Category Archives: Primary

Rep. Mark Green to Retire; Another GOP Primary Challenger in AZ-1; Rep. Menendez Leading in NJ-8; New Mexico Senate Candidate Fails to Qualify

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Feb. 16, 2024

House

Tennessee Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville), US House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, announces his retirement. / Twitter

TN-7: Rep. Mark Green (R) to Retire — The second full House Homeland Security Committee chairman in less than a week announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election later this year.

Tennessee US Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) joins Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) as Homeland Security Committee chairs most recently announcing their respective retirement. Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who consecutively chair the Appropriations and Financial Services Committees, are also ending their long congressional careers.

Rep. Green said he has accomplished his promised goals in the House with the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the passage of the border bill earlier in this Congress. As chairman of Homeland Security, he was a key figure in both actions.

AZ-1: Another GOP Primary Challenger for Rep. Schweikert — Arizona US Rep. David Schweikert’s (R-Fountain Hills) close 2022 re-election contest has attracted a number of Democrats and Republicans into the 2024 campaign. Yesterday, former FBI agent Kim George (R) announced her candidacy. Also battling the congressman for renomination are businessmen Robert Backie and P.T. Burton. The crowded field will likely help the congressman win the Aug. 6 plurality primary.

While businessman Jevin Hodge held Schweikert to a scant one-point general election victory he is not returning for a rematch, but no less than nine Democrats are running. Within this large group are former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Andrei Cherney, ex-state Rep. Amish Shah, and former news anchorwoman Marlene Galan-Woods, widow of former Attorney General Grant Woods (D).

The politically marginal 1st District is fully contained within Maricopa County and carries an R+7 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization. The seat is ranked as the 18th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. President Joe Biden carried this district by a bare 50.1 – 48.6 percent margin in the 2020 election.

NJ-8: Internal Poll Finds Rep. Menendez Leading — Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s Democratic primary challenge to freshman Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City), son of New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D), may have lost some steam. Upon announcement, and at the height of Sen. Menendez’s legal trouble, Bhalla posted big fundraising numbers and appeared to mount some momentum toward unseating the younger Menendez in the June 4 primary.

Rep. Menendez’s campaign released an internal poll to the New Jersey Globe newspaper, without identifying the pollster (Jan. 25-Feb. 1; 400 registered NJ-8 Democratic voters; live interview) but publicizing the favorable ballot test. According to this data, Rep. Menendez maintains a 46-24 percent advantage over Mayor Bhalla.

This race still merits attention, particularly as Sen. Menendez continues to languish in statewide Democratic primary polling and is virtually a sure bet to lose the June election, assuming that he files a statement of candidacy at the end of next month. The Menendez campaign was quick to release one data point: 77 percent of the respondents agree that Rep. Menendez should be ‘judged on his own record, and not on that of his father.’

Senate

New Mexico: Ex-Sheriff Fails to Qualify for Senate Ballot — As we have seen in several places already in this election year, another potential candidate has been disqualified for failing to manage the petition signature requirement for ballot placement. Former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales (R) has failed to qualify for the June 4 Republican US Senate ballot according to the New Mexico Secretary of State, thus likely leaving former hedge fund CEO Nella Domenici as the party’s lone contender.

Assuming the decision holds, the New Mexico Senate general election will feature Domenici, the daughter of former six-term US Sen. Pete Domenici (R), and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) who is seeking a third term. New Mexico is a Democratic state, so Sen. Heinrich is a clear favorite as the campaign officially starts, but Republicans believe that Domenici can become competitive.

It’s a Trump Sweep in Nevada; Williamson Ends Her Campaign;
Close Special Election Poll in NY-3;
WA-5’s McMorris Rodgers to Retire

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Feb. 9, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump sweeps in Nevada.

Nevada Caucus: A Trump Sweep — Former President Donald Trump, as expected, won almost unanimous support last night at the Nevada Republican Caucuses where the state’s 26 delegates are apportioned. Trump will be awarded all of the state’s national convention delegates. Reports of high turnout around the state are numerous. A complete report will be forthcoming when the final results are formally released.

Marianne Williamson: Draws Campaign to a Close — After placing behind the “None of These Candidates” ballot line in the Nevada primary, Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson suspended her national campaign reducing the field to President Joe Biden and US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN). With the president recording a mean average of 93 percent in the last two primaries, it is already a foregone conclusion that Biden will clinch the Democratic nomination no matter how long Phillips remains an active candidate.

House

NY-3: Another Close Special Election Poll — Siena College, conducting a congressional poll for the Newsday publication (Feb. 3-6; 694 likely NY-3 voters) finds a tight special election race to replace expelled US Rep. George Santos (R).

The ballot test gives former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) a 48-44 percent edge over Republican Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip. A second survey, from Emerson College (Feb. 4-5; 742 likely NY-3 voters; multiple sampling techniques), reported a similar result: Suozzi leading 52-48 percent when respondents were pushed for a choice between the two candidates. Previously, Emerson conducted a survey in mid-January (Jan. 13-15; 975 registered NY-3 voters; multiple sampling techniques) again finding Suozzi holding a similarly small 45-42 percent edge.

All of this data suggests that the Feb. 13 special election contest is within the polling margin of error and will come down to a turnout battle between the Democratic and Republican teams. The survey research suggests the race is close enough that the side doing a better job getting their voters to cast a ballot will claim the seat in the special election.

WA-5: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) to Retire — Another House member has joined the retirement list. Ten-term Washington US Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane), the House Energy & Commerce Committee chair, announced yesterday that she will not seek re-election later this year. In a long statement that thanks and extolls the virtues of her eastern Washington constituents, McMorris Rodgers formally announced her political intentions.

The open seat count now returns to 47, accounting for Rep. McMorris Rodgers retiring and Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) changing her mind about not seeking re-election. Within the group, 24 Democrats are not seeking another term in the House, and the Republican number now grows to 22. The new Alabama redistricting plan creates an open seat that begins in Montgomery and stretches to Mobile.

The 5th District of Washington occupies the furthermost eastern part of the state from Canada to Oregon and is anchored in the city of Spokane. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates WA-5 as R+17. In the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump won the district by a 53-43 percent margin. The Daily Kos Elections site statisticians rank the district as the 56th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. We can expect a crowded jungle primary in August leading to a general election where the Republican candidate should be favored.

In Nevada, Haley Loses to “None of These Candidates”; Biden Romps Again

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024

President

Nikki Haley loses to “None of These Candidates.” / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Nevada Primary: Haley’s Big “Beauty Contest” Loss — Former President Donald Trump at least indirectly won a primary last night without his name even appearing on the ballot.

In the Nevada Republican election, the names of former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, ex-Vice President Mike Pence, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) were on the ballot, along with the option, “None of These Candidates,” a voting choice unique to Nevada elections. The candidate filing deadline was in October, thus explaining why Pence and Scott, though now withdrawn from the presidential campaign, are still on the Silver State ballot.

In the new Nevada system, Republicans held what is commonly referred to as a “beauty contest” primary, meaning an election that does not apportion delegates from the popular vote totals. An accompanying caucus system will be in place tomorrow night, which is the Republican mechanism that has the power to apportion delegates. Under the party rules, candidates could enter the primary or the caucuses, but not both.

On the caucus ballot will be the names of only Donald Trump and also-ran candidate Ryan Binkley. Therefore, expect Trump to sweep all of Nevada’s 26 Republican delegates.

Clearly, most of the “None of These Candidates” voters were Trump supporters. They were likely following Gov. Joe Lombardo’s (R) lead who announced days before the primary that he would vote in the beauty contest event and choose the “None of These Candidates” options.

It appears that the “None of These Candidates” ballot line will end the counting with approximately 63 percent of the vote as compared to Haley’s 31 percent, and place first in all 17 of Nevada’s counties.

The primary was held because a new Nevada election law required presidential primary elections for all political parties. The Nevada Republican Party, however, chose to continue effectively operating through their traditional caucus system; hence, the reason for their beauty contest-style vote prior to tomorrow’s caucus meetings.

Turnout is difficult to gauge. Approximately 70,000 total votes will be cast in this first-ever Nevada Republican presidential primary once the final tally is recorded. This number must then be added to those who will attend Thursday’s caucus meetings to draw a true picture of the Nevada GOP participation rate. At that point, we will be able to measure this state’s 2024 voter enthusiasm.

The Democrats — President Biden easily won the party primary with approximately 89 percent of the vote, defeating “None of These Candidates” (six percent) and author Marianne Williamson (three percent). Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) was not on the ballot because he became a candidate after the state’s filing deadline had closed.

Since this is the first Democratic presidential primary, as well, it is again difficult to gauge turnout. It appears the complete participation total could end as high as 114,000. In comparison, when then-Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) was running for re-election in 2022, the Democratic primary participation number topped 157,000, in a race featuring only the governor and a minor candidate. Sisolak would then go onto lose to Lombardo, who at the time was the Clark County Sheriff, in the general election.

The big question concerning Haley is to see how long she will continue her campaign, since it is abundantly clear that the national Republican electorate favors Trump. The next Republican primary is scheduled for Feb. 24 in Haley’s home state of South Carolina.

With polling suggesting leads for Trump approaching a 2:1 ratio in the Palmetto State, will she risk losing before a partisan electorate that has twice propelled her to the governorship? This may be the last remaining unanswered question of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination campaign.

Nevada Primary Underway, Caucus Begins Thursday; Spartz “Un-Retires”; Louisiana Redistricting Fight;
Strong Challenger in MI-3

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024

President

Nevada: Primary Today; GOP Caucus Thursday — Nevada voters will cast their votes for a Democratic presidential nominee with 49 delegates at stake in their primary, while Republicans will be participating in what is termed as only a “beauty contest” primary because delegate apportionment will not correspond to the cast ballots. The delegates will be awarded in a caucus system with meetings scheduled for Thursday.

President Joe Biden will easily sweep the small Democratic field, maybe not to the point of getting 97 percent support as he did in South Carolina, but he will win in a substantial landslide. On the Republican side, where the candidates chose to enter either the primary or caucus, sees ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on the outside; she will win a virtually meaningless primary, against virtually meaningless minor candidates, while former President Donald Trump opted to enter the caucus and is likely to sweep Nevada’s 26 convention delegates.

House

IN-5: Rep. Spartz “Un-Retires” — In early 2023, Indiana sophomore US Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) became the session’s first lame duck House member when announcing that she would not seek a third term in order to spend more time with her two daughters who are entering their teenage years. Yesterday, Spartz reversed course and now becomes the first of the burgeoning departing group of members to “unretire.”

Rep. Spartz said the urging from many of her constituents to run again and what she termed as the “failed leadership in Washington,” were her reasons for deciding to stand for another term just as the Indiana candidate filing deadline approaches on Friday.

The focus now turns to the 10 Republicans who are vying to succeed Spartz and see just how many, if any, will terminate their campaigns. State Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville) is viewed as the leading contender and has already spent over $1 million on his congressional effort. He also has more than twice the amount of money in the bank than does Rep. Spartz ($679,000 to $313,000) according to the year-end (2023) Federal Election Commission disclosure report. No other candidate has significant resources.

Louisiana: New Map Challenged — While the Louisiana legislature and governor complied with a court order to draw a new majority minority seat in the congressional delegation, a group of “non African-American voters” have filed suit against the new plan as a racial gerrymander.

A different three-judge panel will hear the lawsuit suggesting the possibility that this map could be rendered illegal, too. The plaintiffs site a 1994 case where a similarly drawn district, one that stretches from Baton Rouge to Shreveport to create a black majority district, was in fact declared a racial gerrymander, which forced a redraw then. This lawsuit suggests that Louisiana congressional redistricting may not be quite over.

Now, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) weighed in on “X” saying, “there are multiple other map options that are legally compliant and do not require the unnecessary surrender of a Republican seat in Congress.” The new 6th District virtually cuts Johnson’s 4th District into two parts, driving through the middle of the Speaker’s current territory in order to annex the black dominated precincts in Shreveport.

MI-13: A Second Strong Democrat to Challenge Rep. Thanedar — In 2022, then-Detroit state Rep. Shri Thanedar won an eight-person Democratic congressional primary with 28 percent of the vote to claim his seat in the US House. In doing so, Thanedar self-financed his effort to the tune of $9.1 million.

In October, Rep. Thanedar’s top 2022 challenger, former state Sen. Adam Hollier, announced that he would return for a Democratic primary rematch. Yesterday, another major Detroit political figure joined the primary race. Detroit City council member and former state House Minority Leader Mary Waters filed a congressional campaign committee with the FEC. She did not run in 2022. Another potential entry is two-time former candidate John Conyers III, the son of the late Congressman John Conyers (D-Detroit), who held the seat from his initial election in 1964 to his resignation from the House in 2017.

From the freshman incumbent’s perspective, he benefits from having more opponents that will split the vote just the way the 2022 race unfolded.

Regardless of his number of opponents, the congressman looks again to be the biggest spender. According to the year-end (2023) Federal Election Commission campaign finance disclosure report, Rep. Thanedar shows $2.6 million in his political committee bank account. The Michigan candidate filing deadline is April 23 in conjunction with the Aug. 6 primary election.

Biden Sweeps SC Amid Low Turnout; Sen. Hawley Up 13; Sen. Bob Menendez Can’t Escape Single-Digit Support;
Sen. Bob Casey Jr.’s Strong Showing

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Feb. 5, 2024

President

President Joe Biden

South Carolina: Biden Romps in Dem Primary — President Joe Biden claimed Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, capturing an almost unanimous vote share. Biden recorded a 97 percent support figure over author Marianne Williamson (2.1 percent) and Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips (1.7 percent). Not surprisingly, the president swept all 55 of the state’s national Democratic delegate votes and placed first in each of the Palmetto State’s 46 counties.

Turnout, however, was extremely low with only about 131,000 ballots being cast. The unofficial count represents just 24 percent of the number of voters when compared to the 2020 South Carolina Democratic primary. The president was virtually unopposed in terms of the campaign efforts from Williamson and Phillips; therefore, it is not surprising to see a low participation rate. Still, three-quarters of the past electorate failing to return in 2024 does suggest a lack of enthusiasm for the pending national election.

Next, the candidates move to the Nevada primary on Tuesday where a similar result is expected. Unlike the Republicans, the Democratic primary is a delegate-apportionment event, so all candidates will be on the ballot. On the Republican side, the Nevada delegates will be awarded from the accompanying caucus events scheduled two days later, on Feb. 8. GOP candidate Nikki Haley chose to enter the primary and not the caucus, so former President Donald Trump is virtually assured of a Nevada delegate sweep.

Senate

Missouri: Sen. Hawley Up 13 — Emerson College released the first Missouri polling results of the new year. In the state’s US Senate campaign, the Emerson poll (Jan. 3-28; 1,830 registered Missouri voters; multiple sampling techniques) yields Sen. Josh Hawley (R) a 43-30 percent lead over attorney and Afghan/Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce (D).

In 2022, Kunce ran for the Senate and performed well on the fundraising circuit, raising $5.7 million, but lost the Democratic nomination to philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, who was a late entry into the race. He now returns in better position to win the party nomination and has already almost equaled his 2022 fundraising total but remains a severe underdog to Sen. Hawley in a state where the Biden national campaign is sure to concede.

Therefore, considering Sen. Hawley’s incumbency and the political winds blowing against the Democrats in the Show Me State, this race is not likely to become a battleground Senate contest.

New Jersey: Sen. Menendez Again Languishing in Single Digits — Madison, New Jersey-based Fairleigh Dickinson University went into the field to test the Garden State’s Democratic electorate pertaining to the upcoming US Senate race. The survey (Braun Research conducting; Jan. 21-28; 504 likely New Jersey Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) projects US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) to be opening a double-digit lead over New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy of 32-20 percent, while indicted incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez can outpace little-known labor union official Patricia Campos-Medina by only a single point, as he again polls under 10 percent.

According to the just-released Federal Election Commission year-end campaign finance reports, both Rep. Kim and Murphy held $2.7 million cash-on-hand at the end of 2023. Largely due to funds raised before being indicted, Sen. Menendez has just over $6.1 million in his campaign account.

The New Jersey primary is June 4. At this point, Sen. Menendez maintains that he is running for re-election, but a final decision from him will be likely be made just before the March 25 candidate filing deadline.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Again Posts Double Digit Lead — Franklin & Marshall College, a regular Pennsylvania pollster, just released their latest statewide research iteration. The survey (Jan. 17-28; 1,006 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview) sees Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) again posting a sizable lead over former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). The ballot test gives Sen. Casey a 12-point advantage, 47-35 percent. This counters Susquehanna Polling & Research’s findings in their Pennsylvania poll, taken partially within the same sampling period, that showed only a four-point separation between the two candidates.

The F&M result is more consistent with other released polls since mid-December. The Bullfinch Group saw a 15-point Casey margin, while Quinnipiac University projected a 10-point split. The Pennsylvania Senate race could become a top-tier contest assuming the presidential race here remains close in polling. In both the presidential and Senate contests, however, the Democratic candidate maintains the edge.

Rep. Mace Challenged by Ex-Staffer; Support Coalesces for North Dakota Candidate; Nebraska GOP, Trump at Odds; West Virginia Candidates Set

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024

House

Two-term Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) challenged by former staffer Dan Hanlon. (Handout photo)

SC-1: Ex-Staffer Announces Against Rep. Mace — Dan Hanlon, a former chief of staff to two-term South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston), announced that he will challenge his former boss in the upcoming Republican primary. The move had been rumored for several weeks.

A further complicating factor is the lawsuit arguing that this district is a racial gerrymander has been heard at the US Supreme Court, and the state is awaiting a decision. If the high court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, a 1st District redraw could be ordered. With an April 1 candidate filing deadline for the associated June 11 primary, it may be difficult to reconfigure the district for the 2024 election cycle even if SCOTUS compels the change.

Additionally, former state representative and 2018 congressional nominee Katie Arrington (R) has also not ruled out running. Without changing, the seat should easily remain in Republican hands, but the GOP primary will become interesting.

Governor

North Dakota: Rep. Armstrong Building Consensus — At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) continues to solidify himself as the heir apparent to retiring Gov. Doug Burgum (R). Former state Sen. Tom Campbell (R), an announced gubernatorial candidate, has already pulled out of the race. Instead, he will run for Rep. Armstrong’s open US House seat. It already appears that Armstrong is becoming a consensus gubernatorial candidate, and the real race will be the Republican primary to succeed him in the US House.

States

Nebraska: GOP Refuses to Endorse Incumbents — Exacerbating the feud between Cornhusker State incumbents — supported by former President Donald Trump — and establishment Republicans, the Nebraska Republican Party’s State Central Committee issued endorsements to all of the GOP primary congressional challengers.

In the Senate race, the party has endorsed retired Air Force officer John Glen Weaver over appointed senator and former Gov. Pete Ricketts. In US House District 2, the committee is officially supporting financial services executive and former congressional candidate Don Frei over Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), and in District 3, the party delegates issued an endorsement for businessman John Walz against nine-term Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Gering).

In the contests where the Republican incumbents are running unopposed for the party nomination, Sen. Deb Fischer, and Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), the committee members issued no endorsement. It is also worth noting that none of the incumbents sought the party endorsement.

West Virginia: Candidate Filing Closes — The West Virginia primary races are now set, as candidates will begin officially campaigning for the May 14th plurality primary. The races for governor and US senator will capture the most attention, while crowded primaries are underway for the open attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor’s offices. The only statewide incumbent seeking re-election is Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt (R).

Despite all the other statewide races being hotly contested, an oddity occurred in the open state treasurer’s race in that only one candidate filed. Former state Delegate Larry Pack (R) is unopposed both in the Republican primary and the general election.

The Republican gubernatorial primary features four top candidates, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; Secretary of State Mac Warner; former state Delegate Moore Capito, the son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R); and businessman Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington). Huntington Mayor Steve Williams is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

The Senate Republican primary is considered a match between two-term Gov. Jim Justice and US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town), though four other candidates filed. The Democratic side features Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott and former CEO and convicted felon Don Blankenship (a frequent candidate), along with former congressional aide Zack Shrewsbury. Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is retiring.

In the House races, 1st District Rep. Carol Miller faces only minor opposition in the Republican primary and general elections. In the open 2nd District, state Treasurer Riley Moore leads a Republican field of five candidates. His most serious opponent appears to be retired Air Force General Chris Walker. For the Democrats, retired Navy Cmdr. Steve Wendelin is unopposed for the party nomination.

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.