Category Archives: Governor

AZ, NJ, NY, TN Complete Filings

By Jim Ellis

April 12, 2022 — Candidate filing closed in Arizona, New Jersey, and New York for major party candidates, and for all candidates in Tennessee. The first three states noted each have later deadlines for minor party, independents, and write-in candidates.

Arizona

In Arizona, the Senate and governor races highlight the state’s political battles this year, and there were no surprise entries in either contest.

The Senate race features incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D), who is running for a full six-year term after winning the 2020 special election to fill the balance of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) final term. He has no primary opposition. Republicans feature five candidates, but the battle is revolving around three of them for the party nomination — Attorney General Tim Brnovich, venture capitalist Blake Masters, and former solar energy company CEO Jim Lamon.

The open governor’s contest finds six Republicans and three Democrats vying to become their respective party standard bearers. Former news anchor Kari Lake, who former President Donald Trump endorses, and ex-congressman and 2000 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon appear to be the leading candidates. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs opens with a large polling lead over former state Rep. Aaron Lieberman and ex-Nogales mayor, Marco Lopez. This race will likely evolve into a toss-up general election battle.

Four key congressional general election races and a Republican primary are on tap in Arizona. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) inherits a tougher new district, now numbered 1, that rates a R+7 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. His current 6th District is R+13. Physician Hiral Tipirneni (D), who held Rep. Schweikert to a 52-48 percent victory in 2020, is not returning for a re-match. Former Phoenix Suns executive Adam Metzendorf appears to be the strongest of the three filed Democrats. Rep. Schweikert drew two minor GOP primary opponents.

Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) has an R+6 rated 1st District under the current map, but the new 2nd District, despite having almost two-thirds of his current territory, increases to R+15, making him possibly the most endangered Democratic incumbent in the country. Six Republicans are vying for the party nomination, the leader of whom appears to be state representative and decorated Army veteran Walt Blackman.

Democratic representative and former Phoenix mayor, Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix), is also looking at a post-redistricting competitive general election. Seeing his Phoenix metro district move from D+15 to D+1 suggests that a Republican challenger will be a serious contender in November. Six Republicans are vying for the party nomination including two sports figures. Jerone Davison is a pastor and former member of the then-Oakland Raiders NFL franchise after playing football for Arizona State University. Tanya Wheeless is an attorney and former senior vice president for the Phoenix Suns NBA franchise.

The open Tucson-anchored 6th District is another commission-drawn CD designed to be competitive for the decade. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) had she decided to seek re-election, would have run here. This is a must-win seat for Republicans if they are to capture a House majority. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has already endorsed former Hispanic Chamber of Commerce official Juan Ciscomani among a field of five GOP candidates. Democrats feature a battle between state Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D-Sunnyside) and former state senator Kirsten Engel.

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) draws no opposition in her 8th District. In the new 9th CD, controversial Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) sees his home placed outside the new 9th, but faces only a Republican primary battle in a CD that contains 70 percent of his current constituency.

New Jersey

There is no 2022 New Jersey Senate race, and the governor’s contest was decided last year. Therefore, the US House races lead the top of the ticket. Redistricting saw the Democratic commission members strengthen the politically marginal districts of Reps. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wycoff), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), but doing so made Rep. Tom Malinowski’s (D-Rocky Hill) 7th CD more Republican.

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SC Filing Closes; Rep. Rice in Battle

By Jim Ellis

South Carolina’s 7th District contest will be the race to watch on June 14. (Go to Interactive Map on FiveThirtyEight.com)

April 4, 2022 — South Carolina election officials late last week published the 2022 qualified candidates list after filing closed the previous day, and there are several points of note for the June 14 primary election.

While several notable Republican figures were at one point talking about challenging Gov. Henry McMaster in this year’s GOP primary, none did, and he should have an easy re-election campaign not only in the primary, but the general election, too.

McMaster, as the state’s lieutenant governor in 2017, ascended to the governorship to fill the unexpired portion of then-Gov. Nikki Haley’s second term after she resigned to become US Ambassador to the United Nations. This allowed Gov. McMaster to serve the final two years of the Haley term and run for a pair of consecutive stints in his own right. After winning again this past November and serving the next full term, Gov. McMaster will be the longest-serving state chief executive in South Carolina history.

Sen. Tim Scott (R) is poised to win a second full term. He is unopposed in the Republican primary and his strongest general election competition comes from state Rep. Krystle Matthews (D-Ladson). Sen. Scott was originally appointed to the Senate in 2013, serving the four-year balance of Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R) term after the latter’s resignation. Scott was easily elected in his own right in 2016 with a 61-37 percent victory.

In the House races, primary challenges are on tap for Reps. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston), William Timmons (R-Greenville), Jim Clyburn (D-Columbia) and Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach). Reps. Joe Wilson (R-Springdale), Jeff Duncan (R-Laurens), and Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill) are unopposed for re-nomination. Rep. Duncan has no opposition in June or November.

Rep. Mace is fighting a challenge from 2018 GOP congressional nominee Katie Arrington, a former state representative who is a Trump appointee and has the former president’s endorsement.

Freshman Rep. Timmons faces three GOP opponents, two of whom have run unsuccessfully in other elections. The congressman will face business consultant Ken Hill (D) in the general election.

Rep. Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, sees two Democratic opponents file against him, but he will have little trouble in winning both the primary and general election.

Rep. Rice, on the other hand, has major competition. One of the 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching then-President Trump over the Jan. 6 situation, the congressman was originally facing a dozen GOP opponents. At the end of the filing process, six would not follow through with their challenge, but six did become official qualified candidates, including his three main competitors, state Rep. Russell Fry (R-Surfside Beach), former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride, and Horry County School Board chairman Ken Richardson.

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A Cuomo Comeback?

By Jim Ellis

Resigned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D)

March 30, 2022 — Resigned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has rather astonishingly not yet ruled out trying to regain his position in this election, and a new Siena College Research Institute poll (March 20-24; 804 registered New York voters, 309 Democratic primary voters) suggests that he might be a competitive contender should he ultimately enter the race.

While it is still unlikely that Cuomo will return, although he has already financed a wave of “rehabilitation” ads designed to improve his damaged image, the Siena numbers do reveal some weaknesses within the Democratic establishment. This means the general election might become interesting.

One of the Siena poll questions asked about Cuomo’s potential status as an independent candidate for the November election. With an eventual Republican nominee, likely US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island), presumably being more competitive than a typical New York statewide GOP candidate in this coming general election, a strong independent or minor party contender could become a significant factor in the final outcome and may even have a narrow victory path.

If the resigned governor is to make a move, he is running out of time to file in a partisan primary. Since he is not the endorsed New York Democratic Party candidate, Gov. Kathy Hochul is, he could obtain a ballot position only through submitting 15,000 valid registered voter signatures on or before the April 7 candidate filing deadline. If he were to attempt ballot access as an Independent, that related deadline does not expire until May 31.

While the base Democratic numbers are still strong for President Biden and Gov. Hochul, base Republicans are equivalently fervent against them, but this group is less than half the former’s size. More problematic for the Democratic incumbents and candidates, however, are the non-affiliated voter results, which are clearly trending away.

According to the Siena figures, Gov. Hochul already has an upside-down job approval rating of 42:53 percent within the electorate as a whole, but a positive 63:33 percent ratio among Democrats. She records only a 19:65 percent favorably index from Republicans and a more troubling 31:40 percent negative ratio with the non-affiliated and minor party voter segment.

The most recent published voter registration figures, those dated Feb. 21, 2022 from the New York State Board of Elections, find that 12,982,819 individuals are registered to vote, 49.8 percent of who identify as Democrats. Republicans account for only 21.9 percent of the overall electorate, and added with the 1.2 percent who register in the Conservative party, the clear right-of-center percentage expands to 23.1 percent. Still, this combined figure is less than half of the Democratic number.

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Pennsylvania Candidate Filings Close

Click on image to go to FiveThirtyEight.com’s interactive redistricting map.


By Jim Ellis

March 18, 2022 — Pennsylvania’s candidate filing period closed late Tuesday, yielding official May 17 primary candidates for the Keystone State’s federal and state offices. A total of 11 contenders are competing in the Republican gubernatorial primary, while Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed on the Democratic side. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

The Senate race is also a crowded affair, with seven Republicans compared to five candidates in the Democrat primary. The Senate contest is also open because Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not seeking a third term. A total of 66 Democrat, Republican, and some minor party candidates filed for the congressional races. The state’s Independent and minor party filing deadline does not conclude until Aug. 1.

Among the Republican gubernatorial candidates are two former US House members, Lou Barletta and Melissa Hart, two state senators, Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte), former US Attorney Bill McSwain, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, and former Delaware County Commissioner Dave White. Shapiro will begin the general election campaign as the favorite, if for no other reason than seeing the eventual Republican nominee having to fight through a tough crowded primary.

The Senate race features primaries on both sides. The Democrats are in basically a two-way affair between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who leads in all polls and fundraising, and US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh). Both Democrats are from western Pennsylvania, but Fetterman should have the advantage in the vote-rich southeastern PA region considering his statewide ties, thus making him the favorite for the party nomination.

Two candidates on the Republican side have been spending heavily to attempt to separate themselves from the rest of the field, and they look to have succeeded. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick is leading in the latest two statewide surveys over television doctor Mehmet Oz. Former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos are the trailing candidates.

The Pennsylvania Senate general election will be one of the most important in the nation, and the results will go a long way toward determining which party will control the majority in the next Congress.

In the congressional races, Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Swarthmore), Dan Meuser (R-Dallas), Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), John Joyce (R-Hollidaysburg/Altoona), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Peters Township), Glenn Thompson (R-Howard/State College), and Mike Kelly (R-Butler) all should have easy rides to re-election. Rep. Reschenthaler has no Republican or Democratic opposition post-filing. Rep. Joyce faces only one minor Republican opponent.

Rep. Fred Keller’s (R-Middleburg) safe Republican 12th District was eliminated because Pennsylvania lost a seat in national reapportionment. He originally was going to challenge Rep. Meuser in the 9th District Republican primary, but later decided to retire.

Pennsylvania hosts four major congressional races: two open seats and two top challenger efforts against vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Rep. Lamb’s open 17th District, which sits west of Pittsburgh and stretches to the Ohio border, has a rating of D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization; this is the type of seat that Republicans must convert if they are to win the majority in November.

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Illinois 2022 Candidate Filings Close

Illinois Congressional redistricting map; to see an interactive map, click here: FiveThirtyEight

By Jim Ellis

March 17, 2022 — Candidate filing in Illinois closed on Monday, and while the post-filing qualification process (most notably insufficient or invalid petition signatures) could disqualify some of those submitting documents, the candidate field for the delayed June 28 primary election is basically set.

Originally, the Illinois primary was scheduled for its typical calendar slot in March, but the legislature decided to delay the primary before redistricting began, incorrectly anticipating that they would have trouble completing the process. Instead, the Illinois Democratic political leadership produced and passed into law arguably the most gerrymandered map in the country.

Though Illinois is a strongly Democratic state, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) will seek a second term opposed by a surprisingly large Republican field. The most notable contenders, though none are likely to topple the governor in November, are state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville), Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D) is on the ballot for a second term and has drawn a field of eight Republican candidates, with the likely leader being attorney Kathy Salvi, wife of former US Senate nominee Al Salvi, a favorite of conservatives. Sen. Duckworth will be safe for re-election.

While the US House map is designed to produce 14 Democrat victories in the delegation’s 17 seats, adopting the maximum partisan map could make some of the majority party seats weak, thus creating some unexpected competition in the general election.

Incumbents with safe seats are:

  • Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Matteson)
  • Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago)
  • Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago)
  • Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago)
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Schaumburg)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston)
  • Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield)
  • Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro)

The lineup features four open seats and two paired incumbent situations. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) is retiring after serving 15 terms in the House. The Democrat primary will determine his successor, and the fight is among 20 candidates, including former Chicago Workforce Partnership CEO Karin Norrington-Reaves, who Rep. Rush has endorsed; Jonathan Jackson, son of Rev. Jesse Jackson and brother of former Chicago US Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.; and state Sen. Jacqui Collins (D-Chicago).

The new 3rd District is a created open seat — one drawn through redistricting. This seat is 44 percent Hispanic and is designed as the city’s second Hispanic influenced district. The leading candidates for the seat, again to be decided in the Democrat primary, are state Sen. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) and Chicago Alderman Gil Villegas.

The new 13th CD is also a created open seat, and one that stretches from Champaign through Decatur then Springfield and all the way into the Illinois side of the St. Louis suburbs. The district is also designed to elect a Democrat, but the general election could become at least somewhat competitive. Former Obama Administration official Nikki Budzinski appears to have the inside track to the party nomination, thus making her the favorite in the general election.

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Notable Candidate Filings

By Jim Ellis

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) faces little in the way of strong competition in 2022.

March 15, 2022 — Candidate filing closed in three states on Friday — California, Georgia, and Idaho — and we see some highly competitive primary and general election campaigns occurring in each.

Despite 26 candidates filing against him, appointed California Sen. Alex Padilla (D) has done a good job of securing his Democratic base. As a result, he faces no serious opponent. The only way Sen. Padilla would lose in the state’s jungle primary system is if another strong Democrat surfaced and forced him into a double-Democratic general election. No such individual filed. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) also faces little in the way of strong competition even though he has 25 opponents.

The Georgia governor’s race features the most important May 24 primary campaign, a Republican battle between Gov. Brian Kemp and former US Sen. David Perdue. Three minor candidates are also on the ballot, and they could be a factor to force a runoff if the Kemp-Perdue race evolves into an even contest. In that scenario, a secondary election on July 26 would occur should both Kemp and Perdue be stopped short of 50 percent support.

Former Georgia state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The state’s US Senate contest is already winnowing down to a battle between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and retired pro football player Herschel Walker (R).

In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little faces a Republican primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Sen. Mike Crapo has four Republican primary opponents but is in strong shape for both re-nomination and re-election to a fifth term.

In the House races, veteran Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) will face a familiar foe in the Republican primary. Bryan Smith, who challenged the congressman in the 2014 Republican primary and attracted some national attention and support before falling 62-38 percent, returns for a re-match eight years after their original political battle.

Back in California in the US House races, it appears there are seven districts that will host competitive general election campaigns and many more that could send a pair of the same party’s members to the November election from the June 7 jungle primary.

Only one of the projected partisan general election battles comes in an open seat. The 3rd District, which begins in the Sacramento suburbs and stretches down along the Nevada border all the way into southern California, will yield a competitive Republican battle between state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay) and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones for one of the general election finalist positions. The state Democratic Party has endorsed physician Kermit Jones. The new 3rd, where Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) could have run, is rated an R+8 district.

Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) will likely face San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R) in the D+8 District 9 that retiring Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) currently holds.

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Four More Reps Departing

By Jim Ellis

March 2, 2022 — Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) impending resignation has begun an Oklahoma game of political musical chairs. One member of the Sooner State US House delegation announced that he will run in the special election, and another is soon expected to follow suit.

A third member, a committee chairman from Florida, announced that he will resign to become CEO of an advocacy organization. Finally, a freshman from Hawaii is sending signals that he won’t seek a second term.

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) is now a US Senate candidate, formally entering the special election to succeed resigning Sen. Inhofe. Inhofe will serve through the balance of this year, with his successor coming from the regular election calendar and taking office at the beginning of the next Congress.

Rep. Mullin announced his statewide intentions Monday, and his move will create a crowded Republican primary in the state’s easternmost congressional district, a newly drawn 2nd CD that would have supported former President Donald Trump with a whopping 76-22 percent margin.

Reports suggest that two-term Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Tulsa) will also soon join the Senate race and risk his safely Republican district anchored in the state’s second largest city of Tulsa. Both will oppose now-former Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland, whom the senator is publicly supporting.

Additionally, state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), who was challenging Sen. James Lankford in the regular Senate election, said that he, too, will switch to the open special election. Sen. Lankford’s other primary opponent, pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, indicated that he will also likely move to the open special election contest. Former state House Speaker and 2016 US Senate candidate T.W. Shannon is another potential Republican Senate candidate.

As sitting members, both Reps. Mullin and Hern can transfer their federal money raised for their House campaigns to a Senate committee. At the end of the year, Rep. Mullin had more than $944,000 in his account, and Rep. Hern just under $560,000. State Sen. Dahm had just under $83,000 in his US Senate campaign account. It is clear the Oklahoma Senate primary will become a major nomination campaign.

The Sooner State candidate filing deadline is April 15 for the June 28 primary election. Should no candidate receive majority support, which is a likelihood, a runoff election between the top two finishers will be held on Aug. 23.

Also, Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), chairman of the House Ethics Committee, announced on Monday that he will be leaving Congress when the House recesses to accept a position to run the American Jewish Committee advocacy organization.

Deutch first came to the House when winning a 2010 special election after then-Rep. Robert Wexler (D) resigned the seat, and leaves what is now a safely Democratic domain in which over 80 percent of the constituency lies in Broward County and the other 20 percent in Palm Beach County. The current 22nd District supported President Biden, 57-42 percent, but with redistricting still not completed in Florida Republican map drawers may find it more appealing to significantly change the district boundaries with no incumbent on the succeeding ballot.

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