Category Archives: Polling

Surprising New Hampshire Numbers

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024

President

New Hampshire citizens at a town hall meeting at Hillside Middle School in Manchester. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

New Hampshire Polling Snapshot: Two Candidates Tied — The American Research Group has released companion New Hampshire primary polls the results of which are a bit surprising for both parties.

The ARG survey (Jan. 12-15; 600 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; 406 Republican voters; 194 Independent voters; live interview) sees former President Donald Trump and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley now tied as the candidates turn the corner toward the Granite State primary on Jan. 23. Both candidates were drawing 40 percent support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and now-ex presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy were attracting only four percent apiece.

New Hampshire has been Trump’s weakest polling state among the pre-Super Tuesday primary and caucus entities. In the ARG polling series, Haley’s support has grown from 29 percent in their Dec. 20 survey to 33 percent in the Jan. 3 version, and now 40 percent. Trump, however, has also gained growing support indicated by his polling progression from 33, to 37, to now 40 percent.

ARG is the only pollster to show the race this close. The recent St. Anselm College, Emerson College, CNN/University of New Hampshire, and the Suffolk University/USA Today surveys project Trump with leads of 14, 16, 7, and 20 points, respectively.

The Democrats — The survey research firm also tested the Democratic presidential primary in a series of four polls beginning with their release on Dec. 20. The current 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. According to the 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.

Based upon ARG’s four-poll series, Phillips has consistently increased his support from 17 percent on Dec. 20 to 21, 26, and now 28 percent in the Jan. 15 poll. The congressman has been advertising heavily in New Hampshire. In those same polls, President Biden increased his share from 51 to 58 percent, but has remained stagnant in the two most recent surveys.

Other pollsters don’t see Rep. Phillips as strong. In data released Jan. 9 and 11, Suffolk University/USA Today projects the president holding a whopping 64-6 percent lead over Phillips. The CNN/University of New Hampshire ballot test results agree. They record a 69-7 percent Biden advantage. Within this group only the latest Emerson College poll finds Rep. Phillips breaking into double digits. EC calculates a 49-16 percent spread in the president’s favor.

Similar to Haley on the Republican side, Rep. Phillips actually leads Biden among the Independent voters who plan to participate in the Democratic primary according to ARG. The Independent/Democrats break 46-32 percent for Phillips. The registered Democrats support President Biden, 67-22 percent.

With the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary looming, we shortly will see the impact of Biden choosing to bypass the state because the Granite State did not agree to the proposed Democratic National Committee primary calendar changes. Because of that decision, voters wanting to support the president must now write in his name on the ballot.

The question remains as to whether Haley and Phillips getting close to Trump and Biden in their respective primary races in New Hampshire would have much of an effect upon the national nomination campaign. Could the state be the starting point for new trends, or will more favorable challenger results only prove a blip on the path to convincing national primary victories for both President Biden and former President Trump?

Chances are good that the latter scenario will occur. New Hampshire results don’t tend to be particularly reliable national predictors. For the Republicans since 1976, the non-incumbent winner of the Granite State primary has gone on to win the GOP nomination just four times. For the Democrats, they too see only four of the New Hampshire winners carrying through to become the party’s national standard bearer.

At this point, particularly when looking at other state polls around the country, it appears that the New Hampshire results are more likely an outlier than a new trend setter. Even so, we may be primed to see some interesting results come Tuesday.

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.

Trump Over 50 Percent in Iowa;
Dead Heats in Arizona & Michigan; Casey Expands Lead in Pennsylvania

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 15, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump

Iowa Caucus Polls: Trump Over 50 Percent; Haley in Second Place — The first votes of the presidential campaign are to be cast tonight. In frigid temperatures, Iowa Republicans will attend their individual precinct caucus meetings to cast the first votes of the 2024 presidential election beginning at 7 p.m. Central time. Because of a schedule change on the Democratic side, only the Republicans are voting tonight. No non-incumbent has ever topped the 50 percent plateau, but polling shows that Trump may well exceed that number in these caucus votes.

Suffolk University released a new Iowa Caucus survey in preparation for today’s vote. This survey (Jan. 6-10; 500 likely Iowa Republican Caucus attenders), as every other Iowa poll has projected, sees former President Donald Trump attracting majority support (54 percent). Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, according to the Suffolk data, has surpassed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for second place with 20 percent as compared to DeSantis’ 13 percent.

In terms of interesting side questions, the sampling universe broke virtually evenly regarding the traits of the candidate they want to support. Three responses dominated the answers. The one most often articulated is the respondent’s desire to support a candidate who can defeat President Joe Biden (27.2 percent). Next, is an individual having strong moral character (25.8 percent), and a close third is a person who “has the right experience” (25.0 percent).

Asked of people who said that Donald Trump was neither their first nor second choice, 45 percent said they would support the former president if he became the party nominee, 16.5 percent said they would vote for Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and 15.3 percent said they would support Biden.

No fewer than five polls have been released since Wednesday, including the survey that is typically regarded as the state’s most accurate — the Selzer & Company poll, routinely conducted for the Des Moines Register newspaper.

The Selzer poll, released late on Saturday night (Jan. 7-12; 705 likely Iowa caucus attenders; live interview) and conducted for the Des Moines Register and NBC News, found Trump below 50 percent but holding at 48 percent support, ahead of Haley, in second place again with 20 percent, and DeSantis in third, posting 18 percent preference. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy trailed in single digits with eight percent. Of the five polls conducted during the final week of campaigning, this is the only one that projects Trump with under 50 percent support.

Senate

Arizona: New Poll Shows Virtual Dead Heat — Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Replace Sinema PAC (Jan. 5-6; 590 registered Arizona voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees a dead heat developing between Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) and former news anchor and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake. Incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, running on an Independent ballot line, significantly trails.

According to the ballot test data, Rep. Gallego would record a 36-35 percent edge over Lake with Sen. Sinema well behind with a 17 percent support figure. Among the key non-affiliated voting sector, Lake takes the largest share with 31 percent. Sen. Sinema posted 27 percent from this category, while Rep. Gallego trailed with 24 percent. If the race were a two-way contest between Gallego and Lake, the Republican would hold a 46-45 percent edge. This poll again shows that the Arizona Senate race continues as a true wild card campaign.

Michigan: Virtual Ties All Around — The Glengariff Group, a Michigan-based pollster who frequently conducts political surveys for media organizations, tested the Wolverine State electorate for the Detroit News and WDIV-TV Channel 4 (Jan. 2-6; 600 likely Michigan voters) though the partisan division within the polling sample looks to have comparable numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Michigan does not register voters by political party, but it is clear through voter history statistics that the state houses at least a slightly higher number of Democrats than Republicans. Therefore, these results, though weighted to decrease a bias factor, are likely skewed somewhat toward Republicans.

The ballot test results find Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) and three potential Republican opponents all locked into virtual ties. Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig matches up most favorably with Rep. Slotkin, leading her 38-36 percent. Former Rep. Peter Meijer is tied with Slotkin at 36-36 percent, while former US Rep. Mike Rogers trails her by just one percentage point.

It is likely that the Michigan race will become a top-tier general election Senate campaign irrespective of which Republican candidate claims the party nomination in August.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Expands Lead — The new Quinnipiac University Pennsylvania poll (Jan. 4-8; 1,680 self-identified registered Pennsylvania voters; 746 Democrats; 651 Republicans; live interview) finds three-term Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) expanding his lead over Republican challenger David McCormick (R) to a full 10-point advantage, 54-43 percent, an improvement of a net four percentage points when compared to the October Q-Poll. Within this survey sample, the split between Democrats and Republicans is almost spot on, with Republicans under-counted by approximately just one percentage point.

The Casey lead is strong in comparison to how President Biden fares. Biden posts a job approval rating of only 40:58 percent as compared to Sen. Casey’s 51:31 percent. The president, however, still leads former President Trump, 49-46 percent in a general election ballot test. The Pennsylvania office holder with the best job approval ratio is Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) who records a 59:23 percent favorability index.

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.

The Disconnects

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 5, 2024

President

President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Overcoming the Numbers: Negative Polling vs. Actual Voting — There are many head-scratching poll numbers currently in the political domain, and while much of the data shows a disconnect between what respondents are saying and how they will likely vote, each party finds themselves failing to connect with voters under several surprising circumstances.

In a special interview series that consultant Bruce Mellman conducts, veteran pollster Bill McInturff, just before breaking for the holidays, notes that he sees 19 individual polling figures never before reached. Today, we will review some of the most telling of these research trends and illustrate just who has much work ahead of them to improve their political standing.

As McInturff points out, President Joe Biden is entering his re-election year as the most unpopular chief executive in modern American political history. In fact, in examining the Gallup organization tracking figures for every president since Eisenhower, only three presidents have been saddled with an upside-down job approval rating as their respective pre-election year was ending.

President Barack Obama, being eight percentage points underwater, had the worst rating at this commensurate point until Biden. President Donald Trump was second worst at minus-6. As we know, President Obama rebounded to win re-election while President Trump did not. Niether, however, were as far down as President Biden, who now finds himself 22 percentage points below the break-even mark.

The late September NBC News poll that McInturff’s Public Opinion Strategies firm conducted also finds bad news for Republicans. On the abortion issue prior to the Dobbs decision even being leaked, those individuals who self-identified as abortion issue voters actually favored the GOP. In January of 2020, those voters favored a Republican controlled Congress with a 57-37 percent margin. After the Dobbs briefing was leaked, the numbers flipped to a 63-34 percent spread favoring a Democratic controlled Congress.

As has been documented through other polling, President Biden has a major problem on the Israel-Hamas issue. While he is scoring strong points among the aged 65-plus segment (54-44 percent approve of his handling of the issue), we see a different demographic segment turning against Biden. The POS data brings home just how stark a difference exists between young and old in relation to the Israel-Hamas question.

Among the 18-34 aged segment, a plurality of 46 percent are sympathetic with Hamas’ position as compared to just 27 percent who favor Israel. Within this younger voter sample cell, President Biden takes a major hit. Only 24 percent approve of his job performance regarding Israel-Hamas and a whopping 67 percent disapprove.

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Pre-Christmas Poll Favors Schiff & Garvey; Potential New Utah Senate Candidate; Fong Reinstated in California Race

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024

Senate

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) / Former baseball great Steve Garvey (R)

California: Pre-Christmas Poll Favors Schiff & Garvey — A new survey, this one from Politico/Morning Consult (Dec. 15-19; 858 likely California jungle primary voters; online with leaners), finds US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) posting his largest polling lead over the large multi-party candidate field and is the second to show retired baseball great Steve Garvey (R) claiming second position.

The Morning Consult data records Rep. Schiff at 28 percent and Garvey following with 19 percent. If this trend were to continue, Schiff and Garvey would advance into the post-March 5 general election. US Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) trail with 17 and 14 percent, respectively. If this poll were the final vote, both Reps. Porter and Lee would be eliminated from further competition.

Utah: Rep. Curtis Poised to Enter Senate Race — Utah political reports are suggesting that four-term US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) will imminently join the open US Senate race with the hope of succeeding retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R). Originally saying he would not run for the Senate, the congressman is apparently on the brink of changing his mind as he sees the candidate field develop.

With several key Republicans such as Gov. Spencer Cox declining to run for the federal post, and no other GOP House member entering to date, Curtis now believes he would have a strong chance of winning the party primary. Looking at the field, the strongest contender appears to be former state House Speaker Brad Wilson. Utah’s candidate filing period expires on Jan. 8, so decisions will now be made quickly.

Should Rep. Curtis run for the Senate, he will likely petition onto the ballot. When he won his special congressional election in 2017, he was not the choice of the local Republican nominating convention but did win the special primary election. Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Curtis was twice elected as Provo’s mayor.

House

CA-20: Fong Reinstated to Cong Ballot — Reversing the California Secretary of State’s ruling, a California Superior Court judge ruled that state Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield) can run for the open 20th Congressional District seat that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has vacated. Because Fong had filed and been qualified as a candidate for re-election to the assembly, the secretary of state ruled that he could not enter the regular congressional election campaign after McCarthy announced his intention to retire. Fong challenged the administrative ruling and will now become a congressional candidate.

Also in the regular jungle primary are Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux, five other Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents. CA-20, carrying a R+31 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, is the safest Republican seat in California. A special election to fill the balance of the current term should be called now that McCarthy has officially left office.