Category Archives: Governor

New Hampshire Primary Today; Close Race in Delaware; Gov. Burgum to Retire; Opponents Look to Change Alaska’s Ranked-Choice Voting

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024

President

Candidate signs along the road in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire: Primary Election Today — At one point it appeared that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was well positioned against former President Donald Trump in the New Hampshire primary, but a plethora of late polls find the former president expanding his advantage well into double digits.

Also on the ballot tonight is the Democratic presidential primary, though sans President Joe Biden. He is bypassing this event because the state refused to accept the Democratic National Committee recommended primary schedule change that would have deprived New Hampshire of its cherished first-in-the-nation primary status.

Ten polls have been released since Saturday from as many different pollsters, and except for the American Research Group, all show Trump holding leads between 10 and a whopping 27 percentage points. The ARG survey finds Trump holding only a 33-29 percent edge.

The Democratic race is much more difficult to forecast because of the write-in campaign underway for the president. The three polls, from the American Research Group, the University of New Hampshire for CNN, and Emerson College for WHDH-TV in Boston, see the Phillips support line falling between 10 and 18 percentage points.

The New Hampshire primary could effectively spell the end to competitive challenges.

First, for Haley: it’s hard to see a path going forward should she lose by the amounts suggested in most polls. The candidates’ next stop is Nevada. The legislature and former governor forced a primary law upon the state, but Republicans still wanted to have their caucus as in years past. Thus, the Nevada GOP is holding both a primary and a caucus, with the caucus being the delegate apportionment body, not the primary.

The candidates could only participate in one of the contests, and curiously Haley entered the primary. The other candidates, when they were in the race, chose the caucus. Therefore, regardless of how many primary votes Haley attracts in the primary, Trump is going to sweep the Nevada delegation because he is the only active candidate who will be receiving pledged delegates.

The South Carolina primary — Haley’s home state — will hold their primary on Feb. 24, and it will be interesting to see whether her candidacy will even remain alive at that time. Polling already shows Trump holding strong leads in the Palmetto State.

For the Democrats, US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) may well be a “one and done” candidate. He will have little in the way of an argument moving forward against President Biden if he fails to overtake him in New Hampshire where the incumbent’s name was not even on the ballot.

With data showing the respective party leaders expanding their leads, it will be an even bigger upset tonight if either President Biden or Donald Trump fail to meet their enhanced expectations.

Governor

Delaware: First Dem Primary Poll Suggests Close Race — With Gov. John Carney (D) being ineligible to run for a third term, lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Bethany Hall-Long (D) released the results of her internal Public Policy Polling Democratic primary survey (Jan. 10-11; 643 likely Delaware voters; live interview & text).

The study finds the lieutenant governor posting an early 30-23 percent lead over New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara, also an announced candidate, was not included on the Democratic primary ballot test.

The Delaware primary is one of the latest in the cycle, scheduled for Sept. 10, so much time remains for this race to develop. The eventual Democratic nominee will be in commanding position to win the open race in November.

North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum to Retire — Former presidential candidate Doug Burgum (R) announced yesterday that he will not seek a third term as North Dakota’s governor despite high approval ratings. With his endorsement of former President Trump, and the ex-chief executive indicating that Gov. Burgum would be primed for a position in a new Trump Administration should the 2024 election go the Republicans’ way, Gov. Burgum’s time in politics may not be coming to an end.

The decision to leave the governorship when his current term ends will open a highly competitive race for the Republican nomination through the state party convention and potentially a June 11 open primary. The eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite to succeed Gov. Burgum.

States

Alaska: Ranked Choice Voting Opponents File Petition Signatures — The proponents of a ballot proposition to repeal the state’s Top Four and Ranked Choice Voting systems have presented 55 percent more than the required number of signatures to reach the ballot, but they may be short on another qualifying requirement. While the group will likely have the proper aggregate number of valid signatures, there are questions as to whether they have met the requirement that certain numbers of the signatures must come from all the required districts. Therefore, it remains to be seen if this repeal measure will qualify for the 2024 election ballot.

The Ranked Choice system could have a wide-ranging effect on the coming presidential race, just as it has in the last two Alaska congressional campaigns.

Presley Stands Aside; CA-20 Special Election Scheduled; Pence to Retire; Buffalo Mayor Won’t Run for Open House Seat; Vermont Governor’s Race

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024

Senate

Former Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D)

Mississippi: Brandon Presley Won’t Run — Former Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), who held Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to a 51-48 percent re-election victory in November, said he will not challenge Sen. Roger Wicker (R) later this year, but indicated that his time in politics is not yet over. This could mean he is already laying the groundwork to again run for governor in 2027 when the position will be open. Presley is a second cousin to the late “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” singer Elvis Presley. Gov. Reeves will be ineligible to stand for a third term. With Mississippi candidate filing closing today, it is unlikely the Democrats will field a strong candidate against Sen. Wicker.

House

CA-20: Special Election Scheduled — Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that the special election to replace resigned Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) will be held on March 19, two weeks after the California state primary on March 5. Therefore, two candidates will advance to the regular general election before the special vote is held. Under California election law, if no candidate receives majority support in the first election, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held at a later date. Gov. Newsom has scheduled the potential runoff for May 21.

CA-20 is the safest Republican seat in California. State Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield) is favored to succeed Rep. McCarthy. His strongest competitor appears to be Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R).

IN-6: Rep. Greg Pence (R) to Retire — The House retirement drumbeat continues; another announcement comes from three-term Rep. Greg Pence (R-Columbus), brother of former Vice President Mike Pence. Saying it is an “honor and privilege” to serve the people of Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, Pence stated that he decided he would not seek a fourth term. The House open seat count now ticks upward to 44. Four of these races will be decided in special elections before the regular election.

The 6th District will remain in Republican hands. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+37, making it the safest Indiana seat for the GOP. A majority of the Hoosier State Republican delegation (4 of 7) will not be seeking re-election. Reps. Victoria Sparts (R-Noblesville), Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) and Pence all are retiring. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) is running for the Senate.

NY-26: Mayor Won’t Run — Five-term Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) announced that he will not compete for what will be an open congressional seat headed for a special election. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) is resigning his office in February, at which point Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will schedule a special election. Since the county party chairmen have the power to nominate candidates for special elections, it appears a lock that state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) will be the Democratic candidate to replace Rep. Higgins. With a FiveThirtyEight data organization rating of D+18, Sen. Kennedy will become a prohibitive favorite to replace Rep. Higgins.

Governor

Vermont: Democratic Former Local Official Files — Despite running in one of the most heavily Democratic states, Republican Gov. Phil Scott consistently ranks as the most popular state chief executive in the country. While he has yet to announce that he will seek a fifth two-year term — Vermont and New Hampshire are the only states that limit their governors to two years between elections — former Middlebury Town Selectwoman Esther Charlestin this week announced that she will seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Should Gov. Scott decide to retire, the Democrats will have the inside track toward converting the State House. If he runs again, Gov. Scott becomes a prohibitive favorite.

Haley’s Good News & Bad News; Another House Retirement; Strong MI-8 Candidates; Utah’s Gov. Cox Draws Strong Opponent

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024

President

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Primary Polling: NH Closing; SC Not So — Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley, the former UN ambassador and ex-South Carolina governor, saw some good and bad news in recently released polling. The American Research Group (Dec. 27-Jan. 3; 600 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; live interview) sees former President Donald Trump maintaining only a 33-29 percent edge over Ms. Haley.

This is the closest New Hampshire survey result published so far during the election campaign. ARG found that Haley is gaining because of her support from non-affiliated voters who can vote in New Hampshire partisan primaries. Among only registered Republicans, Trump leads Haley, 42-31 percent. Among the non-affiliateds who say they will vote in the GOP primary, Haley holds a 42-36 percent edge, thus explaining her closing ability.

However, in Haley’s home state of South Carolina, the results are much different. The latest Emerson College survey (Jan. 2-3; 584 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds Trump continuing to hold a commanding 54-25 percent lead over Haley. With Trump poised for strong victories in the pre-Super Tuesday states of Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and Michigan, even a strong New Hampshire performance for Haley will not likely give her enough of a boost to overtake the former president for the party nomination.

House

CO-5: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) to Retire — Nine-term Colorado US Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) who has typically repelled serious primary challengers throughout his 18-year career in Congress, announced over the weekend that he will retire when the current Congress ends. Lamborn is the 42nd House member not seeking re-election and the 18th Republican. He is the third of Colorado’s seven incumbents who will leave a seat open.

The Centennial State’s 5th District is anchored in the city of Colorado Springs and fully contained within El Paso County. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CO-5 as R+18. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 74th most vulnerable in the Republican Conference. Therefore, the eventual new Republican nominee will be heavily favored to hold the seat in the November election.

MI-8: Strong Candidates Announce — With Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) retiring, that leaves a politically marginal seat open, and both parties are filing strong candidates. National Democrats have successfully recruited who they believe is their strongest prospect, state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City). Also in the Democratic primary race are Michigan State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, and non-profit executive and former Genesee County Democratic Party chairman Dan Moilanen. Therefore, we will see a very active Aug. 6 Democratic primary to determine the party nominee.

Republicans also now have a candidate with a well known name. State Rep. Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland) is the son of former attorney general, appellate judge, US congressman, and state Sen. Bill Schuette, announced his congressional candidacy late last week. Also in the Republican primary is the twice nominated Paul Junge.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MI-8 as R+1. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 11th most vulnerable in the Democratic Conference. Now as an open seat, the vulnerability becomes even more pronounced. This and the adjacent open MI-7 will be two of the most hotly contested congressional districts in the country. The 8th District is anchored in the Flint-Midland-Saginaw area. It contains Genesee, Saginaw, and Bay Counties, with parts of Midland and Tuscola counties.

Governor

Utah: Gov. Cox Draws Second Credible Primary Opponent — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R), seeking a second term, will now face another Republican primary opponent. Former Utah Republican Party chairman Carson Jorgensen announced his gubernatorial candidacy at the end of last week. State Rep. Phil Lyman (R-Blanding) declared his candidacy in late October.

Although Gov. Cox — who has alienated the conservative base from time to time during his tenure — could have trouble in the Republican nominating convention, he would be favored to win a primary election. If both challengers qualify for the Republican primary, having multiple opponents will help the governor clinch the party nomination.

Trump Sweeping Biden in Swing States; Malinowski Searches for NJ Senate Support; GOP Puts Forth Interesting NY-3 Candidate; NC-13 Rep. Wiley Nickel Out; Longtime Pol Jumps Into NJ Race

Former President Donald Trump up in polling.

By Jim Ellis, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023

President

Bloomberg/Morning Consult Polls: Trump Sweeping Biden in Swing States — Bloomberg News and Morning Consult partnered for a swing state polling series in the domains that will likely decide the 2024 presidential election: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Individual surveys were conducted in each state during the Nov. 27 through Dec. 6 period. Sample sizes ranged from 451 registered voters to 801 such individuals depending upon the state’s population size. All included Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the questionnaire along with Independent Cornel West and likely Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

Trump led in all seven polls both when the ballot test included the minor candidates and when he and President Joe Biden were isolated. Trump’s margins (with the minor party candidates) were: Arizona (+4), Georgia (+7), Michigan (+4), Nevada (+5), North Carolina (+9), Pennsylvania (+1), and Wisconsin (+6).

To win the election, Trump would need to hold North Carolina, and carry Georgia plus one or two of the other aforementioned states. Trump’s smallest configuration to yield a victory of 270 electoral votes — and this assumes he holds all the other states he won in 2020 — would include Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Senate

New Jersey: Ex-Rep. Malinowski Interviews for Party Senate Endorsements — Former US Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), who served two terms in the House before his re-election defeat in 2022 and who is now an unannounced US Senate candidate, conducted interviews with the Union County municipal Democratic Party chairmen seeking their endorsement for his potential statewide bid. Malinowski represented most of Union County in the US House. New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) already are in the primary race, challenging indicted Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

Malinowski would have to overcome long odds in order to win the party nomination, and it is no foregone conclusion that he will actually enter the race. Despite calls for his resignation, Menendez is not leaving the Senate, nor has he ruled out running for re-election. Polls, however, suggest he would badly lose the Democratic primary.

House

NY-3: Local Republicans Nominate Mazi Melesa Pilip — The Nassau and Queens County Republican Party chairmen have nominated Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip, an Ethiopian-born former member of the Israeli military, as their special election congressional nominee. She will oppose the Democratic nominee, former Congressman Tom Suozzi in the Feb. 13 special election to serve the balance of expelled Rep. George Santos’ (R) term.

Interestingly, Pilip is reportedly still a registered Democrat even though she is an elected Republican and will now be the GOP congressional nominee. She is an interesting choice that will likely draw more attention to what is likely to become a competitive special election.

NC-13: Rep. Wiley Nickel Won’t Seek Re-Election, Will Return in 2026 — In an admission that he would not be successful running for re-election in North Carolina’s newly configured 13th Congressional District, Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) announced late last week that he would end his career in the US House after one term. Rather, he will return to elective politics in 2026 and challenge Sen. Thom Tillis (R). In that year, Sen. Tillis, assuming he seeks re-election, will be on the ballot for a third term.

The new 13th District begins in the Dunn area south of Raleigh in Harnett County. The seat then moves northward around Raleigh on the east side of Wake County and stretches to the Virginia border. The 2022 state Supreme Court drew a 13th District that shared part of Wake County, annexing the city of Cary, and then moved south of the capital city to include Johnston County and parts of Hartnett and Wayne Counties.

The partisan lean for new Congressional District 13, according to the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians, is 56.6R – 41.2D. Under the map to which Rep. Nickel was elected, the 13th CD held a much different 49.5D – 48.1R partisan lean.

Also leaving the North Carolina congressional delegation are Reps. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) and Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), who like Rep. Nickel face difficult re-election odds on the new Tar Heel State congressional map. Jackson is running for the open state attorney general’s position and will probably face his colleague in the adjoining congressional district, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte), in the statewide race.

Governor

New Jersey: Defeated State Senate President Launches ’25 Gov Campaign — Former New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D), who served in the legislature for 20 years before his shocking upset defeat in the 2021 election, announced that he will enter the open 2025 gubernatorial campaign. Sweeney presided over the state Senate as its president for a 14-year period.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is ineligible to seek a third term and as in Virginia, where another odd-numbered gubernatorial position will be open, candidates are already announcing for their respective offices long before even the 2024 election transpires.

Announcing for the 2025 gubernatorial race before Sweeney was Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. Both US Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wycoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) are reported to be testing the waters to also run for governor. For the Republicans, former state legislator Jack Ciattarelli — immediately after his close 2021 loss to Gov. Murphy — already announced that he would return for another gubernatorial bid in 2025.

Schiff Leads in Two Polls; Democrats Nominate Ex-Rep. Suozzi; Manning Won’t Seek Re-Election; Competitive North Carolina Governor’s Race

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Dec. 11, 2023

Senate

California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)

California: Schiff Leads in Two Polls — A pair of mid-November polls were released of the California Senate race, and both find Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) leading the pack of open-seat candidates, but by a small margin. If these two polls prove accurate, both Schiff and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) would advance into a double-Democratic general election to be decided in November. Former baseball great Steve Garvey is a close third and still could be in position to claim second place in the March 5 all-party jungle primary if he could unite the Republican vote.

Emerson College (Nov. 11-14; 1,000 likely California primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) posts Schiff to a 16-13-10-9 percent advantage over Porter, Garvey, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), respectively. The University of California at Berkeley through the Public Policy Institute of California (Nov. 9-16; 1,113 likely California voters; online) conducted an extensive survey that included a ballot test question about the US Senate race. Their results, similar to those Emerson produced, projects Rep. Schiff leading the field by a larger 21-16-10-8 percent spread over Porter, Garvey, and Lee.

House

NY-3: Democrats Nominate Ex-Rep. Suozzi — Though the timing took a bit longer than expected, the Nassau County Democratic Party chairman announced late last week that former US Rep. Tom Suozzi will be the special election nominee to replace expelled Rep. George Santos (R). Republicans are expected to name their candidate early this week.

While the prevailing wisdom is that Suozzi is a lock to convert the seat for the Democrats, an Opinion Diagnostics survey suggests the race may be closer than one might expect. The survey, conducted for financial executive Kellen Curry’s (R) campaign (Nov. 30; 900 NY-3 registered voters; text & online) found Suozzi scoring only between 43.3 and 44.9 percent against three potential Republican special election nominees. The three Republicans record percentages between 38.0 and 39.9 percent, thus signaling a potentially competitive special election campaign. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) called the election for Feb. 13.

NC-6: Rep. Manning Won’t Seek Re-Election — Two-term North Carolina US Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) announced late last week that she will not file for re-election. Saying, “I would love nothing more than to continue representing our community in Congress. Unfortunately, the egregiously gerrymandered maps do not make this race competitive, and I cannot in good conscience ask people to invest their time, resources and efforts in a campaign that is rigged against us. However, if the impending lawsuits are successful and the general assembly is forced to draw fair congressional districts, I will seek to continue my service to our community.”

The new 6th District would have voted for former President Donald Trump in a 57-41 percent count. Under the Democratic court map, the 6th supported President Joe Biden with a 56-43 percent margin. North Carolina redistricting had gone back and forth for a decade between the Republican legislature and the Democratic state Supreme Court. With the Republicans winning the court races in 2022, the court and legislature now approach redistricting legislation from largely the same viewpoint.

Rep. Manning’s retirement means 36 seats are now open for the next election. A total of 22 of the open seats are currently Democratic held, 13 come from the Republican column, and one new seat has been created under the new Alabama court-drawn redistricting plan.

Governor

North Carolina: Lt. Gov. Robinson Still in Front — The open North Carolina governor’s post will feature one of the most competitive such campaigns in the nation. The likely party nominees are Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) and Attorney General Josh Stein (D). Early polling has given Robinson a slight lead, and the new East Carolina University survey (Nov. 29-Dec. 1; 915 North Carolina registered voters; multiple sampling techniques) draws a similar conclusion. The new numbers find Robinson posting a 44-40 percent general election lead over AG Stein.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term. Robinson is completing his first term as lieutenant governor, while Stein will be serving his eighth year as attorney general. Stein’s most recent victory was a razor-thin 50.1 – 49.9 percent in 2020 and further suggests that he begins this gubernatorial race in an underdog position.

McCarthy’s Resignation; NY-16 Primary Challenge; NY-17 Primary Challenge Avoided; Disgraced Nashville Mayor Now in House Race; Utah Challenger Emerges

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 8, 2023

House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R)

CA-20: Ex-Speaker McCarthy to Resign — With the California candidate filing deadline looming today, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) announced that he will not seek re-election to a 10th term and is leaving Congress at the end of the year. The outcome is not surprising, and one many expected since his ouster as House Speaker two months ago. The McCarthy decision means 35 House seats are now open with seven coming from California alone.

McCarthy’s Bakersfield-anchored district will remain safely in Republican hands, but the question remains as to whether a special election will be called. When the most recent California seat became vacant — San Diego’s Duncan D. Hunter resignation in early 2020 — Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) simply didn’t schedule a special election and the seat remained vacant for the better part of a year.

Since Newsom previously got away with this course of action, it is quite possible he will attempt to again hold the McCarthy seat in abeyance, particularly since the Republican majority is dwindling with the expulsion of Rep. George Santos and Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-OH) pending resignation.

California’s 20th District draws a R+31 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization and is the safest Republican seat in this heavily blue state. Former President Donald Trump posted a 61-34 percent victory margin here over Joe Biden in 2020. For the regular election, seeing a double-Republican runoff evolve from the all-party jungle primary is a distinct possibility. The two leading potential contenders appear to be state Sen. Shannon Graves (R-Bakersfield) and Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield).

NY-16: Primary Challenge Now Official — Earlier in the week, we reported that Westchester County Executive and former state legislator George Latimer had filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission and was expected to officially declare his Democratic primary candidacy against two-term Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers). Wednesday, Latimer made his official announcement.

Several key primaries are evolving around the nation, and this challenge is a serious effort. Bowman, himself, came to Congress through unseating an incumbent, veteran Rep. Eliot Engel, in the 2020 Democratic primary, and now the tables may turn in 2024.

NY-17: Rep. Lawler Avoids Primary Challenge — Former Trump White House aide Bill Maloney, who was considering challenging freshman Rep. Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) because he believed the congressman was not demonstrating sufficient loyalty toward Trump, now says he will not run. Rep. Lawler is likely to find himself in a very difficult general election campaign, thus making it necessary for him to have an uncontested primary campaign.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-17 as D+7. The district, however, will likely change after a congressional map redraw, so it is likely this Hudson Valley seat will become even more Democratic. The Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the seat as sixth most vulnerable in the Republican Conference, and is likely to become even more competitive post-redistricting.

TN-7: Disgraced Nashville Mayor Announces Against Rep. Green — Former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry (D), who resigned her position in disgrace as part of a plea deal for misuse of public funds to facilitate an extra-marital affair with a member of her security detail, on Wednesday announced that she will enter the 7th Congressional District Democratic primary. Should she win the nomination election, Barry would then challenge three-term Tennessee US Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

CD-7 is a safely Republican western Tennessee district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+21. Former President Donald Trump carried TN-7 with a 56-41 percent victory margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 76th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. Rep. Green was re-elected in 2022 with a 60-38 percent victory margin.

Governor

Utah: Another Gubernatorial Primary Challenger Emerges — Gov. Spencer Cox (R) is favored to win a second term next year, but he will first have to out poll now two intra-party opponents. In late October, state Rep. Phil Lyman (R-Blanding) announced his Republican primary challenge to Gov. Cox, and this week, state Rep. Brian King (R-Salt Lake City) also entered the race.

While Gov. Cox would be favored against multiple candidates on a primary ballot, the candidates will first enter the Utah Republican Party endorsement convention, which can send as many as two candidates to the primary ballot. Not entering the convention, which may be the route Gov. Cox chooses, a candidate would need to recruit 28,000 valid petition signatures in order to compete in the party primary. Expect Gov. Cox to prevail in the nomination process and for re-election next November.

Trone Leads in NJ Poll; Three-Way Tie in Ohio; Menendez Repercussions; Incumbent Challenge in NY; Early Showdown in Virginia

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023

Senate

Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac)

Maryland: Rep. Trone Leads in New Internal Poll — The Trone for Senate campaign released an internal Hickman Analytics survey (Nov. 27-30; 1,000 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters; live interview) that projects US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) to be leading his top primary competitor in the open Senate race, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, by a 41-34 percent spread.

Rep. Trone, who is largely self-financing his own campaign, has already spent more than $10 million on his statewide effort. The Hickman poll sample consisted of 50 percent white and 42 percent black voters, which may prove an accurate depiction of the Maryland Democratic primary’s racial composition. On the other hand, the sample was weighted heavily toward females, with women comprising 62 percent of the respondent base. This number will prove too high. The Maryland primary is scheduled for May 14.

Ohio: Virtual Three-Way Tie — A new co/efficient poll for the Bernie Moreno (R) Senate campaign finds the Ohio businessman edging ahead of his two Republican opponents, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). Moreno has gained support with a new ad tying him to former President Donald Trump. Still, with the overwhelming majority of respondents classifying themselves as undecided, and the trio of candidates separated by a total of two percentage points, this Republican primary race appears as a pure three-way tie. The Ohio plurality primary is scheduled for March 19.

House

NJ-8: Rep. Menendez Gains Endorsement, Fares Poorly in Poll — It appears that freshman New Jersey Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City) is absorbing heavy political baggage from his indicted father, Sen. Bob Menendez (D). While just winning the Hudson County Democratic Party’s endorsement, which houses 72 percent of the 8th District’s population and translates into a very favorable primary ballot position, a new Change Research poll (Nov. 28-12/1; 762 likely NJ-8 Democratic primary voters; online) suggests Rep. Menendez is in trouble for re-nomination.

According to the Change Research results, Rep. Menendez’s favorability index stands at a poor 17:51 percent favorable to unfavorable. In a ballot test with his top Democratic primary opponent, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla who had already raised $400,000 through the end of September, the congressman posts only a 16-13 percent edge. Clearly, this primary challenge will be a race to monitor throughout the early cycle. The New Jersey plurality primary is scheduled for June 4.

NY-16: County Executive Files Congressional Committee — Another hotly contested Democratic primary battle is beginning. On Monday, Westchester County Executive and former state legislator George Latimer (D) filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. A formal declaration of candidacy is likely to follow shortly. Latimer will be challenging two-term Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) who himself came to office by denying an incumbent renomination. In 2020, Bowman unseated veteran Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel.

Latimer has been in elective office consecutively since the beginning of 2005. This includes his time as Westchester County Executive, a state senator, and a state assemblyman. He will be able to command financial resources and clearly has a base of support. Westchester County comprises 91 percent of the 16th Congressional District’s population. Rep. Bowman’s base comes from the African American community, which is a quarter of the resident base but accounts for a far greater percentage in the Democratic primary.

Governor

Virginia: An Early Showdown — A year and one-half before the next Virginia gubernatorial primary election, we already have a brewing contest. In mid-November, US Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) announced she would forego re-election to a fourth term in the US House in order to run in the open 2025 governor’s race. Now, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has already joined the Democratic primary race with his announcement.

Since Virginia is the only state in the Union that has a one-term limit for its governors, incumbent Republican Glenn Youngkin is ineligible to seek re-election, thus guaranteeing an open contest in 2025.