Monthly Archives: June 2024

AIPAC’s Next Challenges

By Jim Ellis — Friday, June 28, 2024

Campaign Finance

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is getting most of the credit for Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s (D-NY) Democratic primary defeat earlier in the week, and deservedly so considering their associated entity’s huge expenditures, but will their next endeavors end in a similar manner?

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) at Saturday’s Rally in the Bronx.

Rep. Bowman went down to a crushing 58-42 percent defeat at the hands of Westchester County Executive George Latimer on Tuesday night with the aid of almost $20 million being spent for Latimer and against Bowman in the congressional primary. Most of this outside money came from The United Democracy Project, a Super PAC associated with AIPAC.

Yet, some key facets of this race will not be present in campaigns against a pair of the group’s other important targets. Earlier in the year, when the anti-Israel protests began in earnest the AIPAC leadership pledged to spend $100 million to defeat some of Israel’s strongest adversaries in Congress. With Rep. Bowman successfully unseated, two others, Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), appear to be next in line and though every political race is different, similarities to Bowman’s pre-primary position are relatively strong.

To begin, Rep. Bowman, considering some of his other antics and inflammatory statements uttered during his tenure in the House, made him vulnerable beyond his stance against Israel. Therefore, he was a potential incumbent political casualty even before AIPAC entered the scene. The same is true for Reps. Bush and Omar.

Conversely, Bowman’s opponent is an accomplished politician and much more established than either of the men that Bush and Omar are facing.

As Westchester County Executive, Latimer already represented 91 percent of the 16th District constituency. In the area that he and Bowman had in common, Latimer’s percentage rose to 63.4 percent. In the Bronx borough, where Latimer was not a familiar figure, Rep. Bowman led with 83.6 percent support. The latter domain, however, accounted for less than 10 percent of the overall vote. Prior to his service as Westchester County executive, Latimer was an elected member of the New York Senate and Assembly.

While Reps. Bush and Omar’s opponents are certainly credible, their political resumes are not as formidable as Latimer in New York.

Post-election reports are surfacing through social media that Rep. Bowman was already trailing by 17 points prior to The United Democracy Project even beginning its media blitz. The reports suggested that the ads did not begin until April 3, yet a Mellman Group poll of the NY-16 Democratic constituency conducted over the March 26-30 period already found Rep. Bowman trailing, 52-35 percent.

Another poll, however, from Upswing Research and executed during the March 5-10 period found the race locked in a dead heat, with Rep. Bowman actually leading by a percentage point, 43-42 percent. While the final results suggest the Mellman poll is the more accurate of these two, it may or may not be the case that the incumbent was already trailing badly when the bulk of the media blitz targeting him began.

Additionally, this race is fully contained within the exorbitantly expensive New York City media market, thus one explanation for the huge amount of money being spent. The dollar expenditure in the other districts is unlikely to be as large.

Finally, the United Democracy Project did not fully message the Israel issue. Rather, the bulk of the advertising attacked Rep. Bowman for not supporting President Joe Biden’s legislative initiatives such as his opposition to the infrastructure spending legislation that was passed into law, thus this contest was decided upon other points not directly related to his anti-Israel stance. It is likely that the outside ad campaign will adopt different themes against Bush and Omar.

For her part, Rep. Bush is already issuing statements condemning “AIPAC and their allies” for spending “waves of money” to unseat Bowman. She is clearly trying to create a negative image of the organization since her standing at the commensurate point is similar to where Rep. Bowman stood.

Rep. Bush is under an ethics investigation for misuse of government funds and already finds herself in a tight race with her chief primary opponent, former St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell. A Mellman Group poll taken recently (June 18-22; 400 likely MO-1 Democratic primary voters) found the Aug. 6 primary race locked in a dead heat. The ballot test projected Bell to be leading Rep. Bush by just a single point, 43-42 percent.

Since the AIPAC leadership was good to its word about coming in hard against major anti-Israel members of Congress in Bowman’s case, they will also come into St. Louis in an attempt to even the score with Rep. Bush. It is unlikely they will spend as much as they did in New York, but it is probable the organization will again be a major part of this particular primary campaign in its closing weeks.

The same can be said for Rep. Omar in Minneapolis. Two years ago, former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels held the congresswoman to a scant 50-48 percent victory. This time, Samuels has more credibility as a congressional challenger, scored recent endorsements from major labor unions, and now will likely see major help coming from the AIPAC sources as the candidates battle toward the Aug. 13 Minnesota primary.

There can be no denying that the AIPAC forces were a major component of the coalition that defeated Rep. Bowman. Whether they can help achieve the equivalent result against Reps. Bush and Omar in August remains to be seen.

Significant Lead for Alsobrooks in Maryland; Senate Race Tightens in Nevada; Cori Bush in Dead Heat; Another Dead Heat in WA-3

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, June 27, 2024


Angela Alsobrooks

Maryland: Alsobrooks Develops Significant Lead — A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Prince Georges County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) opening an advantage over ex-Gov. Larry Hogan (R) despite his favorable ratings.

The PPP survey (June 19-20; 635 Maryland voters) sees Alsobrooks leading Hogan and a series of independents and minor party candidates (cumulatively), 45-34-5 percent. In a head-to-head ballot test, she leads Hogan 48-40 percent. This, despite a positive Hogan favorability index of 50:33 percent. The biggest drag for Hogan is from the top of the Maryland ticket where President Joe Biden leads former President Donald Trump, 56-30 percent.

Nevada: Race Tightens — A new survey from a Democratic and Republican polling team finds a closer Senate race than the Emerson College poll conducted during the same period. The Fabrizio Ward (R)/Impact Research (D) survey, commissioned for AARP (June 12-18; 600 likely Nevada general election voters; live interview & text) sees Sen. Jacky Rosen (D), riding a media ad blitz, leading Republican Sam Brown, 47-42 percent, while former President Trump has a 44-37-10 percent advantage over President Biden and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I).

Conversely, Emerson College’s study (June 13-18; 1,000 registered Nevada voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Sen. Rosen with a much larger lead over Brown, 50-38 percent. While there is a clear advantage for Sen. Rosen in the most recent polling, this race will still be highly competitive come November.


MO-1: Rep. Bush in Dead Heat –– The Mellman Group, conducting a survey for the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC (June 18-22; 400 registered MO-1 Democratic voters; live interview & text), sees challenger Wesley Bell, a former St. Louis County prosecutor, pulling into a one point, 43-42 percent, lead over Rep. Cori Bush (D-St. Louis), a member of the Socialist Democrat “Squad.” The Mellman analysis finds that Bell has closed the gap against the incumbent since January, seeing a net 17-point swing in his favor.

We can expect heavy outside spending coming into the district before the Aug. 6 primary. The pro-Israel organizations were successful in helping to defeat another Squad member, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), in Tuesday night’s Democratic primary. Rep. Bush is another of the most anti-Israel congressional members and a top target of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the DMFI PAC.

WA-3: Dead Heat Poll — A new Public Policy Polling survey, regularly conducted for the Northwest Progressive Institute (June 11-12; 649 registered WA-3 voters; live interview & text), sees Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Skamania County) trailing 2022 general election finalist Joe Kent (R), by a 46-45 percent dead heat margin.

Washington’s 3rd District, which lies in the far southwestern corner of the state and anchored in the city of Vancouver, is the second-most Republican district that a US House Democrat represents. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+11. In 2022, Perez defeated Kent by less than a percentage point in one of the biggest upsets of that election year. The 2024 rematch, which is likely to occur after the state’s Aug. 6 jungle primary, portends to be just as close.

Primary Results: Bowman Loses; Boebert, Curtis, Maloy Win

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Primary Results

Assuming the still unofficial Virginia congressional race that will likely see Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) lose to state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin Sabot) holds as expected, the second US House member of the cycle went down to a crushing defeat last night in New York.

In the west, Utah US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) has punched his ticket for the US Senate, and Colorado US Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) successfully claimed the Republican nomination in a new district. In a contested Utah congressional race, short-term incumbent Celeste Maloy (R-Cedar City) looks to have won a close renomination campaign.

George Latimer defeats Rep. Jamaal Bowman. (Photo by Malcolm Frouman)

New York — The big story of the Empire State’s political evening is Westchester County Executive George Latimer easily defeating US Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) in what is being called the most expensive congressional primary in US history.

Approximately $30 million was spent in this campaign when adding the two candidates’ expenditures and including all the outside money. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s affiliated Super PAC looks to have spent over $17 million toward defeating Bowman, one of the most ardent anti-Israel House members. With a majority vote exceeding 58 percent, Latimer convincingly denied the congressman’s renomination.

Four years after Bowman unseated then-Rep. Eliot Engel in the 2020 Democratic primary, he sees the tables turn in this election. Ironically, Bowman’s 55-41 percent ousting of Rep. Engel is similar to the 58-41 percent suffered in his own primary defeat.

Latimer, in his current position, represents 91 percent of the 16th Congressional District. Before winning his county position, Latimer had been elected to the state Senate and Assembly. In last night’s primary, he captured over 63 percent of the dominant Westchester County vote. In the remaining small Bronx County portion, Rep. Bowman recorded almost 84 percent support.

Elsewhere in the state, former CNN reporter John Avlon easily defeated former congressional nominee Nancy Goroff in the 1st District Democratic primary. Avlon now advances to the general election as an underdog to face freshman Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County).

New York City Rep. Dan Goldman turned back two Democratic opponents with 66 percent of the vote, which will secure him a second term in November from the Manhattan anchored 10th CD.

Turning to the Queens-Bronx 14th District, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won an easy renomination against a minor Democratic opponent with 82 percent of the vote.

In what will be a very competitive Syracuse-based 22nd District general election, as expected, state Sen. John Mannion claimed the Democratic nomination last night with a 62-38 percent victory over local town councilwoman Sarah Klee Hood even though the latter contender won three of the district’s five counties. Sen. Mannion now advances into a toss-up general election versus freshman Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) in a race that will have national majority implications.

In the Upstate 24th District, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-Canandaigua) defeated attorney Mario Fratto with 61 percent of the vote. The congresswoman claimed 13 of the district’s 14 counties as she turned back a spirited effort from Fratto. Rep. Tenney now becomes a prohibitive favorite to defeat Democrat David Wagenhauser in the November election.

Colorado — A busy primary night in the Centennial State saw much of the action occurring in the state’s eastern 4th CD, vacant because of former Rep. Ken Buck’s (R) resignation. Rep. Boebert, moving into the district from her western slope 3rd CD, easily captured the GOP nomination, which is usually tantamount to winning in November. Congresswoman Boebert recorded 43.2 percent preference to finish first, well ahead of second-place finisher Jerry Sonnenberg, a local county commissioner. He received just 14.5 percent. The third, fourth, and fifth place finishers all scored between 13.8 and 10.6 percent of the vote.

Boebert will now face Democratic speechwriter Trisha Calvarese, who scraped past two-time congressional nominee Ike McCorkle. McCorkle raised more than $1.4 million for his failed campaign. Calvarese was the party’s choice for the special election to fill the remaining part of the current term.

The Republican special election nominee, who agreed to serve only as a caretaker until the general election picks a permanent member, easily won the concurrent election. Former local mayor Greg Lopez, without spending much money, recorded a strong 58-34 percent victory over Calvarese to secure the seat for the GOP in a vote that is projected to draw more than 172,000 cast ballots. Rep-Elect Lopez will become the 220th member of the Republican conference.

The House will now be down to two vacancies, one from each party. The Wisconsin seat of resigned Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay) and the death of New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) are the remaining districts without member representation.

Elsewhere in the state, attorney Jeff Hurd, despite Democratic attempts to vault Republican former state Rep. Ron Hanks to the 3rd District GOP nomination, won the party primary with 41.5 percent of the vote over five Republican opponents. The Hurd victory gives the Republicans their strongest candidate in an attempt to hold Rep. Boebert’s western slope district against 2022 Democratic nominee Adam Frisch, who held the congresswoman to a 546-vote win, the previous cycle’s closest US House race.

In retiring Rep. Doug Lamborn’s (R-Colorado Springs) open 5th District, radio talk show host, and three-time congressional candidate Jeff Crank, easily defeated Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams with a whopping 67-33 percent margin. Despite the two opposing each other in two campaigns, Rep. Lamborn and Crank came together for this contest. The 5th District is safely Republican, so Crank becomes a sure bet to succeed Rep. Lamborn in the next Congress.

Utah — Overcoming the Donald Trump and Utah Republican Party-endorsed candidate, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) recorded an impressive 51-29-13-6 percent victory over Staggs, former state House Speaker Brad Wilson, and businessman Jason Walton to win the open Republican US Senate nomination. The congressman carried 28 of Utah’s 29 counties.

Curtis now becomes the strongest of favorites to defeat Democrat Caroline Gleich in the general election. Rep. Curtis will then succeed retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R).

Rep. Blake Moore (R-Salt Lake City) also defeated an official Utah Republican Party-endorsed candidate, Paul Miller, with 72 percent of the GOP primary vote.

The going was much tougher for freshman Rep. Celeste Maloy (R-Cedar City) who eked out what will likely be a 51-49 percent win over businessman Colby Jenkins who had strong support from US Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). Rep. Maloy will now advance into the general election where she will secure her first full congressional term.

In Rep. Curtis’ open District 3, Trump and state party endorsed candidate Mike Kennedy, a physician and state senator, scored a crowded primary victory with 36 percent of the vote over four Republican opponents. State Auditor John “Frugal” Dougall, who ran as the MAGA opposition candidate, calling himself “mainstream” fell to a last place finish with just eight percent of the vote. In a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+26, Sen. Kennedy will have little trouble securing the seat in November.

South Carolina Runoff — The lone South Carolina congressional runoff occurred in the state’s western open 3rd District from which Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-Laurens) is retiring. In a very close finish, Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) endorsed candidate, Air National Guard Lt. Col. Sheri Biggs, defeated Donald Trump-endorsed pastor Mark Burns, 51-49 percent, after Burns finished first in the June 11 primary. In another safe Republican district (538 rating: R+44), Biggs is now a lock to claim the seat in the general election.

Primary Action Today

READER ADVISORY: This short video of New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman contains profanity-laced language throughout his appearance. It is only a brief clip of his appearance at the rally.

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Today’s Primaries

Today brings us another series of important primaries. Voters in New York, Colorado, Utah, and South Carolina will decide nominations in either primary elections or a congressional runoff and special election.

It is likely that Utah Republican voters will effectively elect a new US senator tonight. Three House incumbents in the various primary states are in highly competitive races, the most vulnerable of whom is two-term Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Reps. Celeste Maloy (R-UT) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) also face intra-party challenges. A South Carolina runoff will effectively elect a new House member, and eastern Colorado voters will fill resigned Rep. Ken Buck’s (R) vacancy for the remainder of the current term.

New York — The Empire State nomination elections feature one major battle, that in the 16th Congressional District Democratic primary as Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) is in severe danger of losing renomination to Westchester County Executive George Latimer. Bowman (seen above in a Saturday campaign event that has gotten quite a bit of attention) has been out-raised by Latimer by well over $1 million. The outside money, mostly coming from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s United Democracy PAC, has dropped over $17 million either to support Latimer or oppose Rep. Bowman. This contrasts to the $2 million in outside support for Bowman.

The latest poll released of the race, from Emerson College (June 6-8; 425 likely NY-16 Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) posted Latimer to a 48-31 percent advantage over Rep. Bowman. While it appears that Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) lost his close renomination battle last week, Rep. Bowman may become the second incumbent to fall to a primary challenger in this election cycle.

Most of the delegation, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), face little or no competition tonight. Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-Canandaigua) should easily dispatch her 24th District primary challenger, attorney Mario Fratto. Reps. Dan Goldman (D-New York City) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-East Elmhurst) also face minor primary opposition.

In Long Island’s 1st District, Democrats are choosing between former CNN News reporter John Avlon and 2020 nominee Nancy Goroff. The winner then challenges freshman Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County) in the general election.

Turning to the Syracuse-anchored 22nd CD, it is arguable that freshman GOP Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) received the most unfavorable redraw in the new redistricting map. Vying for the Democratic nomination are state Sen. John Mannion (D-Syracuse) and DeWitt Town Councilwoman Sarah Klee Hood. Sen. Mannion is favored for the nomination, and the general election promises to end in close fashion.

Colorado — The race attracting the most attention is the open 4th District where Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) is moving from the western slope 3rd District across the state into eastern Colorado’s 4th CD. With her two top opponents falling by the political wayside, it appears Rep. Boebert will win nomination from her new CD. The Democratic primary is worth watching even in this district where the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+26. Early polling suggests that Rep. Boebert will be in a competitive general election even in the state’s strongest Republican district.

Rep. Boebert’s current district features a competitive Republican primary to replace her as the party nominee. Democrats are spending money to elevate former state representative and 2022 US Senate candidate Ron Hanks, who they believe would be a weaker general election nominee than attorney Jeff Hurd. The winner faces former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D), who held Rep. Boebert to a 546-vote win in 2022, making it the closest finish of any congressional race in the previous election cycle.

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RFK Jr. Out for Debate / Nevada Ballot? New Mexico at Play in Presidential / Senate Contests? Senate Polls Series Released

By Jim Ellis — Monday, June 24, 2024


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Debate Decisions: Kennedy Out; Stein Files Complaint — CNN, the host of the June 27 presidential debate, announced that Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Green Party nominee Jill Stein have not qualified for the national forum. The main criteria of reaching 15 percent support in a series of major polls was not met by either candidate. Kennedy believes he still should be included and will attempt to qualify for the second debate to be scheduled for later in the year.

For her part, Stein is filing a complaint against CNN with the Federal Election Commission, following Kennedy’s own complaint, disputing the debate criteria as a violation of her rights as a candidate for federal office.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Nevada Ballot Status in Jeopardy — The Nevada Democratic Party is reportedly preparing to file a lawsuit in Nevada state court arguing that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) should be removed from the state’s general election ballot. Their argument is that Kennedy does not qualify under Nevada law as an Independent because he remains a registered Democrat. It remains to be seen if this lawsuit will gain legs.


New Mexico: Sen. Heinrich Leads by 7 in New Poll — Public Policy Polling went into the field to test the New Mexico electorate (June 13-14; 555 registered New Mexico voters; live interview & text) and projects two-term Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) to hold a seven-point lead over Republican Nella Domenici, 47-40 percent.

Signs are increasing that New Mexico could become more competitive both in the presidential and senatorial contests. With the state’s plurality Hispanic population and the GOP performing better within that demographic, it appears possible for Republicans to record improved numbers in New Mexico’s general election. While it would not now be particularly surprising to see closer election results in November, Republicans are still a long way from winning either at the presidential or senatorial level in the Land of Enchantment.

Emerson College: Releases Series of Senate Polls — The Emerson College polling unit, in conjunction with The Hill newspaper, conducted a series of polls in six Democratic Senate states and released the data late last week. The six domains are Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In each place, the pollsters surveyed 1,000 registered voters during the June 13-18 period.

While testing the Senate races in the five most competitive states, excluding Minnesota, Emerson also asked the presidential ballot test question. In all five situations, within the same polling samples that produced Democratic leaders in each Senate campaign, former President Donald Trump simultaneously posted an advantage. Thus, we are already seeing the seeds of an unusually large degree of ticket splitting beginning to develop.

According to the Emerson numbers, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) leads 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R), 45-41 percent. Looking at their Michigan results, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) tops former Congressman Mike Rogers (R), 43-39 percent. In Nevada, Sen. Jackie Rosen (D) enjoys the largest lead of any key swing state; she tops Afghan War veteran Sam Brown, 50-38 percent. Moving east, the Emerson numbers show Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) a 47-41 percent edge; and, Sen. Tammy Balwin (D-WI), while still leading, sees her margin over Republican Eric Hovde drop to just 46-44 percent.

In addition to Republicans converting the open West Virginia seat, they would have to turnaround one of the aforementioned races, or score a victory in three tight race states that Emerson College didn’t survey, Maryland, Montana, or Ohio, in order to secure an outright majority.

Trump Endorses Alaska Lt. Gov. Dahlstrom for House Seat; Ciscomani Leads in Arizona; Rare Poll in IL-17; Five-Term Rep. Graves Won’t Run in LA-6

By Jim Ellis — Friday, June 21, 2024


Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R)

AK-AL: Trump Endorses Lt. Governor — The Alaska at-large district is the most Republican seat that a House Democrat holds. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) has won three congressional elections, largely through the state’s Ranked Choice Voting system. This year, the stage may be set for a similar conclusion. Businessman Nick Begich III (R), nephew of former Democratic US Sen. Mark Begich (D), ran against former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) in the special election when veteran Rep. Don Young (R) passed away, and for both succeeding regular terms. This year, while Palin is not running, Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom has joined the Republican congressional field.

Under the Alaska system, all candidates appear on the jungle primary ballot, and the top four primary finishers advance into the general election irrespective of political party affiliation. Former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement for Dahlstrom, the candidate who enjoys the national and state Republican Party leadership backing. With two strong candidates battling for the Republican vote, it is likely that Rep. Peltola will again finish first among the top four general election finalists. The question to be answered is whether she can reach the 50 percent mark. If not, Ranked Choice Voting then takes effect.

Begich says he will withdraw if Dahlstrom places ahead of him in the initial qualifying election on Aug. 20. Dahlstrom has yet to make a similar promise.

In the latest available published poll, though dated, from Data for Progress (Feb. 23-3/2; 1,120 likely AK-AL voters; online), Begich had a large 41-12 percent lead over Dahlstrom. In a head to head pairing against Rep. Peltola, the congresswoman and Begich tied at 50-50 percent. Once again, the Alaska at-large campaign is a race to watch.

AZ-6: Rep. Ciscomani Holds Comfortable Lead — An internal Public Opinion Strategies poll (May 28-30; 300 likely AZ-6 general election voters; live interview) for the Juan Ciscomani re-election campaign finds the freshman Arizona congressman holding a 50-39 percent advantage over former state senator and 2022 Democratic congressional nominee Kirsten Engel as the two prepare for a rematch from the campaign of two years ago.

The 6th District, which sits in Arizona’s southeastern corner, is politically marginal in nature but made more Republican in the 2021 redistricting plan. In the previous election, Ciscomani defeated Engel, 50.7 – 49.2 percent, a margin of 5,232 votes. The same survey finds former President Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden, but with a smaller margin than Rep. Ciscomani’s advantage, 49-45 percent. In 2020, Biden carried this region with the slightest 49.3 – 49.2 percent edge.

IL-17: Rare Poll is Published — If there is a competitive seat in the Illinois delegation, it is the far western 17th District, anchored in the Quad Cities, which freshman Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) now represents. Republicans nominated retired circuit judge Joe McGraw back in March. The 1892 survey research organization just released their polling data (released June 19; 400 likely IL-17 voters; live interview) and the results find Rep. Sorensen holding a 44-35 percent lead over McGraw.

The 17th was highly competitive prior to the last redistricting, but the legislative Democrats who drew the plan configured the 17th in a much different manner. The district configuration now resembles the form of a letter “C” beginning in the city of Rockford, then coming west to pick up the Illinois section of the Quad Cities, meaning the cities of Rock Island and Moline, and then turns east to include Galesburg, downtown Peoria, and the territory all the way to Bloomington. The FiveThirtyEight data organization calculates a D+4 rating for the post-redistricting 17th, but that number should realistically increase because of a new Democratic incumbent seeking re-election.

LA-6: Rep. Graves Won’t Run –– This year’s final chapter in the Louisiana redistricting saga perhaps has now been written. Earlier in this election cycle, a court struck down the Louisiana congressional map as a racial gerrymander because a second majority minority seat could be drawn and was not. Then the map was redrawn to transform the current 6th CD into such a district, but it stretched from Baton Rouge to Shreveport. Activists sued to get the map disqualified since it was similar to a draw the courts rejected in 1994 because the Constitution forbids race being a determining factor in drawing districts. Subsequently, the US Supreme Court issued a stay on that ruling, thus reviving the original redraw that created the state’s second majority minority seat.

Though there is likely to be a future challenge to the map, it appears evident that this will be the Louisiana congressional plan that prevails at least for the 2024 election. As a result, the odd man out on this draw is five-term Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) who was left with the choice of running in a decidedly Democratic new 6th CD (Biden ’20: 59-39 percent) or challenging either Republican incumbents Julia Letlow (R-Start) or Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette).

Graves has now decided not to challenge either member, saying he does not wish to upset the Republican political apple cart for what could only be a short-term map. The litigation in this redistricting case is far from over, so Graves’ congressional career may not be ending, but only suspended.

With Rep. Graves leaving the House and state Sen. Michael Rulli (R) winning the OH-6 special election on June 11, it means there are now 50 open congressional seats, 25 from the Democratic column, and 24 from the Republican side, along with the newly created Alabama district through that state’s redraw. The open seat number will reduce to 49 when the vacant Colorado District 4 is filled in a special election on June 25.

Trump Now Supports Florida Rep. Lee; Florida State Rep. Leaves Race; McGuire Declares Victory in VA-5;

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, June 20, 2024


FL-15 Rep. Laurel Lee

FL-15: Trump Reverses Course Regarding Rep. Lee — In April, former President Donald Trump called upon his political support base to field a Republican primary candidate against freshman Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Tampa) in what is the most competitive of the Florida Republican-held congressional seats. Lee, who Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed as secretary of state before her election to the US House, endorsed DeSantis as the Republican candidate for president, not Trump, which caused Trump to originally target her for defeat.

No strong challenger to Lee came forward, however, although one — James Judge, who ran in the 14th District in 2022 — decided to hop into the race against Rep. Lee when Trump made his statement. Therefore, with the lack of a credible developing challenge against Rep. Lee, Trump has now given his “complete and total endorsement” to the congresswoman. Rep. Lee looks to be in strong position for renomination and for re-election, though she faces a credible Democratic challenger in the person of Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp in a 15th District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+7.

FL-11: Ex-State Rep. Abandons Primary Challenge — Former Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who was defeated for the Republican nomination two years ago in the 7th CD (Rep. Cory Mills-R) and had subsequently launched a Republican primary challenge to Rep. Dan Webster (R-Clermont) in the state’s 11th District almost a year ago, now drops his bid.

Instead, Sabatini will run for a local county commissioner position. Remaining in the primary against Rep. Webster is geophysicist John McCloy. Without Sabatini in the race, Rep. Webster should have an easy run in the Aug. 20 primary, and in the general election.

VA-5: McGuire Declares Victory — Though the race has not been officially finalized, it does appear that Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) has been defeated for renomination. His opponent, state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin Sabot), thinks so and has publicly declared victory. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, all the outstanding votes have now been counted and McGuire has a 309-vote lead. With only provisional and overseas ballots left to be received and counted, it is highly unlikely that even this small lead can be overcome.

Once final, Rep. Good will be the first 2024 cycle incumbent of either party to lose renomination to a non-incumbent challenger. The only other incumbent defeat in either the Senate or the House occurred in Alabama when Reps. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) were paired in a court ordered redistricting plan. Moore scored a 52-48 percent victory on March 5. Other primary defeats may soon follow, however. On Tuesday, Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Celeste Maloy (R-UT) face serious primary challenges, and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) attempts to win renomination from a new congressional district.