By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023
SenateOhio: Another Close Poll — The Data for Progress research organization released their new Ohio Senate poll, which differs wildly from the Ohio Northern University (ONU) survey results published in mid-October. The DfP poll (Oct. 31-Nov. 2; 597 likely Ohio voters; online) finds virtual ties for Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) with all three major Republican primary contenders. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose does the best among the Republicans, tying Sen. Brown at 46 percent apiece.
Opposite state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), the senator holds just a one-point, 47-46 percent, edge. His margin opposite businessman Bernie Moreno is only three points, 47-44 percent.
These results contrast with the ONU data that yielded Sen. Brown margins between 13 and 22 points against the same GOP opponents. The Data for Progress results, however, are more consistent with other polls conducted for this race. The Ohio campaign will be one of the nation’s top 2024 US Senate race and is considered a virtual must-win campaign for the GOP if the party is going to wrest the chamber majority away from the Democrats.
OH-2: Rep. Wenstrup to Retire — Ohio’s six-term US Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Hillsboro) announced via video message on Friday that he will not be seeking re-election in 2024. Wenstrup first came to Congress in 2012 when he scored an upset victory over then-Rep. Jean Schmidt in that year’s Republican primary. The congressman has not been seriously challenged since.
Ohio’s 2nd District contains all or parts of 16 southern counties that stretch from the eastern Cincinnati suburbs all the way to West Virginia. Republicans will have little trouble holding the district as an open seat and Wenstrup’s successor will be determined in the March 19 GOP primary. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+49. Former President Donald Trump carried the seat in 2020 with a whopping 72-27 percent majority. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks OH-2 as the 13th safest Republican seat in the GOP Conference.
NY-26: Rep. Brian Higgins (D) to Resign — New York US Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) clarified over the weekend that he will resign from the House in February in order to become president of the Shea’s Performing Arts Center in his home city of Buffalo. Rep. Higgins was first elected in 2004 from a 26th District that includes two-thirds of Erie County and almost three-quarters of Niagara County.
The Democrats should have little trouble holding this district, though a new open seat in western New York could influence what is likely a second round of redistricting to come early next year. Therefore, the confines of the Buffalo-anchored district could change.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-26 as D+18. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 61.4D – 36.1R partisan lean. President Joe Biden recorded a 61-37 percent win here in the 2020 election. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks this district as the 78th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.
WA-6: Rep. Kilmer Won’t Seek Re-Election — Another six-term US House member also announced his retirement on Friday. Washington Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) will leave the House after what will be 12 years in office at the end of the current Congress. Rep. Kilmer indicated in his retirement announcement that it is time for a new challenge.
Washington’s 6th District encompasses the Olympic Peninsula, the large area west of Seattle and the Puget Sound that stretches to the Pacific Ocean. The 6th is reliably Democratic, and the August partisan primary will likely determine Kilmer’s successor. Before Rep. Kilmer won the seat in 2012, then-Rep. Norm Dicks (D) held the 6th District for 36 years.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates WA-6 as D+10, but Dave’s Redistricting App suggests a stronger 55.8D – 42.4R partisan lean advantage. President Biden won the 6th District constituency with a 57-40 percent victory margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks WA-6 as the 57th most vulnerable Democratic seat.