Category Archives: Election Analysis

Primary Results Are In

By Jim Ellis
May 11, 2022

Primary Results

University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen

Nebraska: Gov. Ricketts’ Candidate Defeats Trump’s Contender — The media is leading with the point that former President Donald Trump’s Nebraska gubernatorial candidate, rancher and company CEO Chuck Herbster, lost his primary battle last night to rancher and University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen. The fact that eight women, including a state senator, accused Herbster of sexual harassment long after the Trump endorsement was announced likely was the more critical factor in how the race ended.

For his part, Pillen had the support of term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts, former US congressman and ex-University of Nebraska championship head football coach Tom Osborne, former Gov. Kay Orr, the Nebraska Farm Bureau, and Americans for Prosperity, thus demonstrating a wide range of conservative and institutional backers.

Pillen defeated Herbster and Omaha state Sen. Brett Lindstrom in a close 33-30-26 percent result to claim the Republican nomination. He will be a heavy favorite in November against the new Democratic nominee, Bellevue state Sen. Carol Blood. Republican turnout was up approximately 53 percent when compared with the 2018 midterm election. Democrats also increased their participation rate but only in the six percent range.

West Virginia: Mooney Defeats McKinley — In the first of potentially six incumbent-paired contests of the 2022 post-redistricting election cycle, US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) scored a double-digit win over fellow Congressman David McKinley (R-Wheeling) last night. West Virginia lost one of its three seats in reapportionment, hence the reason for the two Republicans facing each other.

All of Rep. McKinley’s current district was contained in the new 2nd, but only half of Mooney’s territory. Former President Donald Trump backed Rep. Mooney after McKinley backed the Biden infrastructure package, which appeared to even the advantages. With polling correctly projecting a Mooney win, the four-term West Virginia congressman who previously served in the Maryland state Senate recorded a convincing 54-36 percent victory.

Senate

Alabama: Confirming Poll — Another released survey confirms that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is moving back into contention and very much alive to capture one of the two runoff slots that the May 24 primary will yield. A Cygnal group poll for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 6-7; 600 likely Alabama Republican primary voters) agrees that former Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Britt leads the race while Rep. Brooks and former “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant are in a tight battle for the second runoff position. In this study, Britt holds a 32-23-21 percent lead over Rep. Brooks and Durant.

Pennsylvania: Three-Way Race Emerging — Two new surveys find the Pennsylvania Senate Republican primary turning into a three-way race within the last week prior to the May 17 primary election. Pennsylvania has no runoff system, so whoever has the most votes next Tuesday, regardless of percentage attained, will become the party nominee.

The Trafalgar Group (May 6-8; 1,080 likely Pennsylvania Republican primary voters; culled from a large sample through live interview, interactive voice response system, email and text) finds television Dr. Mehmet Oz leading the candidate field with newcomer Kathy Barnette, an Army veteran and 2020 congressional nominee, placing second ahead of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. The respondents split 24.5 – 23.2 – 21.6 percent. Insider Advantage, polling for Fox29 (released May 10; 750 likely Pennsylvania GOP primary voters) produced similar numbers: Oz 22.5 percent; Barnette 20.9 percent; and McCormick 18.5 percent.

These polls suggest that any of the top three contenders can still win the nomination. The Republican standard bearer will likely face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), who has a large polling lead over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) in all published surveys.

House

NE-1: As Predicted — Both party-endorsed candidates easily won their respective congressional nominations in the vacant 1st District. Norfolk state Sen. Mike Flood captured the Republican nomination with 73 percent, and Lincoln state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks became her party’s nominee with an 87 percent score. The two will square off in a June 28 special election to fill the unexpired portion of the current term. Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) resigned his seat at the end of March after being convicted for campaign finance violations in a California court. Regardless of how the special ends, both Sens. Flood and Pansing Brooks will face each other in the regular general election.

NE-2 & 3: Incumbents Easily Re-Nominated — US Reps. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) and Adrian Smith (R-Gering) were easily re-nominated last night in their respective primary elections. Both posted more than 75 percent of the vote. Bacon, in a competitive 2nd District will now face Omaha state Sen. Tony Vargas, while Rep. Smith drew farmer David Else as his general election opponent in the expansive 3rd CD. The NE-3 seat stretches the width of Nebraska from the Wyoming border on the west all the way to the Iowa state line in the east.

Trump Endorses Again; Rep. Greene Cleared of Insurrection Charges

By Jim Ellis
May 10, 2022

House

Former Georgia Ethics Commission chairman Jake Evans

GA-6: Trump Endorses Jake Evans — Former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement of former Georgia Ethics Commission chairman Jake Evans for the open 6th Congressional District primary scheduled for May 24. Trump joins former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) in supporting Evans among others. The early leader appeared to be Dr. Rich McCormick (R) who challenged current Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee) in the neighboring 7th District, but lost a close 51-49 percent battle in 2020. The new 6th was made highly Republican, R+24 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, hence the reason current 6th District incumbent Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) decided to challenge Rep. Bourdeaux in the 2022 Democratic primary.

A total of nine Republican candidates are vying for the party nomination, but it will likely come down to a battle between McCormick and Evans. The chances of these two advancing to a July 26 runoff election are high. Georgia employs a 50 percent threshold to claim a nomination outright. If no one reaches that percentage plateau, the top two finishers then face each other in a succeeding runoff election.

GA-14: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Wins Judicial Ruling — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome) was cleared of insurrection charges, and subsequently awarded a ballot position as she seeks a second term in the House. Left of center forces were challenging Greene’s status because of what they said was her role in the Jan. 6 US Capitol protest.

Greene faces five Republican primary opponents on May 24. The likely Democratic nominee is Army veteran Marcus Flowers who had raised over $7 million for the contest, but showed only $1.9 million remaining in his account on March 31. Flowers will need all of these funds and then some, since the new GA-14 is rated R+45.

NY-19: State Senator Won’t Run for Congress — Rep. Antonio Delgado’s (D-Rhinebeck) appointment as New York’s lieutenant governor leaves the upstate 19th Congressional District as an open seat. State Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D-Kingston), daughter of the late US Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D) who served 10 terms in the House, had been considering a congressional bid but announced on Friday that she would instead seek re-election to the legislature. This perhaps robs the Democrats of their best potential candidate in a district that could be re-drawn as more favorable to the Republicans when the new maps are completed by the assigned May 20 deadline.

NC-4: State Senator Leads Dem Open Seat Field — Veteran Tar Heel State US Rep. David Price (D-Chapel Hill) is retiring after serving what will be 34 non-consecutive years in the House. The battle to replace him comes in the Democratic primary in what is rated as a new D+30 district that contains the cities of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Burlington. An Impact Research survey (April 25-28; 425 NC-4 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) projects state Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Chapel Hill) as the race leader with 35 percent support. Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam is second with 16 percent preference, and country singer and former congressional candidate Clay Aiken is third with 10 percent.

Under North Carolina election procedure, a candidate must receive at least 30 percent of the vote to win a partisan nomination outright. It appears that Sen. Foushee is in position to win the May 17 Democratic primary, which is tantamount to clinching the general election in this district.

WV-2: Independent Poll Casts Mooney as Leader — There has been a large number of public polls released in this intra-party incumbent pairing contest, the first of five such battles to be conducted around the country this year. Almost all of the polls, however, have been internally commissioned and show the poll sponsor leading.

The new Research America poll was conducted for the West Virginia MetroNews and not one of the candidates (April 27-5/4; 350 likely WV-2 GOP primary voters; live interview & text), but the results largely confirm the Public Opinion Strategies survey that Rep. Alex Mooney’s (R-Charles Town) campaign released last week. The RA poll finds Mooney leading fellow US Rep. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) by a 48-33 percent count. The POS result posted Rep. Mooney to a similar 50-30 percent lead. The West Virginia primary is today.

Polling Shows Clear Results in Arkansas Senate Race, Continued Indecision in Pennsylvania

By Jim Ellis
May 9, 2022


Senate

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman

Arkansas: Sen. Boozman Close to Victory — A Talk Business & Politics survey that Hendrix College conducted of Arkansas voters tested the US Senate Republican primary and incumbent John Boozman’s positioning with regard to winning re-nomination outright on May 24. The study (May 2; 802 likely Arkansas Republican primary voters; live interview and text) found Sen. Boozman posting 45 percent support, just short of the 50 percent needed for re-nomination.

His opponents, businessman and former Arkansas football star Jake Bequette and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Jan Morgan post 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively. With 18 percent saying they are undecided, Sen. Boozman’s chances of reaching the 50 percent threshold appear relatively strong.

Pennsylvania: Franklin & Marshall College Releases New Primary Data — Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College, featuring a frequent Keystone State polling entity, released their pre-primary data as a prelude to the May 17 statewide primary. No particular surprises came from the Senate race results. The survey (April 20-May 1; 792 registered Pennsylvania voters; 357 Democrats, 325 Republicans, and 110 independents; live interview and online). The poll has flaws in that the sampling period is long and the numbers of primary voters interviewed is small for a state the size of Pennsylvania. The results, however, are consistent with other polling.

For the Democrats, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman continues to enjoy a strong lead, 53-14-4 percent, over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) according to this survey. The Republican side continues close with no candidate breaking away from the pack. The F&M results see Dr. Mehmet Oz barely leading the group with 18 percent, just two points ahead of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. Trump campaign activist and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette follows with 12 percent, while former US Ambassador Carla Sands, and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos are well back with just five and two percent support, respectively.

Governor

Hawaii: Ex-Mayor Withdraws — Former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell (D) announced that he is folding his gubernatorial campaign and will not submit documents at the June 7 candidate filing deadline. The Hawaii primary is Aug. 13. Caldwell sites lack of fundraising and organizational support for his decision to leave the race. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), and former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano are the leading Democratic candidates. Republicans have 13 announced candidates, but the Democratic nomination will be tantamount to election in November. Gov. David Ige (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Establishes Lead — The aforementioned Franklin & Marshall College survey also tested the GOP gubernatorial primary. The results find state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), a retired Army colonel, now leading the large group of Republican contenders with 20 percent, as ex-US Attorney Bill McSwain, and former US Rep. Lou Barletta follow with 13 and 12 percent. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Rep. Budd Cements Lead in NC;
Sen. Manchin Goes Republican?

By Jim Ellis
May 5, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Rep. Budd Cements Lead — The Club for Growth, running a support independent expenditure for Rep. Ted Budd’s (R-Advance) US Senate campaign, released the results of their most recent WPA Intelligence poll (April 24-26; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters; live interview). While Rep. Budd led in the last six consecutive polls, the WPAi numbers now post him to a 20 percentage point lead over former Gov. Pat McCrory, 43-23 percent. Ex-US Rep. Mark Walker trails with nine percent support, while author Marjorie Eastman records four percent preference.

Considering North Carolina only has a 30 percent threshold to win a nomination outright, it appears the congressman is in strong position to clinch on May 17. The GOP winner will face consensus Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice. Sen. Richard Burr (R) is retiring after three terms.

House

FL-15: Candidates Enter Race — With the Florida congressional map now adopted, candidates are beginning to come forward. In the new open 15th District that contains half of the city of Lakeland and part of Hillsborough County, former US Rep. Dennis Ross is drawing Republican primary opposition. In the race are state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), retired Navy officer Kevin McGovern, and Afghan war Navy veteran Demetrius Grimes.

The seat leans Republican, but expect Democratic competition in the general election. At the early going, considering he represented more than 70 percent of this district for eight years in the House before retiring, Ross is the clear favorite for the party nomination and to capture the seat.

WV-2: Manchin Involved in Republican Campaign — The paired Republican congressional campaign between Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) and Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has drawn an unusual advocate. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has endorsed Rep. McKinley, and is now starring for him in a new testimonial ad. Sen. Manchin dispels the notion that Rep. McKinley supported the Build Back Better legislation and directly criticizes Rep. Mooney.

With the primary fast approaching on May 10, we can expect Rep. Mooney to quickly counter the message. Sen. Manchin’s approval numbers are strong in West Virginia, but bringing a Democratic figure in to help decide a Republican primary battle could well backfire. Expect Mooney to attempt to turn the tables regarding this endorsement.

Helping explain Rep. McKinley’s move to highlight the Democratic senator, the latest public poll (Public Opinion Strategies for the Mooney campaign; April 26-28; 400 likely WV-2 Republican primary voters) gives Rep. Mooney a 20-point, 50-30 percent advantage as the two candidates begin the final week of campaigning. The two were forced into one district because West Virginia lost one of its three seats in national reapportionment.

Ohio Republican Turnout Dominates

By JIM ELLIS
May 5, 2022


Primaries

Turnout: Republicans Dominate in Ohio — Primary turnout can often be a harbinger of what happens in a general election. In the Buckeye State, Republicans claimed the turnout war in impressive fashion even when considering the Democratic contests were not particularly competitive. Compared to the 2018 midterm election, Republican turnout was up 28 percent, with over 1 million voting. Conversely, Democrat participation was down 26 percent from the last midterm with an aggregate turnout total of just over 510,000 voters, literally half of the GOP figure.

These results are close to the stats from Texas’ early March primary. Republican turnout there was up 26.6 percent, while Democratic participation grew only 3.6 percent. There were no contested statewide contests to measure the Indiana turnout. So far, the political enthusiasm gap is pointing toward the Republicans.

OH-11: Loss Could Mean a Presidential Run — Former Ohio state senator and 2020 Bernie Sanders for President national co-chair Nina Turner, who lost a 66-34 percent landslide Democratic primary election to Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) on Tuesday, is reportedly considering entering the 2024 presidential campaign. To say the least, Turner would enter the presidential nomination battle as a major underdog.

Senate

North Carolina: Two More See Budd Leading — A pair of new polls, one of which was conducted for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, echo the findings of all other surveys released since March 22. That is, Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) is topping former Gov. Pat McCrory, US Rep. Mark Walker, and author Marjorie Eastman.

In the NC Chamber poll, conducted through Atlantic Polling Strategies (April 25-28; released May 4; 534 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; live interview and online), Rep. Budd is holding a 45-21-9-3 percent advantage. Meredith College (April 25-27; 1,225 adults; 588 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; online) posts the Budd margin at 33-26-7-3 percent in the same order as above. The North Carolina primary is May 17. Rep. Budd has now led in eight consecutive published polls.

Governor

Florida: Rep. Crist Increases Primary Lead — A new St. Pete Polls survey (May 2-3; 1,859 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; online) projects that US congressman and former Gov. Charlie Crist holds a dominating lead in the Democratic primary. The ballot test result finds Crist capturing 52 percent of the Democratic preference vote, way ahead of state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s 19 percent and state Sen. Annette Taddeo’s (D-Miami) five percent support. Interestingly, Taddeo was Crist’s lieutenant governor running mate when the pair lost to then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2014. The winner of the Aug. 23 Democratic primary will then challenge incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the general election.

New York: Gov. Hochul’s Comfortable Lead — A new Emerson College poll (May 1-3; 1,000 likely New York voters, 444 likely New York Democratic primary voters; combination interactive voice response system, text, and online) sees Gov. Kathy Hochul leading her Democratic primary opponents, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, by a 45-12-7 percent count.

More interesting, however, is the general election survey that includes former Gov. Andrew Cuomo running as an Independent. In this scenario, 33 percent would support a generic Democratic candidate, 33 percent a generic Republican candidate, while 16 percent would vote for Cuomo. There is no indication at this point, however, that the resigned governor will enter the race.