By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 31, 2023
PresidentCalifornia: New GOP Primary Data Shows Big Change — The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Government Studies surveyed the California electorate and found a major change from their February poll. This new survey (May 11-17; 7,465 registered California voters; 1,853 registered Republicans; online) projects former President Donald Trump moving into a big lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which is a marked change from February when the reverse was true.
According to the ballot test results, Trump holds a 44-26 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis with no other candidate even reaching five percent. In February, Gov. DeSantis led 39-27 percent. The surprising data point is that both candidates still maintain very high favorability indexes from the California GOP electorate, unusual when one candidate has such a big lead. Trump holds a 74:23 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio while Gov. DeSantis registered 75:15 percent. It is important to remember, however, that California uses a congressional district delegate apportionment system, so the statewide numbers are less important than in other places.
Iowa: Trump Leading Big in New Poll — The latest Emerson College survey of Republican potential Iowa Caucus voters (May 19-22; 442 likely GOP Iowa caucus voters; multiple sampling techniques) gives former President Donald Trump a huge 62-20 percent advantage over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with no other candidate reaching six percent. It is important for DeSantis to do well in the early nomination events if he is to overtake Trump, but starting this far behind makes his task all the more difficult.
Pennsylvania: Mastriano’s Surprise Announcement — Despite signals to the contrary, state senator and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano (R-Chambersburg/ Gettysburg) announced at the beginning of the weekend that he would not run for the US Senate and will instead seek re-election to his state Senate position. The move opens the door for 2022 Senate candidate and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick to run virtually unencumbered for the nomination, something that will be necessary in order to fully compete against Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D).
Though this allows the Republicans to field a stronger candidate than Mastriano, who was defeated 56-42 percent in the governor’s race, Sen. Casey must still be viewed as the favorite to win re-election next year.
AZ-3: Late Congressman’s Daughter Enters Race — Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor (D) announced that she will run for the open Phoenix-anchored 3rd District, the seat her late father, Rep. Ed Pastor (D), represented for seven terms. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) currently represents the seat, but is leaving the House to run in the three-way contest for US Senate.
Along with Pastor, Osborn School Board Member Ylenia Aguilar, Phoenix City Councilwoman Yassiman Ansari, Glendale School Board Member Hector Jaramillo, and former state Senate Minority Leader Raquel Teran comprise the early Democratic primary. The 3rd District is heavily Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+44, so the battle to succeed Rep. Gallego will be fought in the Democratic primary.
MN-2: New Candidates Emerge — In the past two election cycles, Republicans fielded USMC Reserve Officer Tyler Kistner as their 2nd District congressional nominee, but he lost twice to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Prior Lake) by close margins: 48-46 percent in 2020, and 51-46 percent last November. Now, others are coming forward believing a fresh candidate would provide the GOP a better chance of upending Rep. Craig.
Originally, former Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy (R) announced his candidacy and now Attorney Tayler Rahm joins the field. Apparently, Kistner has not ruled out making a third run against Rep. Craig, but he has also made no discernible move to enter the race. Regardless of what happens in the Republican nominating convention and/or primary election, Rep. Craig will be favored for re-election.