Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Republicans Trying to Bring Down Greitens in MO; Likely OK Runoff; Tight GOP Contest Forecast in MI

By Jim Ellis — June 30, 2022

Senate

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

Missouri: Republicans Trying to Bring Down Greitens — The Politico publication is reporting that a group of Republicans are funding a major new “Show Me Values” super PAC in order to run negative ads against resigned Gov. Eric Greitens (R) before the Aug. 2 US Senate primary. The former governor was forced out of office less than two years after he was elected based upon a sex scandal and legal charges that were later dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct.

Attempting a return in the 2022 Senate race, Greitens ex-wife is accusing him of domestic abuse in their child custody hearings. Despite all of the negativity surrounding Greitens, the other Republican candidates have been unable to break through, and the former governor continues to maintain small leads in most polls. Fearing that Greitens will lose the general election, the Show Me Values organization is attempting to help another candidate, whether it be Attorney General Eric Schmitt or Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) and Billy Long (R-Springfield), to victory in the upcoming GOP primary.

Oklahoma Special: Runoff Likely — According to a new Sooner Poll, a combined effort from the news departments from Oklahoma City and Tulsa Channels 9 and 6, respectively (June 13-21; 350 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters), finds US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) and former state House Speaker T. W. Shannon headed for a Republican runoff after Tuesday’s primary voting. The poll results are consistent with others that have been periodically released since March.

In this Sooner Poll survey, Rep. Mullin commands 39 percent support and Shannon 13 percent. State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) is well back with eight percent, and former Sen. Jim Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland trails with a five percent preference factor. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance to an Aug. 23 runoff election. The eventual Republican nominee is a lock in the general election and will serve the remaining four years on resigning Sen. Inhofe’s current term.

House

MI-7: Rep. Slotkin in Toss-Up Race — State Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Lansing) released an internal Cygnal campaign poll (June 14-16; 400 MI-7 registered voters; peer-to-peer text) that gives the candidate a 46-44 percent ballot test lead over two-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly). Michigan’s primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2. In what appears to be worse news for the Democratic incumbent, the generic question yields 50.3 percent of the respondents saying they will vote for a Republican congressional candidate versus just 39.3 percent who plan to support a Democratic contender in the US House campaign. The Biden job approval index is an upside-down 36:62 percent positive to negative. The FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new 7th CD as R+4. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan factor at 49.3 D – 47.9 R.

In 2020, Rep. Slotkin was re-elected to the 8th CD with a 51-47 percent margin. The new 7th District contains just over 38 percent new constituents for the congresswoman. The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission drew several toss-up congressional districts, similar to the statistics we see from the new 7th CD.

Governor

Michigan: Tight GOP Contest Forecast — Michigan pollster Mitchell Research, conducting a political poll for the Michigan Information & Research Service (June 21-22; 588 likely Michigan Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system & text) finds the Republican primary falling into a dead heat still several weeks away from the Aug. 2 primary election. The field drastically changed when leading candidate James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, businessman Perry Johnson, and several others failed to qualify for the ballot because they lacked the required number of legal petition signatures.

Such being the case, the new Mitchell poll finds talk show host Tudor Dixon and businessman Kevin Rinke tied with 15 percent support. Closely following is real estate broker and Trump activist Ryan Kelley at 13 percent, while chiropractor Garrett Soldano posts eight percent preference. Michigan uses a plurality system to determine their party nominees, meaning the person with the most votes wins the single nomination election regardless of percentage attained. The eventual nominee will then challenge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the general election.

Casten and Miller Win in Illinois; Colorado Statewide Races Set;
More Primary Results News

By Jim Ellis — June 29, 2022

Primary Results

Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove)

Illinois: Reps. Casten and Miller Win — The big news from last night’s primary election surrounded the two paired districts. In the Chicago suburbs, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove), who unexpectedly lost his 17-year-old daughter just two weeks ago, scored a landslide win over fellow Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange) in the new 6th District that contained more of the latter member’s current turf.

Freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland)

In the downstate Republican 15th CD, freshman Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland), armed with an endorsement and rally appearance from former President Donald Trump, recorded a decisive 57-43 percent over veteran Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville). Davis will now see his congressional career draw to a close after serving what will be ten years in the House.

The Democratic pairing occurred in order to create a new Chicago-anchored Hispanic district. State Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) easily won the Democratic nomination in this seat, and becomes the prohibitive favorite for the general election. State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) won an outright majority with 57 percent of the vote opposite five opponents in the governor’s primary. He advances to the general election to oppose incumbent J. B. Pritzker (D). Conservative activist Kathy Salvi won the Republican Senate nomination, and now faces a likely insurmountable opponent in Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D).

Colorado: Statewide Races Set — As expected, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl captured the Republican gubernatorial nomination with a 53 percent majority over GOP nominating convention winner Greg Lopez. In the Senate contest, as most predicted, construction company owner Joe O’Dea defeated state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose) with just under 55 percent of the vote. Like Lopez, Rep. Hanks also won the Republican nominating convention endorsement.

The two will advance to the general election against Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D). Neither incumbent was opposed for re-nomination and both are now heavy favorites to win re-election in November.

MS-3 and 4: Guest Wins; Palazzo Loses — As predicted, despite a scare in the primary election, Mississippi 3rd District Rep. Michael Guest (R-Brandon) easily won re-nomination last night in the Mississippi congressional runoff election. He topped challenger Michael Cassidy with two-thirds of more than 70,000 votes that were cast in last night’s election. Rep. Guest will now have an easy run in the general election.

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Biloxi) was not so fortunate in his southern Mississippi 4th CD. He failed to overcome Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell and lost his seat in a 54-46 percent count. Palazzo becomes the eighth House incumbent to be denied re-nomination and the fourth who lost to a challenger that was not a fellow incumbent forced into a paired district. Sheriff Ezell is now the heavy favorite to win the seat in November.

NE-1: Flood Wins Special — Another special congressional election was held last night, and this result ended in a closer final tally than originally expected. Nebraska state Sen. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), a media company owner, claimed the seat with a 53-47 percent victory over fellow state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln) in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+17.

Flood will be sworn into the House upon official election certification. He will replace convicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln). Rep-Elect Flood and Sen. Pansing Brooks will see each other again. Both are the party nominees for the regular general election in November.

New York: Hochul vs. Zeldin — The New York statewide contests also ended as expected. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who ascended from the lieutenant governor’s position when Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, easily defeated NYC Public advocate Jumaane Williams and US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), 68-19-13 percent. Williams was unopposed for the Working Families ballot line, so he will advance into the general election despite his loss last night.

The Republican battle was a bit closer. US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; East Long Island) topped Andrew Giuliani, son of ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in a 44-23 percent split. Former Westchester County executive and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson recorded 18 and 15 percent, respectively. Gov. Hochul begins the general election as the decided favorite.
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Final Pre-Primary Poll, Two Pairings Decided Today in Illinois

By Jim Ellis — June 28, 2022

Senate

Kathy Salvi

Illinois: Final Pre-Primary Poll — The Illinois primary is today, and the Ogden & Fry research firm tested the GOP field (June 24; 518 likely Illinois Republican primary voters). The results find Kathy Salvi, whose husband, Al Salvi, was the 1996 US Senate nominee, and who at the time was a conservative radio talk show host. She leads the field of seven candidates but with only 20 percent preference. Tonight’s winner will face Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D) in the Autumn, and begins this race as one of the bigger Senate underdogs in the country.

House

IL-6 and 15: Two Pairings Decided Today — The Illinois primary also features two sets of incumbent House members battling for two seats. In the Chicago suburbs, Democratic Reps. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) and Marie Newman (D-La Grange) square off for the state’s new 6th District. Downstate, Republican members Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) and Mary Miller (R-Oakland) are vying for the new safely Republican 15th CD. The 6th is the more competitive of the two seats for the general election. Both primaries are viewed as tight contests.

NE-1: Special Election Today — Two state senators are competing for the seat, and regardless of what happens tonight both will advance to the regular general election for the succeeding term in November. Both Sens. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) and Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln) were nominated by the party leaders for the special election and the voters for the fall campaign.

The seat is rated R+17 and is 89 percent intact when overlaid with the current district. Former President Trump carried the seat 56-41 percent in 2020. Therefore, the stats make Sen. Flood the favorite to win tonight and in November. The competition from Sen. Brooks, however, will likely make this race closer than in the recent past.

RI-2: Surprising Poll Results — Though Rhode Island’s open 2nd District is rated as heavily Democratic — D+17 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization — a new Suffolk University poll (June 19-22; 423 likely Rhode Island general election voters; live interview) finds former Cranston mayor and 2014 and 2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee Allen Fung (R) taking a 45-38 percent lead over state Treasurer Seth Magaziner who is the Democratic primary polling leader. If this trend continues, we will see a surprisingly competitive race come forth in the New England region.

Governor

Illinois: Governor’s Race Could Be More Competitive — The Ogden & Fry firm also tested the Republican governor’s field (see Illinois Senate above). The GOP contest looks to be a competitive battle among state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan and ex-Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin. Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D) is the clear favorite for the November election, but this race appears to be a bit more competitive than the companion US Senate contest.

Rhode Island: Gov. McKee Wins Party Endorsement — Gov. Dan McKee won a solid 56 percent endorsement vote at the Rhode Island Democratic convention, and he will be the official party supported candidate for the Sept. 13 primary. The Ocean State’s Secretary of State, Nellie Gorbea, however, leads in a new Democratic poll (Suffolk University; 353 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters; live interview), 24-20 percent.

Conflicting Polls in NC;
Fetterman Up in PA; Gubernatorial Challenger Drops Out in MA

By Jim Ellis — June 27, 2022

Senate

Cheri Beasley (left) holds a 44-40 percent edge over Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in a recent poll in the open North Carolina Senate campaign.

North Carolina: Countering Poll — Last week, we reported on a Survey USA poll (June 8-12; 650 likely North Carolina voters; online) that gave Democratic former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley a 44-40 percent edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in the open North Carolina Senate campaign. This week, the Cygnal polling firm released its latest data (June 17-19; 600 likely North Carolina voters; live interview & text) that projects a different conclusion. These results show Rep. Budd holding a virtual mirror image 45-40 percent lead. Of those definitely voting for one candidate or the other, Rep. Budd leads that response, 38-31 percent.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Up in Two New Polls — Two surveys, a combined poll from Republican firm Fabrizio Ward & Associates and the Democratic Impact Research entity (June 12-19; 1,382 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview & text), and Suffolk University (June 10-13; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview), both find Democrat John Fetterman leading Republican Mehmet Oz even though the Democratic fundamentals in terms of direction of the country, views on the economy, and wanting their vote to be a message to Washington, are inconsistent with the support level for the party’s nominee. Fabrizio/Impact finds Fetterman’s advantage at 50-44 percent. Suffolk reveals a similar 46-37 percent split in Fetterman’s favor.

Wisconsin: Typical Close Polling — Pollsters haven’t fared too well in Wisconsin in recent election years. The last time Sen. Ron Johnson (R) was on the ballot in 2016, he led in just one of 30 public polls that were conducted that year. Now, we see Marquette Law School releasing new data projecting another close contest. According to their survey (June 14-20; 803 registered Wisconsin voters), Sen. Johnson would trail a pair of Democrats, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) and state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, by two percentage points apiece, 44-46 percent and 43-45 percent, but lead Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry, 45-42 percent.

Within this same time frame during the 2016 election cycle, Marquette found former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) leading Sen. Johnson, 51-42 percent. Johnson won the 2016 election, 50-47 percent.

Governor

Massachusetts: Challenger Drops Out — State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) announced last week that she is ending her gubernatorial bid, saying that she has no “path to victory.” This leaves Attorney General Maura Healey unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Considering a weak Republican field, it appears that AG Healey is now the prohibitive favorite to convert the Massachusetts governor’s office away from the Republicans. Incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker (R) chose not to seek a third term.

New York: Hochul Up Big; GOP Tight — Survey USA went into the field in New York to test both major party primaries in anticipation of the June 28 vote for the statewide candidates. The candidates running for state legislature and US House will have their primary on Aug. 23.

According to S-USA (June 15-20; 2,987 registered New York voters; 1,002 likely Democratic primary voters; 538 likely Republican primary voters; online), Gov. Kathy Hochul has a big lead in the Dem primary, 54-18-11 percent over Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. For the Republicans, US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; East Long Island) holds only a 25-23 percent edge over Andrew Giuliani, son of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, while businessman Henry Wilson commands 13 percent support.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Close — While the aforementioned two Pennsylvania surveys, (see Pennsylvania in Senate section above; a combined poll from Republican firm Fabrizio Ward & Associates and the Democratic Impact Research entity and Suffolk University), find Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) topping Republican Mehmet Oz slightly beyond the polling margin of error, the governor’s contest is tighter. These same polls project Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) holding a bare 49-46 percent edge in the Fabrizio/Impact poll over state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), and a similarly tight 44-40 percent lead in the Suffolk poll.

Alaska Candidates Settle to Three; Conflicting Polls in IL-15; Economy Polls as Highest Concern in MN

By Jim Ellis — June 24, 2022

House

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

AK-AL: Now Top Three — Officials from the Alaska Division of Elections, grappling with the new top-four qualifying system, have changed their initial ruling after finalist Al Gross (I/D), announced earlier this week that he was ending his campaign. Division officials initially were leaning toward placing the fifth-place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, into the group of four finalists, but they have since reversed themselves.

The final ruling does not add a replacement for Dr. Gross, meaning that only former Gov. Sarah Palin, businessman Nick Begich III (R), and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will advance into the special general election scheduled for Aug. 16. Sweeney followed up with an announcement that she will not challenge the Elections Division’s ruling.

IL-15: Conflicting Polls — The next in a series of paired incumbent elections is scheduled in Illinois when two sets of paired incumbents will square off in the June 28 primary election. In the downstate Republican primary, Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) and Mary Miller (R-Oakland) are battling for the new gerrymandered 15th District, one of only three Land of Lincoln seats that will likely send a Republican to the House. This week, we see two polls released with conflicting conclusions.

The Victory Geek firm, polling for the Illinoize political blog (June 15-19; 515 IL-15 respondents; interactive voice response system), finds Rep. Davis leading Rep. Miller, 38-35 percent. When forcing the undecideds to make a choice, the full universe breaks for Davis, 51-49 percent. The bad news for him is when voters are informed that former President Trump has endorsed Miller, the preference factor switches to 47-39 percent in Miller’s favor.

The Miller campaign also released their internal Cygnal firm survey conducted during the same time period (June 18-19; 420 likely IL-15 Republican primary voters; peer-to-peer text) that gave the congresswoman a 45-40 percent edge over Davis. The other paired incumbent election features a Chicago suburban Democratic pairing between Reps. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) and Marie Newman (D-La Grange).

MN-1 Special: Virtual Tie — An Expedition Strategies survey of the MN-1 special election (June 6-9; 400 likely MN-1 special election voters; live interview) scheduled for Aug. 9 finds the two party nominees, former Republican state Rep. Brad Finstad and ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) falling into a virtual tie. The ballot test gives Finstad a 48-47 percent edge in a district that is no stranger to close elections. The winning percentage in the past three congressional elections was 48.6 percent, 50.1 percent, and 50.3 percent in 2020, 2018, and 2016. The seat is in special election because incumbent Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in February.

In terms of what the survey respondents perceive as the most important issue, the “economy and cost of living” registered 27 percent, “guns” was second with a 12 percent mention, and “election integrity” was third with 10 percent. Interestingly, the healthcare issue, which now includes COVID, registered as the most important issue from only six percent of the respondents. Ettinger scored a 53-40 percent advantage on preferring a candidate with experience running a business as compared to Finstad’s career in government and rural policy making.

NY-19 Special: Republican Molinaro Launched to Big Led — A Triton Polling & Research survey conducted for the Freedom Council USA (June 16-20; 505 current NY-19 registered voters; interactive voice response system) finds Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) leading Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan (D) by a large 52-38 percent clip in the special election race to replace resigned US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D). The congressman left the House to accept his appointment as lieutenant governor.

A Molinaro victory would mean another special election GOP conversion of a Democratic seat as we saw in Texas on June 14 when Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez and two minor candidates to win the seat from which Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) resigned. If the GOP is successful in NY-19, and holds their other 2022 special elections in AK-AL, MN-1, NE-1, and NY-23, the conference will increase to 215 members, just three away from majority status.

TX-28: Rep. Cuellar Officially Wins — The tight Democratic primary and runoff campaign featuring veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and attorney and 2020 congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros has finally come to an official end. The Texas Secretary of State has reported the final results of the runoff recount. Counting the ballots again actually increased Cuellar’s lead by eight votes. The final counts shows a 22,901 to 22,612 margin in favor of Rep. Cuellar, a spread of 289 votes, or 50.3 percent of the runoff electorate.

Rep. Cuellar now advances into a general election against former Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) staff member Cassy Garcia. This could become a competitive general election in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+7. Though Garcia will have the ability to run a credible campaign, Rep. Cuellar is now viewed as the favorite to win a 10th term.

Governor

Florida: Crist Rebounds With Substantial Lead — A surprising poll released earlier in June (Global Strategy Group; June 8-13; 600 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview) found state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried pulling to within a 38-34 percent margin against US representative and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg). Now, a new St. Pete Polls survey (June 16-17; 1,007 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) posts Crist back to a more substantial lead, 49-24 percent. The Florida primary is scheduled for Aug. 23. The Democratic winner will then challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).