As we look to the next election cycle that will feature a preponderance of 38 gubernatorial bids, several will be open due to state term limit laws. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is the only state chief executive limited to just one term, is barred from seeking re-election in 2021. The 2022 open gubernatorial races are: Arizona (Gov. Doug Ducey-R), Arkansas (Gov. Asa Hutchinson-R), Hawaii, (Gov. David Ige-D), Maryland (Gov. Larry Hogan-R), Nebraska (Gov. Pete Ricketts-R), Oregon (Gov. Kate Brown-D), Pennsylvania (Gov. Tom Wolf-D), and Rhode Island (Gov. Gina Raimondo-D).
Change Research reports conducting a series of online polls from Oct. 29 through Nov. 2 in various congressional districts. They are showing virtual tie scores in several toss-up districts heading into today’s voting:
AR-2: Rep. French Hill (R) vs. St. Sen. Joyce Elliott (D)
IN-5: Ex-St. Rep. Christina Hale (D) vs. St. Sen. Victoria Spartz (R)
MO-2: Rep. Ann Wagner (R) vs. St. Sen. Jill Schupp (D)
NE-2: Rep. Don Bacon (R) vs. Kara Eastman (D)
NY-24: Rep. John Katko (R) vs. Dana Balter (D)
OH-1: Rep. Steve Chabot (R) vs. Kate Schroder (D)
OK-5: Rep. Kendra Horn (D) vs. St. Sen. Stephanie Bice (R)
In a race that has been trending tight for weeks, ALG Research released their new survey of the Little Rock anchored congressional seat (10/16-21; 500 AR-2 likely voters) that finds three-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) and state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) falling into a tie at 47% apiece. Both parties and associated outside entities have increased their non-connected spending for this race.
The first and only poll released for the Arkansas Senate race is now public, and the results are surprising. The main reason this race has attracted no national attention is because Sen. Tom Cotton (R) doesn’t have Democratic opposition. Only Libertarian Party member Ricky Harrington and Independent Dan Whitfield appear on the ballot opposite Sen. Cotton.
The American Research Group survey (10/7-9; 600 AR likely voters; live interview) finds the Senator leading Mr. Harrington, 49-38%, which appears low considering he has no major party opposition. Or, such a number could be a better reflection of the aforementioned “shy Trump (Republican) voter”, meaning the GOP candidates are consistently under-polling. It is highly likely that Sen. Cotton’s re-election percentage will exceed what this survey is projecting.
A new brilliant corners Research & Strategies survey (9/10-16; 605 AR-2 likely voters; 102 over-sample of African American voters) has produced results that show three-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) actually falling behind his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock), by a two-point margin, 48-46%. This study follows a Hendrix College survey taken in earlier in September (9/4-9; 698 AR-2 likely voters) that found Mr. Hill leading the race with a similar 48-46% edge.
The brilliant corners’ over-sample of African Americans could explain the flip toward Ms. Elliott, but the long-term history of this district favors the Democrats. Republicans captured it for what appeared to be the foreseeable future with their win in 2010, but prior to that, the GOP had held the seat for only eight of the previous 136 years.
Hendrix College, a frequent pollster in Arkansas political campaigns, released their new polling data (9/4-9; 698 AR-2 likely voters; live interview) and finds three-term Representative French Hill (R-Little Rock) holding only a 48-46% edge over state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) in the state’s 2nd Congressional District. The same polling sample finds Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a surprising 49-45% lead over President Trump in a district that the latter man carried 52-43% in 2016.
Three states had approved ballot referendums to change their primary system to the unique “Top Four” system that would allow the first four finishing candidates in a jungle primary advance into the general election. The four candidates would then be ranked 1-4 in the general in order to determine a winner.
It now appears that only one state, Alaska, will have the referendum on the ballot. Judges in North Dakota and Arkansas have nullified their respective election referendums because of qualification process technical flaws. Therefore, the primary system in these two latter states will remain constant for at least another election cycle.
In a surprise, Hendrix College, a frequent Arkansas political pollster (2/6-7; 496 AR likely Democratic primary voters), finds former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg taking a slight one-point lead over former Vice President Joe Biden in the Arkansas Democratic primary. This is the first reported poll finding both Bloomberg leading in a state, and Mr. Biden dropping from his former first place position in a southern domain.
The Hendrix results project Mr. Bloomberg to hold a 20-19-16-15-9% edge over Mr. Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), respectively. Obviously, these numbers suggest that the Arkansas primary, with 31 first ballot delegates at stake, is another state where multiple candidates will earn bound delegate votes on Super Tuesday.
Eight states will host their 2020 primary elections in March, meaning they will feature a full ballot to compliment the presidential race. Voters will select a full slate of nominees in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas on March 3, 10, or 17th. This means, at the end of March, nominees could be fully chosen for six Senate races and 151 congressional districts. It is possible, should no candidate reach the minimum nomination percentage in various states featuring a qualifying figure, that run-offs could be held in some Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas contests.
All of the aforementioned states have completed their candidate filing deadlines with the exception of Mississippi. There, candidacies become official on January 10th. West Virginia and Kentucky candidates will file on January 25th and 28th, respectively for May 12th and May 19th primary elections.
As reported last week, candidate filing closed in Arkansas with Democrats seeing only one candidate return documents to challenge Sen. Tom Cotton (R). Businessman and former congressional candidate Josh Mahony (D), however, decided to withdraw from the race just hours after he filed leaving the party with no candidate.
The Democrats have the opportunity of meeting in convention to choose a nominee, but state chairman Michael John Gray yesterday said they “have no path” toward finding a replacement nominee. Therefore, Sen. Cotton will run against only a Libertarian nominee and Independent candidate, thus functionally guaranteeing his re-election to a second six-year term next year.
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