Senate – 5/15/23
Michigan: New Candidate Enters: Resigning as the state’s Natural Resources Commissioner, former state Rep. Leslie Love (D) announced her candidacy for the US Senate on Friday, hoping to become Michigan's first African American Senator. Democratic leaders had been interested in recruiting actor Hill Harper into the race. Mr. Harper is a potential opponent that Ms. Love described as being “inexperienced in politics and government,” and further pointed out that he does not even live in Michigan.
State Board of Education President Paula Pugh (D) is also a potential candidate. If all three of these African Americans enter the race the black vote will likely be split, thus favoring Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who is commonly viewed as the race leader. The Michigan Senate seat will be open in 2024 because four-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring.
New Jersey: Another Menendez Opponent Announces: New Jersey Democratic investor Kyle Casey became the third member of his party to challenge Sen. Bob Menendez (D), who again faces a federal investigation. Three Republicans have also declared. None of the candidates, however, appear strong enough to run a campaign with the strength to unseat the three-term Senate incumbent and 31-year congressional veteran when adding his seven terms served in the House.
Sen. Menendez will be safe in both the Democratic primary and the general election unless the federal investigation gains legs. The Senator was previously indicted in 2015, but the case fell apart and was dropped in 2018. If his legal trouble worsens, expect stronger candidates, likely from both parties, to come forth.
House – 5/15/23
NY-22: New Candidate Emerges: In 2022, businessman Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) continued the Republican tradition in this part of the Empire State of winning a congressional seat where the partisan lean favors their Democratic counterparts. Since 1980, GOP Reps. Williams, John Katko, James Walsh, and George Wortley together represented the Syracuse anchored district for all but six years.
It is clear Rep. Williams will be a major 2024 campaign target, but now a Democratic primary potentially looms upon the political horizon. Earlier, DeWitt Town Councilmember Sarah Klee Hood (D) declared her candidacy. On Friday, associate college professor and author Clem Harris (D) entered the race. Dr. Harris is also a former staff member to then-Gov. David Paterson (D).
It is likely we will see other candidates coming forward and can expect the local Democratic Party leaders to eventually make an endorsement with the intention of delivering the nomination to their chosen candidate. This is another of the key national 2024 House campaigns that will largely determine the next majority.
TX-15: Another Re-Match Possible: In 2022, second-time congressional candidate Monica de la Cruz (R) defeated businesswoman Michelle Vallejo (D) by a relatively strong 53-45% victory margin in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated as EVEN, and Dave’s Redistricting App’s partisan lean calculation favored the Democrats, 51.2D – 47.1R. Ms. Vallejo, however, did not draw favorable reviews as a candidate, nor was her campaign particularly strong.
Though Ms. Vallejo is preparing to soon announce her 2024 candidacy, likely later this week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Democratic leaders search for a different candidate. At this point, and despite the partisan lean and the region’s voter history, Rep. de la Cruz is favored for re-election in this 15th District that stretches from the area just south of Austin all the way to the Mexican border.
President – 5/12/23
Florida: DeSantis Trails in New Florida Poll: A National Research, Inc. survey of Florida Republican voters (5/8-9; 500 FL likely Republican primary voters; live interview & text) for the first time found Gov. Ron DeSantis’ trailing in his home state. According to these results, which the DeSantis Super PACs will undoubtedly soon counter, former President Donald Trump has taken a 42-34% lead over Gov. DeSantis, with no other candidate even reaching 3%. A total of 16% claim to be undecided in the early part of the presidential race.
This poll again underscores Mr. Trump’s current strength in the party primaries. The trend could change, however, when Gov. DeSantis officially begins his national campaign.
Senate – 5/12/23
Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Expands Lead: Susquehanna Polling & Research returned a new Keystone State survey (5/2-8; 700 PA likely voters) testing the upcoming US Senate race. Though former hedge fund CEO and 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R) is not yet an announced candidate, he was the only person tested against Sen. Casey. The ballot test yielded the incumbent a stronger twelve-point lead, 53-41%. The previous published poll, from Franklin & Marshall College in early April, projected a 42-35% Casey edge.
House – 5/12/23
CA-41: Party Switcher Enters Race Against Rep. Calvert: Pastor and San Jacinto City Councilman Brian Hawkins is looking to make a second run for Congress, but it will be in a different district and under a different party banner. Rev. Hawkins was the Republican nominee against Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Indio) in the new 25th District last November. He drew 42.6% of the vote. Now, however, he has popped up in District 41, wanting to run as a Democrat in hope of challenging veteran Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) in next year’s general election.
Already declared under the Democratic label is Lake Elsinore City Councilman Tim Sheridan, but the potential candidate the area politicos are watching is 2022 nominee Will Rollins (D) who held Rep. Calvert to a 52-48% victory. Most believe Mr. Rollins will return and be favored to advance into the general election with the Congressman. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the 41st District as R+7. Former President Donald Trump carried the seat with a bare 50-49% margin over current President Biden.
MD-6: Defeated Gov Candidate Showing Interest in Open House Race: Former state Delegate Dan Cox (R), who was not much of a factor in the 2022 Maryland Governor’s race in losing to author Wes Moore (D) by a 65-32% margin, said this week that he may have interest in entering the open 6th District congressional race that includes his home city of Frederick. Former state Delegate Neil Parrott, also from Frederick and who lost the last two congressional races against incumbent Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), is also looking at a third run.
Both men come from the right wing of the Republican Party. This means they could split the primary vote, thus allowing a more moderate candidate who would likely fare better in the general election to claim the party nomination. With Rep. Trone vacating the seat to run for the Senate, this open seat will attract national attention in what promises to be a hotly contested battle for the House majority.
Governor – 5/12/23
Washington: Second Candidate Announces: State Land Commissioner Hilary Franz (D) became the second announced gubernatorial candidate after three-term incumbent Jay Inslee (D) made public his intention not to seek re-election next year. Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) was first to take such action, indicating that he filed an “exploratory committee.” Since Washington election law does not recognize exploratory committees, he is officially considered a candidate.
The Washington all-party jungle primary is scheduled for August 6, 2024. The top two finishers, possibly a pair of Democrats, will advance into the general election.
Senate – 5/11/23
Texas: Rep. Allred Unlikely to Have Free Ride: Last week, Texas Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) announced that he would enter the 2024 Senate race to challenge two-term incumbent Ted Cruz (R). At that time, most believed Mr. Allred would be virtually unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
Previously, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) indicated an interest in challenging Sen. Cruz, but he largely became a second thought when Rep. Allred declared his candidacy. Most then believed that Sen. Gutierrez would not force a Senate nomination campaign. Yesterday, however, the Senator indicated that he in fact is still considering launching a US Senate campaign and is headed toward becoming a candidate.
Coming from the district that houses the city of Uvalde, the site of the tragic 2022 school shooting, and the Del Rio community, where most of the illegals are entering the country on the Texas border, Sen. Gutierrez certainly represents some of the hot points in Lone Star State politics. Rep. Allred would still be favored to win the party nomination but adding Sen. Gutierrez to a competitive Democratic primary would certainly add spice to this intra-party campaign.
House – 5/11/23
CA-40: Rep. Kim Attracts New Opponent: Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D), who drew only 11% of the vote in a 2022 state Senate race in another part of Orange County, announced that he will now challenge two-term Rep. Young Kim (R-La Habra) next year. Rep. Kim defeated physician Asif Mahmood (D) 57-43% in a district that was 80% new territory from the 39th District in which she had originally won her first congressional election.
While it is clear the Democrats will need a stronger candidate to oppose Rep. Kim than Dr. Mahmood, it is probable that Mr. Kerr is also not the type of candidate who can unseat this more than capable Republican incumbent.
CA-49: A New Opponent for Rep. Levin: In both California’s 40th and 49th Congressional Districts, we see two candidates who lost the same 2022 state Senate race venturing into congressional contests. Auto Dealer Matt Gunderson (R), who lost the general election to State Sen. Catherine Blakespear (D-Encinitas), says he will challenge Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano/La Jolla) in a CD that closely resembles the state legislative seat where he received 48% of the vote last year.
The 49th CD that stretches from Orange County south into San Diego, is a politically marginal district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization assigns a D+5 rating, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 52.0D - 46.0R. Rep. Levin has three times defeated ex-San Juan Capistrano Mayor and Councilman Brian Maryott (R). In 2022, the margin was 53-47%. While clear the Republicans need a new candidate to compete in this district, it remains to be seen if Mr. Gunderson can wage an effective enough campaign to unseat the three-term incumbent.
NY-4: Re-Match Forming: Freshman Long Island Republican Congressman Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) holds, along with California Rep. David Valadao’s (R-Hanford) 22nd District, the most Democratic seat in the country that elects a Republican to the House. Now, it appears that he will be facing a re-match with the woman he defeated in 2022, former Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen (D). The 2022 result was 51-47% in Mr. D’Esposito’s favor.
Long Island’s 4th District includes the town of Hempstead and the Garden City, Oceanside, Freeport, and Valley Stream communities among others. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+10. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 59.6D – 38.9R. President Biden carried the district with a 56.8 – 42.2% margin, which suggests that Rep. D’Esposito has a difficult road to re-election in a presidential election year.
President – 5/10/23
Morning Consult Poll: Trump Opens Biggest Lead: Though former President Donald Trump may not be doing well in the courts, he continues to build a strong lead in Republican primary polls. The Morning Consult tracking survey (5/5-7; 3,574 US registered voters who identify or lead Republican; online) finds Mr. Trump hitting the 60% mark against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the second-tier candidates. The former US chief executive holds a 60-19% margin over DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence and, surprisingly, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy lead the second-tier group with 5% support apiece.
House – 5/10/23
NY-3: Rep. Santos Charged: CNN is reporting that Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) was last night charged with federal crimes under a sealed indictment. Few details are known in this developing story. It is presumed that Rep. Santos will not resign his seat while he fights the charges. Even before the indictment, four Democrats and two Republicans had already announced their 2024 candidacies. We can expect more potential candidates to soon come forward.
VA-7: Rep. Spanberger Draws Second Opponent: Businessman Bill Moher yesterday became the second Republican to announce his congressional candidacy opposite three-term Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen). Previously in the race was Army veteran Shaliek Tarpley (R). Unless the Republicans find a top tier 2024 candidate, it is unlikely the party will be able to unseat Rep. Spanberger in the post redistricting seat where she will have had the opportunity of representing for a full term by the time of the next election. Rep. Spanberger was re-elected in 2022 with a 52-48% margin in a campaign where combined campaign spending exceeded $12 million not counting independent expenditures.
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