Category Archives: Governor

Ramaswamy Claims 2nd Place in New Poll; Testing the Waters in Virginia; Brown With Big Lead in Ohio; Houston Mayoral Poll Released

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023

President

2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ohio: Ramaswamy Claims 2nd Place in New Poll — Ohio Northern University Institute for Civics and Public Policy released a new survey of the Buckeye State electorate (July 17-26; 67 registered Ohio voters) and found businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who has been climbing in recent Republican presidential polls, moving into second place behind former president Donald Trump with 12 percent support, ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who posted only 9 percent. Trump recorded a whopping 64 percent backing.

Since the poll has only 675 total respondents, the unpublished Republican primary sample would be very low. Therefore, the error factor will be quite high. Still, Ramaswamy moving to second place in any survey is affirmation that his campaign is building upward momentum.

House

VA-7: Rep. Spanberger Testing Gov Waters — Reports are surfacing that three-term Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) is laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial run in 2025 when incumbent Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will be ineligible to seek re-election. Virginia is the only state in the Union that limits its governors to one four-year term. Apparently, she is also considering not seeking re-election to the House in 2024 to conserve resources for the gubernatorial run.

If she does decide to run for governor, leaving the House makes political sense. Her 7th District is politically marginal, and the seat has been reconfigured to the point that her Glen Allen political base is nowhere even close to the 7th CD lines, which is now a district that comes as far north as Prince William County.

Additionally, with Virginia’s more open campaign finance law her ability to transfer funds from her congressional committee to a gubernatorial committee is very favorable. After the 2nd Quarter financial disclosure period closed, Rep. Spanberger reported $1.184 million cash-on-hand.

Senate

Ohio: Sen. Brown Posts Bigger Lead — The aforementioned Ohio Northern University Institute for Civics and Public Policy poll (July 17-26; 675 registered Ohio voters) also tested the important Ohio US Senate race. In this instance, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), contrary to previous studies that showed a very tight race, opens a substantial lead over the Republican field.

In this survey, state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) fares slightly better than the rest of the GOP contenders, but is still down double-digits, 45-33 percent. Opposite Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), Sen. Brown’s advantage is a similar 45-32 percent. If businessman Bernie Moreno were the GOP nominee, Sen. Brown would begin with a 45-28 percent lead.

This poll is inconsistent in that the Republican support figure is very low against Sen. Brown while the presidential numbers place the GOP candidates in much better standing against President Joe Biden. The numbers are consistent with Sen. Brown’s support figure, however, when compared to previous surveys. In all published data, Sen. Brown lands in the mid-40s and not particularly close to the 50 percent majority figure.

Cities

Houston: New Mayoral Poll Released — The Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston conducted a survey of their city’s open mayoral race (July 12-20; 800 likely Houston voters) and found state Sen. John Whitmire (D), who has been in the state legislature since 1973, and US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) breaking away from the remaining candidates.

The UoH poll found Sen. Whitmire posting a 34-32 percent edge over Rep. Jackson Lee, with the next closest candidate only at the three percent mark. If no candidate receives majority support in the Nov. 7 nonpartisan election, the two front runners will advance to a runoff on a date scheduled after the initial election, likely for mid-December. Testing a runoff between Sen. Whitmire and Rep. Jackson Lee, the pollsters find the former developing a strong 51-33 percent advantage. Jackson Lee would have to relinquish her US House seat only if she wins the 2023 municipal election.

Matos Under Scrutiny in RI; Republican Challengers Align in CA-9; Democrat Battle Brewing in NY-4; Kentucky, New Hampshire Gov. News

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, July 26, 2023

House

Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos (D)

RI-1: Matos’ Signatures Undergoing Greater Scrutiny — Earlier, we reported that Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos (D), a candidate in the special election to replace resigned Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline (D), is under scrutiny about the legality of her petition signatures. Now, the situation has become more serious. Yesterday, the Rhode Island Board of Elections members voted 5-1 to investigate her petition filing.

The Board will order research on each of the submitted petition signatures to ensure the required number of legal entries are present. If short of the required 750 number, Matos would be disqualified from participating as a candidate in an election where she appears as the clear leader. A total of 12 Democrats have preliminarily been approved for the special election ballot. The Democratic primary, winning of which is tantamount to claiming the seat, is scheduled for Sept. 5.

CA-9: Candidate Withdraws; Endorses — Pastor Brett Dood, who had previously declared his congressional candidacy to compete against Rep. Josh Harder (D-Tracy), has announced that he will end his campaign. Dood then said he would support Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln (R) who became a congressional candidate last week. Republicans now appear to be uniting behind Lincoln, meaning they will have a credible challenger against Rep. Harder in a district that can become competitive.

In 2021 redistricting, Rep. Harder fared poorly and moved into the 9th District to run after veteran Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) announced his retirement. Though Rep. Harder had less than 28 percent of the crossover population from his previous 10th District, he still recorded a 55-45 percent victory over San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R) but needed to outspend him by a 6:1 ratio in order to do so.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-9 as D+8. Though in an underdog position, this is the type of seat Republicans need to put in play to protect their small majority.

NY-4: Dem Battle Brewing — There was no doubt that freshman Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) was going to face a major re-election battle in 2024. He was the 2022 election cycle’s big upset winner in defeating former Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen (D) in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+10. Now, however, it appears that Gillen, who has announced she will return for a rematch, will face her own major challenge in the Democratic primary.

Though he has not yet made an official announcement, two-term state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown) has filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. Expect this race to draw significant national political attention from beginning to end.

Governor

Kentucky: GOP Poll Shows Closing Race — The Republican State Leadership Committee released a new Public Opinion Strategies survey (July 19-20; 500 Kentucky registered voters; live interview) showing a closing of the 2023 governor’s race between incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R). The ballot test finds the governor holding only a 49-45 percent edge. The poll counters another POS poll from late June for a public interest group that posted Gov. Beshear to a 52-42 percent lead. The election is scheduled for Nov. 7.

New Hampshire: Former US Sen. Ayotte Enters Open Gov Race — Former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), who won a landslide 2010 victory with a 60-36 percent spread but lost her seat six years later to current incumbent Maggie Hassan (D) in a razor-thin 49-48 percent margin, announced Monday that she will return to active politics with a run for governor. Four-term incumbent Chris Sununu (R), who is not seeking a fifth two-year term, leaves behind what promises to be a hotly contested general election as well as two competitive party primaries.

In addition to Sen. Ayotte entering the governor’s race, former state Senate President and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse is also an announced Republican candidate. The Democrats already feature a race for their party nomination between Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington.

Brown Becoming Leading Senate GOP Candidate in Nevada; Redistricting Activist Challenges in Michigan; Kuster Stands Pat; Competition in NY-16; NC Gubernatorial Race Update

By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 24, 2023

Senate

Afghan War veteran Sam Brown (R)

Nevada: Brown Becoming GOP Candidate of Choice — Afghan War veteran Sam Brown (R), disfigured through his war injuries, is becoming the leading Nevada Republican US Senate candidate just since his official announcement on July 10.

According to published reports, he is already the leading fundraiser in the Republican field and has the endorsement of National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Steve Daines (R-MT), the Americans for Prosperity organization, and individual senators such as Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). The eventual Republican nominee will oppose first-term Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) in the general election. For Republicans to gain the Senate majority, the Nevada seat must become a prime target.

House

MI-4: Redistricting Activist to Challenge Rep. Huizenga — Attorney Jessica Swartz (D), who was one of the prime movers behind the successful ballot initiative to convert the Michigan redistricting system to a citizens’ commission, announced that she will challenge US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) next year.

Originally, Rep. Huizenga appeared to be the odd man out as national reapportionment cost Michigan a congressional seat. The map led to he and veteran Rep. Fred Upton (R) being paired in the new southwestern Michigan’s 4th CD. However, with Rep. Upton opting for retirement after serving 36 years in the House, that ultimately left the seat to Huizenga, who was re-elected with a 54-42 percent victory percentage last November even though he had not previously represented 75 percent of the new constituency. Expect this race to draw some national attention in 2024.

NH-2: Rep. Kuster Staying Put — Saying that Democrats already have “two great candidates,” US Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton) said late last week that she would not enter the open governor’s race now that four-term incumbent Chris Sununu (R) has announced his retirement. It is presumed that Rep. Kuster will seek re-election to a seventh term in the House.

In her comments, Rep. Kuster was referring to Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington who are declared Democratic gubernatorial candidates. Republican former state Senate President Chuck Morse immediately announced his candidacy when Gov. Sununu made his retirement plans public. Ex-US Sen. Kelly Ayotte may also soon join the open Republican primary.

NY-16: Potential Tougher Challenger for Rep. Bowman — Last year, New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) turned back two Democratic primary challengers by a 54-25-19 percent margin in what proved to be a moderately competitive campaign. This cycle, his competition may be more formidable.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer (D), who defeated a Republican incumbent in 2017 and then won a 62-38 percent re-election campaign, confirms that he is considering challenging Rep. Bowman. Prior to his election to local office, Latimer served in both the New York Assembly and state Senate. Westchester County, the population of which is just short of 1 million residents, dominates the 16th CD. A total of 91 percent of the district lies in this one county, with the remaining territory crossing into the Bronx borough.

Governor

North Carolina: New Candidate Emerges — Former state Sen. Andy Wells announced late last week that he will enter the Republican gubernatorial primary. This sets up a re-match of sorts with Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. The two ran against each other in the 2020 lieutenant governor’s primary, a political battle that Robinson won by almost a 2:1 ratio. Also in the race is former Congressman Mark Walker. Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro at this point is unopposed but may have opposition from former state Supreme Court justice Mike Morgan. The 2024 governor’s race is open because incumbent Roy Cooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

First Democrat Announces in Florida Senate Race; Potential NC-13 Candidate; Landry’s Advantage in Louisiana; Ashcroft Down on Money

By Jim Ellis — July 20, 2023

Senate

Navy veteran Phil Ehr

Florida: First Democrat Announces — Democrats have not yet recruited a top candidate to challenge Sen. Rick Scott (R), but at least they now have a contender coming forward. Navy veteran Phil Ehr, who challenged Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) in 2020 and lost 65-34 percent, is now a US Senate candidate. While losing, Ehr did raise over $2 million, but he will need substantially more even to win the Democratic primary.

The only other challenger to Sen. Scott, who was also twice elected governor, is Republican businessman Keith Gross. It was believed that Gross could fund a significant portion of his campaign, and so far he has added $661,000 to his political treasury. Outside of his personal loan, Gross only raised $9,000 during the 2nd Quarter fundraising period. At this point, Sen. Scott is a clear favorite for renomination and re-election.

House

NC-13: New Potential GOP Candidate — State legislative analyst Jeff Hauser (R) says he is interested in exploring a congressional candidacy next year in the district that freshman Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) currently holds. Expect this seat to significantly change once the new congressional map is drawn and passes the state legislature. With the new Republican state Supreme Court likely to approve the eventual map, expect this district to become much better territory for the GOP.

Bo Hines (R), who lost in November to Nickel 52-48 percent, is said to be considering mounting a comeback. He proved, however, to be a weak candidate so look for the GOP leadership to look in a different direction once the new map is presented and approved.

Governor

Louisiana: Landry Opens Huge Dollar Advantage — On Monday, we reported that a BDPC consulting firm poll (July 6-10; 600 registered Louisiana voters; live interview) found a close ballot test result of 30-28 percent between Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) and former LA Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D). The new fundraising disclosure reports show a much different picture of this developing statewide campaign.

During the 2nd Quarter, Landry raised $4.7 million and has over $9.2 million cash-on-hand. Conversely, Wilson raised only $560,000 and reports $590,000 in the bank. The closest contender to Landry is state Treasurer John Schroder (R). While raising only $220,000 for the quarter, the Schroder campaign reports $2.2 million in their campaign account. Louisiana’s all-party jungle primary is scheduled for Oct. 14 of this year. If no candidate receives majority support, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held on Nov. 18.

Missouri: Ashcroft Down on Money — While Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, son of former Missouri Senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, is viewed to be the leader of the open gubernatorial Republican primary, the 2nd Quarter fundraising reports show him on the downside of the money count. In a battle of supportive PACs, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe’s affiliated American Dream PAC raised $1.2 million as compared to the Committee for Liberty’s (Ashcroft) $290,000. St. Charles County state Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring), who has not yet officially announce for governor, saw his leadership committee, BILL PAC, raise over $800,000.

GOP Gov. Mike Parson is ineligible to run for a third term. State House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) is the leading Democratic contender. Republicans are favored to win the open general election.

Alaska’s Begich Joins House Race; Congressional Map Redraw Ordered in NY; Qualifying Candidates in UT-2;
A New NH Gubernatorial Candidate

By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 17, 2023

House

Nick Begich III

Alaska: Begich Announces for House — Nick Begich III, who ran in the special at-large congressional election after Rep. Don Young (R) suddenly passed away, and then again in the 2022 general election announced that he will return to run again next year. He hopes for the opportunity of facing Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) one-on-one in the final Ranked Choice Voting round.

Both in the special and regular elections, Begich failed to reach second place, finishing third behind former Gov. Sarah Palin by three percentage points in each contest, while Peltola, coalescing the smaller Democratic base, was able to place first. For Begich to get the chance of facing Rep. Peltola in the final Ranked Choice round in 2024, the three finalists coming from the primary must hold the Congresswoman to less than a majority.

Though the Republican vote is much larger than the Democratic segment in Alaska, the GOP split has allowed Peltola to win the seat by attracting more second and third choice votes than did Palin. Begich will need a more united Republican Party behind him if he is to overcome Rep. Peltola. The AK-AL seat is the most Republican seat in the nation that sends a Democrat to the House. For the Republicans to hold their small House majority, the Alaska seat is fast becoming a must-win for them.

New York: Court Orders Cong Map Redraw — A lower appellate court last week sided with the Democratic lawsuit challenging New York’s court-drawn congressional map and ordered the Independent Redistricting Commission to begin a new re-mapping process. Republicans will then appeal to the state’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, which is the panel that made the original ruling that led to the creation of the current map.

Republicans gained seats on the current map; hence, the reason why Democrats are moving to replace the plan. It appears a final decision about whether we will see a new map for 2024 is undoubtedly months away.

UT-2: Two Candidates Qualify — The Utah Secretary of State announced late last week that the two special election congressional candidates who filed petitions to earn a ballot position have both officially qualified. Former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough both successfully submitted at least 7,000 petition signatures.

The pair will now join congressional legal counsel Celeste Maloy in a Sept. 5 special Republican primary election. Maloy prevailed in the pre-primary party convention. Doing so gave her an automatic ballot slot in the nomination campaign along with the official Republican Party endorsement. The last time Utah hosted a special election – 2017 in the 3rd Congressional District – the eventual primary winner, then-Provo Mayor John Curtis, did not win the convention. Therefore, it appears we may see a free-for-all campaign for the party nomination. The winner will face state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights) in the Nov. 21 special general election. The Republican nominee will be favored in a seat the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) is resigning the seat on Sept. 15 due to family considerations.

Governor

New Hampshire: Manchester Mayor to Run Statewide — Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D), who already announced that she will not seek re-election to her current position but gave broad hints that she would enter the 2024 governor’s campaign, formally announced her intention to run statewide late last week.

With Gov. Chris Sununu (R) sending clear signals that he is unlikely to run for a fifth two-year term, it is very likely that Craig will be competing for an open seat. There will be a Democratic primary, however. Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington announced her gubernatorial campaign in early June.

The Executive Council, unique to New Hampshire, is an elected five-member panel from districts to serve as a check on gubernatorial power. A majority of the Executive Council can veto state contracts and nominations. The Council also has the power to issue pardons. Because Gov. Sununu says he will make a formal decision about whether to run again later this summer, no Republicans have yet come forward as potential gubernatorial candidates.

Maine Sen. King, 80, to Seek Third Term; Illinois House News; Potential GOP Candidate in Washington

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, July 6, 2023

Senate

Sen. Angus King, Maine (I)

Maine: Independent Incumbent Will Seek Re-Election — Two-term Maine Sen. Angus King, who is elected as an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats, announced that he will seek a third term next year. It was expected that Sen. King, who will be 80 years old at the next election and a cancer survivor, would run again. Before his original election to the Senate in 2012, King served two terms as Maine’s governor. The senator is a prohibitive favorite to win re-election next year.

House

IL-12: Primary Challenge Brewing — Former state senator and 2022 Illinois gubernatorial Republican nominee Darren Bailey is hosting a major gathering where he is expected to announce that he will launch a Republican primary challenge to five-term Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro/Carbondale), the current chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

The challenge is a surprising one in that Rep. Bost is just as conservative as Bailey, so there will be little to draw contrast with him at least in terms of public policy. Because Illinois is so heavily gerrymandered, the 12th CD is one of three solidly Republican seats in the state. Therefore, the only threat to Rep. Bost comes in the GOP primary. Expect the congressman to win renomination and re-election next year. The Illinois primary is early, scheduled for March 19, 2024.

IL-17: Potential Candidacy Brewing — Former state Rep. Dan Brady (R), who represented a central Illinois seat in the state legislature for 20 years before running unsuccessfully for Secretary of State last November, is reportedly close to launching a congressional campaign against freshman Democratic US Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline).

On the gerrymandered Illinois congressional map, the 17th appears to be the most competitive seat in the state. In November, Republican Esther Joy King held Sorensen to a 52-48 percent victory in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+4. The seat is shaped almost like a C, beginning in Rockford, and then swinging west to the Quad Cities area, before moving southeast and east through Galesburg and Peoria before ending in Bloomington. Rep. Sorensen will be favored for re-election, but this district could become highly competitive.

Governor

Washington: Ex-GOP Rep Looking at Governor’s Race — Former congressman and ex-King County Sheriff Dave Reichert (R), who served in the House from 2005 to the beginning of 2019, is reportedly exploring a bid for the open governor’s office. Reichert has looked at statewide office before but has not run. His chances of qualifying for the general election in the jungle primary would be good since he would likely corral the votes of what should be a united Republican Party behind him. In the general election, however, probably opposite Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D), he would be a distinct underdog.

New California Senate Entry; Montana’s Sheehy Gets Major Endorsement; Former Nevada Senate Candidate Ready to Announce; Louisiana & North Carolina Governor News

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Senate

Former Google executive Lexi Reese

California: New Senate Entry — Wealthy former Google executive Lexi Reese (D), who says she will spend some of her own fortune on the open statewide US Senate race, announced that she will enter the California March 5 all-party primary for the right to succeed retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D).

While her path to claim one of the two qualifying positions necessary for advancing into the general election is narrow since she faces sitting US Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), the chances of her taking enough Democratic votes to potentially allow a Republican to sneak past the Democratic field and clinch a general election ballot slot becomes more plausible. The California Senate race will be one of the main attractions on Super Tuesday.

Montana: Another Major Endorsement for Sheehy — On the heels of retired Navy SEAL and aerospace company CEO Tim Sheehy announcing his senatorial campaign and receiving the National Republican Senatorial Committee endorsement, another has come his way. Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) also announced his public support for Sheehy.

It is clear the Republican political establishment is getting solidly behind Sheehy in an attempt to deny Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive), who soon will announce his own Senate candidacy, the nomination. Rep. Rosendale begins with a large polling lead, so it will be worth watching to see if the Montana Republican establishment has enough pull to thwart a strong Rosendale bid. The eventual party nominee then challenges three-term Sen. Jon Tester (D) in what should be considered a must-win contest for the GOP.

Nevada: Former Candidate Ready to Announce — Disabled Afghan War veteran Sam Brown lost the 2022 Senate Republican primary to former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, but raised more than $4.4 million for his race, which caught the attention of the Nevada Republican leaders. Reports are surfacing that suggest Brown will return for the 2024 campaign and will announce his intentions this month. Should he enter the Republican primary, he will face former state assemblyman and ex-Secretary of State nominee Jim Marchant.

The eventual Republican nominee will then challenge first-term Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) in what has the potential of becoming a top-tier 2024 Senate race.

Governor

Louisiana: Dueling Polls — Two all-party jungle gubernatorial primary polls have been released brandishing very different conclusions. The Remington Research Group (June 22-25; 896 likely Louisiana voters) released a survey this week that projected a close open contest. They found the lone Democratic candidate, former Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, who is now the officially endorsed party candidate, usurping all Republicans to capture the lead with 27 percent, two points ahead of Attorney General Jeff Landry. Former Louisiana Chamber of Commerce CEO and ex-gubernatorial chief of staff Stephen Waguespack placed a relatively close third with 16 percent.

WPA Intelligence released their earlier poll to counter the Remington data. In their survey (June 15-17; 500 registered Louisiana voters; live interview & text) WPAi sees Landry (R) leading the candidate field with a 35 percent preference figure. Former Secretary Wilson secures the second general election runoff slot with 17 percent. In this poll, Waguespack (R) is a distant third with six percent support.

The Louisiana open governor’s primary is scheduled for Oct. 14. Since it is likely that no candidate will receive majority support, the top two finishers, regardless of political party affiliation, will advance into the general election runoff, which is on the calendar for Nov. 18. Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who has already endorsed Wilson, is ineligible to seek a third term.

North Carolina: Budding Dem Primary on the Horizon — It has been presumed that Attorney General Josh Stein (D) would see little in the way of Democratic primary opposition in his bid to succeed term-limited Gov. Roy Cooper (D), but such may not ultimately be the case. Democratic state Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan made a public comment late last week that clearly suggests he is seriously considering becoming a gubernatorial candidate.

Understanding that Stein was only re-elected attorney general with just 50.1 percent of the vote in 2020, many in the Democratic Party may believe the party would fare better with a fresh face come the 2024 general election. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and former Congressman Mark Walker are the leading Republican candidates. This is a developing story.