Category Archives: Governor

PA GOP Senate Recount Continues; Wisconsin Dem Primary Tightening; House Races News

Dr. Mehmet Oz (left) leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes.

By Jim Ellis — June 2, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania: McCormick Campaign Attempts “Hail Mary” — The latest signals coming from the Pennsylvania Republican Senate recount suggest that former hedge fund CEO David McCormick’s campaign representatives know their collective backs are against the proverbial wall. The McCormick contingent is now asking for hand recounts from certain precincts in certain counties where they suspect “data abnormalities.”

Since Dr. Mehmet Oz’s small lead did not lapse opposite to what the McCormick campaign had originally predicted, it appears the chances are growing strong that Dr. Oz will be certified as the primary winner on June 8. The eventual nominee, presumably Dr. Oz, will face Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman who easily won his party’s nomination on May 17.

Wisconsin: Dem Nomination Tightening — Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive and former Obama White House aide Alex Lasry has released another of his internal polls testing the Democratic US Senate primary. The Normington Petts survey (May 18-22; 700 likely Wisconsin Democratic primary voters; live interview) finds Lasry moving closer to race leader Mandela Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor. The new numbers find the Dem contest within three percentage points, with Barnes leading 34-31 percent, while state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski trails with an 18 percent preference factor.

In February, Barnes’s margin was 35-27-9 percent over Lasry and Godlewski, respectively. In actuality, this poll finds that Godlewski is the candidate having the most dynamic momentum right now, in effect doubling her level of support from the last quarter. The Democratic primary winner on Aug. 9 will then face Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in the general election.

House

NY-10: A 15th Candidate Joins — State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn) became the 15th Democratic candidate to announce for the open court-drawn 10th Congressional District. The new 10th covers Lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn.

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) is moving from over an hour away to run in this district and faces former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, ex-Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, now two state Assembly members, and two NYC City councilmembers within the large pack of candidates. This will clearly be one of the key races to watch in the New York congressional primary scheduled for Aug. 23. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat a D+69, so the Democratic primary will determine the new member.

NC-11: First Post-Primary Poll — Democratic nominee Jasmine Beach-Ferrara released an internal small sample poll from the Survey 160 firm (May 18-20; 308 likely NC-11 voters; text) that projects new Republican nominee Chuck Edwards, a Hendersonville area state Senator, to a 46-40 percent general election lead. Sen. Edwards defeated US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) by a percentage point on May 17 to claim the GOP nomination.

Soon after a tough primary, it is not particularly surprising to see Edwards with an upside down favorability index of 36:40 percent. Rated as an R+14 district, it is likely the voting patterns will move back toward Edwards in greater numbers as we move further away from a divisive primary and closer to the general election.

Governor

Connecticut: Gov. Lamont Begins with Lead — Home state pollster Quinnipiac University tested the Connecticut governor’s contest (May 19-23; 1,660 registered Connecticut voters; live interview) and sees incumbent Ned Lamont (D) holding a 51-43 percent lead over his 2018 GOP opponent, businessman Bob Stefanowski. Gov. Lamont’s almost unanimous support among self-identified Democrats (92-6 percent) largely accounts for his positive margin in this heavily Democratic political domain.

The governor holds a 52:38 percent favorable job approval rating, which compares very favorably to President Biden’s upside-down 40:54 percent ratio. Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal post 45:37 and 45:43 percent respective scores. Sen. Blumenthal is on the ballot this year, suggesting a race against him could be one that potentially turns more competitive than expected.

And The Landslides Bring It Down

By Jim Ellis — May 25, 2022

Primary Results

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp turned back former Sen. David Perdue with an unpredicted landslide 74 percent win in what was clearly the most anticipated race of the evening. While polling showed that the governor would be re-nominated, a huge 74-22 percent vote spread was unforeseen. Considering where Gov. Kemp started after the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump piling on him up until the day of this vote, Kemp’s win was extraordinary within a primary turnout of just under 1.2 million GOP voters, the size of which has not been previously seen.

Also scoring big was Herschel Walker in the US Senate Republican primary. He won with more than 68 percent of the vote and now advances to face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. Sen. Warnock had only minor opposition in the Democratic primary and captured 96 percent of the 713,000-plus Democratic votes that have been recorded.

In the 7th Congressional District Democratic incumbent pairing contest, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) scored a huge 63-31 percent victory over freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee). The two incumbents became paired when the Republican map drawers decided to make the new 6th District safely Republican, thus forcing McBath into the adjoining 7th CD.

Alabama: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who former President Trump pulled back from endorsing because, at the time, it was viewed his campaign was going nowhere, rebounded to capture second position (29.2 percent) in the open US Senate Republican primary and advance to the June 21 runoff election. The first-place finisher is former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt (44.7 percent). Both defeated retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant (23.3 percent), whose self-funded campaign fell short of the mark in what was an expensive three-way race.

In the contested Republican gubernatorial primary, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) won re-nomination with 54 percent of the vote against eight Republican opponents. Here, too, GOP turnout was much higher than the Democrats’ — over 645,000 voters compared to 168,000. In both Georgia and Alabama, the Trump endorsements clearly lacked the punch we have seen in the other early primaries.

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman turned back three Republican challengers to win his re-nomination outright with 58 percent of the vote. All four GOP US House members were also re-nominated, though 2nd District Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) posted a surprisingly low 58.5 percent.

The open governor’s race produced no surprise. Former Trump press secretary and daughter of ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, won a landslide Republican nomination with 83.2 percent of the vote. She will easily replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the autumn election.

MN-1 Special Primary: The Minnesota special congressional primary to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) is also undecided. The Republican side now features a two-way battle between former state Rep. Brad Finstad (38.0 percent) and state Rep. Jeremy Munson (36.8 percent) with 88 percent reporting. The Finstad lead is 427 votes, which may or may not stand up as the final counting process proceeds.

On the Democratic side, former Hormel company CEO Jeff Ettinger won the party nomination with 64.3 percent of the vote over seven opponents. The eventual nominees will square off in a special general election on Aug. 9, a date concurrent with Minnesota’s regular primary election. Republican turnout so far surpasses the Democratic participation rate by almost a 2:1 margin, 35,330 to 18,392.

Texas: The Texas results featured a crushing defeat for the Bush family, as two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton swamped Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with a 67.2 – 32.8 percent margin. Paxton will now face attorney Rochelle Garza who won the Democratic runoff with 62.9 percent of the vote.

There are two unresolved congressional races at this writing. In one of the South Texas seats, veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) leads attorney Jessica Cisneros by just 177 votes with 94 percent of the expected vote recorded. Most of the outstanding vote appears to come in Cuellar-favorable counties, so it is more likely that he survives a very close primary and runoff set of elections.

In the contested open 15th District, in what could well become the most hotly contested general election in the Lone Star State, the Democratic runoff is still a long way from being decided. Candidates Michelle Vallejo and Ruben Ramirez are only 23 votes apart with just 50 percent of the counting reported. This contest could require quite a bit of time to decide. The eventual winner will face the 2020 Republican nominee, Monica de la Cruz, who easily won re-nomination outright back on March 1.

Moving to the open Dallas-anchored 30th District, State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) recorded a 60.6 percent runoff win to capture the party nomination in the safely Democratic seat. She will succeed retiring US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) in November. Johnson has represented the area in Congress for the past 30 years.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado to Take Oath for Lieutenant Governor; Will Resign Today — US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) will officially be sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor later today. Resigning the congressional seat just before taking the oath of office allows Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to schedule the special election to replace Delgado concurrently with the Aug. 23 congressional primary. The political parties will choose their respective nominees, meaning there will be only one election to fill the balance of the congressman’s current term. The new member then could seek a full term in the new 19th CD, which will be different in configuration to the current pre-redistricting seat.

Governor

Michigan: Top GOP Candidate Facing Disqualification — Media reports surfacing from Michigan are indicating that several Republican candidates, including polling front-runner James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, may fall short of presenting 15,000 valid registered voter petition signatures to qualify him for a ballot position. According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, 9,879 of Craig’s signatures were invalid for various reasons, leaving him well short of the 15,000 minimum number.

Another gubernatorial candidate, businessman Perry Johnson (R), is in similar position. The Michigan governor’s race is one of he premier statewide campaigns in the country this year, so with Craig potentially being ousted as a candidate, that’s a major developing story.

Brooks Continues Momentum in Alabama; An Unusual Alaska Endorsement; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis
May 23, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Brooks With Momentum — US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) continues to make strong strides to capture one of the two runoff positions in Tuesday’s primary election. All polling suggests that none of the three top candidates will reach the 50 percent plateau to claim the nomination outright. The latest survey, from the Cygnal research group for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 15-16; 634 likely Alabama Republican primary voters), sees Rep. Brooks moving past retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant, while knocking on race leader Katie Britt’s door.

The ballot test breaks 31-29-24 percent (Britt, Brooks, Durant) meaning that all three candidates still have the potential of qualifying for the two-person runoff. Tuesday’s vote will undoubtedly be close. The eventual Republican nominee is a lock to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R) in November. The runoff election is scheduled for June 21.

House

AK-AL: Cross-Endorsing — Previously, the Alaska Republican Party endorsed businessman Nick Begich III in the special election to replace the late US Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) over former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R). Now, we see another unusual endorsement. Begich is the grandson of the late US Rep. Nick Begich (D), who died in a plane crash in 1972. This led to Young winning the special election in 1973. While Nick Begich III is following in his family’s footsteps in running for public office, he is doing so as a Republican. This move now leads his uncle, former US Sen. Mark Begich (D), to endorse Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant (D) in the large field of 48 candidates instead of his nephew.

Under the new Alaska electoral system, four of the 48 candidates on the June 11 jungle primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election.

NY-17: Internal Dem Chaos — Assuming the presiding judge adopts the special master’s redistricting map, it appears that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) has created a political hornet’s nest with his declaration that he would challenge freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), who happens to be African American, in the new 17th District rather than compete for the seat directly to the north, the new 18th District. Rep. Maloney said he is running in the 17th because that is where the map placed his home, but a substantial part of his current constituency also lies in the new 18th.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx) criticized Maloney saying, “I don’t think he should be DCCC chair if he’s going to challenge another member. It’s completely inappropriate.” Neighboring Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) was more critical. He said Rep. Maloney is trying “to dismantle and tear down Black power in Congress” and should run in his own district (meaning District 18).

Redistricting

Missouri: Map Adopted — Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed the legislation enacting the new Missouri congressional districts. With that, now New Hampshire remains the only state that has not completed the re-mapping process. The Missouri map is largely an extension of the current eight-district plan and will likely continue to send six Republicans and two Democrats to Washington. Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Ballwin) 2nd District becomes more Republican, thus stabilizing her seat. Interestingly, the legislature did not change the candidate filing deadline of March 29, so no new individuals can enter the congressional races even though the district lines are somewhat different.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey Back Over 50 percent — A new Emerson College survey (May 15-16; 706 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; and text) tested the governor’s Republican primary. In another poll, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) had dropped below the 50 percent threshold, but Emerson finds her rebounding in this study. Here, she captures 53 percent support, while developer Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, posts 21 percent preference and ex-ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, records 13 percent. All other candidates fall into single digits.

Budd Wins in NC; PA Senate Race
Still Too Close to Call

By Jim Ellis
May 18, 2022

Primary Results

Yesterday’s Voting — As predicted, North Carolina US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) soundly defeated former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to win the US Senate nomination, winning 99 of the state’s 100 counties. Former US Rep. Mark Walker and author Marjorie Eastman finished third and fourth. The general election is now set, as Rep. Budd advances to face former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who became a consensus Democratic candidate. The Tar Heel contest will be one of the most important Senate races in the country.

US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) lost his battle for re-nomination last night to state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Hendersonville). In the field of eight candidates, Edwards claimed the nomination with 33 percent of the vote, as compared to the scandal-plagued congressman’s 32 percent. In North Carolina, runoffs only occur if all of the candidates fall below a 30 percent threshold.

In what appears to be another congressional defeat, veteran Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) is running far behind his Democratic primary challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a former city manager, but half of the vote is still outstanding under Oregon’s all-mail voting system. Still, with a 61-39 percent margin, Rep. Schrader appears too far behind to make up all of the vote difference.

The Pennsylvania Senate Republican race is still too close to call, as television Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick are locked in a battle separated with less than two-tenths of a percentage point. It is difficult to tell how many votes remain uncounted because the state will allow ballots postmarked yesterday to be received in the coming days. It will be some time before we know the outcome, but Dr. Oz has a 2,672-vote lead of the more than 1.31 million votes cast. Pennsylvania election law guarantees an automatic recount if the margin is within .5 percent. McCormick claims the remaining mail votes will hand him the victory.

As expected, the Pennsylvania Democrats nominated Lt. Gov. John Fetterman who lays in a hospital recovering from a recent stroke that occurred from a blood clot in his heart. Fetterman, who underwent a pacemaker procedure, is expected to make a full recovery but will be sidelined for some time.

In the election, Fetterman easily defeated US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) with a 59-26-10 percent landslide victory margin. He won all of the state’s 67 counties in a turnout of more than 1.17 million voters. Surprisingly, Democratic turnout dropped below that of Republicans for the first time in decades. This, despite the party’s 45.8 to 35.9 percent voter registration advantage.

In the PA governor’s race, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (D-Fayetteville) easily won the open Republican nomination and will face Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) in the general election. The latter man was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Media reports suggest that Mastriano may be too conservative to win in Pennsylvania, but the large Republican primary turnout is a precursor that this race will be competitive.

In other key statewide races, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul romped to an 86 percent Republican primary victory. He will face former Louisville state Rep. Charles Booker who was an easy winner on the Democratic side. Sen. Paul is a heavy favorite for re-election. In the open 3rd Congressional District, state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, also as expected, won a landslide Democratic primary victory last night and will succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) in the Autumn.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) defeated Trump backed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, 53-32 percent, and becomes a prohibitive favorite in the general election. US Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) again defeated his 2014 primary opponent, attorney Bryan Smith, this time by 13 percentage points and will claim a 13th term in November.

Governor

Wisconsin: New Republican Leader According to Dem Poll — Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling surveyed the Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial primary and produced results not found in other polls. The study (May 9-10; 675 likely Wisconsin Republican primary voters) projected construction company executive and 2004 US Senate nominee Tim Michels taking a small lead over former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. This is the first poll find anyone but Kleefisch claiming the top position. The ballot test gave Michels a 27-26 percent edge, with businessman Kevin Nicholson trailing well behind in third place with nine percent preference. The Milwaukee Works, Inc. organization released the ballot test portion of the PPP survey.

States

Texas: Conflicting AG Polls — Next Tuesday, Texas Republican voters will decide the runoff election between incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton and Land Commissioner George P. Bush. The race has turned negative and earlier polls were giving Paxton, who is still under a stalled 2015 SEC indictment, a strong lead. The new University of Texas at Tyler survey (May 2-10; 570 likely Texas Republican runoff voters) projects Paxton’s lead to be only 41-35 percent.

During the same sampling period, as previously reported, the CWS Research group (May 4-10; 992 likely Texas Republican runoff voters) produced a much different 58-31 percent ballot test result in the attorney general’s favor. Since these polls were conducted during the same period, we will have to see more data to determine the correct trajectory. It appears clear, however, that Paxton is the race leader, but whether his margin is wide or tight is open to question.

Primaries Set for Five States Today

Pennsylvania primary GOP candidates Kathy Barnette, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and David McCormick are in a virtual dead heat with McCormick fading.

By Jim Ellis
May 17, 2022


Primaries

Today’s Voting — Primaries are being conducted in five states today, including the crucial Pennsylvania and North Carolina races. The most watched campaigns being decided tonight include the Pennsylvania Senate and governor’s races in both parties, the North Carolina Republican Senate race, freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) nomination challenge, and the hotly contested new open 13th District seat in the Tar Heel State.

In Oregon, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) faces a significant Democratic primary challenge, while Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) is defending himself from a challenge from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, who has former President Trump’s support. The open Louisville seat in Kentucky will be virtually decided today as state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) appears as a lock to capture the Democratic nomination. In this 3rd District seat, clinching the Democratic nomination is tantamount to winning the seat.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Final Polling Still Too Close to Call — Major occurrences are happening in both parties on primary eve. For the Republicans, The long-awaited Pennsylvania primary is on tap, and the Republican side is ending with a flurry of outside organizations running media attack ads. Supporters of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz turned their attention in the final days of the race toward trying to blunt Army veteran and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette who has driven herself into the top tier and beginning to peak at the optimum time. Supporting Barnette is the Club for Growth organization, spending $2 million in a media blitz around the state to bolster her improving chances of winning the primary.

Susquehanna Polling & Research released their final poll before the votes are counted (May 12-15; 400 likely Pennsylvania Republican primary voters) and it projects a virtual dead heat at the top of the ticket. The Susquehanna numbers find Oz leading Barnette by just a single point, 28-27 percent, with a 24 percent undecided factor. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick is way back, according to this study, with just 11 percent support.

Democratic front-runner John Fetterman was hospitalized with a stroke over the weekend, but appears well positioned to make a full recovery and capture the nomination today. Lt. Gov. Fetterman has a large polling lead over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and looks to be the clear favorite on the Dem side today.

House

MI-13: Another Close Primary Race — Target Insyght completed a poll of Detroit’s open new 13th District (May 3-5; 600 likely MI-13 Democratic primary voters; live interview) and finds another political contest that is tight among several candidates. Eleven candidates are in the Democratic field, but only three enter double digits.

Former Detroit City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail leads the group at 20 percent, John Conyers III, son of former 52-year congressional veteran John Conyers, is second with 15, and state Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) is third with 12. The Michigan primary is Aug. 2. The seat is open after Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) announced her retirement and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) decided to seek re-election in District 12.

Governor

Minnesota: Former State Senator Wins Party Endorsement — Minnesota Republicans met in their state nominating endorsement convention and chose, on the sixth ballot, former state Sen. Scott Jensen as their official party candidate. Others may oppose him in an Aug. 9 primary election. Should Jensen come through the primary, he will then challenge Gov. Tim Walz (D). A recent Survey USA poll (May 5-10; 629 registered Minnesota voters; 513 who identify themselves as likely general election voters; live interview) finds Gov. Walz leading Jensen only 44-39 percent, and carrying a favorability index of 44:41 percent positive to negative.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Pulling Away — Susquehanna Polling & Research (see Senate post above) also tested today’s governor’s race. Here they find state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), despite two candidates dropping out in an attempt to deny him the nomination, expanding his polling lead. The results project Mastriano to a 29-18-15 percent lead over former US Attorney Bill McSwain and ex-US Rep. Lou Barletta. Tonight’s winner faces Attorney General Josh Shapiro who is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Redistricting

New York: Draft Map Sent to Judge — The special master hired to draw a replacement New York map after the judiciary ruled the legislature’s plan was a partisan gerrymander, presented his effort to the presiding judge yesterday, meeting the previously assigned deadline. The judge is now accepting public comments and pledged to finalize the congressional and state Senate plans by Friday. The congressional map improves the political situation for Republicans, giving them at least one more seat than the Democratic draw, but putting possibly as many as 10 of the 26 seats into potential competition.

The map also pairs two sets of Democratic incumbents. In New York City, Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney are placed in one district. Both said yesterday that they would run. The new district contains 61 percent of Maloney’s district and 39 percent of Nadler’s. It is safely Democratic in the general election.

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) finds himself having to choose a Democratic pairing either against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) or Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), or possibly running in an open 18th District that is relatively far from his current CD. If this map is adopted, we will see a much different New York election cycle than what was originally intended.