By Jim Ellis — Monday, Dec. 12, 2022
SenateArizona: Sen. Sinema Officially Becomes an Independent — Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Friday announced that she is leaving the party and will represent Arizona as an Independent. As her standing before the Democratic Party electorate is poor, this move seems to clearly indicate that she is preparing for a re-election campaign. According to job approval ratings that were taken from polls conducted well before the November election, Sen. Sinema’s numbers had dropped to the point where she would be a severe underdog in a Democratic primary against her likely intra-party opponent, US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix). In a three-way race against Gallego and a Republican nominee, however, her re-election chances significantly improve.
Little will change in terms of her voting record, but the campaign strategy completely transforms for all involved. Not having to worry about re-nomination, Sen. Sinema will advance directly into the general election assuming she can obtain valid registered voter petition signatures from 45,000 Arizonans. She can begin signature gathering right away, so even this large number should be attainable over such a long duration.
Rep. Gallego, who had been rumored as a Sinema Democratic primary challenger, continues to move forward with his Senate plans. While admittedly convening a Senate planning group, the congressman says he will not formally decide about running until after the first of the year. Republican Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb also confirms he is considering entering the Senate GOP primary.
Regardless of who decides to run, the 2024 Arizona Senate race will be another contest attracting huge national attention. Sen. Sinema’s move to the Independent ballot line certainly increases her chances of winning, but she is certainly no lock to claim a second term in the next election.
California: Rep. Khanna Considers Senate Race — California Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont), who was just elected to a fourth term in the House, said over the weekend that he would consider running for the Senate in 2024 if incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), who will be 91 years of age at the time of the next election, decides to retire as expected.
Rep. Khanna further said he would more than likely seek re-election in 2024, but the door is clearly open to him exploring a senatorial run in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic battle should the seat open. The congressman has been a strong fundraiser, averaging a total receipts figure of over $4 million per election cycle for his four successful congressional campaigns along with $5-plus million remaining in his federal account, so he would have the financial base to begin a statewide run.
CO-3: Automatic Recount Beginning — The recount for the close CO-3 congressional race featuring Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) and Democratic former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch is close to completion in the district that covers Colorado’s Western Slope region. Though Frisch has already conceded the race to Rep. Boebert, the recount is taking place under the state’s election law that mandates a re-tabulation for any contest that falls within a margin of just one-half a percent.
Though Rep. Boebert’s 548-vote lead from 327,124 ballots cast is expected to stand, the 27 involved counties that comprise the 3rd District must continue the recount. Frisch says he is likely to run again in 2024. The recount process must be completed by tomorrow so the election certification process can be completed.
VA-4: Special Election Candidates Beginning to Come Forward — While Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has yet to call a special congressional election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) who passed away in late November, several individuals have come forward to announce their candidacies.
The first is state Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond), who has been a long-time supporter and confidant of Rep. McEachin’s. State Sen. Jennifer McCellan (D-Richmond), who placed third in the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial primary, also says she will enter the special congressional election. Before winning her state Senate seat in 2017, McClellan served six terms in the state House of Delegates.
For the Republicans, who have little chance in a 4th District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+30, their two-time nominee and Christian pastor Leon Benjamin says he will enter the special election field.
Virginia’s 4th Congressional District begins in Richmond and then travels south all the way to the North Carolina border. The CD includes the cities of Richmond, Petersburg, and Emporia, along with the Colonial Heights, Chester, and Lawrenceville communities.