Alabama: A Tightening Primary
The McLaughlin & Associates polling firm returned data that finds former Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Britt pulling to within single-digits of Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) for the Republican nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R). According to the polling results (12/6-9; 500 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview), Rep. Brooks holds a 31-26-17% lead over Ms. Britt, a former chief of staff to Sen. Shelby, and business owner and military veteran Mike Durant, respectively. Before November, Rep. Brooks enjoyed leads of greater than 23 points in statewide polling.
In Alabama, winning the Republican nomination will be tantamount to election in November. Only one Democrat has announced, former Brighton Mayor Brandaun Dean who does not factor to be a strong general election candidate. The Alabama primary is May 24th, with a runoff scheduled for June 21st if none of the candidates reach the 50% mark in the first election.
IA-1: Clear Leader Emerging
Non-profit organization executive and attorney Mike Mbanza (D) declared his congressional candidacy yesterday hoping to challenge freshman Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) in the 2022 general election. Also in the Democratic primary is state Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City). Rep. Miller-Meeks won her initial election in the state’s 2nd District by a mere six votes. Her 2020 opponent, former state Senator Rita Hart (D), has already said she will not return for a re-match. The new 1st is a competitive district, so we can expect another hard fought campaign to soon commence in this southeastern Iowa congressional district.
MD-4: Clear Leader Emerging
Public Policy Polling surveyed the Democratic field for Maryland’s open 4th Congressional District in light of incumbent Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) leaving the Prince Georges County anchored seat to run for state Attorney General. PPP’s polling (12/8-9; 403 MD-4 likely Democratic primary voters) found Prince Georges County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey opening up a large lead. Mr. Ivey pulled 31% support as compared to 8% for former Delegate Angela Angel and 5% for State House Democratic Caucus chairman Jazz Lewis.
Mr. Ivey previously ran for the congressional seat. In 2016, when the district was last open, his 34% was second to Mr. Brown’s victorious 42% Democratic primary total. Candidate filing concludes on February 22nd for the June 28th Maryland nomination election.
VT-AL: Senate Leaders to Square-Off
Last week, Lt. Gov. Molly Gray (D) announced that she will run in the state’s open at-large House seat and yesterday, state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Brattleboro) entered the race. Among what is sure to be a crowded field for the Democratic nomination, we now see the Senate President (Lt. Governor) and the body’s President Pro Tempore opposing each other. The seat is open because at-large Rep. Peter Welch (D-Norwich) is running to succeed retiring US Senator Patrick Leahy (D). No one has yet announced for the Republican nomination.
Moving a lightning speed in the special legislative redistricting session, the Democratic leadership returned the congressional map that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) vetoed to the Senate and House floors for override votes just hours after the chief executive took his action. Obtaining the veto override in both houses, the new eight-district map became law. Gov. Hogan is now threatening to lead a lawsuit against the plan. The new map protects all seven Democratic seats while making the one Republican district of Rep. Andy Harris (R-Cockeysville) more competitive.
Because the Virginia Redistricting Commission members failed to produce a new congressional map by the stated deadline, the state Supreme Court was forced to assume map drawing responsibilities. The court hired two special masters, a Democrat and a Republican, to collaborate and produce a new map. The document was released late this week and it contains some surprises.
While the 7D-4R ratio appears to remain in tact, two of the Democratic seats look to be competitive, those of Reps. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg). A third Democrat, two-term Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen), is left with no place to run though her 7th District reappears in northern Virginia as a safe seat for her party. Since the court’s special masters produced the map, and cities and towns are kept whole for the most part, the compactness scale looks favorable, and there are no irregular lines, it is likely the court will adopt this map or adopt a similar version with minor tweaks.
The Trafalgar Group released a survey of the Nevada electorate (11/24-29; 1,034 NV likely general election voters; live interview, text & interactive voice response system) that finds former US Senator Dean Heller (R) jumping out to a 47-40% advantage over incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) who is seeking a second term. Nevada continues to feature close elections, and it appears the 2020 vote will follow that same pattern.
Saying she has important cases to see through to culmination, New York Attorney General Tish James (D) yesterday suspended her campaign for Governor and says she will return to seek a second term as Attorney General. The decision appears to help new Gov Kathy Hochul and hurt US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) in their Democratic primary campaigns. Seeing a left faction candidate depart certainly hurts Rep. Suozzi’s strategy of coalescing the smaller number of more moderate Democrats after Hochul, James, and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams split the hard left coalition.
Texas: Gov. Abbott Rebounds to Large Lead
Quinnipiac University released a new poll that countered the recent University of Texas at Tyler study (11/9-16; 1,106 TX registered voters; live interview and online) that found Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leading ex-US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) by a 45-39% count. The Q-Poll (12/2-6; 1,224 TX adults; live interview) sees Gov. Abbott rebounding to a 53:41% job approval index, a big change from their September 44:47% upside down rating. In the Quinnipiac ballot test, the Governor again posts his characteristically high standing leading Mr. O’Rourke, 52-37%.
Nevada: Laxalt Leads Sen. Cortez Masto
A late November Trafalgar Group survey (11/24-29; 1,034 NV likely voters; live interview; text; online) projects former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) pulling ahead of first-term Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by a 44-41% margin. The Nevada race is expected to be highly competitive as it Is one of only four GOP conversion targets on the 2022 political map. Both parties only need a net gain of one seat to secure an outright majority in the next Congress.
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