Category Archives: Primary

Maryland, West Virginia Senate Polling Updates; AIPAC Goes Against Kentucky’s Massie; House Primary Updates for NY-6, NJ-10; West
Virginia Governor’s Race Tight

By Jim Ellis — Friday, May 10, 2024

Senate

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks

Maryland: Shock Poll Just Released — A surprising poll was just released from Emerson College (May 6-8; 1,115 registered Maryland voters; 462 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) that shows Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks for the first time moving slightly ahead of US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac). The results yield a 42-41 percent count despite Alsobrooks being outspent by an almost 10:1 ratio. This data clearly suggests that the upcoming May 14 Democratic primary election will yield an interesting night.

The general election data is surprising, too. After several earlier polls projected former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan (R) holding leads over his Democratic opponents, this survey posts both Alsobrooks and Trone to nine (46-37 percent) and 10-point (48-38 percent) respective leads over the ex-state chief executive.

West Virginia: Justice Crushing Mooney in Latest GOP Poll — With a week to go before the May 14 West Virginia primary, Research America conducted another GOP US Senate survey (April 24-May 1; 407 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters; live interview & online) and publicly released the results. The data finds Gov. Jim Justice leading US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) by a huge 67-23 percent tally. Gov. Justice is expected to win the Republican nomination next week and the Senate seat in November.

House

KY-4: AIPAC’s Early Attack Strategy — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) announced that they are launching an ad blitz against Kentucky US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Garrison) even though he has little competition in the May 21 Republican primary and has no Democratic opposition for November. The ads will attack him for his record pertaining to Israel support.

AIPAC’s goal is to weaken him within the Republican primary voter base in order to either dissuade him from running for the Senate when Mitch McConnell’s seat comes open in 2026 or make him less of a factor if he does launch a statewide candidacy.

MD-6: Dueling Polls — A new publicly released survey posts former Commerce Department official April McClain Delaney (D) leading the large field of 13 Democratic candidates vying to succeed Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) who is running for the Senate. The primary election is this Tuesday.

The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group conducted the survey for the Delaney campaign. The poll (May 6-7; 400 likely MD-6 Democratic primary voters; live interview) finds Delaney topping state Delegate Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery County) by a 37-24 percent margin. The pollsters indicate that the remaining 11 candidates combined only posted a cumulative 17 percent support factor.

There is a wide discrepancy in the polls, however. Recently, Vogel released a Public Policy Polling survey (April 25-26; 588 likely MD-6 voters; live interview & text) that showed both he and McClain Delaney at 24 percent. While the data results are very different, it is clear that the primary contest has winnowed to a two-way race.

NJ-10: Special Scheduled; Candidates Come Forth — Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has called a special election to replace the late Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) who passed away on April 24. The special primary will be held on July 16, with the special general on Sept. 18. The winner will take the seat in late September and then be on the ballot for the regular term on Nov. 5.

Because Rep. Payne passed away after the candidate filing deadline, the local Democratic Party organizations will choose a replacement nominee after the July 16 special primary for the regular term. It is presumed the delegates will choose the special primary winner, and Newark City Council President LaMonica McIver (D) appears to be the candidate consolidating the earliest support.

Also expressing interest in running for the party nomination are Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, East Orange City Councilwoman Brittany Claybrooks, and New Jersey state official David Godfrey. Republican Carmen Bucco and Green Party candidate Jon Serrano, along with Congressman Payne, were the only candidates to file at the March 25 filing deadline.

The Democrats will easily retain the Newark anchored 10th District. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+58, and President Joe Biden scored an 81-19 percent victory here in 2020.

Governor

West Virginia: Polling Tight as Primary Nears — As the West Virginia open gubernatorial candidates head into the last week of campaigning before the primary election next Tuesday, a new Emerson College survey (May 2-5; 558 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) continues to see Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leading the GOP primary race, but his edge is narrowing as the whole field is becoming bunched.

The Emerson results reveal a 33-29-21-15 percent split among AG Morrisey, former state Delegate Moore Capito, businessman Chris Miller, and Secretary of State Mac Warner, respectively. Next’s week primary winner will become the prohibitive favorite to succeed Gov. Jim Justice (R) who will likely be nominated for the US Senate in the same election. The erratic polling in the past few weeks in this race suggests we could be headed for a very close final result on election night.

Garcia Trails in Early Poll; Fong Ballot Status Dropped; Washington Senate Finalist Announces for House; Louisiana Redistricting; Good Well Behind in New Primary Poll

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, May 9, 2024

House

California Republican Mike Garcia

CA-27: Rep. Garcia Trails in Early Poll — Impact Research, polling for the George Whitesides campaign, released the results of their mid-April poll (April 12-18; 650 CA-27 registered voters; 100 over-sample of Hispanic voters), which shows their client leading three-term California US Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) by a 47-44 percent count. In the jungle primary, however, Rep. Garcia topped Whitesides, a former NASA chief of staff and ex-CEO for Virgin Atlantic Airlines, 55-33 percent, from a turnout of 135,161 primary voters.

This will clearly be one of the top national congressional campaigns. Rep. Garcia represents one of four California Republican held districts that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as a Democratic seat. In this instance, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission made the northern Los Angeles County district even more Democratic, stretching the seat to a D+8 rating. President Biden carried this district configuration with a 55-43 percent victory margin, so Rep. Garcia has his work cut out for him to win here again in November.

CA-20: Appeal to Fong Ballot Status Dropped — California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) announced that she is dropping her office’s appeal of the ruling that allows Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) to run for the open 20th District congressional seat while still on the ballot for state Assembly. Weber contended that a candidate cannot seek two offices simultaneously. Two court rulings, however, allowed Fong to continue his regular election campaign for the seat from which former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) resigned even after qualifying for the state Assembly ballot. Weber’s action means that Fong’s congressional candidacy is finally unimpeded.

Assemblyman Fong did appear on the ballot for both offices on the March 5 jungle primary. He placed first in the congressional race and was unopposed for re-election to his current office. He is also on the ballot for the May 21 special congressional election to fill McCarthy’s unexpired term. In both the special election and in November, Fong will face Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux in a double-Republican format.

Should Fong win the special election, and he is favored to do so, he will resign from the Assembly before taking the congressional oath. At that point, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will call a special election to fill the balance of the unexpired Assembly term and another for the regular election.

WA-4: Senate Finalist Announces for House — There has been growing speculation that Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside), one of two remaining Republican House members to vote for the Trump impeachment, would announce his retirement before the state’s May 24 candidate filing deadline and the latest development here will increase such talk.
Tiffany Smiley (R), who was a credible opponent to Sen. Patty Murray (D) in the 2022 statewide election, yesterday announced that she will enter the 4th District House race. The move is unusual since it seems unlikely that she would challenge the incumbent especially when former President Donald Trump has already endorsed former race car driver Jerrod Sessler (R). Her candidacy does make sense, however, if Rep. Newhouse has decided not to seek re-election and has quietly told her such. This is a developing situation worth watching.

Louisiana: Judges Order New Cong Map by June 3 — The three judge federal panel that invalidated the new Louisiana congressional map is now sending the plan back to the state legislature with a deadline of June 3 to redraw the map. This time, there is no judicial requirement to specifically add a new majority minority district.

In response, Secretary of State Nancy Landry (R) is filing an appeal of the original ruling with the US Supreme Court and criticized the panel for not adhering to her May 15 deadline for producing a 2024 map. She said the state needs such a time frame to adequately administer the election.

While the Louisiana redistricting situation will soon come to a head, it is difficult to see exactly how the map’s final version will develop.

VA-5: Rep. Good Well Behind in New Primary Poll — A just-released Battleground Connect poll (April 30-May 2; 504 likely VA-5 voters; live interview) finds two-term Virginia US Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) falling well behind his Republican primary challenger, state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin-Sabot). According to the survey data, Sen. McGuire would lead Congressman Good by a double digit margin, 45-31 percent, as the two battle for position in anticipation of the June 18 Old Dominion primary.

The McGuire effort, which has been principally hitting Rep. Good over his lack of support for former President Donald Trump, is being supplemented by heavy outside spending much of which is coming from organizations affiliated with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who Rep. Good was instrumental in deposing. Additionally, this is the first time Rep. Good has faced a primary election. Previously, he was nominated through a district convention, which is the way he denied former Rep. Denver Riggleman renomination in 2020.

Indiana Primary Results

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Indiana Primary Results

Screenshot

President: Biden and Trump Easily Win — Since the presidential contest is effectively over, it was with little surprise that President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump easily won their respective primaries. Turnout heavily favored Republicans, as the GOP participation total outpaced the Democrats by almost 400,000 voters. Of the 35 states holding primaries or definable caucus votes, Republicans have seen more voters cast ballots than Democrats in 26 domains. Of those voting in the Hoosier State, 76.6 percent of the individuals chose the Republican primary.

Senate: Psychologist Valerie McCray to Oppose Jim Banks — Psychologist Valerie McCray easily won the Democratic Senate primary with a 67-33 percent victory over former state Rep. Marc Carmichael. McCray will now challenge US Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) who was unopposed for the open Republican nomination. Rep. Banks begins this race as the prohibitive favorite to hold the open Senate seat for the GOP. Unopposed for the Democratic nomination was Jennifer McCormick, the former state Superintendent of Public Instruction and an ex-Republican.

IN-3: Ex-Rep. Marlin Stutzman to Return — While 3rd District incumbent Jim Banks has an easy run for the Senate, the Republican primary to replace him in the House evolved into a highly competitive political battle. The winner is still not formally declared, but it appears that former Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R) will claim the nomination with just 24 percent of the vote. At this writing, 82 percent of the ballots have been counted and it is doubtful that the finishing order will change. Following Stutzman are businessman Tim Smith with 22.2 percent support; former circuit judge Wendy Davis at 19.3 percent; and state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington), who posts a close 16.9 percent preference factor.

With the FiveThirtyEight data organization rating IN-3 as R+34, there is little doubt that Stutzman will win the general election and return to the House after leaving Congress at the beginning of 2017. In 2016, Stutzman ran for the Senate but failed to overcome then-US Rep. Todd Young in the Republican primary who would then go onto win the open seat in 2016 and re-election in 2022.

IN-5: Rep. Victoria Spartz Wins a Plurality Renomination — The Indiana House incumbent facing the most competitive challenge was Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) who originally announced her retirement only to change her mind before filing time. Despite attracting just 39 percent of the vote, she wins the plurality primary, which should be enough political insurance to easily carry the general election in this central Indiana district at the beginning of November.

The congresswoman’s closest finisher is state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville) whose 33 percent support figure was unsurprisingly not strong enough to topple the incumbent. None of the other seven GOP candidates even reached the 10 percent mark. The new Democratic nominee is educator Deborah Pickett who won her party’s nomination with 59 percent of the vote. With a FiveThirtyEight data organization of R+22, Rep. Spartz will have little trouble winning a third term later this year.

IN-6: Ex-City Councilman Jefferson Shreve Takes GOP Primary — Three-term Rep. Greg Pence (R-Columbus) is retiring, and the Republican nomination battle in this district became fierce. The winner is former Indianapolis City Councilman Jefferson Shreve, who was both the campaign’s biggest fundraiser, and the subject of the most negative attacks.

Shreve self-financed $4.5 million of his campaign effort, which was enough to secure a 29-22-21 percent victory over state Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) and businessman Jamison Carrier. IN-6 is the safest Republican seat in the state, so Shreve will have little trouble holding the district in the GOP column come the November election.

IN-8: Hostettler Comeback Thwarted — Seven-term Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) is the third member of the Hoosier State US House delegation to not seek re-election. As in the 3rd District, a former congressman, John Hostettler, who represented the seat from 1995-2007, was attempting a political comeback. The result did not turn out as well for Hostettler as for Stutzman.

The winner of the 8th District Republican primary is state Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), who appeared to be the leading candidate from the outset. He topped Hostettler with a 39-19 percent victory margin. None of the other six candidates reached the 16 percent mark. Sen. Messmer now becomes the prohibitive favorite to succeed Rep. Bucshon in the November election.

Inconsistent GOP Coalition in Texas; Cuellar Indicted; NJ-10 Special ; Indiana Primary Today; Morrisey Back on Top in West Virginia

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, May 7, 2024

House

TX-12: An Inconsistent Coalition — While the Republican Party’s more conservative wing looks to be lining up behind real estate developer John O’Shea in the GOP runoff for the party nomination to succeed retiring Rep. Kay Granger (R-Ft. Worth), state Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Ft. Worth) launched a new ad (above) that purports to prove that O’Shea is not even a consistent Republican voter. The ad contains a video clip of O’Shea saying, “I am not a conservative,” and points out that he did not vote in the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections. Conversely, Goldman brandishes his endorsements from Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), and the National Rifle Association.

The March 5 primary ended with Goldman capturing first place with 44.4 percent of the vote as compared to O’Shea’s 26.4 percent. The May 28 runoff was forced because none of the four competing Republican candidates reached the majority support mark. The runoff winner will be a lock to win the seat in November.

TX-28: Rep. Cuellar Indicted — On Friday, 10-term Texas US Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and his wife were indicted on federal bribery charges, but the congressman says he is innocent and will not leave his re-election race. After two consecutive close call renomination campaigns in 2020 and 2022, Rep. Cuellar was unopposed in this year’s Democratic primary. The Republican side ended in a runoff between retired Navy officer Jay Furman and rancher Lazaro Garza, which will be decided on May 28. Neither man was expected to mount a major challenge in the general election, but the congressman’s legal situation could change that.

Texas’ 28th District begins in southeast San Antonio and moves all the way to the Mexican border through nine counties. In addition to part of San Antonio, the district houses the Laredo, Rio Bravo, and Rio Grande City communities. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates TX-28 as D+7. President Joe Biden carried the district by a 52-46 percent margin. After a very tight 2022 Democratic primary and runoff, Rep. Cuellar won a comfortable 57-43 percent general election victory.

NJ-10: Special Election Scheduled — Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has called a special election to replace the late Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) who passed away on April 24. The special primary will be held on July 16th, with the special general on Sept. 18. The winner will take the seat in late September and then be on the ballot for the regular term on Nov. 5.

Because Rep. Payne passed away after the candidate filing deadline, the local Democratic Party organizations will choose a replacement nominee after the July 16 special primary. It is presumed the delegates will choose the special primary winner. Republican Carmen Bucco and Green Party candidate Jon Serrano, along with Congressman Payne, were the only candidates to file at the March 25 filing deadline.

The Democrats will easily retain the Newark-anchored 10th District. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+58, and President Biden scored an 81-19 percent victory here in 2020. Now that Gov. Murphy has scheduled the special election, candidates will soon come forward.

Primary

Indiana: Primary Today — Indiana voters cast their primary ballots today, and while the presidential election nomination process is locked for both parties, several key US House races will be effectively decided. The incumbent facing the most competitive challenge today is Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) who originally announced her retirement only to change her mind before filing time. While eight Republican challengers are opposing the incumbent, the race is really between Rep. Spartz and state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville). The crowded field likely helps Rep. Spartz, but polling suggests a close finish.

The state features three Republican open seats, and GOP nominees who will be heavy favorites in the general election will be chosen today. Reps. Greg Pence (R-Columbus) and Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) are retiring, and the Republican winners this evening will be locks to win in November. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who is running unopposed for the party nomination in the US Senate race, leaves a field of eight Republican candidates vying to be his successor. The contest is winnowing to three candidates: former Circuit Judge Wendy Davis, former Congressman Marlin Stutzman, and state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington).

Sen. Mike Braun: Likely to Win GOP Governor’s Primary — Indiana is one of 11 states featuring governors’ campaigns this year, and eight are open seat contests. US Sen. Mike Braun (R) is foregoing a re-election bid to attempt to succeed Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) who is ineligible to seek a third term.

Sen. Braun looks to be well positioned to win a plurality primary victory over Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and businessmen Eric Doden and Brad Chambers. The Republican nominee then becomes a heavy favorite in the general election against consensus Democratic candidate Jennifer McCormick, the former state Superintendent of Public Instruction and an ex-Republican.

Governor

West Virginia: Morrisey Reassumes Polling Lead — Two weeks ago, when a poll for the first time showed former state Delegate Moore Capito (R), son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R), leading Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the open race for governor, we expected a counter poll to soon surface. Such is now the case.

During the April 20-22 period, NMB Research released survey results revealing a Capito GOP primary lead of 31-29 percent over AG Morrisey with businessman Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington), and Secretary of State Mac Warner trailing with 14 and 13 percent, respectively.

The counter poll was released late last week. Research America (April 24-May 1; 407 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters; live interview & online) sees Morrisey returning to the lead with 32 percent, while Miller and Moore follow with 25 and 24 percent, respectively. Secretary of State Warner drops back with 10 percent support.

Since polling for this race was first published in February of 2023, 10 surveys have been released. Morrisey has led in nine. The West Virginia primary is scheduled for May 14. The Republican nominee will almost certainly succeed term-limited Gov. Jim Justice (R).

Trone’s Spending & Gaffes;
CA-49 Becoming Competitive; Understanding CA-16;
Daughtry Drops Out of NC-13 Race

By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 6, 2024

Senate

Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac)

Maryland: Trone’s Spending & Gaffes — Reports are surfacing that Rep. David Trone’s (D-Potomac) personal spending on his Senate race to win the Maryland Democratic US Senate primary has now exceeded an incredible $57 million. Polling, however, suggests that while Trone leads on the various ballot tests he still hasn’t quite put away Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

Trone is now recovering from two misstatements that have caused him to publicly apologize. The first was uttering a racially insensitive comment during a committee hearing, and the second is verbiage in his latest ad that suggests he wouldn’t need “training wheels” once he entered the Senate, which is a condescending backhanded swipe at Alsobrooks’ lack of legislative experience. Trone had to publicly apologize for the committee remark, and now has removed the training wheels language from his ads, yielding to the criticism. Thus, he is in an apologetic position entering the critical final two weeks of campaigning before the May 14 primary election.

House

CA-49: Becoming Competitive — California Rep. Mike Levin’s (D-San Juan Capistrano) Orange-San Diego County district is on the borderline of competitiveness. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+5 and President Joe Biden carried the district with a 55-43 percent margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks CA-49 as the 29th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference. In the 2022 election, Rep. Levin defeated frequent Republican congressional candidate Brian Maryott, 52.6 – 47.4 percent, which is a closer margin than President Biden’s.

Republicans, armed with what appears to be a better candidate in the ’24 election, just released an 1892 research organization poll from three weeks ago (April 9-11; 400 likely CA-49 general election voters; live interview) that finds Rep. Levin only leading business owner Matt Gunderson (R) by a scant 44-42 percent margin with President Biden’s image degrading to an upside-down 39:56 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. This, coupled with the fact that Rep. Levin only pulled 51 percent of the vote in the March jungle primary, suggests this race could become highly competitive in November.

CA-16: A Greater Understanding — The Silicon Valley congressional situation may be becoming clearer. With the original count showing Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) and San Mateo County Supervisor Joe Simitian (D) tied for the second general election qualifying position after all ballots were counted, curiosity arose when allies of first-place finisher Sam Liccardo (D), the former mayor of San Jose, requested and paid for an electronic recount. Under California election procedure, in the event of a tie between candidates for a general election qualifying position, both would advance to the November ballot. Therefore, it was in neither Simitian nor Low’s interest to request a recount.

An early April Lake Research poll (April 5-8; 400 likely CA-16 general election voters; live interview) found a tight three-way contest if the tie stood, with Liccardo leading Assemblyman Low and Supervisor Simitian by a tight 26-21-20 percent count. If the battle were only between Liccardo and Low, the former mayor would hold a stronger 36-26 percent advantage. The recount did change the outcome, and the final numbers now show Low with a five-vote advantage. It remains to be seen if Simitian will challenge that result.

NC-13: Candidate Daughtry Drops Out — Attorney Kelly Daughtry (R), who placed first in the 14-candidate 13th District Republican primary on March 5, has now dropped out of the race. Daughtry indicated her initial internal polling suggested she led the runoff against former federal prosecutor Brad Knott, but the candidate said when former President Donald Trump endorsed her opponent, the race’s entire political flow changed.

Saying that Trump’s “involvement has foreclosed her path to victory,” Daughtry announced late last week that she is ending her campaign. This means that Knott will be effectively unopposed in the May 14 Republican runoff and is a lock to convert the newly redistricted seat to the GOP column in November.

Examining Polling Margin of Error; McCarthy Ally to Challenge Florida Rep. Gaetz; Court Strikes Down New Louisiana Congressional Map; Kennedy Wins NY-26 Special Election; Gov. to Run for Mayor in Delaware

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Senate

Polling Margin of Error: Different Ballot Tests — All polls contain a margin of error, and two sets of surveys in the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Senate races demonstrates the importance of the spread.

Both CBS News and Emerson College were in the field in both states at relatively the same point in time, but they arrived at significantly different results for the same races. CBS News (conducted by the YouGov polling firm; April 19-25; 1,306 registered Pennsylvania voters; online) found Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) leading businessman David McCormick (R), 46-42 percent. Beginning on April 25, Emerson College also studied the Keystone State Senate race. Their data (April 25-29; 1,000 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) posted Sen. Casey to a much larger 46-39 percent advantage.

Using a margin of error figure of three percentage points, we see that these two polls do fall within the pre-stated specter. Yet, the difference between a four- and seven-point edge on the ballot test is substantial.

We see a similar situation in the latest Wisconsin polling. During the same polling periods, again for both pollsters, we see similar divergent results yet within the polling margin of error. CBS/YouGov (April 19-25; 1,245 likely Wisconsin general election voters; online) finds Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) leading businessman Eric Hovde (R) 48-41 percent, while Emerson (April 25-29; 1,000 registered Wisconsin voters; multiple sampling techniques) again finds a closer race. Their result detects a Baldwin edge of only 46-43 percent. Again, a significant difference, yet within the polling margin of error spread.

House

FL-1: McCarthy Ally to Challenge Rep. Gaetz — At last Friday’s candidate filing deadline, controversial Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Niceville/Pensacola) drew a Republican primary challenger who could enjoy outside support. Retired Navy officer Aaron Dimmock (R) filed his candidacy just before time expired. Reports suggest that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will back Dimmock and raise substantial support money from loyal organizations who want to even the score for McCarthy’s political demise. Rep. Gaetz was the leader of the McCarthy ouster movement.

It remains to be seen how well Dimmock could perform in the Aug. 20 Republican primary. In 2022, Rep. Gaetz easily turned back a well-funded Republican primary challenge from businessman Mark Lombardo who spent just under $800,000 for his campaign. The congressman won renomination over Lombardo with a landslide 70-24 percent victory margin.

Louisiana: Court Strikes Down New Congressional Map — Louisiana plaintiffs challenging the state’s new congressional map that created a second majority minority district that stretched from Baton Rouge to Shreveport received a favorable ruling yesterday from the three-judge federal panel hearing the lawsuit. The decision means the new congressional map is nullified. The judicial panel will now consider replacement maps. The plaintiffs argued the district was drawn only on racial criteria in violation of the US Constitution.

The ruling is likely to help Republicans, and particularly Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) whose GOP favorable 6th District was reconfigured as a majority minority seat designed to elect an African-American Democrat. The secretary of state informed the court that the 2024 districts must be in place by May 15 to allow the election office to properly administer the election. Therefore, a quick remedy decision will soon follow.

NY-26: Tim Kennedy (D) Wins Special Election — As expected, state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) easily scored a special election victory last night to succeed resigned Rep. Brian Higgins (D) in New York’s 26th Congressional District. Kennedy received 75 percent of the vote in the heavily Democratic seat that Republicans basically conceded. The latter party’s candidate, West Seneca Town Supervisor Gary Dickson, reported raising only $35,000 in the pre-election Federal Election Commission disclosure report.

The Kennedy victory means the House party division will move to 217R – 213D with five vacancies (4R – 1D). The 26th District encompasses the Buffalo metropolitan area including parts of Erie and Niagara Counties.

Governor

Delaware: Gov. Carney to Run for Mayor — Two-term Delaware Gov. John Carney (D), who is ineligible under the state’s election law from seeking a third term, instead announced that he will run for mayor of Wilmington. Should Gov. Carney win the open municipal post — he’ll be favored to top City Treasurer Velda Jones-Potter (D) — he would become at least the third governor to later become a mayor.

Gov. Carney would join former Maryland Gov. Ted McKeldin (R) who was elected the state’s chief executive in the 1950s and then return as mayor of Baltimore in the 1960s. Gov. Jerry Brown was elected mayor of Oakland after his first stint as governor of California. He would then return to the governorship and eventually serve 16 non-consecutive years as the state’s chief executive.

Mayor Drops Congressional Bid in Michigan; Special Election in New York; Close Texas Rematch; Polling Flip in West Virginia

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, April 30, 2024

House

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley / Photo: Spectacle TV

MI-8: Flint Mayor Drops Congressional Bid — The open race to replace retiring Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) just got smaller. Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley (D) ended his congressional bid after filing for the seat. The Democratic establishment is coalescing around state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) and this, in addition to poor fundraising totals, was relegating Mayor Neeley to the second tier of contenders.

Therefore, the Democratic field has winnowed to Sen. Rivet, Michigan Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, and former Flint Mayor Matt Collier. On the Republican side, two-time congressional nominee and former television anchor Paul Junge, state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder, retired Dow Corporation executive Mary Draves, and frequent candidate Anthony Hudson are competing for the nomination.

The open 8th District is politically marginal. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district R+1, but President Joe Biden carried the seat 50-48 percent while the Daily Kos Elections site ranks MI-8 as the 11th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference. In practice, however, the Democrats will carry at least a small edge heading into the 2024 general election.

NY-26: Special Election Today — One of the House’s six vacancies will be filled today, and the projected outcome appears clear. New York Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) resigned the seat in February, and the local New York political parties chose state Sen. Brian Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as the Democratic nominee while the GOP selected West Seneca Town Supervisor Gary Dickson.

Kennedy is a heavy favorite tonight in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+18. Therefore, it is most probable that the House party division will move to 217R – 213D after the votes are counted this evening with five vacancies (4R -1D) remaining. The 26th District is comprised of the Buffalo metropolitan area and includes parts of Erie and Niagara Counties.

TX-34: Close Texas Rematch — In 2022, due to the Texas redistricting map, Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) and Mayra Flores (R-McAllen) were forced to run against each other in the new Brownsville-McAllen anchored 34th District. In November of that year, Rep. Gonzalez scored a 53-44 percent victory in the new district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated as D+17.

With the political climate changing on the Texas-Mexico border, this district will become more competitive during this election cycle. A new 1892 polling organization survey (April 11-13; 400 likely TX-34 general election voters; live interview) confirms the final result is likely to be closer in 2024. The Gonzalez-Flores ballot test only breaks 48-45 percent in Democrat’s favor, suggesting the campaign could evolve into a toss-up.

On the presidential front, the 1892 pollsters did not ask a direct ballot question. Rather, they phrased a similar query testing which candidate’s border policies are viewed more favorably. The Trump policies were selected in a 51-36 percent margin. It appears this rematch contest will be one to watch in November.

Governor

West Virginia: Polling Flip — The polling in the open West Virginia Republican gubernatorial primary has been erratic for several months. After eight consecutive polls showed Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leading the race in a wide range between one and 19 percentage points, a new NMB Research survey (for West Virginia’s Future PAC; April 20-24; 500 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters) finds former Delegate Moore Capito, son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R), now assuming the lead.

The ballot test projects a 31-23 percent margin for the top two candidates with businessman Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington), attracting a 14 percent preference factor, and Secretary of State Mac Warner right behind at 13 percent support.

The West Virginia’s Future PAC is an organization supporting Capito. The poll comes on the heels of Gov. Jim Justice (R) endorsing the former Delegate. The West Virginia primary is scheduled for May 14.