By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023
Utah: Sen. Mitt Romney to Retire — “It is time for a new generation of leaders,” Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) said yesterday. “I would be in my mid-eighties if I were to serve another full term.” With that, the Beehive State senator announced that he will not seek a second term next year.
Romney becomes the sixth senator — four Democrats and now two Republicans — to retire when their respective terms end in January of 2025. While Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), are all retiring from politics, Indiana’s Mike Braun (R) is running for governor instead of seeking re-election.
Had he sought another term, Sen. Romney would have faced an active Republican primary challenge. Since he would not likely have fared well at the conservative-dominated Republican nominating convention, it is probable that he would have been forced to access the ballot via the petition signature route. Now, we will see a highly competitive GOP primary battle to succeed Romney in what will be an open-seat campaign.
Wisconsin: Local Republican Steps Forward — Trempealeau County Supervisor Stacey Klein (R) announced yesterday that she will enter next year’s statewide US Senate campaign with the hope of unseating two-term incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). This race has been very slow to develop, and Klein now becomes the most politically accomplished individual in the Republican primary.
This, despite her western Wisconsin county serving as home to less than 30,000 individuals. Unless a more senior opponent soon announces, Sen. Baldwin could coast to a third term in what should be a very competitive political environment come November.
Michigan: Dem Secretary of State Slates Trump — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) yesterday announced that she will award former President Donald Trump a ballot position on the Michigan primary ballot, unless a court decision directs otherwise. Benson stated that “… the courts, and not secretaries of state, should decide if the US Constitution disqualifies Trump.” The Michigan primary is scheduled for Feb. 27, 2024. Presumably, she will also slate Trump in the general election, again barring a court ruling, should the former president win the Republican presidential nomination. Michigan is a critical swing state, so ensuring a ballot position here is a must for the Trump campaign.
OH-13: Ex-GOP Chair Won’t Run for House — Jane Timken, the former Ohio Republican Party chair who was a 2022 US Senate candidate, announced yesterday that she will not enter next year’s Republican primary in Ohio’s Akron anchored 13th District. GOP candidates will be vying for the opportunity to challenge freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).
Announced Republican candidates are Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg and 2022 congressional candidate Greg Wheeler. Republican leaders are reportedly attempting to recruit former state senator and ex-Rep. Kevin Coughlin.
The 13th will likely feature a competitive general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat R+2. Dave’s Redistricting App, however, casts the partisan lean in the Democrats’ favor, 50.7D – 47.0R. President Joe Biden carried the district over former President Trump, 50.7 – 48.0 percent.