Category Archives: Cities

A Trend of Candidates Declining to Run … And a Challenger in NY-22

By Jim Ellis — Feb. 2, 2023

Senate

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R)

Indiana: Ex-Gov. Mitch Daniels Won’t Run — Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who was considering entering the 2024 open US Senate race from his state, said he would not become a candidate. The announcement is good news for Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who had previously declared his own Senate candidacy. Immediately after the Daniels announcement, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) heaped praise upon Rep. Banks, whom he described as one of the party’s “top recruits.”

Daniels served two full terms as governor, from 2005-2013. His last time on the ballot, however, was for re-election in 2008. Daniels indicated that he was not right for the Senate, since developing seniority is still important in being able to achieve major goals. Since Daniels would be 75 years old upon election, his ability to accumulate many years of Senate seniority would be obviously limited.

Incumbent Sen. Mike Braun (R) is not seeking re-election in order to run for governor. Republicans are prohibitive favorites to hold the seat in the general election.

House

NY-22: Freshman Brandon Williams (R) Draws Challenger — Manlius Town Councilmember Katelyn Kriesel (D) declared her congressional candidacy at the beginning of the week. She will challenge freshman upstate New York Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) in what promises to be another close election.

In November, Rep. Williams succeed retiring US Rep. John Katko (R) with a 51-49 percent victory over former US Intelligence analyst Francis Conole (D) in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+2. We can expect further Democrats to come forward for this race, possibly including Conole, for a re-match. NY-22 will likely be a national top Democratic target in 2024.

Governor

Mississippi: 2019 Reeves’ Opponent Won’t Run Again — With candidate filing closing in Mississippi for the 2023 elections, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. (R) announced that he will not challenge Gov. Tate Reeves in this year’s Republican primary. In 2019, the two faced each other with Reeves prevailing, 54-46 percent.

At the end of last week, Secretary of State Mike Watson, another potential Reeves’ primary opponent, also said that he would not run. This leaves physician John Witcher as the governor’s lone GOP primary challenger. Obviously, these developments enhance Gov. Reeves’ political standing. It is likely he will face Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) in the general election.

Cities

Nashville: Mayor Won’t Seek Second Term — Nashville Mayor John Cooper (D), brother of retiring Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper (D), announced that he will not seek a second term, saying he has completed his objectives upon which he ran in 2019. He went on to say that being in municipal office during the Covid year of 2020 was “like serving an entire term” in and of itself. Local politicos are expecting now to see a highly competitive open-seat mayoral campaign in the Music City.

Zeldin’s Contemplation; Dems Positioning for Next Race in NY; Five Competitive Candidates in Chicago Mayoral Race; McDaniel Re-Elected as RNC Chair

By Jim Ellis — Jan. 31, 2023

Senate

Former NY Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley)

New York: Ex-Rep. Zeldin’s Contemplation — Former Long Island US Congressman Lee Zeldin (R), who held Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to a highly competitive 53-47 percent statewide re-election victory in November, has seen his name being bandied about for many potential positions. Some Republican leaders want him to challenge New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) next year, which would likely be a political suicide run in a presidential year from one of the Democrats’ strongest states, while others are talking up the possibility of him running for Suffolk County Executive.

This latter election will occur later this year and is an open race since Democratic incumbent Steve Bellone is ineligible to run for a third term. Considering Zeldin carried his home county by a 59-41 percent margin in the governor’s race and represented Suffolk in Congress for eight years, he would clearly be the Republicans’ strongest candidate for such a position. At this point, Zeldin has been quiet about what future political plans, if any, he may be contemplating.

House

NY-3: Dems Positioning for Next Race — While the fate of beleaguered freshman US Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) continues as a daily media story, Democrats are beginning to position themselves for what could be a special election if Santos is eventually forced to resign or run in next cycle’s regular election. Some local Democratic leaders are reportedly attempting to convince former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), to make a political comeback for his former position.

Suozzi left the House last year to make a head-scratching run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, a race he had scarcely little potential to win. So far, the former congressman has been non-committal about a future District 3 race. On the other hand, the man who Rep. Santos defeated in November, George Zimmerman (D), is preparing for another run. Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan (D), who lost the congressional nomination to Zimmerman in 2022, has already announced that he will run for the seat in the next election.

Cities

Chicago: Poll Shows Five Competitive Candidates — There has been a lot of attention paid to the Chicago mayoral race because the incumbent is in trouble and the election is fast approaching, now less than a month away on Feb. 28.

A new Victory Research survey (Jan. 23-25; 806 likely Chicago voters; live interview) finds former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and current Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a virtual tie at 19 percent support apiece. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) is a close third with 17 percent, while Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, and businessman Willie Wilson follow with 15 and 12 percent, respectively. This shows that two of these candidates will head to a runoff election on April 4, but it remains unclear as to which pair will advance.

Political Parties

Republican National Committee: Ronna McDaniel Re-Elected — On Friday, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel was easily re-elected to her position, capturing 66 percent support among the 168 voting members. Former President Donald Trump originally appointed McDaniel and continued to support her through this election. California National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, who criticized McDaniel for the party losing touch with the grassroots and drew support from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, finished a distant second with 53 votes. My Pillow company founder Mike Lindell received four votes. McDaniel will now serve through the 2024 presidential election.

Republicans Court Sen. Sinema; Another CA-47 Candidate Joins Race; Lightfoot Rebounds in New Poll

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Senate

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ)

Arizona: Republicans Court Sen. Sinema — Reports suggest that Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is leading the group of GOP senators who are attempting to convince newly Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to join the GOP caucus. If successful, the Republicans would then draw even with the Democrats in that both parties would have 50 senators. The main benefit for the GOP would be neutralizing the Democratic advantage on all committees since the Sinema move would force committee membership parity, just as was the case in the last Congress.

It is unlikely that Sen. Sinema will coalesce with the Republicans, however. From a re-election standpoint, her best position would be running as an Independent in a three-way general election. An inability to clinch renomination in the Democratic Party primary was one reason she bolted, but winning a GOP nomination would likely be just as difficult. Therefore, cobbling together an Independent coalition that can reach a plurality figure of 35 percent with a Democratic and Republican nominee almost splitting evenly the remaining votes is her best victory scenario. Count on the Arizona Senate race again becoming a major national campaign in 2024.

House

Dom Jones (D)

CA-47: Sixth Candidate Joins Early Forming Field — Over the weekend, we saw an announcement from locally well-known community activist and fitness business owner Dom Jones (D) that she would be the fifth entry into what will be an open Orange County 2024 congressional race after California Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-Irvine) very early Senate announcement initiated a plethora of early political action.

Yet another person stepped forward to declare her candidacy in what is quickly becoming a crowded race. Hollywood television writer and producer Lori Kirkland Baker (D) joined the 47th District political fray and will compete against former US Rep. Harley Rouda (D), state Sen. David Min (D-Irvine), ex-state assemblyman and 2022 congressional candidate Scott Baugh (R), IT consultant Brian Burley, and Jones. All will share the ballot in a March 2024 jungle primary that will yield two of the contenders advancing into the general election.

Baker is a significant figure in television, working on such shows as Frasier, Wings, and Desperate Housewives, among others. We can expect a very competitive open primary and general election campaign to shortly ensue.

Cities

Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot Rebounds in New Poll — For the first time in this election cycle, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who had been trailing in every released poll since early December, has moved into the lead according to a just released GBAO survey, as the nine candidates move toward a Feb. 28 non-partisan primary election. If no contender receives majority support in that election, the top two finishers will advance to an April 4 runoff.

The GBAO poll conducted for the Lightfoot campaign (Jan. 18-22; 800 likely Chicago municipal election voters; live interview & text) projects the mayor to a 25-22-18-11-9 percent leading edge over former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), businessman Willie Wilson, and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, respectively. No other individual breaks the two percent support mark.

This is the first poll that fails to project Rep. Garcia as the leader, but he is just now beginning his advertising campaign. It appears a virtual certainty that no candidate will reach majority support in the first election, thus triggering the runoff. Should Rep. Garcia ultimately win the election, a special vote would then be scheduled to replace him in the US House.

Gallego, Kaine Announce for Senate; Cameron Leads in Kentucky; Lightfoot’s Downward Trend Continues

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023

Senate

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D) Announces for Senate.

Arizona: Rep. Ruben Gallego (D) Announces for Senate — Taking quick advantage of Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) not pursuing a US Senate run next year, fellow Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), a long-presumed 2024 Senate candidate, officially declared his candidacy yesterday. At this point, he must be considered the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination and his moving so quickly after Rep. Stanton’s announcement is intended to lock down the nomination way in advance of the candidate filing deadline.

The general election will be tough in that Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is likely to be in the field and certainly whittles away some Democratic support. While her prospects of winning a Democratic primary against Rep. Gallego or anyone else appear poor, her victory path is more reasonable in a three-way general election. As has been the case in the past three elections, the Arizona Senate race will again become a key national campaign.

Five-term Rep. Gallego says he is not opposing incumbent Sen. Sinema because “she abandoned the Democratic Party — it’s that she abandoned Arizona.” Rep. Gallego, who was long expected to be a Democratic Senate candidate long before Sen. Sinema switched her partisan allegiance in December, at this point sees no major intra-party opposition. US Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix), who would have been a top contender, but on Friday said he would not enter the statewide contest.

The Arizona nomination system is long, and we are still more than a year away from the April 2024 candidate filing deadline, so much will happen in this Senate contest before the political dust settles. Should Sen. Sinema seek re-election, a legitimate three-way race among she, presumably Rep. Gallego on the Democratic line, and a Republican nominee would yield a race in which any of those three contenders, under the right circumstances, could win the general election.

Virginia: Sen. Tim Kaine (D) Announces for Re-Election — Though some speculation was beginning to percolate that Democratic senator and 2016 vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine would retire, on Friday he announced that he will seek a third term. At this point, he becomes a prohibitive favorite to win the 2024 general election in a state that is moving into the reliably Democratic category even after the Republican success in the 2021 odd-year elections.

The budding Republican candidate field is not impressive so far, but retired Navy Capt. Hung Cao, who scored 47 pecent against Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) in a 10th District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+8 and Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 55.2D-42.99R, is apparently considering a Senate challenge. Cao would provide Republicans with a credible and interesting candidate, but with the state continuing to move toward the Democrats, which is accentuated in a presidential year, Sen. Kaine is in a strong political position as he begins his quest for a third term.

Governor

Kentucky: AG Cameron Opens with Lead — A Meeting Street Kentucky statewide poll (Jan. 9-11; 500 likely Kentucky Republican primary voters; live interview & text) gives Attorney General Daniel Cameron a strong opening advantage for the party nomination in the May primary election. In a field of a dozen candidates vying for the opportunity of challenging Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in November, AG Cameron is staked to an early 39-8-8 percent lead over state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft.

Cameron is clearly the most well known and positively viewed of the GOP candidates. His favorable recognition and positive image among the Republican voter sample was 62 percent as compared to Quarles’ 28 percent and Craft’s 22 percent. In 2019, Cameron was elected attorney general with a 58-42 percent victory margin.

Cities

Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot’s Downward Re-Election Trends Continue — Two new polls continue to show Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) in an underdog position for re-election in likely the nation’s most important 2023 mayoral election.

The surveys, from M3 Strategies (Dec. 11-13; 440 likely Chicago voters; SMS text to web) and a more recent study from Lester & Associates for the Sophie King campaign (Jan. 9-14; 600 likely Chicago voters; live interview), find Mayor Lightfoot trailing in the Feb. 28 non-partisan primary election. There is also a fair chance that she will fail to even qualify for the April 4 runoff, a secondary election that appears inevitable since no one is close to obtaining majority support.

Both polls find US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) claiming first place. The M3 poll showed Lightfoot dropping to third position behind former Chicago budget director Paul Vallas, while Lester & Associates sees the incumbent mayor holding the second slot. The M3 poll found Lightfoot saddled with a terrible 25:74 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. This latter statistic might be most indicative in suggesting that she will fail to win re-election.

Rep. Porter Announces for Senate in California, Candidates Immediately Announce for Her Seat; Virginia State Races

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023

Senate

California: Rep. Porter (D) Announces for Senate — California Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) yesterday announced (see above video) that she will enter the 2024 US Senate campaign, apparently irrespective of what veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) decides about her own political future.

Accompanying the Porter video announcement was a poll that the David Binder Research company conducted for the congresswoman’s campaign committee soon after the November election. The study tested a hypothetical general election battle between Reps. Porter and Adam Schiff. Also included in the poll were Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna (D-Fremont), the latter of whom has also discussed running for the Senate. No Republican alternative was listed.

The Binder survey (Nov. 19-21, 2022; 600 registered California voters; live interview & online) projected that Reps. Porter and Schiff would advance into the general election from the state’s top two jungle primary system. Between Porter and Schiff, the electorate would break 37-26 percent in Porter’s favor with Republicans backing the Orange County congresswoman at a 25-5 percent clip. This is largely due to Schiff’s strong negative ratings among Republicans, likely over his prominent role in the Trump impeachment process.

House

CA-47: Candidates Declare for New Open Seat — We also saw quick action in what will be an open 47th Congressional District now that Porter is an announced Senate candidate. Former California state Rep. Scott Baugh immediately declared that he would run again, as did former Congressman Harley Rouda (D). The latter man was elected to the House in 2018 from the former 48th District, approximately 59 percent of which now lies in Porter’s new 47th. In 2020, Rouda lost his re-election to current 45th District US Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County).

The CA-47 seat now becomes the second district to already open for the 2024 election cycle. Earlier, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) announced that he will challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) next year, thus opening in northern West Virginia 2nd Congressional District for the next election.

States

Virginia Senate: Democrats Capture Vacant Seat — Though Republican state Sen. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) defeated US Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) in the November election, Tidewater Democrats rebounded last night with a tight win to convert her vacated Senate seat. Democrat Aaron Rouse captured a close 50.4 – 49.5 percent win over Republican Kevin Adams to expand the Dems’ Senate advantage to 22-18.

In 2020, President Biden carried this state Senate district with a 54-44 percent margin, but GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin won the seat 52-48 percent in the 2021 gubernatorial election. Therefore, the 7th Senatorial District is clearly politically marginal in nature.

Virginia House: Each Party Wins One Special Delegate Election — In two House of Delegates special elections, each party held a risked vacancy in landslide proportions. In the 24th District where Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R-Rockbridge) passed away in December, the deceased incumbent’s wife, Ellen Campbell, easily succeeded her late husband with a 66-34 percent victory.

In Fairfax County’s 35th House of Delegates district, Democrat Holly Seibold recorded a 67-33 percent win to keep the seat in the Democratic column. She will replace Del. Mark Keam (D) who resigned to accept a position in the Biden Administration. The pair of victories now yield 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats in the state House.

Nebraska Appointment Coming Soon; A Look at Indiana Campaign Chests; Kennedy Declines to Run;
Chicago Mayoral Race Heats Up

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 6, 2023

Senate

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R)

Nebraska: Appointment Coming Soon — Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has already delivered his farewell speech to the Senate, and scheduled Sunday, Jan. 8 as his official resignation day. He is leaving the Senate to become president of the University of Florida. With Gov. Jim Pillen (R) being sworn into office yesterday, he will soon announce his appointed choice to replace Sen. Sasse.

The odds clearly favor outgoing Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as Pillen’s selection, but such a move is reportedly not being completely well received within Nebraska GOP circles. Charges of an inside deal surround the potential pick since Gov. Ricketts was instrumental in helping Pillen win a crowded Republican primary back in May. Whoever is chosen must stand for election in 2024 to fill the remaining two years of the present term. The seat is next in-cycle in 2026.

Governor

Indiana: Equivalent Resources — 2024 Indiana gubernatorial candidates are already releasing their financial figures in anticipation of the state’s impending disclosure deadline. At this point, the three announced Republican candidates, US. Sen. Mike Braun, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, and businessman Eric Doden are all indicating they have in the neighborhood of $3 million in their individual campaign accounts. The combined funds comes from contributions, transfers from previous campaign committees, and self-funding loans or donations. Sen. Braun is the clear favorite to win both the Republican primary and general election, but it is also clear that he will have competitive party nomination opponents.

Louisiana: Without Kennedy, Tight Gov Campaign — Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) announced yesterday that he will not enter the 2023 Louisiana governor’s race, thereby creating a wide-open race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) said he will run if Sen. Kennedy does not, and his now released internal poll from last month testing his standing against potential opponents has great relevancy.

The BDPC local Louisiana consulting firm poll conducted in mid-December (Dec. 7-13; 603 likely Louisiana jungle primary voters; live interview) sees Lt. Gov. Nungesser and Democratic Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson tied at 23 percent apiece. Closely following is Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) with 22 percent, which means a virtual three-way tie.

The Louisiana jungle primary is scheduled for later this year, on Oct. 14. If no one receives majority support, which is likely, the top two finishers will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election.

Cities

Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot Unloads on Rep. Garcia — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), in a fight for her political life as the nine candidates move toward the Feb. 28 Windy City municipal election, has released a major negative attack against who polling shows to be her chief opponent, US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago).

Her new media ad attacks Rep. Garcia as being corrupt for his association with, and receiving financial favors from, indicted crypto currency fund owner Sam Bankman-Fried, along with his relationship with indicted former Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (D), and for what she claims is his delivering the deciding vote for a red light camera company contract just hours after receiving a contribution from the manufacturing company. The gloves have already come off in this major mayoral battle, and it is certainly a campaign to watch.

Lightfoot Drops to Third in New Poll; Dolan Prepares for Ohio Senate Bid; Mississippi, NC Governor Races

By Jim Ellis, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022

Cities

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D)

Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot Drops to Third in New Poll — An M3 Strategies poll for News Channel Fox32 in Chicago (Dec. 11-13; 440 Chicago likely municipal election voters; SMS web to text) finds Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) dropping to third place in anticipation of the Feb. 28 non-partisan jungle primary election. In this system, only the top two finishers would advance to an April 4 runoff election from the field of nine contenders if no individual receives a majority from the initial vote.

The M3 ballot test result sees US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) leading the field at 28 percent support with former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in second place with 19 percent preference. Mayor Lightfoot is in third position posting only 14 percent backing for a second term. The mayor points out that she was at one percent in polling this time four years ago.

Senate

Ohio: Former Senate Candidate Preparing Another Run — State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) who placed third in the 2022 Republican US Senate primary, finishing nine percentage points from the lead, is reportedly building another campaign operation to this time challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the next election. Dolan, a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball club and chairman of the state Senate’s Finance Committee, spent more than $11 million on his 2022 campaign, almost $8 million of which came from his personal finances. He began the race as a minor candidate but finished strong, making himself a viable contender as the primary campaign drew to a close.

Dolan is likely to be a stronger GOP nomination contender in 2024 in what is likely to be a crowded primary, but would have a tough run in the general election against Sen. Brown, who will be running for his fourth term after originally being elected to the statewide post in 2006. Prior to his tenure in the Senate, Sen. Brown served seven terms in the US House and eight years as Ohio’s Secretary of State.

Governor

Mississippi: Potential GOP Primary Challenge Brewing — The Politics1.com site is reporting that GOP Secretary of State Michael Watson is polling the state to test his chances against Gov. Tate Reeves (R) in the upcoming 2023 Republican gubernatorial primary. In 2019, Reeves, then the state’s lieutenant governor, defeated former state Supreme Court Associate Justice Bill Waller Jr., 49-33 ;ercent. Waller was a 22-year veteran of the high court, half of which he spent as Chief Justice.

Reeves would go on to win the general election against four-term Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood by a tighter 52-47 percent count. In a state where the GOP is the dominant party, the Republican primary is likely to be Gov. Reeves’ toughest re-election test next year.

North Carolina: Lt. Gov. Robinson Way Up in Early GOP Polling — The Differentiators Data firm conducted an early 2024 North Carolina Republican gubernatorial poll (Dec. 8-11; 500 North Carolina Republican primary voters; live interview & text) and found Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson in very strong position as speculation begins regarding who will run for what will be an open Tar Heel State governor’s position in 2024. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is ineligible to seek a third term.

Against former governor and 2022 US Senate candidate Pat McCrory, Lt. Gov. Robinson would lead 60-21 percent. If ex-vongressman and 2022 US Senate candidate Mark Walker (R) were his opponent, Lt. Gov. Robinson would lead by a whopping 58-8 percent. Finally, if state Treasurer Dale Folwell were Robinson’s Republican primary opponent, the lieutenant governor would lead by an even larger 60-6 percent margin.

Differentiators did not test the candidates in a multi-candidate format. None of the individuals paired with Robinson have indicated that they would run for governor. In fact, after this year’s Senate primary, McCrory indicated that he would not again pursue public office. The polling firm also did not test a potential Democratic field.