New Hampshire: Trump’s Lead Dwindling: Two recent polls have shown the New Hampshire Republican primary getting closer. The American Research Group survey (12/17-20; 1,100 NH adults; 990 NH registered voters) finds former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley pulling to within a 33-29% split with former President Donald Trump.
Another poll, this from St. Anselm College (12/18-19; 1,711 NH likely voters; online), sees Mr. Trump posting 44% support while Ms. Haley trails at 30% and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with 12%. Under New Hampshire procedure, non-affiliated voters can vote in a partisan primary, and this plays a major factor in the support numbers for both Ms. Haley and Mr. Christie.
Ohio: Candidate Filing Closes: The Ohio candidate filing deadline passed for the 2024 election in preparation for the state’s March 19th plurality primary. The US Senate Republican primary race will feature, as has been the case for months, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and businessman Bernie Moreno. Only one other minor candidate is in the mix. The preponderance of polling suggests a close three-way race. The winner will challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in what promises to be one of the most important Senate races in the country.
The most competitive House primary is again in the state’s 9th District where the Republican winner will face veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo). At the last moment, a new entry, state Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) entered the race, challenging former state Rep. Craig Riedel, Napoleon Mayor Steve Lankenau, and 2022 congressional nominee J.R. Majewski.
Mr. Majewski proved a poor general election candidate, and with Mr. Merrin now in the race to challenge the others, the outcome of the future primary could be the same as the one in the immediate past. That is, Mr. Majewski takes advantage of a split vote, captures the party nomination but then loses to Rep. Kaptur.
With a FiveThirtyEight rating of R+6, losing here again because of a botched primary will greatly diminish the Republicans’ chances of keeping the House majority. In the competitive 1st District, the general election match between freshman Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Cincinnati) and attorney Orlando Sonza (R) appears set.
Other congressional primaries in both parties feature several races with multiple candidates, but mostly they are in districts where the incumbent will again score an easy win.
Alaska: Cornel West Qualifies for Ballot: The Aurora Party, a newly qualified political party in Alaska, announced yesterday that Dr. Cornel West will become their presidential nominee. Alaska is the first state to award Dr. West a ballot line. This is a significant occurrence since Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting system could take effect if no candidate receives majority support. Therefore, even a small number of votes for Dr. West could affect the state’s electoral vote count, which could well change the course of the national presidential election result.
Colorado: GOP Considers Moving to Caucus Format After Judicial Ruling: The Colorado State Supreme Court barring former President Trump from the primary 2024 ballot because the justices maintain he violated the 14th Amendment by engaging in insurrection has predictably ignited fierce responses. The Trump campaign says they will immediately appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court. Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says he will withdraw from the Colorado ballot in protest and urges the other Republican presidential candidates to do the same. The Colorado Republican Party leadership is saying they may withdraw from the presidential primary and move to an internal party-run caucus format.
Other state Supreme Courts, most notably Arizona and Minnesota, have also ruled on Trump’s ballot status and they arrived at the opposite conclusion, thus allowing him to compete in their state primaries. Even if the Colorado ruling stands and Mr. Trump is not on the Centennial State primary or general election ballot, it is unlikely to affect the presidential race outcome. President Biden is a lock to carry Colorado with or without Trump’s name on the ballot, so the national electoral vote count won’t change regardless of how this controversy is ultimately resolved.
Arizona: New Data Reverses Standing: Reversing a polling trend that places Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) as the leading US Senate candidate, VCreek/AMG just released a new statewide survey (12/1-8; 694 AZ probable general election voters; live interview) that projects former television news anchor and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R) as leading the Senatorial field. Ms. Lake would post a 41-35-16% edge over Rep. Gallego and incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I). The previous three polls, all conducted in October and November, found Rep. Gallego holding a similar sized lead to what VCreek/AMG now posts for Ms. Lake.
In most of the Arizona Senate surveys, Sen. Sinema typically records support percentages in the teens. She rose to 29% in the Noble Predictive Insights most recent poll (10/25-31; 1,010 AZ registered voters; online), however. At this early point in the campaign, Sen. Sinema has finished third in all but one of the 13 polls published from December 2022 to the present. She does, however, have the ability to rebound. The three-way Arizona Senate race is likely to remain in wild card status all the way through the 2024 general election.
Census Estimates: Move-In and Move-Out States: The Census Bureau released its 2023 estimates and calculated the population shifts in the 52 covered entities (all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023. Here, the Bureau found 11 places where the population grew 1% or more during the period. The fastest growing, or “move-in,” entities are: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah, with Texas and Florida seeing the most growth. Those growing between a ½ percent and 1% are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
A total of nine entities lost population during the test period led by New York and California. The nine “move-out” entities are: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and West Virginia. Oregon is the big surprise on the move-out list since it grew so much in the previous decade as to gain a new congressional seat in the 2021 national reapportionment.
New Jersey: Competing Poll Places Rep. Kim First: Though indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) for now remains in the 2024 Senate race, the Democratic primary battle appears to be a contest between US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and the state’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy. Approximately a month ago, Public Policy Polling released a survey favoring Ms. Murphy for the party nomination by a large 40-21% spread.
Yesterday, Rep. Kim released his internal Breakthrough Campaigns survey (12/7-14; 1,004 NJ likely Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) that produced a virtual mirror-like result. This study found Rep. Kim leading Ms. Murphy, 45-22%. Sen. Menendez, as was the case in the PPP survey, languishes in single digits. The dueling wide discrepancy polls suggest the statewide Democratic primary will be an interesting one to chart. The New Jersey primary is scheduled for June 4th.
Ohio: Trump Makes an Endorsement: As has been expected for several months, former President Donald Trump, the leader for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, signaled his official support to one of the three major Republican US Senate contenders yesterday. While a Survey USA poll earlier in the week (12/8-12; 573 OH likely Republican primary voters; online) found businessman Bernie Moreno trailing both Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) by a 33-18-12% margin, the former man did place first for the Trump endorsement. Previously, two other surveys found Mr. Moreno holding a slight lead in the primary race.
The Ohio primary is scheduled for March 19th, and promises to be a highly competitive nomination campaign. The eventual winner of the plurality election will face three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the general election.
AK-AL: New Polling Favorable for Rep. Peltola: Once again, Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting system may re-elect at-large Democratic US Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) even though more voters select a Republican candidate. Under the state’s primary system, four candidates advance into the general election. If no candidate receives majority support in the November vote, Ranked Choice Voting takes effect.
The Remington Research Group conducted a new poll for Republican candidate Nick Begich III (12/11-14; 672 AK likely primary voters; live interview) and the ballot test finds Rep. Peltola attracting 42% support. Mr. Begich follows in second place with 28%. Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R) is third with 9%, while Libertarian Chris Bye, running on the No Labels ballot line, would secure the fourth position with 7% of the prospective vote. If this were the actual vote totals, RCV would begin with Bye being eliminated and his second choice votes added to the aggregate.
Rep. Peltola has been successful in the Ranked Choice process in both of her elections. In this case, the RCV process would begin because no candidate reached the majority support level.
Census Estimates: Early Reapportionment Projections for 2030: The Census Bureau released its 2023 population estimates and from those data extrapolated congressional seat gain and loss estimates for the next census, which is seven years away. Obviously, much can change in that period, but the projections suggest serious population movement. California appears headed to lose a whopping four seats, while Texas would gain four. The other prospective multi-seat gainer would be Florida at +3. Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah would each gain one.
In addition to California, the losing states would be New York (-3) and Illinois (-2) with Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania losing one apiece. Oregon is the biggest surprise in the loser column because they gained a seat in the 2020 reapportionment.
Since these numbers are all long range projections, the gainers and losers are not equal, which will correct itself once the final apportionment is completed after the next census many years from now.
California: Garvey Moves Into Second in New Poll: Survey USA went into the field to test the California electorate in anticipation of the state’s open US Senate primary on Super Tuesday, March 5th. As you may remember, California uses an all-party top two primary system that serves as a qualifying election for the November vote. The top two finishers on March 5th, regardless of political party affiliation or percentage attained, will advance to the general election. All other candidates will be eliminated from further competition.
This means that at least one Democratic US House member will not advance. The huge field of 53 individuals who filed with the Secretary of State will be winnowed down (the California SoS is targeting December 28th to have an official list of qualified candidates in all elections) but will still feature a very large ballot.
Three of the contenders who are sure to qualify as Senate candidates are US Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). Each is attempting to qualify for the general election but at least one will fail. Because the bulk of votes will likely split among these three, and polling suggests relatively evenly, it is conceivable that a well-known Republican such as baseball great Steve Garvey (R), could capture the second qualifying position in coalescing the minority Republican vote, thus eliminating two of the three House members.
The Survey USA poll (12/7-10; 676 CA registered voters; 590 likely voters; online) sees Rep. Schiff leading the large ballot, as he has in most other polls, with 22%. S-USA detects the scenario described above in that Mr. Garvey is second with 15%. Reps. Porter and Lee follow with 12% apiece. Democrats will be heavy favorites to hold the open seat that appointed Senator Laphonza Butler (D) is leaving after replacing the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), but Mr. Garvey sneaking into second place from the jungle primary now appears as a distinct possibility.
Ohio: New Survey Finds LaRose Opening GOP Lead: Survey USA released their latest Ohio US Senate poll (released 12/18; no methodology available) and finds a much different result than other recent polls. The last two studies released earlier in the month, from McLaughlin & Associates and Fabrizio Lee & Associates, found businessman Bernie Moreno posting very small (one to two points) Republican primary leads over Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls).
The S-USA data sees a wholly different result. Here, Secretary LaRose maintains a large 33-18-12% advantage over Sen. Dolan and Mr. Moreno. We will need more data to gain a better picture of this primary race as the candidates move through January and February to the nomination election on March 19th. The Ohio primary is plurality based, meaning the candidate with the most votes, regardless of percentage attained, will win the nomination in this one election. The eventual nominee will then challenge three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the most important Senate general elections in the 2024 voting cycle.
AZ-2: Recruiting Primary Opponent for Rep. Crane: Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb (R) confirms that he is being recruited by unnamed sources to leave the Senate race and turn his political effort toward challenging 2nd District US Rep. Eli Crane (R-Oro Valley/ Flagstaff) in next year’s GOP primary. Mr. Crane was one of the eight Republican members who voted to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
While Sheriff Lamb may be rejecting such overtures now, candidate filing for the August 6th primary does not end until April 8th, so much time remains for him to reverse course. It is probable that Mr. Lamb will continue to see the Senate nomination rapidly slipping away. If so, challenging Rep. Crane may eventually prove to be the Sheriff’s better political move.
RI-2: No Re-Match: As reported in the Cook Political Report and by the Daily Kos Elections site, former Cranston Mayor and ex-gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung (R), who held freshman Rhode Island Rep. Ira Magaziner (D-Cranston) to a 50-46% win in a 2nd District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+17, will not return to run again in 2024.
Mr. Fung is clearly the Republicans’ best possible candidate, so this seat will not be considered a GOP conversion target in 2024 despite the closeness of the most recent campaign. Polling had indicated Mr. Fung was in position to score a major upset in 2022 but fell short when the votes were actually counted.
The Rundown Blog
Learn more about the candidates running in key elections across the United States.