Monthly Archives: June 2022

Lee Ahead in Utah; Louisiana Redistricting; Tight Gubernatorial Race in New Mexico

By Jim Ellis — June 23, 2022

Senate

Utah Sen. Mike Lee

Utah: Sen. Lee Well Ahead in Latest Survey — Coming on the heels of a Dan Jones & Associates survey (May 24-June4; 810 registered Utah voters) that found Sen. Mike Lee (R) holding only a 41-37 percent lead over Independent Evan McMullin, who has coalesced with the Democrats, a new WPA Intelligence poll puts the senator in much better position. According to the WPA results (June 14-16; 300 likely Utah general election voters) the senator’s lead is 52-33 percent.

Both surveys have issues. The Dan Jones poll has a very long sampling period and is of registered and not likely voters. The WPAi survey has a sampling university of only 300 individuals, which is low for a statewide study in Utah.

Redistricting

Louisiana: Federal Judge to Draw New Black Seat — Federal Judge Shelly Dick, since the legislature did not produce a new congressional map that adds a second black district to the delegation by her imposed June 20 deadline, says she will draw such a map before June 29. Currently, the Louisiana delegation stands at 5R-1D, with the one Democratic seat being majority black and stretching from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. The move will likely add a Democratic district to the delegation and cost the Republicans a seat. Republicans have asked the US Supreme Court to stay Judge Dick’s ruling, but so far the high court has not taken any action.

Governor

New Mexico: A Pair of Polls Predict Tight Gov Contest — A pair of new surveys coming from two different polling organizations simultaneously arrived at virtually the same conclusion — that is, that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and challenger Mark Ronchetti (R) are already in a toss-up campaign.

Public Policy Polling, surveying for the New Mexico Political Report (June 13-14; 642 New Mexico voters; live interview & text), finds Gov. Lujan Grisham topping Ronchetti, a former Albuquerque weatherman who was the 2020 Republican US Senate nominee, by only a 45-42 percent margin. The closeness is confirmed and then some from an internal Public Opinion Strategies poll that the Ronchetti campaign released. According to this study (June 11-14; 600 likely New Mexico general election voters; live interview), Ronchetti holds a tight one-point lead, 46-45 percent. The New Mexico gubernatorial race is quickly becoming a key nationally watched race.

Britt Wins Alabama Runoff; Al Gross Exits Alaska Race; Tough Night For Trump in Peach State

By Jim Ellis — June 22, 2022

Senate

Katie Britt won the Republican US Senate nomination in Alabama.

Alabama: Britt Wins Runoff — As the post-primary polling unanimously foretold, Katie Britt, the former president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama organization and ex-chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), won the Republican US Senate nomination with a landslide 63-37 percent margin over Alabama US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in last night’s runoff election.

Britt’s victory was complete in that she carried 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties en route to claiming the party nomination, and a veritable ticket to the US Senate. She now faces pastor Will Boyd, who won the Democratic nomination outright on May 24 in what will prove to be a perfunctory general election in this safely Republican state.

House

AL-5: Dale Strong Headed to DC — Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong (R) defeated former Deputy Army Secretary Casey Wardynski with just over 63 percent of the Republican runoff vote. Like Britt, Strong has punched his ticket to Washington with last night’s victory.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates AL-5 as R+32, leaving little doubt that Strong is now the prohibitive favorite to defeat Democratic nominee Kathy Warner-Stanton who won her party’s nomination outright in the regular primary contest.

AK-AL: Al Gross Exits Race — Yesterday, surgeon Al Gross, who was the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee against Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) but running as an Independent in the US House special election, decided to end his campaign. Dr. Gross had qualified for the four-candidate runoff with his third-place finish in the special primary on June 11. He simply said he had “great hope for Alaska” in his departing statement but did not offer a particular reason for making the decision to prematurely end his campaign.

It appears the fifth place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney a former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the US Department of Interior will move into the fourth position, but even officials at the Board of Elections could not confidently confirm that such is the procedure.

Former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin qualified in first position, followed consecutively by businessman Nick Begich III (R), Dr. Gross, and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D).  In his statement, Dr. Gross endorsed both Peltola and Sweeney saying “they are two outstanding Native women who will serve our state well.” The special general election is Aug. 16.
 
Georgia: Trump has Another Tough Night in Peach State — Georgia proved another tough night for former President Donald Trump, as his two key candidates in House runoff races, Jake Evans in the newly reformed open District 6 and Vernon Jones in the open 10th CD, both went down in landslide proportions. These results, added to Trump candidates David Perdue and Rep. Hice losing the governor and Secretary of State’s races respectively in the May 24 primary, suggests that the Peach State will likely prove to be Trump’s poorest endorsement state.

Dr. Rich McCormick, a retired Navy physician who was the 7th District GOP nominee in 2020, scored a 67 percent win over Evans. In District 10, businessman Mike Collins, a trucking company owner and son of the late former Congressman Mac Collins, recorded almost 75 percent of the runoff vote.

Virginia: Two Congressional Primaries Decided — As predicted, state Sen. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach), a US Navy veteran and nurse practitioner, topped a field of four Republican candidates with a convincing 56 percent of the vote. She will now oppose Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) in what promises to be one of the most hotly contested GOP challenger races in the country.

Moving to northern Virginia, Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s (D-Glen Allen) politically marginal 7th CD produced a general election Republican challenger last night. Prince William County supervisor and former law enforcement officer Yesli Vega defeated five GOP opponents on her way to a tight 29-24-20 percent victory spread. The Spanberger-Vega general election will be hard fought. While the congresswoman has a slight advantage in partisan voting history, the potential turnout pattern suggests that this seat is still very much in play for a potential GOP upset.

Britt Looks Solid in AL; Dems Drop from AK Race; Velazquez Endorses Rivera in NY-10

By Jim Ellis — June 21, 2022

Senate

Former Business Council of Alabama CEO Katie Britt

Alabama: Polls Find Britt Comfortably Ahead — The Alabama Republican runoff is scheduled for today, and former Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Britt is poised to become the party nominee. Five polls from four pollsters conducted between June 6-16 with sample sizes between 400 and 1,000 find Britt with a support range between 50 and 58 percent, as Rep. Mo Brooks trails with a span between just 30-36 percent.

The pollsters are McLaughlin & Associates (two surveys), the University of Auburn at Montgomery, JMC Analytics, and Emerson College. Today’s GOP winner is a lock to claim the Senate seat in November. Sen. Richard Shelby is retiring.

House

AK-AL: Three Democrats Drop From Race — Saying that the at-large special primary election has made it clear that Democratic voters support ex-state Rep. Mary Peltola, state Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks), Kodiak Island Assemblyman Mike Milligan, and Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant have all ended their candidacies for the regular at-large House primary scheduled concurrently with Alaska’s special general election on Aug. 16. The move reduces the jungle primary field from 31 to 28 candidates.

The special general will feature, in order of primary finish, former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R), businessman Nick Begich III (R), surgeon and 2002 Democratic US Senate nominee Al Gross (I), and Peltola (D).

NY-10: Rep. Velazquez Endorses Against Rep. Jones — New York veteran Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn), who currently represents about half of the territory in the state’s new open 10th District, announced on Friday that she is endorsing NYC Councilwoman Carlina Rivera in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary. The race features 15 Democrats, including US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), ex-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and state Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.

Rep. Velazquez criticized Rep. Jones from seeking re-election in a new district an hour away from his current 17th CD. She said she doesn’t understand why he didn’t stay in the D+9 17th and seek re-election where his constituency lies. The Jones campaign responded in saying the congressman did not want to run in a member vs. member primary with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring). The spokesperson did not indicate why Jones didn’t run in what is now an open 18th CD, which also contains a portion of the congressman’s current constituency.

OH-13: Conflicting Polls — Two political pollsters, the Remington Research Group and the Democratic research firm GQR released survey results of what should be a very tight general election campaign in the new Akron-anchored CD-13. Here, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is competing against Republican nominee and attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert.

Both surveys were conducted in May but released on Friday. According to Remington (polling for US Term Limits; May 19-20; 500 likely OH-13 general election voters), Gilbert opens with a 46-37 percent lead. GQR has a different take. Their survey (May 13-31; 700 likely OH-13 voters with a 200-person over-sample of African Americans; live interview) projects that the two candidates are virtually tied with Rep. Sykes holding a 47-45 percent edge. This race is categorized a toss-up in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates R+2. Conversely, President Biden carried the new 13th by a 51-48 percent spread in 2020.

California Counting Continues;
New Candidates in FL-10 (Including Ex-Con); Dem Gov. Candidate Battle in FL

By Jim Ellis — June 20, 2022

House

California: Counting Continues, More Known — According to the California Secretary of State, at the close of business Friday, a total of 1,080,064 ballots throughout the 58 counties have been received after the June 7 primary election but still not counted and/or verified. With more than 5,000,000 votes statewide now counted, more information is known about congressional match-ups for the fall campaign.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Republican nursery business owner John Duarte appearing to clinch first position in the new open 13th District. He topped state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), 34-31 percent. Perhaps more significantly, the aggregate Republican vote topped the total Democratic figure, 51.9 – 48.1 percent. Though President Biden won in this new district with a 54-43 percent margin, this district has the potential of becoming highly competitive in 2022.

In other races, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) has not pulled away from third place finisher Chris Mathys (R) in the new 22nd District. State Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) leads the field with 44 percent while the congressman trails well behind for the second qualifying position with just 26.3 percent, while Mathys is close behind at 22.5 percent. The aggregate vote total is very low, with only 37,201 ballots counted. The positive news for Republicans here is that the aggregate partisan totals favor their candidates, 56-44 percent.

In the open southern California 37th District, state Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D) commands 43.9 percent of the vote, and she will advance to the general election. Her likely opponent in what will be a double-Democratic general election is former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry.

FL-10: Ex-Reps. Brown and Grayson Enter Field — Former Democratic US House members Corinne Brown, recently released from prison after being convicted of tax fraud, and Alan Grayson, who left a long-shot US Senate bid, both announced their candidacies for the open Orlando-anchored 10th District, the seat that Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) is relinquishing to run her own Senate race.

Seven other Democrats, including state Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Orlando) and Bitcoin investor Jeff Boone, are already in the race making the Aug. 23 party primary a more interesting campaign. Both Brown and Grayson represented parts of Orlando during their careers, Brown in the 4th CD that stretched from Jacksonville to the city and Grayson who held the 9th District that captures the southern part of Orlando and then went into the central part of the state.

Governor

Florida: Democratic Primary Poll Shows Closing Race — In a surprising new poll, the Global Strategy Group released a survey for Florida state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (June 8-13; 600 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) and the ballot test indicated the race between she and US representative and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) has closed to just three points, 34-31 percent. This is a much different result than similar polls taken in April and May. Those studies, from St. Pete Polls and Sachs Media Group, projected Crist to hold leads of 15 and 33 percent respectively. Therefore, it is possible the GSG poll is an outlier. The winner of the Aug. 23 Democratic gubernatorial primary challenges Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in November.

Texas: New Poll Produces Different Conclusion — Earlier this week, we reported upon Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling releasing their survey of the Texas electorate (June 8-10; 603 likely Texas general election voters) posting Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to a huge 56-37 percent advantage over former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso).

On the heels of the Blueprint poll, Quinnipiac University, in their most recent Lone Star State survey (June 9-13; 1,257 registered Texas voters; live interview), found a much different result. The Q-Poll sees Gov. Abbott’s lead over O’Rourke closing to just 48-43 percent, with the governor possessing an upside-down job approval rating of 46:48 percent favorable to unfavorable. More data will be required to see which of these two pollsters, surveying basically during the same sampling period, is the more accurate. Gov. Abbott is seeking a third four-year term.

Fetterman Leads Oz in PA;
Beasley Takes a Lead Over Budd in NC;
Sisolak Edges Lombardo in NV

By Jim Ellis — June 17, 2022

Senate

Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Pennsylvania: Recuperating Fetterman Leads Oz — A new Suffolk University survey looks to be the first poll taken after the marathon Republican primary finally settled for Dr. Mehmet Oz by a total of 951 votes of 1.345 million ballots cast. The Suffolk poll (June 10-13; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview) produces interesting and mixed results. On the ballot test, Democratic nominee John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, leads Dr. Oz 46-37 percent, but a full 50 percent of the respondents said they want their vote “to change the direction President Biden is leading the nation.”

While President Biden has an upside-down job approval rating — 39:54 percent favorable to unfavorable, Dr. Oz surprisingly records an equivalently bad 28:50 percent ratio. On the other hand, Fetterman, at home recovering from a stroke suffered from a blood clot to the heart, records a positive 45:27 percent favorability index.

North Carolina: Beasley Up in New Study — Survey USA, polling for WRAL-TV in Raleigh (June 8-12; 650 likely North Carolina voters; online) found former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley taking a 44-40 percent lead over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). It is probable that we can expect to see close polls like this all the way through the general election.

Turning back to the 2020 NC Senate campaign, and just in the month of October during the Sen. Thom Tillis (R) vs. Cal Cunningham (D) campaign, 28 surveys were publicly released and the Democratic nominee led in all but four studies. Sen. Tillis would go onto win re-election with a 49-47 percent margin, suggesting that North Carolina aggregate polling contained a slight structural Republican undercount.

Governor

Nevada: Sheriff Lombardo Tips Gov. Sisolak — On Tuesday, Clark County Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo scored a 38-28-13-8 percent Republican primary win over retired professional boxer Joey Gilbert, ex-US Sen. Dean Heller, and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee to set the general election card. Lombardo will oppose Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in November.

Sheriff Lombardo, with a plurality of 37.8 percent of the vote within a field of 15 candidates, including former US Sen. Dean Heller who placed third in the primary vote, captured the party nomination for the state’s top post. This will be a battleground contest in November.

WPA Intelligence, polling for the Club for Growth organization just before the Nevada primary but released a day after (June 4-6; 502 likely Nevada voters; live interview) projects Lombardo taking a one-point, 48-47 percent, edge over rival Sisolak. The poll appears to undercount the non-affiliated voters, which is the largest of the party division segments.

How emphasizing both major parties changes the ballot test is unknown, but with the Lombardo-Sisolak question breaking virtually even, it is clear that this race begins as a toss-up.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Closely Trails — The aforementioned Suffolk University poll (see Senate section above), while finding Republican nominee Mehmet Oz trailing Lt. Gov. John Fetterman well outside the polling margin of error, sees state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) trailing Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) by only a 44-40 percent margin.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s job approval is a very poor 38:60 percent favorable to unfavorable. And, by a 29:54 percent ratio, the respondents believe Pennsylvania is on the wrong track. Though Sen. Mastriano is viewed by many as being extreme, the sour taste voters apparently have for the current gubernatorial administration and their poor perception of how the state is performing economically is putting the new Republican nominee in competitive position despite whatever perceived negative baggage he might be carrying.

House

NV-4: Peters Projected as Primary Winner — Insurance agency owner and Army veteran Sam Peters has been projected the winner of the 4th District Republican primary, with a 48-41 percent victory spread over Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black (R-Mesquite).

Peters now advances to challenge incumbent Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) in a seat that rates D+5, but is staged to be competitive in 2022. The 4th stretches from northern Clark County into the central part of the state. Horsford was unopposed for re-nomination.

In the state’s other three congressional races, 1st District incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) will face financial planner Mark Robertson who placed first in a field of eight Republican candidates that included former US Rep. Cresent Hardy.

In the northern Nevada 2nd CD, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City) was re-nominated with 54.5 percent of the vote against perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (32.7 percent) and three others. In the general election, Rep. Amodei will face Democrat Elizabeth Krause. The congressman becomes a heavy favorite for re-election.

In competitive District 3, another of the Clark County seats, Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) was easily re-nominated and will face Republican attorney April Becker who captured two-thirds of the Republican vote.

Considering these results and that it appears more Republicans voted in this primary than Democrats (about one-third of the vote is still unaccounted for), Nevada will be one of the key battleground states in the nation’s 2022 midterm election.