Category Archives: House

The Boebert Switch

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024

House

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Election Strategy: Rep. Boebert Jumps Districts — During the Holiday break, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) announced for re-election as expected, but surprisingly from a different place.

Saying, “I will not allow dark money that is directed at destroying me personally to steal this seat. It’s not fair to the 3rd District and the conservatives there who have fought so hard for our victories,” Rep. Boebert announced that she is leaving her western Colorado congressional seat to seek re-election in eastern Colorado’s 4th CD. The 4th is open because five-term Rep. Ken Buck (R-Windsor) is retiring.

Together, the 3rd and 4th districts form a virtual horseshoe within the state’s confines. The 3rd contains Colorado’s northwest border and the state’s entire western boundary shared with Utah. The 4th encompasses the Centennial State’s northeast border and the entire eastern edge shared with Nebraska and Kansas. Together, the two districts then form Colorado’s southern border co-occupied with New Mexico and Oklahoma.

While Rep. Boebert faces difficult odds in attempting to capture the Republican nomination in an unfamiliar open district, a reconfigured seat that encompasses less than five percent of the constituency that initially elected her in 2020, her chances are likely better than winning the general election in her current CD even though CO-3 is considered a relatively safe Republican seat.

Her move is largely an admission that she would not win re-election in the 3rd District, especially with 2022 Democratic opponent Adam Frisch (D), a former Aspen City Councilman, having already raised just under $8 million through the Sept. 30 campaign finance period. During the same period, Rep. Boebert raised $2.4 million.

Boebert, who won with the closest 2022 re-election of any House race in the country (a 546-vote margin from 327,132 cast ballots), severely under-performed in a 3rd District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+15. It was clear that she would be the most endangered incumbent seeking re-election in a non-redistricting political situation.

Therefore, her switch to the 4th CD, Colorado’s safest Republican seat (FiveThirtyEight: R+26; Daily Kos Elections ranks it as the 115th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference), not only enhances Rep. Boebert’s ability to remain in Congress but is a major boon to the Republican Party because a new 3rd District GOP candidate will begin at least on an even footing with Frisch.

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Trump’s Lead Dwindles; Masters Trails in New Poll; Battle Lines Drawn in NJ; Ohio Candidate Filing Closed;

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

New Hampshire: Trump’s Lead Dwindling — Two polls released towards the end of 2023 have shown that the New Hampshire Republican primary is getting closer. The American Research Group survey (Dec. 17-20; 1,100 New Hampshire adults; 990 New Hampshire registered voters) finds former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley pulling to within a 33-29 percent split with former President Donald Trump.

Another poll, this from St. Anselm College (Dec. 18-19; 1,711 likely New Hampshire voters; online), sees Trump posting 44 percent support while Haley trails at 30 percent, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with 12 percent. Under New Hampshire procedure, non-affiliated voters can vote in a partisan primary, and this plays a major factor in the support numbers for both Haley and Christie.

House

AZ-8: Masters Trailing in New House Poll — It was a good political end of year for former Arizona US Senate nominee Blake Masters (R). First, former President Trump endorsed one of his chief opponents, 2022 attorney general nominee Abe Hamadeh (R), and a new National Public Affairs survey was released that showed Masters trailing badly in an early battle test.

According to the poll (Dec. 16-17; 418 likely AZ-8 Republican primary voters; live interview & text) Hamadeh, who lost his statewide race by only 280 cast ballots, leads this open congressional GOP primary, 37-14 percent over Masters. State House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and former Congressman Trent Franks trail with seven and six percent, respectively.

The Arizona primary is not until Aug. 6, so plenty of time remains for this race to change. Incumbent Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) is retiring.

NJ-7: Dem Primary Battle Lines Being Drawn — A major Democratic primary battle is brewing over who will have the opportunity of challenging freshman Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield). The Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed political organizer Sue Altman in her quest to win the party nomination, while the more centrist New Democrat Coalition is backing former State Department official Jason Blazakis. A third Democrat, Summit City Council President Greg Vartan, is also an announced candidate.

The 7th District race will be a major battleground campaign this year. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+3, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 51.5R – 46.5D partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 16th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. Former Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), who Kean unseated in 2022, is unlikely to run again. He is testing the waters to enter the US Senate contest.

States

Ohio: Candidate Filing Closes — The Ohio candidate filing deadline passed for the 2024 election in preparation for the state’s March 19 plurality primary. The US Senate Republican primary race will feature, as has been the case for months, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and businessman Bernie Moreno. Only one other minor candidate is in the mix. The preponderance of polling suggests a close three-way race. The winner will challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in what promises to be one of the most important Senate races in the country.

The most competitive House primary is again in the state’s 9th District where the Republican winner will face veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo). At the last moment, a new entry, state Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) entered the race, challenging former state Rep. Craig Riedel, Napoleon Mayor Steve Lankenau, and 2022 congressional nominee J.R. Majewski.

Majewski proved a poor general election candidate, and with Merrin now in the race to challenge the others, the outcome of the future primary could be the same as the one in the immediate past. That is, Majewski takes advantage of a split vote, captures the party nomination but then loses to Rep. Kaptur.

With a FiveThirtyEight rating of R+6, losing here again because of a botched primary will greatly diminish the Republicans’ chances of keeping the House majority. In the competitive 1st District, the general election match between freshman Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Cincinnati) and attorney Orlando Sonza (R) appears set.

Other congressional primaries in both parties feature several races with multiple candidates, but mostly they are in districts where the incumbent will again score an easy win.

Ohio’s Moreno Endorsed by Trump;
NJ Polling Battles; Alaska’s Peltola Could Again Get Boost From RCV; Census Projections for 2030

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023

Senate

Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno (R) gets Trump’s endorsement.

Ohio: Trump Makes an Endorsement — As has been expected for several months, former President Donald Trump, the leader for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, signaled his official support to one of the three major Republican US Senate contenders Monday. While a Survey USA poll earlier in the week (Dec. 8-12; 573 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; online) found businessman Bernie Moreno trailing both Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) by a 33-18-12 percent margin, Moreno man did finish in first place for the Trump endorsement. Previously, two other surveys found Moreno holding a slight lead in the primary race.

The Ohio primary is scheduled for March 19, and promises to be a highly competitive nomination campaign. The eventual winner of the plurality election will face three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the general election.

New Jersey: Competing Poll Places Rep. Kim First — Though indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) for now remains in the 2024 Senate race, the Democratic primary battle appears to be a contest between US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and the state’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy. Approximately a month ago, Public Policy Polling released a survey favoring Murphy for the party nomination by a large 40-21 percent spread.

Rep. Kim released his internal Breakthrough Campaigns survey Monday (Dec. 7-14; 1,004 NJ likely Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) that produced a virtual mirror-like result. This study found Rep. Kim leading Ms. Murphy, 45-22 percent. Sen. Menendez, as was the case in the PPP survey, languishes in single digits. The dueling wide discrepancy polls suggest the statewide Democratic primary will be an interesting one to chart. The New Jersey primary is scheduled for June 4.

House

AK-AL: New Polling Favorable for Rep. Peltola — Once again, Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting system may re-elect at-large Democratic US Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) even though more voters select a Republican candidate. Under the state’s primary system, four candidates advance into the general election. If no candidate receives majority support in the November vote, Ranked Choice Voting takes effect.

The Remington Research Group conducted a new poll for Republican candidate Nick Begich III (Dec. 11-14; 672 likely Alaska primary voters; live interview) and the ballot test finds Rep. Peltola attracting 42 percent support. Begich follows in second place with 28 percent. Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R) is third with nine percent, while Libertarian Chris Bye, running on the No Labels ballot line, would secure the fourth position with seven percent of the prospective vote. If this were the actual vote totals, RCV would begin with Bye being eliminated and his second choice votes added to the aggregate.

Rep. Peltola has been successful in the Ranked Choice process in both of her elections. In this case, the RCV process would begin because no candidate reached the majority support level.

Census Estimates: Early Reapportionment Projections for 2030 — The Census Bureau released its 2023 population estimates and from that data, extrapolated congressional seat gain and loss estimates for the next census, which is seven years away. Obviously, much can change over that time period, but the projections suggest serious population movement. California appears headed to lose a whopping four seats, while Texas would gain four. The other prospective multi-seat gainer would be Florida at plus-3. Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah would each gain one seat.

In addition to California, the losing states would include New York (minus-3) and Illinois (minus-2) with Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania losing one seat apiece. Oregon is the biggest surprise in the loser column because they gained a seat in the 2020 reapportionment.

Since these numbers are all long-range projections, the gainers and losers are not equal, which will correct itself once the final apportionment is completed after the next census many years from now.

Garvey Moves Into Second in Calif.; LaRose Widening Lead in Ohio; Decision Looming for Arizona Sheriff; No Rematch in RI-2

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023

Senate

Steve Garvey, former LA Dodgers great

California: Garvey Moves Into Second in New Poll — Survey USA went into the field to test the California electorate in anticipation of the state’s open US Senate primary on Super Tuesday, March 5. As you may remember, California uses an all-party top two primary system that serves as a qualifying election for the November vote. The top two finishers on March 5, regardless of political party affiliation or percentage attained, will advance to the general election. All other candidates will be eliminated from further competition.

This means that at least one Democratic US House member will not advance. The huge field of 53 individuals who filed with California’s secretary of state will be winnowed down (the California SoS is targeting Dec. 28 as the date to have an official list of qualified candidates in all elections) but will still feature a very large ballot.

Three of the contenders who are sure to qualify as Senate candidates are US Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). Each is attempting to qualify for the general election but at least one will fail. Because the bulk of votes will likely split among these three — relatively evenly, as polling suggests — it is conceivable that a well-known Republican such as baseball great Steve Garvey (R), could capture the second qualifying position in coalescing the minority Republican vote, thus eliminating two of the three House members.

The Survey USA poll (Dec. 7-10; 676 registered California voters; 590 likely voters; online) sees Rep. Schiff leading the large ballot, as he has in most other polls, with 22 percent. S-USA detects the scenario described above in that Garvey is second with 15 percent. Reps. Porter and Lee follow with 12 percent apiece. Democrats will be heavy favorites to hold the open seat that appointed Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) is leaving after replacing the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), but Garvey sneaking into second place from the jungle primary now appears as a distinct possibility.

Ohio: New Survey Finds LaRose Opening GOP Lead — Survey USA released their latest Ohio US Senate poll (released Dec. 18; no methodology available) and finds a much different result than other recent polls. The last two studies released earlier in the month, from McLaughlin & Associates and Fabrizio Lee & Associates, found businessman Bernie Moreno posting very small (one to two points) Republican primary leads over Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls).

The S-USA data sees a wholly different result. Here, Secretary LaRose maintains a large 33-18-12 percent advantage over Sen. Dolan and Moreno. We will need more data to gain a better picture of this primary race as the candidates move through January and February to the nomination election on March 19. The Ohio primary is plurality based, meaning the candidate with the most votes, regardless of percentage attained, will win the nomination in this one election. The eventual nominee will then challenge three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the most important Senate general elections in the 2024 voting cycle.

House

AZ-2: Recruiting Primary Opponent for Rep. Crane — Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb (R) confirms that he is being recruited by unnamed sources to leave the Senate race and turn his political effort toward challenging 2nd District US Rep. Eli Crane (R-Oro Valley/ Flagstaff) in next year’s GOP primary. Crane was one of the eight Republican members who voted to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

While Sheriff Lamb may be rejecting such overtures now, candidate filing for the Aug. 6 primary does not end until April 8, so much time remains for him to reverse course. It is probable that Lamb will continue to see the Senate nomination rapidly slipping away. If so, challenging Rep. Crane may eventually prove to be the sheriff’s better political move.

RI-2: No Re-Match — As reported in the Cook Political Report and by the Daily Kos Elections site and as noted in our post yesterday, former Cranston mayor and ex-gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung (R), who held freshman Rhode Island Rep. Ira Magaziner (D-Cranston) to a 50-46 percent win in a 2nd District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+17, will not return to run again in 2024.

Fung is clearly the Republicans’ best possible candidate, so this seat will not be considered a GOP conversion target in 2024 despite the closeness of the most recent campaign. Polling had indicated Fung was in position to score a major upset in 2022 but fell short when the votes were actually counted.

Independent Candidates Draw More Votes From Biden; CA-20 Top Contender Disqualified; Another House Retirement; North Carolina Candidate Filing Closes

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023

President

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Harvard-Harris Poll: Independents Draw More Votes From Biden — Originally when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had announced as an Independent for the office of President of the United States, the subsequent early polls found him taking slightly more support from former president Donald Trump than President Joe Biden. Recently, that trend has reversed. The new Harvard University survey that The Harris Poll and HarrisX conducted (Dec. 13-14; 2,034 US registered voters; online) is now typical. They find that Kennedy and the other minor party/independent candidates are apparently siphoning away more support from President Biden than other future potential general election opponents.

In the isolated Biden-Trump ballot test, Trump would lead 52-48 percent. Adding just RFK Jr., the Trump advantage expands to 44-36-20 percent. A third ballot test, that included Biden, Trump, Kennedy, Independent candidate Dr. Cornel West, and likely Green Party nominee Jill Stein, saw a 43-35-17-2-2 percent division.

House

CA-20: Top Contender Disqualified — Because state Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield) had filed for re-election for that seat, and California’s secretary of state had officially accepted his documents, the state’s chief elections officer ruled on Friday that Fong is ineligible to switch to the open congressional race. Therefore, despite his endorsement from outgoing Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), Fong will apparently not be on the congressional ballot.

This leaves the GOP field to Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, who is president of the California Sheriffs Association, businessman David Giglio, businessman and former congressional candidate Matt Stoll, and casino owner Kyle Kirkland.

The 20th District is the safest Republican seat in the California delegation. Seeing the all-party jungle primary produce a double Republican general election appears a distinct possibility.

GA-3: Another House Retirement — Georgia US Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-The Rock/ Carrollton) announced on Friday that he will not seek a fifth term in the House, saying that “Georgia is a special place, and it’s calling us home.” Ferguson, first elected in 2016, served two terms as the Republican Chief Deputy Whip and is a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He averaged 66.9 percent of the vote in his four successful congressional campaigns.

The 3rd District hugs the Alabama border in western Georgia, and lies among the cities of Atlanta, Columbus, and Macon. GA-3 is the third-strongest Republican congressional seat in the Peach State. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district as R+38, while the Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the seat as the 51st safest in the Republican Conference. Donald Trump defeated President Biden here 64-34 percent in the 2020 election. Rep. Ferguson’s successor will be decided in the Republican nomination process. GA-3 becomes the 37th open US House seat headed to the next election.

North Carolina: Candidate Filing Closes — The candidate filing period for North Carolina’s March 5 primary closed on Friday, and we now see a slate of contenders in the newly drawn congressional seats. The state also features an open governor’s race, but no US Senate campaign in 2024.

Republicans filed contenders in all 14 Tar Heel State CDs, but two Republicans will run unopposed unless the Democrats can petition a candidate on the ballot. Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) in the 3rd District and the eventual nominee in the Greensboro anchored 6th (Rep. Kathy Manning-D retiring), saw no Democratic candidate file.

One of the most competitive seats for the general election appears to be District 1, where freshman Rep. Don Davis (D-Snow Hill) sees his new CD yield only a 50-49 percent victory for President Biden in 2020, though Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a slightly more favorable Democratic overall partisan lean, 50.9D – 47.7R. The likely Republican nominee here is former congressional candidate Sandy Smith.

Hotly contested Republican primaries will occur in the open 6th, 8th (Rep. Dan Bishop-R running for attorney general), 10th (Rep. Patrick McHenry-R retiring), 13th (Rep. Wiley Nickel-D retiring), and 14th (Rep. Jeff Jackson-D running for Attorney General) districts. Under North Carolina voting laws, a runoff occurs only if a candidate fails to break 30 percent of the original primary vote.

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.

Dems Cancel Florida Presidential Primary; Moreno Leads in Ohio; Trump Turns Against Masters; Menendez Challenged in New Jersey

President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 15, 2023

President

Florida: Dems Cancel Presidential Primary — In what could be the first of several states where the Democratic Party will suspend the presidential primary and award their delegate slate to President Joe Biden, Florida took such action with Wednesday’s announcement. This move is not uncommon for both political parties with an incumbent president seeking re-election. It is used mostly in states where the political party is responsible for financing the party primary. When the incumbent is a sure bet to win the state’s primary, the party suspends the election in order to save the money to use in the general election.

Primary suspension and the awarding of delegate slates to, in this case President Biden, is one of the reasons that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. abandoned his Democratic primary challenge to Biden and instead became an independent presidential candidate.

Senate

Ohio: Moreno Leads in Second Poll — On the heels of last week’s co/efficient poll that posted businessman Bernie Moreno to a slight Ohio Republican US Senate primary lead (15-14-13 percent over Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan), the new Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey places Moreno in an even better position. The F&L poll (Dec. 3-5; 600 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview & text) sees Moreno’s lead expanding to 23-19-18 percent over LaRose and Dolan.

Obviously, the Republican nomination is up for grabs and any of these three contenders can still win the March 19 primary. The eventual winner will challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the country’s most important Senate races.

House

AZ-8: Trump Turns Against Masters — Early this week, former President Donald Trump surprisingly endorsed Abe Hamadeh for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Arizona US Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria). The move was unexpected because the man Trump supported for US Senate in 2022, Blake Masters, is also in the congressional race. Hamadeh was the 2022 nominee for attorney general, losing the statewide race by just 280 votes from more than 2.5 million ballots cast.

The endorsement could prove pivotal because the eventual Republican nominee will become the strong favorite to win the seat in the general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates AZ-8 as R+22. Trump carried the 8th District with a 56-42 percent victory margin in 2020.

NJ-8: Hoboken Mayor to Challenge Rep. Menendez — As expected, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla officially announced his Democratic primary challenge to freshman New Jersey US Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City). Since the indictment of the congressman’s father, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Menendez’s approval numbers had precipitously dropped to where he could be endangered in a race against Mayor Bhalla.

For his part, representatives for a Super PAC associated with his fledgling candidacy say they have already raised $500,000 to support Bhalla’s campaign. Conversely, Rep. Menendez reported a $433,244 cash-on-hand figure in his Sept. 30 Federal Election Commission campaign committee report. Expect this to become a serious nomination challenge. The New Jersey primary is scheduled for June 4.