Category Archives: Senate

Rep. Rice Loses in SC;
Flores Converts Seat for GOP in TX

By Jim Ellis — June 16, 2022

Primary Results

South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach)

South Carolina: Rep. Tom Rice Loses Re-Nomination — The first of six Republican House members who are seeking re-election and voted to impeach former President Trump went down to defeat Tuesday night. South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach) lost outright to Trump’s endorsed candidate, state Rep. Russell Fry (R-Murrell’s Inlet). Fry defeated Rep. Rice, 51-24 percent, with the remaining 25 percent being split among the other five candidates.

Elsewhere, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) defeated Republican primary challenger and 2018 congressional nominee Katie Arrington by a close 53-45 percent, which proved to be a defeat for a Trump endorsed candidate. Fourth District Rep. William Timmons (R-Greenville), in a race that Trump did not affect, was also renominated but only by a 52.7 percent vote share opposite three challengers.

Statewide, both Republican incumbents, Sen. Tim Scott and Gov. Henry McMaster, were easily re-nominated. Gov. McMaster will now face former Congressman Joe Cunningham (D), who won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination outright with 56.5 percent of the vote, while the Democratic Senate candidates fell into a tight three-way finish. Two of the contenders will advance to a runoff election on June 28, presumably author Catherine Bruce and state Rep. Krystle Matthews (D-Ladson).

TX-34: Mayra Flores Converts Seat for GOP — Republican Mayra Flores, a health care professional, won the open special election last night in a 51-43 percent spread over former Cameron County Commissioner Dan Sanchez (D) and two others. The district was left vacant when then-Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) resigned from the House to accept a position with a legislative advocacy firm.

Flores’ win will boost the Republican count to 214 in the House, just four away from creating a new majority — but winning a full term in November is a more difficult challenge for her in the regular election. The new 34th is rated 12 points more Democratic than the seat she won last night and will face 15th District Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) in the impending general election.

Gonzalez chose to seek re-election in the new South Texas 34th when Vela announced his retirement, and thus won the party primary in March. We can expect the Republican national political apparatus to pull out all of the stops in an attempt to re-elect Flores in the fall, thus making the 34th CD a political battleground.

Senate

Georgia: Sen. Warnock, Herschel Walker Tied — East Carolina University tested the Georgia electorate (June 6-9; 868 registered Georgia voters) and find Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker tied at 47 percent apiece. The Georgia race will be one of the key battleground contests in the 2022 general election cycle.

Governor

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Leads Stacey Abrams — The aforementioned East Carolina University poll (see Georgia Senate above) finds Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leading ex-state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D), 50-45 percent, in another race that is expected to go down to the wire. The two fought to a 50.2 – 48.8 percent finish in 2018.

Texas: Abbot Up in Landslide — A new Democratic Blueprint Polling survey of the Texas electorate (June 8-10; 603 likely Texas general election voters) finds Gov. Greg Abbott (R) re-establishing a huge polling lead. In this survey, the ballot test breaks 56-37 percent over former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso). Gov. Abbott is seeking a third four-year term.

Trump’s Alabama Endorsement;
A Runoff in Oklahoma?

By Jim Ellis — June 15, 2022

Senate

Former Business Council of Alabama CEO Katie Britt

Alabama: Britt Leads, Gets Trump Endorsement — The new JMC Analytics poll (June 6-9; 630 likely Alabama Republican runoff voters; live interview & text) posts former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt to a large 51-39 percent lead over US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville). Additionally, former President Trump endorsed Britt, thus coming 180 degrees in this race. Originally, he had publicly supported Rep. Brooks, only to rescind the endorsement prior to the primary.

Britt placed first in the May 24 primary, leading Rep. Brooks and third place finisher Mike Durant, 45-29-23 percent. The Republican runoff is scheduled for June 21.

Oklahoma: Rep. Mullin Continues to Lead — The Amber Integrated firm tested the upcoming Sooner State Republican primary for a host of statewide races (June 6-9; 400 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters; live interview & text). In the US Senate special election, US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) continues to lead the Republican field, but will likely fall well short of obtaining majority support on June 28. Should the runoff be necessary, the election date will be Aug. 23.

The AI ballot test shows Rep. Mullin with a 38-19 percent lead over former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. Former EPA Director and ex-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt heads the second tier with six percent. State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), ex-chief of staff to retiring Sen. Jim Inhofe, Luke Holland, and dietician Jessica Jean Garrison trail with five, four, and three percent, respectively. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the special general, which will run concurrently with the regular general election. The ultimate winner will serve the remaining four years of Sen. Inhofe’s current term.

In the regular Senate election, incumbent James Lankford (R) holds a huge 68-12 percent lead over pastor Jason Lahmeyer and is headed to win outright on June 28. Sen. Lankford then becomes a prohibitive favorite to win a second full term in November.

Governor

Minnesota: New Survey Suggests Tight General Election — Democratic polling firm Change Research (June 3-5; 1,551 Minnesota general election voters; online) projects a close race between Gov. Tim Walz (D) and Republican Party-endorsed candidate Scott Jensen, a former state senator. The CR polling results find Gov. Walz posting only a two-point, 42-40 percent edge. While Jensen is the endorsed GOP candidate, he does face minor opposition in the Aug. 9 Republican primary.

New York: Gov. Hochul Staked to a Large Lead — Emerson College is reporting the results of its most recent New York statewide survey (June 9-10; 500 likely New York Democratic primary voters; 500 likely New York Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system, text, & online) that finds Gov. Kathy Hochul and US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) leading their respective primary election campaigns.

For the Democrats, Gov. Hochul’s advantage over US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is 63-25-11 percent, as the trio battles for position before the June 28 statewide primary. On the Republican side, Rep. Zeldin records 40 percent support, ahead of former Westchester County Executive and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino (25 percent), businessman Harry Wilson (20 percent), and former Trump White House aide Andrew Giuliani, son of Rudy Giuliani (17 percent). Though Gov. Hochul appears strong for the general election, Republicans feel that they will be more competitive in this election year.

Oklahoma: Gov. Stitt Strong in Primary — The Amber Integrated firm also tested the governor’s Republican primary (June 6-9; 400 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters; live interview & text). In this race, incumbent Kevin Stitt posts a 61-8 percent lead over retired police officer Mark Sherwood. Like Sen. Lankford, Gov. Stitt is poised to win re-nomination outright and then become a big favorite in the general election, probably against state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D).

Laxalt, Lombardo, Looking Good in NV; Palin Should Be A Lock in AK

By Jim Ellis — June 14 2022

Senate

Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt leads among likely Nevada GOP primary voters.

Nevada: Laxalt Holding Comfortable Lead — As we move into the Nevada nomination vote today, OH Predictive Insights released a final pre-primary survey of the Senate Republican candidate field. The poll results (June 6-7; 525 likely Nevada GOP primary voters; live interview & text) show former Attorney General Adam Laxalt leading disabled Afghan War veteran Sam Brown by a 48-34 percent count. Laxalt has led the entire race, and his advantage margin, though not as robust as one might have expected, should well be enough to carry the party favorite to victory tomorrow night. The new Republican nominee will then face Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in the general election.

Ohio: Rep. Ryan Leads in New Survey — After the May 3 primary, Suffolk University was first in the field (May 22-23; 500 likely Ohio voters) and found Republican J.D. Vance leading US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) by a slight 42-39 percent spread. Now, a new study from Democratic pollster Grow Progress (conducted for the Innovation Ohio organization; May 30-June 3; 2,018 registered Ohio voters; online) finds Rep. Ryan holding a 44-41 percent edge. The Ohio electorate typically polls close and these surveys indicate that such a pattern continues in 2022. We can expect toss-up survey research results to continue well into October. At that point, a victory trend will develop for one candidate or the other.

House

AK-AL: Palin First of 48; Four Advance — Alaska held its first election under the state’s new top-four jungle primary format and though just over half of the votes are counted, it appears clear that former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) will finish first. The special election is held because veteran Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) unexpectedly passed away in March.

At this writing, Palin has recorded 29.8 percent of the vote within the huge field of 48 candidates. Republican Party-endorsed candidate, Nick Begich III, is second with 19.3 percent, followed by Dr. Al Gross (12.5 percent), the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee who is running under the Non-Partisan label in this election. Democratic former state Rep. Mary Peltola, from the tribal Bethel region, appears in the best position to secure the fourth and final run-off position with her 7.5 percent vote total. She leads the fifth-place finisher, former US Interior Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Tara Sweeney (R), by just over two percentage points.

Twenty-five of the 48 candidates, including all top four finishers, also filed for the regular election. Six individuals, none of whom appear to be a major contender, filed only for the regular term. The jungle primary process for that election then begins again in a separate vote, also on Aug. 16.

NY-23: Republicans Choose Nominee — While New York Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy will likely be the NY-23 party nominee for the regular election, the group of local county chairmen who have the power to choose the special election nominee have selected Steuben County Republican Party chairman Joe Sempolinski as the party standard bearer for the Aug. 23 special election to replace resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning).

Democrats have tabbed retired Air Force officer Max Della Pia for both the special election in the current 23rd CD and for the new 23rd in the regular election. According to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, the new NY-23 rates as R+23, so Langworthy is the clear long-term favorite. Sempolinski will not be a candidate in the regular election.

Governor

Michigan: James Craig to Run As Write-In Candidate — Former Detroit Police chief James Craig, who was disqualified from the ballot because of submitting a lack of valid petition signatures, said on Friday that he would launch a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination. With half the GOP field rejected for the same reason, the race against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has radically turned.

Nevada: Sheriff Lombardo Leads with Plurality Support — The aforementioned OH Predictive Insights poll (see Senate section above) also tested the GOP race for governor. Today’s primary winner will then challenge Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

The OH poll results project Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo leading attorney and former professional boxer Joey Gilbert, ex-US senator and representative, Dean Heller, and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee by a 34-21-10-10 percent margin. Nevada has no runoff law, so the top vote-getter — most likely Sheriff Lombardo — will claim the Republican nomination.

Skewed Polling Questions in Florida? Internal GOP Battle Brewing in NH

By Jim Ellis — June 9, 2022

Senate

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) | Rep. Val Demings (D)

Florida: New Poll, Similar Result — The Florida Senate race will be an expensive fight – each candidate had already raised over $30 million before the end of March – but polling continues to suggest that incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) holds relatively small but consistent margins over US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando). Public Policy Polling released a new survey for Giffords PAC, a group supporting Rep. Demings (May 26-27; 655 registered Florida voters; interactive voice response system), that finds Sen. Rubio holding a 47-41 percent advantage. This is consistent with other polling.

The pollsters then asked a series of gun control questions designed to push the respondent toward Demings. Even after the barrage of inflammatory questions, Sen. Rubio still held a 44-42 percent edge.

Washington: New Poll, Similar Result — Public Policy Polling, conducting another in a series of their polls for the Northwest Progressive Institute (June 1-2; 1,039 registered Washington voters; live interview & text), again finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) leading the 2022 general election contest over Republican Tiffany Smiley but without her usual overwhelming majority. The new results post the senator to a 50-41 percent lead, which is consistent with their previous polls conducted earlier in the year. Sen. Murray is the clear favorite to win a sixth term, but we can expect to see an unusually competitive general election in one of the Democrats’ most reliable political states.

House

NH-2: Internal Battle Brewing — With New Hampshire redistricting finally complete, and both of the state’s congressional districts remaining in the competitive mode, an ideological Republican primary is forming to challenge Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton). At the end of last week, Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns, who defines himself as a “staunch conservative” announced his congressional campaign for the GOP nomination. He will challenge the party establishment’s candidate, Keene Mayor George Hansel, who holds Gov. Chris Sununu’s endorsement and is a self-described “pro-choice Republican.”

Though Rep. Kuster could be vulnerable in this D+2 western state CD, the state primary isn’t until Sept. 13. Therefore, this budding Republican primary challenge will go on for quite some time, thus allowing the congresswoman to build a further advantage in a shortened general election campaign.

NY-23: Rep. Chris Jacobs Decides to Retire — Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park), who was just elected to his first full term in 2020, announced that he is now abandoning plans to run in the new post-redistricting 23rd District largely due to fallout over his position on the gun control issue and related impending legislation. This opens a safely Republican and vacant 23rd District and completely changes both the regular election primary and the upcoming special election both concurrently scheduled for Aug. 23.

Now it appears the special election will be the determining factor. Before Rep. Jacobs’ retirement decision, he had announced for the new 23rd CD but would not participate in the special election after incumbent Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) resigned. The reason: Jacobs is still serving out the final term in District 27. The 27th CD was eliminated in redistricting because New York lost a congressional seat in national reapportionment.

The political parties choose special election nominees in New York without a special primary election, so it appears the 10 Republican County chairmen whose entities comprise the current 23rd CD will likely be determining who wins the succeeding special election, and therefore the new regular general election as well.

A Look at Primary Results
From Across Seven States

By Jim Ellis — June 8, 2022

Primary Results

Wealthy developer, former Republican and now Independent Rick Caruso surprised many by claiming first place in the open Los Angeles mayor’s race last night.

California: The Golden State’s Mixed Results — Wealthy developer, former Republican and now Independent Rick Caruso surprised many by claiming first place in the open Los Angeles mayor’s race last night; he topped US Rep. Karen Bass (D) by five percentage points. Far left San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was recalled with 60 percent of the vote, and the down-ballot congressional results look to yield some interesting general election campaigns.

On positive notes for the GOP, former state Assemblywoman Connie Conway successfully won the special congressional election in the 22nd District and will assume office immediately after race certification to fill the unexpired portion of resigned Rep. Devin Nunes’ final congressional term. Additionally, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita), in a district that was made more Democratic through redistricting, finished substantially ahead at this point, 50-35 percent, over former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), the opponent he has twice beaten including a 333-vote win in 2020. An estimated quarter of the vote remains to be added, so these numbers will change at least to a degree, but the pair will again advance into the general election.

Two Central Valley seats have very low vote totals reporting, but both are interesting. In the most Democratic district in the nation that a Republican represents, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) badly trails state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), 47-26 percent, but with less than 15,000 votes counted. Surprisingly, Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) holds only a 36-29 percent edge over San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R), but with less than 14,000 votes tabulated. In the neighboring new 13th District, Republican farmer/businessman John Duarte appears positioned to capture second place and is running just two percentage points behind state Assemblyman Alex Gray (D-Merced) with over half the votes counted. This appears to be a competitive race come the fall.

In Orange County, incumbent Rep. Young Kim (R-La Habra) appears to be placing second in the jungle primary but will advance to the general election. Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County), after trailing most of the night, did place first in her new 45th CD and advances into the general election against Community College Trustee Jay Chen (D) as expected. Former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh, who was thought to be a strong Republican challenger to Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) in the coastal Orange County seat, saw the incumbent top 50 percent, some 20 points ahead of him, meaning this race may not be as competitive in November as once predicted.

The California counting, with almost all votes coming in through the mail and ballots accepted after the election will drag on for a period of weeks, so we won’t have final totals for some time.

Iowa: Admiral Franken Wins — Early in the election cycle, it appeared that former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer had the inside track to the Democratic US Senate nomination, but such was not to be as retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken easily defeated her by a 55-40 percent count to claim the party nomination. He will face Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) who won a landslide re-nomination for what would be an eighth six-year term.

The governor and House races, most of which were unopposed last night, all turned out as predicted. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) runs for a second full term and will square off against Democratic marketing consultant Deidre DeJear. As expected, state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Altoona) was an easy Republican primary winner in the state’s 3rd District. He will now oppose two-term Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) who has yet to reach 50 percent in any of her campaigns. Freshmen Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) and Ashley Hinson (R-Marion/Cedar Rapids) will both defend their competitive seats each against a pair of sitting state legislators, state Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City) and state Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha), respectively.

Mississippi: Incumbents Forced to Runoffs — It appears two Mississippi GOP congressional incumbents, Reps. Michael Guest (R-Brandon) and Steve Palazzo (R-Biloxi) will have to run in a secondary election to win re-nomination, an ominous sign for any southern incumbent. Because a majority of the voters chose a candidate other than the incumbent, a runoff vote will occur on June 28 between the top two finishers. Therefore, both Reps. Guest and Palazzo face difficult re-nomination prospects at the end of this month.

Rep. Guest and Navy Reserve officer Michael Cassidy will apparently battle in the 3rd District runoff election though about 15 percent of the estimated turnout is still outstanding. The two candidates are both hovering around the 47 percent mark, so it is unlikely that enough votes remain outstanding to allow one of the two to reach 50 percent. Challenger Cassidy labeled the incumbent as being too moderate, citing his vote to create the January 6 Commission, among other actions to justify his attack. Six-term Rep. Palazzo is under an ethics investigation for using campaign funds for personal use, and managed to only break 30 percent. His opponent looks to be Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell, who is clinging to second position but with almost a quarter of the votes still to be tabulated. Businessman Clay Wagner lags just over 2,000 votes behind Ezell in third position.

Montana: Tight Race Favoring ex-Rep. Zinke — In a surprisingly tight congressional race for Montana’s new western congressional district, a seat the state gained because of its strong population growth in national reapportionment, former US Interior Secretary and ex-Congressman Ryan Zinke appears to be successfully returning to the House but in a very close margin. At this writing, Zinke leads former state senator and frequent statewide candidate Al Olsewski by just about a percentage point as the final votes are being tabulated. The small margin will probably hold meaning that Zinke will become the new 1st District’s official Republican standard bearer. The final primary result should pave the wave for him to complete his political comeback attempt this November.

New Jersey: Key Re-Match Set — Without a statewide race on the ballot in 2022, New Jersey appears politically quiet this year. The top race in the state is a 7th District re-match between Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) and former state Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R). The two battled to a 51-49 percent finish two years ago. Kean easily defeated a crowded Republican field to earn another shot at Malinowski who faces his Republican opponent in a less Democratic district post-redistricting. The seat now trends Republican, thus making this one of the GOP’s top conversion opportunities in the nation.

New Mexico: Ronchetti Wins Big — Former Albuquerque TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti, who held Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D) to a closer-than-expected 52-46 percent win in 2020, romped to a win in the Republican governor’s primary topping the 58 percent mark after failing to qualify for the ballot through the Republican nominating convention. The Ronchetti win sets up a competitive battle with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) in the fall. The governor was unopposed for re-nomination last night.

In the gerrymandered southern 2nd District, freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) will face Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez (D) in a district that now leans Democratic with the inclusion of part of Albuquerque. This will be a highly competitive general election campaign and a must-win for Republicans if they are to capture the House majority as many predict.

South Dakota: Incumbents Score Big Wins — In an unsurprising result, both Sen. John Thune (R) and Gov. Kristi Noem (R) scored landslide Republican primary victories with each topping the 70 percent mark in voter support. In the state’s at-large congressional primary, second-term Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-Mitchell) defeated Rapid City state Rep. Taffy Howard with a 59-41% spread to win re-nomination for a third two-year term. All three of the statewide GOP incumbents now become prohibitive favorites for re-election in November.