Category Archives: Primary

Rep. Budd Cements Lead in NC;
Sen. Manchin Goes Republican?

By Jim Ellis
May 5, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Rep. Budd Cements Lead — The Club for Growth, running a support independent expenditure for Rep. Ted Budd’s (R-Advance) US Senate campaign, released the results of their most recent WPA Intelligence poll (April 24-26; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters; live interview). While Rep. Budd led in the last six consecutive polls, the WPAi numbers now post him to a 20 percentage point lead over former Gov. Pat McCrory, 43-23 percent. Ex-US Rep. Mark Walker trails with nine percent support, while author Marjorie Eastman records four percent preference.

Considering North Carolina only has a 30 percent threshold to win a nomination outright, it appears the congressman is in strong position to clinch on May 17. The GOP winner will face consensus Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice. Sen. Richard Burr (R) is retiring after three terms.

House

FL-15: Candidates Enter Race — With the Florida congressional map now adopted, candidates are beginning to come forward. In the new open 15th District that contains half of the city of Lakeland and part of Hillsborough County, former US Rep. Dennis Ross is drawing Republican primary opposition. In the race are state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), retired Navy officer Kevin McGovern, and Afghan war Navy veteran Demetrius Grimes.

The seat leans Republican, but expect Democratic competition in the general election. At the early going, considering he represented more than 70 percent of this district for eight years in the House before retiring, Ross is the clear favorite for the party nomination and to capture the seat.

WV-2: Manchin Involved in Republican Campaign — The paired Republican congressional campaign between Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) and Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has drawn an unusual advocate. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has endorsed Rep. McKinley, and is now starring for him in a new testimonial ad. Sen. Manchin dispels the notion that Rep. McKinley supported the Build Back Better legislation and directly criticizes Rep. Mooney.

With the primary fast approaching on May 10, we can expect Rep. Mooney to quickly counter the message. Sen. Manchin’s approval numbers are strong in West Virginia, but bringing a Democratic figure in to help decide a Republican primary battle could well backfire. Expect Mooney to attempt to turn the tables regarding this endorsement.

Helping explain Rep. McKinley’s move to highlight the Democratic senator, the latest public poll (Public Opinion Strategies for the Mooney campaign; April 26-28; 400 likely WV-2 Republican primary voters) gives Rep. Mooney a 20-point, 50-30 percent advantage as the two candidates begin the final week of campaigning. The two were forced into one district because West Virginia lost one of its three seats in national reapportionment.

Ohio Republican Turnout Dominates

By JIM ELLIS
May 5, 2022


Primaries

Turnout: Republicans Dominate in Ohio — Primary turnout can often be a harbinger of what happens in a general election. In the Buckeye State, Republicans claimed the turnout war in impressive fashion even when considering the Democratic contests were not particularly competitive. Compared to the 2018 midterm election, Republican turnout was up 28 percent, with over 1 million voting. Conversely, Democrat participation was down 26 percent from the last midterm with an aggregate turnout total of just over 510,000 voters, literally half of the GOP figure.

These results are close to the stats from Texas’ early March primary. Republican turnout there was up 26.6 percent, while Democratic participation grew only 3.6 percent. There were no contested statewide contests to measure the Indiana turnout. So far, the political enthusiasm gap is pointing toward the Republicans.

OH-11: Loss Could Mean a Presidential Run — Former Ohio state senator and 2020 Bernie Sanders for President national co-chair Nina Turner, who lost a 66-34 percent landslide Democratic primary election to Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) on Tuesday, is reportedly considering entering the 2024 presidential campaign. To say the least, Turner would enter the presidential nomination battle as a major underdog.

Senate

North Carolina: Two More See Budd Leading — A pair of new polls, one of which was conducted for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, echo the findings of all other surveys released since March 22. That is, Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) is topping former Gov. Pat McCrory, US Rep. Mark Walker, and author Marjorie Eastman.

In the NC Chamber poll, conducted through Atlantic Polling Strategies (April 25-28; released May 4; 534 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; live interview and online), Rep. Budd is holding a 45-21-9-3 percent advantage. Meredith College (April 25-27; 1,225 adults; 588 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; online) posts the Budd margin at 33-26-7-3 percent in the same order as above. The North Carolina primary is May 17. Rep. Budd has now led in eight consecutive published polls.

Governor

Florida: Rep. Crist Increases Primary Lead — A new St. Pete Polls survey (May 2-3; 1,859 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; online) projects that US congressman and former Gov. Charlie Crist holds a dominating lead in the Democratic primary. The ballot test result finds Crist capturing 52 percent of the Democratic preference vote, way ahead of state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s 19 percent and state Sen. Annette Taddeo’s (D-Miami) five percent support. Interestingly, Taddeo was Crist’s lieutenant governor running mate when the pair lost to then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2014. The winner of the Aug. 23 Democratic primary will then challenge incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the general election.

New York: Gov. Hochul’s Comfortable Lead — A new Emerson College poll (May 1-3; 1,000 likely New York voters, 444 likely New York Democratic primary voters; combination interactive voice response system, text, and online) sees Gov. Kathy Hochul leading her Democratic primary opponents, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, by a 45-12-7 percent count.

More interesting, however, is the general election survey that includes former Gov. Andrew Cuomo running as an Independent. In this scenario, 33 percent would support a generic Democratic candidate, 33 percent a generic Republican candidate, while 16 percent would vote for Cuomo. There is no indication at this point, however, that the resigned governor will enter the race.

Primary Results in Ohio, Indiana;
An Odd Lt. Gov. Appointment in NY

By Jim Ellis
May 4, 2022

Primaries

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Vance, Ryan Move to General — Best-selling author J.D. Vance, armed with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, won the open Ohio US Senate Republican nomination last night with a 32-24-23 percent victory over former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). Businessman Mike Gibbons, who spent almost $17 million of his own money on the race, finished fourth with 12 percent, ahead of ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken who posted only six percent support.

Polling proved to be accurate. The late race surveys were consistently showing Vance breaking into the lead, and the ballot tests were projecting he would win a close finish over Mandel and Sen. Dolan, which happened.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan

For the Democrats, as expected, US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) was an easy winner, capturing 70 percent of the Democratic vote from a turnout that was significantly lower than the party performance in the most recent 2018 midterm election. Thus, Vance and Ryan now advance into what should be a competitive general election.

Turning to Cleveland, which hosted the most competitive Democratic congressional primary, freshman Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) easily turned back former state senator and 2020 Bernie Sanders for President campaign national co-chair Nina Turner by a landslide 66-34 percent margin. The two ran against each other in the 2021 special election that first elected Rep. Brown.

In the Toledo-anchored 9th District, Iraq War veteran and Trump campaign activist J.R. Majewski (R) claimed the Republican nomination, defeating both state Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) and state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green). Majewski now advances into the general election against the Democratic US House member who has served longer than anyone in her party. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) was first elected in 1982. This will be a highly competitive general election in a new 9th CD that carries a R+6 rating.

Former Trump White House aide Max Miller (R), armed with the former president’s endorsement, easily won the Republican nomination since incumbent Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) surprisingly decided to retire after filing for re-election. Miller now becomes the heavy favorite to capture the R+14 open seat in the general election.

Staying in the northern Ohio region, the new open 13th District that looks to be playing as an even political domain, will feature a battle between state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and TV commentator and former Miss Ohio in the USA beauty pageant, Michelle Gesiotto Gilbert, who captured the party nomination against six Republican opponents as another Trump-endorsed Ohio candidate. The Sykes-Gilbert contest begins as a toss-up general election campaign.

Indiana: Ex-Sen. Houchin Wins Open Seat GOP Nod — The Hoosier State battle in the southeastern corner of the state to succeed retiring Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville) ended as many predicted. There, resigned state Sen. Erin Houchin, a former congressional aide to ex-Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), won the Republican primary last night, defeating former Congressman Mike Sodrel and Bronze Star medal winner Stu Barnes-Israel, 37-26-21 percent.

Houchin now becomes the prohibitive favorite in the open 9th District general election. She will face educator Matthew Fyfe who won the Democratic primary but raised and spent less than $50,000 for his primary campaign.

In the northwestern 1st District, US Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Jennifer-Ruth Green easily defeated former La Porte Mayor Blair Milo, 47-22 percent, to capture the Republican nomination. She advances to face freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Highland/Gary) who is on the ballot for a second term. The congressman was renominated in an 86 percent landslide.

Governor

Ohio: Gov. DeWine’s Unimpressive Win — Incumbent Mike DeWine successfully won re-nomination for a second term, but with only 48 percent support from within his own party. Had the anti-DeWine voters coalesced behind one candidate, it is now apparent that such an individual may have denied the governor a primary victory. Former US Congressman Jim Renacci scored 28 percent of the vote and farmer Joe Blystone posted 22 percent.

For the Democrats, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley easily defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley with 65 percent of the vote. Whaley carried all but eight of the state’s 88 counties, including nipping Cranley in his home county of Hamilton. Whether or not Mayor Whaley can force Gov. DeWine into a tight November contest remains to be seen, but she did exhibit strength within her party while the governor’s performance among Republicans was clearly disappointing.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado Chosen as Lieutenant Governor — Yesterday, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) chose US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) as her new lieutenant governor. Delgado replaces her first choice, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D) who was indicted for bribery and forced to resign. The selection of Rep. Delgado is an interesting one in that the appointment creates another vacancy in the US House and forces an additional special election. Currently, four Republican and one Democratic House seats are vacant for various reasons.

The Upstate 19th District may undergo significant change when the new congressional maps are court drawn later this month. The move to choose a House member is curious in that it creates further uncertainty for the Democrats now that their 22D-4R map has been disqualified as a partisan gerrymander. The current 19th District is rated R+4, while the re-drawn district on the rejected map rates D+4. Under a new draw, this seat will almost assuredly become a top Republican conversion target. Delgado was first elected to the House in 2018.

Vance on the Move Up in Ohio; Kemp Leads in Georgia While McKee Trails in Rhode Island; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2022:

Senate

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Vance Continues Upward Swing — A pair of ending polls were released late last week as the Ohio Senate candidates move toward today’s primary election. Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey (April 25-26; 800 likely Ohio Republican primary voters) and Emerson College (April 28-29; 885 likely Ohio Republican primary voters) both see author J.D. Vance forging into the lead.

FL&A, polling for the Protect Ohio Values PAC, posts Vance to his largest lead of the campaign, 31-19-12-12-8 percent over former state treasurer, Josh Mandel, businessman Mike Gibbons, state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, respectively. Emerson College sees a similar division, but with Vance holding a much smaller edge, 24-22-18-14-7 percent over Mandel, Dolan, and Gibbons, with Timken again trailing behind. It has become clear that both Vance and Dolan have upward momentum, while Gibbons and Timken have lost their earlier political steam. Mandel continues to poll relatively well but appears unable to expand his base of support.

The numbers are close enough that any of the current top four candidates, meaning Vance, Mandel, Dolan, and Gibbons could win the nomination vote.


Governor

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Takes Commanding Lead — Survey USA largely confirms the University of Georgia poll that found Gov. Brian Kemp (R) establishing a firm lead in his battle against former US Sen. Davide Perdue, who former President Donald Trump endorses. The S-USA poll (April 22-27; 2,000 Georgia adults; 1,587 registered Georgia voters; 559 likely Georgia Republican primary voters; online) posts Gov. Kemp to a strong 56-31 percent advantage, suggesting that he would win the Republican nomination outright on May 24. Should all candidates be held under the majority mark, however, the top two would advance to a July 26 runoff election.

The general election ballot test gave Gov. Kemp a 50-45 percent edge over former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D).

Rhode Island: Gov. McKee Trailing — A Lake Research Partners survey for the Nellie Gorbea gubernatorial campaign was released on Friday (April 11-14; 600 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters; live interview) and the results project Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee as falling behind Secretary of State Gorbea as the candidates move toward the late Sept. 13 Democratic primary. The ballot test posts Gorbea to a 30-24-10 percent edge over Gov. McKee and ex-Secretary of State Matt Brown. All other candidates fell below the 10 percent threshold. Gov. McKee ascended to his position in March when then-Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.


Redistricting

New York: Deadlines; Primary Moved — Steuben County Surrogate Court Judge Patrick McAllister, who first declared the New York congressional and state Senate maps unconstitutional in reference to the New York constitution, now has the responsibility of drawing the new plans. He has appointed Dr. Jonathan Cervas of the Institute of Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University as the special master who will prepare the maps for judicial review. He was given a May 16 deadline to submit the plans, and the court has set May 20 as the date to publicly announce the final maps for the 2020 election cycle.

Additionally, the judge moved the date of at least the congressional and state Senate primary from June 28 to Aug. 23. The legislature now has the opportunity of moving the races not affected by the congressional and state Senate redistricting maps to join those who are now scheduled for Aug. 23. If the legislators take no action, New York will have two primary dates this year.


States

Georgia: Sec of State Race Runoff Bound — As mentioned above in the Georgia governor’s section, Survey USA conducted a statewide Peach State poll. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who was at the focal point of the state’s post-election voting controversy, has captured the lead in the Republican primary ballot test, but with just 31 percent. While enjoying an 11-point lead over US Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro), Raffensperger is well short of reaching the 50 percent mark in order to clinch the nomination. Therefore, the most likely scenario is he and Rep. Hice will advance to a July 26 runoff election.

Southern incumbents who are forced into secondary votes typically fail to finish on top, so even if he places first on May 24, Raffensperger will likely be regarded as an underdog for the run-off election.

Democrats Back Independent in Utah; House Race News; Kansas Redistricting Map Rejected

By Jim Ellis

April 28, 2022:

Senate

Utah Independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin

Utah: Democrats Back Independent — The Utah Democratic nominating convention over last weekend voted with a 57 percent majority not to field a party candidate against Sen. Mike Lee (R), but instead form a coalition to back Independent candidate Evan McMullin.

The move was the first of its kind in Utah political history. The delegates clearly agreed with the argument that the party was better coalescing behind McMullin, a 2016 Independent presidential candidate and former Republican who placed a strong third in the state (21.5 percent) behind Republican Donald Trump (45.5 percent) and Democrat Hillary Clinton (27.5 percent than nominating their own Democratic contender. They understood that supporting Democrat Kael Watson and producing a three-way campaign meant a sure victory for Sen. Lee.


House

FL-5: US Rep. Al Lawson May Challenge Fellow Incumbent — Florida US Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) has difficult choices ahead of him in determining where to seek re-election in the north Florida region. The new Florida congressional map collapses his current district. The Politico publication reports that Lawson is leaning toward challenging Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District, an R+16 CD but one that includes Rep. Lawson’s home base of Tallahassee.

MA-4: No Re-Match — Former Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell, who lost the 2020 Democratic primary to current US Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton) by just one percentage point, announced that she will not return for a re-match. Therefore, Rep. Auchincloss becomes a prohibitive favorite for re-nomination and re-election. The Massachusetts primary is not until Sept. 6, and the candidate filing deadline is May 31.

MN-1: No Official GOP Endorsement — First Congressional District Republicans convened over the weekend to potentially endorse a candidate in the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester). Though state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) attracted 55 percent of the delegate vote, it was not enough to secure the official endorsement. Doing so requires 60 percent. This means we will see an open special election primary on May 24 with no officially endorsed candidate, though Rep. Munson appears to be a clear front runner.

Utah: Two Reps Under-Perform at Convention — US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo), posted only 41 percent of the convention vote on the first ballot, which was just enough to avoid an embarrassing defeat, since he did not also opt to obtain petition signatures. The later rounds pushed him to 45 percent, but the congressman still must win a Republican primary against the man whom he defeated in a 2017 special election and the 2018 GOP primary, — former state Rep. Chris Herrod. Despite Rep. Curtis’ poor showing at the party convention, he is still expected to win the primary and general elections.

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Ohio Poll Indicates Changes; Oregon 5th CD Shows Disappointing Development; More

By Jim Ellis

April 27, 2022:

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Poll Posts Dolan to GOP Lead; Fox Shows Vance as Being Up — The Blueprint Polling firm tested the Ohio Republican field for the upcoming Senate primary next week (April 21-24; 634 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview), and yet another candidate has been identified as moving into first place. This is the first survey that projects state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball club, in the top position and the fourth of the five major candidates who in one poll or another has led the field.

In this study, Sen. Dolan posts 18 percent support, just a point ahead of author J.D. Vance, with businessman Mike Gibbons, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, and ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken following with 13, 12, and 7 percent preference.

Fox News was also in the field during virtually the same time period (April 20-24; 906 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview), but they produce a much different result. According to this poll, it is Vance, who picked up former President Donald Trump’s endorsement just a handful of days before the poll period, in the lead at 23 percent with Mandel, Gibbons, Dolan, and Timken trailing with 18-13-11 and 8 percent, respectively.

As both the Blueprint and Fox analyses illustrate, with less than one week remaining in the campaign, realistically four of the candidates still have a chance to catch a flyer at the end and claim the nomination. Early voting continues for the May 3 primary election.


House

OR-5: Biden Endorses Rep. Schrader — In a disappointing development for challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, President Biden just involved himself in the impending May 17 Oregon primary by endorsing veteran Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) over the more progressive contender who is an attorney and former local city manager. The two are vying to win the party primary for the newly constructed 5th District that is rated D+3, making it the most competitive seat in the Beaver State.

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Campaign Dollars – Quarter 1

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2022 — The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has released the campaign finance reports for the quarterly period ending March 31, and the Daily Kos Elections site analysts have published their regular comprehensive summaries for all Senate and House incumbents and candidates.

In the Senate, the top fundraisers for the campaign-to-date are familiar names, and they are repeating their overwhelming performance from the 2020 election cycle. For the 2022 race, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) reports $44.2 million in receipts with a cash-on-hand total of $25.6 million. Both are higher than any individual running for the Senate in the 2022 cycle. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) is close behind, raising $39.0 million for the campaign cycle with $23.3 million in his treasury.

Based upon state population segments, Sen. Kelly is actually the stronger of the two because he comes from a smaller state. Dividing the funding evenly by congressional district, Sen. Kelly averages $4.3 million per his state’s nine congressional districts, while Sen. Warnock posts $3.2 million per Georgia’s 14 CDs.

The next most prolific fundraisers come from the same race. Florida Congresswoman Val Demings (D-Orlando) is the top money producing challenger in the country, posting $30.5 million in receipts for the campaign cycle. Her opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), is virtually even with her, attracting $29.3 million. Cash-on-hand is about dead even, too. Rep. Demings reports $13.2 million in her account; Sen. Rubio, $13.1 million.

For the Republicans, the top challenger fundraiser, though he is leagues behind general election opponent Sen. Warnock, is Georgia’s Herschel Walker with $14.2 million raised.

The aggregate group of Senate candidates raising the most in one challenger contest is found in Wisconsin, as Democrats Alex Lasry, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes have cumulatively brought in $18.2 million. Lasry, an executive with the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball club, has gross receipts of over $9 million, but $5.8 million is self-sourced. Godlewski reports $5.1 million in total dollars raised, but $3.3 million comes from herself. Lt. Gov. Barnes has raised $4 million without any self-funding. For his part, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has obtained $10.8 million for his 2022 re-election campaign.

The most prolific open seat fundraisers are in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The combined candidate dollar total in the Keystone State exceeds $45 million, but almost $18 million of that total is self-funded from Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). The group from Ohio is close behind with $44.8 million obtained. In this case, we see a combined self-funding total that exceeds $21 million.

On the House side, a total of 32 incumbents and challengers raised over $1 million just during the first quarter. Naturally, the party leaders, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ($4.3 million), Minority Whip Steve Scalise ($3.4 million) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi ($3.3 million) are the most prolific.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ($510,000) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn ($284,000) are clearly not in the top echelon, but are likely spending their time raising funds for their leadership PACs or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Additionally, with Democratic incumbents and candidates raising considerably more than their Republican counterparts, the individual campaigns need less from Washington.

The top non-incumbents breaking the $1 million mark for the quarter are Jessica Cisneros, now in a Texas Democratic runoff with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and Marcus Flowers, who is challenging Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome), both at $2.4 million.

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