Category Archives: Senate

Trouble for Biden in Swing States; Incumbents Reign in 2023 Elections; Former Michigan Rep. Announces for Senate; What the Amo RI-1 Win Means

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023

President

President Joe Biden is in trouble in swing states. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Siena College/NYT Poll: Trouble for Biden in Swing States — Siena College and the New York Times teamed up on recent polls in six key swing states all conducted during the Oct. 22 to Nov. 3 period. The six states are: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The tested Republicans against President Joe Biden were former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In all instances, with the exception of Trump in Wisconsin, the named Republican would poll ahead of President Biden, thus unseating him if the election were today.

Of the three Republicans, Haley performs the strongest against the Biden. Her best number, +14, comes among Wisconsin likely voters. Trump’s best state is Nevada (+11); DeSantis tops President Biden by five percentage points among Arizona registered voters; Biden’s best showing comes against Trump in Wisconsin (+2).

The Democrats certainly have time to right their political ship, and if Trump is convicted in any of his criminal cases, that might get adjudicated before the election, and the tables could quickly turn. This campaign will prove the most unique of presidential elections.

Election 2023

Déjà Vu: Incumbents Reign — The 2023 odd-numbered year elections are now in the books, and, as we saw on Election Night, the results are very similar to what occurred a year earlier in the 2022 midterm elections.

Most of the political pundits are calling this election year a victory for Democrats despite having an unpopular president in office, while others cite the abortion issue as a continuing turnout driver, which also benefits Democrats. Both statements are true, but perhaps the more definitive underlying pattern is that the incumbents, just as they did in 2022, again reign supreme.

In 2022, 55 of the 56 US senators and governors who ran for re-election won. In the US House elections, 98.1 percent of incumbents who ran for re-election were successful. On Election Night, we saw two more incumbent governors win again.

Governors Andy Beshear (D) and Tate Reeves (R) in Kentucky and Mississippi, respectively, were re-elected with similar five percentage point margins. Polling in the two states suggested a closer result for both incumbents, but each was favored to win.

The Virginia situation is a bit different. Largely due to new court-imposed redistricting maps that radically changed the complexion of most districts, voters elected Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature. It is inconsistent to rate the Virginia results as incumbent-oriented because we saw roughly one-third of all districts run without incumbents, and most of those office holders who did seek re-election found themselves in new districts vastly different from the one in which they were originally elected.

Democrats will now have at least 21 of 40 seats in the Virginia state Senate and 52 of 100 in the House of Delegates. The party division margin differences yield no change in the Senate, while Democrats converted at least four seats in the House.

While it’s difficult to overlay an incumbent victory matrix across the Old Dominion legislative elections, it is not unusual to see a state that has become reliably Democratic over the past two decades to again vote for that party’s candidates in the 2023 elections. Therefore, the fact that the state’s favored party over the course of time again performed better is consistent with the incumbent voting pattern seen elsewhere.

The abnormal facet of the incumbent-oriented elections we have witnessed in 2022 and now 2023 is that the issue polls consistently show voters certainly believing the country is headed down the wrong track, with similar feelings regarding most states. The state right direction/wrong track questions, however, are not as intensely negative as at the national level.

Yet, despite the recorded discontent, voters return to their respective polling places and almost unanimously re-elect the incumbents. This again suggests that the Republican campaign message machine needs an overhaul. It is clear that their campaign themes and approaches are not driving enough voters to support the GOP candidates in the most hotly contested races.

Once numbers become finalized, we can better understand the results. Because the 2023 vote tabulations verified the pattern set in 2022, it is likely this precursor favors incumbents at large, and more specifically the Democrats, to have another positive election year in 2024 despite what today’s issue polls may currently be projecting.

Senate

Michigan: Ex-Rep. Meijer Announces — Former one-term Congressman Peter Meijer (R), who was defeated for renomination in 2022, announced Monday that he will join the open Michigan US Senate field. The move had been expected for weeks, but is a curious one, nonetheless. It is hard to see a victory path for Rep. Meijer since he couldn’t get enough conservative support to defeat his ’22 GOP challenger, John Gibbs. Gibbs would then go onto lose the general election to now freshman Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids).

The top Republican contenders for the party’s Senate nomination are former US Rep. Mike Rogers and retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig. It is possible that Meijer’s entry could actually help Rogers, since Craig and Meijer will likely both appeal to the more centrist element of the Republican voter base. If so, this will help Rogers unite the conservatives behind his candidacy and propel him to the nomination. Whoever wins the Republican primary will almost assuredly face Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) in the general election.

The open Michigan race is likely to be close, but Democrats will have at least a slight edge in the general election. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four full terms once the current congressional session concludes at the beginning of 2025.

House

RI-1: Gabe Amo (D) Wins Special Election — Former Biden and Obama White House aide Gabe Amo virtually assured himself of succeeding resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) when he won the Sept. 5 special Democratic primary. Amo easily defeated Republican Gerry Leonard Tuesday in the special general election. Upon winning the seat, Amo now will be sworn in to the House and serve the balance of the current term.

Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District is solidly Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+32. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 64.9D – 33.1R. President Biden carried the seat with a 64-35 percent victory margin in 2020. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 99th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference — pretty secure. Therefore, there was little doubt as to which candidate would win the special election.

The Amo victory will bring the Democrats back to their full 213-member compliment in the House. The next special election, in UT-2, will be held on Nov. 21. Republican Celeste Maloy is favored to hold resigned Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R-Farmington) seat. Should she win, the House will be restored to its post-regular election division of 222R-213D.

Porter Edges Schiff, Garvey Alive; Republican Candidate in AL-2; Election Day Notes

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023

Senate

California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)

Cal Berkeley Poll: Porter Edges Schiff, Garvey Alive — The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies (IGS) released their latest Golden State survey (Oct. 24-30; 6,342 registered California voters; 4,506 likely March 5th California primary voters; online) finds US Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) eclipsing US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) by a scant 17-16 percent plurality within the large all-party field. While the 17 percent support number represents no gain for Porter when compared to the IGS August study, it does show Schiff losing four percentage points within the same time period. Among self-identified Democratic respondents, the two are tied at 26 percent apiece.

Former professional baseball star Steve Garvey (R), has increased his position now that he is an announced candidate. He finished third in the IGS poll with 10 percent support. The race is close enough that if Garvey can coalesce the GOP support around his candidacy (a total of 21 percent chose a Republican candidate), he could secure a general election ballot position. Among Republican respondents, Garvey receives 27 percent support as compared to 13 and 12 percent for candidates James Bradley and Eric Early.

The Golden State, like Louisiana and Washington, employs an all-party jungle primary system. In California, all candidates are placed on the March 5 ballot and the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation or primary percentage attained, qualify for the general election. Democrats are favored to hold the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D) seat that appointed Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) now holds, but whether a Republican qualifies for the general election or two Democrats advance from the primary remains to be seen.

House

AL-2: Republicans Field Candidate — Though the new court ordered map has drawn a new Montgomery-Mobile district designed to elect a black Democrat, Republicans now have a candidate to compete in a general election campaign. Former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker announced over the weekend that he will file for the new congressional seat. Democrats already see seven announced candidates including two state senators, two state representatives, a Jefferson County Commissioner, and two minor candidates.

The candidate filing deadline is this week, on Nov. 10, so the official candidate field will soon be set. The Alabama statewide partisan primary is March 5. If no one secures majority support in the first election, a secondary runoff vote between the top two finishers will be held on April 2, 2024.

States

Election Day: Kentucky, Mississippi & Virginia — Today is election day around the country, and the contests drawing the most attention are occurring in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) runs for a second term while Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) opposes him. This contest has the potential to be close. The latest poll, from Emerson College (Oct. 30-Nov. 2; 1,000 likely Kentucky voters; multiple sampling techniques), finds Cameron taking a lead for the first time in the race, with a 49-48 percent edge. A Cameron victory would be viewed as a major upset.

Another upset is possible in Mississippi. Public Service Commission Brandon Presley (D) is polling close to Gov. Tate Reeves (R) who, like Gov. Beshear in Kentucky, is on the ballot for a second term. The latest available survey comes from Public Policy Polling for the Democratic Governors Association (Oct. 19-20; 601 likely Mississippi voters; live interview & text) and the results find Gov. Reeves’ previous much larger lead dropping to just 46-45 percent. Polling was similar four years ago and Reeves considerably outperformed the polling. It remains to be seen if that pattern repeats itself tomorrow.

Virginia hosts critical state legislative elections with all 140 seats in the General Assembly up for election. Republicans hold a two-vote margin in the House of Delegates; Democrats a two-vote edge in the state Senate. Majorities in both houses are very much up for grabs in redistricted seats where candidates are running for the first time.

Trends coming from these elections, plus the Republican outright victory in Louisiana back in October, could set a precursor trend for the regular 2024 elections.

New Hampshire for Biden Write-In Effort; NJ First Lady Files; OR-3 Rep. Blumenauer to Retire; Bowman on Hot Seat Since Pulling Fire Alarm

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023

President

A New Hampshire for Biden poster

New Hampshire: Democratic Leaders Launch Biden Write-in Effort — A group of leading Democrats, including the state’s two senators and their pair of US House members, as well as all 10 Democratic state senators and most of the party’s large delegation to the state House of Representatives, are forming an organization to qualify President Joe Biden as a write-in candidate for the still unscheduled Democratic presidential primary. Biden is choosing to bypass New Hampshire because the state did not agree with the new Democratic National Committee presidential primary scheduling recommendations.

Though the show of internal Democratic strength is positive for the Biden campaign, their move also increases the stakes for the New Hampshire primary. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) is a candidate and will secure a ballot position. Therefore, the pressure would be on the Biden write-in effort to defeat Phillips, otherwise his national campaign would begin with a major political black eye.

Senate

New Jersey: NJ First Lady Files Candidate Committee — New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy (D) may be joining the US Senate race. Rumored to be a candidate once the scandal involving incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D) broke, Murphy had not taken any official step to create a formal campaign. That changed Tuesday, however, as she filed a senatorial exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission but stopped short of declaring her candidacy. An announcement may be coming in the next couple of weeks.

Murphy may have a difficult time in the Senate Democratic primary. Sen. Menendez, though faring poorly in early polling, has not indicated that he will resign or retire. Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) immediately announced his Senate primary entry upon the Menendez indictment becoming public and has jumped out to an early lead.

Additionally, Gov. Phil Murphy had a close call for re-election in 2021, meaning the Murphy family is likely weakened within the Democratic voting base. Finally, Murphy has never been a candidate before, and starts well behind Rep. Kim despite having name identification. An early October Data for Progress poll showed Kim leading an entire proposed candidate field, including Sen. Menendez, by a large margin. Murphy stood at just four percent support.

House

OR-3: Rep. Earl Blumenauer to Retire — Fifteen-term Oregon US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) has announced that he will retire at the end of the current Congress. Blumenauer, first elected to the House in a 1996 special election, has served in public office consecutively since 1973, including his time in the Oregon House of Representatives, the Multnomah County Commission, and as a Portland City Commissioner, in addition to his 28-plus years in Congress. He currently serves on the Ways & Means and Budget Committees.

Rep. Blumenauer leaves a safely Democratic Portland suburban-anchored seat that covers Hood River County and parts of Multnomah and Clackamas counties. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+43. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a whopping 70.5D – 25.0R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks OR-3 as the 155th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

Blumenauer’s retirement decision means there are now 22 open House seats, 15 from the Democratic side, six that Republicans hold, with one new redistricting-created open seat in Alabama. Of the 21 incumbents not seeking re-election at this point, eight are retiring or have resigned, and 13 are running for a different office. We can expect a crowded and hotly contested 3rd District Democratic primary scheduled for May 21, 2024.

NY-16: Rep. Bowman Primary Opponents Unifying — Pastor Michael Gerald (D) announced that he is putting his Democratic primary challenge against Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) on hold until Westchester County Executive George Latimer (D) decides whether he will run. Rep. Bowman has been on the hot seat regarding being found guilty of deliberately pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building and could face an expulsion resolution. Obviously, this has generated negative publicity for the congressman.

Prior to winning the County Executive’s position in the 2017 election, Latimer had served in the New York State Senate and Assembly. Westchester County contains 91 percent of NY-16, so a Latimer challenge to Rep. Bowman, should it materialize, would become a major campaign.

The Kennedy Factor in Alaska; Maryland Gov. Moore Endorses Senate Candidate; Malinowski’s Response; Candidate Search in PA-10

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023

President

Alaska: First Poll with Kennedy — The Alaska Survey Research firm tested the 2024 general election with, for the first time, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the questionnaire as an Independent candidate. Some have been saying that Kennedy on the ballot could force former President Donald Trump below 50 percent, which would jump-start a Ranked Choice Voting round. This could open the door to President Joe Biden winning Alaska even though he would be nowhere close to victory in the initial vote.

According to the ASR data (Oct. 13-18; 1,375 likely Alaska general election voters; online) Trump is leading the field but with just 37 percent support. President Biden follows with 29 percent, while Kennedy draws 17 percent. In an initial test without Kennedy, Trump would lead President Biden 45-37 percent. Therefore, both candidates would yield 8 percent support to Kennedy. The key here for Trump is making sure he does not fall below the 50 percent threshold, and this poll suggests he would be in danger of doing so if Kennedy continues to remain relatively strong.

Senate

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D)

Maryland: Gov. Moore Endorses Senate Candidate — Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) involved himself in what promises to be a hotly contested open Democratic primary to replace retiring Sen. Ben Cardin (D). Maryland’s voting history suggests that Sen. Cardin’s successor will be found in the Democratic primary, as Republicans will have little chance to win a Maryland statewide race in a presidential election year.

Gov. Moore announced that he is supporting Prince Georges County Executive Angela Alsobrooks for the party nomination. Her chief opponent is US representative and Total Beverage chain founder, Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac). The Moore endorsement is a signal to the African American community, the base of the state’s Democratic Party, that they should unite behind Alsobrooks.

Maryland’s black population accounts for just under 32 percent of the state’s residents. In a Democratic primary, however, their size is significantly larger.

Rep. Trone has already put just under $10 million of his own money into his campaign account and is currently advertising in targeted markets. According to Trone’s latest campaign finance report, 98 percent of his money comes from him.

House

NJ-7: Ex-Rep. Malinowski Responds — Former two-term US Rep. Tom Malinowski (D) responded to a statewide op-ed piece asking him to challenge the man who unseated him in 2022, freshman US Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield).

While Malinowski has not publicly ruled out running again, his response to the piece suggests that he will not become a candidate. His quote: “I am very happy in my life right now and looking forward to the next challenge, not backward.” Currently in the Democratic primary are former State Department official Jason Blazakis and progressive left activist Sue Altman.

PA-10: New Democratic Leader — According to a new Public Policy Polling Democratic primary survey of Pennsylvania’s competitive 10th District (Oct. 16-17; 547 PA-10 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview & text), the respondents are looking for a new nominee to challenge US Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg/Harrisburg).

The poll suggests that retired news anchor Janelle Stelson holds an early 33-20 percent edge over 2022 Democratic nominee and Harrisburg City Councilwoman Shamaine Daniels. In November, Daniels held Rep. Perry to a 54-46 percent victory. Her 27 years on the air in south-central Pennsylvania provides her with a substantial district-wide name identification advantage.

Expect this race to again be competitive, but Rep. Perry begins as the favorite for re-election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates PA-10 as R+9. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 37th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.

Q3 Campaign Finance Summary

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023

Financials

Fund Raising: Nearly $1 Billion Taken In — Together, the Senate and House campaigns have raised an aggregate of close to $1 billion dollars ($926.5 million to be exact) for the 2024 election cycle. This, according to the Federal Election Commission’s Oct. 15 campaign finance reports for the 3rd Quarter period ending Sept. 30.

Twenty-eight senators are seeking re-election, along with the 55 challenger and open seat candidates, and they have combined to raise just under $443 million for the cycle; the 638 House incumbents and candidates who filed reports combined to record ‘24 cycle receipts of almost $484 million.

As they have done for every reporting period, the Daily Kos Elections statisticians published summary figures for all the candidates.

The combined Senate campaigns raised over $88.3 million (83 total candidates) for the 3rd Quarter and had an aggregate current cash-on-hand figure of $273.5 million. The 28 incumbents raised $44.7 million of the aggregate receipts figure, and the office holders have a combined total of almost $167 million in their respective campaign bank accounts.

The average among the 28 Senators seeking re-election was almost $1.6 million raised for the quarter, with each having an average of just over $6 million in the all-important cash-on-hand category.

According to the Daily Kos Elections data, the House re-election, challenger, and open-seat contenders accumulated just under $161 million for the Q3 fundraising segment. Among the House incumbents, the average raised for Q3 was just under $296,000, while the mean cash-on-hand figure for the reporting incumbents was $1.15 million.

Comparing the Senate Q3 aggregate dollars raised amount of $88.3 million to the Q2 effort, we see an actual decrease of approximately $3 million. On the House side, the combined receipts total of $161 million is about $10 million lower than the aggregate figure for Q2. The slight decreases suggest that less fundraising was done over the summer months as compared to the period ending June 30.

The 2nd Quarter also tends to be the kick-off for the candidates’ next campaign cycle so activity during this period is typically more intense.

Not surprisingly, the top Senate fundraisers were the incumbents and candidates in the most hotly contested campaigns. California Senate candidate, Rep. Adam Schiff (D), led all statewide contenders with $5.9 million raised for the quarter and $21.9 million for the cycle-to-date. He holds a whopping $32 million cash-on-hand.

Senate contenders raising more than $3 million for Q3 were:

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH; $5.6 million
  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT; $4.9 million)
  • Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas; $4.7 million)
  • Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA; $3.4 million)
  • Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA; $3.1 million)
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI; $3.07 million)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX; $3.06 million)
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ; $3.02 million)

The Senate candidates with the most cash-on-hand at the end of the 3rd Quarter are:

  • Rep. Schiff ($32.1 million)
  • Sen. Tester ($13.0 million)
  • Rep. Porter ($11.9 million)
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV; $11.3 million)
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown ($11.2 million)
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ; $10.8 million)

In the House, as is typically the case, the party leaders are the top fundraisers. Those not in leadership who raised the most in the 3rd Quarter are:

  • Challenger Adam Frisch (D-CO vs. Rep. Lauren Boebert-R; $3.37 million)
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL; $1.2 million)
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA; $1.19 million)
  • Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT; $1.17 million)
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY; $1.16 million)
  • Challenger Mondaire Jones (D-NY vs. Rep. Mike Lawler-R; $1.14 million)
  • Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ; $1.110 million)
  • Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA; 1.09 million)
  • Rep. John James (R-MI; $1.04 million)

It appears the electoral participants are again on a record fundraising pace. It is highly likely that the 2024 election cycle will be the most prolific ever in terms of fundraising and campaign spending.

Biden Challenger Poised; Jawando Drops Maryland Senate Bid;
A Challenger Emerges in IA-2; North Carolina Redistricting

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023

President

Minnesota US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Plymouth)

Rep. Dean Phillips: Reportedly Still Considering Biden Challenge — Media reports are again suggesting that three-term Minnesota US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Plymouth) is still considering challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. It is difficult to see how the congressman would have any reasonable path of victory in challenging the incumbent president of his party when starting at such a late date.

Rep. Phillips has been urging more prominent Democrats to challenge the president, the reason for which is he believes there should be competition for the party nomination. Phillips concedes, however, that he agrees with President Biden ideologically.

Senate

Maryland: Jawando Drops Senate Bid — Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando (D), who was one of the first individuals to declare for the Senate once incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D) announced his retirement, now becomes the first to withdraw. Jawando indicated he does not see a path to victory for himself, hence his decision to end his campaign. With his main opponents for the Democratic nomination having much more in the way of resources, a gap which was looking to grow larger, Jawando was finding it hard to compete.

Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) has already spent nearly $10 million on his race and is already advertising heavily. Prince Georges County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) has raised over $3 million. Jawando reported just over $320,000 in his campaign account. The May 14, 2024, Democratic primary will likely be the deciding factor and it appears the race is already becoming a two-way contest between Trone and Alsobrooks.

House

IA-2: Rep. Hinson Draws First Challenger — Disability rights activist Sarah Corkery (D) became the first individual from either party to announce a challenge to two-term Iowa US Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion/Cedar Rapids). Three of the four Iowa districts are competitive, including Rep. Hinson’s 2nd. According to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, IA-2 rates R+4. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 51.4R – 45.6D. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks IA-2 as the 29th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.

While the district is competitive on paper, Rep. Hinson is in strong position. She won re-election last year with a 54-46 percent margin against then-state Sen. Liz Mathis (D) who, like Hinson, is a former television news anchor and very strong challenger who spent $4.2 million in her race against the congresswoman. Rep. Hinson also outperformed then-President Donald Trump in the district by a net four percentage points. Therefore, though the district is politically marginal, Rep. Hinson, who is reporting more than $1.3 million in her 2024 campaign account, is a well-positioned incumbent.

North Carolina: Redistricting Numbers Calculated — North Carolina legislative leaders released two congressional maps late last week, and now we see voting trend analyses being made public. Dave’s Redistricting App has already calculated partisan leans for the pair of maps.

The map drawers obviously adopted a strategy of making the maximum number of Republican districts. They did so by giving each of the seats targeted for GOP candidates partisan trend numbers between 54 and 58 percent. The three Democratic districts have partisan trends between 66 and 74 percent. In the second map, the one that could produce an 11R-3D result, Rep. Don Davis’ (D-Snow Hill) 1st District would be up for grabs, with a partisan lean of 50.4D – 48.7R.

Expect the legislature to vote on the maps this week. Legal challenges will follow enactment, but the chance of the plan being upheld in the North Carolina Supreme Court with its new 5R-2D composition is strong.

Polling Projects Electoral College Win for Trump; California Senate Jockeying; New Jerseyans Want Menendez Out; New Candidate in MN-2; GOP Candidate Emerges in NC

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 23, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump

Trump’s Numbers: Polling Finds 291 Electoral Votes — According to a series of concurrently conducted independent polls, former President Donald Trump today would lead in enough states to provide him with 291 electoral votes, or 21 more than required to unseat President Joe Biden. Morning Consult, polling for Bloomberg News in various targeted states, projects Trump to leads in Arizona (+4), Georgia (+5), North Carolina (+4), Pennsylvania (+1), and Wisconsin (+2).

Last week, Emerson College also found Trump holding an advantage in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Simultaneously, the Marketing Resource Group saw Trump running seven points ahead in Michigan, but the more current Morning Consult/Bloomberg data shows the two candidates tied before the Wolverine State electorate. It is these aforementioned states that will make the difference nationally.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., now running as an Independent candidate, was not tested in the MC/Bloomberg survey series.

Senate

California: Sen. Butler Out; LA Anchorwoman I — Appointed California Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) announced yesterday that she will not run for a full term next year. Despite having more than a year in office after replacing the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), the early March 5 all-party jungle primary allowed her little time to begin competing against Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and former baseball great Steve Garvey (R), all of whom have a major head start in fundraising and campaign organization.

Los Angeles news anchor Christina Pascucci (D), on the other hand, became a late entry into the crowded US Senate contest, but said she is getting into the race “ … because I have to fight for what I believe is possible for California and for this country.” Pascucci describes herself as a “moderate Democrat.”

New Jersey: Constituents Favor Menendez Resignation — A newly released Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of the Garden State electorate (Aug. 6-14; 813 New Jersey adults; live interview & text) finds that 70 percent of the respondents, including 71 percent of Democrats, believe that indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) should resign his seat even without him having a chance to defend himself in court.

So far, Sen. Menendez has been adamant about not resigning over the federal charges that accuse he, his wife, and several associates of engaging in bribery. While the senator is not forced to leave office, polls such as this clearly suggest that he will be a severe underdog in a June Democratic primary race against US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and potentially several others.

House

MN-2: New Republican Candidate — The GOP leadership is making another attempt to unseat Minnesota US Rep. Angie Craig (D-Prior Lake), but this time it is likely they will have a new standard bearer. Former federal prosecutor Joe Teirab announced his congressional candidacy late last week. In the past two elections, Rep. Craig has defeated military veteran Tyler Kistner but with an average vote percentage of only 49.5 percent. Republicans hope a fresh face will be able to get the extra support to top the three term House incumbent.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MN-2 as D+1, while the Daily Kos Elections site ranks the southeast Minnesota congressional district as the 14th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

Governor

North Carolina: New Republican Candidate Emerges — Attorney Bill Graham (R), who says he will invest at least $5 million of his own money into his statewide race, announced his candidacy for the state’s open governor’s position. Many in the Republican establishment doubt that the early front runner, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, can win a protracted campaign, which is sure to feature a barrage of attack ads portraying him as an extremist.

The leading Democratic nominee is Attorney General Josh Stein, but he only won the 2020 re-election campaign with 50.1 percent of the vote. Therefore, the Republicans will be competitive in the governor’s race regardless of who they nominate. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.