Category Archives: Election Analysis

Christie Making Moves; Davidson Declines to Run in Ohio; Manchin Behind in New WVa Poll; Utah’s Rep. Stewart to Resign

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, June 1, 2023

President

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)

Chris Christie: Ex-New Jersey Gov Making Moves to Enter Presidential Race — Published reports are indicating that allies of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) are forming a Super PAC to aid his budding presidential efforts. After the PAC is formed, it is believed Christie will enter the race within the next two weeks, thus bringing the Republican field to at least seven candidates with another four likely to step forward.

Polling suggests, however, that regardless of the number of entries, only two, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, consistently break into double digits. It is also clear, just as it was in 2016, that the large field helps Trump since he has the strongest base within the Republican primary voter universe.

Senate

Ohio: Rep. Davidson Won’t Run for Senate — Citing the closeness of the House Republican majority through the next election, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy) announced that he will not join the US Senate race to oppose incumbent Sherrod Brown (D) but will seek re-election to his 8th District House seat. Davidson was first elected in a 2016 special election to replace former House Speaker John Boehner (R).

Though it appeared that Rep. Davidson was preparing to enter the race, he said his decision not to do so was based upon the amount of time that a statewide campaign would take away from his House duties. In the Senate race are state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), a 2022 Senate candidate who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball Club, and businessman Bernie Moreno, who Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance endorsed last week. Expected to join the campaign next month is GOP Secretary of State Frank LaRose. The Ohio Senate race promises to be one of the most competitive in the nation.

West Virginia: New Poll: Manchin Way Behind — East Carolina University released the results of their new West Virginia political poll (May 22-23; 957 registered West Virginia voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; online) and the ballot test results post Gov. Jim Justice to a major 54-32 percent lead over Sen. Joe Manchin (D). If Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) were to win the Republican nomination, he would fall into a toss-up battle with Sen. Manchin, leading 42-41 percent according to this survey.

If these polling results continue, Sen. Manchin may find that running for the office of president on the No Labels Party ticket may be his best political option.

House

UT-2: Rep. Chris Stewart Prepares to Resign — Six-term Utah US Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington), who at one time was thought to be interested in launching a gubernatorial or US Senate campaign, is reportedly preparing to resign from the House possibly by the end of this week. Stewart’s wife’s ongoing health situation is the reason he will be leaving his position.

Gov. Spencer Cox (R) will set the special primary and general election calendar within seven days of Rep. Stewart officially resigning. The 2nd District political parties will first meet in a special district convention to select a candidate. The individual candidate eventually receiving majority support from the voting delegates will advance into the primary.

Other candidates may petition onto the ballot. A general election will then follow. It is probable the special general will be held Nov. 7, 2023, concurrently with municipal elections in the state.

Big Change for DeSantis in GOP Poll; Trump Ahead Big in New Poll;
PA’s Mastriano’s Surprise;
Late Congressman’s Daughter Enters AZ-3 Race; New Candidates in MN-2

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 31, 2023

President

Presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

California: New GOP Primary Data Shows Big Change — The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Government Studies surveyed the California electorate and found a major change from their February poll. This new survey (May 11-17; 7,465 registered California voters; 1,853 registered Republicans; online) projects former President Donald Trump moving into a big lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which is a marked change from February when the reverse was true.

According to the ballot test results, Trump holds a 44-26 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis with no other candidate even reaching five percent. In February, Gov. DeSantis led 39-27 percent. The surprising data point is that both candidates still maintain very high favorability indexes from the California GOP electorate, unusual when one candidate has such a big lead. Trump holds a 74:23 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio while Gov. DeSantis registered 75:15 percent. It is important to remember, however, that California uses a congressional district delegate apportionment system, so the statewide numbers are less important than in other places.

Iowa: Trump Leading Big in New Poll — The latest Emerson College survey of Republican potential Iowa Caucus voters (May 19-22; 442 likely GOP Iowa caucus voters; multiple sampling techniques) gives former President Donald Trump a huge 62-20 percent advantage over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with no other candidate reaching six percent. It is important for DeSantis to do well in the early nomination events if he is to overtake Trump, but starting this far behind makes his task all the more difficult.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Mastriano’s Surprise Announcement — Despite signals to the contrary, state senator and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano (R-Chambersburg/ Gettysburg) announced at the beginning of the weekend that he would not run for the US Senate and will instead seek re-election to his state Senate position. The move opens the door for 2022 Senate candidate and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick to run virtually unencumbered for the nomination, something that will be necessary in order to fully compete against Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D).

Though this allows the Republicans to field a stronger candidate than Mastriano, who was defeated 56-42 percent in the governor’s race, Sen. Casey must still be viewed as the favorite to win re-election next year.

House

AZ-3: Late Congressman’s Daughter Enters Race — Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor (D) announced that she will run for the open Phoenix-anchored 3rd District, the seat her late father, Rep. Ed Pastor (D), represented for seven terms. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) currently represents the seat, but is leaving the House to run in the three-way contest for US Senate.

Along with Pastor, Osborn School Board Member Ylenia Aguilar, Phoenix City Councilwoman Yassiman Ansari, Glendale School Board Member Hector Jaramillo, and former state Senate Minority Leader Raquel Teran comprise the early Democratic primary. The 3rd District is heavily Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+44, so the battle to succeed Rep. Gallego will be fought in the Democratic primary.

MN-2: New Candidates Emerge — In the past two election cycles, Republicans fielded USMC Reserve Officer Tyler Kistner as their 2nd District congressional nominee, but he lost twice to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Prior Lake) by close margins: 48-46 percent in 2020, and 51-46 percent last November. Now, others are coming forward believing a fresh candidate would provide the GOP a better chance of upending Rep. Craig.

Originally, former Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy (R) announced his candidacy and now Attorney Tayler Rahm joins the field. Apparently, Kistner has not ruled out making a third run against Rep. Craig, but he has also made no discernible move to enter the race. Regardless of what happens in the Republican nominating convention and/or primary election, Rep. Craig will be favored for re-election.

Robson Won’t Run in Arizona;
Second Lee Poll Confirms First in CA; First Texas Senate Poll Released; House Races Take Shape

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, May 30,2023

Senate

Former University of Arizona Regent Karrin Taylor Robson (R) announced late last week that she would not enter Arizona’s Senate race.

Arizona: Robson Won’t Run — Former University of Arizona Regent Karrin Taylor Robson (R), who lost a 48-43 percent gubernatorial Republican primary to Kari Lake in 2022, announced late last week that she would not enter what will be a three-way Senate race among the eventual GOP nominee, Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and who appears to be a consensus Democratic candidate, US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix). Lake is a likely GOP Senate candidate.

The Arizona race continues to evolve as possibly the most interesting campaign in the election cycle considering it yields a three-way contest where each of the major candidates, Sen. Sinema, Rep. Gallego, and the undetermined Republican will have a legitimate path to victory.

California: Second Poll Confirms First — A second California Senate poll released in consecutive days, this one from the University of California at Berkeley for the Los Angeles Times (May 17-22; 7,465 registered California voters; 5,236 likely jungle primary voters; online), found similar results to Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Oakland) internal data from the FM3, Evitarus, and HIT Strategies research firms that was released on Wednesday.

As in the Lee survey, Republican Eric Early is the jungle primary leader. The LA Times/UC survey finds him attracting 18 percent support, with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) close behind at 17 percent. Following are Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Lee, who post 14 and nine percent, respectively. The Lee poll found a 27-24-21-11 percent division in the same order but with Early posting a larger margin.

Texas: First 2024 Senate Poll Released — Building upon Rep. Colin Allred’s (D-Dallas) US Senate announcement, the University of Texas at Tyler’s recent poll (May 10-21; 1,413 registered Texas voters; live interview & online) finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leading his probable general election opponent, 42-37 percent. If Texas polling history remains constant, in 2024 we can expect relatively close ballot tests reported throughout this campaign between the two-term incumbent and Rep. Allred, with Sen. Cruz in the end winning with a larger margin than forecast.

House

AZ-6: Contested Dem Primary — The 2022 battle for Arizona’s southeastern politically marginal 6th Congressional District saw Republican Juan Ciscomani defeating then-state Sen. Kirsten Engel (D) by a tight 50.7 – 49.3 percent margin. Engel is returning for a re-match, but she will not have a clean primary.

Already, two Democrats have announced their candidacies, one just this week. Previously, former local school board member Vieri Tenuta declared for the seat. Now, business consultant and non-profit organization executive Jack O’Donnell has also entered the Democratic primary. The nature of the district suggests another close general election battle, but the contested August primary will likely help Rep. Ciscomani better position himself for the November election.

DE-AL: Preliminary Moves Being Made — Though at-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) has yet to say she will run to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Carper (D), already we see four state legislators beginning to position themselves to run for what they believe will be an open US House seat. State Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend (D-Newark), Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman (D-Wilmington), senator and former Obama White House aide Sarah McBride (D-Wilmington), and state Rep. Kerri Evelyn Harris (D-Dover) are all considered potential federal candidates.

DeSantis Officially Declares;
Rep. Lee Releases New Poll;
No Re-Match in NJ-7 for Rep. Kean

By Jim Ellis — Friday, May 26, 2023

President

Gov. Ron DeSantis: Officially Declares — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis formally made his long-awaited presidential announcement in a technically flawed Twitter interview with Elon Musk. Simultaneously, the Never Back Down Super PAC, an organization supporting DeSantis, said they are planning to recruit an operation of 2,600 people to visit targeted homes of voters in the key early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Therefore, with other candidates soon to announce, the slow developing 2024 presidential campaign finally looks to be getting underway in earnest.

Senate

California US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)

California: Rep. Lee Releases New Poll — California US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) released the results of a three-pollster conglomeration that included 1,380 California likely voters mostly via live interview with some text responses over the May 13-21 period. The three involved polling firms were FM3, Evitarus, and HIT Strategies.

For the first time in a statewide open US Senate poll, a Republican candidate, former Attorney General contender Eric Early was added to the questionnaire. With a split among the three Democratic House members of Reps. Lee, Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Early placed first in this comprehensive jungle primary survey with a preference figure of 27 percent. Reps. Porter, Schiff, and Lee followed with 24, 21, and 11 percent, respectively.

The result is interesting in that the ballot test suggests a Republican could well advance into the general election with two of the Dem House members eliminated from the competition. Clearly, this jungle primary will be another of the most interesting races we will see on the March 5th Super Tuesday election calendar.

House

NJ-7: No Re-Match — New Jersey’s 7th District is a politically marginal seat anchored in Union County, but the voters there will not see the third version of a Tom Kean Jr. vs Tom Malinowski campaign. In 2018, Malinowski converted the seat for the Democrats, defeating five-term GOP incumbent Leonard Lance. The Democratic congressman then won a close re-election race against Republican Tom Kean. The 2022 re-match went Kean’s way, though, and Malinowski announced Wednesday that he will not return for a rubber match.

The 7th District became more Republican in redistricting but is still competitive. Rep. Kean will definitely face a strong Democratic opponent in 2024, but it will not be Malinowski. State Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Linden) and Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) are two potential Democratic candidates.

Note: In observance of Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, we will not publish our regular updates. Our next one will be Tuesday, May 30.

Sununu Gaining Ground in NH; Becker Passes in Nevada; A Utah Mayor to Challenge Romney; Poll Shows tight North Carolina Governor’s Race

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, May 25, 2023

President

Gov. Chris Sununu (R)

New Hampshire: Movement for Sununu — The National Research, Inc. polling firm, surveying for the American Greatness organization, tested the New Hampshire Republican electorate and found Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who will likely soon enter the presidential contest, gaining ground. He will obviously need to score well before his home electorate if he is to become a viable national contender.

According to the NR data (May 15-17; 500 likely New Hampshire Republican presidential primary voters), former President Donald Trump continues to lead the group of candidates with 39 percent support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is second with 18%, with Gov. Sununu now close behind at 17 percent. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy surprisingly rose to the top of the second tier with six percent. No other candidate or potential contender even broke the three percent threshold.

Senate

Nevada: Another Takes Pass — April Becker, the Republican congressional nominee who held Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) to a 52-48 percent re-election victory last November and was reported to be considering entering the 2024 US Senate race, has made a decision about her political future. Instead of running for the Senate next year, she will launch a campaign for the Clark County Commission. At this point, it appears that disabled American veteran Sam Brown could become the leading GOP Senate candidate.

Utah: Local GOP Mayor to Challenge Sen. Romney — Riverton Mayor Trent Skaggs (R) announced through a video presentation that he will challenge Sen. Mitt Romney in the impending GOP primary. It is likely that Skaggs will qualify through the convention process, while Sen. Romney will be forced into the signature petition qualification route. Earlier, state House Speaker Brad Wilson had filed a US Senate exploratory committee. Former US representative and Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz is also said to be weighing his potential opportunities in a race against Sen. Romney.

In any event, having to fight a primary opponent is a likelihood for the incumbent Sen. Romney.

Governor

Kentucky: Poll Shows Tight Race — Just after last week’s Kentucky Republican primary nominated Attorney General Daniel Cameron to challenge Gov. Andy Beshear (D), the co/efficient GOP polling firm, for the Cameron campaign, went into the field. The survey (May 18-19; 987 likely 2023 Kentucky general election voters) sees Gov. Beshear holding only a two-point, 45-43 percent, edge over AG Cameron.

The closeness of this ballot test result is surprising considering Gov. Beshear’s job approval rating index is very favorable. Expect this race to be in competitive mode all the way through the November election.

DeSantis Set to Announce Candidacy; Delaware Sen. Tom Carper to Retire; New Challenger in AZ-1; Ex-Rep. Walker Declares for Gov. in NC

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 24, 2023

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Gov. Ron DeSantis: Announces Today — Multiple reports are indicating that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will announce his long-awaited presidential campaign today in a Twitter interview with Elon Musk.

Thus, the slow developing national campaign is now getting underway. In addition to the DeSantis announcement, ex-Vice President Mike Pence, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are all expected to soon formally enter the race, joining former President Donald Trump, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. The first vote will be in the Iowa Caucuses currently scheduled for Feb. 5, 2024.

Senate

Delaware: Sen. Tom Carper (D) will Retire — Delaware Sen. Tom Carper (D) announced that he will conclude his long political career at the end of this Congress. Doing so means he will have served in elective office for 48 consecutive years when his current term ends.

Delaware Sen. Tom Carper (D) to retire.

Sen. Carper was first elected state Treasurer in 1976, then to the US House in 1982, governor in 1992, and the US Senate in 2000. During yesterday’s retirement announcement, he encouraged At-Large US Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington), one of his former congressional staff members, to run for the Senate seat.

Carper becomes the fifth senator to forego re-election in 2024 and the fourth Democrat. He joins Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in the group who are voluntarily ending their Washington careers. All are retiring from politics with the exception of Sen. Braun who is running for governor of Indiana.

It remains to be seen if Rep. Blunt Rochester runs for the Senate – it is presumed she will – but another possibility is outgoing Gov. John Carney (D) who is ineligible to seek a third term in 2024. Carney, himself a former congressman, could launch a primary challenge for the Senate, which could send Rep. Blunt Rochester into the open governor’s contest. The latter move is not likely, however, since the congresswoman could have easily hopped into what was known to be an open race long before Sen. Carper’s announcement.

House

AZ-1: Another Democrat to Challenge GOP Rep. David Schweikert — Arizona Rep. David Schweikert’s (R-Fountain Hills) close one-point re-election victory over Democratic newcomer Jevin Hodge last November has led to several different Democrats vying for the right to challenge the veteran GOP congressman in the next election. The Democratic field is enlarged because Hodge has decided not to return for a re-match. The new 1st District, that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+7, is six points less Republican than Rep. Schweikert’s previous 6th CD.

Joining the group with the announcement is former television news anchor Marlene Galan-Woods, the wife of the late Attorney General Grant Woods who was originally elected as a Republican but switched to the Democratic Party.

Previously announced are state representative and physician Amish Shah (D-Phoenix), former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Andrei Cherni, ex-Arizona Red Cross CEO Kurt Kroemer, orthodontist Andrew Horne, and educator and frequent candidate W. John Williamson. Expect this race to again evolve into a national competitive congressional campaign after the Democratic nomination is decided in the Aug. 6, 2024, primary election.

NY-3: Top Republican Says “Not Interested” — As the saga of Congressman George Santos (R-Long Island) continues, it has been no secret that Long Island Republican Party leaders were looking to state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) as a potential replacement congressional nominee. While Sen. Martins indicated Monday that he “… hopes Santos will resign,” he further stated that he is “not at all interested” in running for the seat regardless of whether Santos is in the congressional race or not. Therefore, the GOP brain trust may have to begin again to identify a potential candidate either in an open-seat situation or to challenge a beleaguered Rep. Santos in the next Republican primary.

Governor

North Carolina: Ex-Rep. Walker Declares for Governor — Former three-term US Rep. Mark Walker (R), who found himself without a district under the state Supreme Court-drawn map in 2020 and then ran an ill-fated 2022 US Senate campaign (losing the Republican primary to now-Sen. Ted Budd and only attracting 9.2 percent of the vote), Monday announced his gubernatorial candidacy.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is ineligible to seek a third term, so the position will be open in the 2024 election. So far, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) has a wide early lead for the party nomination and even enjoys a small polling edge over his likely Democratic gubernatorial counterpart, Attorney General Josh Stein. Walker argues that Lt. Gov. Robinson will be a poor general election candidate, thus potentially leading the party to a big loss in the November 2024 vote: hence, his reasoning for entering the governor’s race. North Carolina promises to host one of the most competitive gubernatorial campaigns on the 2024 national election card.

NH Gov. Sununu Edges Closer to Presidential Candidacy; New Dem Emerges in MD Senate Race; Possible Challenger to Tenn. Sen. Blackburn; Radzius is In & Out in NY-3

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, May 23, 2023

President

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R)

Gov. Chris Sununu: Moving Toward Running — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said at the end of last week that he will make a formal announcement about his potential presidential candidacy by the end of this month. Reading the political tea leaves suggests that he will enter the race but will forego a fifth run for governor later in the cycle presuming he fails to win the Republican presidential nomination. The Granite State has no term limits in place for the office of governor; also, governors serve two-year terms, not four as in most states.

Polls suggest that he will be a factor in the New Hampshire primary, which is still the first such state on the Republican calendar. A good showing in the Granite State could provide him some momentum for other places particularly in the New England region. Looking at the bigger picture, another entry again makes the GOP race easier for former President Donald Trump.

Senate

Maryland: New Democrat Comes Forth — Joining the Maryland open US Senate Democratic primary race is telecom company executive and Gulf War veteran Juan Dominguez. He announced his candidacy at the end of last week. It is doubtful he will be a top-tier contender, since he must battle US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), Prince Georges County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, and Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando at a minimum. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park) and former Rep. John Delaney (D) also are potential candidates.

The May 14, 2024, plurality Democratic primary winner is a lock to succeed retiring Sen. Ben Cardin (D) in November.

Tennessee: Potential Democratic Challenger — Tennessee state Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Nashville), who was one vote away from being expelled from the House for her support of the gun control insurrection at the state Capitol earlier this year, said over the weekend that she is considering entering the US Senate race to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn.

Sen. Blackburn is poised for re-election and will be very difficult to unseat in a state that Donald Trump carried 61-37 percent in 2020. Sen. Blackburn defeated former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), 55-44 percent, to initially win her seat in 2018.

House

NY-3: In and Out — As fast as New York television reporter Darius Radzius (D) entered the congressional race with the hope of challenging embattled freshman Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) last week, he just as quickly closed his committee with the Federal Election Commission and withdrawn his candidacy “for personal reasons.”

Former state Sen. Anna Kaplan and Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan are the two most prominent Democrats to so far come forward. Former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), who left the seat in 2022 to run a long-shot gubernatorial campaign, says he is considering launching a comeback congressional race. Republicans are likely to find a new candidate, possibly in the person of state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), should Rep. Santos be convicted in court, expelled from the House, or defeated in a Republican primary.