Iowa: Trump Again Well Below 50%: According to the new Selzer & Company poll for the Des Moines Register newspaper (10/22-26; 404 IA likely Republican Caucus attenders; live interview), former President Donald Trump is still enjoying a healthy lead over the Republican field, but his support level continues to become stagnant. According to this survey, he has 43% of the impending Iowa Caucus vote, scheduled for January 15, 2024. This is a one point increase from Selzer’s August survey. Tied for second place are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and ex-UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Both record 16% support.
The allegiance percentage is an increase of ten points since the August survey for Ms. Haley but a three point drop for Gov. DeSantis. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who has now moved his whole campaign focus to Iowa, draws 7% preference. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are tied in this poll with 4% apiece.
AL-1: GOP Primary Pairing Develops: The recently completed court-driven Alabama congressional map creates a new majority minority district anchored in the capital city of Montgomery, but then stretches southwest to encompass downtown Mobile. Now we see that the draw results in a pairing of two Republican Congressmen. Yesterday, two-term Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) announced that he will challenge Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), also serving his second term, in the state’s new 1st District. The seat now spans the entire width of southern Alabama from the Mississippi border all the way to Georgia.
This will be a short-term paired campaign in that the Alabama state primary is held concurrently with the Super Tuesday presidential vote on March 5th. Should no one receive majority support, the top two finishers will advance to an April 2nd runoff election.
This version of AL-1 favors Rep. Carl in that he already represents 59% of the new territory as compared to 41% for Rep. Moore. The former also leads in fundraising and cash-on-hand. According to the September 30th Federal Election Commission disclosure filing. Rep. Carl reported raising $1.3 million for the campaign-to-date; $257,000 in the 3rd Quarter just completed and holds $869,000 in his account.
By contrast, Rep. Moore has raised just $309,000 during the cycle-to-date, $109,000 for the Q3 period, and shows $647,000 cash-on-hand. Rep. Moore, a member of the Freedom Caucus, may be viewed as the more conservative of the two, which often proves to be the defining factor in a safe district Republican primary.
MO-1: Democratic Prosecutor Exits Senate Race to Run for House: St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell (D) who was challenging for the Democratic US Senate nomination, yesterday announced he is ending his statewide bid and will instead run a primary challenge against Democratic Socialist Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-St. Louis).
Four Democrats opposed Rep. Bush in the 2022 election, two years after she upset veteran Rep. Lacy Clay (D), but she was easily renominated with 69.5% of the primary vote.
Mr. Bell will be a credible challenger, but Rep. Bush must be viewed as the favorite for renomination and then an easy re-election in a 1st District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+52.
West Virginia: First Credible Dem Candidate Announces: Though Democrats are viewed as a clear underdog to convert the open West Virginia Governor’s mansion next year, the party now has a candidate capable of running a credible general election campaign. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D) announced his candidacy late last week. He is a former state Delegate and ex-Huntington City Manager.
Republicans are headed for a competitive gubernatorial primary among Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), Secretary of State Mac Warner, and businessman Chris Miller. Mr. Capito is the son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Mr. Miller is US Rep. Carol Miller’s (R-Huntington) son.
Mike Pence: Suspends Campaign: At the Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas on Saturday, former Vice President Mike Pence, saying it is evident that “now is not my time” suspended his 2024 presidential campaign. Mr. Pence follows former US Rep. Will Hurd and commentator Larry Elder in dropping out of the presidential race. Upon his exit, Mr. Pence did not endorse another candidate. Mr. Hurd now supports former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, while Mr. Elder is backing former President Donald Trump.
Texas: Rep. Allred Leads in Dem Primary Poll: YouGov, polling for the University of Texas, conducted a new statewide poll of the Lone Star electorate (10/5-17; 1,200 TX registered voters; 568 likely Republican primary voters; 409 likely Democratic primary voters; online; weighted sample). In testing the Senate Democratic primary, the pollsters found US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) leading state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), 2022 congressional candidate Sherri Taylor, former Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, and state Rep. Carl Sherman (D-Dallas) with a 21-10-3-2-2%, respectively. Nine additional names were also included on the ballot test question.
Though Rep. Allred, the Democratic establishment backed candidate, has a lead in polling and certainly fundraising, the large field and his underwhelming early support total suggests it will be difficult for him, or any other candidate, to win the primary outright on March 5th. Therefore, advancing to a May 28th runoff election between the top two Democratic primary finishers at this time appears a likely result.
CO-3: Boebert Primary Opponent Gaining Steam: Attorney Jeff Hurd, one of four Republicans challenging Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) for re-election in Colorado’s western slope 3rd District, has earned a major endorsement. Former two-term Governor Bill Owens (R-1999-2007), the last Republican to win the office, announced his support for Mr. Hurd late last week.
Rep. Boebert will be hard-pressed to win re-election. Surviving in the closest campaign of 2022 (546 vote margin), her former opponent, ex-Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D), is returning for a re-match and has already raised a whopping $8.5 million toward his 2024 campaign. A strong Republican primary challenge from Mr. Hurd will now be interesting to watch. The Colorado primary is scheduled for June 25, 2024.
FL-28: Rep. Gimenez Leads in New Poll: Retired Navy Commander Phil Ehr (D), who twice ran unsuccessfully for Florida’s northernmost district (FL-1; losing general election to Rep. Matt Gaetz in 2020; losing Democratic primary in 2018) is now attempting to win the state’s southernmost district, FL-28. A new Change Research poll, conducted for Mr. Ehr’s fledgling campaign (10/13-17; 500 FL-28 likely 2024 general election voters; online) finds Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Miami) leading Mr. Ehr, 45-32%.
There has been speculation that Rep. Gimenez, a former Miami-Dade County Mayor who was ineligible to seek re-election to a third term in 2020, may eschew re-election to the House in order to oppose the individual who succeeded him, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D).
Rep. Gimenez first won his US House seat in 2020, defeating then-Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), who is now running for US Senate. He was re-elected in 2022 with a strong 64-36% victory margin. The 28th District, which stretches from Miami to Key West, is politically marginal. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+4. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a different partisan lean, however. Dave’s App finds the Democrats holding a 51.0 to 47.6 partisan advantage. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 12th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.
Georgia: Governor Calls Special Session: In order to comply with last week’s federal district judicial ruling that declared the Georgia congressional and state legislative maps as illegal racial gerrymanders, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has scheduled a special legislative session for November 29th for purposes of drawing new congressional and legislative boundaries. Republicans may appeal the ruling, however, which could delay the process. Therefore, it remains unclear if any new map will take effect in time for the 2024 election.
Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Maintains Lead: Franklin & Marshall College again surveyed the Keystone State electorate (10/11-22; 873 PA registered voters; live interview & online) as they do several times per year, and while this particular sampling period is long the US Senate ballot test results are consistent with other previously published surveys. According to the F&M data, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) has a 46-39% advantage over Republican former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). Sen. Casey runs four points ahead of President Biden within the same sampling universe, while Mr. McCormick’s support percentage is three points below that of former President Trump.
AZ-8: Blake Masters Enters Open Race: As expected when this seat opened, 2022 Republican US Senate nominee Blake Masters announced that he will run for the 8th District seat in the 2024 election. In the race is Abe Hamadeh, the Republican Attorney General nominee who lost the 2022 statewide race by less than 300 votes. Retiring US Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria), has already endorsed state House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Paradise), but Mr. Toma has yet to announce his congressional candidacy.
Mr. Masters’ chances of coming through a crowded primary with plurality support are good. The eventual Republican will be a heavy favorite in the general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates AZ-8 as R+22. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 77th most vulnerable district in the Republican Conference.
Georgia: Federal Judge Strikes Down GA Cong Map: In a developing story, a federal judge has struck down the Georgia congressional map as a racial gerrymander. The main district in question is Rep. Rich McCormick’s (R-Suwanee) 6th CD. It remains to be seen what steps the state takes. The Judge is giving the lawmakers until December 8th to redraw the map.
MD-3: Rep. John Sarbanes (D) to Retire: Nine-term Maryland US Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Baltimore) announced yesterday that he will retire from the House after this current Congress ends. In a statement, Mr. Sarbanes said, “…before coming to Congress, I also found great reward in working with nonprofits, volunteering and otherwise contributing to my community. That too is a powerful form of public service. For some time now, I have found myself drawn back to that kind of work — wanting to explore the many opportunities to serve that exist outside of elected office. With that in mind, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2024.”
Mr. Sarbanes’ departure will ignite a major Democratic primary for the open seat. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat as D+14. President Biden carried the district with a 62-36% margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks MD-3 as the 79th most vulnerable district in the Democratic Conference. In a presidential election year, this race will be decided in what promises to be a crowded Democratic primary.
NC-14: Rep. Jackson (D) to Run for Attorney General: As expected, Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), saying a Democrat cannot win the newly drawn 14th District, announced that he will not seek re-election and instead is now a candidate for the open Attorney General’s position. In a video showing him as a boxer giving and taking punches, Mr. Jackson said he is targeting corrupt politicians, big corporations, and organized crime in his run for the top law enforcement job in the Tar Heel State.
Like in the nine other Republican districts on the new congressional map, the new 14th that begins in Charlotte and moves west to encompass all or parts of five other counties, will likely elect the GOP nominee. All indications point to state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland County) as Rep. Jackson’s eventual successor.
National Polls: Kennedy Not Changing Leaders’ Margins: Before Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced his Independent candidacy, President Biden and former President Trump were generally at parity in national polling, with either contender clinging to a small lead or being deadlocked. We see two new national surveys adding Mr. Kennedy to their questionnaire, yet the leader still records the same type of close margins. Dr. Cornel West is included in some polls as another Independent candidate, but it is doubtful that he can qualify for enough state ballots to become a viable factor.
HarrisX (10/16-23; 3,029 US registered voters; online) sees Trump leading Biden and Kennedy, 40-38-18%. In what is now an unrealistic head-to-head pairing between Trump and Biden, the former President’s edge is four percentage points.
Suffolk University (10/17-20; 1,000 US registered voters; live interview) sees a similar Biden-Trump-Kennedy 38-37-14% split. If the two major party candidates were only running against each other, the Suffolk data finds a 43-41% division in President Biden’s favor. Again, with such small margins that don’t greatly change, it appears that Kennedy may be pulling almost equally from both major party candidates.
AZ-8: Retiring Rep. Lesko Endorses: Arizona US Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria), who last week announced that she would not seek re-election next year, said yesterday that she will endorse as her successor Arizona state House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Paradise). Mr. Toma, however, is not yet even a congressional candidate.
Another who has declared his candidacy is Abe Hamadeh, the Republican Attorney General nominee who lost the 2022 statewide race by less than 300 votes. A crowded field is expected, particularly on the Republican side. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates AZ-8 as R+22. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 77th most vulnerable district in the Republican Conference.
MD-6: Former Congressman’s Wife Announces for Open Seat: April McClain Delaney (D), a former US Commerce Department official and wife of former Congressman and 2020 presidential candidate John Delaney (D), announced yesterday that she will enter the crowded 6th District Democratic primary with the hope of succeeding Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac). The Congressman is leaving the House to run for the Senate.
Ms. Delaney is the 12th Democrat to declare her candidacy. Seven Republicans have also entered. It is likely we will see competitive contests in both party primaries and the for the general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the open MD-6 as D+1. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 20th most vulnerable district in the Democratic Conference.
North Carolina: Redistricting Passes into Law; Ex-Rep. Walker Will Run: Both the North Carolina House and Senate passed the new congressional and state legislative maps thus enacting them into law since Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has no veto authority over redistricting legislation. The map favors Republicans in 10 of the state’s 14 districts.
In Rep. Kathy Manning’s (D-Greensboro) new 6th District that voted for Donald Trump by a 57-41% split according to the Daily Kos Elections statisticians, former US Representative and 2022 US Senate candidate Mark Walker (R) announced that he will leave the Governor’s race and instead run for this new district. For three terms, Mr. Walker represented a similar 6th District. He chose not to run in 2020 after a court drawn map made NC-6 a heavily Democratic seat that Ms. Manning was able to claim.
The Rundown Blog
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