Category Archives: Presidential campaign

New Hampshire Presidential Primary Remains 1st; NJ First Lady Announces; Arkansas Candidate Filing Closes; VA-5 Candidate Emerges

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Nov. 17, 2023

President

New Hampshire: Presidential Primary Finally Scheduled — New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan announced that the state’s “first-in-the-nation” presidential primary will be scheduled for Jan. 23, 2024. There is little surprise associated with this date. To remain as the first primary state and comply with New Hampshire election law — Iowa still votes earlier (Jan. 15), but they feature caucus voting — Jan. 23 became the state’s only choice.

The Nevada primary is Feb. 6, and New Hampshire law, which gives the Secretary of State sole authority to schedule and move the election to prevent another domain from jumping to the front, requires the primary to be at least one week before any other state. Thus, Jan. 23, in holding with their Tuesday voting tradition, was the secretary’s only viable option.

President Joe Biden will not participate in the New Hampshire primary because the state would not agree to the new Democratic National Committee schedule. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) will be on the Democratic ballot, however, and most of the party’s state leadership is organizing a write-in campaign to support President Biden.

Senate

New Jersey: State’s First Lady Announces for Senate — Tammy Murphy (D), wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), officially declared her candidacy to oppose indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) in next year’s Democratic primary. Though most believe Sen. Menendez will not seek re-election, there has been no such confirmation from the Menendez camp.

Ms. Murphy should be regarded as a long shot to win the party nomination. Immediately upon Sen. Menendez’s indictment becoming public, US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) announced his challenge to Menendez, and he has already established a large lead in polling and fundraising. Conversely, Ms. Murphy is a first-time political candidate.

House

Arkansas: 2024 Candidate Filing Closes — The Arkansas ballot is now set. With the candidate filing deadline now past, we’ll look forward to seeing one contested congressional primary election on Super Tuesday, March 5. The presidential primary will be held that day, and with no Senate seat on the Arkansas ballot this year, the four congressional seats become the state’s only other federal elections.

In three districts, the general election candidates are now set. In the eastern 1st District, veteran Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) will run for an eighth term against Iraq War veteran Randy Govens (D). Five-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) will face retired Army Col. Marcus Jones (D) in the Little Rock-anchored 2nd CD. Fourth District incumbent Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) will be tasked with defending his seat against Democratic attorney Risie Howard.

The only primary contest among the congressional districts comes in the state’s western 3rd District where state Sen. Clint Penzo (R-Tontitown) will oppose seven-term Rep. Steve Womack (R-Rogers). It remains to be seen if this race develops into a major challenge. Republicans will be favored to again retain all four of the Natural State’s congressional districts.

VA-5: Rep. Good Challenged for Renomination — Two-term Virginia Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg), one of the outspoken Freedom Caucus members who was a leader in the move to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, will have a renomination challenge next year.

John McGuire III, a state Delegate first elected in 2017 who then won a state Senate seat last week in unopposed fashion, filed a congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. McGuire, a retired Navy SEAL, ran for Congress once before, losing in the former 7th District’s 2020 Republican nominating convention. State Delegate Nick Freitas, who defeated McGuire that year, would then lose a close battle to Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Ellen) in the general election.

Rep. Good was first elected to the Campbell County Board of Supervisors in 2015. He defeated then-US Rep. Denver Riggleman (R) in a district convention that his key supporters controlled. Assuming Rep. Good is as strong with the local Republican Party as he was during his first election campaign, it would be very difficult for McGuire to upset him within such a favorable venue.

Sen. Tim Scott Out; Primary Rematch Announced in Rep. Omar’s District; Candidate Again Switches Districts; Two Texas Reps Out; Spanberger to Run for Governor

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023

President

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)

Sen. Tim Scott: Suspends Campaign — South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott announced that he is suspending his 2024 presidential campaign, effectively ending his effort to secure an upset win for the Republican presidential nomination. In late October, Sen. Scott’s campaign principals announced they were turning the strategic focus toward the Iowa Caucuses, but the decision did not result in any appreciable gain in support. This, and barely qualifying for his last debate, led the Palmetto State lawmaker to leave the race. He follows former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-US Rep. Will Hurd in exiting the campaign.

The Republican presidential campaign now actively features former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the top tier of candidates. Long shots Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also remain in the race.

House

MN-5: Dem Primary Rematch Announced — Former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels, who held controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) to a 50.3 – 48.2 percent renomination victory in the 2022 Democratic primary, has officially announced that he will return for a rematch next year. Two other candidates previously announced, so it remains to be seen if they will continue their campaigns or if they will give Samuels a clear path toward challenging Rep. Omar.

Sarah Gad, an attorney who previously ran for office in Illinois, and businessman Tim Peterson are the announced Democratic candidates. Neither had raised even $55,000 through the Sept. 30 campaign finance reporting deadline. Considering Rep. Omar’s outspoken position regarding the war in Israel, we can expect that particular issue to play a major role in the 2024 campaign. The Minnesota primary is scheduled for Aug. 13, 2024.

NC-6: Candidate Hines Again Switches Districts — Republican Bo Hines, who many observers say proved himself a weak candidate when he lost the politically marginal 13th District to now-Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) in 2022, has again switched districts. Before losing the 13th District race last November, he originally declared to run in a western North Carolina district. Earlier this year, Hines announced a re-match effort against Rep. Nickel. Now, post-redistricting Round II, he is switching yet again. This time, he will run in the new 6th District against Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro).

Redistricting appears to have made NC-6 the most vulnerable district in the House Democratic Conference, so Republican chances of converting this seat are strong. Hines, however, must face former Congressman Mark Walker in the Republican primary. After the districts were passed into law, Walker abandoned his long-shot gubernatorial campaign and now becomes a clear favorite to win the Republican nomination in the new 6th, which closely resembles the district he represented for three terms.

TX-4 & 26: Two Texas Reps Won’t Seek Re-Election — As candidate filing deadlines begin to approach in the early primary states, we are seeing 2024 electoral decisions being made. Two more members of the Texas US House delegation announced that they will not run for re-election next year. Veteran Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Pilot Point), in a 26th District that covers three-quarters of Denton County, all of Cooke and two-thirds of Wise County in North Texas, announced that he will not seek an 11th term in the House. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco), in a more surprising move since he was elected to Congress just three years ago, is opting to run for the state Senate seat that he left to originally run for Congress.

Both Texas seats are safely Republican. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates TX-4 as R+31, while TX-26 is rated R+26. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the 4th and 26th as the 159th and 127th most vulnerable seats, respectively, in the Republican Conference.

VA-7: Rep. Spanberger to Run for Governor — Three-term US Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) announced that she will run for governor of Virginia in 2025. The move means she will not seek re-election to the House in 2024.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), under Virginia’s unique one-term limit law for its state chief executives, is ineligible to seek re-election. Therefore, the position will again be open for the 2025 election. Rep. Spanberger reports more than $1.4 million cash-on-hand in her congressional committee, all of which is transferable to a Virginia state campaign.

Without Spanberger seeking re-election, the 7th District becomes highly competitive in the general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+2. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates 51.1D – 47.2R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks VA-7 as the 17th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

Trump on Ballot in Minnesota; Incumbent Challenged in AR-3; Virginia Final Numbers; Houston Mayoral Runoff Set

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Nov. 10, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Minnesota: State Supreme Court OKs Trump for Primary Ballot — Ruling on a 14th Amendment lawsuit attempting to bar former President Donald Trump from the ballot saying he incited an “insurrection” even though he or no January 6-convicted defendant was even charged with insurrection against the Constitution; therefor, the Minnesota State Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that he will be placed on the Republican primary ballot. The high court left open the possibility to hear, however, another lawsuit for the general election should Trump win the Republican presidential nomination.

Similar lawsuits are also alive in Colorado and Michigan.

In dismissing the challenge, Minnesota Chief Justice Natalie Hudson wrote that the Republican primary is, “an internal party election to serve internal party purposes … [and] there is no statute that prohibits a major political party from placing on the presidential nomination primary ballot, or sending delegates to the national convention supporting, a candidate who is ineligible to hold office.”

The plaintiffs indicated they are “disappointed” with the ruling but underscored that the state Supreme Court has left the door open for a perhaps different ruling later in the cycle relating to the general election.

House

AR-3: Rep. Womack to Face GOP Primary Challenge — Yesterday, Arkansas state Sen. Clint Penzo (R-Springdale) announced that he will challenge seven-term Congressman Steve Womack (R-Rogers). During his tenure in the House, Womack served briefly as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Immediately, in a show of support, Sen. Tom Cotton (R), Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R), and US Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) announced their endorsements of the incumbent. It remains to be seen if this challenge becomes a serious effort. The Arkansas primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

States

Virginia: Numbers Becoming Final — The final votes are being reported in the Virginia legislative elections, and the party division numbers look to be 21-19 in the Democrats’ favor for the incoming state Senate, and a 51-49 Democratic majority in the House of Delegates. The final numbers are slightly better for Republicans, but Democrats now control both houses in the General Assembly instead of just one.

Cities

Houston: Mayoral Runoff Set, Outgoing Mayor Endorses — Gov. Greg Abbott (R) confirmed that the Houston mayoral runoff election will be held on Dec. 9. The runoff winner will earn a four-year term as America’s fourth largest city’s chief executive. Immediately after the election, outgoing Mayor Sylvester Turner (D), ineligible to seek a third term, endorsed US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston). She placed second to state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) in Tuesday’s initial election. Neither candidate received majority support to secure the election, hence the need for a head-to-head second vote.

Trouble for Biden in Swing States; Incumbents Reign in 2023 Elections; Former Michigan Rep. Announces for Senate; What the Amo RI-1 Win Means

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023

President

President Joe Biden is in trouble in swing states. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Siena College/NYT Poll: Trouble for Biden in Swing States — Siena College and the New York Times teamed up on recent polls in six key swing states all conducted during the Oct. 22 to Nov. 3 period. The six states are: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The tested Republicans against President Joe Biden were former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In all instances, with the exception of Trump in Wisconsin, the named Republican would poll ahead of President Biden, thus unseating him if the election were today.

Of the three Republicans, Haley performs the strongest against the Biden. Her best number, +14, comes among Wisconsin likely voters. Trump’s best state is Nevada (+11); DeSantis tops President Biden by five percentage points among Arizona registered voters; Biden’s best showing comes against Trump in Wisconsin (+2).

The Democrats certainly have time to right their political ship, and if Trump is convicted in any of his criminal cases, that might get adjudicated before the election, and the tables could quickly turn. This campaign will prove the most unique of presidential elections.

Election 2023

Déjà Vu: Incumbents Reign — The 2023 odd-numbered year elections are now in the books, and, as we saw on Election Night, the results are very similar to what occurred a year earlier in the 2022 midterm elections.

Most of the political pundits are calling this election year a victory for Democrats despite having an unpopular president in office, while others cite the abortion issue as a continuing turnout driver, which also benefits Democrats. Both statements are true, but perhaps the more definitive underlying pattern is that the incumbents, just as they did in 2022, again reign supreme.

In 2022, 55 of the 56 US senators and governors who ran for re-election won. In the US House elections, 98.1 percent of incumbents who ran for re-election were successful. On Election Night, we saw two more incumbent governors win again.

Governors Andy Beshear (D) and Tate Reeves (R) in Kentucky and Mississippi, respectively, were re-elected with similar five percentage point margins. Polling in the two states suggested a closer result for both incumbents, but each was favored to win.

The Virginia situation is a bit different. Largely due to new court-imposed redistricting maps that radically changed the complexion of most districts, voters elected Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature. It is inconsistent to rate the Virginia results as incumbent-oriented because we saw roughly one-third of all districts run without incumbents, and most of those office holders who did seek re-election found themselves in new districts vastly different from the one in which they were originally elected.

Democrats will now have at least 21 of 40 seats in the Virginia state Senate and 52 of 100 in the House of Delegates. The party division margin differences yield no change in the Senate, while Democrats converted at least four seats in the House.

While it’s difficult to overlay an incumbent victory matrix across the Old Dominion legislative elections, it is not unusual to see a state that has become reliably Democratic over the past two decades to again vote for that party’s candidates in the 2023 elections. Therefore, the fact that the state’s favored party over the course of time again performed better is consistent with the incumbent voting pattern seen elsewhere.

The abnormal facet of the incumbent-oriented elections we have witnessed in 2022 and now 2023 is that the issue polls consistently show voters certainly believing the country is headed down the wrong track, with similar feelings regarding most states. The state right direction/wrong track questions, however, are not as intensely negative as at the national level.

Yet, despite the recorded discontent, voters return to their respective polling places and almost unanimously re-elect the incumbents. This again suggests that the Republican campaign message machine needs an overhaul. It is clear that their campaign themes and approaches are not driving enough voters to support the GOP candidates in the most hotly contested races.

Once numbers become finalized, we can better understand the results. Because the 2023 vote tabulations verified the pattern set in 2022, it is likely this precursor favors incumbents at large, and more specifically the Democrats, to have another positive election year in 2024 despite what today’s issue polls may currently be projecting.

Senate

Michigan: Ex-Rep. Meijer Announces — Former one-term Congressman Peter Meijer (R), who was defeated for renomination in 2022, announced Monday that he will join the open Michigan US Senate field. The move had been expected for weeks, but is a curious one, nonetheless. It is hard to see a victory path for Rep. Meijer since he couldn’t get enough conservative support to defeat his ’22 GOP challenger, John Gibbs. Gibbs would then go onto lose the general election to now freshman Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids).

The top Republican contenders for the party’s Senate nomination are former US Rep. Mike Rogers and retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig. It is possible that Meijer’s entry could actually help Rogers, since Craig and Meijer will likely both appeal to the more centrist element of the Republican voter base. If so, this will help Rogers unite the conservatives behind his candidacy and propel him to the nomination. Whoever wins the Republican primary will almost assuredly face Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) in the general election.

The open Michigan race is likely to be close, but Democrats will have at least a slight edge in the general election. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four full terms once the current congressional session concludes at the beginning of 2025.

House

RI-1: Gabe Amo (D) Wins Special Election — Former Biden and Obama White House aide Gabe Amo virtually assured himself of succeeding resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) when he won the Sept. 5 special Democratic primary. Amo easily defeated Republican Gerry Leonard Tuesday in the special general election. Upon winning the seat, Amo now will be sworn in to the House and serve the balance of the current term.

Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District is solidly Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+32. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 64.9D – 33.1R. President Biden carried the seat with a 64-35 percent victory margin in 2020. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 99th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference — pretty secure. Therefore, there was little doubt as to which candidate would win the special election.

The Amo victory will bring the Democrats back to their full 213-member compliment in the House. The next special election, in UT-2, will be held on Nov. 21. Republican Celeste Maloy is favored to hold resigned Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R-Farmington) seat. Should she win, the House will be restored to its post-regular election division of 222R-213D.

Kennedy Breaks 20 Percent Threshold; Nevada’s Lombardo Endorses One-Time Opponent; US Governors’ Approval Ratings; Early Voting Trends Ahead of Tuesday

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 6, 2023

President

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., running as an Independent general election candidate.

Quinnipiac Poll: Kennedy Breaks 20 Percent Threshold — A new national Quinnipiac University survey (Oct. 26-30; 1,772 US Adults; 1,610 US registered voters; live interview) finds Robert F. Kennedy Jr., running as an Independent general election candidate, securing 22 percent support in a ballot test featuring him, President Joe Biden, and former President Donald Trump. The Kennedy presence dragged both President Biden (39 percent) and Mr. Trump (36 percent) below the 40 percent mark. Kennedy’s strongest groups were voters aged 18-34 (38 percent), Independents (36 percent), and Hispanics (33 percent).

As has been the case with other polling, Kennedy draws slightly more support from the Trump/Republican coalition than he does from the Biden/Democratic voter group. In this particular survey, 14 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats support Kennedy.

House

NV-4: Governor Endorses Ex-North Las Vegas Mayor — Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) has already waded into the 4th Congressional District Republican primary to endorse former North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, a Democrat turned Republican. Interestingly, Lee opposed Lombardo in the 2022 governor’s race, but fared poorly in garnering only eight percent support. Lombardo, then the Clark County Sheriff, would go on to defeat incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) in the associated general election to become the only challenger to unseat either a sitting governor or a senator in the entire country.

The 2024 4th District Republican primary winner will challenge Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) in what is likely to become a competitive race. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NV-4 as D+5. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 34th most vulnerable seat in the 213-member Democratic Conference.

Governor

Morning Consult: Governor Approval Survey — The Morning Consult firm released their regular report measuring job approval scores of all 50 US governors and found everyone in positive territory. Govs. Phil Scott (R-VT; 83:14 percent approval/disapproval), Mark Gordon (R-WY; 73:13 percent), Chris Sununu (R-NH; 67:28 percent), Josh Green (D-HI; 66:25 percent), and Mike Dunleavy (R-AK; 63:25 percent) were the five governors commanding the strongest ratios.

The five with the worst ratings are: Govs. Tina Kotek (D-OR; 44:41 percent approval/ disapproval), Tate Reeves (R-MS; 46:44 percent), Katie Hobbs (D-AZ; 48:40 percent), Kim Reynolds (R-IA; 49:47 percent), and outgoing Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA; 49:43 percent). The poorer scores were particularly concerning for Mississippi Gov. Reeves, who is on the ballot for re-election Tuesday, Gov. Reynolds in Iowa who was consistently highly rated in previous surveys, and Gov. Edwards who will leave office in December but, heretofore, had enjoyed reliably positive scores.

States

Early Voting: Monitoring Trends Before Tuesday — Since most states have adopted some form of early voting, analyzing the pre-election vote has proven to be an accurate way to forecast momentum. Monitoring early voting becomes a reliable precursor to forecasting which party will do better when all ballots are counted. Unfortunately, for Tuesday’s election, Mississippi is one of the three states that has no early voting program. Kentucky only allows in-person early voting on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before the election so early trends are not available in those two states.

The Virginia numbers for the state’s legislative races are interesting. As reported through Nov. 2 from the Target Smart organization, Republican early voting is up three percentage points when compared to the party’s 2021 performance, while Democrats are down 2.7 percent under the same model. Unaffiliated voters are down 0.4 percent from their 2021 performance statistics. Democrats, however, still have more people casting their ballots than do Republicans and unaffiliated voters (52.2 percent of early ballots come from Democrats, 32.7 percent from Republicans, and 15.0 percent from the unaffiliated segment).

The Virginia Public Access Project also charts the pre-election voting. In addition to the early vote by party, they also track the early in-person vote. Here, Republicans have clear momentum for the Tuesday legislative elections. Compared to the 2021 turnout (numbers are recorded in 2021 and 2023 at the 16-day before election mark), Republican early in-person turnout is up 7.4 percentage points, while Democratic early in-person participation is down 6.3 points. Again, however, more Democrats than Republicans have voted, but the comparison within each party’s previous performance has routinely proven significant.

New Hampshire for Biden Write-In Effort; NJ First Lady Files; OR-3 Rep. Blumenauer to Retire; Bowman on Hot Seat Since Pulling Fire Alarm

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023

President

A New Hampshire for Biden poster

New Hampshire: Democratic Leaders Launch Biden Write-in Effort — A group of leading Democrats, including the state’s two senators and their pair of US House members, as well as all 10 Democratic state senators and most of the party’s large delegation to the state House of Representatives, are forming an organization to qualify President Joe Biden as a write-in candidate for the still unscheduled Democratic presidential primary. Biden is choosing to bypass New Hampshire because the state did not agree with the new Democratic National Committee presidential primary scheduling recommendations.

Though the show of internal Democratic strength is positive for the Biden campaign, their move also increases the stakes for the New Hampshire primary. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) is a candidate and will secure a ballot position. Therefore, the pressure would be on the Biden write-in effort to defeat Phillips, otherwise his national campaign would begin with a major political black eye.

Senate

New Jersey: NJ First Lady Files Candidate Committee — New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy (D) may be joining the US Senate race. Rumored to be a candidate once the scandal involving incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D) broke, Murphy had not taken any official step to create a formal campaign. That changed Tuesday, however, as she filed a senatorial exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission but stopped short of declaring her candidacy. An announcement may be coming in the next couple of weeks.

Murphy may have a difficult time in the Senate Democratic primary. Sen. Menendez, though faring poorly in early polling, has not indicated that he will resign or retire. Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) immediately announced his Senate primary entry upon the Menendez indictment becoming public and has jumped out to an early lead.

Additionally, Gov. Phil Murphy had a close call for re-election in 2021, meaning the Murphy family is likely weakened within the Democratic voting base. Finally, Murphy has never been a candidate before, and starts well behind Rep. Kim despite having name identification. An early October Data for Progress poll showed Kim leading an entire proposed candidate field, including Sen. Menendez, by a large margin. Murphy stood at just four percent support.

House

OR-3: Rep. Earl Blumenauer to Retire — Fifteen-term Oregon US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) has announced that he will retire at the end of the current Congress. Blumenauer, first elected to the House in a 1996 special election, has served in public office consecutively since 1973, including his time in the Oregon House of Representatives, the Multnomah County Commission, and as a Portland City Commissioner, in addition to his 28-plus years in Congress. He currently serves on the Ways & Means and Budget Committees.

Rep. Blumenauer leaves a safely Democratic Portland suburban-anchored seat that covers Hood River County and parts of Multnomah and Clackamas counties. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+43. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a whopping 70.5D – 25.0R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks OR-3 as the 155th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

Blumenauer’s retirement decision means there are now 22 open House seats, 15 from the Democratic side, six that Republicans hold, with one new redistricting-created open seat in Alabama. Of the 21 incumbents not seeking re-election at this point, eight are retiring or have resigned, and 13 are running for a different office. We can expect a crowded and hotly contested 3rd District Democratic primary scheduled for May 21, 2024.

NY-16: Rep. Bowman Primary Opponents Unifying — Pastor Michael Gerald (D) announced that he is putting his Democratic primary challenge against Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) on hold until Westchester County Executive George Latimer (D) decides whether he will run. Rep. Bowman has been on the hot seat regarding being found guilty of deliberately pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building and could face an expulsion resolution. Obviously, this has generated negative publicity for the congressman.

Prior to winning the County Executive’s position in the 2017 election, Latimer had served in the New York State Senate and Assembly. Westchester County contains 91 percent of NY-16, so a Latimer challenge to Rep. Bowman, should it materialize, would become a major campaign.

Trump Well Below 50 Percent in Iowa; Primary Pairing Develops in AL-1; Missouri Candidate Leaves Senate Race to Run for House; West Virginia Governor Candidate Emerges

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump speaks in Las Vegas Saturday. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Iowa: Trump Well Below 50 Percent, Again — According to the new Selzer & Company poll for the Des Moines Register newspaper (Oct. 22-26; 404 likely Iowa Republican Caucus attenders; live interview), former President Donald Trump is still enjoying a healthy lead over the Republican field, but his support level continues to become stagnant. According to this survey, he has 43 percent of the impending Iowa Caucus vote, scheduled for Jan. 15, 2024. This is a one-point increase from Selzer’s August survey. Tied for second place are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and ex-UN Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Both record 16 percent support.

The allegiance percentage is an increase of 10 points since the August survey for Haley but a three-point drop for Gov. DeSantis. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who has now moved his whole campaign focus to Iowa, draws a seven percent preference. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are tied in this poll with four percent apiece.

House

AL-1: GOP Primary Pairing Develops — The recently completed court-driven Alabama congressional map creates a new majority minority district anchored in the capital city of Montgomery, but then stretches southwest to encompass downtown Mobile. Now we see that the draw results in a pairing of two Republican congressmen. Two-term Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) announced Monday that he will challenge Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), also serving his second term, in the state’s new 1st District. The seat now spans the entire width of southern Alabama from the Mississippi border all the way to Georgia.

This will be a short-term paired campaign in that the Alabama state primary is held concurrently with the Super Tuesday presidential vote on March 5. Should no one receive majority support, the top two finishers will advance to an April 2 runoff election.

This version of AL-1 favors Rep. Carl in that he already represents 59 percent of the new territory as compared to 41 percent for Rep. Moore. The former also leads in fundraising and cash-on-hand. According to the Sept. 30 Federal Election Commission disclosure filing. Rep. Carl reported raising $1.3 million for the campaign-to-date; $257,000 in the 3rd Quarter just completed and holds $869,000 in his account.

By contrast, Rep. Moore has raised just $309,000 during the cycle-to-date, $109,000 for the Q3 period, and shows $647,000 cash-on-hand. Rep. Moore, a member of the Freedom Caucus, may be viewed as the more conservative of the two, which often proves to be the defining factor in a safe district Republican primary.

MO-1: Democratic Prosecutor Exits Senate Race to Run for House — St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell (D) who was challenging for the Democratic US Senate nomination, announced Monday that he is ending his statewide bid and will instead run a primary challenge against Democratic Socialist Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-St. Louis).

Four Democrats opposed Rep. Bush in the 2022 election, two years after she upset veteran Rep. Lacy Clay (D), but she was easily renominated with 69.5 percent of the primary vote.

Bell will be a credible challenger, but Rep. Bush must be viewed as the favorite for renomination and then an easy re-election in a 1st District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+52.

Governor

West Virginia: First Credible Dem Candidate Announces — Though Democrats are viewed as a clear underdog to convert the open West Virginia governor’s mansion next year, the party now has a candidate capable of running a credible general election campaign. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D) announced his candidacy late last week. He is a former state Delegate and ex-Huntington City Manager.

Republicans are headed for a competitive gubernatorial primary among Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), Secretary of State Mac Warner, and businessman Chris Miller. Capito is the son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Mr. Miller is US Rep. Carol Miller’s (R-Huntington) son.