Redistricting is likely to significantly change the politically marginal and hugely expansive eastern Arizona 1st Congressional District, but that is not stopping at least two GOP political aspirants from already announcing their candidacies against three-term Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona). Republican state Representative Walt Blackman (R-Sedona), an African American Republican decorated Army veteran, says he will run for Congress next year. Shortly after Rep. Blackman’s announcement, Williams Mayor John Moore (R) also said he will become a congressional candidate in the 2022 cycle.
A new pair of political contenders came forward with the special election filing deadline upon us. Businessman and Marine Corps reserve officer Michael Wood announced his candidacy and apparently wants to sell his belief that former President Trump is responsible for recent GOP losses. On the Democratic side, pastor and retired federal police officer Patrick Moses also filed. Both parties now have eight declared candidates. The final verified candidate list will be available in the next few days. The special election to replace the late Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington) is scheduled for May 1st.
In what can be considered good news for incumbent at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson), another 2022 Republican primary opponent came forward. State Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper) announced his candidacy early this week, becoming the fourth significant Republican opponent to Ms. Cheney.
The large candidate field forming actually helps the incumbent because Wyoming is a plurality primary state. Therefore, Ms. Cheney can still win if she keeps her base intact while her opposition is spread among multiple candidates. Her other serious opponents are state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie), former Pavillion Mayor Marissa Joy Selvig, and energy consultant Bryan Miller.
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) is possibly headed for impeachment after striking and killing a pedestrian in a September traffic incident. Mr. Ravnsborg said he thought he hit a deer and not a person, but the State Police put a hole in his argument when testifying that the victim’s eyeglasses were found inside Mr. Ravnsborg’s car.
The legislature is pursuing impeachment action against the Attorney General after he has rebuked calls for his resignation even from Gov. Kristi Noem (R). Now, former Attorney General Marty Jackley (R), who lost to Gov. Noem in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, 56-44%, says he is interested in returning to his former position and will run for the office in 2022.
In an open Senate race that so far has more people declaring they are not running as opposed to those who want to enter the race, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth (R) said yesterday that he will not run for the Senate emphasizing his role in state politics. Previously, Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) also said they will not run for the Senate. Veteran Sen. Richard Shelby (R) has already announced that he will not seek a seventh term next year.
In relation to the CPAC event, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R) made a statement that, “Nebraska is a lot Trumpier than I am. But, I got a lot more votes than he did.” While true that Sen. Sasse’s vote total in 2020 was larger than President Trump’s in the state, it is important to note that the Democratic Senate nominee was virtually purged by his own party leadership. Due to MeToo allegations, the Nebraska Democratic Party formally went on record asking their nominated candidate, Chris Janicek, to withdraw from the race so they could choose a replacement. He refused.
Considering the state party was actively campaigning against the Democratic candidate, it is little wonder that Sen. Sasse scored such a large victory. It is unclear what would have been the result had the Democrats actually contested his re-election.
Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) was first elected to the House in 1996, and many times has flirted with running for higher office but never pulled the trigger. He now confirms that he is considering entering the 2022 Senate race, but this political situation is murky. Sen. Ron Johnson (R) confirmed again over the weekend that he has not yet made a decision about whether or not to seek re-election.
The chances of Rep. Kind now running statewide are enhanced because his southwestern Wisconsin congressional district is becoming more competitive. In 2020, the Congressman’s re-election percentage dropped to 51.3%, and former President Trump carried the seat by approximately five percentage points in both of his national campaigns.
In a Fox News interview at the CPAC conference, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy) confirmed that he is not only considering entering the open US Senate race next year but is contemplating a Republican nomination challenge to Gov. Mike DeWine (R). Mr. Davidson, who won a crowded special election in 2016 to replace resigned House Speaker John Boehner (R), has recorded three more easy victories in his western Ohio congressional district.
Rep. Davidson cited Gov. DeWine’s “overbearing” approach to the COVID-19 restrictions, saying that he should have adopted more open policies closer to that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that he will not call a special election in Boston once Mayor Marty Walsh (D) is confirmed as US Labor Secretary. Citing the fact that an open regular election is already scheduled in September, the time frame of the eventual winner’s service would be too short to justify the expense of an additional primary and runoff election series. That being the case, City Council President Kim Janey (D) will serve as interim Mayor once Mr. Walsh leaves the post to assume his federal position.
Ms. Janey is not yet an announced Mayoral candidate, but speculation suggests that she will enter the race later in the year. Becoming the interim Mayor will certainly help her ability to win election in her own right.
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) has a history of considering statewide office and then retreating to his House seat, and his typical political decision-making process may be beginning again. Last month, he indicated that he would launch his impending US Senate campaign in March, but now we see equivocation. The Congressman told a Spectrum News reporter that, “we’ll make a decision here, I guess, in the coming weeks. I don’t think a March kickoff is going to happen.”
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