Category Archives: Primary

Libertarian Party Chooses Nominee; Expect an Early Nomination for Biden-Harris; Menendez to Enter Senate Campaign as an Independent; Texas House Election Roundup

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 29, 2024

President

2024 Libertarian Party nominee, Chase Oliver.

Libertarian Party: Chooses Presidential Candidate — Catching up on political news from over Memorial Day Weekend, after booing former President Donald Trump spoke to the Libertarian Party Convention, delegates on the fourth ballot nominated former Georgia Senate and congressional candidate Chase Oliver as the party’s presidential nominee. Not Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who was being considered for party nomination. The Libertarian Party is the only one of the minor entities that will have 50-state, or near 50-state, ballot presence. The party’s presence is more likely to take votes away from former President Donald Trump than President Joe Biden.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. received only two percent of the delegate vote on the first ballot and was eliminated. Chase then advanced to a third ballot against college professor Michael Rectenwald. Chase received 49.5 percent of the vote, just short of the majority threshold. He then advanced to win 60 percent alone against a none of the above option.

Democratic National Committee: Will Nominate Biden-Harris Virtually — It appears that the Democrats will, for the first time, nominate their presidential ticket before the delegates even gather for their national convention in late August. Responding to the Ohio election law that requires the political parties to provide official communication of their nominees prior to Aug. 7, Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison announced yesterday that the party delegates will vote in a virtual roll call prior to the Aug. 19-22 party gathering to ensure that President Biden is placed on the Buckeye State ballot.

Ohio Republicans have said they would pass a new law changing the aforementioned deadline, yet Harrison said the Democrats would not wait for their counterparts to act, but rather would “land this plane themselves.” Conducting the vote early will make it even more difficult for insurgent Democrats to make any move to convince the president to step down from receiving the party nomination. Therefore, we can expect President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to be renominated well before Aug. 7 and weeks prior to the Democratic delegates gathering in Chicago for their national convention.

Senate

New Jersey: Sen. Menendez Circulating Petitions — While Sen. Bob Menendez (D) is standing trial for bribery, reports are surfacing from New Jersey that he is also having petitions circulated to enter the 2024 Senate race as an Independent. Earlier, Sen. Menendez announced that he would not compete in the Democratic primary.

It is likely that the senator will file as an Independent not because he believes he can win from that ballot line, but his status as a candidate would allow him to use his substantial campaign funds (his cash-on-hand figure was just under $3.6 million on March 31) to pay his legal expenses.

Michigan: Petition Signatures Confirmed — Despite stories surfacing last week that Republican candidates — Mike Rogers, a former House member and ex-Intelligence Committee chairman; ex-Rep. Justin Amash; and businessman Sandy Pensler — were in danger of not submitting 15,000 valid petition signatures to qualify for the US Senate ballot, the State Bureau of Elections staff report indicates that the only Senate contender not qualifying from either major political party is Democrat Nasser Beydoun.

In Michigan, the staff sends their signature qualification report to the secretary of state prior to the principal making a final decision. At this point, it appears that all three key Republican candidates will be on the ballot. For the Democrats, the battle will apparently be between US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) and actor Hill Harper.

House

TX-23: Rep. Gonzales Barely Renominated — Two-term Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio) escaped with a close win last night against firearm manufacturer Brandon Herrera in the Texas Republican runoff election after a nasty campaign. Rep. Gonzales won with 50.7 percent of the vote, a margin of just 407 votes of the 29,639 ballots cast. In the March 5 Republican primary, the congressman placed first in the original election with 45.1 percent of the vote as compared to Herrera’s 24.6 percent.

An incumbent being forced into a runoff generally plays poorly for the office holder in the secondary election, thus the closeness of this contest was not particularly surprising. Furthermore, last night’s result is not the first close call Gonzales has experienced in the Texas runoff system.

In his first election back in 2020, Gonzales won that year’s runoff election with just 45 votes to spare, and then went onto score an upset 51-47 percent victory over Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones. The congressman will now be favored to defeat Democratic nominee Santos Limon in the general election.

TX-28: Republicans Nominate Furman — A second important Republican runoff election occurred in the South Texas 28th District, a seat that stretches from San Antonio all the way to the Mexican border. Retired Navy officer Jay Furman was an easy 65-35 percent winner over rancher Lazaro Garza Jr. in a runoff election that saw only 12,683 voters cast ballots.

Furman will advance to the general election to challenge embattled Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), who now faces a federal bribery indictment. Prior to his legal situation becoming public, the general election did not appear competitive, but the new developments suggest that the Republican nomination is worth having. Now the attention turns to the GOP apparatus to determine if they will target the district and spend the resources to help Furman score what they hope will be an upset victory on Nov. 5.

TX-12: State Rep. Goldman Wins GOP Runoff — State Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Ft. Worth), as expected, easily defeated real estate developer John O’Shea by a 63-37 percent margin from a low turnout of 26,670 votes. Goldman now becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election to succeed retiring Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-Ft. Worth) who is departing after serving what will be 14 terms in the House.

The result was not a surprise after Goldman placed first in the March 5 primary coming within 5.6 percentage points of winning the Republican nomination outright. Goldman was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012 and rose to a position of Republican Party leadership in the current legislative chamber.

Incumbents Winning Big

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, May 23, 2024

Elections

At this point in the 2024 election cycle we have seen a number of budding primary challenges opposite US House members, and through this past Tuesday the incumbents are batting 1.000. It is likely, however, that the most competitive challenges are yet to come.

A total of 17 states have held their down-ballot primary elections. Within this number were 62 partisan challenges to US representatives. The California all-party jungle primary system does not produce traditional intra-party challenges. Therefore, the Golden State races are not included in the partisan statistics quoted in this column.

In only one race, that one in Alabama’s newly constructed 1st District, did an incumbent, Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), lose. But, in a paired redistricting situation, a sitting member losing was the inevitable conclusion.

We have seen no serious nomination challenges to sitting in-cycle senators. In the House, of the 62 members who have faced an intra-party opponent, 18 have proven to be substantial challenges. This means that the top opponent received at least 30 percent of the vote.

In only two, however, was an incumbent victory even in doubt. On March 19, southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) defeated former state senator and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey by a slight 51-49 percent count.

On May 7 in the Hoosier State of Indiana, Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville), who originally indicated she would not seek re-election but changed her mind before the candidate filing deadline, only scored 39 percent of the primary vote. The total, however, was enough to turn back eight GOP challengers including state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville) who captured 33 percent support.

Therefore, at this point in the House cycle with now a bare majority of 218 district electorates having nominated their general election contenders, it appears the stage might be set to see another incumbent-favorable general election.

The primary vote to-date could be the precursor to seeing a similar result to what we saw in 2022, when incumbents fared extremely well even though polling suggested the electorate desired major change. Two years ago, 55 of 56 senators and governors who ran for re-election won, and the incumbent retention percentage in the House was 98.1.

Should the 2024 election result in a similar conclusion, we would again see very small margins in both the House and Senate. Yet, the primary season is only half over, and a number of key members remain embroiled in primary campaigns.

While we’ve only seen two primaries in the first half resulting in close finishes, several upcoming contests could end in close counts or even incumbent upsets. In fact, 13 members in 11 states face challengers who are positioning themselves for serious runs.

Arizona freshman Rep. Eli Crane (R-Oro Valley) sees former Yavapai County Supervisor Jack Smith coming forward. Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt), while changing to the open 4th District, must overcome Logan County Commissioner Jerry Sonnenberg and two state representatives to secure nomination in the new district.

In Florida, both Reps. Dan Webster (R-Clermont) and Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) face a former state representative and ex-school superintendent, respectively.

In what are proving to be the top challenges to Democratic members, Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), all members of far left “Squad,” each face serious opponents in the persons of Westchester County Executive George Latimer, St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell, and former Minneapolis City councilman and 2022 congressional candidate Don Samuels.

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole (R-Moore/Norman) is repelling a multi-million dollar challenge from Texas transplant Paul Bondar. Two South Carolina members, Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) and William Timmons (R-Greenville), are attempting to defeat strong challenges from former Haley Administration official Catherine Templeton, and state Rep. Adam Morgan (R-Greenville).

Like Rep. Mace, who is under attack for voting to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Virginia Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) also has his hands full attempting to defend himself from state Sen. John McGuire’s (R) aggressive challenge.

Tennessee Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Columbia) and Utah’s Celeste Maloy (R-Cedar City), the latter of whom won her seat in a late 2023 special election, also are in serious battles for renomination.

While we have seen an unblemished nomination record for incumbent House members in the first half of primaries, the second half may threaten their so far perfect record.

Tuesday’s Primary Results

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Primary Results

California Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) / Photo by Kevin Sanders for California Globe

CA-20: Fong Wins Special Election — California Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), fresh from winning court challenges that could have prevented him from running for Congress, clinched the special election to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R). Upon certification, Fong will be immediately sworn into the House and increase the party division to 218R – 213D. In last night’s election, Fong defeated Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux (R) by a 60-40 percent count.

Fong won big in Kern County, 74 percent at this writing, and carried Fresno County with about 55 percent of the vote. Kings County is too close to call, but the small number of votes won’t greatly affect the outcome. Sheriff Boudreaux easily carried his home county of Tulare.

Next, Representative-Elect Fong will again face Sheriff Boudreaux in the 2024 general election this November in a double-Republican general election contest where he will be favored to win a full term.

Georgia: Runoff in District 3; Reps. McBath & Scott Renominated — Both Reps. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta), running in a newly reconfigured 6th District and David Scott (D-Atlanta) were easily renominated last night.

Rep. McBath defeated Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson and state Rep. Mandisha Thomas (D-Red Oak) with a whopping 85 percent of the vote. Rep. Scott defeated six opponents, scoring 58 percent of the vote and winning renomination outright. Both incumbents will face little in the way of re-election challenges in November.

In retiring Rep. Drew Ferguson’s (R-The Rock/Carrollton) open 3rd District, a pair of Republicans will advance to a June 18 runoff election, though former Trump White House aide Brian Jack came close to winning outright. Jack recorded 47 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent plus one vote mark that would have clinched the nomination.

Advancing into the runoff with 26 percent is former state Sen. Mike Dugan. Getting as close as he did to the majority threshold gives Jack a major advantage heading into the runoff. The secondary election will be the deciding factor since the eventual Republican nominee will be the prohibitive favorite to win the seat in the general election.

Idaho: Rep. Simpson Clinches Primary Win — Veteran Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) won renomination for a 14th US House term, defeating two Republican opponents with 57 percent of the vote, at this writing.

The state’s other House member, Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian) was unopposed for renomination. Idaho also has no US Senate race in this election cycle.

Kentucky: Easy Night for All Incumbents — Half of the state’s congressional delegation faced minor primary opponents and half were unopposed.

Reps. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville), Thomas Massie (R-Garrison), and Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) were all renominated for new terms and will have easy runs in the general election. McGarvey won with 84 percent, Massie recorded 76 percent, and Rogers scored an 82 percent preference figure. All are locks to win the general election.

The same November outlook is on tap for unopposed congressional candidates James Comer (R-Tompkinsville), Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green), and Andy Barr (R-Lexington).

Oregon: Bynum Defeats McLeod-Skinner; Salinas-Erickson Re-Match — As expected, state Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland) won the crowded 3rd District Democratic primary, which is tantamount to winning the general election and succeeding retiring 14-term Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland). Dexter, at this writing, was projected the winner with a 53-25 percent margin over former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, sister to Washington US Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle), and five others.

With the Democratic leadership virtually united in backing state Rep. Janelle Bynum’s (D-Clackamas) attempt to deny 2022 congressional nominee Jamie McLeod-Skinner renomination because they viewed the former as the stronger opponent to 5th District freshman Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Happy Valley), their goal was achieved in a landslide proportion. Rep. Bynum defeated McLeod-Skinner by what looks to be a 70-30 percent margin. Two years ago, McLeod-Skinner won the Democratic congressional primary unseating seven-term Rep. Kurt Schrader.

The CD-5 general election encompasses the state capital city of Salem and the outer southwestern Portland suburbs. This will be one of the most hotly contested House races in the nation.
In the adjacent 6th District, we will see a re-match from the 50-48 percent result posted in 2022. Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Tigard) will defend her seat against businessman Mike Erickson, who scored a 75 percent victory in last night’s Republican primary. Though the race will be competitive, Rep. Salinas is certainly favored to successfully defend her seat.

In other Oregon results, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Washington County) was easily renominated for an eighth term with 91 percent of the Democratic primary vote in early returns. Sophomore Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) also won renomination for a third term defeating Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe (R) with 81 percent vote preference.

Primary Preview:
Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday May 21, 2024

Four states host primary elections today, and though none feature US Senate elections in this cycle several House members face competitive nomination battles.

Georgia

Three House primaries are of note in the Peach State.

Retiring Rep. Drew Ferguson’s (R-The Rock/Carrollton) 3rd District is open, and the eventual GOP nominee will succeed the outgoing congressman. Five candidates are on the ballot, but the race appears to be evolving into a three-way contest among former Trump White House aide Brian Jack, and ex-state Sens. Mike Dugan and Mike Crane.

The western Georgia seat is largely rural with no major population center. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+38. A runoff is likely, meaning a new election for the top two finishers on June 18.

Redistricting changed the congressional map earlier this year, thus drastically altering Rep. Lucy McBath’s (D-Marietta) 7th District. Now labeled District 6, the McBath seat returns to a boundary configuration closer to where she was originally elected in 2018. Coming back to a western Atlanta suburban seat, Rep. McBath now faces Democratic competition in the person of Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson and state Rep. Mandisha Thomas (D-Red Oak). Though Rep. McBath’s challengers are elected officials, neither seems to have made a major effort in this primary. Therefore, expect McBath to win outright tonight.

Another Democratic member facing a primary challenge is veteran Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta), which is nothing new for him. Throughout his 22-year congressional career, Rep. Scott has routinely faced primary challenges. This year, he has six opponents including Marcus Flowers who raised almost $13 million in a 2022 challenge against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome). This year, his campaign receipts are in the more modest $200,000 range. He is the largest fundraiser against Rep. Scott, which tells us the congressman will again prevail.

Reps. Buddy Carter (R-Savannah), Sanford Bishop (D-Albany), Hank Johnson (D-Lithonia), Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta), Rich McCormick (R-Suwanee), Austin Scott (R-Tifton), Andrew Clyde (R-Athens), Mike Collins (R-Jackson), Rick Allen (R-Augusta), and Greene face no primary opposition. Only minor competition awaits Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville/Kennesaw).

Idaho

Today will feature a quiet primary election in the Gem State. Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian) is unopposed, and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) faces only a pair of minor challengers.

The most interesting 2024 Idaho election cycle ballot point may be the Ranked Choice Voting proposition that voters will decide in November. Proponents are attempting to qualify an Alaska-style Top Four/Ranked Choice Voting system for the state.

Kentucky

Blue Grass State voters will also see a quiet primary election. No major nomination challenges are occurring though Reps. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville), Thomas Massie (R-Garrison), and Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) do face minor competition.

Reps. James Comer (R-Tompkinsville), Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green), and Andy Barr (R-Lexington) are unopposed for renomination. All six House incumbents look set for the general election, as well.

Oregon

While Idaho and Kentucky are headed for quiet elections tomorrow, we will see more action unfolding in the Beaver State of Oregon.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) retiring after serving what will be 14 US House terms leaves a crowded Democratic primary in his wake. With the FiveThirtyEight data organization rating OR-3 as D+43, Blumenauer’s successor will be determined in tonight’s Democratic primary.

Seven Democrats are competing, but the race appears to have winnowed to a battle among state Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland), ex-Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, sister to Washington US Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle), and Gresham City Councilman Eddy Morales. Negative independent expenditures have been run against Jayapal. While a competitive battle, it appears that Dexter has the inside track toward the party nomination tomorrow and winning the general election in November.

Perhaps the most interesting of the evening primaries lies in the Portland/Salem metro area’s 5th District. The national and local Democratic Party leadership want to replace 2022 nominee Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who lost to freshman Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Happy Valley), with state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas). Bynum has done better on the fundraising front, but we will see if her advantages can rob McLeod-Skinner of the nomination she earned two years ago when upsetting then-Rep. Kurt Schrader (D).

The final primary of the night comes in Oregon’s 6th District, the extra seat the state earned in the 2020 census. Freshman Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Tigard) won a closer than expected victory in the ’22 election (50-48%) but should have little trouble winning renomination tomorrow night. Her likely Republican opponent is again businessman Mike Erickson who is expected to triumph in the GOP primary.

Expect the 6th District to feature a moderately competitive general election race. Though Salinas under-performed in the 2022 election, the presidential turnout should help increase her 2024 victory percentage.

Curtis Leads in New Utah Poll; California Dem Party Endorses Low; Michigan Candidate in Danger of Disqualification; Three Incumbents Being Outspent in NY, VA, SC

By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 20, 2024

Senate

Utah Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo)

Utah: Rep. Curtis Leading in New GOP Poll — Four Republican candidates are vying for the right to succeed retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R) in Utah’s June 25 primary election, but one is pulling away from the field. The Conservative Values for Utah super PAC commissioned a Guidant Polling & Strategy survey for the Utah Senate race (April 30-May 3; 600 likely Utah Republican primary voters) and released the results late last week. The ballot test finds US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) developing a large 41-14-9-2 percent GOP primary advantage over Riverton Mayor John Staggs, former state House Speaker Brad Wilson, and businessman Jason Walton, respectively.

Mayor Staggs was officially endorsed at the Utah Republican Party Convention and earned former President Donald Trump’s support. Through submitting 28,000 valid signatures, Rep. Curtis and Wilson and Walton all successfully petitioned onto the primary ballot. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the open general election.

House

CA-16: State Dem Party Endorses Low — With the recount of the tied jungle primary finish between San Mateo County Supervisor Joe Simitian (D) and state Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), and awarding Low the second qualifying general election ballot position by five votes, the California Democratic Party has taken action. With Simitian not requesting a recount, even though many expected him to ask for a second canvass, the official California party issued an endorsement for Assemblyman Low.

The first-place finisher, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D), wrapped up his qualifying position on the March 5 primary election date. Neither Low nor Simitian requested an original recount because under California election procedure, tied candidates both advance into the general election. Instead, allies of Liccardo paid for the recount figuring the tally would move by a handful of votes, which proved true. Later, polling surfaced showing Liccardo doing better in a two-way race against either Low or Simitian, as opposed to a three-way all-Democratic battle. The November winner will replace retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton).

MI-13: Former State Senator in Danger of Being Disqualified — In 2022, then-state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) lost a close crowded primary to then-state Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit), 28-24 percent, and vowed to try again in 2024. While Hollier announced for the seat and circulated petitions, the preliminary city clerk staff report indicates that his valid signature petitions will fall short of the minimum required number for ballot qualification. After the two-day public comment period expires, the city clerk will make the final decision of whether to award Hollier a ballot line.

Even without Hollier on the ballot, Rep. Thanedar will likely face a Democratic primary challenge from Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Waters and former Southfield City Clerk Shakira Hawkins. The Michigan primary is scheduled for Aug. 6.

House Incumbents: Three Being Outspent — Three US House incumbents are on the short end of spending battles in their respective primaries. Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Nancy Mace (R-SC), and Bob Good (R-VA) all face tough challenges against credible opponents.

Reports are surfacing that, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s United Democracy Project, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is the beneficiary of a media spending advantage against Rep. Bowman of about $3 million to $171,000 according to the AdImpact media monitoring organization. The congressman had more than $1.4 million in his account through March 31 and can expect further outside money to help him close the voter contact gap in the final six weeks of the primary campaign.

Largely due to a PAC that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s allies run, AdImpact estimates spending against Rep. Mace is approximately $4.3 million as compared to $2.5 million backing the congresswoman. Mace’s opponent is former Nikki Haley Administration official Catherine Templeton.

While there are no reported figures for the Virginia race to date, it is clear that challenger John McGuire, a Virginia state senator who has former President Trump’s endorsement, is well ahead of Rep. Good in advertising and polling. An early May Battleground Connect poll found Sen. McGuire leading Rep. Good, 45-31 percent. The congressman, like Rep. Mace, voted to oust former Speaker McCarthy.

Why Trone Lost in Maryland; North Dakota House Primary Tightening, Armstrong Up in Two Polls; Virginia Gambling Initiative Opposed

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, May 16, 2024

Senate

Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac)

Maryland: Why Trone Lost — There are specific reasons as to why Maryland Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) lost to Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) by a large margin even with his huge financial advantage. First, as we had been stating in these posts all along, Trone’s exorbitant spending, estimated to be a self-contributed $62 million, which is an all-time record candidate investment for a Senate primary, was placing him ahead in polling but not to the point where he was substantially pulling away from Alsobrooks.

In contrast, she had strong grassroots support within the African-American communities in PG County and Baltimore, which is very important in a Maryland Democratic primary and could partially compensate for being outspent. She was also smart about how to spend the money she did have, working the ground early and spending her funds late in the campaign, knowing that she could not equal Trone’s largess.

Additionally, Trone likely became over-saturated to the point people were tuning him out because of over-exposure. His last ads, attacking former Gov. Larry Hogan, also reverberated negatively toward Trone. Though Hogan is a Republican, he generally possesses a positive image among most Democrats.

Furthermore, the Trone campaign strategy appeared misapplied. He attempted to secure the left flank of the party while Alsobrooks was firmly entrenched within the faction. Therefore, he left more centrist Democrats in places like Baltimore County and the Annapolis area with no place to go. The fact that the entire Democratic congressional delegation, with the exception of retiring Sen. Ben Cardin who stayed neutral, and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) who supported Trone, along with Gov. Wes Moore, all not backing the congressman also proved damaging to his credibility.

For Trone to win the nomination, he would have needed to carry five of the state’s eight congressional domains, including Districts 1 (Rep. Andy Harris-R), which he did, 2 (Rep. Ruppersberger), which he did not, 3 (retiring Rep. John Sarbanes-D), which he did not, and 8 (Rep. Jamie Raskin-D), which he did not. In the end, he topped Alsobrooks only in the lone Eastern Shore Republican district and his own western Maryland 6th District. Adding the sum of these factors, in addition to making three verbal and strategic gaffes at the end, culminated in what appears to be a 12-point loss even with his approximate 10:1 spending advantage.

House

ND-AL: Tight Primary Unfolding — As part of their statewide polling project, DFM Research (May 6-8; 550 likely North Dakota Republican primary voters; live interview & text) tested the open Republican primary for the state’s at-large US House seat. Three-term incumbent Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) is running for governor, thus leaving a competitive GOP congressional primary in his wake.

The contest, heading for a June 11 primary election, appears too close to call. The DFM results find former state Rep. Rich Becker leading Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak by a 29-26 percent margin with former Miss America Cara Mund trailing at 14 percent. Thus, between Becker and Fedorchak, the race appears as a toss-up. The plurality primary winner will have the inside track toward winning the seat in November.

Governor

North Dakota: Rep. Armstrong Up in Two Polls — DFM Research and Guidant Polling & Strategy returned Republican primary survey data on the impending North Dakota open governor’s race, which is headed for a June 11 nomination election. Both find Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) posting major, and almost identical, leads over Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller.

DFM Research (May 6-8; 550 likely North Dakota Republican primary voters; live interview & text) posts Rep. Armstrong to a 56-18 percent advantage. Guidant (May 4-8; 500 likely North Dakota Republican primary voters; live interview & text) sees virtually the same result favoring Armstrong, 60-19 percent. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the general election to replace retiring Gov. Doug Burgum (R).

States

Virginia: Statewide Gambling & Candidate Polling Results — An organization attempting to defeat a proposed Virginia gambling ballot proposition, Virginians Against Neighborhood Slot Machines, commissioned a joint statewide poll from two major polling organizations, Fabrizio Ward & Associates, a Republican firm, and the Democratic polling group, Impact Research. The pollsters (released May 10; surveyed April 26-28; 500 registered Virginia voters; live interview & text) found wide opposition to the gambling measure (opponents outnumbering supporters by a 20 point margin), and then tested the key statewide contests.

On the candidate front, surprisingly President Joe Biden held only a one-point ballot test lead over former President Donald Trump, 43-32 percent, while Sen. Tim Kaine (D) outpaced retired US Navy captain and 2022 congressional candidate Hung Cao (R) by 12 percentage points, 48-36 percent. If additional research suggests a tightening at the presidential level, Virginia could move into a more competitive political realm in the coming months.

Sen. Scott Expands Lead; Nevada Propositions Won’t Make Ballot; Four NY-3 Candidates Disqualified; Three Bob Fergusons on Ballot

By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 13, 2024

Senate

Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R)

Florida: Sen. Scott Expands Lead — Cherry Communications was in the field testing several Florida races for the state Chamber of Commerce (April 28-May 7; 609 likely Florida general election voters; live interview) and despite claims from Democratic Senate candidate Debbie Mucarsel Powell in fundraising messages that her race is even, this poll confirms otherwise. In reality, Sen. Rick Scott (R) has a major advantage over the likely Democratic nominee. According to the Cherry/Chamber poll, Sen. Scott commands a 54-39 percent lead.

The Scott performance is even larger than former President Donald Trump’s showing in the same poll. On the presidential ballot test, Trump holds a 51-42 percent edge over President Joe Biden. Additionally, when Sen. Scott was last on the ballot in 2018 and won by just over 10,000 votes statewide, the Democrats had a voter registration edge. Now, the Republican registration advantage has soared to over 900,000 individuals.

House

Nevada: No Redistricting Ballot Propositions — On Friday, the Nevada state Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling striking down two proposed ballot initiatives that would have allowed citizens to determine if a redistricting commission would be created. The court ruled that the propositions did not include provisions to demonstrate how the initiative would develop a revenue stream to pay for the program as required in Nevada law.

Therefore, no redistricting law changes will be on the ballot in 2024. Also under Nevada election law, in order to become law, propositions must receive majority support in two separate elections. Therefore, time remains for proponents to qualify a pair of propositions in future elections to change the redistricting system before the 2030 census.

NY-3: GOP Candidates Disqualified — Four Republican candidates attempting to challenge returning New York US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) have been disqualified. This leaves former state Assemblyman Mike LiPetri, the local party-endorsed candidate, as the lone Republican contender. None of the others submitted the proper number of valid petition signatures, which is the typical reason candidates fail to make the ballot.

LiPetri has yet to initiate a fundraising mechanism for his campaign, but now he will be unopposed for the party nomination in the June 25 Republican primary. Though expelled Rep. George Santos (R) won the seat in 2022, the district leans Democratic. The Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate a 51.9D – 47.4R partisan lean for the new district adjusted in the 2024 redistricting round.

NY-3 was one of four Democratic districts that went Republican for the US House in 2022 which, along with a similar four seats in California, will go a long way to determining whether Democrats or Republicans claim the majority in the 2024 general election.

Governor

Washington: The Three Bob Fergusons — Evergreen State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) is the leading candidate to replace retiring Gov. Jay Inslee (D), but he has a new problem as we move closer to the May 24 candidate filing deadline. Two other Democrats, also named Bob Ferguson, are in the process of filing. Attorney General Ferguson is appealing to the secretary of state for help. There is an oddity that will be investigated. The new Bob Fergusons are registering at the same address, and one person, Glen Morgan, says he is the campaign manager for both of the challenging Fergusons.

The Washington gubernatorial ballot will be confusing enough without featuring three Bob Fergusons. The state uses the jungle primary system, meaning all candidates are on the same ballot. At this point, 30 individuals, including a dozen Democrats, eight Republicans, eight Independents, one Green, and one Libertarian, have drawn documents to file for governor. So, in such a crowded field, so many Bob Fergusons could cause the attorney general additional confusion problems.