Category Archives: Primary

Gaetz’s FL-1 Primary Becoming Tougher; Conflicting Polls in AZ; Hawaii’s Kahele Looks to Sweep

By Jim Ellis — July 8, 2022

House

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach)

FL-1: Gaetz’s Primary Becoming Serious — Embattled US Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) just saw his Republican primary challenge become tougher. One of his GOP opponents, Air Force veteran Bryan Jones, announced that he is withdrawing from the campaign in order to support and give former FedEx executive and Marine Corps veteran Mark Lombardo a stronger chance of unseating the incumbent.

Lombardo has ingested $1 million of his own money into the race and just released a new television ad emphasizing the sex trafficking investigation that involves the congressman. Now with only test pilot Greg Merk on the ballot to deflect anti-Gaetz votes, Lombardo has positioned himself as a challenger with the potential ability to snatch the nomination away from the congressman. The Florida primary is Aug. 23, and this race will become very interesting between now and then.

Governor

Arizona: Conflicting Polls — Data Orbital and Moore Information are out with polls that tell a different story in what has become a GOP gubernatorial race between former news anchor Kari Lake and Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson. Last week, ex-US representative and 2000 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon dropped out of the race and endorsed Robson.

The Moore Information survey was conducted for the Salmon campaign (June 22-23; 1,000 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) and produced a ballot test that posted Robson, for the first time, to a 38-37 percent edge over Lake in a two-way race.

Data Orbital’s poll released Wednesday (June 30-July 2; 515 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; live interview & text), indicated that without Salmon in the race, the previous Lake 39-31 percent advantage drops to 40-35 percent. The Arizona primary is Aug. 2. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is the likely Democratic nominee. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Hawaii: Lt. Gov. Green Swamping Rep. Kahele — A Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now survey (conducted by MRG Research; June 28-30; 1,120 registered Hawaii voters; 782 likely Hawaii Democratic primary voters) projects physician and Lt. Gov. Josh Green to be holding a huge 48-16-15 percent lead over US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), and former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano. Green has enjoyed big leads since the campaign’s beginning. He is clearly the favorite for the party nomination on Aug. 13, and to succeed term-limited Gov. David Ige (D) in the general election.

Maryland: Too Close to Call — The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, polling for the Wes Moore gubernatorial campaign (June 22-27; 601 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters; live interview), finds the Maryland Democratic primary headed for a razor-thin finish in the upcoming July 19 delayed nomination election.

According to the GHY results, state Comptroller Peter Franchot slips by author Moore by just a 21-20 percent margin, with former Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez closely trailing with 16 percent. A third of the voters still claim to be undecided within two weeks of the primary election. The nomination vote was delayed from its original June 28th date when a court overturned the state’s new congressional lines.

Wisconsin: One Less Republican — Businessman Kevin Nicholson was a late entry into the Republican gubernatorial campaign and now he is an early exit. Nicholson, a former US Senate candidate, Wednesday said he is discontinuing his gubernatorial campaign conceding that he has little chance to win the party nomination. This leaves the race as an ostensibly two-way affair between former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and construction company owner Tim Michels. Gov. Tony Evers is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The general election is expected to be rated as a toss-up.

Rep. Budd Continues to Lead in NC; Winner Finally Declared in IL-13

By Jim Ellis — July 7, 2022

Senate

US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Rep. Budd Continues to Lead — The Trafalgar Group recently tested the North Carolina Senate race (June 29-July 1; 1,068 likely North Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) and, like all but one pollster since the May 17 primary, finds US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) leading former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) by a slim margin, 48-45 percent, in this case. This is the fifth released post-primary survey, and all show both candidates in the 40s. Rep. Budd leads in four of the five published polls, with an average edge of 4.5 percentage points. Beasley’s only advantage, 44-40 percent, came in the June 8-12 Survey USA poll.

House

IL-6: Ex-Rep. Lipinski Considers — Former Chicago area US Rep. Dan Lipinski (D) said yesterday he is considering entering the 6th District race as a “centrist Independent” either in this election or the next. Rep. Lipinski lost the 2020 Democratic primary to progressive left challenger Marie Newman who was then defeated in this year’s 6th District Democratic primary. Lipinksi would ostensibly challenge the victor from that nomination campaign, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove). To qualify as an Independent, Lipinski would have to submit valid petition signatures from 5,000 registered district voters by July 25.

His entry this year is unlikely. Running as an Independent wouldn’t give him much of a chance to win, but he could draw enough support to throw the seat to Republican Keith Pekau, the Orland Park mayor who won the 6th District GOP nomination. The latter outcome would be a real possibility since the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this district as a D+6, meaning it could potentially flip in a wave Republican year.

IL-13: Republican Winner Declared — It is now official that conservative educator Regan Deering has won the close Republican primary campaign in new District 13. She defeated former federal prosecutor Jesse Reising by a tight 35-33 percent margin. She now advances to the general election to face former Obama Administration official Nikki Budzinski (D).

The 13th is a newly created open seat that stretches in the form of a snake from the Champaign/Urbana area through Decatur and Springfield before ending in East St. Louis. FiveThirtyEight rates the seat D+7. The Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean as 53.5 – 41.8 percent in favor of the Democrats, so it is obvious that Budzinski begins the general election campaign as the favorite to win in November. The new 13th is the by-product of Reps. Mary Miller (R-Oakland) and Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) being paired in the new 15th CD.

NY-19: Democrat Still Trails, but Closer — Special election Democratic candidate Pat Ryan, the Ulster County Executive, just countered an earlier Triton Research poll, which posted Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) to a substantial 52-38 percent lead. The Ryan internal Public Policy Polling survey (June 29-30; 581 NY-19 general election voters) finds Molinaro holding a 43-40 percent edge.

The PPP poll is confusing in that it tests NY-19’s general election voters. The Ryan-Molinaro election, however, is a special election in the current 19th CD to fill the balance of Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado’s (D) final months of the US House term to which he was elected in 2020.

For the general election, regardless of whether he wins or loses the special election, Ryan is running in the new 18th CD. There, he will face Republican state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-New Windsor). The NY-19 special election is scheduled for Aug. 23, concurrent with the regular election primary. Thus, Ryan will be running for two different House seats on the same day.

Kelly Beyond Margin of Error in AZ Polling; Tightening Race for GA Senate; Dead Heat in MO

By Jim Ellis — July 6, 2022

Senate Polling

Sen. Mark Kelly (D) strong in new polling

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Beyond Margin of Error — Last week, we reported on a Public Policy Polling survey (June 28; 595 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) that projected venture capitalist Blake Masters, who former President Donald Trump endorses, to a 29-15-10 percent advantage over Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) and businessman Jim Lamon (R). Earlier, the Trafalgar Group (June 7-9; 1,077 likely Arizona Republican primary voters) found the Masters’ lead at a more modest 29-24-17 percent over Brnovich and Lamon.

Change Research just released their new general election poll (June 24-27; 705 likely Arizona general election voters; online) and projects Sen. Kelly to be holding a substantial 48-39 percent lead over Masters. Lamon performs better. He would trail Sen. Kelly, 47-41 percent. Surprisingly, it does not appear that CR tested Brnovich against the incumbent.

Georgia: Closer Than Quinnipiac — Last week, we also covered the Quinnipiac University survey (June 23-27; 1,497 registered Georgia voters; live interview) that forecast Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) leading Republican Herschel Walker, 54-44 percent. The more recent Change Research poll (June 24-27; 704 likely Georgia general election voters; online) projects a closer contest, however. The CR results find Sen. Warnock’s lead to be 48-44 percent, which is more consistent with other publicly released data for this campaign.

Missouri: Trafalgar’s Dead Heat — The Trafalgar Group tested the open Missouri Republican US Senate primary (June 28-30; 1,072 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; multiple sources) and found a virtual three-way tie for the GOP open seat nomination. Their latest ballot test finds US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) and former Gov. Eric Greitens tied at 24 percent, with Attorney General Eric Schmitt right behind at 23 percent. US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) and state Senate President Dave Schatz (R) are way back at six and two percent support.

Greitens was forced to resign from the governor’s office in 2018 because of an extra-marital affair and charges brought against him in St. Louis County. The indictment was later dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct. The former governor and ex-Navy SEAL recently released an ad showing him holding an automatic weapon, attacking a vacant house, and claiming he is chasing down “Republican RINO’s” (Republicans in Name Only). Despite the negative feedback, Greitens continues to promote the theme.

The Democratic race features Afghan War veteran Lance Kunce and philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the August Busch Budweiser beer family. Sen. Roy Blunt (R) is retiring.

Nevada: Another Toss-Up Result — Change Research also tested the Nevada Senate race as part of their multi-state series. The Silver State survey (June 24-27; 701 likely Nevada general election voters; online) again finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) running neck and neck. The CR Nevada ballot test finds the Senator holding a 46-43 percent lead, which is consistent with five other polls that have been conducted from March to the present time. Nevadans are no strangers to close elections. In their past 10 statewide contests, only four winners have topped the 50 percent mark with the strongest victor receiving only 50.6 percent.

New Hampshire: Sen. Hassan Expands Lead, But Against Weakest Opponent — Continuing with the series of late June Change Research online polls, the New Hampshire race was also tested. At this point, the only released data is of an unlikely general election pairing between Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and retired Army General Don Bolduc (R). This poll (June 24-27; 704 likely New Hampshire general election voters; online) gives the senator a 49-40 percent lead.

Gen. Bolduc, however, is an underdog to win the Republican primary as state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), Londonderry former town manager, Kevin Smith, and investor Bruce Fenton all look to be stronger candidates in the Sept. 13 Republican primary race. This poll should be considered the base Republican position against Sen. Hassan.

Governor

Texas: Gov. Abbott Maintains Advantage — International online pollster YouGov, for CBS News, tested the Texas general election electorate and again finds Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leading in his quest for a third term. The poll (June 22-27; 548 likely Texas general election voters; online) sees the governor topping former US congressman and 2020 presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke (D), 49-41 percent. Considering that Texas Republican candidates tend to under-poll based upon the eventual final election result, it is conceivable that Abbott is in an even stronger position than this survey indicates.

Masters Opens Significant Lead in AZ; Faulty FL Poll; Fung Unopposed in RI

By Jim Ellis — July 5, 2022

Senate

Venture capitalist Blake Masters (R)

Arizona: Masters Staked to Significant Lead — Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling went into the Arizona Republican field at the beginning of this week to test the GOP battle for the party’s Senate nomination. The survey (June 28; 595 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) finds venture capitalist Blake Masters, who former President Donald Trump endorses, opening up a significant 29-15-10 percent advantage over Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessman Jim Lamon. This is the first time since the early campaign days when we’ve seen a poll featuring any one of the three candidates holding a significant edge.

When asked if the Trump endorsement would make voters more or less likely to vote for Masters, 53 percent of the respondent sample said much more likely (31 percent) or somewhat more likely (22 percent), while those saying they would be less inclined to support Masters because of the endorsement reached only 20 percent.

House

FL-27: Close Poll Not What it Seems — State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) until quite recently was in the governor’s race challenging Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) for the Democratic nomination, even though he chose her as his lieutenant governor running mate in 2014. Now a congressional candidate, Taddeo’s campaign released a SEA Polling & Strategic Design survey that shows her trailing Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) by just two percentage points, 47-45 percent.

This poll should be discounted. It was conducted well over a month ago, during the May 23-25 period, which is before Taddeo even left the governor’s race. Therefore, too much has changed for this survey to be taken seriously.

RI-2: Fung Unopposed — It appears Republicans are uniting around former Cranston mayor and two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung to make a serious run at converting Rhode Island’s open 2nd Congressional District. Former state Rep. Bob Lancia (R) decided not to enter the race at the filing deadline. Trailing badly in the polls to Fung, Lancia ended his campaign, which opened the door for Fung to run unopposed for the party nomination. A published Suffolk University poll (June 19-22; 423 likely Rhode Island general election voters; live interview) finds Fung leading all six top Democratic candidates, including perceived leader Seth Magaziner, the Rhode Island general treasurer.

The 2nd District covers most of the small state’s western region including a portion of Providence County where more than half of Rhode Island’s population resides. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the 2nd as D+17 and Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the “partisan lean” as 56.9 percent D to just 41 percent R. Though a long shot, it appears this district is on the GOP conversion target list. Veteran US Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick) is retiring after serving what will be 11 terms at the end of the current Congress.

States

Maryland: Rep. Brown in AG Dogfight — When US Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) announced for the open state attorney general position, he looked difficult to beat. A new poll, however, shows him dropping into a dead heat with retired state judge Katie Curran O’Malley, the wife of former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

The Goucher College poll conducted for the Baltimore Banner news site (June 15-19; 501 Democratic Maryland registered voters; 403 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) finds O’Malley now edging ahead of Rep. Brown with a 30-29 percent margin. The O’Malley campaign is running ads crediting Rep. Brown with being an able congressman, but saying he does not have the legal experience to be an effective attorney general. The delayed Maryland primary is July 19.

Sen. Warnock Jumps to Significant Lead, Kemp & Abrams Tied in Georgia; Incumbent Rep. Lee Trailing in NV-3

By Jim Ellis — July 1, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Jumps to Significant Lead — The new Georgia Quinnipiac poll (June 23-27; 1,497 registered Georgia voters; live interview) finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) claiming a 54-44 percent lead over Republican Herschel Walker, the most lopsided pro-Democratic ballot test to date. The previous polling from December to mid-April (six polls) had given Walker a slight edge.

Sen. Warnock carries a positive 49:39 percent job approval rating in contrast to President Biden’s upside-down 33:60 percent approval rating. Walker scores rather poorly on honesty, 39:43 percent honest to dishonest, and is not perceived to have particularly good leadership skills, 37:43 percent. As point of reference, the same polling sample finds Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) tied at 48 percent.

However, the study could be an anomaly.

Though polls have been moving toward Sen. Warnock, the Q-Poll takes a giant leap, so it is possible that this survey is an outlier. Democrats support Warnock, 97-2 percent; Republicans are for Walker in a 93-7 percent clip.

The Independent sector is where we may be detecting a significant skew. This group, on virtually every question but the Biden job approval query moves significantly toward the Democratic position and/or candidate, and in a greater degree than one would expect from people who self-identify as “independents” (62-33 percent for Warnock).

While this particular poll may well skew toward Sen. Warnock, it is probable that we will soon see other data yielding a much closer ballot test. The Georgia Senate race is one that is far from over.

Missouri: Independent Joins Race — Answering former Sen. John Danforth’s (R) call for a new candidate in the Senate race, former US Attorney John Wood announced his plans to enter the contest as an Independent. He claims this is a move to potentially stop former Gov. Eric Greitens from prevailing in the general election should he win the Republican nomination. In reality, however, by splitting the vote in such a manner — if Wood were to become a top-tier candidate — would likely elect the Democratic nominee.

Wood says that if elected, he would support Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for Majority Leader and would presumably caucus with the Republicans. To qualify for the ballot in Missouri, an Independent candidate must submit 10,000 valid registered voters’ signatures by an Aug. 1 deadline.

House

FL-2: Close Poll in Paired Race — The new northern Florida’s 2nd District is rated R+16 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. A new Sachs Media poll (June 20-23; 400 likely FL-2 general election voters), however, finds Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) leading Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) by only a 43-40 percent margin. Perhaps the most troubling segment for Rep. Dunn is the unaffiliated voters who are breaking for Lawson by a 42-18 percent margin.

NV-3: Rep. Lee Trailing in New Survey — The Tarrance Group, polling for the April Becker (R) campaign (June 20-23; 400 likely NV-3 general election voters), posts their client and Republican challenger to a 46-44 percent edge over incumbent Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas). Likely most troubling for the Lee campaign is her deficit among Hispanic voters who comprise almost 19 percent of the 3rd District of Nevada’s population. Within this segment, Becker leads the congresswoman 48-42 percent. President Biden’s job approval rating here is a poor 37 percent.

OK-2: Runoff Set — With enough votes counted, it is now clear that the Republican runoff to replace Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) will feature state Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee), who finished first with just 14.7 percent among the crowded field, and former state Sen. John Brecheen, who was close behind with 13.8 percent support. The two just eclipsed Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee (13.0 percent) and Oklahoma Republican Party chairman John Bennett (11.3 percent). The runoff winner is a lock to win the general election in a R+55 rated seat according the the 538 data group.

Redistricting

Louisiana: Supreme Court Stays Ruling — The federal judge’s ruling that disqualified the new Louisiana congressional map because it did not draw a second black district has been stayed. The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) took the action to at least temporarily block the ruling from taking effect. The conclusion will mean the legislature’s map will return at least for the 2022 election.

The courts, either through this case or the Alabama Voting Rights case that the SCOTUS has already scheduled for hearing, will likely determine how the Voting Rights Act is to be interpreted moving forward. This could mean that the Louisiana map and many others will be re-drawn for the 2024 election and beyond.