Category Archives: Presidential campaign

GOP Presidential Debate Qualifiers; Menendez & Son’s Challenges; Montana Libertarians Change Bylaws

Seven Republican candidates qualified for the second presidential debate. (Fox News graphic)

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023

President

Presidential Debate: Seven Qualify — The second Republican presidential debate is scheduled for tonight, and Fox News announced the seven candidates who will participate. With more stringent debate requirements, it was believed that North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and ex-Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), who both appeared in the first debate, would be disqualified leaving six participants. Former President Donald Trump also qualifies but is again declining to appear. A last minute move from Gov. Burgum, however, allowed him to earn a debate podium spot; Hutchinson failed to do so.

The seven who will be present are: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), ex-Vice President Mike Pence, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and Gov. Burgum. Aside from Hutchinson, national commentator Larry Elder and former US Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) will also not meet the final requirements.

Debate: DeSantis-Newsom Forum Set — Continuing their ongoing public political feud, Florida Gov. DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) have agreed to a date and state for their mutual debate challenge. The event is scheduled for Nov. 30 at a site to be determined in Georgia. Fox News will air the forum that network headliner Sean Hannity will moderate.

Senate

New Jersey: Sen. Menendez Addresses Media; Rep. Kim to Run: — Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) held an indictment response news conference Monday. His statements left little doubt that he intends to fight the charges levied against him and has no intention of resigning his seat.

Some pre-news conference reports were predicting that the senator would announce his campaign for re-election. He did not specifically address his election status, only to say that he intends to remain New Jersey’s senior senator after he is cleared. He asked the Garden State voters to reserve judgment until “all the facts are known.” But Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) isn’t waiting. Kim announced that he will file a Democratic primary challenge against Sen. Menendez.

House

NJ-8: Mayor May Challenge Rep. Menendez — While Sen. Bob Menendez (D) is publicly defending himself over a new indictment brought against he, his wife, and three other associates, freshman Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City), the senator’s son who has defended his father, may be looking at a serious primary challenge.

New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District is solidly Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates it as D+47. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NJ-8 as the 167th safest seat of the 212-member House Democratic Conference. Therefore, Rep. Menendez’s more significant re-election obstacle is renomination.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla (D) confirmed that he is considering launching such a primary challenge. Hoboken, with a population just over 53,000 residents, represents about seven percent of the 8th District’s population but is a considerably larger share of a Democratic primary vote.

States

Montana: Libertarians Change Bylaws — The Montana Libertarian Party has made a significant change to their party bylaws. Beginning immediately, the MLP may now officially endorse a member of another party even if a Libertarian is in the same race. This is significant because the single-digit Libertarian vote has been a thorn in the Republicans’ side since their candidates tend to draw from GOP candidates. This causes certain close races, such as in Sen. Jon Tester’s (D) past campaigns, to allow a Democrat to win with a plurality or small majority support.

Should the Montana Libertarian Party decide to endorse the Republican candidate in the upcoming Senate race and not file their own contender, it would be a plus for the eventual GOP nominee.

Trump’s Big Lead; Sen. Menendez’s Turmoil; A Plethora of Candidates in FL-9; Candidate Withdraws in OH-13

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

ABC/Washington Post Poll: Again Finds Trump with Big Lead — For the second consecutive time, the ABC/Washington Post (Sept. 15-20; 890 registered US voters; live interview) sees former President Donald Trump building a large lead over President Joe Biden. The latest numbers give Trump a 51-42 percent national advantage, and a larger 52-39 percent lead within the Independent segment. In May, the ABC/Washington Post survey found Trump leading by a similar 49-42 percent margin.

Once again, the ABC/WaPo poll gives Trump a bigger lead than other polls conducted during a similar time frame. Since Sept. 14, six national surveys have been conducted from six different pollsters, and these firms see Trump holding leads of four and one point, with four ties.

Senate

New Jersey: Sen. Menendez’s Indictment — Sen. Bob Menendez (D), who is in-cycle next year, was indicted on Friday along with his wife and three others. All five defendants were charged on two counts: bribery, and honest services fraud, as it relates to an Egyptian foreign affairs funding issue. Senator and Mrs. Menendez were also indicted on a conspiracy to commit extortion charge. How this affects the 2024 Senate election remains to be determined.

Sen. Menendez beat a different set of federal charges in 2015. In response to this latest indictment, he said, “For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. To my supporters, friends and the community at large, I ask that you recall the other times the prosecutors got it wrong and that you reserve judgement.”

New Jersey is a strong Democratic state, so the June 2024 primary election may be the senator’s toughest obstacle. Credible candidates currently in the race are municipal planning director Kevin Cupples and real estate financing company executive Kyle Jasey. Former Gov. Chris Christie, still a presidential candidate, confirmed after the Menendez indictment announcement that he will not run for the Senate.

Some Democratic leaders, however, are calling upon Sen. Menendez to resign. Among them are Gov. Phil Murphy, Attorney General Matt Platkin, and Reps. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair). At this point, the lone House member making a public statement in Menendez’s favor, unsurprisingly, is the senator’s son, Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City).

House

FL-9: A Plethora of Candidates — In a seat that should be solid for Democrats, former Kissimmee City Commissioner and ex-congressional candidate Wanda Rentas surprisingly became the sixth Republican to enter the 2024 GOP primary. Though the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district D+16 and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks FL-9 as the 85th safest Democratic seat in the House, local Republicans think the district can be won. In 2022, Rep. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) won a fourth term with a lower than expected 54-46 percent victory margin.

Among the six GOP candidates we find former state representative and ex-Osceola County Commissioner John Quinones. It is likely that the race will winnow down to a contest between Quinones and Rentas, but both would still begin the general election as a clear underdog to Rep. Soto.

OH-13: Challenger Candidate Withdraws — Attorney Greg Wheeler (R), who had declared his candidacy for Congress months ago, on Friday announced that he would suspend his campaign. This leaves Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg as the lone Republican candidate hoping to challenge freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).

Banweg then announced that Sen. J.D. Vance (R) is endorsing his candidacy, which may be a precursor to the party establishment soon following suit. For a time, it was believed that former Ohio Republican Party chair and 2022 US Senate candidate Jane Timken might enter the race, but she has since removed her name from consideration.

Rep. Sykes defeated Republican Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R) in last November’s election by a 53-47 percent margin. Originally, Gilbert, too, was planning to run in 2024, but last month withdrew to accept a spokesperson’s position with the Republican National Committee. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates OH-13 as D+2. The Daily Kos Elections site rank the district as the 13th most vulnerable seat within the Democratic conference.

Trump Skipping Second Debate; Impact of Romney’s Move; Tragic News for Virginia Rep. Wexton; Tight District Race in NM-2; Houston Mayoral Runoff Schedule Set

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 22, 2023

President

A view of the Ronald Reagan Library

Donald Trump: Skipping Second Debate — Former President Donald Trump said this week that he will not join the other Republican candidates at the Sept. 27 debate forum at the Ronald Reagan Library in southern California. Instead, he will be making a speech about the striking United Auto Workers union to lay the groundwork for potential support in the general election.

As he continues to hold a big lead over the entire GOP candidate field, Trump would stand to gain little by participating in the next forum. Due to more stringent debate requirements, the Republican National Committee expects to have fewer candidates earning a debate podium, with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and ex-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson unlikely to qualify.

Senate

Utah: Two Make Moves to Join Open Race — Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R) announcement that he will not seek re-election has led to a pair of Republicans readying to enter the race. Roosevelt Mayor Rod “JR” Bird Jr. just announced his candidacy, joining Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs in the active field. State House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) said he will resign his position in mid-November and has scheduled a “special announcement” for Sept. 27. We can expect a large Republican field to form.

House

VA-7: ’22 Cong Candidate will Return — Iraq War veteran and attorney Derrick Anderson (R), who ran for the 7th District seat in the last election but failed to win the Republican primary, announced that he will return in 2024. Four other Republicans have already declared their candidacies for the politically marginal seat.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) is reportedly looking at a 2025 run for governor, and if she ultimately moves in that direction, she would not seek re-election to the House in 2024. Therefore, this race will move up the competitive scale. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the VA-7 seat as D+2. The Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the 7th as the 14th most vulnerable seat in the 213-member Democratic conference.

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg)

VA-10: Health Problems Will Keep Rep. Wexton From Seeking Re-Election — Three-term Virginia US Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) announced that she will not run for a fourth term next year due to a catastrophic health diagnosis.

“I’ve always believed that honesty is the most important value in public service, so I want to be honest with you now – this new diagnosis is a tough one. There is no ‘getting better’ with PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy).” The Mayo Clinic says that “Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is an uncommon brain disorder that causes serious problems with walking, balance and eye movements, and later with swallowing. … [It] worsens over time and can lead to life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia and swallowing problems. There’s no cure for [it], so treatment focuses on managing the signs and symptoms.”

Virginia’s 10th Congressional District is anchored in Loudoun County and contains Fauquier and Rappahannock counties along with parts of Prince William and Fairfax counties. The cities of Manassas and Manassas Park are also included.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+8, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 55.2D – 43.0R. President Joe Biden carried this district with a substantial 58.3 – 40.2 percent margin. We can expect a competitive open campaign to develop here, but the eventual Democratic nominee will have a clear advantage in the general election.

NM-2: Tight District Race — One of the closest 2022 campaigns occurred in southern New Mexico where then-Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez (D) defeated freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) by a scant 50.3 – 49.6% victory margin in a gerrymandered district designed to elect a Democrat. Survey USA was just in the field testing the 2024 re-match campaign. Again, the polling results suggest a toss-up finish.

The S-USA study (Sept. 6-12; 541 likely NM-2 voters; live interview & online) sees Herrell clutching to a slight onepoint edge over Rep. Vasquez, 46-45%. If the Republicans are to hold their slim House majority, they must win tight districts such as this one to neutralize the Democrats’ apparent advantage on the second round of redistricting.

Cities

Houston: Runoff Schedule Set — Gov. Greg Abbott (R) indicated that he would select Dec. 9 as the runoff election date for any contest that is not decided in the coming Nov. 7th election.

Under Texas law, a runoff is not officially scheduled until it is certain that one would be required. The open Houston mayoral contest largely between current US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) and state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) is likely the premier electoral contest, which will require a secondary vote. The Abbott comments give the candidates a better idea as to what time they will have regarding post-election campaign planning.

Harvard Poll: Some Surprises

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023

Polling

President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore

National Survey: Surprises in Key Areas — Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies recently completed an exhaustive national poll (conducted by The Harris Poll (D) and the HarrisX (R) firm; Sept. 12-14; 2,103 registered US voters; online) and while most of the responses were consistent with what we have seen from other pollsters, some of the questions produced unexpected results.

Responses about the direction of the country and economy and how President Joe Biden is performing on key issues are highly consistent with other findings. The voting public believes by an approximate 2:1 majority that the country and economy are on the wrong track, and President Biden is rated negatively on all key issue areas.

There is a small surprise on the political party approval question. Though the responses are within the polling margin of error, this is the first survey in a long while that produces slightly better numbers for the Republican Party (45:55 percent favorable versus unfavorable) than the Democratic Party (44:56 percent), though both continue to register upside-down numbers.

The Harvard pollsters tested 24 well-known individuals and found a respondent sample that views the overwhelming majority of these public figures in a negative light.

The 24 individuals included all 2024 presidential candidates from both parties with the addition of Vice President Kamala Harris, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Elon Musk.

Within this group, only a quarter of the men and women (6 of the 24) registered positively. Surprisingly, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was the most favorably viewed (+15 percent), followed by former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (both at +6 percent), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Elon Musk (both at +5 percent), and Sen. Sanders (+3 percent).

The most negatively perceived were Sen. McConnell (-30 percent), ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (-20 percent), and former Vice President Mike Pence (-15 percent). President Biden scored a -12 percent, and ex-President Donald Trump fared a bit better at -6 percent.

Perhaps the biggest surprise were Vice President Harris’ ratings. While she scored -4 percent on the favorability index, her rankings in head-to-head pairings with the top Republican presidential candidates generally positive. While the survey showed that she would lose to Trump by six percentage points and tie former Vice President Pence, she leads the others.

Opposite Haley, Harris would lead by a single point. She tops Ramaswamy by two. Her best performance was against Sen. Scott (+7 percent), and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (+8 percent). She would also lead Kennedy 45-19 percent for the Democratic nomination if President Biden were to decide not to run.

Conversely, President Biden would trail Trump (-4 percent), Haley (-4 percent), and Sen. Scott (-2 percent). He would lead Pence (+6 percent), DeSantis (+4 percent), and Ramaswamy (+2 percent).

Legal Issues — The Harvard pollsters also queried the sample about the leading presidential candidates’ legal situations.

Regarding whether the sampling universe believes the new Biden impeachment inquiry and ex-President Trump’s prosecutions are legitimate or politically motivated, the respondents break exactly 50/50 on both questions. A majority, however (53-47 percent), support the impeachment inquiry.

There is a different view of the Hunter Biden situation and what the group believes about President Biden’s potential involvement. By a 60-40 percent majority, the respondents say that President Biden had “direct and detailed knowledge about his son’s business dealings.” The same 60/40 break was found when the pollsters asked if “Joe Biden has made false or misleading statements about his son’s business dealings, and what he knew about them.” A 57-43 percent break believes that “Joe Biden was helping his son Hunter get influence-peddling contracts.”

While there is polarization in Congress regarding the nation’s public policy, surprisingly the respondent universe answered the most important issue questions in a rather bipartisan manner.

Republicans (47 percent), Independents (41 percent), and Democrats (31 percent) all identified inflation and prices as the most important issue. Democrats (24 percent) and Independents (16 percent) tabbed climate change as second-most important; for Republicans, it was immigration (19 percent). All three groups reported crime as third-most important (Republicans 15 percent; Democrats 14 percent; Independents 13 percent).

We can count on seeing almost daily polling for the next few months from a multitude of survey research entities. Few, however, will be as extensive and detailed as this Harvard University study.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney to Retire; Local Wisconsin Republican Announces for Senate; Michigan Secretary of State Slates Trump; OH-13 House News

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney announces he will not run for re-election: C-SPAN

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023

Senate

Utah: Sen. Mitt Romney to Retire — “It is time for a new generation of leaders,” Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) said yesterday. “I would be in my mid-eighties if I were to serve another full term.” With that, the Beehive State senator announced that he will not seek a second term next year.

Romney becomes the sixth senator — four Democrats and now two Republicans — to retire when their respective terms end in January of 2025. While Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), are all retiring from politics, Indiana’s Mike Braun (R) is running for governor instead of seeking re-election.

Had he sought another term, Sen. Romney would have faced an active Republican primary challenge. Since he would not likely have fared well at the conservative-dominated Republican nominating convention, it is probable that he would have been forced to access the ballot via the petition signature route. Now, we will see a highly competitive GOP primary battle to succeed Romney in what will be an open-seat campaign.

Wisconsin: Local Republican Steps Forward — Trempealeau County Supervisor Stacey Klein (R) announced yesterday that she will enter next year’s statewide US Senate campaign with the hope of unseating two-term incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). This race has been very slow to develop, and Klein now becomes the most politically accomplished individual in the Republican primary.

This, despite her western Wisconsin county serving as home to less than 30,000 individuals. Unless a more senior opponent soon announces, Sen. Baldwin could coast to a third term in what should be a very competitive political environment come November.

President

Michigan: Dem Secretary of State Slates Trump — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) yesterday announced that she will award former President Donald Trump a ballot position on the Michigan primary ballot, unless a court decision directs otherwise. Benson stated that “… the courts, and not secretaries of state, should decide if the US Constitution disqualifies Trump.” The Michigan primary is scheduled for Feb. 27, 2024. Presumably, she will also slate Trump in the general election, again barring a court ruling, should the former president win the Republican presidential nomination. Michigan is a critical swing state, so ensuring a ballot position here is a must for the Trump campaign.

House

OH-13: Ex-GOP Chair Won’t Run for House — Jane Timken, the former Ohio Republican Party chair who was a 2022 US Senate candidate, announced yesterday that she will not enter next year’s Republican primary in Ohio’s Akron anchored 13th District. GOP candidates will be vying for the opportunity to challenge freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).

Announced Republican candidates are Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg and 2022 congressional candidate Greg Wheeler. Republican leaders are reportedly attempting to recruit former state senator and ex-Rep. Kevin Coughlin.

The 13th will likely feature a competitive general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat R+2. Dave’s Redistricting App, however, casts the partisan lean in the Democrats’ favor, 50.7D – 47.0R. President Joe Biden carried the district over former President Trump, 50.7 – 48.0 percent.

Sen. Cassidy Considers No Labels Party; Newsom Clarifies Potential Appointment; Another Challenger to Sen. Cruz Emerges; NM-3, NY-4 News

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023

President

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

No Labels Party: Sen. Cassidy Says He’ll Talk — From Sunday’s NBC interview, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) admitted that he would “talk” to the No Labels Party leaders if they approached him about becoming their presidential nominee. Sen. Cassidy also explained it would depend upon who the major parties nominate, but he intimated if we are going to see a Biden-Trump re-match he would be more inclined to run as a third-party candidate.

Sen. Cassidy is the type of candidate the No Labels Party would like to recruit. It is clear their main goal is to deny former President Donald Trump re-election, so they will be looking for a candidate who has some ability to attract suburban Republican voters away from Trump. The No Labels Party will decide who to nominate, if anyone, at their national conclave scheduled for April 14-15, 2024.

Senate

California: Gov. Newsom Clarifies Potential Appointment — Some Democrats are still urging Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), who is suffering from failing health, to resign her seat so that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) can appoint a more able individual. Gov. Newsom now says that he will only appoint someone who will serve as a caretaker if the vacancy were to occur.

The governor said it would be unfair to give an advantage to any of the candidates currently running for the Senate if he were to appoint one of the contenders. Early rumors suggested he was leaning towards appointing US congresswoman and 2024 Senate candidate Barbara Lee (D-Oakland). She hails from Newsom’s northern California political base, but his latest statement suggests he would now go in a different direction.

Texas: Another Cruz Challenger Emerges — Back in May when Texas Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) announced his Senate campaign it looked as if the Democratic leadership had the candidate they wanted to challenge Sen. Ted Cruz (R). Two months later, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) announced his candidacy, and then resigned Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez followed. Another candidate has now joined them — Dallas state Rep. Carl Sherman Sr. (D), a former local mayor and pastor.

While Rep. Allred still may top what is now becoming a crowded field, he will undoubtedly be forced to drain his campaign treasury just to win the nomination; he had raised over $6 million before the June 30 campaign finance quarterly report. Sen. Cruz will then be able to build an uncontested campaign treasury, and force all four Democratic candidates far to the left on key issues such as the Biden energy policy and the Texas-Mexico border.

House

NM-3: Ex-State Rep to Challenge Rep. Leger Fernandez — Former state Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage (R), a member of the Navajo Nation who served three terms in the legislature before being defeated for re-election in 2018, announced that she will challenge two-term Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-Santa Fe) next year. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates New Mexico’s 3rd District as D+5, meaning we could see a competitive general election develop. In 2022, Rep. Leger Fernandez was re-elected with 58 percent of the vote, but against a Republican candidate who spent only $301,000 on her campaign.

NY-4: Democrat Withdraws — Sarah Hughes (D), who was a member of the 2002 US Olympic figure skating team and had formed a congressional exploratory committee earlier in the year to challenge Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park), announced Monday that she will not pursue her candidacy. The top Democrats appear to be state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Nassau) and ex-Hempstead town supervisor and 2022 nominee Laura Gillen (D). In the face of such competition, Hughes’ chances of winning the Democratic primary were poor; hence, the decision to end her political quest.

New York’s 4th District, at D+10 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, is likely to become the Democrats’ top conversion opportunity in the country.

Five Republicans Lead Biden; Pelosi to Return; Hudson Announces in MI-3; Cox Draws GOP Challenge in Utah

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023

President

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley / Photo by Gage Skidmore

CNN Poll: Five Republicans Lead Biden — The new CNN national poll (conducted by the SSRS research company, CNN’s regular polling firm; Aug. 25-31; 1,503 US adults; live interview & text) found no fewer than five of the announced Republican presidential candidates holding small leads over President Joe Biden in general election ballot tests.

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley fared best, scoring a six-point advantage over the president. Two-point leaders included former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Former President Donald Trump held a one-point edge, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tied Biden. The only Republican contender to fall behind Biden, and by only one point, is businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

This poll, consistent with many other findings, again sees the Republicans doing better in a sample comprised of adults as opposed to registered or likely voters. This suggests the GOP is doing better than Democrats with non-voters, meaning the party will have to find a way to identify, register, and turn these habitual non-voters into participants.

House

CA-11: Rep. Pelosi to Return — Though many expected 83-year-old former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to retire, she instead announced a re-election bid for a 20th term in Congress late last week. In her statement, Rep. Pelosi said, “our country needs America to show the world that our flag is still there, with liberty and justice for ALL. That is why I am running for reelection — and respectfully ask for your vote.” She will easily be renominated and re-elected next year.

MI-3: Ex-Judicial Candidate Announces for Congress — Attorney and Michigan Supreme Court judicial candidate Paul Hudson (R), who finished fourth in a field of five 2022 candidates, announced for Congress at the end of last week. He hopes to oppose freshman Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids) in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+3.

Last November, Scholten defeated Republican John Gibbs, 55-42 percent, after he upset one-term Rep. Peter Meijer (R) in the GOP primary. The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission transformed what was a safe Republican 3rd District that originally elected Meijer to one that favors the Democrats.

Hudson is the third announced Republican candidate but is clearly the most credible. Should he prevail in the Aug. 6, 2024, GOP primary, assessments will be made as to whether he will become a top-tier challenger candidate. MI-3, however, is the type of politically marginal district that the GOP must win in 2024 in order to protect and enhance the party’s slim majority.

Governor

Utah: Gov. Cox Draws GOP Challenge — State Rep. Phil Lyman (R-Blanding), who hails from San Juan County in the far southeastern corner of the Beehive State, which includes the “Four Corners” where Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico meet, announced he will challenge Republican Gov. Spencer Cox in next year’s Republican convention and potentially the state primary.

Lyman, a land rights radical, received a pardon from former President Trump after the government arrested him for his protest activities. Gov. Cox may not be particularly popular with the Republican base, so Lyman may have a chance to assemble a significant support coalition at the state convention.