Category Archives: Presidential campaign

First Post-New Hampshire GOP Poll Released; Battle For California Senate Seat; Ruppersberger to Retire; Field in NJ-7 Now Down to Two

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024

President

Former South Carolina governor and current Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley lags 27 points behind former President Trump in her home state. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

South Carolina: First Post-NH GOP Poll Released — The first post-New Hampshire primary survey is out, and we see former President Donald Trump performing well in former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s home state. The Tyson Group tested the Palmetto State Republican electorate immediately after the New Hampshire vote (Jan. 24-26; 543 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters; online) and found Trump holding a large 58-31 percent advantage over Haley.

The poll sample, including Independents who say they will vote in the Republican primary, hold both presidential candidates in high regard. Trump’s approval index is 68:27 percent favorable to unfavorable, while Haley’s is slightly worse at 56:33 percent. In comparison, Sen. Tim Scott’s (R) rating is 57:20 percent.

The South Carolina Republican primary is scheduled for Feb. 24 while the Democrats vote on Feb. 3, so the state’s residents can expect a great deal of political action coming their way in the next few weeks.

Senate

California: Second-Place Flipping — As the March 5 Super Tuesday vote approaches, polling in the California Senate jungle primary consistently shows Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) nailing down first place, but second place as undecided. The latest released survey, from Emerson College (Jan. 11-14; 1,087 registered California voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Rep. Schiff holding a 25-18-13-8 percent lead over Republican baseball great Steve Garvey (R), while US Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) trail with their respective support percentages.

A similar poll from The LA Times (UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies; Jan. 4-8; 8,199 registered California voters; 4,470 likely March 5 primary voters; online) released 10 days earlier than the Emerson data found Rep. Schiff leading Rep. Porter, Garvey, and Rep. Lee in a 21-17-13-9 percent spread.

Comparing the current Emerson poll with their November California survey, Garvey gained eight percentage points, while Rep. Porter remained stagnant. Under the California system, all primary contenders compete on the same ballot, with the top two — regardless of percentage attained and party affiliation — advancing to the Nov. 5 general election.

House

MD-2: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) to Retire — Maryland US Rep. Charles A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) announced on Friday that he will not seek a 12th term in the House, thus completing what will be 30 consecutive years in elective office counting his time in Congress and as Baltimore County Executive. He leaves a northern Maryland congressional district that could be on the cusp of competitiveness, but Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski (D) appears primed as Rep. Ruppersberger’s heir apparent.

The 2nd District covers the area just north of Baltimore city and extends all the way to the Pennsylvania border. It includes about two-thirds of Baltimore County, 90 percent of Carroll County, and about 30,000 residents in Baltimore City. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+11. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 52.5D – 41.4R partisan lean, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks MD-2 as the 62nd most vulnerable seat in the House Democratic Conference.

NJ-7: Dem Field Winnows to Two — Democrats want to make a strong run against freshman New Jersey US Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), but one of their candidates just decided to end his congressional bid. Summit Township Councilman Greg Vartan announced on Friday that he will suspend his campaign, leaving former State Department official Jason Blazakis and ex-Working Families Party state director Sue Altman as the two competing Democrats.

Former Congressman Tom Malinowski (D), the man Rep. Kean unseated in 2022, just announced he would not enter the Senate race. Speculation has surrounded him about seeking a congressional rematch, but there is no tangible evidence that the former representative is planning to make a 2024 comeback.

Pennsylvania Poll Shows Biden Over Trump Signifigantly With Senate Race Tightening; More New Hampshire News; NJ, VA House Polling

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024

President

President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Pennsylvania: Biden Lengthens Polling Lead — Susquehanna Polling & Research released the results of their latest Pennsylvania statewide survey (Jan. 15-21; 745 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview & online) and finds a surprising result. The Susquehanna data sees President Joe Biden assuming an eight-point lead over former President Donald Trump, 47-39 percent, which is well beyond other pollsters’ findings during the past month.

During that time span, the Bullfinch Group, Redfield and Wilton Strategies, and Quinnipiac University were all testing the Keystone State electorate and determined much closer ballot test results. Those firms saw results ranging from even support between the two candidates (Bullfinch), to Trump leading by one point (Redfield), and Biden up two (Q-Poll). We can expect to see regular Pennsylvania polling from now to Election Day producing a myriad of results that will, at one time or another, favor each candidate.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Senate Race Tightening — In the same Susquehanna Polling & Research study that produced an eight-point lead for president, the data firm returned the closest US Senate poll we’ve seen from Pennsylvania in more than a month. According to the Susquehanna results, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) edges Republican David McCormick by only a four-point margin, 46-42 percent. This is a surprising result from the same sample that produced an eight-point lead for President Biden.

Other pollsters during the past 30-day period see the race trending significantly more one-sided than Susquehanna. The Bullfinch Group in mid-December found Sen. Casey holding a 15-point lead, while Quinnipiac University, which produced a similar ballot test result for the Biden campaign, projects Sen. Casey to be leading McCormick, 53-43 percent. The Susquehanna poll is the first poll within the current time frame to find the Pennsylvania Senate race falling within the polling margin of error.

Governor

New Hampshire: Ex-Sen. Ayotte Leads in GOP Primary Poll — A new University of Massachusetts at Lowell survey (Jan. 6-16; 600 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online) finds former US Sen. Kelly Ayotte establishing a big lead over former state Senate president and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse. According to the survey results, Ayotte is staked to a 54-22 percent advantage.

The New Hampshire regular primary cycle is a long one, with the election not scheduled until Sept. 10. Democrats also feature two major candidates, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington and former Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is retiring after what will be four complete terms.

House

NJ-7: Early Polling Data Favors Rep. Kean — While many political prognosticators rate New Jersey’s 7th District race as a toss-up campaign for freshman incumbent Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), a recent Public Policy Polling survey (Jan. 16-7; 608 NJ-7 voters; multiple sampling techniques) casts the GOP congressman to a lead well beyond the polling margin of error. According to the PPP results, Rep. Kean would hold a 41-33 percent lead over former US State Department official Jason Blazakis (D).

In other 7th District news, the man who Rep. Kean unseated, two-term Rep. Tom Malinowski (D) this week ended his flirtation with entering the US Senate race and endorsed his former colleague, US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in his Democratic primary challenge to embattled Sen. Bob Menendez. While Malinowski has not firmly rejected running for his former House seat, there is no tangible evidence suggesting he is preparing a House run. In addition to Blazakis, progressive activist Sue Altman is a declared candidate.

VA-7: 2022 GOP Nominee Endorses Another — Prince William County Supervisor Vesli Vega, the 2022 Republican congressional nominee who held Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) to a 52-48 percent re-election victory in what many believed was an under-performance for the GOP in a more favorable post-redistricting 7th CD, issued a statement earlier this week. Many believed that she would again enter the crowded candidate field but instead she endorsed defense contractor and retired Navy SEAL Cameron Hamilton (R).

Though we see a field of eight announced Republicans for what is now an open seat, the Vega endorsement will help Hamilton unite GOP voters behind his campaign. Six Democrats have announced for their party’s nomination including state Del. Briana Sewell (D-Woodbridge), Prince William County Supervisor Margaret Franklin, ex-state Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, and retired Army colonel and National Security Council official Eugene Vindman.

Trump, Biden Win in New Hampshire; Blood Challenges Flood in NE-1; North Dakota Candidates Line Up for Governor’s Race; Louisiana Redistricting Map Signed Into Law

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024

President

New Hampshire: Trump, Biden Win — Former President Donald Trump successfully won the New Hampshire Republican primary last night and did so by about 12 percentage points, but his performance is apparently not enough to convince former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to leave the race.

In her concession speech, Haley pledged to continue moving forward and several times referenced going to her home state of South Carolina as a place that could reverse the political tide. Polling, however, suggests that she is not as strong there as she was in New Hampshire.

For the Democrats, President Joe Biden, despite not being on the primary ballot, won the primary with write-in ballots that tallied just over 67 percent of the vote. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who said he had no fundamental disagreement with the president over issues but believes Democrats should have a choice particularly with an 81-year old in office, secured just over 20 percent of the vote. Author Marianne Williamson attracted the remaining votes, just under 4 percent.

The New Hampshire primary yielded a record Republican turnout. The final participation count could reach 320,000. The previous record of 284,120 was set in 2016. The final Democratic turnout number will only be in the 100,000 range.

House

NE-1: Gov. Nominee to Challenge Rep. Flood — State Sen. Carol Blood (D-Bellevue), who was the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and lost to now-Gov. Jim Pillen (R), 59-36 percent, announced that she will now challenge Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) in the state’s 1st District that surrounds the Omaha metropolitan area on three sides. Flood was elected in a 2022 special election after Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) resigned. He won a full term in November with 58 percent of the vote. Blood’s candidacy gives the Democrats a credible challenger in what is considered a safe Republican seat.

Rep. Flood will be favored for re-election. The 1st District carries an R+17 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a partisan lean of 56.7R – 40.4D. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NE-1 as the 72nd most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.

Governor

North Dakota: One In, One Out — After Gov. Doug Burgum (R) on Monday announced that he will not seek a third term, other North Dakota politicos began to make public their own political plans. At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) quickly declared that he will run for governor. Armstrong leaving the House means that 46 seats will be open for the next election.

Conversely, Attorney General Drew Wrigley (R), also viewed as one of the top potential contenders to succeed Gov. Burgum, announced that he will not run for governor, instead opting to seek re-election to his current position. Former state senator and ex-congressional candidate Tom Campbell (R) will also run for governor.

The Republican statewide nominating convention is scheduled for April 6. The ND primary is set for June 11.

States

Louisiana: Redistricting Map Signed Into Law — Meeting the court-ordered requirement to draw a new majority minority seat in Louisiana, Gov. Jeff Landry (R) yesterday signed into law the legislature’s map. The new lines will cost the Republicans one seat, as an African American Democrat will be heavily favored to win a newly drawn 6th District that stretches from Baton Rouge all the way to Shreveport, cutting through the middle of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton) 4th CD.

Current 6th District Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) says he will run for the House, which likely means challenging Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in the state’s newly drawn, and safely Republican, 5th CD. Rep. Graves also says he is considering filing a lawsuit against the new map.

New Hampshire Primary Today; Close Race in Delaware; Gov. Burgum to Retire; Opponents Look to Change Alaska’s Ranked-Choice Voting

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024

President

Candidate signs along the road in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire: Primary Election Today — At one point it appeared that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was well positioned against former President Donald Trump in the New Hampshire primary, but a plethora of late polls find the former president expanding his advantage well into double digits.

Also on the ballot tonight is the Democratic presidential primary, though sans President Joe Biden. He is bypassing this event because the state refused to accept the Democratic National Committee recommended primary schedule change that would have deprived New Hampshire of its cherished first-in-the-nation primary status.

Ten polls have been released since Saturday from as many different pollsters, and except for the American Research Group, all show Trump holding leads between 10 and a whopping 27 percentage points. The ARG survey finds Trump holding only a 33-29 percent edge.

The Democratic race is much more difficult to forecast because of the write-in campaign underway for the president. The three polls, from the American Research Group, the University of New Hampshire for CNN, and Emerson College for WHDH-TV in Boston, see the Phillips support line falling between 10 and 18 percentage points.

The New Hampshire primary could effectively spell the end to competitive challenges.

First, for Haley: it’s hard to see a path going forward should she lose by the amounts suggested in most polls. The candidates’ next stop is Nevada. The legislature and former governor forced a primary law upon the state, but Republicans still wanted to have their caucus as in years past. Thus, the Nevada GOP is holding both a primary and a caucus, with the caucus being the delegate apportionment body, not the primary.

The candidates could only participate in one of the contests, and curiously Haley entered the primary. The other candidates, when they were in the race, chose the caucus. Therefore, regardless of how many primary votes Haley attracts in the primary, Trump is going to sweep the Nevada delegation because he is the only active candidate who will be receiving pledged delegates.

The South Carolina primary — Haley’s home state — will hold their primary on Feb. 24, and it will be interesting to see whether her candidacy will even remain alive at that time. Polling already shows Trump holding strong leads in the Palmetto State.

For the Democrats, US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) may well be a “one and done” candidate. He will have little in the way of an argument moving forward against President Biden if he fails to overtake him in New Hampshire where the incumbent’s name was not even on the ballot.

With data showing the respective party leaders expanding their leads, it will be an even bigger upset tonight if either President Biden or Donald Trump fail to meet their enhanced expectations.

Governor

Delaware: First Dem Primary Poll Suggests Close Race — With Gov. John Carney (D) being ineligible to run for a third term, lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Bethany Hall-Long (D) released the results of her internal Public Policy Polling Democratic primary survey (Jan. 10-11; 643 likely Delaware voters; live interview & text).

The study finds the lieutenant governor posting an early 30-23 percent lead over New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara, also an announced candidate, was not included on the Democratic primary ballot test.

The Delaware primary is one of the latest in the cycle, scheduled for Sept. 10, so much time remains for this race to develop. The eventual Democratic nominee will be in commanding position to win the open race in November.

North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum to Retire — Former presidential candidate Doug Burgum (R) announced yesterday that he will not seek a third term as North Dakota’s governor despite high approval ratings. With his endorsement of former President Trump, and the ex-chief executive indicating that Gov. Burgum would be primed for a position in a new Trump Administration should the 2024 election go the Republicans’ way, Gov. Burgum’s time in politics may not be coming to an end.

The decision to leave the governorship when his current term ends will open a highly competitive race for the Republican nomination through the state party convention and potentially a June 11 open primary. The eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite to succeed Gov. Burgum.

States

Alaska: Ranked Choice Voting Opponents File Petition Signatures — The proponents of a ballot proposition to repeal the state’s Top Four and Ranked Choice Voting systems have presented 55 percent more than the required number of signatures to reach the ballot, but they may be short on another qualifying requirement. While the group will likely have the proper aggregate number of valid signatures, there are questions as to whether they have met the requirement that certain numbers of the signatures must come from all the required districts. Therefore, it remains to be seen if this repeal measure will qualify for the 2024 election ballot.

The Ranked Choice system could have a wide-ranging effect on the coming presidential race, just as it has in the last two Alaska congressional campaigns.

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.

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.