Five-term Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) announced on Friday that she will not seek a sixth term next year, releasing a statement that thanked her family and the people of the 2nd District for supporting her throughout the decade. Ms. Roby is the third GOP House member during the week to announce that their current congressional term will be their last. Reps. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) and Pete Olson (R-TX) also made their declarations last week.
Alabama’s 2nd District is safely Republican (Trump ’16: 65-33%; Romney ’12: 63-36%) so there is little chance of this becoming a competitive general election seat. But, we can expect a multi-candidate GOP primary to occur on March 3rd with a likely run-off between the top two finishers to follow on April 14th.
Businessman Garland Tucker, who is challenging Sen. Thom Tillis in the North Carolina Republican primary, released an internal campaign poll that shows a closing race. According to a Diversified Research survey taken earlier this month and now publicly released (7/8-9; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters), Sen. Tillis would maintain only a 40-30% lead over Mr. Tucker.
The Tucker campaign also reported that the survey found Sen. Tillis’ favorability index to only be 52:30% positive to negative among the tested Republican primary voters. Like three other states that have scheduled their primaries for March 3rd, North Carolina will also choose their full slate of nominees. So, this Senate primary challenge will have a rather short nomination cycle.
The Nevada Caucus, which is the third nomination event on the 2020 calendar and scheduled for Saturday, February 22nd, should become more prominent in this year’s campaign. If two different Democratic presidential candidates finish first in Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada will prove an interesting momentum springboard into the South Carolina primary, which is right before the March 3rd Super Tuesday voting. A total of 14 states and one territory, representing a combined total of 1,400 first ballot delegates, will hold their elections on the first Tuesday in March.
The Morning Consult firm just released their latest polling numbers for the Nevada Caucus, which came from their rolling national sample conducted during the first three weeks of July. The 749 Nevada Democratic respondents give former Vice President Joe Biden a 29-23% lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) following with 12 and 11%, respectively. All other candidates landed in single digits.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton scored a relatively close victory over Sen. Sanders (Clinton 46%, Sanders 35%, Uncommitted Slate 19%) in the Nevada Caucus, but the event was marked with short tempers and various physical altercations at the main venue in Las Vegas.
Texas Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election to a seventh term next year thus yielding what will likely be a major open seat campaign. Though the district, covering parts of Ft. Bend, Brazoria, and Harris Counties and located south of Houston, has a Republican history, the region’s changing demographics make the area much more politically competitive.
Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni, who held Rep. Olson to a 51-46% victory in 2018 after spending more than $1.5 million, announced months ago that he would run again. He has two minor Democratic opponents. We can now expect a large Republican field to form as the potential participants decide to make their moves in response to Mr. Olson’s surprise announcement.
The central Nevada 4th District, created in the 2011 redistricting plan to cover the northern Las Vegas area and stretch to through the central part of the state, will again be very active in the 2020 election cycle. Yesterday, Nye County Commissioner Lee Blundo (R) joined the growing field of Republican candidates who will compete for the party nomination to challenge Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) next year. Five other Republicans, including former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant, are already in the race. Though clearly leaning Democratic, the 4th District has not yet re-elected any of its incumbents since created at the beginning of the decade as the state’s newly awarded seat.
Freshman Rep. Ross Spano (R-Dover/Lakeland) has drawn one opponent while another exits for a different race. Freshman state Rep. Adam Hattersley (D-Hillsborough County) formally announced his congressional campaign yesterday, prompting candidate Andrew Learned to leave the congressional campaign to instead compete for Hattersley’s open state House seat. Two minor candidates remain, but it is now likely that Messrs. Spano and Hattersley will battle for the congressional seat in the fall of 2020.
This area, just east of Tampa, has been in Republican hands since the Lakeland anchored congressional seat was created as the 12th District in the 1991 redistricting plan. During that span, Republicans Charles Canady, Adam Putnam, and Dennis Ross had all held the seat prior to Mr. Spano winning last November.
Katie Arrington, who lost what should be a safe Republican seat to freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston) after surviving a life-threatening car accident soon after winning nomination, will not return for a 2020 re-match. Yesterday, it was announced that Ms. Arrington has been appointed as the Pentagon’s Chief Information Security Officer, a position that re-locates her to the Washington, DC area. The major candidates in the congressional race, a contest that will certainly be a top national GOP challenger race, are state Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) and Beaufort County Councilman and entrepreneur Mike Covert.
Monmouth and Quinnipiac Universities released new state polls in places where we haven’t yet seen much data. Monmouth (7/18-22; 405 SC likely Democratic primary voters) tested the South Carolina electorate, site of the fourth nomination event scheduled for February 29th. Here, as we’re seeing in many of the tested southern states, former Vice President Joe Biden posts a substantial advantage, leading 39-12-10-9-5% over Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Quinnipiac released what may be the first poll of the Ohio electorate (7/17-22; 556 OH Democratic registered voters) in anticipation of this state’s March 10th primary, and also finds Mr. Biden enjoying a healthy lead. Here, the former VP registers 31% support followed by Sens. Sanders, Harris, Warren, and Mayor Buttigieg who record 14, 14, 13, and 6% preference, respectively.
As expected, Kansas state Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) officially joined the growing open Senate Republican candidate field yesterday. Ms. Wagle, who first entered the state legislature in 1991 and served as Senate President since 2013, had been indicating she would become a statewide candidate when the legislature recessed.
She joins recent candidates Kris Kobach, the former Secretary of State and gubernatorial nominee, and Kansas Turnpike Authority chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs football player Dave Lindstrom. State Treasurer Jake LaTurner announced his candidacy soon after Sen. Pat Roberts (R) made public his intention to retire. Former US Attorney Barry Grissom and ex-Rep. Nancy Boyda are the leading Democratic candidates.
Speculation still persists, however, that US Secretary of State and former Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo will also run for the Senate. The Kansas primary is not until August 4, 2020, with a candidate filing deadline not until June 1st so much time remains for the field to solidify.
Former Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-Miami), who lost his seat in November after serving two terms, clarified yesterday that he will not return for a 2020 re-match with freshman Rep. Debbie Murcasel-Powell (D-Miami). Instead, Mr. Curbelo confirmed that he is considering becoming a candidate in the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s race. Without Curbelo in the congressional field, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell is in much stronger position to win her first re-election campaign.
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