Category Archives: Primary

PA GOP Senate Recount Continues; Wisconsin Dem Primary Tightening; House Races News

Dr. Mehmet Oz (left) leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes.

By Jim Ellis — June 2, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania: McCormick Campaign Attempts “Hail Mary” — The latest signals coming from the Pennsylvania Republican Senate recount suggest that former hedge fund CEO David McCormick’s campaign representatives know their collective backs are against the proverbial wall. The McCormick contingent is now asking for hand recounts from certain precincts in certain counties where they suspect “data abnormalities.”

Since Dr. Mehmet Oz’s small lead did not lapse opposite to what the McCormick campaign had originally predicted, it appears the chances are growing strong that Dr. Oz will be certified as the primary winner on June 8. The eventual nominee, presumably Dr. Oz, will face Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman who easily won his party’s nomination on May 17.

Wisconsin: Dem Nomination Tightening — Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive and former Obama White House aide Alex Lasry has released another of his internal polls testing the Democratic US Senate primary. The Normington Petts survey (May 18-22; 700 likely Wisconsin Democratic primary voters; live interview) finds Lasry moving closer to race leader Mandela Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor. The new numbers find the Dem contest within three percentage points, with Barnes leading 34-31 percent, while state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski trails with an 18 percent preference factor.

In February, Barnes’s margin was 35-27-9 percent over Lasry and Godlewski, respectively. In actuality, this poll finds that Godlewski is the candidate having the most dynamic momentum right now, in effect doubling her level of support from the last quarter. The Democratic primary winner on Aug. 9 will then face Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in the general election.

House

NY-10: A 15th Candidate Joins — State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn) became the 15th Democratic candidate to announce for the open court-drawn 10th Congressional District. The new 10th covers Lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn.

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) is moving from over an hour away to run in this district and faces former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, ex-Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, now two state Assembly members, and two NYC City councilmembers within the large pack of candidates. This will clearly be one of the key races to watch in the New York congressional primary scheduled for Aug. 23. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat a D+69, so the Democratic primary will determine the new member.

NC-11: First Post-Primary Poll — Democratic nominee Jasmine Beach-Ferrara released an internal small sample poll from the Survey 160 firm (May 18-20; 308 likely NC-11 voters; text) that projects new Republican nominee Chuck Edwards, a Hendersonville area state Senator, to a 46-40 percent general election lead. Sen. Edwards defeated US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) by a percentage point on May 17 to claim the GOP nomination.

Soon after a tough primary, it is not particularly surprising to see Edwards with an upside down favorability index of 36:40 percent. Rated as an R+14 district, it is likely the voting patterns will move back toward Edwards in greater numbers as we move further away from a divisive primary and closer to the general election.

Governor

Connecticut: Gov. Lamont Begins with Lead — Home state pollster Quinnipiac University tested the Connecticut governor’s contest (May 19-23; 1,660 registered Connecticut voters; live interview) and sees incumbent Ned Lamont (D) holding a 51-43 percent lead over his 2018 GOP opponent, businessman Bob Stefanowski. Gov. Lamont’s almost unanimous support among self-identified Democrats (92-6 percent) largely accounts for his positive margin in this heavily Democratic political domain.

The governor holds a 52:38 percent favorable job approval rating, which compares very favorably to President Biden’s upside-down 40:54 percent ratio. Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal post 45:37 and 45:43 percent respective scores. Sen. Blumenthal is on the ballot this year, suggesting a race against him could be one that potentially turns more competitive than expected.

Budd Leads Beasley in NC; Oz Declares; Schrader Concedes in OR-5

By Jim Ellis — June 1, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Budd Lead Diminished — As we know, the May 17 North Carolina primary featured Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) scoring a major 59-25 percent win over former Gov. Pat McCrory in the 2022 Republican US Senate primary. Immediately after, East Carolina University released the first post primary poll (May 19-20; 635 registered North Carolina voters) that projected the congressman leading Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, by a 47-39 percent margin. This is well beyond the polling margin of error.

The Cygnal research group then conducted a subsequent study for the Civitas Institute (May 21-22; 600 likely North Carolina voters; live interview, text, and email). They also find Budd holding the advantage, but in only a small 44-42 percent spread. This result is a bit surprising when seeing that the same Cygnal poll posts President Biden with a heavily upside-down 33:61 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval rating, the Republicans ahead on the congressional generic question, 50-43 percent, and the right track/wrong track question breaking 22:73 percent.

Pennsylvania: Oz Declares Presumptive Victory — The Pennsylvania Republican Senate contest continues to drag on, and we probably won’t see a final determination until June 8, the day the Secretary of State must certify the election. According to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s unofficial preliminary count, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who on Friday declared himself the “presumptive” nominee, leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, by 922 votes from 1,344,104 ballots cast, an astoundingly high number for a Keystone State Republican primary.

The mandatory recount is already underway. Once the totals are reported and the election certified, the challenges to individual votes may begin. Therefore, this political drama could go on for quite awhile longer. The Pennsylvania primary was May 17.

House

OR-5: Rep. Schrader Concedes — Another political overtime race officially ended over the Memorial Day break. With the Clackamas County vote counting bar code problem finally being corrected, it became clear that seven-term Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) would not overcome his Democratic primary opponent’s early lead, and conceded the nomination to former local city manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The Oregon Secretary of State reports the McLeod-Skinner lead at 55.1 – 44.3 percent with 80,423 votes counted.

McLeod-Skinner will now face the new Republican nominee, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, in what will be the most competitive congressional seat in Oregon. The Democratic voting trends in the area favor McLeod-Skinner, but with a D+3 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, this seat becomes a 2022 Republican target.

Schrader becomes the fourth incumbent to be denied re-nomination joining Reps. David McKinley (R-WV), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA).

Texas: Final Decision Due Thursday — Yesterday was the last day that overseas votes could be received and counted for the Texas runoff elections that were held May 24. Two South Texas congressional seats are without confirmed Democratic nominees, the open 15th CD and Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-Laredo) 28th District.

Adjusted totals from two counties in the 15th give businesswoman Michelle Vallejo just a 27 vote lead over attorney and Iraq War veteran Ruben Ramirez in a low turnout election that features a universe of only 12,063 individuals. The 15th District Democratic winner will face Republican Monica de la Cruz, the 2020 GOP congressional nominee.

In the 28th, either Rep. Cuellar or Jessica Cisneros will battle Republican Cassy Garcia, a former South Texas aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Rep. Cuellar has declared victory, saying his 177-vote margin over attorney Cisneros will be sustained. Cisneros says she believes the final count will reverse his lead. The counties must report their final runoff numbers to the Secretary of State tomorrow, Thursday, June 2.

Greitens Making a MO Comback? No Candidate Reaches 10 Percent in NY

By Jim Ellis — May 31, 2022

Senate

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

Missouri: Greitens Back Up — The Trafalgar Group joined the firms who have tested the Missouri Republican primary and just released their survey results (May 16-18; 1,065 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; live interview; text; online). They find scandal-tainted resigned Gov. Eric Greitens returning to first place, this time with 26 percent. In this poll, US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) is a close second with 23 percent, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt with 19 percent. US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) leads the also-ran tier with nine percent. The candidates have bounced around in various polls, but no one reaches the 30 percent mark. Expect someone to break from the pack before the Aug. 2 statewide primary election.

House

NY-10: No one Reaches 10 Percent — Emerson College just released a poll for this primary. Though the results are inconclusive because no one reaches even eight percent support, the survey (May 24-25; 500 likely Democratic NY-10 primary voters; combination response online and by text) reveals two important points.

First, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) is already just as competitive as everyone else in the new Brooklyn/Lower Manhattan CD. In fact, he leads the group, but with only seven percent support followed by former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio with six percent, and all others with five percent or less. A total of 77 percent of the respondents said they are undecided. Second, de Blasio’s poor showing at six percent with total name identification is far worse than his upside-down job approval rating would have suggested. This tells us that the former mayor begins with only a small constituency in this district, and will likely have a difficult time expanding his base.

NY-12: Maloney Tops Nadler — The aforementioned Emerson College Poll (May 24-25; 500 likely NY-10 Democratic primary voters; combination online and text) continues in the adjoining 12th CD that features a paired incumbents battle between New York City veteran Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler. The survey finds Maloney, who like Nadler was first elected to the House in 1992, leading her opponent with a 31-21 percent support margin. Four other minor Democratic primary candidates score between only one and six percent preference. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the new NY-12, D+68, so the Democratic primary winner on Aug. 23 will win the general election in November.

Redistricting

New Hampshire: Process Heading to Court — The New Hampshire legislature adjourned Sine Die but passed another congressional redistricting map and again sent it to Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who, once more, says he will veto the bill. The governor’s promised action means the redistricting process will move to the state Supreme Court. The justices had previously said they will adopt a “least change” map, meaning both seats will lean toward the Democrats. Republicans were fighting to make the swing 1st District more Republican while conceding the 2nd District to incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton). Gov. Sununu said he wanted both districts to be competitive. The move will likely cost the Republicans a seat, thus handing Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) a new district that he can again win.

Poll Shows Kelly Strong in Ariz;
Lee Declared Winner in PA Primary

By Jim Ellis — May 26, 2022

Senate

Sen. Mark Kelly (D) strong in new polling

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Strong in New Polling — Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling ran a survey of the Arizona electorate (May 12-16; 608 registered Arizona voters; live interview) and tested the top three Republican candidates against Sen. Mark Kelly (D). They find the senator leading each member of the trio by almost identical substantial margins. Against Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Sen. Kelly posts a 50-33 percent advantage. Venture capitalist Blake Masters similarly trails, 49-32 percent. Former solar energy company owner Jim Lamon is in the same realm, behind the Senator, 48-34 percent.

North Carolina: Rep. Budd Takes Early Lead — East Carolina University released the results of their post-primary statewide survey (May 19-20; 635 registered North Carolina voters; SMS text) that shows US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) opening the general election campaign with a substantial 47-39 percent advantage over former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) as the two battle in the open Senate campaign.

President Biden fares poorly on the job approval question. He is a full 20 points upside down in North Carolina, 35:55 percent favorable to unfavorable. Republicans, according to this survey, are up 47-44 percent on the generic question. Incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R) chose not to stand for a fourth term.

House

IL-6: Rep. Casten Leads in Paired Dem Race — An internal Garin Hart Yang Research Group poll conducted for Illinois Rep. Sean Casten’s (D-Downers Grove) campaign (May 12-16; 402 likely IL-6 Democratic primary voters; live interview) finds the poll sponsor developing a substantial lead over his paired Democratic incumbent opponent, freshman Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange). The GHY results give Rep. Casten a 36-27 percent lead heading toward the June 28th primary. According to the poll analysis, Rep. Casten has an all-encompassing edge over Newman including men, women, progressives, liberals, and moderate/conservatives.

NY-17: Dem State Senator to Challenge DCCC Chair Maloney — Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) continues to draw fire from his own party for entering into a paired campaign with freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) even though the latter man has moved to the New York City 10th District to seek re-election.

Late Monday, far left state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), granddaughter of the late ten-term US Rep. Mario Biaggi (D) who was both a decorated police officer and convicted of political corruption and accepting illegal gratuities thus forcing him to spend 26 months of his post-congressional time in prison, announced that she will challenge Rep. Maloney. Biaggi referred to the congressman as a “corporate, selfish Democrat” while criticizing him for the move against Rep. Jones. Sen. Biaggi represents a Bronx/Westchester district in the Senate, but originally declared for the Long Island/Queens open seat of US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) who is running for governor. Under the new court map and Rep. Maloney’s decision, she is instead launching a Democratic primary challenge for the newly drawn Westchester County anchored 17th CD.

PA-12: Victory Declared — On Monday, we indicated that state Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) was increasing her small lead over lobbyist Steve Irwin in the open Democratic primary but votes remained in a Pennsylvania counting system that seems to be moving only at a glacial pace. Yesterday, Lee was officially projected the winner. As a result, she becomes the prohibitive favorite for the general election over Republican Mike Doyle, and will replace retiring Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh), no relation to the new Republican nominee, from the downtown Pittsburgh anchored district.

And The Landslides Bring It Down

By Jim Ellis — May 25, 2022

Primary Results

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp turned back former Sen. David Perdue with an unpredicted landslide 74 percent win in what was clearly the most anticipated race of the evening. While polling showed that the governor would be re-nominated, a huge 74-22 percent vote spread was unforeseen. Considering where Gov. Kemp started after the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump piling on him up until the day of this vote, Kemp’s win was extraordinary within a primary turnout of just under 1.2 million GOP voters, the size of which has not been previously seen.

Also scoring big was Herschel Walker in the US Senate Republican primary. He won with more than 68 percent of the vote and now advances to face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. Sen. Warnock had only minor opposition in the Democratic primary and captured 96 percent of the 713,000-plus Democratic votes that have been recorded.

In the 7th Congressional District Democratic incumbent pairing contest, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) scored a huge 63-31 percent victory over freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee). The two incumbents became paired when the Republican map drawers decided to make the new 6th District safely Republican, thus forcing McBath into the adjoining 7th CD.

Alabama: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who former President Trump pulled back from endorsing because, at the time, it was viewed his campaign was going nowhere, rebounded to capture second position (29.2 percent) in the open US Senate Republican primary and advance to the June 21 runoff election. The first-place finisher is former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt (44.7 percent). Both defeated retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant (23.3 percent), whose self-funded campaign fell short of the mark in what was an expensive three-way race.

In the contested Republican gubernatorial primary, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) won re-nomination with 54 percent of the vote against eight Republican opponents. Here, too, GOP turnout was much higher than the Democrats’ — over 645,000 voters compared to 168,000. In both Georgia and Alabama, the Trump endorsements clearly lacked the punch we have seen in the other early primaries.

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman turned back three Republican challengers to win his re-nomination outright with 58 percent of the vote. All four GOP US House members were also re-nominated, though 2nd District Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) posted a surprisingly low 58.5 percent.

The open governor’s race produced no surprise. Former Trump press secretary and daughter of ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, won a landslide Republican nomination with 83.2 percent of the vote. She will easily replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the autumn election.

MN-1 Special Primary: The Minnesota special congressional primary to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) is also undecided. The Republican side now features a two-way battle between former state Rep. Brad Finstad (38.0 percent) and state Rep. Jeremy Munson (36.8 percent) with 88 percent reporting. The Finstad lead is 427 votes, which may or may not stand up as the final counting process proceeds.

On the Democratic side, former Hormel company CEO Jeff Ettinger won the party nomination with 64.3 percent of the vote over seven opponents. The eventual nominees will square off in a special general election on Aug. 9, a date concurrent with Minnesota’s regular primary election. Republican turnout so far surpasses the Democratic participation rate by almost a 2:1 margin, 35,330 to 18,392.

Texas: The Texas results featured a crushing defeat for the Bush family, as two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton swamped Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with a 67.2 – 32.8 percent margin. Paxton will now face attorney Rochelle Garza who won the Democratic runoff with 62.9 percent of the vote.

There are two unresolved congressional races at this writing. In one of the South Texas seats, veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) leads attorney Jessica Cisneros by just 177 votes with 94 percent of the expected vote recorded. Most of the outstanding vote appears to come in Cuellar-favorable counties, so it is more likely that he survives a very close primary and runoff set of elections.

In the contested open 15th District, in what could well become the most hotly contested general election in the Lone Star State, the Democratic runoff is still a long way from being decided. Candidates Michelle Vallejo and Ruben Ramirez are only 23 votes apart with just 50 percent of the counting reported. This contest could require quite a bit of time to decide. The eventual winner will face the 2020 Republican nominee, Monica de la Cruz, who easily won re-nomination outright back on March 1.

Moving to the open Dallas-anchored 30th District, State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) recorded a 60.6 percent runoff win to capture the party nomination in the safely Democratic seat. She will succeed retiring US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) in November. Johnson has represented the area in Congress for the past 30 years.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado to Take Oath for Lieutenant Governor; Will Resign Today — US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) will officially be sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor later today. Resigning the congressional seat just before taking the oath of office allows Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to schedule the special election to replace Delgado concurrently with the Aug. 23 congressional primary. The political parties will choose their respective nominees, meaning there will be only one election to fill the balance of the congressman’s current term. The new member then could seek a full term in the new 19th CD, which will be different in configuration to the current pre-redistricting seat.

Governor

Michigan: Top GOP Candidate Facing Disqualification — Media reports surfacing from Michigan are indicating that several Republican candidates, including polling front-runner James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, may fall short of presenting 15,000 valid registered voter petition signatures to qualify him for a ballot position. According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, 9,879 of Craig’s signatures were invalid for various reasons, leaving him well short of the 15,000 minimum number.

Another gubernatorial candidate, businessman Perry Johnson (R), is in similar position. The Michigan governor’s race is one of he premier statewide campaigns in the country this year, so with Craig potentially being ousted as a candidate, that’s a major developing story.