data, by a ratio of 50:32%, voters approve of the Governor’s job performance. Conversely, Sen. Nelson’s approval ratio is much lower at 37:32%.
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