Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Trump Tops DeSantis, Haley, Scott, Pence; Michigan Rep. Declines Senate Run; House Races Adding Candidates

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump

South Carolina: Sen. Scott, Ex-Gov. Haley Badly Trail Trump, DeSantis — Presidential state polls are beginning to surface, and a recently released Moore Information South Carolina survey (Jan. 18-24; 450 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters; live interview) finds former President Donald Trump leading the GOP field in one of the top early primary states while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis follows. The surprise result is that both South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and the Palmetto State’s former governor and ex-UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, each of whom appears to be testing the waters for their own presidential run, fare poorly on the ballot test question.

According to the numbers, Trump holds a 41-31-12-5-4 percent advantage over DeSantis, Haley, Scott, and former Vice President Mike Pence, respectively. While the two South Carolinians don’t score well on the ballot test, their favorability ratings among the Republican faithful are on par with the two leading candidates. Trump has a positive rating of 83 percent, Gov. DeSantis is at 82 percent, while Haley and Sen. Scott score 79 and 78 percent, respectively. Pence is also viewed positively with a 70 percent favorable rating.

Senate

Michigan: Rep. Haley Stevens (D) Declines Senate Bid — Three-term US Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Birmingham) who defeated then-Rep. Andy Levin in a redistricting forced Democratic primary pairing last August, said Monday that she would not pursue a race for Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D) open seat next year. Rep. Stevens believes she “can best serve Michigan’s working families, manufacturers, students, and small businesses in my current role.”

It had been expected that Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) was preparing an official announcement to enter the Senate race, but has yet to move forward. Despite a flurry of early activity among Democrats examining the open race, no one has yet formally declared their intention to become a Senate candidate.

House

AZ-3: Dems Positioning for Open Race — Arizona state Senate Minority Leader Raquel Teran (D-Phoenix), also a former Arizona Democratic Party chair, confirms that she is considering entering the open primary to succeed Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), who is now officially running for the Senate. With the downtown Phoenix 3rd District voting overwhelmingly Democratic — the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+44 — the August 2024 party primary will determine the next representative. A crowded field featuring a number of local and state elected officials is expected to form.

CA-30: Field Now Grows to Eight — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) running for the Senate has already led to a field of six viable 2024 candidates with two more announcements coming over the weekend. Both state Sen. Anthony Portatino (D-La Canada) and former Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer (D) announced that they will run for the congressional seat next year.

Already in the field are state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Los Angeles Unified School District board member Nick Melvoin, actor Ben Savage, and businessman John Bocanegra (D). The California jungle primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024. It is likely that two Democrats will advance into the general election from this D+45 rated CD.

IN-3: Former Congressman May Return — Former Republican US congressman and ex-Indiana state legislator Marlin Stutzman confirms that he is considering running for his previous position since Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) has declared for the Senate. At this point, the only formidable announced candidate in what will be an open safe Republican congressional seat anchored in the Ft. Wayne area is state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington). Rep. Banks’ successor will come from the May 2024 Republican primary.

House Speaker Vote Today;
Biden’s Approval Rating & A Beginning of the Election Cycle

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023

House

House Republican Speaker nominee Kevin McCarthy (R)

Speaker Vote Today: Likely to Require More than One Ballot — For the first time in a century, it appears the Speaker’s election that will convene the 118th Congress, will require more than one roll call. With Republicans holding only a 222-212 majority with one Democratic seat vacant due to the death of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Republican Speaker nominee Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) does not appear to have the 218 votes that he needs to claim the gavel for the ensuing session.

Five Republican members have publicly said they will vote against McCarthy, and one of them, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) is an announced candidate for the position as he was in the Republican conference vote. The other four are Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Bob Good (R-VA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), and Matt Rosendale (R-MT).

Another group of nine members signed a public letter questioning McCarthy’s ability to be a successful Speaker while stopping short of saying the signees will vote against him. They are Reps and Reps-Elect Dan Bishop (R-NC), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Eli Crane (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Harris (R-MD), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Andy Ogles (R-TN), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Chip Roy (R-TX). It is these 14 members who will be key on the first roll call. Not voting for McCarthy within this group will certainly send the voting to a second ballot.

The other group to watch, possibly led by Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), are moderate Republicans who would coalesce with moderate Democrats to attempt to elect a compromise candidate. If the ballot drags on for more than two roll calls, it will be interesting to see which group begins to develop cracks. The membership will vote until one individual reaches the 218-vote threshold and thereby claims the Speakership.

President

Biden Approval: A Benchmark to Begin the Election Cycle — With the new Congress being sworn into office today, we begin the 2024 election cycle. Such being the case, let’s take a look at where President Biden’s job approval rating stands as he likely begins to prepare for a re-election run.

The two most recent survey reports during this holiday period came from Rasmussen Reports and the Morning Consult firm. Both organizations continually track presidential job approval on a daily basis. Rasmussen (sampling conducted through Pulse Opinion Research; Dec. 27-29; 1,500 US registered voters) projects the President to have a 47:51 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. Morning Consult, which has been closer to a more consensus ratio among the plethora of typical job approval polling (Dec. 21-27; 45,000 US adults; online) finds Biden’s favorability index at worsened 42:51 percent favorable to unfavorable clip.

Comparing these two polls produces typical results since President Biden has always fared better with registered voter samples than among a respondent pool of adults. Still, it is clear that the president will begin the road to re-election with more people disapproving of his performance in office than those who approve.

Electoral College — Left Coast, Right Coast; Republicans Choose Nominee in VA-4; North Carolina Supreme Court Rejects Map

Electoral College Votes Per State, 2022 — blue moving more left, red moving more right


By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022

President

Electoral College: West Moving Left, East Moving Right — The researchers at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics have completed a study regarding the country’s ideological shift during the past 20-plus years. Tracking all 50 states’ presidential votes from the 2000-2020 elections, we first see all of the western states now voting Democratic in greater percentages with the exception of Wyoming. The biggest shifts came in Alaska, California, Colorado, and Utah, though two of those four states still regularly produce at least smaller majority or plurality Republican victories.

Conversely, the south and east have trended more Republican with the strongest swings generally occurring in central south with only Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia becoming more Democratic. Mid-Atlantic states such as New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have moved decidedly more Republican, though two of these four continue to regularly deliver clear Democratic majorities. Remaining constant in their voting pattern during this entire 20-year span are Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and South Carolina.

House

VA-4: Republicans Choose Special Election Nominee — Republicans re-nominated their 2020 and 2022 candidate in the Saturday, Dec. 17 “firehouse primary” through Ranked Choice Voting. The local 4th District Republican Party leadership did not release the actual results, only to say that pastor and US Navy veteran Leon Benjamin had defeated former Mecklenburg School Board member Dale Sturdifen, and non-profit advocacy organization director Derrick Hollie. Benjamin now advances to the Feb. 21 special general election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond). He will again be a decided underdog in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+30.

The Democratic firehouse primary will be held today. Four candidates filed to run: state Sens. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Joseph Morrisey (D-Richmond), former state Delegate Joseph Preston, and businessman Tavorise Marks. While the special election will be held in late February, Gov. Glenn Younkin’s (R) call required the parties to choose nominees by Dec. 23.

In another development, Colette McEachin, the late congressman’s widow, announced her endorsement of Sen. McClellan, joining most of the Virginia Democratic establishment who has already done so.

States

North Carolina: NC Supreme Court Tosses State Senate Map — The North Carolina state Supreme Court, with the 4-3 Democratic majority on the cusp of expiring, rejected the NC Senate map on a partisan vote as a partisan gerrymander. But, the action is likely to be short-lived and adds fuel to the speculation that the new legislature will re-draw all of the state’s redistricting maps after commencement. Doing so may well render moot the partisan gerrymandering case that the US Supreme Court recently heard.

Under North Carolina legislative procedure, the governor has no veto power over redistricting legislation, so whatever the legislature passes will become law. Because of the current court’s farewell action, the state Senate map must be re-configured. Since Republicans gained two seats on the state Supreme Court in the November election and will have a 5-2 majority beginning in January, the likelihood of not only the Senate map being redrawn but also the state House and congressional delegation plans is greater. The latter two maps are court-drawn interim placeholders, which the legislature can replace at any time.

Presidential Primary Plans in Flux; NV-1 2022 Candidate Files Again;
VA-4 Special Updates;
Gov. Baker Goes to NCAA

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Dec. 19, 2022

President

Primary Schedule: Push-Back Could Change Announced Plan — Apparently, the Democrats haven’t quite settled on the 2024 primary schedule due to objections from certain party leaders about South Carolina being moved to the number one position. Last week, President Biden made a specific schedule change suggestion involving several states that the initial Democratic National Committee policy panel approved. The plan called for South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan, in that order, being allowed to host primary elections prior to a larger number of states voting on Super Tuesday in early March.

Now, it appears that a move potentially involving Georgia, Nevada, or North Carolina ultimately becoming the first state on the Democratic calendar could potentially alter the not-yet-adopted presidential primary voting schedule. Therefore, while it looked as if the Biden suggestions were headed for full DNC adoption, that might not prove to be the final decision. Stay tuned.

House

NV-1: Challenger Files 2024 Committee — Businessman Mark Robertson (R), who lost to Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) by a 52-46 percent count in November, has filed a new congressional committee for 2024. Robertson’s action does not mean he is committed to running again, but certainly leaves the door open for a seamless transition into another campaign. Short-term, it provides a legal fundraising vehicle.

Redistricting changed the 1st District from a D+22 seat, according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, to its current D+4, thus making it a competitive CD for the next several elections. Whether Robertson again becomes an official candidate or not, Rep. Titus can expect another competitive challenge coming her way in 2024.

VA-4: Democrat Drops Out — Approaching the quickly called Dec. 20 firehouse special election primary, where only five polling stations are open throughout the sprawling district that stretches from Richmond to the North Carolina border, state Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond), one of the leading candidates, withdrew from the race and endorsed state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond). She now appears as the party leaders’ selected choice.

Republicans voted in their firehouse primary Saturday. The scheduled Feb. 21 special congressional election is on the ballot to replace the late Congressman Donald McEachin (D-Richmond).

States

Massachusetts: Gov. Baker in Line for New Position — Outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has accepted a new position that takes him both out of politics and the private business sector. Beginning in March, he will become the new President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Now that football is administered through the College Football Association, the NCAA has much less influence over the domain of college athletics. His biggest challenge in this new position is making sure the organization does not lose control over the annual national college basketball tournament, which is currently the NCAA’s largest event.

DeSantis’ Big Lead Suspect; Recount Confirms Rep. Boebert’s Victory;
A Rapid-Fire Special Primary; Lightfoot Looking Shaky in Chicago

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022

President

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)

USA Today Poll: DeSantis’ Big Lead Suspect — Suffolk University, polling for USA Today (Dec. 7-11; 1,000 registered US voters; 374 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) leading both President Biden and former President Donald Trump in their latest published survey.

The general election data that finds DeSantis leading President Biden, 47-43 percent, is the more legitimate number. The Republican primary result, which tested only 374 individuals nationally and shows DeSantis holding a huge 56-33 percent advantage over Trump, should be discarded because it is not statistically sound.

The Morning Consult organization also released a survey, this with a much greater sample size (Dec. 9-11; 4,215 self-identified Republican voters; online) and arrived at an opposite conclusion vis-à-vis the hypothetical Republican nomination battle. Including many candidates, Morning Consult finds Trump holding a 49-31 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis, with former Vice-President Mike Pence recording eight percent. All other candidates posted a preference factor of two percent or less.

House

CO-3: Recount Confirms Rep. Boebert’s Victory — The mandatory recount in Colorado’s 3rd District is complete, and the final tally confirms Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Silt) close victory over former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D). The recount changed only four votes to the original tally, thus making Rep. Boebert’s margin of victory 546 votes. Frisch had conceded the election weeks ago, but Colorado election law mandated the recount because the two candidates were separated by less than half a percentage point. The Democratic nominee says he is open to seeking a re-match in 2024.

VA-4: Dems Schedule Rapid-Fire Special Primary — Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) calling a Feb. 21 special congressional election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) has spurred the local 4th District Democratic committee to call a very quick “firehouse primary.” A Virginia “firehouse primary” is a term given to a primary election that has very few polling places. Gov. Youngkin’s order set Dec. 23 as the deadline for choosing party nominees.

The Democratic nomination battle, which will likely determine the next congressional member, is now scheduled for Dec. 20, giving the candidates only a week to campaign. The leading contenders are state Sens. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), Joseph Morrissey (D-Richmond), and Delegate Lamont Baxby (D-Richmond). Republicans have yet to determine their nomination process.

Cities

Chicago: Rep. Garcia Leads Mayor’s Race in Union Poll — Though the poll is just about a month old, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 just released their Impact Research study of the impending Chicago mayor’s race. The survey (Nov. 10-17; 700 likely Chicago local election voters; live interview and text) found US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) leading Mayor Lori Lightfoot 25-18 percent within a field of nine candidates. The data suggests the two would advance to an April 4 runoff election from the non-partisan Feb. 28 election.

In the hypothetical runoff, Rep. Garcia would lead Mayor Lightfoot by a whopping 55-25 percent margin. The controversial mayor posts very poor job approval ratings, with 68 percent disapproving of her performance in office. She received positive ratings only from the black community, and even there registered just a 50 percent favorable score. A total of 84 percent of white voters and 72 percent of Hispanics disapprove of how she has handled her mayoral duties.

Biden Suggests Primary Schedule; Maine’s King Prepping for Re-Election Campaign; A Budding GOP Primary Challenge in VA-9; Louisiana’s Gov Race Hinges on Kennedy

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

President

President Joe Biden

Primaries: President Biden Suggests Schedule — Considering that the White House will have a major say as to how the new Democratic presidential nomination rules are changed, President Biden shared his idea for a new primary schedule. He suggests South Carolina, the state that launched his own victory through the previous nomination process, be the first state to vote. He then says that New Hampshire and Nevada, voting on the same day, should be scheduled a week after the Palmetto State with Georgia and Michigan following on successive Tuesdays. This idea would increase the number of places voting before Super Tuesday from four to five.

Senate

Maine: Sen. Angus King (I) Preparing for Re-Election Campaign — Sen. Angus King (I), who has previously overcome both skin and prostate cancer, is reportedly planning to seek re-election in 2024 when he will be 80 years old. The senator, who previously served two terms as Maine’s governor, was first elected to his federal office in 2012. At the time, it appeared the 2018 campaign would be his last, but retiring at the end of the succeeding Congress does not now look to be the senator’s ultimate career path.

Sen. King runs as an Independent on the Maine ballot but caucuses with the Democrats, as does New England neighboring Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Should he indeed run in 2024, it will be the first time Sen. King will experience Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting system. Considering this situation, the veteran office holder may draw stronger opposition than in his past election campaigns.

House

VA-9: A Budding GOP Primary Challenge — Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), who was just re-elected to a seventh term with 73.5 percent of the vote, may be drawing a 2024 Republican primary challenge. Freshman state Delegate Marie March (R-Floyd) made a statement late last week saying that Rep. Griffith has “been in Congress too long,” and hinted that she might challenge him in the next GOP primary.

Rep. Griffith was first elected in 2010, defeating long-time incumbent Rick Boucher (D) and has had little in the way of competition ever since. He’s averaged 72.4 percent in his six re-election victories and has not yet faced a Republican primary challenge.

Governor

Louisiana: Yielding to Sen. Kennedy — Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder (R) announced late last week that he will run for governor next year unless, he said, Sen. John Kennedy (R) enters the jungle primary field. If Kennedy does run, Schroder will opt to seek re-election. Sen. Kennedy, fresh from a 62 percent jungle ballot election victory in November that saw him winning a second US Senate term outright, is expected to enter the governor’s race and be considered the clear front runner. The senator says he will make a decision after the first of the year. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Michigan Senate Okays Primary Move; Sen. Braun Moving Toward Indiana Gov Race; West Virginia Senator’s Son Announces for Gov

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 2, 2022

President

Michigan: State Senate Okays Primary Move — The Michigan Senate approved a bill to move up the Wolverine State presidential primary from the day designated as Super Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February. The move underscores the state leadership’s desire to move Michigan into one of the state slots allowed to vote before Super Tuesday.

With the Democrats clearly preparing to change the nominating rules, voting schedule, and primary order of the states, Michigan is attempting to get a head start toward being one of at least the first four states to vote before Super Tuesday. If the state formally takes this action, it is likely that the Republicans would have to follow suit and schedule the Michigan primary early in the process.

Senate

Indiana: Sen. Braun Moving Toward Gov Race — As expected, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun (R) filed papers with the Secretary of State’s office in Indianapolis Tuesday to become an open-seat gubernatorial candidate, which is his first step toward foregoing re-election to a second term in the US Senate. Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term under Indiana’s term limit law.

Should he become a candidate, Sen. Braun will very likely face credible opposition in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Already venture capitalist Eric Doden (R) has announced his Senate candidacy. Other potential names being bandied about include former two-term Gov. Mitch Daniels, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, retiring Congressman Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville), and former state senator and ex-Indianapolis mayoral candidate Jim Merritt. For the Democrats, the only announced candidate is Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick.

Assuming he shortly makes a formal announcement of candidacy, the Indiana Senate seat will be the first to open in the 2024 election cycle.

House

IN-3: Rep. Banks Signals Interest in Senate — With Indiana Sen. Braun (R) making moves to enter the open governor’s race, a fierce Republican primary battle for the right to succeed him in the Senate is sure to occur. Already saying through a spokesman that he is considering competing for the open statewide position is US Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who was recently defeated in his run for House Majority Whip. Other Republican names popping up are Attorney General Todd Rokita, retiring US Rep. Hollingsworth, and Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville), who was just re-elected to a second term. Term-limited Gov. Holcomb’s (R) political plans at this point are unknown.

Should Banks run for the Senate, we can expect a heated open battle for his northeastern Indiana 3rd District seat anchored in Ft. Wayne. A crowded GOP primary is sure to form with the winner punching his or her ticket to Washington in a district that the FiveThirtyEight organization rates as R+34.

Governor

West Virginia: Senator’s Son Announces for Governor — West Virginia state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and grandson of the late former Gov. Arch Moore (R), this week announced his own campaign for governor. He hopes to succeed term-limited Gov. Jim Justice (R) who may soon launch his own run for US Senate. Delegate Capito was first elected to the state House in 2016 and currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee.