Category Archives: House

Contrasting Polling Results in New Hampshire; Mississippi Senate, House News; Another House Retirement;
A No Labels Party Win in Arizona

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 19, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

New Hampshire: Suffolk’s Different View — Yesterday, we reported upon an American Research Group survey that posted former President Donald Trump and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley into a 40-40 percent tie for the coming New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23. Suffolk University’s new data release, however, has a much different take.

Their poll (Jan. 15-16; 500 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; live interview) sees Trump with a substantial 16-point lead over Haley, which is obviously quite a difference. Instead of a tie, Suffolk posts the division between the two candidates at 50-34 percent. The Suffolk results are closer to the three other polls released in January, making the ARG numbers, so far, the outlier.

Senate

Mississippi: Sen. Wicker’s Opponents — Candidate filing has closed in Mississippi and an official candidate list has been released. While Sen. Roger Wicker (R) is a prohibitive favorite over the lone Democrat who filed, 2023 secretary of state nominee Ty Pinkins who received 40.5 percent of the vote against incumbent Michael Watson (R) in the November election, the senator does have Republican primary opposition.

State Rep. Dan Eubanks (R-Walls) and retired Marine Corps Colonel T. Ghannon Burton are both qualified candidates. While it is doubtful that either can raise sufficient funds to run a major campaign against Sen. Wicker, who has been in the Senate since the last day of 2007 after being elected six times to the US House, all primary campaigns are worth watching. Mississippi has a runoff law, so Eubanks and Burton will attempt to keep the senator from receiving 50 percent of the vote in the March 12th primary election. Sen. Wicker remains a heavy favorite for renomination and re-election.

House

MS-4: Rep. Ezell’s Primary Challenge — In 2022, then-Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell was one of six Republicans who challenged six-term Congressman Steven Palazzo in the GOP primary. The group forced Palazzo into a runoff election, and Sheriff Ezell defeated him 54-46 percent. He then went on to record a landslide general election victory with 73 percent of the vote. Now, Rep. Ezell faces his own primary challenge.

With Mississippi candidate filing now closed, Rep. Ezell has drawn two Republican opponents, local businessman Carl Boyanton who ran in 2022 but received only six percent of the vote in the GOP primary election, and Army veteran Michael McGill. Rep. Ezell will be favored to win outright in the March 12 primary election, but this is another race to follow. A runoff will be held on April 2 should no candidate reach the 50 percent plateau. Rep. Ezell is favored for renomination and re-election in this southeastern Mississippi congressional district.

SC-3: Rep. Jeff Duncan (R) to Retire — Seven-term Palmetto State Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-Laurens) is the latest House member to announce that he will not seek re-election. Duncan was hit with media reports back in September that he admits to having several extra-marital affairs all the while campaigning as a traditional values politician. It is probable the negative publicity influenced his decision to leave Congress.

Rep. Duncan’s western South Carolina 3rd District is safely Republican and has been so since the late Democratic US Rep. Butler Derrick left office at the beginning of 1995. Duncan now becomes the 45th House member not seeking re-election. Of the group, 23 seats are currently Democratic held while 21 come from the Republican column. One seat, the new 2nd District in Alabama, is created through the new court ordered redistricting map. It is likely we will see a similar situation develop in Louisiana when that new court-ordered map is drawn before the end of the month.

States

Arizona: No Labels Party Wins Federal Ruling — Rather surprisingly, a federal judge has ruled in Arizona that the No Labels Party can bar candidates from running on their party line for races other than president even though the entity is an official Arizona political party. Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) has pledged to appeal the ruling on behalf of the state. It seems difficult to imagine a similar ruling being rendered if the Republican or Democratic Parties were to make such a move.

Fontes, who said the ruling is “dead wrong,” argues that the “ … current decision will disenfranchise almost 19,000 registered Arizona voters, and if it stands, it could potentially derail the entire candidate nomination process,” according to an Associated Press story. If state candidates run under the No Labels party line, then the national party would have to disclose its donors under Arizona election law, something the national entity so far has been able to avoid. It remains to be seen if this ruling is allowed to stand.

GOP Presidential Field Narrows to Three; Second Redistricting Map Released in Louisiana; MD-2 Primary Opponent Challenges Incumbent

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks with supporters at a “Countdown to Caucus” campaign rally at the Country Lane Lodge in Adel, Iowa. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024

President

Candidates: And Then There Were Three — After former President Donald Trump’s victory in the Iowa Caucuses on Monday, two more presidential candidates, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, suspended their campaigns.

Prominent candidates who previously dropped their bids are former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. The moves essentially leave the presidential field to Mr. Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Of the exiting candidates, Ramaswamy and Burgum both have endorsed Trump. No other former candidate to date has issued an endorsement.

New Hampshire: ARG Sees Trump & Haley Tied — A third installment of the American Research Group survey series (Jan. 12-15; 600 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; 406 Republican voters; 194 Independent voters; live interview) sees Trump and Haley now tied as the candidates turn the corner toward the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23. Both candidates were drawing 40 percent support. DeSantis and now-ex presidential candidate Ramaswamy fell well back to four percent apiece. Clearly New Hampshire is the only pre-Super Tuesday state where Trump fails to dominate.

New Hampshire: A Biden Warning Sign — The American Research Group also ran a companion poll for the Democratic presidential primary as it was surveying the Republican side. This study (Jan. 12-15; 600 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters; 452 Democratic voters; 148 Independent voters; live interview) finds US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) posting his best standing against President Joe Biden of any poll. According to these results, Biden, clearly identified as a write-in candidate on the questionnaire, would lead Rep. Phillips 58-28 percent, with author Marianne Williamson drawing three percent.

The New Hampshire primary is Jan. 23, but Biden chose to bypass the state because New Hampshire did not agree to the proposed Democratic National Committee primary calendar changes. Therefore, voters wanting to support the current president will have to write in his name.

House

Louisiana: Second Redistricting Map Released — On the first day of the special legislative session for congressional redistricting and other issues, state Rep. Mike Echols (R-Monroe) released a map that was seen as potentially the basis for an eventual final draw. Under the introduced plan, Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) would likely find himself as the odd man out as a new Baton Rouge-anchored 6th District that would be designed to elect an African American representative. The original map was sent back to the legislature for the purpose of increasing minority representation.

The Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians have already released their calculations of all six districts in the proposed plan. Instead of the current 5R-1D plan, we would see a 4R-2D map, with the 6th District going from a partisan lean of 66.0R – 31.9D to one that favors the Democrats to the degree of 56.3D – 41.8R. Rep. Graves would be placed in the 5th District with fellow Republican incumbent Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start). In this map version, Letlow’s current constituency would comprise two-thirds of the new district, thus giving her a major advantage if the two ultimately face each other.

Now, a second plan has been submitted but two points are clear when comparing the two versions.

First, the legislature is clearly complying with the court order to draw a second majority minority seat within the six-member congressional delegation, and second, the targeted GOP House member likely to lose his seat is to make room for the new district is Rep. Graves. Once completed and passed into law, the new court-ordered map will almost assuredly mean a net gain of one seat for the Democrats in the 2024 election.

MD-2: Primary Opponent Emerges for Rep. Ruppersberger — Two-term state Delegate Harry Bhandari (D-Nottingham) announced that he will challenge 11-term US Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) for the Democratic nomination in the May 14 Maryland primary election. Bhandari does not have to risk his seat in the legislature because Maryland awards its state Delegates with four-year terms, and he was re-elected in 2022. Rep. Ruppersberger has yet to announce that he will run for re-election. The Maryland candidate filing deadline is Feb. 9.

MD-2 is a safe Democratic seat. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district as D+11. The Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the seat as the 62nd most vulnerable in the House Democratic Conference.

Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus Winners, Losers & Runners-Up; California Senate Polling Update; NY-26 Special Election Nominee

Gov. Ron DeSantis celebrates with supporters at a caucus night watch party at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel in Iowa. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024

President

Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus: Winners, Losers & Runners-Up — The first votes of the presidential campaign have been cast, and former President Donald Trump met expectations last night in the Iowa Caucuses as he became the first non-incumbent candidate to secure a majority of the vote in the state’s history. The Democrats first voted in Iowa back in 1972, with Republicans following in 1976.

It appears he will place first in 98 of the state’s 99 counties, losing apparently by just one vote in Johnson County, home to the University of Iowa. He also won closely, and below 50 percent in Story County, the home of Iowa State University, and in the state’s most populous county, Polk, the home to the capital city of Des Moines. He recorded plurality victories in eight other counties.

At this writing, and mostly in the rural regions, Trump exceeded 60 percent of the vote in 41 counties, and topped 70 percent in eight. His best showing appears to be in Keokuk County, where he recorded 74 percent. There is likely to be some change in these numbers once all of the votes are counted and canvassed.

The battle for second in Iowa is close, as predicted, though it appears that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and not the candidate the media proclaimed had the most momentum, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, finishes second. DeSantis was hovering around the 21 percent mark, some 30 points behind Trump. Haley was further back approaching 19 percent of the caucus votes. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, as polling also predicted, was well back with just under eight percent support. After considering his fourth-place finish, Ramaswamy announced that he was dropping out of the presidential race.

“There is no path for me to be the next president, absent things that we don’t want to see happen in this country,” he said at his Iowa watch party at the Surety Hotel in downtown Des Moines.

“I am so proud of every one of you who have lifted us up,” he said to the crowd. He then announced that he would give his “full endorsement” to Trump. Ramaswamy said he had called Trump to tell him that he was suspending his campaign and would endorse the former president.

Senate

California: Schiff and Porter Lead New Poll — The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Government Studies, a regular California political pollster, released their latest US Senate survey result. This poll, for the Los Angeles Times (Jan. 4-8; 8,199 registered California voters; 4,470 weighted sub-sample; online), again finds Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) leading the crowded field, but with a smaller margin than found in other recent polls.

Baseball great Steve Garvey (R), who had placed second in two December polls, is third here, but still gained support when compared to the previous Berkeley IGS survey (10 percent in October poll; 13 percent in current edition). Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), second in their previous polls, is also second now, but remains stagnant at 17 percent support when compared to the two previous Berkeley IGS studies. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) remains languishing with single digit support with nine percent preference.

The California jungle primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5. The top two finishers regardless of percentage attained or political party affiliation will advance into the November general election.

House

NY-26: Democrats Choose Special Election Nominee — The local Erie and Niagara County Democratic Party chairmen announced that they have chosen state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as their special election congressional nominee once Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) resigns in early February. Once the seat officially becomes vacant, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will call a special election to fill the seat for the balance of the current term. The Republican chairmen will announce their pick at a later date.

Under New York election procedure, a district’s county chairmen have the power to nominate a special election candidate in lieu of holding a party primary or special district convention.

Nate McMurray, a former western New York local official who ran two close campaigns in the former 27th District that was collapsed in 2021 reapportionment, declared after the announcement naming Sen. Kennedy as the special election Democratic nominee that he will launch a regular Democratic primary challenge against him for the full term.

The Effect of Christie Exiting Race; Dems Line Up for 2028; New Mexico’s Party-Switching Candidate;
MI-8 Republican Changes Mind

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 12, 2024

President

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) exits the presidential race. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Chris Christie: Exits Race: Seeing no viable victory path toward the Republican nomination, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out of the presidential campaign in an address to New Hampshire town hall meeting attenders and the media Wednesday. On the eve of the Iowa Caucus vote scheduled for Monday, Christie’s departure will likely have little effect upon the Hawkeye State outcome.

The ex-governor was a factor in New Hampshire, however, where the campaign will move after Iowa. Some polls are showing former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley gaining on former President Donald Trump with Christie recording double digit support in third place. Without him on the New Hampshire ballot, it is possible that Haley will see a bump in her support.

Even if she were to score an upset in New Hampshire, the big showdown would come in Haley’s home state of South Carolina before an electorate that twice elected her governor. At this point, however, her support appears to be lagging well behind Trump.

Democrats: Candidates Already Preparing for 2028 — Headed toward a 2024 rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Trump means that the 2028 presidential race will be open since neither man will be able to seek re-election in four years. Already, we see several Democratic governors making moves in anticipation of that impending campaign. Govs. Wes Moore (D-MD) and Andy Beshear (D-KY) have each formed federal political action committees to help Democratic candidates around the country, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) has been running a national media effort for months.

Senate

New Mexico: Republicans Get Party-Switcher Candidate — Former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales announced that he is leaving the Democratic Party and will challenge Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) as a Republican. The move gives the Republicans a well known candidate, but this is still a long shot GOP conversion opportunity. If the Republicans are to maximize their opportunities on a favorable Senate map, however, they need to put more seats in play.

Heinrich, after serving two terms in the US House and one on the Albuquerque City Council, was elected to the Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2018. Sen. Heinrich averaged 52.5 percent of the vote in his two successful statewide runs.

House

MI-8: Republican Changes Mind — Michigan state Rep. Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland) last week announced that he would enter the open 8th Congressional District race, but this week he has changed his mind. Now, Schuette says he will run for re-election to the state House. The move may suggest an opening of the door for his father, former attorney general, appellate judge, US congressman, and US Senate nominee Bill Schuette to run for the open 8th.

Since the 8th CD is a politically marginal district and will host one of the most competitive congressional races in the country, we can expect both parties to invest heavily in the 2024 campaign. Democrats already have several strong candidates, such as state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City), the national Democratic establishment choice; Michigan Board of Education president Pamela Pugh; Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley; and former Genessee County Democratic Party chairman Dan Moilanen.

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.

Dem West Virginia Senate Candidate Emerges; Indiana Rep to Retire; Kentucky Candidate Filing Closes;
No Labels Party Qualifies in Maine

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024

Senate

Wheeling, WVa., Mayor Glenn Elliott (D)

West Virginia: Democratic Candidate Emerges — Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott (D), a former staff member for Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D-WV), announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the open seat that Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is vacating. Though a long shot to overtake favored Republican candidate Jim Justice, the state’s two-term governor, the Democrats now appear to have a credible candidate to fill the major void that Sen. Manchin leaves for his party. Also in the Republican Senate primary is US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town).

House

IN-8: Rep. Larry Bucshon (R) to Retire — Continuing the recent cascade of House retirements, seven-term Indiana Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) announced that he will not seek re-election later this year. Bucshon becomes the 43rd member leaving the House, and the 19th Republican. This is another seat that will be non-competitive in the general election, however.

The 8th District, formerly one of the most hotly contested seats in the country to the point it was nicknamed “the Bloody Eighth,” is no longer a domain that produces close general election results and a large number of incumbent defeats. In his seven successful elections, Rep. Bucshon averaged 61.7 percent of the vote and has broken the 60 percent threshold in his last five consecutive campaigns.

IN-8 occupies the southwest corner of Indiana, bordering Kentucky on the south and Illinois on the west. The two largest population centers are the cities of Evansville and Terre Haute. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates IN-8 as the second-safest Republican seat in the Hoosier State at R+36. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 50th-safest seat in the Republican Conference.

With Reps. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) running for the Senate and Reps. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) and Bucshon retiring, one-third of Indiana’s nine congressional seats now stand in the open category. The candidate filing deadline is Feb. 9 for the associated May 7 Indiana primary election.

Kentucky: Candidate Filing Closes — One more state, Kentucky, has closed its candidate filing period for the 2024 primary election. With no Senate or governor’s race on the 2024 ballot, the presidential and congressional races will lead the ticket.

All six US House incumbents have political opponents, but Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Garrison) and Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) drew no Democratic general election competition in Districts 4 and 5, respectively. Both have Republican primary opposition. It appears that all six incumbents, five Republicans and one Democrat, will have easy runs in the general election.

States

No Labels Party: Qualifies in Maine; Objecting in Arizona — The No Labels Party announced that they have qualified for a ballot line in Maine, to date increasing the number of states to 13 where they will have ballot presence for the 2024 election.

Conversely, they have also filed suit in Arizona trying to block candidates for offices other than president from using their ballot line. Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) is treating No Labels as the state would any other political party. That is, a registered voter in that party can run for office. It is doubtful that No Labels will be granted a court ruling that allows the party leaders to bar a qualified individual from running under their ballot line.

The states where No Labels has qualified for ballot position are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Utah. The party officials claim to have active ballot qualification petition drives underway in an additional 14 unidentified states.

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.