Category Archives: Senate

Ramaswamy Rises in Polling; Rep. Slotkin Struggles for Recognition; Rep. Ilhan Omar Draws Opponent; Republican Withdraws in Ohio Race

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023

President

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy gets a polling boost. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ramaswamy: Fourth Poll Sees Presidential Candidate Moving to Top Tier — Late last week we reported on three separate Republican primary surveys that placed businessman Vivek Ramaswamy in either third or even second place in national Republican presidential polling and crossing the double digit threshold in each. Now, Emerson College arrives at a similar conclusion to those of Fox News, CBS News, and RMG Research.

Their poll (Aug. 16-17; 1,000 registered US voters; multiple sampling techniques), surveying the self-identified Republicans, shows former President Donald Trump again topping the field with 56 percent, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Ramaswamy each post 10 percent support figures. When compared to Emerson’s June national poll, Gov. DeSantis has dropped 11 percentage points and Ramaswamy has gained eight.

Senate

Michigan: New Poll; Similar Close Result: Regular Michigan media pollster EPIC-MRA went into the field to test a potential open Michigan Senate general election between US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) and former seven-term US Congressman Mike Rogers (R). The poll (Aug. 6-11; 600 likely Michigan voters; live interview) sees Rep. Slotkin leading Rogers, 42-37 percent, which is similar to Emerson College’s Michigan poll (Aug. 1-2; 1,121 registered Michigan voters; multiple sampling techniques) that found a 44-38 percent ballot test between the pair.

Both candidates are relatively unfamiliar to the statewide respondent sample. A total of 54 percent of poll respondents said they did not recognize Rep. Slotkin, and 72 percent responded in the same way when asked about Rogers. Rogers left office at the beginning of 2015. Slotkin was first elected to the House in 2018.

House

MN-5: Rep. Omar Draws Dem Primary Challenge — Attorney and non-profit organization founder Sarah Gad (D), who overcame opioid addiction to attend law school and pass the bar, becomes the first individual to enter the 2024 Minnesota Democratic primary against controversial three-term Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis).

In 2022, Rep. Omar found herself in a very tight primary campaign, outlasting former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels by just a 50.3 – 48.2 percent margin, a difference of 2,466 votes of 114,567 ballots cast. It’s likely that others, possibly including Samuels, will enter what should be another competitive Democratic primary race.

OH-13: Republican Gilbert Withdraws — Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R), who lost the open Akron anchored 13th Congressional District race to now-freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) last November, announced that she will end her abbreviated 2024 rematch campaign and will instead serve as a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.

The 13th District, which the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+2, is competitive and we can expect Republicans to again put forth a strong challenge effort. Currently in the GOP race are Greg Wheeler, who finished second in the 2022 GOP congressional primary and Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg. Former Ohio Republican Party chair and 2022 US Senate candidate Jane Timken indicates she is considering entering this contest.

Ramaswamy Advances in Polling; Romney Support Dips in Utah;
Rep. Boebert’s Colorado Challenge; Significant Candidate Lead in NH

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

President

Vivek Ramaswamy (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Vivek Ramaswamy: Major Move in National Polls — Three new national Republican primary surveys find businessman Vivek Ramaswamy moving into the top tier within the large field of presidential candidates. The Fox News Poll (Aug. 11-14; 1,002 registered US voters; live interview) and the Quinnipiac University national surveys (Aug. 11-14; 1,632 self-identified US registered voters; 681 Republican and Republican leaning voters; 666 Democratic and Democratic leaning primary voters; live interview) project Ramaswamy as placing third behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The RMG Research survey finds Ramaswamy doing even better. In their latest poll (Aug. 11-14; 1,000 registered US voters; 229 likely Republican primary voters), though with a very small national GOP sample, Ramaswamy moves into second place with 13 percent compared to Gov. DeSantis’ 8 percent. Former President Trump tops the RMG poll with a whopping 60 percent support figure.

Senate

Utah: Sen. Romney at 30 percent in New GOP Poll — A Noble Predictive Insights survey conducted a month ago but just released just late last week (July 7-18; 598 registered Utah voters; 301 likely Republican primary voters; online) finds Utah Sen. Mitt Romney drawing only 30 percent support among a respondent sample of his own Republican primary voters.

Despite the low preference number, Sen. Romney leads a group of potential GOP opponents. Closest to him is Attorney General Sean Reyes, an unannounced Senate candidate, who posted 13 percent support. The two official candidates, state House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) and Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs posted five and three percent, respectively. When asked of the entire sample whether they believe Sen. Romney should run for re-election, 39 percent answered yes, while 44 percent replied with a negative response.

House

CO-3: Rep. Boebert’s Republican Challenge — Saying he’s “… not interested in becoming a social media celebrity … I’m interested in helping families and helping businesses and helping communities,” attorney Jeff Hurd entered Colorado’s 3rd District Republican primary hoping to deny two-term incumbent Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) renomination. In 2022, then-state Sen. Don Coram challenged her in the party primary but received only 34 percent of the Republican vote.

Should Rep. Boebert win renomination, she will again face a difficult general election against Democrat Adam Frisch who came within 546 votes of unseating her in the 2022 general election. This, despite the FiveThirtyEight data organization rating CO-3 as R+15.

Governor

New Hampshire: Significant Open Primary Polling Leads — Earlier in the week, we covered an Emerson College survey (Aug. 9-11; 837 registered New Hampshire voters; interactive voice response system, text & online) that posted former US Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) to substantial leads over two strong Democratic contenders. Now, we see the primary numbers from this same poll.

According to Emerson, Ayotte would not only lead in the general election, but she opens a definitive edge over who will likely be her chief Republican opponent, former state Senate President Chuck Morse. The initial ballot test finds Ayotte leading Morse, 45-9 percent. On the Democratic side, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig is staked to a strong 52-15 percent advantage over Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is retiring after serving what will be four consecutive terms when his tenure expires at the beginning of 2025.

Senate Primaries Forming – Part II

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Aug. 14, 2023

Senate

Sen. Pete Ricketts (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Senate Races: Balance of Power — We conclude our look into the critical Senate primary campaigns by previewing the states alphabetically from Nebraska to Wisconsin. (See Friday’s post:
Senate Primaries Forming — Part 1.)

• Nebraska: Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R) resignation earlier this year led to former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) being appointed to the seat. The new senator must now run in a special election to fill the balance of the term, and then again in 2026 for a full six-year stint. Sen. Ricketts has already announced that he will run in both elections.

Republicans are safe here in the general election; thus, the primary could become the competitive race. So far, no major challenger has come forward, though rancher Chuck Herbster, who placed only second in the 2022 governor’s primary despite having a Donald Trump endorsement, remains a potential candidate.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R), on the ballot for the regular term, has no opposition to date in either the primary or general elections. Nebraskans will choose their nominees on May 14, 2024.

• Nevada: Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) is on the ballot for a second term, and the Republican primary is now becoming crowded. Sam Brown, a disabled Afghan War veteran, is the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s choice and should be viewed as the leading candidate.

Earlier this week, former ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter and retired Air Force officer and director of the Reno Air Aces, Tony Grady, entered the race and could make the Republican primary interesting. The Nevada general election contest could well become a top-tier challenge race. The Silver State primary is scheduled for June 11, 2024.

• Ohio: One of the top three Republican conversion opportunities is the Ohio race featuring Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D) run for a fourth term. Republicans have three major contenders: Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state senator and 2022 US Senate candidate Matt Dolan, and businessman Bernie Moreno.

Early polling gives LaRose, who has won a statewide campaign, the advantage. Sen. Dolan, in his 2022 race, came on strong at the end and finished within one percentage point of second place. Moreno, who was also in the 2022 Senate race but withdrew before voting began, has earned Ohio junior Sen. J.D. Vance’s (R) endorsement.

Regardless of who wins the Republican primary, the Buckeye State Senate campaign will remain a top-tier challenge race. The Ohio primary will occur on March 19, 2024.

• Pennsylvania: Little is occurring in the GOP nomination race as Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) rallies his supporters in a quest for a fourth term.

Republicans are confident that 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R) will enter the race, and the primary appears his for the taking. McCormick lost the 2022 Republican campaign to Dr. Mehmet Oz by just 950 votes statewide. Assuming he returns, McCormick will begin the general election contest as a decided underdog to Sen. Casey. The Pennsylvania primary will be conducted on April 23, 2024.

• Texas: The Lone Star State Senate contest appears to be the Democrats only shot at developing a competitive challenge race. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is on the ballot for a third term and must be considered a clear favorite in a state where Democrats still have not won a major statewide campaign in decades. In a presidential year, their task becomes even harder.

The Democratic leadership is backing US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas), but he faces a serious challenge from state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio). The senator is the top gun control advocate in the legislature and much closer to the party’s progressive left base than is Rep. Allred.

Additionally, Texas state Senate seats are bigger than congressional districts, so Gutierrez actually represents 150,000 more people than does Rep. Allred.

Allred has raised more than $6 million since his announcement, but now must spend that and more just to win the party nomination. Sen. Cruz will use the primary to force both men further to the left on energy issues, which are so critical to the Texas economy. The Lone Star primary will be held on Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

• Utah: The big question lingering in the Beehive State is whether Sen. Mitt Romney (R) will run for a second term. The senator says he will make a decision in the fall. If he does run, Romney faces a competitive Republican primary challenge, likely from state House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville).

Sen. Romney has little chance of winning the state nominating convention, so to qualify for the ballot he will need to recruit 28,000 valid petition signatures from around the state. This process would allow him to bypass the party structure and go directly to the primary ballot.

Republicans will hold the seat in the general election, but the political drama comes in the Republican primary where it is not inconceivable that Sen. Romney could lose. The nomination will be decided on June 25, 2024.

• West Virginia: Sen. Joe Manchin (D) continues to waver about seeking re-election. He is again making statements that he could become an Independent or run for president as a minor party nominee. Regardless of his decision, the West Virginia race is the Republicans’ best conversion opportunity. Gov. Jim Justice (R) is an announced candidate in the Republican primary and faces US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town).

The winner, likely Gov. Justice, will be considered the favorite for the general election in what has been former President Donald Trump’s second-best state in the nation during both his 2016 and 2020 election campaigns. With the Club for Growth willing to spend millions to help Mooney from the outside, the Republican primary will be more competitive than one might believe at first glance. The victory odds, however, still favor Gov. Justice. The Republican nomination will be settled on May 14, 2024.

• Wisconsin: The Badger State race is the Republicans’ biggest disappointment to date in terms of candidate recruitment. No one has yet come forward to challenge two-term Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), and it’s possible that she could run without a serious challenge in what is typically a close state.

Should the congressional districts be redrawn, it is possible that Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) will find that entering the Senate race is his best political option. He would be the Republicans’ strongest contender. The Wisconsin primary is not until Aug. 6, 2024, so time remains for Republicans to right their political ship.

Senate Primaries Forming – Part I

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Aug. 11, 2023

Senate

Senate Races: Balance of Power — The 2024 US Senate races are critical in determining which party will control the chamber in the next Congress, but before Republicans mount a challenge to the Democratic majority they must first navigate through what, in some cases, could be contentious primaries.

The Democrats have only one legitimate challenge opportunity within the field of 11 Republican defense states — Texas — but here as well, they feature a competitive battle for the party nomination. They are also likely headed to a rousing year-long double-Democratic jungle primary and general election in California and a hotly contested open intra-party battle in Maryland.

The following is a brief synopsis of the primary situations in the states alphabetically from Arizona through Montana. Next, we will cover Nevada through Wisconsin:

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

• Arizona: In this wild-card Senate race that will feature a three-way general election, two of the entries appear set. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) has not yet officially announced that she will seek re-election, but all indications are that she will mount a vigorous campaign. The question remains as to whether she will run as an Independent or the nominee of a minor party, such as the No Labels Party, which has qualified in her state. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) appears as a lock to win the Democratic nomination.

On the Republican side, reports are surfacing the 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is close to announcing her Senate effort. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb is already a declared candidate. Early polling suggests that Lake would begin with a significant primary lead.

Though most Republican strategists blanch at another Lake run, it is important to remember that she received 49.6 percent of the vote in the governor’s race. In the three-way Senate contest, 35-38 percent is likely all that’s necessary to win and she has strong base support. The Arizona primary is scheduled for Aug. 6, 2024.

• California: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is retiring, and in her wake is a major political battle among three progressive left Democratic House members, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). The big question coming from the jungle primary is whether a Republican, coalescing the minority party votes, can capture one of the two general election finalist positions because the Democratic vote will be so badly fractured.

Chances are Reps. Schiff and Porter, probably in that order, advance into what promises to be a contentious and very expensive open US Senate general election campaign. The California jungle primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5.

• Florida: Democrats have yet to find a credible opponent for Sen. Rick Scott (R), but he does have Republican opposition. Businessman Keith Gross, who reportedly has the wherewithal to fund his own campaign but has yet to make a substantial investment, is challenging Sen. Scott for renomination.

Gross may be able to wage a battle against the senator but toppling him for the nomination appears as a bridge too far. Sen. Scott appears in good shape for renomination and re-election. The Florida primary is late, Aug. 20, 2024, so much time remains for a primary contest to take shape.

• Indiana: Sen. Mike Braun (R) is leaving the Senate to run for governor, and Congressman Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) appears to be the prohibitive favorite to succeed him in both the Republican primary and general election. At this point, no strong Republican has emerged, but that could change as we get closer to the Feb. 9, 2024, candidate filing deadline. The Indiana primary is scheduled for May 7, 2024.
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DeSantis Accepts Debate Challenge; Poll Shows Gallego Leading; New NC AG Candidate; Cuellar Starting Early

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Aug. 7, 2023

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

DeSantis: Accepts Debate Challenge — Gov. Ron DeSantis has accepted the rather unusual debate challenge he received from California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), a non-candidate. The idea came from an interview Newsom held with Fox News television host Sean Hannity. The California governor said he would go as long as three hours and not use any notes. He also agreed for Hannity to moderate. Details to follow.

Senate

Arizona: New Poll Finds Rep. Gallego Leading — A new Noble Predictive Insights (formerly OH Predictive Insights) Arizona survey (July 13-17; 1,000 registered Arizona voters; online) finds US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), the likely 2024 Democratic Senate nominee, leading incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I), and unannounced Republican candidate Kari Lake. According to the ballot test, Rep. Gallego is staked to a 34-26-25 percent advantage over Sinema and Lake. In this wild card race, as the Noble poll illustrates, all three candidates can craft a victory path.

The good news for Sen. Sinema is that 69 percent of Independents, 57 percent of Republicans, and 43 percent of Democrats say they are extremely willing, very willing, or at least somewhat willing to support her, which is a marked improvement when compared to previous research studies.

House

NC-8: Rep. Bishop to Run for NC Attorney General — As expected, three-term US Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) announced late last week that he will enter the open 2024 race for attorney general in his home state of North Carolina. The move opens his 8th Congressional District, which, for now, is a safe Republican seat. With the North Carolina map slated to be redrawn in early October, we can expect this Charlotte metro open seat to be radically changed.

Rep. Bishop is the 15th House member to announce he won’t be seeking re-election in 2024, and the fifth Republican. Of the 15, only two are retiring. The remainder are seeking other elective offices. The North Carolina attorney general’s office will be open because incumbent AG Josh Stein (D) is running for governor.

TX-28: Rep. Cuellar Starting Early — Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), generally viewed as the most conservative member of the House Democratic Conference, is taking fast action to answer two political questions.

First, if there there is a chance he might switch parties; and second, is he preparing for another Democratic primary challenge? He is clearly staying in the Democratic Party, and he is already working to blunt what could be another intra-party challenge. In the past two election cycles, he edged attorney Jessica Cisneros by a 48.7 – 46.6 percent split in 2020 followed with a bare 50.3 – 49.7 percent win in 2022.

In an attempt to unite the party behind him for the 2024 election, Rep. Cuellar late last week announced endorsements from House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA), Democratic Conference chairman Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), former Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and ex-Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

Ramaswamy Claims 2nd Place in New Poll; Testing the Waters in Virginia; Brown With Big Lead in Ohio; Houston Mayoral Poll Released

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023

President

2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ohio: Ramaswamy Claims 2nd Place in New Poll — Ohio Northern University Institute for Civics and Public Policy released a new survey of the Buckeye State electorate (July 17-26; 67 registered Ohio voters) and found businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who has been climbing in recent Republican presidential polls, moving into second place behind former president Donald Trump with 12 percent support, ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who posted only 9 percent. Trump recorded a whopping 64 percent backing.

Since the poll has only 675 total respondents, the unpublished Republican primary sample would be very low. Therefore, the error factor will be quite high. Still, Ramaswamy moving to second place in any survey is affirmation that his campaign is building upward momentum.

House

VA-7: Rep. Spanberger Testing Gov Waters — Reports are surfacing that three-term Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) is laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial run in 2025 when incumbent Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will be ineligible to seek re-election. Virginia is the only state in the Union that limits its governors to one four-year term. Apparently, she is also considering not seeking re-election to the House in 2024 to conserve resources for the gubernatorial run.

If she does decide to run for governor, leaving the House makes political sense. Her 7th District is politically marginal, and the seat has been reconfigured to the point that her Glen Allen political base is nowhere even close to the 7th CD lines, which is now a district that comes as far north as Prince William County.

Additionally, with Virginia’s more open campaign finance law her ability to transfer funds from her congressional committee to a gubernatorial committee is very favorable. After the 2nd Quarter financial disclosure period closed, Rep. Spanberger reported $1.184 million cash-on-hand.

Senate

Ohio: Sen. Brown Posts Bigger Lead — The aforementioned Ohio Northern University Institute for Civics and Public Policy poll (July 17-26; 675 registered Ohio voters) also tested the important Ohio US Senate race. In this instance, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), contrary to previous studies that showed a very tight race, opens a substantial lead over the Republican field.

In this survey, state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) fares slightly better than the rest of the GOP contenders, but is still down double-digits, 45-33 percent. Opposite Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), Sen. Brown’s advantage is a similar 45-32 percent. If businessman Bernie Moreno were the GOP nominee, Sen. Brown would begin with a 45-28 percent lead.

This poll is inconsistent in that the Republican support figure is very low against Sen. Brown while the presidential numbers place the GOP candidates in much better standing against President Joe Biden. The numbers are consistent with Sen. Brown’s support figure, however, when compared to previous surveys. In all published data, Sen. Brown lands in the mid-40s and not particularly close to the 50 percent majority figure.

Cities

Houston: New Mayoral Poll Released — The Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston conducted a survey of their city’s open mayoral race (July 12-20; 800 likely Houston voters) and found state Sen. John Whitmire (D), who has been in the state legislature since 1973, and US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) breaking away from the remaining candidates.

The UoH poll found Sen. Whitmire posting a 34-32 percent edge over Rep. Jackson Lee, with the next closest candidate only at the three percent mark. If no candidate receives majority support in the Nov. 7 nonpartisan election, the two front runners will advance to a runoff on a date scheduled after the initial election, likely for mid-December. Testing a runoff between Sen. Whitmire and Rep. Jackson Lee, the pollsters find the former developing a strong 51-33 percent advantage. Jackson Lee would have to relinquish her US House seat only if she wins the 2023 municipal election.

Senate: Status Check

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023

Senate

Senate Election Cycle: A Review — The 2024 US Senate cycle is a critical one, especially for Republicans since the political map favors them for the first time in three election cycles. Democrats must defend 23 of the 34 Senate races next year, and there are signs of competition in only one of the 11 GOP defense seats.

Therefore, Republicans must maximize their present opportunity because they face minority status for several more election cycles if they fail to claim the majority next year.

With that, let’s review where the key races stand:


FIRST TIER (alphabetically by state)

Sen. Jon Tester (D), Montana

• Montana: Sen. Jon Tester (D) stands for a fourth term from a state that has moved considerably to the right since he was last on the ballot in 2018. The presidential turnout for 2024 is another obstacle that he must overcome.

The Club for Growth leadership several months ago said they would back US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) to the tune of $10 million if he decided to challenge Sen. Tester, as he did five years ago. In the 2018 election, Rosendale, then the state auditor, lost to Sen. Tester, 50-47 percent.

Now, CfG president David McIntosh, himself a former Republican congressman, is hedging on such a support level, saying that retired Navy SEAL and aerospace company CEO Tim Sheehy is an impressive candidate and Rep. Rosendale is needed in the House. Rosendale has long been a presumed Senate candidate but has yet to come forward and formally announce his political plans. Former Navy SEAL and aerospace company Sheehy, with the Republican leadership’s endorsement, has officially entered the race.

• Nevada: The close results seen in the state both in 2022 and 2020, along with more GOP candidate development, moves Nevada into the top tier. Afghan War veteran and 2022 Senate candidate Sam Brown enters the race with endorsements from the Senate leadership and key support groups.

Former Ambassador to Iceland Jeffrey Ross Gunter, one of former President Donald Trump’s appointees, is close to becoming a Senate candidate. Also in the race is former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant who was defeated in previous gubernatorial and secretary of state races.

The eventual Republican nominee, particularly if Brown wins, will be in a toss-up race with first-term Sen. Jacky Rosen (D).

• Ohio: Republicans have a three-way primary featuring Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state Sen. Matt Dolan, and businessman Bernie Moreno. Polling shows all three would run within the polling margin of error opposite Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) while keeping him under the 50 percent support plateau.

Republicans have done well in Ohio since Sen. Brown was re-elected in 2018. This will likely be the incumbent’s most difficult re-election race. Ohio becomes a must-win for the Republicans if they are to wrest the Senate majority away from the Democrats.

• West Virginia: Polling finds Gov. Jim Justice (R) holding comfortable leads over Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the general election and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) in the Republican primary. Sen. Manchin has still not committed to seeking re-election. West Virginia is the Republicans best conversion opportunity. If the GOP fails to win this seat it will be a precursor to a very bad election night.


SECOND TIER (alphabetically by state)

• Arizona: This race will be the wild card of the 2024 election cycle. The three-way race featuring Independent incumbent Kyrsten Sinema means that she, a Democrat, likely Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), and an eventual Republican nominee, possibly 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, could all win this seat with a plurality figure of less than 40 percent.

Considering that Lake received 49.6 percent of the vote in the governor’s race, her chances in the Senate race should not be overlooked. She still, however, must be viewed as an underdog since the other two candidates’ chances appear better at present.

• Michigan: Mitchell Research conducted a new poll of the Michigan electorate (July 11-13; 639 likely Michigan voters; SMS text) and finds Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) recording a 44-38 percent lead over former Rep. Mike Rogers (R) and an even larger 41-28 percent advantage over ex-US Rep. Peter Meijer (R). Both are potential Senate candidates.

Additionally, two-term US Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Bruce), who represents the region commonly referred to as “the thumb” since the state’s Lower Peninsula configuration resembles a human hand, said that she will not enter the open Senate race next year. The move presumes that she will seek re-election to the House in 2024.

Michigan is trending more Democratic than it had in the previous elections before 2020, so the party remains the favorite to hold this open seat due to incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D) retirement.

• Pennsylvania: Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) is on the ballot for a fourth term next year and is the clear favorite for re-election. Republicans do not yet have an official candidate, but it is believed that 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick will at some point announce his entry into the race. He lost the Republican nomination in the last election to Dr. Mehmet Oz by 950 votes statewide.

Even with McCormick in the race, Sen. Casey will hold the inside track to re-election. For this seat to fall to the Republicans, a national Red Wave will have to form.

• Texas: The Lone Star State is the only place at present where a Republican incumbent is being seriously challenged. The entrance of state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), however, actually helps Sen. Cruz. With Gutierrez being identified with the progressive left, Sen. Cruz will be able to use the Democratic primary to help drive Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) further to the left, thus setting both up favorably for the general election regardless of which man becomes the Democratic nominee.

This will be an expensive race, but Sen. Cruz is well positioned to again prevail.

• Wisconsin: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) stands for a third term. Wisconsin turns in close races, but early polling suggests the Democrats have a clear advantage heading into this cycle. Republicans have yet to recruit a candidate. Some of the GOP possibilities are individuals who have lost previous statewide races.

Should a redistricting case come before the state Supreme Court, there is a possibility that the Wisconsin congressional map may be redrawn. If so, then both Reps. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) and Derrick Van Order (R-Prairie du Chien) could be endangered. If that happens, we could see Steil move forward to challenge Sen. Baldwin. Should this scenario unfold, the Senate race would become more competitive.