Category Archives: House

Our Primary Preview Shows Liz Cheney Down Big in Latest Wyoming Poll; Key California Race Polls; Incumbents in Trouble in Four States

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 15, 2022

Primary Preview

Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY)

WY-AL: Cheney Down 29 Points in Poll — The University of Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center conducted a poll of Tuesday’s Republican congressional primary (July 25-Aug. 6; 562 likely WY-AL Republican primary voters; live interview) and sees GOP attorney Harriet Hageman leading US Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) by a whopping 57-28 percent count as the candidates wrapped up their final campaign activities during the weekend.

Remembering that Wyoming has an open primary where Democrats and Independents can vote in a Republican primary (and vice-versa), Cheney’s numbers among self-identified Republican voters are even worse, 68-15 percent, in favor of Hageman. The congresswoman gets 98 percent of the crossover Democratic vote, however, while the Independents are split about evenly with the incumbent leading 43-40 percent within this voter segment.

Former Wyoming Republican National Committeewoman Harriet Hageman (R)

The pollsters wanted to see how many people are actually voting for a Cheney opponent, namely Hageman, or to make a statement of opposition against the congresswoman. Therefore, after the individual had stated a candidate preference, the interviewer asked the respondents if their vote is to “mainly support” (the named candidate) or oppose Liz Cheney? The reverse was asked of those people saying they are voting for the congresswoman.

Among Republicans voting for Hageman or one of the other Cheney opponents, 39.5 percent said they were making a statement of opposition toward the Congresswoman, while 31.5 percent said they were stating support for their chosen candidate. The remaining 29.0 percent volunteered that they were doing both. Among the Democrats voting for one of the Republicans other than Cheney, 100 percent of them said they were doing so to oppose the congresswoman. Within the Independent non-Cheney voter segment, 47.1 percent said their vote opposes Cheney versus 21.6 percent to support their chosen contender.

For those supporting Rep. Cheney, 77.8 percent of Republicans, 60.0 percent of Democrats, and 58.8 percent of Independents said their vote is a sign of support for the congresswoman. It appears clear that Hageman will defeat Rep. Cheney on Tuesday night.

A Cheney defeat would mean that of the 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach former President Trump, only one, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) who survived his jungle primary with less than 30 percent of the vote, is on a track to win re-election. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) could also win, but he fared poorly in his jungle primary, barely capturing second place, and currently trails in polling opposite Democratic state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield). Therefore, his re-election path is more difficult.

Should Cheney lose on Tuesday as expected, four of the impeachment Republicans would have lost re-nomination (Tom Rice (R-SC); Peter Meijer (R-MI); Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA); and Ms. Cheney), and four did not seek re-election (Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), John Katko (R-NY), and Fred Upton (R-MI)).

House

California: Series of Key Race Golden State Polls — RGM Research conducted polls in House districts throughout the country including three in northern California contested districts. All are in close competition at this point. Each of the polls consisted of 400 respondents for the individual tested districts. The CA-9 poll was conducted during the July 19-26 period.

In the Stockton anchored district, Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) and San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R) are tied at 38 percent. In the new open 13th CD that stretches from the southern Sacramento County border to Fresno, the survey was conducted during the July 26 – Aug. 2 period. On this ballot test, rancher John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) are tied at 37 percent.

In Rep. David Valadao’s (R-Hanford) 22nd CD (July 30-Aug. 5), the ballot test finds state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) leading the congressman, 39-34 percent.

IN-2: Special Election Scheduled — Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), as expected, announced that the special election to replace the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Elkhart) will be held concurrently with the Nov. 8 general election. Republicans will gather in a precinct committee convention on Aug. 20 to choose a nominee for the special election, and a replacement for Walorski, who won the May Republican primary, in the regular election. Democrats are expected to nominate the party’s regular election nominee, educator Paul Steury.

Incumbents: Polls Find Four Incumbents Trailing — The RMG Research firm is polling around the country and found an additional four races where the incumbent House member is trailing. This, in addition to Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) falling behind in his Fresno/Bakersfield seat as covered in the California report above.

  1. In Iowa, state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) holds a substantial 49-41 percent advantage over Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) according to 400 respondents on the RMG survey conducted over the July 29 – Aug. 5 period.
  2. Former New Jersey state senator and 2020 Republican congressional nominee Tom Kean Jr. leads Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) 46-38 percent on the 400-person sample RMG Research survey conducted in the Garden State’s 7th CD (July 23-28).
  3. Moving to the Kansas City, KS area, challenger Amanda Adkins, the 2020 Republican congressional nominee, holds a 46-45 percent edge over Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park). This RMG poll also surveyed 400 likely voters, and in KS-3 over the period of July 21-28.
  4. Finally, in the Las Vegas area, the RMG poll for Nevada’s 3rd District (July 23-29; 400 likely NV-3 general election voters) finds challenger April Becker (R) holding a 44-41 percent lead over two-term Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas).

Beasley Up in North Carolina; CO-8 Shows Toss-Up Race; Dem Race Tightens in Florida

By Jim Ellis — August 12, 2022

Senate

Former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D)

North Carolina: Democrat Beasley Up in New Poll — Blueprint Polling released a new North Carolina US Senate poll (Aug. 4-6; 656 registered North Carolina voters; live interview) that projects former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) to be holding a 46-42 percent edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). A Republican being down in a North Carolina poll is nothing new, however. In 2020, GOP Sen. Thom Tillis found himself outside the lead in 26 of 28 October public polls but won the race by two percentage points.

House

CO-8: Toss-Up District Shows Toss-Up Race — Colorado received a new congressional district in national reapportionment, and the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission members drew the new seat, located just north of Denver, to be an even district from a partisan perspective. A new Global Strategy Group poll (July 26-Aug. 2; 500 likely CO-8 general election voters) suggests the district is performing as designed. The ballot test finds Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer leading state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D) by a tight 44-42 percent margin. This district is highly important to both parties in determining the next congressional majority.

NY-12: Potential Three-Way Race — Slingshot Strategies, polling for the Indian American Impact Fund (Aug. 2-5; 600 likely NY-12 Democratic primary voters) sees a tight ballot test forming between Democratic paired incumbents Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, but also a third candidate coming into range. Businessman Suraj Patel returns for a third Democratic primary challenge to Rep. Maloney, and the poll, the sponsors of which favor Patel, find the race breaking 29-27-20 percent in favor of Rep. Nadler. Maloney holds a close second place, with Patel showing enough momentum to possibly make a significant closing run.

The New York congressional primary is Aug. 23. The Democratic primary in this new Lower Manhattan/Brooklyn congressional district easily wins the seat in the general election.

Governor

Florida: Dem Race Tightens — State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a new Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 8-9; 664 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) that suggests the primary race scheduled for Aug. 23 is becoming much closer.

The PPP data finds Rep. Charlie Crist’s (D-St. Petersburg) once substantial lead over Fried now falling to just 42-35 percent suggesting that the latter candidate may have enough closing momentum to cast doubt over the eventual outcome especially with 23 percent saying they are still undecided. The eventual Democratic nominee begins a shortened general election cycle in the underdog position opposite GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Tied Poll for Florida Senate Race? Ryan Leads in Ohio; Hererra Beutler Behind in WA-3

By Jim Ellis — August 11, 2022

Senate

Florida: Demings Touting Tied Poll — Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) is brandishing a new poll that finds she and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) tied at 45 percent apiece. This is only the second poll of the 10 released this year that does not project the senator as the race leader. The Clarity Campaigns survey (July 26-31) conducted an online survey of 2,244 registered voters from a pre-selected panel. Since 2016, pollsters have typically underestimated Republican strength in Florida, so it is reasonable to add a couple of percentage points for the Republican candidate in a typical Sunshine State poll.

Ohio: Heavy Campaign Spending Keeps Rep. Ryan in Lead — Riding a major campaign spending wave, thus taking advantage of his abundant campaign war chest, US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) again sees a developing lead in his race against Republican nominee and author J.D. Vance. The just released Impact Research survey (July 21-28; 800 likely Ohio general election voters) projects Ryan as holding a 48-45 percent edge in the race for the open Ohio Senate seat. Last month, the same firm also found Ryan holding an almost identical lead at 48-45 percent.

The Ryan campaign has spent over $6.5 million on the airwaves since the end of May according to the Politico news publication, with virtually no counter media push from the Vance forces. Though Rep. Ryan has had the field virtually to himself in the early going, he still does not expand beyond the polling margin of error. When Vance does counter, we are likely to see a Republican rebound here.

House

Trump-endorsed former retired Army officer Joe Kent (R)

WA-3: Rep. Hererra Beutler Now Behind — New results from the laborious Washington ballot counting process have put Trump-endorsed former retired Army officer Joe Kent (R) ahead of six-term incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground/ Vancouver) by 960 votes with still several thousand ballots left to count. Officials report that it may be as long as Aug. 16 before the totals are finalized.

Since the bulk of the outstanding ballots are from Thurston County, an entity where Kent placed first, some analysts are declaring that Rep. Herrera Beutler will not be able to rebound. At this point, Democrat Marie Glusenkamp Perez places first and will advance to the general election presumably to face Kent.

If this trend holds and Herrera Beutler is defeated, it will mean that 11 House incumbents will have already lost their seats in the 2022 election cycle, and 68 seats will be open in the general election. Republican prospects to hold the 3rd District are strong despite the incumbent losing and a Democrat placing first in the jungle primary, however. A total of 64.8 percent of the more than 208,000 primary voters at this point voted for a Republican candidate.

Governor

Oklahoma Poll: Governor’s Race Closer Than Expected — The Democratic online polling firm Change Research released their latest Oklahoma Governor’s survey (July 22-26; 2,079 likely Oklahoma general election voters; online) and sees Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) in a tighter battle than expected against Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D). The ballot test projects the governor to be holding only a 42-34 percent advantage.

The main reason for Stitt’s downturn apparently relates to his falling job approval rating. According to the Change numbers, the governor’s favorability index has slid to 42:56 percent favorable to unfavorable. It is probable, however, that the governor will be able to rebound and score a convincing win in November. It is difficult to predict a deep red state like Oklahoma going Democratic in what appears to be at least a relatively strong Republican election year.

Senate Victory for Trump-Endorsed Candidate in Connecticut; Omar Barely Survives in Minnesota; Easy Wins in Other Primaries

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 10, 2022

Primary Results

Former Trump ambassadorial appointee Leora Levy wins in Connecticut.

Connecticut: Trump-Endorsed Candidate Scores Senate Victory — Former Trump ambassadorial appointee Leora Levy, though she failed to win Senate confirmation, easily won the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut. Levy defeated former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides by a significant 51-40 percent share of the statewide vote. She now advances to challenge Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) who is seeking a third term.

Minnesota: Finstad Wins; Omar Barely Survives — Last night, Minnesota former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R) appears to have won the open 1st District special congressional election left vacant when Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in mid-February. At this writing, Finstad leads former Hormel corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D) 51-47 percent with all counties reporting and 99 percent of the expected vote tabulated.

Finstad holds a 4,920-vote lead over Ettinger, which should be more than enough to account for any mailed absentee ballot not included in the overall count. The currently recorded turnout of 118,018 votes is high for a special election. Finstad carried 16 of the district’s 21 southern Minnesota counties.

Finstad also easily won the regular Republican primary in the 1st District after state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake) made a run at the nomination despite losing the special election primary back in late May. Following suit on the Democratic side, Ettinger was an easy winner in last night’s regular primary, so the two will again do battle in the regular term for a House seat that has been trending more Republican in recent years.

In the 5th District, suggestions that former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels could give two-term controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) a highly competitive battle proved true. Rep. Omar was renominated in a 50-48 percent squeaker over Samuels, thus guaranteeing her another term in the November election.

Vermont: Scott, Welch, Balint Easily Win — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott was a 69 percent winner in his state’s Republican primary. As expected, the Vermont Democratic open Senate primary resulted in a landslide 87 percent-plus victory for at-large Congressman Peter Welch (D-Norwich). He automatically becomes a prohibitive favorite against the new Republican nominee Gerald Malloy, a retired Army officer.

With Rep. Welch running for the state’s open Senate seat, now in strong position to succeed the retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), the open al-large House seat will go to the Democratic primary winner, state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Burlington). Her 60 percent-plus primary win puts her in position to score a landslide general election victory in November.

Wisconsin: Barnes Confirmed; Michels Defeats Kleefisch — Wisconsin Democratic voters confirmed that Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will be their candidate to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). With his three major opponents dropping out of the race within the past two weeks and all endorsing Barnes as a show of party unity, the lieutenant governor captured 77 percent-plus of the Democratic primary vote. Sen. Johnson topped 83 percent in the Republican primary.

Finally, the lone competitive Wisconsin House primary also resulted as expected. State Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse) recorded a 39 percent plurality victory over three opponents to win his party’s nomination for the open 3rd District House seat of retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). Sen. Pfaff earned Rep. Kind’s endorsement as his successor.

Republican Derrick Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL who held Rep. Kind to a tight 51-49 percent re-election win in 2020, returns in another attempt to capture the seat. Van Orden was unopposed in last night’s election. Winning this seat in November becomes a must for Republican House majority prospects in the fall.

Today’s Primaries; Final Results Close to Complete in Ariz.; Herrera Beutler Hanging By a Thread in Washington

By Jim Ellis — August 9, 2022

Primaries

Voting Today: Four States Holding Primaries; One Special Election — The final phase of primary season continues today with nomination elections occurring in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. The most competitive statewide races include choosing Senate candidates in Connecticut and governor’s contests in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

A total of 22 House races are on the cumulative political card tonight, including three open seats, one each in Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and a special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) in southern Minnesota. With a victory tonight, either former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R) or ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D) will take the seat immediately upon election certification and serve the balance of Hagedorn’s final term.

Primary Results

Former news anchor Kari Lake (R)

Arizona: Final Results Close to Complete — In states that feature large numbers of mail ballots and allow such votes to count even when arriving after election day, the better part of two weeks is needed to finalize the election totals. From Arizona’s Aug. 2 primary, the winners of all races are now statistically projected as the last remaining votes are being tabulated. The latest published figures show 98 percent of the Republican ballots and 92 percent of the Democratic votes recorded. Republican turnout looks to top 815,000, while Democrats are likely to exceed 625,000.

In the general election, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) will face venture capitalist Blake Masters (R), while Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and former news anchor Kari Lake (R) square off in the open governor’s race.

The key House races feature Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) against businessman Jevin Hodge (D); retired Navy SEAL Eli Crane (R) challenging Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona); Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) in a competitive contest against business owner Kelly Cooper, who upset favored Tanya Wheeless in the 4th District Republican primary; and former state Sen. Kirsten Engel (D) and ex-Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani (R) doing battle in the Tucson-anchored open new 6th District.

Washington: Rep. Herrera Beutler Hanging By a Thread — Washington’s laborious vote counting procedure continues from the Aug. 2 all-mail jungle primary, and the biggest development is that Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) has not yet secured a general election ballot slot, and may in fact lose to challenger Joe Kent (R).

With just under 96 percent of the 3rd District votes counted, Democrat Marie Perez, with 31.2 percent of the vote, has clinched the first ballot position. Rep. Herrera Beutler barely holds the second qualifying position with 22.6 percent (41,603 votes) nipping Kent’s 22.5 percent (41,346 votes), a margin of just 257 votes with as many as 7,000 votes remaining to be counted. Since 45.1 percent of the voters chose either Herrera Beutler or Kent, it is reasonable to believe approximately 3,000 of those votes will determine the second-place qualifier. Of the remaining votes for either Herrera Beutler or Kemp, the latter man would need 54 to overcome the congresswoman’s edge.

In the 4th District, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) who, like Rep. Herrera Beutler, voted to impeach former President Trump, has clinched a general election ballot position with 25.4 percent, but with as many as 25,000 votes to count. In second place, also clinching a general election slot, is Democratic businessman Doug White. Eliminated in third place is Trump-endorsed former town police chief and 2020 gubernatorial finalist Loren Culp (R).

Turning to the 8th District, 2020 Attorney General qualifier Matt Larkin (R) has clinched second position over King County Councilman Reagan Dunn and 2020 general election qualifier Jesse Jensen. Larkin now advances to the 2022 general election to challenge Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish). This is evolving into a top competitive national congressional campaign. Schrier only secured 47.9 percent in the jungle primary, and the cumulative partisan totals suggest that a very tight general election is coming. The cumulative Democratic vote so far totals 97,341 with 91.3 percent of the expected vote tabulated compared to the cumulative Republican total of 96,572.

House

MN-1: Finstad Leading in Final Special Election Poll — The closing poll in the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) was released late last week. The Survey USA poll (July 26-30; 544 likely MN-1 special election voters; live interview) finds Republican former state Rep. Brad Finstad leading ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) by a 46-38 percent margin. Finstad also faces a regular election primary contest with former state Rep. Jeremy Munson whom the former defeated in the May 24 special primary election by just 427 votes.

MN-5: Rep. Omar Facing Serious Primary Challenge — Former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels is waging a strong Democratic primary challenge against controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) in an election that will be decided today. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune announced its editorial board endorsement of Samuels and so did the city’s mayor, Jacob Frey (D). In the last week, a Super PAC entitled “Make A Difference” sponsored a $350,000 television buy to support Samuels. This will be a race to watch tonight.

NY-12: Rep. Nadler Leads in New Poll — Emerson College tested the upcoming Democratic-paired incumbent primary between Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). The survey (Aug. 1-2; 1,000 likely NY-12 Democratic primary voters; live interview, text & interactive voice response system) finds Rep. Nadler, largely with the overwhelming support of men, leading Rep. Maloney 40-31 percent, with the third candidate, businessman and former congressional candidate Suraj Patel attracting 11 percent support. The New York congressional primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.

Ogles Claims TN-5; Valadao Trails in New CA Poll; Salazar Holding Lead

By Jim Ellis — August 5, 2022

Primary Results

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles

Tennessee: Ogles Claims 5th District; Dem Gov Undecided — The Volunteer State voters engaged in the country’s only Thursday primary, and the open 5th District (Rep. Jim Cooper-D retiring) was the evening’s key race. The crowded Republican primary winner was Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. He defeated former state House Speaker Beth Harwell and retired National Guard Gen. Kurt Winstead along with six others.

Redistricting transformed this seat into a Republican domain, so Ogles becomes a heavy favorite to defeat state Sen. Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville) in the general election. The three incumbents who faced competition, Reps. Charles Fleishmann (R-Chattanooga), David Kustoff (R-Germantown), and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) were all easily renominated.

The Democratic governor’s nomination is still undecided. With 98 percent of the vote counted, physician Jason Martin leads Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley Jr. by only 1,468 votes. Gov. Bill Lee was unopposed in the Republican primary. He will be the prohibitive general election favorite over either Martin or Smiley.

House

CA-22: Rep. Valadao Trails in New Poll — California Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) represents the most Democratic district in the nation that elects a Republican to the US House, and redistricting made the seat tilt even further away from the congressman. The jungle primary saw him qualify for the general election, but with only 26 percent of the vote as he finished in second place.

A newly released David Binder Research poll (July 13-15; 600 likely CA-22 general election voters) finds state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) leading Rep. Valadao 43-35 percent as the general election campaign in California’s Central Valley is now fully underway. We can expect this race to close tight, but it is one of the best Democratic opportunities in the nation to convert a Republican seat.

FL-27: Rep. Salazar Holding Lead — Despite inheriting a slightly more favorable district for Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) post-redistricting, but one that still favors the Democrats, a new Alvarado Strategies Poll for the Floridians for Economic Advancement PAC (July 26-29; 440 likely FL-27 general election voters; online) stakes the congresswoman to a lead slightly beyond the polling margin of error. Though the ballot test shows a large undecided factor of 27 percent, Rep. Salazar posts a 39-34 percent margin over state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami).

NM-2: Dead Heat — Freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamorgordo) was dealt a difficult blow in redistricting, and a new Global Strategy Group poll conducted for Democratic nominee Gabe Vasquez, a Las Cruces City Councilman (July 19-25; 500 likely NM-2 general election voters; live interview), projects a dead heat already forming for the general election. According to the GSG survey, Vasquez would hold a slight 45-44 percent edge over Rep. Herrell. The 2nd District was drawn as a D+4 district according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization transforming it from the R+14 seat that Herrell currently represents.

Governor

Minneosta: Gov. Walz (D) in Tight Race — A just-released Cygnal group survey of the Minnesota electorate (July 18-19; 500 likely Minnesota general election voters; live interview & text) sees Gov. Tim Walz (D) leading presumed Republican nominee Scott Jensen, a physician and former state senator, but only by a few percentage points. According to the Cygnal poll, Dr. Jensen trails the governor by a tight 50-46 percent margin. The Minnesota primary is Tuesday, but Dr. Jensen faces only minor Republican opposition by virtue of his state party convention victory earlier in the year.

The Cygnal poll found Gov. Walz with a 49:45 percent favorability rating and Dr. Jensen scored a 32:24 percent positive index. President Biden’s rating is an upside down 42:56 percent positive to negative ratio. Within the polling universe, 43 percent believe Minnesota is on the right track, while 48 percent feel the state has veered in the wrong direction.

Tennessee Primary Today; Tight Race Forming in Arizona Senate; Godlewski Drops From Wisconsin Senate Race; Indiana Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash

Tennessee Congressional Districts (click on image to see larger)

By Jim Ellis — August 4, 2022

Primary

Tennessee Primary Today: While still waiting for the remaining final numbers from Tuesday’s Arizona, Michigan, and Washington primaries, Volunteer State voters will go to the polls today to choose their nominees in the nation’s only Thursday primary.

There is no Senate race in the state in this election cycle, as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) will next be on the ballot in 2024 with Sen. Bill Hagerty (R) presumably running for his second term in 2026. While Gov. Bill Lee (R) is in-cycle this year, he is unopposed in today’s Republican primary.

Three Democrats are tonight vying for their party nomination, which of course will give the winner the right to challenge the governor in November. The only elected official of the group is Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley. Challenging him are physician Jason Martin and African American History Museum founder Carnita Atwater. Regardless of tonight’s outcome, Gov. Lee will be rated as a prohibitive favorite in the general election.

In the nine congressional races, five Republican incumbents are all unopposed for re-nomination this evening. Two incumbents — Reps. Charles Fleishmann (R-Chattanooga) and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), the state’s lone Democratic member on the ballot this year — face only minor opponents. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Germantown) has three opponents tonight, but none look to be serious challengers. Therefore, all of the action lies in the open 5th District.

Retiring Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) has represented the district since the beginning of 2003. However, as a result of redistricting, Tennesseans decided to restructure a new 5th District, which was formerly a Nashville center city seat and wholly contained within Davidson County. As a result, the FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new 5th as R+15, thus upending what was a D+17 domain, which is one of the widest partisan redistricting swings in the nation. The Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean calculations sees the new 5th as 54.4 – 42.6 percent in the Republicans’ favor. Nine Republicans are on the ballot, and with no runoff law in Tennessee, a plurality winner will be chosen tonight.

TN-5 attracted much attention just after redistricting because the state Republican Party decided to add qualifications for their candidates, such as voting in the most recent three statewide elections. The party requirement, which survived a court challenge, was designed to bounce former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, music producer Robby Starbuck, and businessman Baxter Lee from participating in the election. It was successful. All three had just recently moved to the area.

Once today’s Tennessee primary concludes, 36 states will have completed their nomination process. Two big states will remain, however, Florida, and the New York congressional and state Senate primary, both scheduled for Aug. 23.

Senate

Arizona: New Post-Primary Poll Shows Tight Race Forming — Venture capitalist Blake Masters won the Republican Senate primary on Tuesday night, and a new OnMessage survey already shows him within striking distance of Sen. Mark Kelly (D). The poll (Aug. 1-2; 600 likely Arizona general election voters) finds the senator leading Masters, 49-44 percent.

We can expect the Arizona race to be one of the most heavily polled general election campaigns during the remaining time before the Nov. 8 election. Arizona is a tight political state, and this race will go a long way toward determining which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.

Wisconsin: Dem Race Ends — While it looked as if state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski would have a last-ditch opportunity to deny Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes the Democratic US Senate nomination in a one-on-one race, that will not be the case. After both Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson dropped out of the race, some believed Godlewski could become a factor in the closing days before the Aug. 9 primary election.

Late last week, however, Godlewski followed suit and ended her Senate campaign. All three now former candidates have endorsed Lt. Gov. Barnes, meaning a united Democratic Party will head into the general election to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). The Johnson-Barnes campaign will be national in scope and one of the key races to decide the next Senate majority.

House

IN-2: Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash — Indiana five-term Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Elkart) and three others were all tragically killed in a car accident yesterday. The congresswoman and her two aides were returning from an event in the district, and died when another vehicle crossed the median line and struck them head-on. The driver of that car also died.

Walorski, who was 58, is the sixth House member to pass away in this session of Congress. Indiana state law will govern the succession procedure to replace the late representative.

Incumbent Defeats — Tuesday’s defeats of Michigan Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries are the ninth and tenth House incumbents to lose their seats in this election cycle. Five come from both parties. Five of the incumbent losses are redistricting related, two because of ethics or personal behavior problems, one for ideological reasons, and a pair on the Republican side, such as Rep. Meijer, for voting to impeach then-President Trump.