Author Archives: Jim Ellis

First Democrat Announces in Florida Senate Race; Potential NC-13 Candidate; Landry’s Advantage in Louisiana; Ashcroft Down on Money

By Jim Ellis — July 20, 2023

Senate

Navy veteran Phil Ehr

Florida: First Democrat Announces — Democrats have not yet recruited a top candidate to challenge Sen. Rick Scott (R), but at least they now have a contender coming forward. Navy veteran Phil Ehr, who challenged Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) in 2020 and lost 65-34 percent, is now a US Senate candidate. While losing, Ehr did raise over $2 million, but he will need substantially more even to win the Democratic primary.

The only other challenger to Sen. Scott, who was also twice elected governor, is Republican businessman Keith Gross. It was believed that Gross could fund a significant portion of his campaign, and so far he has added $661,000 to his political treasury. Outside of his personal loan, Gross only raised $9,000 during the 2nd Quarter fundraising period. At this point, Sen. Scott is a clear favorite for renomination and re-election.

House

NC-13: New Potential GOP Candidate — State legislative analyst Jeff Hauser (R) says he is interested in exploring a congressional candidacy next year in the district that freshman Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) currently holds. Expect this seat to significantly change once the new congressional map is drawn and passes the state legislature. With the new Republican state Supreme Court likely to approve the eventual map, expect this district to become much better territory for the GOP.

Bo Hines (R), who lost in November to Nickel 52-48 percent, is said to be considering mounting a comeback. He proved, however, to be a weak candidate so look for the GOP leadership to look in a different direction once the new map is presented and approved.

Governor

Louisiana: Landry Opens Huge Dollar Advantage — On Monday, we reported that a BDPC consulting firm poll (July 6-10; 600 registered Louisiana voters; live interview) found a close ballot test result of 30-28 percent between Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) and former LA Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D). The new fundraising disclosure reports show a much different picture of this developing statewide campaign.

During the 2nd Quarter, Landry raised $4.7 million and has over $9.2 million cash-on-hand. Conversely, Wilson raised only $560,000 and reports $590,000 in the bank. The closest contender to Landry is state Treasurer John Schroder (R). While raising only $220,000 for the quarter, the Schroder campaign reports $2.2 million in their campaign account. Louisiana’s all-party jungle primary is scheduled for Oct. 14 of this year. If no candidate receives majority support, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held on Nov. 18.

Missouri: Ashcroft Down on Money — While Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, son of former Missouri Senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, is viewed to be the leader of the open gubernatorial Republican primary, the 2nd Quarter fundraising reports show him on the downside of the money count. In a battle of supportive PACs, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe’s affiliated American Dream PAC raised $1.2 million as compared to the Committee for Liberty’s (Ashcroft) $290,000. St. Charles County state Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring), who has not yet officially announce for governor, saw his leadership committee, BILL PAC, raise over $800,000.

GOP Gov. Mike Parson is ineligible to run for a third term. State House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) is the leading Democratic contender. Republicans are favored to win the open general election.

Projected GOP Presidential Debate Qualifiers; New Senate Candidate in Ohio; Q2 Senate Financials Reported; A Strong CA-9 Candidate Emerges; Indiana Open Gov. Race News

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, July 19, 2023

President

Debate: Projected Qualifiers — USA Today is projecting that six GOP presidential contenders will qualify for the Aug. 23 debate to be aired on FOX News, while another half-dozen may miss the cut. The candidates meeting the polling and donor requirements are, as expected, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The others are ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Those on the cusp of failing to meet the participation requirements are former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-Congressman Will Hurd, Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND), ex-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, and commentator Larry Elder.

Senate

Ohio: Sec of State Announces for Senate — As has been long expected, a third major Republican has joined the US Senate primary hoping to advance into the general election to oppose incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). Frank LaRose was first elected as Ohio’s Secretary of State in 2018 after serving two terms in the Ohio state Senate from the Akron area. He averaged 55 percent of the vote in his two victorious statewide campaigns.

LaRose is the only one of the three GOP candidates – the others being state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and businessman Bernie Moreno – who has won a statewide race. Sen. Dolan ran for the US Senate in 2022 but lost the Republican primary. Moreno was also in that Senate race but withdrew before voting began seeing no reasonable victory path.

While LaRose is the only statewide official in the race, he begins well behind in the money race. Sen. Dolan has already invested $4 million into his campaign. Moreno reports raising $2.26 million in the 2nd Quarter.

The general election will be difficult since Sen. Brown is a three-term incumbent. The state, however, is significantly more Republican than when the senator last ran in 2018. The ’24 contest is becoming a must-win for the GOP if the party is to capture the Senate majority in the coming election.

Senate Finance: Q2 Dollar Numbers Reported — The 2nd Quarter fundraising numbers have been released, and the 58 reporting Senate candidates in the 34 races attracted a cumulative $91.7 million and have more than $228 million in their campaign accounts. This does not count any money that Super PACs have raised or plan to spend to affect the outcome of the 2024 US Senate electoral contests.

Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) was technically first in funds raised with $8.63 million, but $2.5 million of that total was transferred from his House committee. Rep. Allred’s potential general election opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz (R), ranked sixth overall but first among Republicans. He attracted $3.35 million in financial support.

California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was the net Q2 fundraising leader, bringing in $8.17 million without any transfers from his House account. He also led the all-important cash-on-hand category with a whopping $29.8 million ready to spend on his Senate campaign. The total amounts raised during this early campaign phase suggest that we can expect another hotly contested campaign season next year.

House

CA-9: Republicans Gain Strong Candidate — Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln, a Republican elected in a heavily Democratic city, is reportedly preparing an announcement for Thursday indicating he will forego running for a second term in his present position in order to challenge Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) for the US House seat. Rep. Harder was severely redistricted in the 2021 redraw, but still managed to record a 55-45 percent victory over San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R). The congressman had a huge 6:1 advantage in resources, which became a key factor in his re-election victory.

The CA-9 district could be one to watch nationally. Republicans must defeat several sitting Democratic incumbents if they are to hold their small House majority and this northern California seat, that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+8, could be on the cusp of becoming a top-tier conversion target.

Governor

Indiana: Newcomer May Enter Open Gov Race — Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers (R) announced he will be resigning his position and it is anticipated that he will quickly declare his gubernatorial candidacy.

Though starting well behind the open race’s two front runners for the Republican nomination and the general election, US Sen. Mike Braun and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Chambers, who has the financial ability to self-fund his campaign, may soon become the fourth credible candidate in the field. Venture capitalist Eric Doden also has the ability to attract enough resources to propel his candidacy. Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term. Sen. Braun is foregoing a second term in the Senate to enter the gubernatorial campaign.

Can DeSantis Overtake Trump?

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, July 18, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump; Florida Gov. Ron
Desantis (R)

Polling: DeSantis vs. Trump — A series of flash polls taken in June and early July within 13 states provides us a glimpse into the path Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ahead of him if he is to wrest the Republican presidential nomination away from former President Donald Trump. In summary, the deficit may be too large to overcome.

National polls have for weeks shown Trump holding huge leads over his GOP opponents, but these national surveys are virtually meaningless since the race will be determined in the state-by-state count. The winner must secure 1,234 pledged delegate votes from the 56 voting entities to clinch the party nomination.

The recent polling from the 13 states yields a combined 944 delegates, or 38.3 percent of the total Republican universe. The tallies come from 11 different pollsters during the period beginning June 5 and ending July 6.

Cumulatively, Trump would command a combined 47.4 percent support from these places, slightly less than he is showing nationally. Gov. DeSantis is so far recording 21.2 percent, and no other candidate even reaches five percent support. Therefore, the Florida governor must more than double his support base if he is to surpass Trump’s advantage.

Included in these 13 states are eight places where voters will cast their ballots on Super Tuesday, March 5, or before. The eight states are, in voting order: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, California, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Of the pre-Super Tuesday states, only Michigan is not included.

In the early states, Trump’s margin, according to the latest available polling data, is actually an even larger 55-22 percent over Gov. DeSantis, with 23 percent choosing one of the seven minor candidates. Therefore, the Trump lead in the critical momentum building early states is larger than in the at-large universe, thus making DeSantis’s task even more difficult.

In addition to the eight early states mentioned above, the remaining tested domains, again in voting order, are Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Montana. Of the 13, DeSantis’ strongest state is Wisconsin, where the Marquette University Law School survey, a frequent Badger State pollster, finds the Florida governor trailing Trump by just one percentage point.

The state will the largest chasm between the two men is Tennessee, where the Targoz Market Research survey finds a Trump margin of 61-12 percent. Perhaps most troubling to Gov. DeSantis is his most recent showing in his own home state of Florida. The latest Florida Atlantic University study that concluded on July 1 reveals a 50-30 percent margin in Trump’s favor.

This poll, however, may be an anomaly because no other data has shown such a large disparity. Since the beginning of May, one other research study finds Trump ahead by eight percentage points, while two more see a virtually even split between Trump and DeSantis. Still, for Trump to be doing this well in Gov. DeSantis’ home state is telling as to the strength of the former President’s national advantage.

While serious campaigning is just now getting underway, much can change between the present circumstances and the eventual outcome. With Iowa now moving their precinct caucuses from an original date of Feb. 5 to Jan. 15, the nomination campaign season grows even shorter.

For Gov. DeSantis, or any of the minor candidates to make a serious run at former President Trump, the activity pace will have to significantly quicken, and their momentum will need an abrupt about face.

Alaska’s Begich Joins House Race; Congressional Map Redraw Ordered in NY; Qualifying Candidates in UT-2;
A New NH Gubernatorial Candidate

By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 17, 2023

House

Nick Begich III

Alaska: Begich Announces for House — Nick Begich III, who ran in the special at-large congressional election after Rep. Don Young (R) suddenly passed away, and then again in the 2022 general election announced that he will return to run again next year. He hopes for the opportunity of facing Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) one-on-one in the final Ranked Choice Voting round.

Both in the special and regular elections, Begich failed to reach second place, finishing third behind former Gov. Sarah Palin by three percentage points in each contest, while Peltola, coalescing the smaller Democratic base, was able to place first. For Begich to get the chance of facing Rep. Peltola in the final Ranked Choice round in 2024, the three finalists coming from the primary must hold the Congresswoman to less than a majority.

Though the Republican vote is much larger than the Democratic segment in Alaska, the GOP split has allowed Peltola to win the seat by attracting more second and third choice votes than did Palin. Begich will need a more united Republican Party behind him if he is to overcome Rep. Peltola. The AK-AL seat is the most Republican seat in the nation that sends a Democrat to the House. For the Republicans to hold their small House majority, the Alaska seat is fast becoming a must-win for them.

New York: Court Orders Cong Map Redraw — A lower appellate court last week sided with the Democratic lawsuit challenging New York’s court-drawn congressional map and ordered the Independent Redistricting Commission to begin a new re-mapping process. Republicans will then appeal to the state’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, which is the panel that made the original ruling that led to the creation of the current map.

Republicans gained seats on the current map; hence, the reason why Democrats are moving to replace the plan. It appears a final decision about whether we will see a new map for 2024 is undoubtedly months away.

UT-2: Two Candidates Qualify — The Utah Secretary of State announced late last week that the two special election congressional candidates who filed petitions to earn a ballot position have both officially qualified. Former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough both successfully submitted at least 7,000 petition signatures.

The pair will now join congressional legal counsel Celeste Maloy in a Sept. 5 special Republican primary election. Maloy prevailed in the pre-primary party convention. Doing so gave her an automatic ballot slot in the nomination campaign along with the official Republican Party endorsement. The last time Utah hosted a special election – 2017 in the 3rd Congressional District – the eventual primary winner, then-Provo Mayor John Curtis, did not win the convention. Therefore, it appears we may see a free-for-all campaign for the party nomination. The winner will face state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights) in the Nov. 21 special general election. The Republican nominee will be favored in a seat the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) is resigning the seat on Sept. 15 due to family considerations.

Governor

New Hampshire: Manchester Mayor to Run Statewide — Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D), who already announced that she will not seek re-election to her current position but gave broad hints that she would enter the 2024 governor’s campaign, formally announced her intention to run statewide late last week.

With Gov. Chris Sununu (R) sending clear signals that he is unlikely to run for a fifth two-year term, it is very likely that Craig will be competing for an open seat. There will be a Democratic primary, however. Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington announced her gubernatorial campaign in early June.

The Executive Council, unique to New Hampshire, is an elected five-member panel from districts to serve as a check on gubernatorial power. A majority of the Executive Council can veto state contracts and nominations. The Council also has the power to issue pardons. Because Gov. Sununu says he will make a formal decision about whether to run again later this summer, no Republicans have yet come forward as potential gubernatorial candidates.

Flores Announces Rematch Bid in Texas; New Colorado Candidate; Close Polling in Illinois; New York State Senator to Enter House Race

By Jim Ellis — Friday, July 14, 2023

House

Mayra Flores

TX-34: Former Rep. Flores (R) Announces Rematch Bid — In 2020, Republican Mayra Flores won a special election to succeed resigned Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) in the pre-redistricting 34th District. The post-redistricting seat changed the 34th from a D+5 seat according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization into a D+17. Predictably, Flores, then being forced to run against another incumbent, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen), lost by a substantial 53-44 percent margin.

This week, Flores announced that she will return for a rematch with Rep. Gonzalez, though her odds of attaining victory are not appreciably better. Her presence makes the seat somewhat competitive, but Rep. Gonzalez must again be considered a strong favorite in a district drawn to elect a Democrat so a Republican, in this case Rep. Monica de la Cruz (R-McAllen), could win the adjacent 15th CD.

CO-8: No Rematch; GOP has New Candidate — One of the closest 2022 congressional elections came in the northern Denver suburbs from a new seat that Colorado earned in national reapportionment. In November, then-state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton) defeated state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R), 48.3 – 47.7 percent, to become the first winner of this new congressional district. In 2024, the Republicans will have a new candidate.

Kirkmeyer announced Wednesday that she will not return for a congressional rematch next year, instead saying she will seek re-election to the state Senate. Upon that announcement, Weld County Commissioner Scott James (R) immediately filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. The close political nature of this new district means we will again see a competitive race here in 2024, and very likely another close finish.

IL-12: Close Primary Challenge Poll — At a 4th of July celebration event, former state senator and 2022 Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey announced a congressional primary challenge to veteran Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), the chairman of the House Veteran Affairs Committee.

Immediately after the 4th, the Cor Strategies firm went into the field with a survey (July 5-8; 661 IL-12 registered Republican voters; multiple sampling techniques) and sees Rep. Bost posting only a 43-37 percent advantage over Bailey. The congressman leads big in the southern and western parts of the district while Bailey has a clear advantage in the northern and eastern geographic sections.

NY-22: State Senator Says he will Run for Congress — Freshman Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) scored a 50-49 percent win in November to secure a D+2 (according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization) seat for the GOP. A pair of Democrats had already announced for the seat, including local town councilwoman Sarah Klee Hood, and now state Sen. John Mannion (D-Geddes) says he will enter next year’s congressional race. During Rep. John Katko’s (R) four-term congressional career, the district was perennially competitive, and the same pattern is likely to continue well into this decade.

Hill Harper Announces for Senate; Nevada’s Brown Will Run for Senate; Sen. Ted Cruz Picks Up Challenger; Jockeying in Alaska for House Seat

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, July 13, 2023

Senate

Frank Eugene “Hill” Harper (D), one of the stars of the “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor” programs

Michigan: Actor Announces for Senate — As expected, actor Frank Eugene “Hill” Harper (D), one of the stars of the “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor” programs, announced that he will compete in the open Michigan US Senate primary. He becomes the fourth major candidate, and third African American, in the Democratic primary. He joins US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), Michigan State Board of Education president Pamela Pugh, and former state Rep. Leslie Love.

The crowded field likely plays well for the perceived leader, Rep. Slotkin. This primary will take a long while to unfold, however. The Michigan primary won’t occur until Aug. 6, 2024, and its competitiveness could tamp down the Democrats’ advantage in the general election. Though the party primary may well be more eventful considering Harper’s entry, Rep. Slotkin must still be rated as the favorite for the party nomination and to win the seat in the November election. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four full terms.

Nevada: Republicans Score Candidate Prospect — In another move that has been expected for several months, disabled Afghan War veteran and 2022 Senate candidate Sam Brown (R) announced he will return to again compete in a Nevada US Senate race. This time, he hopes to capture the Republican nomination and challenge first-term Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen.

In ’22, Brown lost the party primary to former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, 56-34 percent, but raised an impressive $4 million-plus for his effort. Laxalt would then lose the general election to Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by fewer than 18,000 votes from more than 1 million ballots cast. Now, it appears that Brown has the inside track for the party nomination and would be an interesting candidate in the general election. A strong Brown candidacy could elevate Nevada into top-tier campaign status.

Texas: State Senator Enters Battle to Challenge Sen. Cruz — San Antonio area state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) announced Tuesday that he will enter the Texas Democratic primary, which will likely ignite a difficult nomination battle against US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) who announced his candidacy in early May. The eventual party nominee will then challenge two-term Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the general election.

Sen. Gutierrez, who represents a legislative domain similar to that of US Rep. Tony Gonzales’ (R-San Antonio) congressional district in that it begins in the metro area and then stretches through most of west Texas toward El Paso, is a strong gun control advocate. Prior to defeating a Republican incumbent to win a Senate seat in 2020, Gutierrez had served six terms in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Allred is reporting raising more than $6.2 million for his Senate effort after announcing his candidacy, but now will have to spend heavily just to win the party nomination in March. It is likely the beneficiary of what will be a hotly contested race between Allred and Gutierrez is Sen. Cruz. The Texas primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

House

AK-AL: Nick Begich (R) Considering Another House Bid — Businessman Nick Begich III, whose grandfather was a Democratic congressman and uncle, Mark Begich, served as a Democratic US senator before losing to current Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, is again reportedly contemplating a run for the state’s at-large US House seat. He participated in the 2022 special and regular elections as a Republican, qualifying for the secondary election both times, but failing in Ranked Choice Voting.

Many observers believed he would be the strongest candidate against Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) who won both of those elections by outdueling Sarah Palin in the Ranked Choice rounds. Should Begich run in 2024, it is probable he would have a strong chance to end in the final round with Rep. Peltola. The at-large Alaska seat is now the most Republican congressional district in the country to send a Democrat to the US House.

Challenger May Be DQ’d in Indiana; California Rep. Napolitano to Retire; Barrett Returns in Michigan;
Top-Four vs. RCV in Idaho

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Senate

Indiana: Banks’ GOP Challenger May Be Out — Last week, egg farmer John Rust announced a challenge to Indiana Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) for the open GOP Senate nomination, but his quest might end before it even begins. This week, as the Daily Kos Elections site reports, we find that Rust may not qualify for the ballot because he is not in good standing as a Republican according to Hoosier State election procedure. Because Indiana is a non-party registration state, the GOP candidate qualification requirements include voting in the two most recent Republican primaries, or the approval of the individual’s local GOP county chair.

Rust last voted in the 2016 Republican primary but also participated in the 2012 Democratic primary. Jackson County Republican chair Amanda Lowery is quoted as saying she wants to speak with Rust before making a final determination regarding his qualification status. For his part, Rep. Banks is saying Rust is “a liberal Democrat trying to run in the GOP primary,” and therefore should not be awarded a ballot line.

House

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk)

CA-31: Rep. Grace Napolitano to Retire — Veteran Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk), who first won her seat in the 1998 election, announced Monday that she will not seek re-election to a 14th term next November. Napolitano, now 86 years old, is the oldest member of the House. She becomes the 14th House member and 10th Democrat to not seek re-election next year, but only the second to outright retire. The remainder are all running for a different office. Napolitano’s retirement decision also creates the fourth open House seat in the California delegation.

In her statement announcing her retirement, the congresswoman endorsed state Sen. Bob Archuleta (D-Norwalk) as her successor. Ironically, Sen. Archuleta, if elected to the House in 2024, would be, at the age of 79, the second-oldest freshman in American history. At a D+29 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, the seat will not be competitive for a Republican candidate. Chances are high, however, that we would see another double-Democratic general election under California’s all-party top-two jungle primary system. The California qualifying election is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

MI-7: Ex-Sen. Tom Barrett (R) to Return — Former Michigan state Sen. Tom Barrett (R), who was considered at least a slight under-performer in the 2022 election against US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) when losing 52-46 percent, announced he will return next year for another try. Since Rep. Slotkin is running for the state’s open Senate seat, the politically marginal 7th District will also be open. Last week, former state Sen. Curtis Heftel (D) announced his candidacy with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) support. Heftel left the legislature to join Gov. Whitmer’s administration.

Neither man is expected to face much intra-party opposition, but the general election will be hotly contested. MI-7 is one of 20 US House districts where the FiveThirtyEight and Dave’s Redistricting App data organizations disagree over which party has the partisan edge. In this instance, 538 projects the 7th District as having a R+4 rating, while Dave’s App calculates a 49.3D – 47.9R partisan lean.

States

Idaho: Top-Four Primary Initiative Cleared for Signature Gathering — An organized group called Idahoans for Open Primaries has launched an initiative to transform the current Idaho partisan primary system into Alaska’s unique Top Four Primary, which includes a Ranked Choice Voting component for the general election. In the legislative session just concluded, a law was enacted banning Ranked Choice Voting in any Idaho election.

The initiative, if qualified and passed, would repeal the new RCV ban law and institute an all-party open primary where all candidates running for a particular office will compete to finish in the first four positions. All four would then advance into the general election. If no candidate receives majority support, Ranked Choice Voting would be implemented. In Alaska, the system has led to a Democrat winning the at-large congressional seat even though 60 percent of voters chose a Republican candidate in the open all-party primary.

Organizers are now cleared to begin gathering petition signatures. They must secure 63,000 valid Idaho registered voter signatures on or before May 1, 2024. Included in this number must be signatures from at least six percent of residents in 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts.