Author Archives: Jim Ellis

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

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, June 20, 2024

House

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.

Primary Results; Biden Upside-Down in All But Five States; Surprising Poll for Endangered NY-4 Incumbent

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Primary Results

Former Trump White House aide Brian Jack

Georgia — In the Peach State congressional runoffs, former Trump White House aide Brian Jack, as expected, cruised to a secondary election victory over state Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton). Jack recorded just under 63 percent of the vote in the preliminary count, thus virtually assuring him of winning the general election in November. He will replace retiring Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-The Rock/Carrollton) in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+38.

In the 2nd District, businessman and former congressional and senatorial candidate Wayne Johnson easily defeated his Republican opponent and will now advance to the general election against 16-term veteran Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany). The Democrats now have a nominee against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome) in District 14. Retired Army Gen. Shawn Harris easily won his runoff election with 69 percent of the vote to claim the party nomination.

OK-4 — The Sooner State’s big race featured an expensive challenge to veteran Rep. Tom Cole (R-Moore/Norman) in the state’s southern 4th Congressional District. Cole, now chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, easily overcame more than $5 million of self-funding expenditure from his Republican primary opponent, businessman Paul Bondar, in capturing just under 65 percent of the vote.

Virginia — The top race of the evening came in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District where state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin Sabot) may have defeated Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) with a razor thin vote margin. It will likely be several days before we see final totals here because the post-election ballots, i.e., those coming in from overseas could make a difference in the outcome.

At this writing, McGuire holds a 315-vote lead over Rep. Good with approximately 96 percent of the vote recorded. There could be as many as 1,800 votes outstanding in addition to the 62,425 votes that the Secretary of State reports as being counted. Both men carried 12 of the district’s 24 counties. One, Appomattox County, appears to be decided in Rep. Good’s favor by just three votes.

Elsewhere in the Old Dominion, retired Navy captain and former congressional candidate Hung Cao was an easy Republican primary winner. He recorded 62 percent of the vote against four Republican opponents. Cao now advances to the general election where he will face an extreme uphill battle against veteran senator and former vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine (D).

In House District 2, businesswoman and Navy veteran Missy Cotter Smasal scored a landslide victory in the Democratic primary. Smasal will now face freshman Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) in a district that only slightly favors the Republicans. In the competitive open District 7, voters in both parties confirmed their expected nominees, retired Army Lt. Col. Eugene Vindman for the Democrats and attorney and Iraq and Afghan War veteran Derrick Anderson on the GOP side.

District 10 also featured a crowded, competitive Democratic primary, with the winner having the inside track to replace retiring Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) who is leaving Congress due to a serious health issue. Her endorsed candidate, state Delegate Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudoun County), scored a 30-27 percent victory over state Delegate Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax) and 10 others to capture the party nomination.

President

Approval Ratings: Biden Upside-Down in All But Five States — The Morning Consult organization test President Joe Biden’s job approval rating in all 50 states and sees just five where his positive reviews exceed the negative. California is the president’s strongest state where his job approval is plus-8. In the four others, his positive ratings exceed his negative in Maryland (four), New York (two), and Massachusetts and Washington (both one). In the other 45 states, the president’s job performance is under water. His most negative ratings, -63, -50, and -47, come in Wyoming, West Virginia, and North Dakota, respectively.

House

NY-4: Surprising Poll for Endangered Incumbent — McLaughlin & Associates released a poll conducted in late May (May 21-23; 400 likely NY-4 voters; live interview) that finds New York freshman Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) leading the woman he defeated two years ago, former Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Guillen, (D) by a 45-38 percent margin. The Empire State’s 4th District is the most Democratic seat a Republican holds in the nation (538: D+10), so this race is a major conversion target in 2024. It becomes one of the key seats in the nation that will determine which party controls the House majority in the next Congress.

Today’s Primaries; Libertarians Reject National Nominee; Two Major Unions Endorse Rep. Omar’s Opponent

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Primaries

Virginia Republican Congressman Bob Good (R-Lynchburg)

Today’s Vote: Georgia, Oklahoma, Virginia — Another round of primary elections is on tap today, with voters in Oklahoma and Virginia casting ballots in their full primaries, while certain Georgia districts will host runoff elections. The races of most interest come in central Virginia, where two-term Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) faces a serious opponent in state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin Sabot). This is a contest that could feature the first challenger victory of the primary season. At this point in contested House Republican and Democratic primaries, the incumbents are 11-0.

To complicate matters for Rep. Good, this is the first time he has faced a primary election. His two previous nominations were won through district conventions. Additionally, former President Donald Trump has endorsed McGuire, and ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy has raised substantial money toward a Super PAC that is attempting to unseat Good. The congressman was one of the leaders of the movement that ousted McCarthy from the Speakership.

House Appropriations Committee chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) is facing a multi-million dollar campaign coming from businessman Paul Bondar. Both men are heavily attacking each other; Rep. Cole hitting Bondar as a recent transplant from Texas, and the challenger attacking the incumbent as being out of touch with the district. Rep. Cole still favored for renomination.

The major runoff to be decided comes in western Georgia, where former Trump White House aide Brian Jack and state Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) battle each other. Jack came close to winning the nomination outright in May but fell just short. Therefore, he appears to be a clear favorite heading into the secondary election.

President

Colorado: Libertarians Reject National Nominee — The Colorado Libertarian Party leadership, saying that the national party’s nominee, Chase Oliver, is “too moderate,” announced yesterday that they will not slate him for the general election. Instead, the state party leaders will inform the Colorado secretary of state as to whom the local organization will choose prior to the ballot certification deadline.

The Libertarian Party is the only minor party where in 2020 their nominee, Jo Jorgensen, had 50-state ballot access; 48 under the party name and in two, Alabama and Tennessee, where she appeared on the Independent line. Along with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the non-Democratic and Republican finalists will likely be significant in the swing states where they appear on the ballot. In Colorado, the Libertarian line will only make a minor difference as President Joe Biden is a heavy favorite to win the state.

House

MN-5: Two Major Unions Endorse Rep. Omar’s Opponent — While three-term Minnesota US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) just launched a television ad talking about how proud she is to represent her constituents, two important labor unions endorsed her Democratic primary opponent, former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels. The United Steelworkers and the International Union of Operating Engineers both issued endorsements for Samuels, the campaign announced yesterday. In 2022, Samuels held Rep. Omar to a 50-48 percent renomination victory. The two again do battle in the state’s Aug. 13 primary election.

Rep. Omar is a member of the far left “Squad” within the House, and two other of its members, Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), also face strong Democratic primary challenges in the coming weeks.

Consistent Inconsistency

By Jim Ellis — Monday, June 17, 2024

Senate

Arizona senate candidate Kari Lake (R) struggles in race despite Trump’s lead in polls. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

While news stories are prevalent discussing former President Donald Trump’s polling status, which, despite being convicted in his New York trial, shows him leading in most of the swing states, the same cannot be said for most of the Republican senatorial candidates.

Last week, Senate surveys were released in Arizona, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, three key swing states. Marist College conducted the Ohio and Pennsylvania studies, while a Republican/Democratic polling combination, Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D), executed the Arizona project.

The Fabrizio/IR Arizona survey, conducted for AARP (May 28-June 4; 600 likely Arizona voters; live interview & text), projects former President Trump to be holding a 45-37-11-3 percent advantage over President Joe Biden, Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. Yet, the open Senate ballot test before the same sampling universe favors Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) over former news anchor and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, 48-45 percent, a net 11-point swing from Trump’s lead to Lake’s deficit.

We see a similar pattern in the latest Ohio data. Marist College conducted the Buckeye State poll during the June 3-6 period and communicated with 1,137 registered Ohio voters either through telephone interview or online questionnaire. Here, we see Trump topping President Biden, Kennedy, Stein, and Dr. Cornel West, 48-41-5-1-1 percent. Yet, in the Senate race, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) posts a five point, 50-45 percent edge over Republican nominee Bernie Moreno, or a net 12 points behind Trump’s standing (Trump up 7; Moreno down 5).

Marist’s Pennsylvania findings also follow this similar pattern. The college’s polling administrators conducted the Keystone State survey during the same June 3-6 period as the Ohio study and interviewed either through phone or online contact 1,181 registered Pennsylvania voters. The results found Trump holding a two-point lead over President Biden, 47-45 percent, while Kennedy posted only three percent support, and Stein and Dr. West, one percent apiece. On the Senate question, however, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) tops businessman David McCormick (R), by six percentage points, 52-46 percent, or a net eight points below Trump’s position.

Though we did not see new general election data released in Nevada and Wisconsin during the week, the Trump leading (or close to tied in Wisconsin)/Republican Senate candidate trailing pattern is also consistently present in these two places.

In two other highly competitive races, Michigan and Montana, the Senate races are much closer. The numbers between Trump and the leading Michigan Republican, former Rep. Mike Rogers, are pretty close, with each clearly falling into a toss-up realm. In Montana, while Trump is consistently running well ahead of President Biden, the Senate race between incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D) and challenger Tim Sheehy (R) is a virtual tie.

Some of the presidential to Senate discrepancy can be explained through incumbency. In Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin the Republican candidates are challenging incumbent Democratic senators, Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Sens. Brown, Casey and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). But, that’s not the case in Arizona where the similar pattern exists even in an open seat race.

The other state with a competitive Senate race, Maryland, is in a different category. Trump is far from leading in the Free State polling, nor will he at any time before the election. Maryland is going to be one of President Biden’s strongest states, and GOP nominee and former Gov. Larry Hogan has a different set of obstacles to overcome if he is to be successful.

With the current Senate map decidedly favoring the Republicans because they must defend only 11 seats as opposed to 23 for the Democrats, the GOP must maximize their win-to-loss ratio in the 2024 elections. Though they are effectively at a 50D-50R break from an electoral standpoint because of what appears as a virtual conversion lock in West Virginia, the Republican leadership must make a concerted effort to assist several of the challengers in defeating their incumbent Democratic opponents.

Getting to 53 or 54 Republican senators is the GOP goal for this election year. They must have such a cushion when they head into the 2026 and ’28 election years when the Senate election maps favor the Democrats.

Therefore, unless the Republican strategists can find a way to break the pattern we’re seeing in most of the competitive race states where their candidates trail while Trump leads, they will fall short of their goal. Monitoring their developing offensive strategy in the coming weeks merits significant attention.

One Delaware House Candidate Left; Michigan Rejects Candidate Lawsuit; Bowman Trailing in NY-16 Poll; Florida Ex-Rep. Runs for State Senate

By Jim Ellis — Friday, June 14, 2024

House

Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride (D-Wilmington)

DE-AL: Dem Drops Out — Delaware State Housing Authority Director Eugene Young (D), who outgoing Gov. John Carney (D) was supporting for a US House seat that the state chief executive previously represented, announced that he is ending his congressional campaign to replace US Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington). For the time being, this leaves the Democratic field to state Sen. Sarah McBride (D-Wilmington) who, if elected, would become the first transgender individual elected to Congress. Candidate filing for the late Sept. 10 primary does not end until July 9, so it is still possible for other candidates to enter the race.

All of Delaware’s key offices are open. Gov. Carney is term limited but running for the open Wilmington mayor’s position. Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D) has declared for governor, leaving her position open. Rep. Blunt Rochester is running for retiring US Sen. Tom Carper’s seat, and the situation pertaining to the open at-large House seat was described above.

MI-10: Court Rejects Candidate’s Lawsuit — The Michigan state Court of Appeals rejected former congressional candidate and Wayne State University Board of Governors member Anil Kumar’s (D) lawsuit to reverse the State Board of Canvassers’ decision to disqualify him from the 10th District congressional race. The Board ruled that he did not submit 1,000 legal petition signatures, which is a requirement under Michigan election law. Kumar was a factor in the race after putting $1 million of his own money into his campaign account.

Rep. John James (R-Farmington Hills) won the seat in 2022 by less than a percentage point. His 2022 opponent, former Macomb County prosecutor and judge Carl Marlinga, is running again this year as are three other qualified Democrats. Expect Marlinga again to win the primary. The general election will once again be competitive in a 10th CD that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+6.

NY-16: New Poll Finds Rep. Bowman Again Trailing — A just-released Emerson College poll (June 6-8; 425 likely NY-16 Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Westchester County Executive George Latimer continuing to lead two-term Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) by a rather wide margin, 48-31 percent. Latimer also has the advantage in campaign fundraising.

The bad news for Rep. Bowman continues. Former Secretary of State and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) also announced her formal endorsement of Latimer. Ironically, it was Bowman himself who challenged and defeated a Democratic incumbent in 2020, then-Rep. Eliot Engel. Not surprisingly, Engel has also endorsed County Executive Latimer.

While incumbents have had a perfect year so far in renomination campaigns, Bowman, a member of the controversial Democratic Socialist “Squad,” may be the most vulnerable incumbent standing before a primary electorate. The New York primary is scheduled for June 25.

States

Florida: Ex-Congressman to Run for State Senate — Earlier in the week former Sunshine State Congressman Alan Grayson (D) announced that he was ending his campaign for the US Senate well before the state’s Aug. 20 primary, yet he is not stepping away from elective politics. Almost immediately after leaving the federal campaign, he announced his entry into an open Democratic primary for a central Florida state Senate seat.

Grayson was originally elected to the 8th District House seat in 2008 but defeated for re-election in 2010. He then moved into one of Florida’s new seats gained in reapportionment and was re-elected to the House two years later from the 9th CD. He then ran for Senate in 2016 but lost the Democratic primary. He returned in 2018 with a bid to reclaim his 9th District House seat, but fell to the new incumbent, Rep. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) by a 2:1 margin. It remains to be seen if he can now win election to the Florida Senate.

Undefeated, But for How Long?

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, June 13, 2024

Incumbents

Virginia Republican Congressman Bob Good (R-Lynchburg)

With the Tuesday victories of South Carolina Reps. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) and William Timmons (R-Greenville), US House incumbents facing credible primary challengers have stacked up an 11-0 win record this cycle, but several of the most serious contests have yet to come.

In the next 12 days, three races will occur where the outcome is unclear. On Tuesday, Virginia Republican Congressman Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) faces state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin Sabot) in a contest that could result in the cycle’s first non-redistricting related incumbent loss. A week later, Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) find themselves in the most volatile races.

Rep. Good, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and one of the leaders of the GOP movement to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, faces a primary electorate for the first time. In his two previous victories, Good was nominated through district conventions.

The congressman’s endorsement of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis against former President Donald Trump in this year’s early primaries raised Trump’s ire to the point of him publicly supporting Sen. McGuire. McCarthy is also involved in the race, helping to raise and direct money toward toppling the incumbent in order to avenge his own loss.

According to the latest publicly released survey, the mounting opposition to Good may produce results. The WPA Intelligence organization released a poll at the end of last week (June 2-4; 300 likely VA-5 Republican primary voters; live interview) finding Sen. McGuire holding a 41-31 percent lead over Rep. Good.

Looking at the resource charts, the pre-primary reporting period (through May 29) showed Sen. McGuire raising $1.24 million as compared to Rep. Good’s $1.15 million. McGuire also had a $400,000 cash-on-hand advantage. The outside money likewise favored McGuire. According to the Open Secrets organization, funds spent for McGuire and against Good totaled approximately $4.1 million. The aggregate spending for Good and against McGuire is a much smaller $2.04 million.

Turning to the June 25 primary, a just-released Emerson College poll (June 6-8; 425 likely NY-16 Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Westchester County Executive George Latimer continuing to lead two-term New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) by a rather wide margin, 48-31 percent.

Latimer also has the advantage in campaign fundraising. In the early reports, he held more than a $1 million advantage in campaign receipts. In terms of outside spending, Latimer’s margin is even more favorable. Just under $10 million has been spent for Latimer and against Bowman, while the congressman sees only $1.6 million in Super PAC expenditures either for him or against Latimer. Most of the anti-Bowman money has come from an organization associated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The bad news for Rep. Bowman continues. Former US Secretary of State and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) yesterday announced her formal endorsement of Latimer.

The electoral resume also favors the Westchester County Executive. Latimer represents 91 percent of the 16th Congressional District in his current position, and he was previously elected to the New York state Senate and Assembly.

The Centennial State primary is also scheduled for June 25, and while Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) today looks like she will score a victory in the 4th District Republican primary, she took a major gamble when she left the western slope district to move into the rural eastern Colorado open seat. It appears, however, the roll of the dice is paying dividends.

The latest 4th District poll finds Rep. Boebert holding a big lead, but arguably her strongest opponent, Logan County Commissioner Jerry Sonneberg, was not included on the candidates’ ballot test question. Therefore, the poll results are questionable. Regardless, the congresswoman appears headed to a nomination victory in less than two weeks.

The troubling part for Boebert may be in the post-primary general election, a surprise in what has proven to be Colorado’s most Republican seat. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CO-4 as R+26, and former President Trump scored a 58-39 percent victory there over President Joe Biden in 2020.

A late May Gravis Marketing survey (May 22-24; 423 likely CO-4 general election voters), however, found Rep. Boebert trailing badly. In this hypothetical race, Marine Corps officer and two-time Democratic congressional nominee Ike McCorkle posted a 41-27 percent advantage.

While the incumbents have posted a perfect record so far this election cycle, such a trend may soon change.

Incumbents Prevail Again

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Primary Results

No major surprises occurred in primary elections last night. Once more, challenged incumbents all won their renomination efforts. The most competitive were in South Carolina. Turning to Ohio, Republican Michael Rulli, after trailing early, successfully claimed the 6th District special election to replace resigned Rep. Bill Johnson (R).

Austin Theriault (R), retired NASCAR driver and Maine state representative.

Maine — In the state’s lone competitive US House primary, as expected, retired NASCAR driver and state Rep. Austin Theriault (R-Ft. Kent) easily won the Republican primary, defeating fellow state representative and actor Mike Soboleski (R-Phillips) with almost two-thirds of the vote.

Theriault will advance into the general election against Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston). Should former President Donald Trump continue with his large polling lead in this district over President Joe Biden, the turnout model should be favorable for Theriault, thus making this a competitive race to watch in the general election. Ranked Choice Voting, which has previously helped Golden, will again be used in this race should no contender record majority support on the initial count.

Nevada — As expected, Afghan War veteran Sam Brown was an easy winner in the Republican Senate primary and now advances to officially challenge Sen. Jacky Rosen who was naturally a big winner in the Democratic primary. This will be a top-tier general election contest.

In the three potentially competitive Las Vegas House races, 2022 1st District nominee Mark Robertson appears to have won the multi-candidate Republican primary and will again challenge Rep. Dina Titus (D). Robertson did not run a particularly good campaign two years ago, losing by six percentage points. He will have to substantially improve if he is to become a serious contender in 2024.

In the 3rd District, the Republican primary is close, but it appears that marketing consultant Drew Johnson will prevail for the nomination. He will then advance to challenge Rep. Susie Lee (D) in what should be the most competitive of the three seats.

In District 4, former North Las Vegas Mayor and ex-Democrat John Lee, has won the Republican primary and will challenge veteran Rep. Steven Horsford (D) in November.

The three Las Vegas seats should be competitive, but the Democratic incumbents in each of the districts are early favorites to win re-election.

North Dakota — Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, with backing from former President Trump and Gov. Doug Burgum, won the at-large Republican primary last evening defeating former state Rep. Rich Becker and 2018 Miss American Cara Mund. The Fedorchak nomination victory is tantamount to winning the at-large seat in the general election.

The House seat is open because three-term US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) easily won the Republican gubernatorial nomination, as he defeated Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller with more than 70 percent of the GOP vote. Armstrong will now be the prohibitive favorite to replace retiring Gov. Burgum in the general election.

South Carolina — The most interesting House races were in South Carolina where two incumbents faced credible competition. As has been the case in all contested campaigns this year, the incumbents again prevailed.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) posted 57 percent in her battle against former Haley Administration cabinet secretary Catherine Templeton and non-profit corporation executive Bill Young. Polling had placed Rep. Mace well ahead of her opponents, but the question lingered as to whether she would exceed the majority vote threshold. Doing so easily, and with the Supreme Court not changing the 1st District in its ruling last month, Rep. Mace is now officially on her way to winning a third term in November.

In the Greenville-Spartanburg seat, Rep. William Timmons (R) also won re-election, turning back state Rep. Adam Morgan (R-Greenville) with another close 52-48 percent victory margin, the same margin of his 2022 primary win.

The open 3rd District from which Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-Laurens) is retiring will head to a runoff election in two weeks. Pastor and National Guard veteran Mark Burns placed first and will face National Guard Lt. Col. Sheri Biggs, who has Gov. Henry McMaster’s endorsement. The pair finished within two points of each other and now advance to the June 25 election. The winner of the secondary election will take the seat in November.

OH-6 — The evening’s special general election was decided in the Republicans’ favor, but in a closer than expected finish against a Democratic candidate who had little in the way of resources. Ohio state Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) defeated Democrat Michael Kripchak with a 55-45 percent margin.

The Rulli victory will bring the Republican Conference to 219 members with another special election, that in the CO-4 district, to be decided on June 25.

Once again, we see a Republican candidate slightly under-performing in a special election from a district that should have returned a victory in the much higher 50s. Rep-Elect Rulli and Kripchak will now advance to the regular general election. Rulli will again be favored and should win with a larger margin in November from a district that ex-President Trump will carry heavily.