Missouri: Ex-Governor Won’t Run
Former two-term Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D), who also was elected four times as the state’s Attorney General after serving in the state Senate, said yesterday that he would not enter the 2022 US Senate campaign. Democrats have been attempting to attract a big-name candidate for the open race but have so far been unsuccessful. In addition to Mr. Nixon saying no, ex-US Senator Claire McCaskill, and State Auditor and 2020 gubernatorial nominee Nicole Galloway have also declined to run.
The Nixon decision continues to leave former St. Louis area state Senator Scott Sifton as the Democrats’ current top contender.
For the Republicans, resigned Governor Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) are the top tier candidates.
NH-1: Another Attempt
Reports are surfacing in New Hampshire that 2020 1st District Republican congressional nominee Matt Mowers, who held Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) to a 51-46% victory in a district that has only re-elected its incumbent three times since the 2002 election, will return for another run next year and will formally announce his intentions in September.
Republicans control the redistricting process in the state and are looking to make the 1st District more favorable for a Republican while conceding the 2nd District to Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Concord). If this happens, Rep. Pappas may forego a re-election run and move toward what most believe will be an open Governor’s race when incumbent Chris Sununu (R) enters the US Senate race.
SD-AL: Rep. Johnson’s Right Flank
Three-term state Rep. Taffy Howard (R-Rapid City) is in the early stages of launching a statewide primary challenge against at-large two-term Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-Mitchell). Ms. Howard, a strong Trump supporter, will be attacking the Congressman from his political right.
In his first re-election, Rep. Johnson faced only a Libertarian Party opponent and secured an 81% victory. In the Republican primary, the Congressman was re-nominated with 77% of the vote, thus making him a very difficult 2022 target. Rep. Johnson remains a prohibitive favorite for re-nomination and re-election.
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), who once worked on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff, confirmed that she is considering opposing the three-term incumbent in the 2022 Democratic primary. With the impeachment proceedings against Mr. Cuomo lagging and likely will not come to conclusion, the election will be the real test if the embattled state chief executive is to run for and win a fourth consecutive term in office. For the Republicans, US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is already the officially endorsed Republican candidate but has primary opposition, nonetheless.
Despite the new Alaska election law that allows four individuals to advance from the next Alaska statewide primary, thus virtually guaranteeing at least one Democrat will qualify for the general election, none have yet come forward to announce for the Senate race. This, in the face of incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski posting very poor approval ratings within her own party and faring badly in early ballot test polling.
Yesterday, state Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) confirmed that she is considering entering the US Senate race. Most are awaiting whether 2020 Independent/Democratic nominee Al Gross will again emerge, but at this point he has yet to portend any indication of forming a new campaign. Dr. Gross raised over $19.5 million in his campaign against Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) but lost the race 54-41% after polling much closer.
The Roll Call Capitol Hill newspaper reported yesterday that sources close to Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) indicate that the Congressman will enter the open US Senate race sometime in August. Rep. Lamb escaped a tough challenge from Republican Sean Parnell in 2018 – Mr. Parnell is also in the Senate race – and his future in the House is uncertain with Pennsylvania losing another congressional seat, which is likely to come from western PA.
Should Mr. Lamb enter, he would face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has already raised more than $6.5 million, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), among others likely to join. Arguably, this open seat is the Democrats’ top national conversion opportunity, the outcome of which could dictate the next Senate majority. Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not seeking a third term.
NY-1: First Republican Enters
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has held New York’s 1st Congressional District for four terms but is leaving the House in the next election to launch a gubernatorial effort. Already, five Democrats have announced their congressional candidacies but, curiously, until yesterday no Republican had come forward for a seat that elects more Republicans than Democrats. Robert Cornicelli, chairman of the Smithtown Republican Party and a retired Army officer, formally announced his congressional candidacy. The open 1st District race is expected to be competitive.
State Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) ended wild political speculation saying yesterday that he will not challenge Gov. Henry McMaster in the 2022 Republican primary. Mr. McMaster assumed the Governorship in 2017 when then-Gov. Nikki Haley (R) was appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and then was elected in his own right in 2018. He is eligible to seek another four-year term under the state’s term limit law and plans to do so.
IA-1: The Anchor Battle is On
Freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion) is a former Cedar Rapids news reporter and anchor, as was her now likely general election opponent. State Rep. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha), as expected, announced yesterday that she will enter the 1st District congressional race in what promises to be a highly competitive contest.
The 1st District appeared as the most Democratic of Iowa’s seats when drawn in the 2011 redistricting plan, but it has performed in the opposite fashion. After former Rep. Rod Blum (R) won here in 2014, the seat has remained in Republican hands with the exception of Democrat Abby Finkenauer winning in 2018 but then losing to Ms. Hinson in the next election. Former President Trump carried the 1st in both of his campaigns by about a four percentage point margin each time.
TX-6: Ellzey Scores Upset Win
Texas state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie) again defied the political odds as he recorded a stronger vote than predicted and upset favored Susan Wright, widow of deceased north Texas Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington), in the double-Republican special runoff election with a 53-47% win last night in the state’s 6th District.
As also predicted, voter turnout was low: 38,994 voters as compared to 78,471 individuals who voted in the jungle primary contest. Such a result is not surprising since Democrats, with no candidate in the race, had little reason to participate.
Mr. Ellzey, considerably improving his election day performance and remaining strong in early voting particularly in Tarrant County, the district’s largest population sector, was able to convert the final result from a predicted loss into a victory. In three of his four elections, Mr. Ellzey has out-performed analyst predictions. Upon his swearing into the House, the Republican Conference will grow to 212 members versus the majority Democrats’ 220.
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