By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024
HouseSC-1: Ex-Staffer Announces Against Rep. Mace — Dan Hanlon, a former chief of staff to two-term South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston), announced that he will challenge his former boss in the upcoming Republican primary. The move had been rumored for several weeks.
A further complicating factor is the lawsuit arguing that this district is a racial gerrymander has been heard at the US Supreme Court, and the state is awaiting a decision. If the high court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, a 1st District redraw could be ordered. With an April 1 candidate filing deadline for the associated June 11 primary, it may be difficult to reconfigure the district for the 2024 election cycle even if SCOTUS compels the change.
Additionally, former state representative and 2018 congressional nominee Katie Arrington (R) has also not ruled out running. Without changing, the seat should easily remain in Republican hands, but the GOP primary will become interesting.
North Dakota: Rep. Armstrong Building Consensus — At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) continues to solidify himself as the heir apparent to retiring Gov. Doug Burgum (R). Former state Sen. Tom Campbell (R), an announced gubernatorial candidate, has already pulled out of the race. Instead, he will run for Rep. Armstrong’s open US House seat. It already appears that Armstrong is becoming a consensus gubernatorial candidate, and the real race will be the Republican primary to succeed him in the US House.
Nebraska: GOP Refuses to Endorse Incumbents — Exacerbating the feud between Cornhusker State incumbents — supported by former President Donald Trump — and establishment Republicans, the Nebraska Republican Party’s State Central Committee issued endorsements to all of the GOP primary congressional challengers.
In the Senate race, the party has endorsed retired Air Force officer John Glen Weaver over appointed senator and former Gov. Pete Ricketts. In US House District 2, the committee is officially supporting financial services executive and former congressional candidate Don Frei over Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), and in District 3, the party delegates issued an endorsement for businessman John Walz against nine-term Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Gering).
In the contests where the Republican incumbents are running unopposed for the party nomination, Sen. Deb Fischer, and Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), the committee members issued no endorsement. It is also worth noting that none of the incumbents sought the party endorsement.
West Virginia: Candidate Filing Closes — The West Virginia primary races are now set, as candidates will begin officially campaigning for the May 14th plurality primary. The races for governor and US senator will capture the most attention, while crowded primaries are underway for the open attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor’s offices. The only statewide incumbent seeking re-election is Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt (R).
Despite all the other statewide races being hotly contested, an oddity occurred in the open state treasurer’s race in that only one candidate filed. Former state Delegate Larry Pack (R) is unopposed both in the Republican primary and the general election.
The Republican gubernatorial primary features four top candidates, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; Secretary of State Mac Warner; former state Delegate Moore Capito, the son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R); and businessman Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington). Huntington Mayor Steve Williams is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
The Senate Republican primary is considered a match between two-term Gov. Jim Justice and US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town), though four other candidates filed. The Democratic side features Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott and former CEO and convicted felon Don Blankenship (a frequent candidate), along with former congressional aide Zack Shrewsbury. Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is retiring.
In the House races, 1st District Rep. Carol Miller faces only minor opposition in the Republican primary and general elections. In the open 2nd District, state Treasurer Riley Moore leads a Republican field of five candidates. His most serious opponent appears to be retired Air Force General Chris Walker. For the Democrats, retired Navy Cmdr. Steve Wendelin is unopposed for the party nomination.