Trump’s Non-Voters

By Jim Ellis — Friday, May 17, 2024


Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Trump: Expanding Voter Universe — We’ve seen considerable recent evidence of a changing American electorate, such as more minority voters being open to supporting Republicans and higher educated individuals almost exclusively heading to the Democratic camp, but a series of Public Opinion Strategies surveys for NBC News is confirming another surprise data point.

In presidential polls throughout the election cycle, it is former President Donald Trump and not President Joe Biden who consistently fares better when a pollster expands the surveyed universe. This means Trump’s numbers have been consistently better in this election cycle when the sample consists of “adults” as opposed only to registered or likely voters. This is highly unusual since it is typically the Democrats who do better when the respondent universe expands.

Public Opinion Strategies pollster George Nassar released an analysis of a series of polls that his organization conducted exploring the responses of the high propensity voter versus those who are either only casual or habitual non-voters. The results are again consistent with other research conducted in the current election cycle, namely that we again see Trump and the Republicans doing better when the universe expands.

According to the Nassar analysis, when looking only at the highest propensity voters from both the 2022 and 2020 elections, President Biden posts a 49-44 percent lead over Trump. This group would also “prefer a Democratic Congress,” by three percentage points, 49-46 percent, and Democrats have a five percentage point advantage in party identification within the group.

When looking at the segment who voted in 2020, but not 2022, i.e., the presidential election only voters, we see a starkly different response, and one that defies American voting history.

Within this lower propensity segment, the respondents favor Trump over Biden by 12 percentage points, 50-38 percent. The unit would prefer a Republican Congress by a 50-41 percent margin, and Republicans would enjoy the five-point identification advantage.

As we have seen in other survey research, the working class voter is becoming much more favorable to the GOP. Within this presidential election only segment, 47 percent would identify themselves as working class, and 32 percent are voters of color. Looking at the higher propensity contrasting segment, 31 percent are working class, and 24 percent voters of color.

Then Nassar isolated the non-voter segment, meaning those who voted in neither the 2020 nor 2022 election. This group shockingly would favor Trump over Biden by a whopping 20 percentage point margin, 54-34 percent; and, by a 49-40 percent spread, they would prefer a Republican Congress, and the GOP identification factor is R+10. Just over one-third (35 percent) are people of color, and 49 percent consider themselves working class.

Again, these are numbers never before seen, and help confirm the analysis that the overall electorate is in a state of flux.

Furthermore, as Nassar highlights in his memo, “the lower propensity voters are much less favorable to Biden and more likely to be younger, downscale, and less white. The higher the turnout, the better for the GOP.” He further states that, “this could have consequences when pollsters start deploying their likely voter models and perhaps overstating Biden’s vote.”

The question remains as to whether the Trump campaign and the Republican political apparatus can find ways to identify individuals who comprise the low propensity/non-voter segment, get a large percentage registered, and motivate them to vote in the 2024 election.

There is no question that a difficult implementation operation lies ahead, but numbers such as uncovered in the POS research could provide a heretofore untapped voting resource that could well provide Republicans the opportunity of converting a close loss into a game-changing tight win.

Why Trone Lost in Maryland; North Dakota House Primary Tightening, Armstrong Up in Two Polls; Virginia Gambling Initiative Opposed

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, May 16, 2024


Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac)

Maryland: Why Trone Lost — There are specific reasons as to why Maryland Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) lost to Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) by a large margin even with his huge financial advantage. First, as we had been stating in these posts all along, Trone’s exorbitant spending, estimated to be a self-contributed $62 million, which is an all-time record candidate investment for a Senate primary, was placing him ahead in polling but not to the point where he was substantially pulling away from Alsobrooks.

In contrast, she had strong grassroots support within the African-American communities in PG County and Baltimore, which is very important in a Maryland Democratic primary and could partially compensate for being outspent. She was also smart about how to spend the money she did have, working the ground early and spending her funds late in the campaign, knowing that she could not equal Trone’s largess.

Additionally, Trone likely became over-saturated to the point people were tuning him out because of over-exposure. His last ads, attacking former Gov. Larry Hogan, also reverberated negatively toward Trone. Though Hogan is a Republican, he generally possesses a positive image among most Democrats.

Furthermore, the Trone campaign strategy appeared misapplied. He attempted to secure the left flank of the party while Alsobrooks was firmly entrenched within the faction. Therefore, he left more centrist Democrats in places like Baltimore County and the Annapolis area with no place to go. The fact that the entire Democratic congressional delegation, with the exception of retiring Sen. Ben Cardin who stayed neutral, and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) who supported Trone, along with Gov. Wes Moore, all not backing the congressman also proved damaging to his credibility.

For Trone to win the nomination, he would have needed to carry five of the state’s eight congressional domains, including Districts 1 (Rep. Andy Harris-R), which he did, 2 (Rep. Ruppersberger), which he did not, 3 (retiring Rep. John Sarbanes-D), which he did not, and 8 (Rep. Jamie Raskin-D), which he did not. In the end, he topped Alsobrooks only in the lone Eastern Shore Republican district and his own western Maryland 6th District. Adding the sum of these factors, in addition to making three verbal and strategic gaffes at the end, culminated in what appears to be a 12-point loss even with his approximate 10:1 spending advantage.


ND-AL: Tight Primary Unfolding — As part of their statewide polling project, DFM Research (May 6-8; 550 likely North Dakota Republican primary voters; live interview & text) tested the open Republican primary for the state’s at-large US House seat. Three-term incumbent Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) is running for governor, thus leaving a competitive GOP congressional primary in his wake.

The contest, heading for a June 11 primary election, appears too close to call. The DFM results find former state Rep. Rich Becker leading Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak by a 29-26 percent margin with former Miss America Cara Mund trailing at 14 percent. Thus, between Becker and Fedorchak, the race appears as a toss-up. The plurality primary winner will have the inside track toward winning the seat in November.


North Dakota: Rep. Armstrong Up in Two Polls — DFM Research and Guidant Polling & Strategy returned Republican primary survey data on the impending North Dakota open governor’s race, which is headed for a June 11 nomination election. Both find Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) posting major, and almost identical, leads over Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller.

DFM Research (May 6-8; 550 likely North Dakota Republican primary voters; live interview & text) posts Rep. Armstrong to a 56-18 percent advantage. Guidant (May 4-8; 500 likely North Dakota Republican primary voters; live interview & text) sees virtually the same result favoring Armstrong, 60-19 percent. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the general election to replace retiring Gov. Doug Burgum (R).


Virginia: Statewide Gambling & Candidate Polling Results — An organization attempting to defeat a proposed Virginia gambling ballot proposition, Virginians Against Neighborhood Slot Machines, commissioned a joint statewide poll from two major polling organizations, Fabrizio Ward & Associates, a Republican firm, and the Democratic polling group, Impact Research. The pollsters (released May 10; surveyed April 26-28; 500 registered Virginia voters; live interview & text) found wide opposition to the gambling measure (opponents outnumbering supporters by a 20 point margin), and then tested the key statewide contests.

On the candidate front, surprisingly President Joe Biden held only a one-point ballot test lead over former President Donald Trump, 43-32 percent, while Sen. Tim Kaine (D) outpaced retired US Navy captain and 2022 congressional candidate Hung Cao (R) by 12 percentage points, 48-36 percent. If additional research suggests a tightening at the presidential level, Virginia could move into a more competitive political realm in the coming months.

Primary Results; Key Senate Race Polling

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Primary Results

Angela Alsobrooks

Maryland: Alsobrooks Upsets Trone — The big story coming from last night’s Maryland primary is Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks defeating US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) for the open Democratic US Senate nomination despite Trone spending what some believe will total $62 million for his campaign. The spending imbalance did not only not lead to a Trone victory, but his loss was substantial, 54-42 percent.

The over-spending apparently backfired; that, coupled with several Trone gaffes in the final three weeks, led to a shift in momentum. As we had been saying for weeks in this race, turnout with the state’s substantial African American communities would be a key indicating factor if Alsobrooks was to have a chance to win. This, and her strong support from the congressional delegation and Gov. Wes Moore (D) helped her overcome the huge financial imbalance.

The new Democratic nominee will now face former Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election. Hogan won the Republican primary with approximately 62 percent of the vote. This is a strong showing, but not overwhelmingly so. It is indicative of the strong conservative GOP flank not embracing the former governor’s eight-year record in leading the state, and his outspoken position against former President Donald Trump.

Trone, however, was not the only big spender to lose in Maryland last night. Former Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who gained notoriety for his role in the Jan. 6 controversy, raised over $5.4 million for his attempt to replace retiring Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Baltimore). It was state Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D-Annapolis), however, who would record the victory.

The open 2nd District, as expected, easily went to Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, who won the Democratic primary going away with 78 percent of the vote. He will be a prohibitive favorite to replace retiring Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) in the general election.

In District 6, also as expected, former US Commerce Department official April McClain Delaney, the wife of former Congressman John Delaney (D), won the plurality primary in Rep. Trone’s open seat. On the Republican side, the primary winner was two-time congressional nominee and ex-state Delegate Neil Parrott. Though both parties can win this district, McClain Delaney will be the heavy favorite based upon Parrott’s poor previous performances.

Nebraska: All Incumbents Easily Win — The state’s two US senators hovered around the 80 percent mark in their individual Republican primaries last night. Sen. Deb Fischer (R), now unopposed in the general election, is the in-cycle senator, while appointed incumbent Pete Ricketts (R) must win the right to serve the final two years of the current term and then be on the ballot again in 2026 when he will compete for a full six-year stint. The strength of Ricketts’ win last night, and his familiarity with the voting public after serving two terms as governor, means he will skate to an easy victory in the general election.

Reps. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) and Adrian Smith (R-Gering) recorded easy renomination wins in their respective 1st and 3rd Districts with 81 and 74 percent vote totals, respectively. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), who represents the most competitive seat in the state, clinched renomination with 62 percent vote preference. Bacon will again face his 2022 opponent, state Sen. Tony Vargas (D-Omaha) whom he defeated 53-47 percent two years ago.

West Virginia: Justice, Morrisey & Moore Win the Contested Races — The open Senate and governors’ races were the key battles in the Mountain State last night. As expected, Gov. Jim Justice (R) scored a landslide 62-27 percent victory over US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) to clinch the Republican Senate nomination. The governor now becomes the prohibitive favorite to defeat the newly crowned Democratic nominee, Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott. Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is retiring, which gives the Republicans their strongest conversion opportunity in the country.

In the open governor’s race to replace the term-limited incumbent, Attorney General Pat Morrisey, as polling correctly predicted, defeated former state Delegate Moore Capito, businessman Chris Miller, and Secretary of State Mac Warner, 34-27-20-16 percent, to capture the Republican nomination. Morrisey will now be a heavy favorite to turn away the new Democratic nominee, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who was unopposed in his party’s primary.

In Rep. Mooney’s open 2nd District, also as expected, state Treasurer Riley Moore, nephew of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and cousin to gubernatorial candidate Moore Capito (R) is the new Republican nominee. Mr. Moore captured 45 percent of the plurality vote in a field of five candidates. He is now considered a lock to win the general election in the state’s northern seat.


Polling: Numbers Released on Key Senate Races — The New York Times and Siena College again teamed to survey some of the key Senate races. The polls were conducted within the April 28 – May 9 period and interviewed between 614 and 1,023 likely voters in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The top Republican targets of Maryland, Michigan, Montana, and Ohio were not included in this series.

The results found tight races in all but Wisconsin. The most vulnerable within this group appears to be Nevada where disabled Afghan War veteran Sam Brown (R) has pulled into a 41-41 percent tie with Sen. Jacky Rosen (D). In Arizona, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) leads 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R) by just three points, 46-43 percent.

The Pennsylvania result is similar. Here, NYT/Siena sees a 46-44 percent split in favor of three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D). Finally, the Democrat from this group in the best position is Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). She leads businessman Eric Hovde (R) by seven percentage points among the likely voters, 49-42 percent.

Nebraska & West Virginia Primary

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, May 14, 2024


Only minor primary opposition today adorns the key races in the Cornhusker State of Nebraska. Republicans hold the two US Senate and all three of the state’s House seats, but only one race appears highly competitive in the general election.

Appointed Sen. Pete Ricketts, the former two-term governor, must win nomination tonight and the election in November to serve the balance of the current term. Sen. Deb Fischer is unencumbered toward winning a third term in November. She has only minor Republican opponents today, and no Democratic opposition in November.

Last year, Sen. Ben Sasse (R) resigned his seat to become president of the University of Florida. Should Sen. Ricketts be successful this year, and such is expected, he has already committed to run for a full term in 2026.

The three House incumbents, Reps. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), Don Bacon (R-Papillion/ Omaha), and Adrian Smith (R-Gering) face only minor opposition today. Rep. Bacon will again have another difficult general election challenge in his swing 2nd District. This time, as was the case in 2022, state Sen. Tony Vargas (D-Omaha) will be his general election opponent. In that election, Rep. Bacon was re-elected with a 53-4 percent victory margin.

West Virginia

The West Virginia primary also features a key open Senate race. Gov. Jim Justice (R) is the prohibitive favorite to defeat Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) in that race this evening. In the general election, he will likely face Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott, who is favored for the Democratic nomination.

Converting the West Virginia seat will be the lynch pin to Republicans potentially capturing the Senate majority. With Sen. Joe Manchin (D) not seeking re-election, this seat becomes the top national Republican conversion opportunity and one they are not likely to miss.

Of the remaining five-top tier (or eventual top tier) races, winning West Virginia would mean the Republicans would need to win only one of the remaining five to hold an outright majority. With the Senate map favoring the Republicans in this election, but not in 2026 or 2028, it is imperative for the GOP to reach 53 or 54 seats if they are to develop a sustained majority. Democrats sweeping the top tier, however, would allow the party to hold the majority at 50-50 if President Joe Biden is re-elected.

In Rep. Mooney’s open 2nd District, state Treasurer Riley Moore, nephew of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R), has the inside track for the Republican nomination. He has opposition from four Republicans, the most substantial of whom are retired Air Force General Christopher Walker and cyber security consultant Joe Early. In WV-2, winning tonight’s GOP primary is tantamount to claiming the seat in November.

The open governor’s race is likely to be the most interesting race of all. Polling has been erratic here, but Attorney General Patrick Morrisey looks to have the best chance for victory. Former state Delegate Moore Capito, Sen. Capito’s son, is a formidable contender as is Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington). The race has turned highly negative.

AG Morrisey has won three terms as state attorney general but lost a close 2018 campaign against Sen. Manchin. Capito has the family name which goes a long way in this state’s politics. Miller is also from a political family and has become a viable candidate. It is unlikely, however, that he has enough to overtake either Morrisey or Capito, but it appears he will make a credible showing. Secretary of State Mac Warner is also competitive but has never placed higher than fourth in any polling conducted after the first of the year.

Next up on the primary schedule, slotted for next Tuesday, May 21, are Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon.

Runoffs – North Carolina

Today is also runoff day in the Tar Heel State for those candidates not receiving 30 percent in the March 5 primary. Two congressional races featured runoffs, but in both cases the second place finisher has dropped their candidacy.

Therefore, legislative advocate Addison McDowell in the open Greensboro anchored 6th District, and Brad Knott, in the newly configured 13th CD, will be officially made the Republican nominees tonight. In both situations, the two men will have easy runs in the general election (McDowell is even unopposed) and will succeed Democrats Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) and Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) in the respective districts. Both are important conversion seats for the GOP.

Sen. Scott Expands Lead; Nevada Propositions Won’t Make Ballot; Four NY-3 Candidates Disqualified; Three Bob Fergusons on Ballot

By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 13, 2024


Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R)

Florida: Sen. Scott Expands Lead — Cherry Communications was in the field testing several Florida races for the state Chamber of Commerce (April 28-May 7; 609 likely Florida general election voters; live interview) and despite claims from Democratic Senate candidate Debbie Mucarsel Powell in fundraising messages that her race is even, this poll confirms otherwise. In reality, Sen. Rick Scott (R) has a major advantage over the likely Democratic nominee. According to the Cherry/Chamber poll, Sen. Scott commands a 54-39 percent lead.

The Scott performance is even larger than former President Donald Trump’s showing in the same poll. On the presidential ballot test, Trump holds a 51-42 percent edge over President Joe Biden. Additionally, when Sen. Scott was last on the ballot in 2018 and won by just over 10,000 votes statewide, the Democrats had a voter registration edge. Now, the Republican registration advantage has soared to over 900,000 individuals.


Nevada: No Redistricting Ballot Propositions — On Friday, the Nevada state Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling striking down two proposed ballot initiatives that would have allowed citizens to determine if a redistricting commission would be created. The court ruled that the propositions did not include provisions to demonstrate how the initiative would develop a revenue stream to pay for the program as required in Nevada law.

Therefore, no redistricting law changes will be on the ballot in 2024. Also under Nevada election law, in order to become law, propositions must receive majority support in two separate elections. Therefore, time remains for proponents to qualify a pair of propositions in future elections to change the redistricting system before the 2030 census.

NY-3: GOP Candidates Disqualified — Four Republican candidates attempting to challenge returning New York US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) have been disqualified. This leaves former state Assemblyman Mike LiPetri, the local party-endorsed candidate, as the lone Republican contender. None of the others submitted the proper number of valid petition signatures, which is the typical reason candidates fail to make the ballot.

LiPetri has yet to initiate a fundraising mechanism for his campaign, but now he will be unopposed for the party nomination in the June 25 Republican primary. Though expelled Rep. George Santos (R) won the seat in 2022, the district leans Democratic. The Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate a 51.9D – 47.4R partisan lean for the new district adjusted in the 2024 redistricting round.

NY-3 was one of four Democratic districts that went Republican for the US House in 2022 which, along with a similar four seats in California, will go a long way to determining whether Democrats or Republicans claim the majority in the 2024 general election.


Washington: The Three Bob Fergusons — Evergreen State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) is the leading candidate to replace retiring Gov. Jay Inslee (D), but he has a new problem as we move closer to the May 24 candidate filing deadline. Two other Democrats, also named Bob Ferguson, are in the process of filing. Attorney General Ferguson is appealing to the secretary of state for help. There is an oddity that will be investigated. The new Bob Fergusons are registering at the same address, and one person, Glen Morgan, says he is the campaign manager for both of the challenging Fergusons.

The Washington gubernatorial ballot will be confusing enough without featuring three Bob Fergusons. The state uses the jungle primary system, meaning all candidates are on the same ballot. At this point, 30 individuals, including a dozen Democrats, eight Republicans, eight Independents, one Green, and one Libertarian, have drawn documents to file for governor. So, in such a crowded field, so many Bob Fergusons could cause the attorney general additional confusion problems.

Maryland, West Virginia Senate Polling Updates; AIPAC Goes Against Kentucky’s Massie; House Primary Updates for NY-6, NJ-10; West
Virginia Governor’s Race Tight

By Jim Ellis — Friday, May 10, 2024


Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks

Maryland: Shock Poll Just Released — A surprising poll was just released from Emerson College (May 6-8; 1,115 registered Maryland voters; 462 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) that shows Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks for the first time moving slightly ahead of US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac). The results yield a 42-41 percent count despite Alsobrooks being outspent by an almost 10:1 ratio. This data clearly suggests that the upcoming May 14 Democratic primary election will yield an interesting night.

The general election data is surprising, too. After several earlier polls projected former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan (R) holding leads over his Democratic opponents, this survey posts both Alsobrooks and Trone to nine (46-37 percent) and 10-point (48-38 percent) respective leads over the ex-state chief executive.

West Virginia: Justice Crushing Mooney in Latest GOP Poll — With a week to go before the May 14 West Virginia primary, Research America conducted another GOP US Senate survey (April 24-May 1; 407 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters; live interview & online) and publicly released the results. The data finds Gov. Jim Justice leading US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) by a huge 67-23 percent tally. Gov. Justice is expected to win the Republican nomination next week and the Senate seat in November.


KY-4: AIPAC’s Early Attack Strategy — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) announced that they are launching an ad blitz against Kentucky US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Garrison) even though he has little competition in the May 21 Republican primary and has no Democratic opposition for November. The ads will attack him for his record pertaining to Israel support.

AIPAC’s goal is to weaken him within the Republican primary voter base in order to either dissuade him from running for the Senate when Mitch McConnell’s seat comes open in 2026 or make him less of a factor if he does launch a statewide candidacy.

MD-6: Dueling Polls — A new publicly released survey posts former Commerce Department official April McClain Delaney (D) leading the large field of 13 Democratic candidates vying to succeed Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) who is running for the Senate. The primary election is this Tuesday.

The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group conducted the survey for the Delaney campaign. The poll (May 6-7; 400 likely MD-6 Democratic primary voters; live interview) finds Delaney topping state Delegate Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery County) by a 37-24 percent margin. The pollsters indicate that the remaining 11 candidates combined only posted a cumulative 17 percent support factor.

There is a wide discrepancy in the polls, however. Recently, Vogel released a Public Policy Polling survey (April 25-26; 588 likely MD-6 voters; live interview & text) that showed both he and McClain Delaney at 24 percent. While the data results are very different, it is clear that the primary contest has winnowed to a two-way race.

NJ-10: Special Scheduled; Candidates Come Forth — Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has called a special election to replace the late Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) who passed away on April 24. The special primary will be held on July 16, with the special general on Sept. 18. The winner will take the seat in late September and then be on the ballot for the regular term on Nov. 5.

Because Rep. Payne passed away after the candidate filing deadline, the local Democratic Party organizations will choose a replacement nominee after the July 16 special primary for the regular term. It is presumed the delegates will choose the special primary winner, and Newark City Council President LaMonica McIver (D) appears to be the candidate consolidating the earliest support.

Also expressing interest in running for the party nomination are Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, East Orange City Councilwoman Brittany Claybrooks, and New Jersey state official David Godfrey. Republican Carmen Bucco and Green Party candidate Jon Serrano, along with Congressman Payne, were the only candidates to file at the March 25 filing deadline.

The Democrats will easily retain the Newark anchored 10th District. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+58, and President Joe Biden scored an 81-19 percent victory here in 2020.


West Virginia: Polling Tight as Primary Nears — As the West Virginia open gubernatorial candidates head into the last week of campaigning before the primary election next Tuesday, a new Emerson College survey (May 2-5; 558 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) continues to see Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leading the GOP primary race, but his edge is narrowing as the whole field is becoming bunched.

The Emerson results reveal a 33-29-21-15 percent split among AG Morrisey, former state Delegate Moore Capito, businessman Chris Miller, and Secretary of State Mac Warner, respectively. Next’s week primary winner will become the prohibitive favorite to succeed Gov. Jim Justice (R) who will likely be nominated for the US Senate in the same election. The erratic polling in the past few weeks in this race suggests we could be headed for a very close final result on election night.

Garcia Trails in Early Poll; Fong Ballot Status Dropped; Washington Senate Finalist Announces for House; Louisiana Redistricting; Good Well Behind in New Primary Poll

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, May 9, 2024


California Republican Mike Garcia

CA-27: Rep. Garcia Trails in Early Poll — Impact Research, polling for the George Whitesides campaign, released the results of their mid-April poll (April 12-18; 650 CA-27 registered voters; 100 over-sample of Hispanic voters), which shows their client leading three-term California US Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) by a 47-44 percent count. In the jungle primary, however, Rep. Garcia topped Whitesides, a former NASA chief of staff and ex-CEO for Virgin Atlantic Airlines, 55-33 percent, from a turnout of 135,161 primary voters.

This will clearly be one of the top national congressional campaigns. Rep. Garcia represents one of four California Republican held districts that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as a Democratic seat. In this instance, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission made the northern Los Angeles County district even more Democratic, stretching the seat to a D+8 rating. President Biden carried this district configuration with a 55-43 percent victory margin, so Rep. Garcia has his work cut out for him to win here again in November.

CA-20: Appeal to Fong Ballot Status Dropped — California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) announced that she is dropping her office’s appeal of the ruling that allows Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) to run for the open 20th District congressional seat while still on the ballot for state Assembly. Weber contended that a candidate cannot seek two offices simultaneously. Two court rulings, however, allowed Fong to continue his regular election campaign for the seat from which former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) resigned even after qualifying for the state Assembly ballot. Weber’s action means that Fong’s congressional candidacy is finally unimpeded.

Assemblyman Fong did appear on the ballot for both offices on the March 5 jungle primary. He placed first in the congressional race and was unopposed for re-election to his current office. He is also on the ballot for the May 21 special congressional election to fill McCarthy’s unexpired term. In both the special election and in November, Fong will face Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux in a double-Republican format.

Should Fong win the special election, and he is favored to do so, he will resign from the Assembly before taking the congressional oath. At that point, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will call a special election to fill the balance of the unexpired Assembly term and another for the regular election.

WA-4: Senate Finalist Announces for House — There has been growing speculation that Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside), one of two remaining Republican House members to vote for the Trump impeachment, would announce his retirement before the state’s May 24 candidate filing deadline and the latest development here will increase such talk.
Tiffany Smiley (R), who was a credible opponent to Sen. Patty Murray (D) in the 2022 statewide election, yesterday announced that she will enter the 4th District House race. The move is unusual since it seems unlikely that she would challenge the incumbent especially when former President Donald Trump has already endorsed former race car driver Jerrod Sessler (R). Her candidacy does make sense, however, if Rep. Newhouse has decided not to seek re-election and has quietly told her such. This is a developing situation worth watching.

Louisiana: Judges Order New Cong Map by June 3 — The three judge federal panel that invalidated the new Louisiana congressional map is now sending the plan back to the state legislature with a deadline of June 3 to redraw the map. This time, there is no judicial requirement to specifically add a new majority minority district.

In response, Secretary of State Nancy Landry (R) is filing an appeal of the original ruling with the US Supreme Court and criticized the panel for not adhering to her May 15 deadline for producing a 2024 map. She said the state needs such a time frame to adequately administer the election.

While the Louisiana redistricting situation will soon come to a head, it is difficult to see exactly how the map’s final version will develop.

VA-5: Rep. Good Well Behind in New Primary Poll — A just-released Battleground Connect poll (April 30-May 2; 504 likely VA-5 voters; live interview) finds two-term Virginia US Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) falling well behind his Republican primary challenger, state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin-Sabot). According to the survey data, Sen. McGuire would lead Congressman Good by a double digit margin, 45-31 percent, as the two battle for position in anticipation of the June 18 Old Dominion primary.

The McGuire effort, which has been principally hitting Rep. Good over his lack of support for former President Donald Trump, is being supplemented by heavy outside spending much of which is coming from organizations affiliated with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who Rep. Good was instrumental in deposing. Additionally, this is the first time Rep. Good has faced a primary election. Previously, he was nominated through a district convention, which is the way he denied former Rep. Denver Riggleman renomination in 2020.