Category Archives: Governor

Rep. Budd’s Nomination Secure in NC?
A Close Gov. Race Brewing in NM

By Jim Ellis
May 16, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Dueling General Election Polls — With US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) now substantially ahead in 12 consecutive Republican primary polls from the end of March to present, it appears clear he is going to be nominated on Tuesday. Therefore, attention is already being paid to the formulating general election. Two polls featuring Rep. Budd and consensus Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, have just been released.

The first, from the Beasley campaign that the Global Strategy Group conducted (April 28-May 4; 800 likely North Carolina general election voters) finds the poll sponsor and Rep. Budd tied at 45 percent. Emerson College also released their survey (May 7-9; 1,000 registered North Carolina voters) that gives Budd a 48-41 percent advantage. We can expect this to be one of the top Senate races in the country come November and will feature a plethora of public polls.

House

NC-1: Dems Have Clear Poll Leader; Republicans Attacking Their Own — The GQR survey research firm ran a poll of the open 1st District Democratic primary (May 6-8; 407 likely NC-1 Democratic primary voters) and find state Sen. Don Davis (D-Snow Hill) leading former state senator and 2020 US Senate candidate Erica Smith, 44-31 percent, as the candidates make their final pitch before Tuesday’s primary election.

The Republican-oriented Congressional Leadership Fund, loosely associated with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), is actively running ads against GOP candidate Sandy Smith, the 2020 CD-1 nominee who held incumbent Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) to a 54-46 percent re-election victory.

The CLF does not indicate support for another candidate, but former Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson appears to be Smith’s strongest competitor. The move is curious in that the ads lay out personal negatives against Smith that could be used against her in the general election should she win the GOP nomination. The new 1st, which the state Supreme Court drafted, is rated D+5, thus suggesting a competitive general election.

Governor

New Mexico: Close Race Brewing — Survey USA polling for KOB-TV in Albuquerque (April 29-May 7; 1,389 likely New Mexico general election voters; interactive voice response system and online) tested the upcoming governor’s race and finds 2020 US Senate Republican nominee and former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti pulling to within the margin of polling error against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D).

The ballot test breaks 47-43 percent in favor of the incumbent. More troubling for Gov. Lujan Grisham, however, is her results against the entire Republican field. Paired individually with each of five candidates, Gov. Lujan Grisham, though leading in every case, fails to reach 50 percent against any of her GOP opponents. The cumulative results portend a highly competitive November race.

Pennsylvania: Senate President Drops Out — Just days before Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, state Senate President Jake Corman has dropped his Republican gubernatorial bid and endorsed fellow contender Lou Barletta, the former congressman and 2020 US Senate nominee. With Corman never able to increase his support from low single digits, his withdrawal is designed to help Barletta overcome the polling lead that state Sen. Doug Mastriano (D-Fayetteville) has established.

Pennsylvania Republican leaders are reportedly nervous that Sen. Mastriano, who was a legislative leader in attempting to determine if there was widespread fraud in the state during the 2020 election, would be unable to defeat Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is the consensus Democratic gubernatorial nominee. It is likely that the Corman-Barletta move will prove too little, too late, however.

States

Texas Attorney General: Paxton Leading Big — A CWS Research poll (May 4-10; 992 likely Texas Republican primary runoff voters; interactive voice response system and text) reports that Attorney General Ken Paxton is substantially ahead of Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The CWS results find AG Paxton holding a whopping 58-31 percent lead as the candidates move toward the state’s May 24 runoff election date. In the primary, Paxton garnered 42.7 percent of the vote, which is obviously short of the majority vote a candidate needs to win the nomination outright. In a field of four candidates, Bush finished second with 22.8 percent.

Alaska’s Palin in Trouble?
Florida Redistricting Map Tossed

By Jim Ellis
May 13, 2022

House

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

AK-AL: Palin Begins Special with Slight Lead, but May Not Prevail — The Alaska Survey Research firm, headed by longtime local pollster Ivan Moore, released their new special election US House study featuring 48 candidates. The survey (May 6-9; 605 AK-AL likely special election voters; online) finds former governor and 2008 vice presidential Republican nominee Sarah Palin leading the huge field with 19 percent, followed closely by officially endorsed Republican Party candidate Nick Begich III at 16 percent, with Independent and former 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee Al Gross and North Pole City Councilman Santa Claus (the former Thomas O’Connor) capturing the third and fourth qualifying positions with 13 and six percent, respectively.

Under the new Alaska election law, the top four finishers from the jungle primary, in this case scheduled for June 11, will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election. If no one receives majority support among the finishing four in the succeeding vote, the Ranked Choice Voting System takes effect. It is here where Palin may find trouble. Under this configuration, ASR projects that Claus would be first eliminated, then Palin in the next round. A Begich-Gross final round would favor Begich at 53-47 percent.

Nick Begich III is the grandson of former US Rep. Nick Begich (D), who died in a plane crash before the 1972 election. His uncle is former US Sen. Mark Begich (D). Nick Begich, III, however, is a Republican. ASR tested four different iterations with four separate fourth-place contenders, and in each scenario Begich ultimately wins the seat.

NE-2: Dem Group Poll Shows Rep. Bacon Trailing — Democratic pollster Change Research, polling for the left of center 314 Action group (May 6-10; 564 NE-2 general election voters of whom 94 percent say are definite or probable voters; online) finds Omaha Democratic state Sen. Tony Vargas leading US Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), 42-39 percent, in a survey conducted just before the Nebraska primary.

The poll skews slightly left, meaning that the race is likely no worse then being tied from Rep. Bacon’s perspective. Approximately 25,000 more people voted in the NE-2 Republican primary than Democratic suggesting the enthusiasm level favors the GOP. The seat became three points more Republican in redistricting. Despite this particular poll result, Rep. Bacon is still favored for re-election.

Redistricting

Florida: Congressional Map Tossed — A Florida state judge, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appointed, disqualified the new Florida congressional map, ruling that the elimination of Rep. Al Lawson’s (D-Tallahassee) majority minority District 5 violates Florida’s Fair Districts Act. The state will clearly appeal, but the map’s fate, the Republicans’ best in the country, now is suspended in political limbo.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey Below 50 Percent — A Cygnal group poll for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 6-7; 600 likely Alabama Republican primary voters) two days ago covered the Alabama Senate race confirming that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is gaining on his two GOP opponents. Wednesday, Cygnal released its data on the state’s gubernatorial campaign. While Gov. Kay Ivey (R) still holds a comfortable lead according to the poll, the survey shows that she has dropped to 40 percent support.

Real Estate developer Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, is second with 18 percent, and former US ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, is a close third with 15 percent. Three more candidates divide 14 percent of the vote, while the remainder is recorded as undecided/won’t say. There is little doubt that Gov. Ivey will finish first, but the question remains whether she can attain the 50 percent threshold to avoid being forced into a secondary runoff election. The Alabama primary is May 24. If a runoff becomes necessary, that election would occur on June 21.

Brooks Rebounds in Alabama After Trump Pulls Endorsement

By Jim Ellis
May 12, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Brooks Rebounding — It appears that analyses of US Rep. Mo Brooks’ (R-Huntsville) Senate campaign being dead in the water after former President Trump pulled his earlier endorsement have proven incorrect. Two new surveys point to Rep. Brooks rebounding to the point of again becoming competitive for the second runoff position from the May 24 primary. The Republican primary is among Brooks, former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt, and businessman and former “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant.

Two new polls have surfaced suggesting that Rep. Brooks is now making this a three-way race. The Moore Information Group (May 2-5; 400 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Britt leading the field with 27 percent, followed by Rep. Brooks and Durant in a tie at 20 percent apiece for the second runoff position. In Alabama, if no one reaches the 50 percent mark in this year’s May 24 primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on June 21.

The second poll, from McLaughlin & Associates (May 2-5; 500 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview & text), gives Britt a larger lead at 37 percent, before projecting Durant in second place with 27 percent, and Rep. Brooks closely trailing at 22 percent. The combined data suggests that Britt is the race leader, while the second runoff slot is clearly undecided.

Missouri: Greitens Releases Internal Poll — Resigned Gov. Eric Greitens (R), attempting to rebound from domestic and child abuse accusations from his ex-wife, yesterday released an internal Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey. The poll, conducted for the Greitens campaign (May 2-4; 806 likely Missouri Republican primary voters), sees Greitens leading the group of Republican candidates, but with only 26 percent of the vote. Trailing are US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) with 19 percent and Attorney General Eric Schmitt with 14 percent.

In the last four polls prior to the Fabrizio Lee release, from four different pollsters, Greitens led in none, with Rep. Hartzler and AG Schmitt topping the field in two apiece. Despite the polls trading leaders, Greitens’ support level remains consistent between 21 and 26 percent in all of the latest publicly released research studies.

Pennsylvania: Trump Endorsement Questioned — Former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick (R) is calling out former President Trump’s endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

In new commercials, the McCormick effort points to television statements that Dr. Oz made supporting the less conservative positions relating to abortion and transgender sex change operations. One of the ads features a clip of Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham stating that Trump endorsing Dr. Oz “is a mistake.” This is the first time we’ve seen an active campaign aggressively oppose a Trump endorsement.

House

HI-2: Rep. Kahele Finally Announces — Coming as no surprise since four elected or formerly elected Democratic officials had already declared their candidacy for what they knew would become an open congressional seat, freshman US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) made public Monday his decision to run for governor and not seek re-election to the House this year.

Rep. Kahele has come under fire for casting the most proxy congressional votes of any member and continuing to fly commercial flights for Hawaiian Airlines while he is a sitting member of the House. The Kahele decision means that a minimum of 61 seats will be open for the 2022 election. The congressman enters a gubernatorial primary where Lt. Gov. Josh Green enjoys large polling leads.

Governor

Nebraska: Close Primary — Two late tracking polls from WPA Intelligence (April 30-May 2; 500 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters; live interview and April 26-28; 505 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters; live interview) find the poll sponsor, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, leading both company CEO and rancher Charles Herbster and Omaha state Sen. Brett Lindstrom. The largest margin is 31-26-16 percent, and while this does suggest some late momentum for Pillen, the previous WPAi poll found the Pillen lead to be only 24-23-20 percent.

Therefore, the Republican gubernatorial nomination appeared to be up for grabs heading into the primary. Former President Trump endorsed Herbster, but several accusations of sexual harassment have arisen against Herbster, thus causing some support to peel away. Herbster denies the claims. The winner has the inside track toward claiming the November election and succeeding term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts (R).

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.

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.