Author Archives: Jim Ellis

First Post-New Hampshire GOP Poll Released; Battle For California Senate Seat; Ruppersberger to Retire; Field in NJ-7 Now Down to Two

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024

President

Former South Carolina governor and current Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley lags 27 points behind former President Trump in her home state. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

South Carolina: First Post-NH GOP Poll Released — The first post-New Hampshire primary survey is out, and we see former President Donald Trump performing well in former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s home state. The Tyson Group tested the Palmetto State Republican electorate immediately after the New Hampshire vote (Jan. 24-26; 543 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters; online) and found Trump holding a large 58-31 percent advantage over Haley.

The poll sample, including Independents who say they will vote in the Republican primary, hold both presidential candidates in high regard. Trump’s approval index is 68:27 percent favorable to unfavorable, while Haley’s is slightly worse at 56:33 percent. In comparison, Sen. Tim Scott’s (R) rating is 57:20 percent.

The South Carolina Republican primary is scheduled for Feb. 24 while the Democrats vote on Feb. 3, so the state’s residents can expect a great deal of political action coming their way in the next few weeks.

Senate

California: Second-Place Flipping — As the March 5 Super Tuesday vote approaches, polling in the California Senate jungle primary consistently shows Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) nailing down first place, but second place as undecided. The latest released survey, from Emerson College (Jan. 11-14; 1,087 registered California voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Rep. Schiff holding a 25-18-13-8 percent lead over Republican baseball great Steve Garvey (R), while US Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) trail with their respective support percentages.

A similar poll from The LA Times (UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies; Jan. 4-8; 8,199 registered California voters; 4,470 likely March 5 primary voters; online) released 10 days earlier than the Emerson data found Rep. Schiff leading Rep. Porter, Garvey, and Rep. Lee in a 21-17-13-9 percent spread.

Comparing the current Emerson poll with their November California survey, Garvey gained eight percentage points, while Rep. Porter remained stagnant. Under the California system, all primary contenders compete on the same ballot, with the top two — regardless of percentage attained and party affiliation — advancing to the Nov. 5 general election.

House

MD-2: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) to Retire — Maryland US Rep. Charles A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) announced on Friday that he will not seek a 12th term in the House, thus completing what will be 30 consecutive years in elective office counting his time in Congress and as Baltimore County Executive. He leaves a northern Maryland congressional district that could be on the cusp of competitiveness, but Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski (D) appears primed as Rep. Ruppersberger’s heir apparent.

The 2nd District covers the area just north of Baltimore city and extends all the way to the Pennsylvania border. It includes about two-thirds of Baltimore County, 90 percent of Carroll County, and about 30,000 residents in Baltimore City. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+11. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 52.5D – 41.4R partisan lean, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks MD-2 as the 62nd most vulnerable seat in the House Democratic Conference.

NJ-7: Dem Field Winnows to Two — Democrats want to make a strong run against freshman New Jersey US Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), but one of their candidates just decided to end his congressional bid. Summit Township Councilman Greg Vartan announced on Friday that he will suspend his campaign, leaving former State Department official Jason Blazakis and ex-Working Families Party state director Sue Altman as the two competing Democrats.

Former Congressman Tom Malinowski (D), the man Rep. Kean unseated in 2022, just announced he would not enter the Senate race. Speculation has surrounded him about seeking a congressional rematch, but there is no tangible evidence that the former representative is planning to make a 2024 comeback.

Sen. Cruz in Potentially Competitive Re-Election Bid; Senate Challenge in New Mexico; Rep. Susie Lee Draws Opponent in Nevada; Redistricting Developments in Wisconsin

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 29, 2024

Senate

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Texas: Tight New Poll — Emerson College just released the results of their latest Texas statewide survey (Jan. 13-15; 1,315 registered Texas voters; interactive voice response system & online) that finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R) heading into a potentially competitive general election. The ballot test found the senator leading US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) by a slight 42-40 percent margin, and holding only a one-point, 41-40 percent split over state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio). Simultaneously, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden 49-41 percent.

The poll is not particularly surprising in that Sen. Cruz’s personal favorability numbers have never been particularly good. However, there are a number of things that favor Sen. Cruz: the presidential election turnout model, Trump beating Biden in the state, the Biden energy policies being detrimental to Texas, and the southern border controversy — all play politically to Sen. Cruz’s favor. Therefore, despite the likelihood that we will see many close Texas Senate polls between now and the November election, the actual votes will favor Sen. Cruz winning re-election by a relatively comfortable margin.

New Mexico: Republicans Making Move to Challenge Sen. Heinrich — In order to expand what is a favorable Republican US Senate map, a prominent member of the GOP announced her candidacy. Nella Domenici, a former hedge fund CEO and daughter of the late six-term Sen. Pete Domenici (R), is the latest Republican to declare for the seat. Last week, former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales switched parties to enter the GOP Senate primary. The eventual winner of the June 4 Republican primary will challenge two-term incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich (D).

The senator is favored for re-election, but Republicans improving among Hispanics could make this a competitive contest. New Mexico’s Hispanics register 50.2 percent of the state population universe according to the latest US Census report. The last time Republicans won a New Mexico statewide race was in 2014 when then-Gov. Susanna Martinez was re-elected. An August Public Policy Polling survey showed President Biden topping former President Trump 49-41 percent, suggesting the state could become competitive in the national election.

House

NV-3: GOP Ex-State Treasurer Announces for House — Earlier this month, Republicans lost their top congressional recruit in state Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (R-Las Vegas), who instead of running for the House will seek re-election to what could become a tight Nevada Assembly. Kasama was clearly the top contender for the GOP nomination in a seat that is the most winnable for a Republican (FiveThirtyEight data organization rating: D+2) of the three Las Vegas competitive districts.

Now, former State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) is coming to the forefront to announce his congressional candidacy. While winning a statewide position in 2014, Schwartz has not fared well since, losing landslide races in his attempts to be elected governor, lieutenant governor, and a previous run for the 3rd Congressional District. It is likely the Republicans will have to recruit a stronger candidate against Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) if they are to move this race into the top tier.

Wisconsin: Congressional District Lines Challenged — A citizens group that famed Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias represents filed suit before the Wisconsin state Supreme Court arguing that the panel’s rejection of the state Senate and Assembly maps compels them to reconsider striking down the state’s congressional map.

According to the Daily Kos Elections site’s legal analysts, the legislature’s maps were returned for a re-draw because the court rejected the “least change” (from the previous map) practice that the legislature relied upon to draw the 2021 maps. The Elias group’s lawsuit maintains that the congressional map was also drawn under the “least change” practice, and therefore should be redrawn.

So far, however, the court has not taken action against the congressional map and time is running out. The secretary of state has informed the court that unless new maps are enacted into law by March 15, they will not be able to convert the electoral system in time for the 2024 election.

Chaos in CO-4 Helps Boebert; LA-6 Candidate Announcement; Ashcroft Leading in Open Missouri Race;
Big Lead for Spanberger in Virginia

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 26, 2024

House

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

CO-4: Brewing Chaos Likely Helps Rep. Boebert — Colorado’s open 4th District Republican primary featuring 11 announced candidates is beginning to deteriorate, which could favor Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt). Boebert is moving into this open district to seek re-election instead of facing the most well-funded congressional candidate in America from her original District 3.

Two of the more prominent candidates are embroiled in controversy. State Rep. Mike Lynch (R-Ft. Lupton), as now comes to the forefront, was arrested in 2022 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in addition to possessing a firearm while intoxicated. Lynch pled guilty to the charges and is serving a probationary sentence. His congressional candidacy has obviously brought the arrest to the forefront, and the publicity surrounding it has caused a movement within the state House Republican caucus to remove Lynch as Minority Leader. Not wanting to face a vote, Lynch quickly resigned from his leadership position.

Pro-life State Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-Akron), another District 4 candidate, who in urging a “No” vote on an abortion-related piece of legislation, stated that he had helped finance a girlfriend’s abortion and further said having the procedure helped her “live her best life.” He, too, is at the center of a media storm and his inconsistency will clearly diminish his prospects as a congressional candidate. Though other credible candidates, such as former state legislator Ted Harvey, are in the crowded GOP primary, Rep. Boebert is now in better position thanks to two of her main opponents being forced to navigate rough political waters.

LA-6: Ex-Congressman Announces for New Seat — Originally being elected to Congress in 1992 and serving only two terms after a mid-decade court-ordered redistricting map changed the political landscape thus forcing him to retire, state Sen. Cleo Fields (D-Baton Rouge) announced that he will enter the race to fill the new court-ordered revamped 6th Congressional District that stretches from Baton Rouge to Shreveport. Therefore, Sen. Fields will attempt a long-awaited return to the US House, a body from which he departed 28 years ago.

We can expect a spirited open-seat campaign among Democrats who will be competing to win the new district later in this year’s regular election. The seat is designed to elect an African-American Democrat. Current 6th District incumbent Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) will look to run elsewhere, probably in the new 5th District where he will be forced to challenge fellow GOP Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start).

Governor

Missouri: Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft Leading Open Governor’s Race — The Remington Research Group, the usual pollster for the Missouri Scout political blog, went into the field to test the open Republican gubernatorial primary to be decided in early August. The survey (Jan. 17-18; 806 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) sees Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R), son of former Missouri senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, leading the field for the GOP nomination.

According to the Remington results, Ashcroft posts a 34-20-4 percent advantage over Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, and state Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring), respectively. The eventual Republican nominee will be a clear favorite to win the general election. Gov. Mike Parson (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Virginia: Rep. Spanberger Opens With Big Lead for ‘25 — Though the next open Virginia governor’s race isn’t until November of 2025, candidates are already building war chests and developing campaign strategies to succeed Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) who is ineligible to seek a second term.

As a result of the early activity, Christopher Newport University included a Democratic primary question on their latest statewide survey (Jan. 11-17; 1,000 registered Virginia voters; live interview). The results project US Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) opening with a big lead over Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. On the ballot test, Rep. Spanberger posts a 52-8 percent advantage and already leads Stoney in fundraising $3.6 million to $750,000. While the congresswoman is off to a fast start, many months remain before this primary and general election are decided.

Pennsylvania Poll Shows Biden Over Trump Signifigantly With Senate Race Tightening; More New Hampshire News; NJ, VA House Polling

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024

President

President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Pennsylvania: Biden Lengthens Polling Lead — Susquehanna Polling & Research released the results of their latest Pennsylvania statewide survey (Jan. 15-21; 745 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview & online) and finds a surprising result. The Susquehanna data sees President Joe Biden assuming an eight-point lead over former President Donald Trump, 47-39 percent, which is well beyond other pollsters’ findings during the past month.

During that time span, the Bullfinch Group, Redfield and Wilton Strategies, and Quinnipiac University were all testing the Keystone State electorate and determined much closer ballot test results. Those firms saw results ranging from even support between the two candidates (Bullfinch), to Trump leading by one point (Redfield), and Biden up two (Q-Poll). We can expect to see regular Pennsylvania polling from now to Election Day producing a myriad of results that will, at one time or another, favor each candidate.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Senate Race Tightening — In the same Susquehanna Polling & Research study that produced an eight-point lead for president, the data firm returned the closest US Senate poll we’ve seen from Pennsylvania in more than a month. According to the Susquehanna results, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) edges Republican David McCormick by only a four-point margin, 46-42 percent. This is a surprising result from the same sample that produced an eight-point lead for President Biden.

Other pollsters during the past 30-day period see the race trending significantly more one-sided than Susquehanna. The Bullfinch Group in mid-December found Sen. Casey holding a 15-point lead, while Quinnipiac University, which produced a similar ballot test result for the Biden campaign, projects Sen. Casey to be leading McCormick, 53-43 percent. The Susquehanna poll is the first poll within the current time frame to find the Pennsylvania Senate race falling within the polling margin of error.

Governor

New Hampshire: Ex-Sen. Ayotte Leads in GOP Primary Poll — A new University of Massachusetts at Lowell survey (Jan. 6-16; 600 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online) finds former US Sen. Kelly Ayotte establishing a big lead over former state Senate president and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse. According to the survey results, Ayotte is staked to a 54-22 percent advantage.

The New Hampshire regular primary cycle is a long one, with the election not scheduled until Sept. 10. Democrats also feature two major candidates, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington and former Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is retiring after what will be four complete terms.

House

NJ-7: Early Polling Data Favors Rep. Kean — While many political prognosticators rate New Jersey’s 7th District race as a toss-up campaign for freshman incumbent Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), a recent Public Policy Polling survey (Jan. 16-7; 608 NJ-7 voters; multiple sampling techniques) casts the GOP congressman to a lead well beyond the polling margin of error. According to the PPP results, Rep. Kean would hold a 41-33 percent lead over former US State Department official Jason Blazakis (D).

In other 7th District news, the man who Rep. Kean unseated, two-term Rep. Tom Malinowski (D) this week ended his flirtation with entering the US Senate race and endorsed his former colleague, US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in his Democratic primary challenge to embattled Sen. Bob Menendez. While Malinowski has not firmly rejected running for his former House seat, there is no tangible evidence suggesting he is preparing a House run. In addition to Blazakis, progressive activist Sue Altman is a declared candidate.

VA-7: 2022 GOP Nominee Endorses Another — Prince William County Supervisor Vesli Vega, the 2022 Republican congressional nominee who held Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) to a 52-48 percent re-election victory in what many believed was an under-performance for the GOP in a more favorable post-redistricting 7th CD, issued a statement earlier this week. Many believed that she would again enter the crowded candidate field but instead she endorsed defense contractor and retired Navy SEAL Cameron Hamilton (R).

Though we see a field of eight announced Republicans for what is now an open seat, the Vega endorsement will help Hamilton unite GOP voters behind his campaign. Six Democrats have announced for their party’s nomination including state Del. Briana Sewell (D-Woodbridge), Prince William County Supervisor Margaret Franklin, ex-state Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, and retired Army colonel and National Security Council official Eugene Vindman.

Trump, Biden Win in New Hampshire; Blood Challenges Flood in NE-1; North Dakota Candidates Line Up for Governor’s Race; Louisiana Redistricting Map Signed Into Law

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024

President

New Hampshire: Trump, Biden Win — Former President Donald Trump successfully won the New Hampshire Republican primary last night and did so by about 12 percentage points, but his performance is apparently not enough to convince former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to leave the race.

In her concession speech, Haley pledged to continue moving forward and several times referenced going to her home state of South Carolina as a place that could reverse the political tide. Polling, however, suggests that she is not as strong there as she was in New Hampshire.

For the Democrats, President Joe Biden, despite not being on the primary ballot, won the primary with write-in ballots that tallied just over 67 percent of the vote. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who said he had no fundamental disagreement with the president over issues but believes Democrats should have a choice particularly with an 81-year old in office, secured just over 20 percent of the vote. Author Marianne Williamson attracted the remaining votes, just under 4 percent.

The New Hampshire primary yielded a record Republican turnout. The final participation count could reach 320,000. The previous record of 284,120 was set in 2016. The final Democratic turnout number will only be in the 100,000 range.

House

NE-1: Gov. Nominee to Challenge Rep. Flood — State Sen. Carol Blood (D-Bellevue), who was the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and lost to now-Gov. Jim Pillen (R), 59-36 percent, announced that she will now challenge Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) in the state’s 1st District that surrounds the Omaha metropolitan area on three sides. Flood was elected in a 2022 special election after Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) resigned. He won a full term in November with 58 percent of the vote. Blood’s candidacy gives the Democrats a credible challenger in what is considered a safe Republican seat.

Rep. Flood will be favored for re-election. The 1st District carries an R+17 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a partisan lean of 56.7R – 40.4D. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NE-1 as the 72nd most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.

Governor

North Dakota: One In, One Out — After Gov. Doug Burgum (R) on Monday announced that he will not seek a third term, other North Dakota politicos began to make public their own political plans. At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) quickly declared that he will run for governor. Armstrong leaving the House means that 46 seats will be open for the next election.

Conversely, Attorney General Drew Wrigley (R), also viewed as one of the top potential contenders to succeed Gov. Burgum, announced that he will not run for governor, instead opting to seek re-election to his current position. Former state senator and ex-congressional candidate Tom Campbell (R) will also run for governor.

The Republican statewide nominating convention is scheduled for April 6. The ND primary is set for June 11.

States

Louisiana: Redistricting Map Signed Into Law — Meeting the court-ordered requirement to draw a new majority minority seat in Louisiana, Gov. Jeff Landry (R) yesterday signed into law the legislature’s map. The new lines will cost the Republicans one seat, as an African American Democrat will be heavily favored to win a newly drawn 6th District that stretches from Baton Rouge all the way to Shreveport, cutting through the middle of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton) 4th CD.

Current 6th District Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) says he will run for the House, which likely means challenging Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in the state’s newly drawn, and safely Republican, 5th CD. Rep. Graves also says he is considering filing a lawsuit against the new map.

New Hampshire Primary Today; Close Race in Delaware; Gov. Burgum to Retire; Opponents Look to Change Alaska’s Ranked-Choice Voting

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024

President

Candidate signs along the road in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire: Primary Election Today — At one point it appeared that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was well positioned against former President Donald Trump in the New Hampshire primary, but a plethora of late polls find the former president expanding his advantage well into double digits.

Also on the ballot tonight is the Democratic presidential primary, though sans President Joe Biden. He is bypassing this event because the state refused to accept the Democratic National Committee recommended primary schedule change that would have deprived New Hampshire of its cherished first-in-the-nation primary status.

Ten polls have been released since Saturday from as many different pollsters, and except for the American Research Group, all show Trump holding leads between 10 and a whopping 27 percentage points. The ARG survey finds Trump holding only a 33-29 percent edge.

The Democratic race is much more difficult to forecast because of the write-in campaign underway for the president. The three polls, from the American Research Group, the University of New Hampshire for CNN, and Emerson College for WHDH-TV in Boston, see the Phillips support line falling between 10 and 18 percentage points.

The New Hampshire primary could effectively spell the end to competitive challenges.

First, for Haley: it’s hard to see a path going forward should she lose by the amounts suggested in most polls. The candidates’ next stop is Nevada. The legislature and former governor forced a primary law upon the state, but Republicans still wanted to have their caucus as in years past. Thus, the Nevada GOP is holding both a primary and a caucus, with the caucus being the delegate apportionment body, not the primary.

The candidates could only participate in one of the contests, and curiously Haley entered the primary. The other candidates, when they were in the race, chose the caucus. Therefore, regardless of how many primary votes Haley attracts in the primary, Trump is going to sweep the Nevada delegation because he is the only active candidate who will be receiving pledged delegates.

The South Carolina primary — Haley’s home state — will hold their primary on Feb. 24, and it will be interesting to see whether her candidacy will even remain alive at that time. Polling already shows Trump holding strong leads in the Palmetto State.

For the Democrats, US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) may well be a “one and done” candidate. He will have little in the way of an argument moving forward against President Biden if he fails to overtake him in New Hampshire where the incumbent’s name was not even on the ballot.

With data showing the respective party leaders expanding their leads, it will be an even bigger upset tonight if either President Biden or Donald Trump fail to meet their enhanced expectations.

Governor

Delaware: First Dem Primary Poll Suggests Close Race — With Gov. John Carney (D) being ineligible to run for a third term, lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Bethany Hall-Long (D) released the results of her internal Public Policy Polling Democratic primary survey (Jan. 10-11; 643 likely Delaware voters; live interview & text).

The study finds the lieutenant governor posting an early 30-23 percent lead over New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara, also an announced candidate, was not included on the Democratic primary ballot test.

The Delaware primary is one of the latest in the cycle, scheduled for Sept. 10, so much time remains for this race to develop. The eventual Democratic nominee will be in commanding position to win the open race in November.

North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum to Retire — Former presidential candidate Doug Burgum (R) announced yesterday that he will not seek a third term as North Dakota’s governor despite high approval ratings. With his endorsement of former President Trump, and the ex-chief executive indicating that Gov. Burgum would be primed for a position in a new Trump Administration should the 2024 election go the Republicans’ way, Gov. Burgum’s time in politics may not be coming to an end.

The decision to leave the governorship when his current term ends will open a highly competitive race for the Republican nomination through the state party convention and potentially a June 11 open primary. The eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite to succeed Gov. Burgum.

States

Alaska: Ranked Choice Voting Opponents File Petition Signatures — The proponents of a ballot proposition to repeal the state’s Top Four and Ranked Choice Voting systems have presented 55 percent more than the required number of signatures to reach the ballot, but they may be short on another qualifying requirement. While the group will likely have the proper aggregate number of valid signatures, there are questions as to whether they have met the requirement that certain numbers of the signatures must come from all the required districts. Therefore, it remains to be seen if this repeal measure will qualify for the 2024 election ballot.

The Ranked Choice system could have a wide-ranging effect on the coming presidential race, just as it has in the last two Alaska congressional campaigns.

DeSantis Suspends Campaign; Louisiana Map Passes Legislature, State Changes Primary System;
NY-3 Poll Shows Tightening Race;

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 22, 2024

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ron DeSantis: Suspends Campaign: Two days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, once thought to be former President Donald Trump’s principal Republican challenger, announced that he is suspending his national campaign and endorsed the former president.

While DeSantis suspended his campaign, he didn’t soften his attacks on both President Joe Biden and fellow GOP challenger Nikki Haley. “I look forward to working together with him [Trump] to beat Joe Biden, who is the worst and most corrupt president in the history of our country,” DeSantis said.

Referring to Haley, Gov. DeSantis was quoted as saying, “I signed a pledge to support the nominee, and I will honor that pledge. He [Mr. Trump] has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”

The GOP presidential fight now winnows to two major contenders, former President Trump, and ex-UN Ambassador Haley. Tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary may be close; Trump, however, will easily win in Nevada on Feb. 6, after which the campaign heads to Haley’s home state of South Carolina on Feb. 24 where polling finds Trump holding a 2:1 lead. If such margin holds, the Republican nomination will effectively be clinched before Super Tuesday on March 5.

House

Louisiana: Congressional Map Passes Legislature — The Louisiana state legislature agreed upon legislation to create a new congressional map as part of their special session to satisfy a court order. The bill now goes to Gov. Jeff Landry (R) for his signature. The agreed upon plan creates a new 6th District anchored in Baton Rouge, which then stretches through Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton), virtually cutting it in half, to reach Shreveport. This satisfies the court order to create a second majority minority seat in the state (54 percent black). According to the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians, President Biden would have carried the new 6th by a 59-39 percent majority.

The big loser on this map is five-term Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge). He is now paired with Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in a new 5th District seat that stretches along the Mississippi border on the south and east and going all the way to the Arkansas border on the north. The new 5th contains at least two-thirds of Rep. Letlow’s current constituency.

The partisan division will now award another seat to the Democrats, making the future Louisiana delegation 5R-2D. Under the plan, Speaker Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Reps. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), and Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette) all get safe seats from a partisan perspective.

NY-3: New Poll Shows Tight Special Election Race — A newly released Emerson College survey (Jan. 13-15; 975 registered NY-3 voters; 819 likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees a close special election race developing between former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) and Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R). The ballot test shows a 45-43 percent split in favor of Suozzi.

The best news for the former Democratic congressman is that the most likely voters within the sample break for him on a 51-37 percent split. While the majority white vote (58 percent of the district population) favors Pilip 49-40 percent, the largest minority group, Asians (24 percent of the district population), overwhelmingly favor Suozzi (60-25 percent). Hispanics (13 percent of the population) are moving toward Pilip in a 44-33 percent clip.

Possibly the most troubling news for Suozzi are President Biden’s and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) poor job approval ratings. Only one-third of voters, 33 percent, approve of President Biden’s performance in office (59 percent disapprove). Gov. Hochul’s numbers are even worse. Her approval index is 25:66 percent favorable to unfavorable. The special election is scheduled for Feb. 13.

States

Louisiana: Changing to Party Primary System — As part of the special Louisiana state legislative session, the House and Senate are sending a bill to Gov. Jeff Landry (R), one that he initiated, to change Louisiana’s primary voting system from a top-two jungle system to a partisan primary. The changes would take effect for the 2026 election and would institute a modified system where registered members of the political party must vote in their own primary while non-affiliated voters would have their choice of where to cast their ballot.

The change would mean, as in most other states, that only the political party nominees and qualified Independents would advance to the general election. The legislation would affect all federal races along with the state Supreme Court, the state school board, and the Public Service Commission. All other offices would continue with the current system of sending the top two finishers regardless of political party affiliation to the general election.