By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Today’s Election Preview
Voting will occur in several places around the country today, including the Kentucky governor’s primary election. Two cities, Jacksonville and Colorado Springs, will choose their mayor, and a razor-thin result is expected in the hotly contested Philadelphia open Democratic mayoral primary.
The Republican gubernatorial primary has transformed into a rather unique contest in that the Trump-endorsed candidate is actually being attacked from his political right. Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who former President Trump endorsed last June, is in a battle with former Trump-appointed US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, who so far has a 10:1 spending advantage in attempting to paint him as less conservative than she.
Also in the race are State Auditor Mike Harmon, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, and eight minor candidates.
Key conservatives are split. While Trump and certain pro-life leaders are backing Cameron, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rep. James Comer (R-KY) have all endorsed Craft.
Polling has been sparse. The latest released data came in April from Emerson College (April 10-11; 900 likely 2023 Kentucky election voters) and posted AG Cameron to a 30-24 percent advantage over Craft, with Commissioner Quarles at 15 percent. No other candidate reached seven percent.
Today’s winner will challenge Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in the general election. Beshear has strong favorability ratings and even though the Kentucky electorate votes Republican in federal races, defeating the incumbent Democratic governor will be no easy task.
In fact, the only published poll that tests the Republicans against Gov. Beshear was released back in January from Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy. Within the GOP field, Cameron paired best with the governor, but even he was down 49-40 percent in an early ballot test. Craft, though before her heavy spending raised her name identification, trailed Gov. Beshear by a my daunting 57-32 percent.
The Kentucky Secretary of State has typically performed as one of the fastest reporting election offices in the country. Therefore, today’s results should be released early in the evening.
The Mayoral Elections
Several polls of the Philadelphia Democratic mayoral primary are showing a virtual dead heat among at least four of the competitors, meaning today’s result will be very close and could well venture into political overtime.
The top candidates are former Philadelphia City Councilmembers Helen Gym, Cherelle Parker, and Alan Domb, ex-City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and businessman Jeff Brown. It clearly appears the Democratic nomination is within reach of each of the aforementioned.
The winner will face former City Councilman David Oh, who is unopposed for the Republican nomination. He will automatically move into the November general election and could well become a viable contender considee previous citywide elections.
General election runoffs are being held in Jacksonville, Fla. and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both seats are open and currently Republican held. Of the 100 US largest cities in terms of population, Republicans hold only 26 mayor’s offices.
In Jacksonville, Mayor Lenny Curry (R) is ineligible to seek a third term. Republicans nominated Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce CEO Daniel Davis, while Democrats chose former local television news anchor Donna Deegan. Republicans turned out in larger numbers during the March primary, and while Deegan finished first, the total Republican vote exceeded the Democratic aggregate.
Turning to Colorado Springs, Mayor John Suthers (R) is also ineligible to seek a third term. The first-place finisher in the early April 12-candidate non-partisan primary election was Yemi Mobolade, a Nigerian immigrant who is a vice president at the Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation. Opposing him is former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams who placed second in the April primary.
Local elections such as these will take place in 29 cities during the latter part of this year.