April-May Primary Outlook – Part II

Primaries

Today, we conclude our early primary outlook with a recap of the May 14 primaries in Maryland, Nebraska, and West Virginia, and the May 21 contests in Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon.

Maryland

May 14 will host a very active day in Maryland politics. Voters will choose nominees for an open US Senate race and three open House seats which, in most cases, will determine who will also win the general election.

The big statewide race features US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks vying for the open US Senate Democratic nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Ben Cardin (D). Cardin spent more than $24 million on his campaign before the end of 2023, but still has not fully pulled away from Alsobrooks in the polling. The winner will face former two-term Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in what is now a competitive general election even in this most Democratic of states.

Eleven-term Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) is retiring and leaves a six-way Democratic primary in his wake. The odds-on favorite to capture the party nomination and the seat in the general is Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski (D), who already represents more people than the number who reside in a congressional district. State Delegate Harry Bhandari (D-Parkville) is one of the top contenders, but the race is Olszewski’s to lose.

With Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Baltimore) retiring, perhaps the largest congressional field in the country has assembled. A total of 22 Democrats have filed for the primary in a district where the party nominee will easily win the seat in November. Among the almost two dozen candidates are two state senators and three state delegates. With so many competing candidates, the party nomination is completely up for grabs.

Rep. Trone’s open 6th CD features crowded primaries for both parties in what should lead to a competitive general election. Democrats have fielded 14 candidates including April McClain Delaney, a former Commerce Department official who is married to former US Rep. John Delaney, and a pair of state delegates.

Republicans see seven contenders, two of whom have won major primaries but gone down to defeat in the general elections because they are too conservative for the region. Dan Cox, the 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee and two-time congressional nominee and ex-state Delegate Neil Parrott, are the two most well-known Republicans competing for the nomination. Should one of them top the GOP field, the edge goes to the eventual Democratic nominee in a district that should be considered a toss-up.

Reps. Andy Harris (R-Cambridge), Glenn Ivey (D-Cheverly), Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville), Kweisi Mfume (D-Baltimore) and Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park) all face minor primary opposition.

Nebraska

The Cornhusker State features both US Senate seats up for election in 2024. The second due to a previous resignation, but neither Sen. Deb Fischer (R) and appointed Sen. Pete Ricketts (R) face major competition in the Republican primary nor general election.

While Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion) will be embroiled in another tough general election battle in the Omaha anchored 2nd District, neither he nor state senator and 2022 congressional nominee Tony Vargas (D) have serious primary opposition.

Reps. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) and Adrian Smith (R-Gering), whose district encompasses all or parts of 80 of Nebraska’s 93 counties in a seat that stretches from Wyoming to Iowa, face only minor primary opposition.

West Virginia

The Mountain State features open Senate and gubernatorial races; Republicans are favored in both contests. Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D) retirement makes the GOP eventual nominee, likely Gov. Jim Justice who is expected to defeat Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town), the prohibitive favorite. Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott is favored to win the Democratic primary.

The open Republican gubernatorial primary is a spirited contest featuring Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), who leads in all polls, and two sons of current West Virginia office holders. Former state Delegate Moore Capito and businessman Chris Miller, sons of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington), are battling for the nomination as is Secretary of State Mac Warner. The primary winner will become a strong favorite against the presumptive Democratic nominee, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams.

Rep. Mooney’s open 2nd District yields a Republican primary of five candidates, including state Treasurer Riley Moore, a nephew to Sen. Capito. Moore is a clear favorite to win the party nomination and defeat presumptive Democratic nominee Steven Wendelin in the general election.

Georgia

While the Peach State is arguably the most pivotal domain in the presidential election, 2024 is a rather quiet year for in-state Georgia politics. There is very little competition in the general election, but we do see three primaries of note.

In GOP Rep. Drew Ferguson’s open 3rd District, six Republicans compete for the party nomination including state Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton), two ex-legislators, and a former Trump White House aide. The two top finishers being forced into a June 18 runoff election is the likely primary outcome. In a district that 538 rates R+38, the eventual Republican nominee is a lock to win the general election.

Two Democratic members face primary opposition. Because of the latest court-ordered redistricting directive, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) must run in a much different district than the current domain she represents. As a result, she is drawing primary opposition from state Rep. Mandisha Thomas (D-Atlanta) and Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson. Rep. McBath is favored, but the two opponents forcing a runoff is not beyond the realm of possibility. The eventual Democratic nominee will have an easy run in November.

Veteran Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta), no stranger to facing primary opposition, now has six Democratic opponents including Marcus Flowers, who challenged Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in 2022. East Point City Councilwoman Karen Rene is the only candidate within the group who has any current political constituency. Rep. Scott is again favored for renomination. GA-13 is safely Democratic in the general election.

Idaho

With no Senate or governor’s race on the ballot, the Idaho election cycle will be uneventful. In the primary, Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian) faces no primary opposition, while veteran Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) drew two minor Republican challengers. No change is expected in the Gem State delegation.

Kentucky

The Blue Grass State is another place with little political activity this year. All incumbents are expected to easily retain their congressional seats.

Reps. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville), Thomas Massie (R-Garrison), and Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) each face minor opposition in their respective Democratic and Republican primaries.

Oregon

The Beaver State also has no governor or Senate race on the ballot this year, but there are three contested primaries scheduled for May 21.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland), retiring after serving what will be 28 years in the House at the end of the current term, leaves a safe Democratic seat (D+43) for which seven party members will compete. State Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland), a physician, is one of the leading candidates. Former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, sister to Washington US Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle), and Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales also appear to be viable contenders. The winner of this plurality primary will take the seat in November.

In the 5th District, Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Happy Valley) seeks a second term. She defeated Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner two years ago but may see a different opponent this year. While McLeod-Skinner is running again, the Democratic establishment, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), is instead lining up behind state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), which likely gives her the inside track toward the nomination. In a seat rated R+3, this will become a national congressional race in the general election.

The 6th District is the new seat that Oregon earned in the 2020 national reapportionment. Drawn as a D+7 district according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, the first ever congressional race within the new domain finished in a closer manner. Then-state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D) captured the seat with a 50-48 percent victory margin over Republican businessman Mike Erickson.

While Rep. Salinas faces only minor primary competition, the Republican field is more crowded. Erickson returns but will face 2022 gubernatorial candidate David Burch and Dundee Mayor David Russ in the battle for the party nomination. In a presidential year with President Joe Biden expected to post a strong double-digit Oregon victory, Rep. Salinas has a much better chance of posting a wider margin in the ’24 congressional race.

April-May Primary Outlook – Part I

By Jim Ellis — Monday, April 15, 2024

Primaries

On the threshold of witnessing another set of primary elections, we begin a two-part overview of what to expect in nine primary states whose electorates will vote later this month and in May.

Today, we look at the lone April primary, that in Pennsylvania, and the first of the May nomination elections, Indiana, on the 7th of next month. Three states, Maryland, Nebraska, and West Virginia, will hold primaries on May 14, while four more vote on May 21: Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon.

In Pennsylvania, with candidates headed to an April 23 primary date, we see an uncontested US Senate nomination battle in both parties with three major primary campaigns headed toward culmination.

Counting the Senate race, Pennsylvania looks to host four highly competitive general elections coming from the primaries, while three US House incumbents, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Levittown), Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), and Mike Kelly (R-Butler) each face only minor nomination competition.

Pennsylvania

While the Senate election will produce fireworks in the general election, the April 23 nomination vote will be quiet in both primaries. Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) and businessman and 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R) are both unopposed in their respective nomination contests. Sen. Casey is favored to win a fourth term, but this race will be one of the premier campaigns in the ’24 cycle.

While Rep. Fitzpatrick faces only minor primary competition, his politically marginal 1st District will again be at least moderately competitive in the general election. Government affairs consultant Ashley Ehasz, the 2022 Democratic nominee who lost to the congressman 55-45 percent, returns for a re-match. She is unopposed in her party primary.

While three-term Rep. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) can again expect to face a highly competitive general election, she is unopposed for renomination. The Republicans feature a three-way primary race among state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Emmaus), 2022 candidate and businessman Kevin Dellicker, and DeSales University Trustee Maria Montero. The plurality primary winner on April 23 then advances into what could become a toss-up general election against Rep. Wild who won her last two elections with 52 and 51 percent of the vote in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Just to the north of Rep. Wild’s 7th District, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic) will again face tough competition in the general election. This time, his Republican opponent will be businessman Rob Bresnahan. Both are unopposed in their respective primaries.

The Democrats feature a major multi-candidate primary battle for the right to challenge six-term Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dillsworth/Harrisburg) in the competitive 10th District. Six Democrats are vying for the right to challenge Perry, who they claim is too conservative for the politically marginal seat that only leans to the Republicans (FiveThirtyEight data organization rating: R+9). Of the six, businessman and Afghan War veteran Mike O’Brien; former news anchor Janelle Stelson; and 2022 nominee Shamaine Daniels, a Harrisburg City councilwoman; are the principal contenders.

Perhaps the most interesting Pennsylvania congressional primary lies in the Pittsburgh anchored 12th CD where freshman Rep. Summer Lee (D-Swissvale) and Edgewood Borough Councilwoman Bhavini Patel are doing battle in the Democratic primary. Patel is challenging Rep. Lee from a centrist political position, attacking the incumbent as being too far left as a member of the Democratic Conference’s informal far left “Squad” led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Both candidates are heavily engaged, and this will be the top primary to watch on April 23. Lee prevailed in the 2022 open Democratic primary with 42 percent of the vote, topping her principal opponent by 988 votes.

Freshman Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-Aspinwall) will face a competitive general election in the Allegheny County anchored 17th CD, but he and state Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Pine Richland) are both unopposed in their respective primaries.

Indiana

We will see several competitive primaries unfold in the Hoosier State on May 7. Sen. Mike Braun (R) faces a field of five Republican opponents in his quest to win the open governor’s office, including Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. Sen. Braun is favored. To replace him in Washington, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) is unopposed in the Republican primary and will easily win the general election in November.

A total of three Indiana US House seats are open in the nine-district delegation. In Rep. Banks 3rd CD, eight Republican candidates are competing including former Congressman Marlin Stutzman, state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington County), and retired circuit judge Wendy Davis. The May 7 GOP winner should see easily sailing in the general election from this Ft. Wayne-anchored CD.

Rep. Greg Pence (R-Columbus) is retiring after serving what will be three terms, and a crowded field of eight Republicans are competing to replace him in the US House. The field includes a state senator, a state representative, a former senator, an ex-representative, and a former Indianapolis City councilman. This race is a free-for-all, and the eventual winner will come nowhere close to receiving majority support.

Seven-term Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) is also retiring, and a crowded competitive Republican field also exists in this southwestern CD. Like the 3rd District primary, the 8th CD open GOP candidate field features former US Congressman John Hostettler. Eight Republicans are opposing him including state Sen. Mark Messmer who has been in the legislature since the beginning of 2009, and Owen County GOP chair Kristi Risk.

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) became the first of the House incumbents to announce that she would not seek re-election in 2024. She changed her mind and is running again, but that did not stop any of her 10 Republican opponents from remaining in the race. Her main competition comes from state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville), and recent polling suggests this race will be close. If Rep. Spartz is renominated, it will likely be only with plurality support.

Reps. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle), Andre Carson (D-Indianapolis), and Erin Houchin (R-Salem) face only minor competition in their respective primaries. Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Highland/Gary) is unopposed in the Democratic primary, but will again face competition in the general election.

Cornel West Chooses VP Running Mate; Close Presidential Polls in Minnesota; Former Miss America Enters North Dakota House Race; Polling Shows a Divided Nation

By Jim Ellis — Friday, April 12, 2024

President

Presidential candidate Cornel West

Cornel West: Chooses VP Running Mate — Independent presidential candidate Cornel West yesterday announced that California State University at Los Angeles professor and Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah will join his national ticket. Dr. West has qualified for the ballot in four states (AK, OR, SC, UT), but several domains require independent candidates to file with a vice presidential running mate.

In addressing that Abdullah is a Muslim while West is a Christian, the presidential candidate said, “I’m running for Jesus. She’s running for Allah. That’s a beautiful thing.” A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, Matt Corridoni, isn’t in agreement that the ticket is “a beautiful thing.” In response, he said, “The stakes are high, and we know this is going to be a close election — that’s why a vote for any third party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump.”

Minnesota: Another Close Poll Release — While the presidential map appears locked with only seven or eight states in play, one strongly Democratic entity continues to return close polling numbers. Should we continue to see two- to three-point spreads in ballot test results, Minnesota may soon enter the swing category.

The latest research release comes from Survey USA for ABC affiliate KSTP-TV Channel 5 in St. Paul (April 3-7; 608 likely Minnesota general election voters; online) and finds President Joe Biden holding only a 44-42 percent lead with 11 percent saying they would support another candidate.

This poll is not an anomaly. In fact, it is highly consistent with four other independent Minnesota surveys conducted in October, November, January, and February. In each of these five studies (three from Survey USA, and one from the Minnesota Post and Emerson College) the range between Biden and Trump during the six-month period spanned between just two and four percentage points with Biden leading in each survey. Therefore, expect Minnesota to be paid more attention as the national campaign progresses.

House

North Dakota-AL: Former Miss America Enters At-Large Cong Race — With the North Dakota Republican Party convention delegates not endorsing a congressional contender at last week’s official gathering, several more individuals entered the field just as candidate filing closed.

In addition to convention participants Julie Fedorchak and former state Rep. Rich Becker, 2018 Miss America Cara Mund, who ran for the seat as an Independent in 2022, retired military veteran and farmer Alex Balazs, and conservative activist Sharlet Mohr, will also compete in the at-large June 11 primary election.

The eventual Republican nominee will have the inside track toward claiming the open seat in the general election. Educator and military veteran Trygve Hammer is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Incumbent Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) is leaving the House to run for governor.

National

Pew Research Center: Partisan Political Study — The Pew Research Center released an exhaustive report on American political partisanship (released April 9, 2024; data collected between Aug. 7-27, 2023; compared with similar results from 1994-2023) and finds that the country is at basic parity between Democrats and Republicans. Asking people if they consider themselves Democrats or Republicans, or lean to one party or the other, 49 percent identified with the Democrats while 48 percent sided with the Republicans.

The coalition division is stark. Democrats fare best (in order of strength) with blacks, religiously non-affiliated, English speaking Asians, those born in the 1990s, Hispanics, urban residents, and women with a college degree. The support range is from a high of 83-12 percent (blacks) to 60-37 percent (women with a college degree).

For Republicans, the coalition order of strength includes white evangelical Protestants, Mormons, white voters without a college degree, veterans, residents of rural communities, white men, and those born in the 1940s. The support range reaches from 85-14 percent (white evangelical Protestants) to 54-43 percent (those born in the 1940s).

Former Navy SEAL Edges Tester in New Montana Poll; California Appeals Court Upholds Pro-Fong Ruling; Challenger to Florida Rep. Lee

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, April 11, 2024

Senate

Retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy

Montana: Sheehy Edges Tester in New Poll — JL Partners returned a poll for the Montana State News Bureau (March 26-29; 503 likely Montana voters) and, for the first time this year, data shows the Republican challenger leading Sen. Jon Tester (D) as he attempts to secure a fourth term.

The survey finds presumptive Republican nominee Tim Sheehy, an aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL, edging the senator 48-45 percent in one of the most important races to determine the next Senate majority.

The questionnaire did not contain a question about the presidential race, but Montana is again expected to be one of former President Donald Trump’s strongest states. Thus, a favorable Republican turnout model will also elevate Sheehy’s chances.

House

CA-20: Appeals Court Upholds Pro-Fong Ruling — A California appellate court upheld the lower court ruling that allowed Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) to compete in the congressional race after he was certified as a candidate for state Assembly. The Secretary of State barred Fong from entering the regular congressional primary under the premise that an individual cannot seek two public offices simultaneously. Through court ruling, Fong, in fact, did seek both offices, placing first in the congressional regular election and runoff, while running unopposed for the Assembly.

The appellate court ruling for the state would have sent the Central Valley political situation into chaos and, as the judges stated, would have invalidated a legitimate election. Such a move would have led to even more ambiguity, confusion, and additional special elections not only for the vacant US House seat, but also for Fong’s Assembly district should the assemblyman successfully win the congressional special election set for May 21. At this time, he is favored to win both the special and general election. Upon winning the special, Fong would immediately replace former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R), who resigned.

It is possible that Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) could still continue along the appellate process, hopefully, from her perspective, convincing the state Supreme Court to address the matter. Unless that happens, Fong is likely headed to Congress.

FL-15: Candidate Comes Forth to Challenge Rep. Lee — In March, former President Trump called upon Tampa Bay area Republicans to field a primary challenger to freshman Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Tampa) because she endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the ’24 presidential campaign. Now, James Judge, who ran in the area’s 14th District against entrenched Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) in 2022, is answering the call and will switch districts. He began the ’24 election cycle attempting to challenge Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor) in adjacent District 12.

Rep. Lee should still be considered a heavy favorite, however. Judge, running in a D+14 district according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, recorded 43 percent of the vote against Rep. Castor. This is the type of performance one would expect for a Republican congressional nominee in such a Democratic district. Additionally, he spent just over $200,000 for that race, indicating he doesn’t have much fundraising ability, and a judge had to award him ballot placement in the 2022 election because he did not file the proper candidate forms, which originally led to his disqualification.

Rep. Lee was elected to the House with 59 percent of the vote in the last election from a district that 538 rates as R+7, but one that Trump carried only 51-48 percent. Prior to running for Congress, Lee served as a Circuit Court judge and as secretary of state when Gov. DeSantis appointed her to the position. In 2022, she won a five-way open Republican primary by just under 14 points against her closest competitor.

Biden Already Buying October Media; Cornel West Continues Ballot Push; North Dakota Governor News

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, April 10, 2024

President

President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore

President Biden: Already Buying October Media — The Financial Times publication is reporting that the Biden for President committee has initially reserved more than $6 million of media time in October, with much more to come. The Trump campaign has yet to make any reservations in political prime time. The president’s campaign arm is taking advantage of buying early at the lowest cost and ensuring that their time is set.

In 2020, not doing this proved to be a major mistake for then-President Donald Trump’s political operatives. The campaign had the early money advantage but did not book the time. Not doing so allowed the Biden campaign to outspend the Trump apparatus in media advertising during political prime time in critical swing states like Arizona.

Cornel West: Vying for CO Ballot Saturday — Dr. Cornel West is continuing his quest to access the ballot in important campaign states. He is competing this Saturday at the Unity Party convention in Colorado, vying to become the minor party’s Centennial State nominee in November.

Dr. West is the Oregon Progressive Party nominee in the Beaver State. He is on the Aurora Party line in Alaska and will represent the United Citizens Party in South Carolina. He has also qualified as an Independent in Utah. Dr. West is actively attempting to gain ballot access in Florida, North Carolina, and Washington with a new Justice for All party that he founded. Petition signature gathering is underway in an additional 35 states. He failed to win the Peace & Freedom Party nomination on Super Tuesday in California.

Governor

North Dakota: Party Conventions Endorse — Republican and Democratic state delegates met in convention over the weekend to endorse their candidates for the November election. The Republicans, despite outgoing Gov. Doug Burgum (R) endorsing Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller (R) in the open governor’s race, unanimously awarded the party endorsement to at-large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck), a former North Dakota Republican Party chairman. The action was not a surprise, and Miller did not even attend the state party gathering. She will force a primary, however. Lt. Gov. Miller and Rep. Armstrong will compete for the gubernatorial nomination in the state’s June 11 primary election.

The Democrats also met, and they endorsed state Sen. Merrill Piepkorn (D-Fargo), a well known country singer and radio personality in the state. Since there is no further intra-party opposition, Sen. Piepkorn is now the party’s official gubernatorial nominee. The Republican primary winner will have the inside track to clinching the office in November. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the state as R+37.

Boebert Tops GOP Assembly Vote;
Two Qualify for CO-3 Primary;
Three-Way Outcome in CA-16; Morrisey Stretches Lead in WVA.

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, April 9, 2024

House

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

CO-4: Boebert Tops GOP Assembly Vote — Colorado Republicans met in a pair of local assemblies to potentially send candidates to the June 25 primary election. The big story surrounding the party assemblies comes from former Rep. Ken Buck’s (R) open 4th District where 3rd District Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) is attempting to win re-election in a new CD. Many believed she would not fare particularly well at the assembly, but a plurality of the 527 attending delegates proved them wrong.

Boebert finished first in the voting with 41 percent support, thus awarding her the first ballot position in the June 25 Republican primary. Former state Sen. Ted Harvey, who many believed to be the favorite, finished with 26 percent of the delegate vote. Therefore, he did not qualify for the ballot. Since he did not circulate petitions, Harvey is eliminated. Several others will qualify through petition, meaning we will see a contested primary election in this district.

CO-3: Two Qualify for Primary — Under Colorado election procedure, a candidate can qualify for the ballot either by receiving at least 30 percent of the delegate vote at district assembly or petitioning onto the ballot with 1,500 signatures for a congressional race. A candidate can both participate in the assembly and obtain signatures.

If a contender draws less than 10 percent of the assembly vote, he or she is disqualified from the primary.

In Rep. Boebert’s now open 3rd District, two individuals exceeded the 30 percent threshold, therefore securing primary ballot positions. Colorado Board of Education Member Stephen Varela and former state representative Ron Hanks have earned the first and second ballot positions.

Businessman Curtis McCrackin, who did not participate in the assembly, has qualified through petition signatures. Three more have submitted petitions and are awaiting certification from the secretary of state. An additional three candidates failed to reach the 10 percent threshold at the district assembly and are disqualified. Democrat Adam Frisch, the 2022 candidate, who lost to Boebert by only 546 votes, is a virtual lock to again be his party’s nominee.

CA-16: The Three-Way Outcome — Though official certification of the March 5th California primary will not occur until April 12, it appears that the second general election position in the state’s 16th Congressional District will end in a tie. With no votes remaining to be counted, San Mateo County Supervisor and former state Sen. Joe Simitian (D) and Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) both have garnered 30,249 votes. In first position is former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) with 38,489 tallies.

Under the top-two California jungle primary law, in the case of a tie the deadlocked participants both advance to the general election. The state has no automatic recount law, but a candidate can request, and pay for, a recount of the ballots. It is highly unlikely that either Simitian or Low will call for a recount, however. At this point, both are in the general election and a recount would very likely change the outcome by a small number of votes. This means each would be rolling the dice that a new tally would favor them.

The interesting part of this scenario, however, is whether Liccardo, the first-place finisher, will call for a recount. He is determining if a three-way race is to his benefit or squaring off with one of the others. Since he already placed first in the crowded field of 11 candidates, he will probably conclude that his chances are best in the three-way field. Therefore, this is a rare situation when the top-two system actually produced three qualifiers. And, to make the outcome even rarer, all three are Democrats.

Governor

West Virginia: Morrisey Stretches Lead in New Poll — WPA Intelligence released a survey for the Black Bear Super PAC, which supports Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s (R) bid for governor. The poll, (March 12-13; 501 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters) sees the AG posting a 37-20-19-14 percent GOP primary advantage over former Delegate Moore Capito, businessman Chris Miller, and Secretary of State Mac Warner, respectively.

The numbers and candidate order has remained consistent through three WPAi polls beginning with their first study in November. The West Virginia primary is scheduled for May 14. Gov. Jim Justice (R), ineligible to seek a third term, is running for US Senate. The eventual Republican nominee will have the inside track toward winning the general election.

GOP VP Polling Results; CO-8 GOP Nomination; Bowman Trails Badly in NY-16; Washington Governor’s Race

By Jim Ellis — Monday, April 8, 2024

President

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R) leading the VP pack in polling.

YouGov Poll: Tests Enthusiasm & Trump VP Choices — International online pollster YouGov, again polling for the Economist publication as they do on a regular basis, included questions about enthusiasm for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, as well as favorability rating for eleven potential Republican vice presidential choices.

On the enthusiasm questions, as we have seen from primary turnout numbers across the country, President Biden has a major problem. Among self-identified Democrats in the latest YouGov national survey (March 30-April 2; 1,813 US adults; online) only 38 percent responded affirmatively that they are enthusiastic about Biden’s candidacy. Another 21 percent said they are dissatisfied with the president’s candidacy, with an additional six percent of Democrats confirming they are “upset” with the status of his campaign. A final 37 percent said they are satisfied with Biden, but not enthusiastic.

Compared with former President Trump, 57 percent of Republicans said they are enthusiastic about his candidacy, six percent dissatisfied but not upset, eight percent upset, while 26 percent say they are satisfied but not enthusiastic.

On the vice presidential front, 11 prospects were tested. They are (alphabetically):

  1. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
  2. former HUD Secretary Ben Carson
  3. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
  4. ex-Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
  5. former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
  6. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
  7. former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy
  8. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  9. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
  10. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
  11. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH)

Rating the candidates equally on their favorability indexes and awarding individual points for standing in the high favorable, low unfavorable, and best ratio between the two scores, the top finishers were Sen. Scott and Dr. Carson. Finishing dead last among the group, and the only candidate viewed with an upside-down favorability index, is Haley. Though Gov. DeSantis is ineligible to serve as vice president because both he and Trump reside in the same state, he was still included in the poll and fared well, placing just behind Scott and Carson.

CO-8: GOP Nomination Virtually Secured — Colorado Republicans from the Denver suburban 8th Congressional District met in caucus and advanced state Rep. Gave Evans (R-Westminster) into the general election with 62 percent delegate support.

The other qualifier is state Rep. Janak Joshi, but he resides all the way south in Colorado Springs, far from the 8th District. Health insurance consultant Joe Andujo is now disqualified since he failed to reach the 10 percent threshold at the party convention. He was also circulating petitions to qualify, but those efforts are now discarded because he failed to reach the minimum delegate support threshold. Andujo then endorsed Rep. Evans at the convention.

Very likely, we will now see Evans advancing from Colorado’s June 25 primary election, where he will become the general election candidate to oppose freshman Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton). The congresswoman, first elected in 2022 in what is Colorado’s newest congressional seat, scored only 48.4 percent of the vote, defeating her Republican opponent by less than a full percentage point. Count on this race becoming a major national GOP offensive target.

NY-16: Rep. Bowman Trails Badly in New Dem Primary Poll — Justice Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), who unseated veteran Rep. Eliot Engel in the 2020 Democratic primary, appears to be in trouble as he seeks renomination for a third term. A new Mellman Group survey (March 26-30; 400 likely NY-16 Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) conducted for the George Latimer campaign finds the challenging Westchester County Executive leading Rep. Bowman by a whopping 52-35 percent margin as the June 25 primary comes into view.

Rep. Bowman aligns himself with the group that calls themselves “the Squad” that comprises the far left of the Democratic Conference. Latimer, prior to his election as county executive, served in both the New York Senate and Assembly. This race is now becoming another key primary campaign as several incumbents from around the country face stiff competition in their quest for renomination.

Governor

Washington: Ex-Rep. Reichert (R) Takes Lead in New Gov Poll — An Echelon Insights survey finds Republican former US Rep. Dave Reichert leading Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson in the open race for governor, thus providing more evidence that the Washington race is becoming much more competitive than originally projected.

Echelon Insights tested the Evergreen State electorate (March 18-21; 600 registered Washington voters; online, text & live interview) and sees Reichert grasping a 39-30 percent advantage over AG Ferguson in what is one of the most Democratic states in the country. Some suggest that the poll skews more Republican since Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) claims an underperforming 44-36 percent margin over physician and 2020 gubernatorial candidate Raul Garcia (R), and President Biden posts only a plurality number over Donald Trump, 48-37 percent.

While a skew may well exist, the poll is in the realm of other research findings and confirms that Reichert is a Republican candidate with staying power and capable of becoming a viable challenger.