Term Limited Governors
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)
Both candidates in the tight Omaha area congressional race announced significant endorsements from the other party. First, Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion) brought forth former Democratic US Rep. Brad Ashford, the man he unseated in 2016, who is endorsing the Congressman’s re-election effort.
Democratic nominee Kara Eastman, who denied Ashford re-nomination in 2018, thus thwarting the ex-Congressman’s comeback attempt, then declared that state Sen. John McCollister (Omaha) is now backing her campaign. Though state legislators are elected in non-partisan elections to the unicameral legislature, Mr. McCollister is a registered Republican. Polling shows this race is again a toss-up. In 2018, the Congressman defeated Ms. Eastman, 51-49%.
NE-2: Result Could Cause Tie
A new Siena College/New York Times survey of Nebraska’s 2nd District, from one of two states that splits its electoral votes (9/25-27; 420 NE-2 likely voters; live interview), sees former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump, 48-41%. Should this margin hold, Mr. Biden would gain an extra electoral vote from this red state.
Under the scenario where Mr. Biden converts Michigan and Pennsylvania back to his column and takes the 2nd District of Nebraska with the remainder of the 2016 map holding in place, the election would end in a 269-269 Electoral College tie. In such an instance, the vote would then proceed to the House of Representatives to break the deadlock.
NE-2: Bacon Up With Trump Down
Above, we cited the new Siena College/New York Times NE-2 poll (9/25-27; 420 NE-2 likely voters; live interview) that gives Joe Biden a lead over President Trump beyond the polling margin of error. The same survey, however, finds Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion) forging a small lead over his Democratic opponent, 2018 congressional nominee Kara Eastman, 45-43%.
ME-2; NE-2: Biden Leading In Crucial CDs
Maine and Nebraska are the two states that split their electoral votes, and the two districts that have a tendency to vote opposite their state and award an electoral vote to the losing statewide candidate. ME-2 and NE-2, show leads for former Vice President Joe Biden even though they are must win races for President Trump.
Siena College/New York Times tested the 2nd District of Maine, the state’s northern seat, (9/11-16; 440 ME-2 likely voters; live interview) and sees the Biden advantage to be 47-45%. The Democratic polling firm Global Strategy Group surveyed NE -2 (9/14-16; 400 NE-2 likely voters; live interview) and posts an even larger 51-45% Biden advantage in that district. These are places to watch as the general election unfolds.
Nebraska: Ex-Rep. Ashford May Run
Nebraska US Senate Democratic nominee Chris Janicek has been under intense pressure from Democratic leaders to leave the race after stories surfaced that he had sent sexually suggestive texts to several campaign staff members. So far, Mr. Janicek has refused to resign from the ticket. He can still do so until September 1st, giving the state Democratic Party an opportunity of replacing him.
Former one-term US Representative Brad Ashford, who was denied re-nomination for his House seat in a 2018 comeback attempt, says he will launch a write-in campaign for the Senate seat if Mr. Janicek refuses to leave the race. Seeing that Mr. Janicek has agreed to a major September 4th debate with Sen. Ben Sasse (R), it appears that the general election will continue with the two originally nominated candidates. Therefore, the most likely conclusion to this race suggests that an Ashford write-in candidacy will go nowhere, and Republican incumbent Sasse will be easily re-elected.
Nebraska: Waiting in the Wings
Due to well publicized sexually inappropriate texting, Nebraska Democratic US Senate nominee Chris Janicek is being asked by his party leaders to resign from the November ticket. Mr. Janicek is pledging, however, to continue his longshot campaign to unseat Sen. Ben Sasse (R).
The Nebraska Democratic Party is taking their opposition to Mr. Janicek even a step further, however. The leadership, according to state chair Jane Kleeb, has already voted to replace Mr. Janicek with former Senate candidate and mental healthcare therapist Alisha Shelton. The only way to remove Janicek, however, is if he voluntarily steps down since he won the Democratic primary back on May 12th.
Regardless of who his eventual opponent may be, Sen. Sasse is headed for an easy re-election.
NE-2: Significant Congressional Numbers
Nebraska’s 2nd District becomes one of the more important CDs in 2020 because of its effect upon the presidential race. Nebraska and Maine are the two states that split their electoral votes, so a candidate winning a district opposite of the statewide count earns an extra EV.
The new Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll (6/30-7/5; 502 NE-2 likely general election voters) conducted for the Kara Eastman campaign actually gives their client and 2018 Democratic nominee a 50-49% lead over incumbent Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) in a race that again promises to be tight.
The presidential numbers are much different, however. GQR finds Joe Biden leading President Trump, 51-44%. Such a result would not likely flip Nebraska to the Biden camp, but could possibly deliver him an important extra electoral vote, one that could conceivably cause a tie in the Electoral College in a close national result.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) just received two impressive Democratic insider endorsements in his re-match with progressive left Democratic nominee Kara Eastman. Bob Krist, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, and former Nebraska Democratic Party executive director Barry Rubin both publicly endorsed Rep. Bacon yesterday. The 2018 contest saw Mr. Bacon defeating Ms. Eastman, 51-49%, and the 2020 version is also expected to be competitive.
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