Monthly Archives: April 2022

Palin Gets Endorsement; Hawaiian Announces for Congress; More

By Jim Ellis

April 29, 2022:

House

HI-2: Another Announces for Congress — Confident that freshman Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) will soon declare his intention to run for governor, former state Sen. Jill Tokuda (D) formally exited the lieutenant governor’s race and announced that she will enter the 1st Congressional District contest.

Though Rep. Kahele is still technically a congressional candidate, Tokuda follows the
lead of state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (D-Kailua), state Rep. Angus McKelvey (D-Lahaina),
and Honolulu City Council chairman Tommy Waters (D) who have all entered what they
believe will be an open congressional race. The Hawaii candidate filing deadline is June 7
for the Aug. 13 statewide primary, so Rep. Kahele will soon have to make known his
2022 political plans.


Governor

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate

Alaska: GOP Co-Endorses — After the Alaska Republican Party, which has also endorsed businessman Nick Begich, III over former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, in the US House special election, had already officially endorsed the party’s incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), the political entity has now expanded its official support list. In addition to the governor, the Alaska GOP voted to also endorse Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, who is the governor’s Republican primary challenger.

Connecticut: New General Election Poll — Fairfield, Connecticut’s Sacred Heart University released a new poll of the governor’s campaign, which is expected to become competitive once we enter the post-primary period. The survey (March 24-April 11; 1,000 Connecticut residents; online) finds Gov. Ned Lamont (D) opening with a substantial lead over businessman and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski (R). The ballot test finds the governor holding a 48-30% advantage.

The poll, however, has a questionable methodology. The sampling period of 18 days is very long, and the respondent universe did not segment for likely or even registered voters. Therefore, the result likely places Gov. Lamont in a better position than he might be before a better segmented poll.

Nebraska: Gov Primary Tight — State Sen. Brett Lindstrom (R-Omaha) released a new internal poll of the upcoming May 10 Republican primary that features a very tight contest among himself, businessman Charles Herbster, and former University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen. The Data Targeting/Neilan Strategy Group poll (April 19-20; 858 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) finds Sen. Lindstrom claiming a small lead at 28-26-24 percent edge over Herbster and Pillen, who both have significant support.

The results are a marked improvement for Herbster, who former President Trump endorses, after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment. A previous poll showed him losing support. The eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite to win the general election and succeed term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts (R).

Ohio: DeWine Leading Gov Primary but Below 50 percent — Fox News released the results of their new Ohio poll (April 20-24; 906 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview) that finds Gov. Mike DeWine leading his Republican primary opponents, former US Rep. Jim Renacci and farmer Joe Blystone by a 43-24-19 percent margin. This represents a downward trend for the governor of a net 11 points from March’s Fox Poll. Combined, the opponents equal DeWine’s support, but with the anti-incumbent vote split, it is likely that the governor wins a plurality nomination race next Tuesday.

Democrats Back Independent in Utah; House Race News; Kansas Redistricting Map Rejected

By Jim Ellis

April 28, 2022:

Senate

Utah Independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin

Utah: Democrats Back Independent — The Utah Democratic nominating convention over last weekend voted with a 57 percent majority not to field a party candidate against Sen. Mike Lee (R), but instead form a coalition to back Independent candidate Evan McMullin.

The move was the first of its kind in Utah political history. The delegates clearly agreed with the argument that the party was better coalescing behind McMullin, a 2016 Independent presidential candidate and former Republican who placed a strong third in the state (21.5 percent) behind Republican Donald Trump (45.5 percent) and Democrat Hillary Clinton (27.5 percent than nominating their own Democratic contender. They understood that supporting Democrat Kael Watson and producing a three-way campaign meant a sure victory for Sen. Lee.


House

FL-5: US Rep. Al Lawson May Challenge Fellow Incumbent — Florida US Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) has difficult choices ahead of him in determining where to seek re-election in the north Florida region. The new Florida congressional map collapses his current district. The Politico publication reports that Lawson is leaning toward challenging Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District, an R+16 CD but one that includes Rep. Lawson’s home base of Tallahassee.

MA-4: No Re-Match — Former Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell, who lost the 2020 Democratic primary to current US Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton) by just one percentage point, announced that she will not return for a re-match. Therefore, Rep. Auchincloss becomes a prohibitive favorite for re-nomination and re-election. The Massachusetts primary is not until Sept. 6, and the candidate filing deadline is May 31.

MN-1: No Official GOP Endorsement — First Congressional District Republicans convened over the weekend to potentially endorse a candidate in the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester). Though state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) attracted 55 percent of the delegate vote, it was not enough to secure the official endorsement. Doing so requires 60 percent. This means we will see an open special election primary on May 24 with no officially endorsed candidate, though Rep. Munson appears to be a clear front runner.

Utah: Two Reps Under-Perform at Convention — US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo), posted only 41 percent of the convention vote on the first ballot, which was just enough to avoid an embarrassing defeat, since he did not also opt to obtain petition signatures. The later rounds pushed him to 45 percent, but the congressman still must win a Republican primary against the man whom he defeated in a 2017 special election and the 2018 GOP primary, — former state Rep. Chris Herrod. Despite Rep. Curtis’ poor showing at the party convention, he is still expected to win the primary and general elections.

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Ohio Poll Indicates Changes; Oregon 5th CD Shows Disappointing Development; More

By Jim Ellis

April 27, 2022:

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Poll Posts Dolan to GOP Lead; Fox Shows Vance as Being Up — The Blueprint Polling firm tested the Ohio Republican field for the upcoming Senate primary next week (April 21-24; 634 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview), and yet another candidate has been identified as moving into first place. This is the first survey that projects state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball club, in the top position and the fourth of the five major candidates who in one poll or another has led the field.

In this study, Sen. Dolan posts 18 percent support, just a point ahead of author J.D. Vance, with businessman Mike Gibbons, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, and ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken following with 13, 12, and 7 percent preference.

Fox News was also in the field during virtually the same time period (April 20-24; 906 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview), but they produce a much different result. According to this poll, it is Vance, who picked up former President Donald Trump’s endorsement just a handful of days before the poll period, in the lead at 23 percent with Mandel, Gibbons, Dolan, and Timken trailing with 18-13-11 and 8 percent, respectively.

As both the Blueprint and Fox analyses illustrate, with less than one week remaining in the campaign, realistically four of the candidates still have a chance to catch a flyer at the end and claim the nomination. Early voting continues for the May 3 primary election.


House

OR-5: Biden Endorses Rep. Schrader — In a disappointing development for challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, President Biden just involved himself in the impending May 17 Oregon primary by endorsing veteran Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) over the more progressive contender who is an attorney and former local city manager. The two are vying to win the party primary for the newly constructed 5th District that is rated D+3, making it the most competitive seat in the Beaver State.

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Florida & NY Redistricting News, Alaska GOP Endorsement and More

By Jim Ellis

April 26, 2022:

Redistricting

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida: DeSantis’ Signs Map — On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) took the final step toward adopting the new Florida congressional plan by signing the bill that the legislature passed. Immediately, several groups, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, Equal Ground Education Fund, and Florida Rising Together, along with several individuals filed suit in state court to overturn the map. They claim the new draw violates the “Fair Districts” amendment to the Florida Constitution that voters passed in 2010, which pertains to gerrymandering and minority representation. It is likely the Florida state Supreme Court will ultimately decide the matter.


New York: Appeals Court Upholds Map Rejection — A five-judge New York Appellate Division panel upheld a lower court ruling that the new congressional map violates the New York constitution as an illegal partisan gerrymander. The congressional plan would likely elect 22 Democrats and 4 Republicans. The current map divides 19D-8R. New York lost one congressional district in national reapportionment.

Democratic leaders are already saying they will appeal to the state’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals. Resolution of the Empire State map situation could be key to the impending midterm congressional election cycle. Under New York procedure, the map still stands because it has not yet been fully decided in the appeals process.


AK-AL: AK Republican Party Endorses Begich — The Alaska Republican Party took an official stand in the special election that is scheduled for June 11th, with the succeeding four-person runoff on the political calendar for August 16th. The AK GOP endorsed software executive Nick Begich III, the grandson of the late former Congressman Nick Begich (D), and nephew of ex-Democratic US Senator Mark Begich.

The Alaska Republican State Central Committee took the action even though former Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is also in the huge field of 48 candidates all vying to replace the late Congressman Don Young (R). Earlier in the week, Ms. Palin’s former in-laws, Jim and Faye Palin, also publicly announced they are backing Mr. Begich. One way the party justified their endorsement is to explain that Mr. Begich was the only one of the 13 GOP contenders to follow the party procedure for requesting formal support.


Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey in Position for Outright Win — A new internal Tarrance Group survey for Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R) re-election campaign (4/18-20; 600 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds the incumbent in position to win re-nomination outright in the May 24th Republican primary election. Failing to reach the 50% support mark would send the nomination battle into a secondary June 21st runoff election between the top two finishers.

The Tarrance results project Gov. Ivey holding a 57% preference figure. Following are former US Ambassador to Slovenia Lindy Blanchard with 14% and businessman Tim James, son of former Alabama Governor Fob James, posting 12% support. The Republican nomination battle in the Yellowhammer State is tantamount to winning re-election in November.

Campaign Dollars – Quarter 1

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2022 — The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has released the campaign finance reports for the quarterly period ending March 31, and the Daily Kos Elections site analysts have published their regular comprehensive summaries for all Senate and House incumbents and candidates.

In the Senate, the top fundraisers for the campaign-to-date are familiar names, and they are repeating their overwhelming performance from the 2020 election cycle. For the 2022 race, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) reports $44.2 million in receipts with a cash-on-hand total of $25.6 million. Both are higher than any individual running for the Senate in the 2022 cycle. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) is close behind, raising $39.0 million for the campaign cycle with $23.3 million in his treasury.

Based upon state population segments, Sen. Kelly is actually the stronger of the two because he comes from a smaller state. Dividing the funding evenly by congressional district, Sen. Kelly averages $4.3 million per his state’s nine congressional districts, while Sen. Warnock posts $3.2 million per Georgia’s 14 CDs.

The next most prolific fundraisers come from the same race. Florida Congresswoman Val Demings (D-Orlando) is the top money producing challenger in the country, posting $30.5 million in receipts for the campaign cycle. Her opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), is virtually even with her, attracting $29.3 million. Cash-on-hand is about dead even, too. Rep. Demings reports $13.2 million in her account; Sen. Rubio, $13.1 million.

For the Republicans, the top challenger fundraiser, though he is leagues behind general election opponent Sen. Warnock, is Georgia’s Herschel Walker with $14.2 million raised.

The aggregate group of Senate candidates raising the most in one challenger contest is found in Wisconsin, as Democrats Alex Lasry, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes have cumulatively brought in $18.2 million. Lasry, an executive with the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball club, has gross receipts of over $9 million, but $5.8 million is self-sourced. Godlewski reports $5.1 million in total dollars raised, but $3.3 million comes from herself. Lt. Gov. Barnes has raised $4 million without any self-funding. For his part, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has obtained $10.8 million for his 2022 re-election campaign.

The most prolific open seat fundraisers are in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The combined candidate dollar total in the Keystone State exceeds $45 million, but almost $18 million of that total is self-funded from Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). The group from Ohio is close behind with $44.8 million obtained. In this case, we see a combined self-funding total that exceeds $21 million.

On the House side, a total of 32 incumbents and challengers raised over $1 million just during the first quarter. Naturally, the party leaders, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ($4.3 million), Minority Whip Steve Scalise ($3.4 million) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi ($3.3 million) are the most prolific.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ($510,000) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn ($284,000) are clearly not in the top echelon, but are likely spending their time raising funds for their leadership PACs or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Additionally, with Democratic incumbents and candidates raising considerably more than their Republican counterparts, the individual campaigns need less from Washington.

The top non-incumbents breaking the $1 million mark for the quarter are Jessica Cisneros, now in a Texas Democratic runoff with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and Marcus Flowers, who is challenging Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome), both at $2.4 million.

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