By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 22, 2023
PresidentSen. Tim Scott: Formally Announces — As predicted last week, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott on Saturday declared his presidential candidacy. At this point, former President Donald Trump, former UN Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, retired Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and now Sen. Scott are the officially announced Republican candidates.
As we have previously said, the higher the number of second-tier candidates in the Republican presidential race, the stronger former President Trump will become. Typically, a crowded field favors the contender who has the strongest political base. In this case, such candidate is clearly Donald Trump.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: Set to Announce — Reports nationally and coming from Florida suggest that Gov. Ron DeSantis will formally announce his presidential campaign this week. His chief objective will be to make the race a two-way contest between he and former President Donald Trump. Another big test will be to exceed expectations in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, places that require the personal touch and strong ground operations. It is unclear just how strong the DeSantis campaign will be in the organization aspect of the campaign, but the governor’s campaign could be short lived if he fails to perform well in the early states.
Gov. Doug Burgum: To Declare Next Week — In what will be a long-shot presidential candidacy, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is also reportedly going to announce his first national campaign this week. While he won’t likely be a factor in the national scope of the campaign, he could do better than expected in Iowa, still the first state on the Republican calendar.
Historically, the Iowa voter has preferred Midwestern candidates. With Gov. Burgum coming from the business community and managing an agricultural state, such a combination could give him a basis to attract a reasonable number of votes. His bump, should it occur, won’t likely last long, but the Iowa Caucuses are a place where the seeds could be sown for Gov. Burgum to become a surprise candidate.
Michigan: State School Board President Files Senate Committee — As has been expected for some time, Michigan Board of Education President Pamela Pugh (D) filed a US Senate committee late last week with the Federal Election Commission. Potentially, we could see three African-American candidates in the open Senate Democratic primary. Pugh would join deputy director of the state Department of Transportation and ex-state Rep. Leslie Love, who has filed an exploratory committee, and potentially actor Hill Harper.
If all three eventually enter the race, the beneficiary would be US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), who is viewed as the early favorite to win the seat. If the state’s substantial black vote is split three ways, it is probable that Rep. Slotkin’s hand would be strengthened even further. It remains to be seen exactly who will formally enter the open race. Incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is not seeking a fourth term.