Category Archives: Senate

Vance on the Move Up in Ohio; Kemp Leads in Georgia While McKee Trails in Rhode Island; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2022:

Senate

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Vance Continues Upward Swing — A pair of ending polls were released late last week as the Ohio Senate candidates move toward today’s primary election. Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey (April 25-26; 800 likely Ohio Republican primary voters) and Emerson College (April 28-29; 885 likely Ohio Republican primary voters) both see author J.D. Vance forging into the lead.

FL&A, polling for the Protect Ohio Values PAC, posts Vance to his largest lead of the campaign, 31-19-12-12-8 percent over former state treasurer, Josh Mandel, businessman Mike Gibbons, state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, respectively. Emerson College sees a similar division, but with Vance holding a much smaller edge, 24-22-18-14-7 percent over Mandel, Dolan, and Gibbons, with Timken again trailing behind. It has become clear that both Vance and Dolan have upward momentum, while Gibbons and Timken have lost their earlier political steam. Mandel continues to poll relatively well but appears unable to expand his base of support.

The numbers are close enough that any of the current top four candidates, meaning Vance, Mandel, Dolan, and Gibbons could win the nomination vote.


Governor

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Takes Commanding Lead — Survey USA largely confirms the University of Georgia poll that found Gov. Brian Kemp (R) establishing a firm lead in his battle against former US Sen. Davide Perdue, who former President Donald Trump endorses. The S-USA poll (April 22-27; 2,000 Georgia adults; 1,587 registered Georgia voters; 559 likely Georgia Republican primary voters; online) posts Gov. Kemp to a strong 56-31 percent advantage, suggesting that he would win the Republican nomination outright on May 24. Should all candidates be held under the majority mark, however, the top two would advance to a July 26 runoff election.

The general election ballot test gave Gov. Kemp a 50-45 percent edge over former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D).

Rhode Island: Gov. McKee Trailing — A Lake Research Partners survey for the Nellie Gorbea gubernatorial campaign was released on Friday (April 11-14; 600 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters; live interview) and the results project Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee as falling behind Secretary of State Gorbea as the candidates move toward the late Sept. 13 Democratic primary. The ballot test posts Gorbea to a 30-24-10 percent edge over Gov. McKee and ex-Secretary of State Matt Brown. All other candidates fell below the 10 percent threshold. Gov. McKee ascended to his position in March when then-Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.


Redistricting

New York: Deadlines; Primary Moved — Steuben County Surrogate Court Judge Patrick McAllister, who first declared the New York congressional and state Senate maps unconstitutional in reference to the New York constitution, now has the responsibility of drawing the new plans. He has appointed Dr. Jonathan Cervas of the Institute of Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University as the special master who will prepare the maps for judicial review. He was given a May 16 deadline to submit the plans, and the court has set May 20 as the date to publicly announce the final maps for the 2020 election cycle.

Additionally, the judge moved the date of at least the congressional and state Senate primary from June 28 to Aug. 23. The legislature now has the opportunity of moving the races not affected by the congressional and state Senate redistricting maps to join those who are now scheduled for Aug. 23. If the legislators take no action, New York will have two primary dates this year.


States

Georgia: Sec of State Race Runoff Bound — As mentioned above in the Georgia governor’s section, Survey USA conducted a statewide Peach State poll. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who was at the focal point of the state’s post-election voting controversy, has captured the lead in the Republican primary ballot test, but with just 31 percent. While enjoying an 11-point lead over US Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro), Raffensperger is well short of reaching the 50 percent mark in order to clinch the nomination. Therefore, the most likely scenario is he and Rep. Hice will advance to a July 26 runoff election.

Southern incumbents who are forced into secondary votes typically fail to finish on top, so even if he places first on May 24, Raffensperger will likely be regarded as an underdog for the run-off election.

Wisconsin Senate Race Tightens; House News; Surprising Governor Approval Ratings; New York Redistricting Map Rejected

By Jim Ellis

May 2, 2022:

Senate

Wisconsin: Dem Race Tightening — Marquette Law School released its quarterly survey of the Wisconsin electorate (April 19-24; 805 registered Wisconsin voters; 363 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) and sees a tightening Democratic US Senate primary. The ballot test gave Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes only a 19-16 percent lead over Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball club executive Alex Lasry. The result represents a net seven-point swing in Lasry’s favor since the last Marquette survey in February. Lasry has been advertising heavily in media buys. This race has time to gel. The Wisconsin primary is not until Aug. 9. The winner faces Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in November.

House

NC-11: Rep. Cawthorn in Position for Plurality Win — The Differentiators Data research organization, polling for GOPAC (April 25-26; 400 NC-11 likely Republican primary voters; live interview and text), finds that a majority of GOP sampled voters saying they would not vote to re-nominate Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville), but his hard-core support group appears large enough to allow him to win a plurality election.

When asked if they would support Rep. Cawthorn in the North Carolina primary, 61 percent said they would choose another candidate. The 39 percent coalition that would vote to re-nominate him is large enough to win the primary in a state that has a runoff law, but with only a 30 percent threshold. With seven opponents opposing him, Rep. Cawthorn is clearly playing to his benefit.

Governor

Wisconsin: Kleefisch Continues to Lead — As mentioned above in the Wisconsin Senate section, Marquette Law School released a new Wisconsin survey (4/19-24; 805 WI registered voters; 375 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch continues to lead the party nomination race. The numbers haven’t changed much since February, though this poll was taken before construction company executive and 2004 US Senate nominee Tim Michels entered the race. The ballot test finds Ms. Kleefisch holding a 32-10% lead over businessman and frequent candidate Kevin Nicholson. The winner will face Gov. Tony Evers (D) in the general election in what will be a highly competitive race.

Approval Ratings: Top 11 Governors are all Republican — The latest Morning Consult Governor approval ratings are out, and Republican governors led by Charlie Baker (R-MA), Phil Scott (R-VT), Larry Hogan (R-MD), and Jim Justice (R-WV) head a group of 11 GOP state chief executives who are the top rated in the nation. Of the 11, six are on the ballot for re-election this year including Gov. Scott, who has still not indicated that he will run for a fourth two-year term. Chris Sununu (R-NH), Kay Ivey (R-AL), Mark Gordon (R-WY), Doug Burgum (R-ND), and Mike DeWine (R-OH) are the other top-rated governors seeking re-election.

On the other end of the spectrum, the only two who have negative ratings above 50 percent, Govs. Kate Brown (D-OR) and David Ige (D-HI), are both retiring.

Redistricting

New York: High Court Rejects Dem Map — The New York Court of Appeals, the highest judicial body in the state, upheld the two lower court decisions to invalidate the Democrats’ 22D-4R congressional map. The high court ruled that the legislature did not have the power to usurp the created redistricting commission even though the members could not complete their task by the assigned date. The CoA also ruled that the map is a partisan gerrymander. The court remanded the map back to the lower court and instructed a special master be hired to draw the new congressional and state Senate maps. The court also recommended the June 28 state primary be moved to a time in August.

Democrats Back Independent in Utah; House Race News; Kansas Redistricting Map Rejected

By Jim Ellis

April 28, 2022:

Senate

Utah Independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin

Utah: Democrats Back Independent — The Utah Democratic nominating convention over last weekend voted with a 57 percent majority not to field a party candidate against Sen. Mike Lee (R), but instead form a coalition to back Independent candidate Evan McMullin.

The move was the first of its kind in Utah political history. The delegates clearly agreed with the argument that the party was better coalescing behind McMullin, a 2016 Independent presidential candidate and former Republican who placed a strong third in the state (21.5 percent) behind Republican Donald Trump (45.5 percent) and Democrat Hillary Clinton (27.5 percent than nominating their own Democratic contender. They understood that supporting Democrat Kael Watson and producing a three-way campaign meant a sure victory for Sen. Lee.


House

FL-5: US Rep. Al Lawson May Challenge Fellow Incumbent — Florida US Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) has difficult choices ahead of him in determining where to seek re-election in the north Florida region. The new Florida congressional map collapses his current district. The Politico publication reports that Lawson is leaning toward challenging Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District, an R+16 CD but one that includes Rep. Lawson’s home base of Tallahassee.

MA-4: No Re-Match — Former Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell, who lost the 2020 Democratic primary to current US Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton) by just one percentage point, announced that she will not return for a re-match. Therefore, Rep. Auchincloss becomes a prohibitive favorite for re-nomination and re-election. The Massachusetts primary is not until Sept. 6, and the candidate filing deadline is May 31.

MN-1: No Official GOP Endorsement — First Congressional District Republicans convened over the weekend to potentially endorse a candidate in the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester). Though state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) attracted 55 percent of the delegate vote, it was not enough to secure the official endorsement. Doing so requires 60 percent. This means we will see an open special election primary on May 24 with no officially endorsed candidate, though Rep. Munson appears to be a clear front runner.

Utah: Two Reps Under-Perform at Convention — US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo), posted only 41 percent of the convention vote on the first ballot, which was just enough to avoid an embarrassing defeat, since he did not also opt to obtain petition signatures. The later rounds pushed him to 45 percent, but the congressman still must win a Republican primary against the man whom he defeated in a 2017 special election and the 2018 GOP primary, — former state Rep. Chris Herrod. Despite Rep. Curtis’ poor showing at the party convention, he is still expected to win the primary and general elections.

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Ohio Poll Indicates Changes; Oregon 5th CD Shows Disappointing Development; More

By Jim Ellis

April 27, 2022:

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Poll Posts Dolan to GOP Lead; Fox Shows Vance as Being Up — The Blueprint Polling firm tested the Ohio Republican field for the upcoming Senate primary next week (April 21-24; 634 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview), and yet another candidate has been identified as moving into first place. This is the first survey that projects state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball club, in the top position and the fourth of the five major candidates who in one poll or another has led the field.

In this study, Sen. Dolan posts 18 percent support, just a point ahead of author J.D. Vance, with businessman Mike Gibbons, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, and ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken following with 13, 12, and 7 percent preference.

Fox News was also in the field during virtually the same time period (April 20-24; 906 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview), but they produce a much different result. According to this poll, it is Vance, who picked up former President Donald Trump’s endorsement just a handful of days before the poll period, in the lead at 23 percent with Mandel, Gibbons, Dolan, and Timken trailing with 18-13-11 and 8 percent, respectively.

As both the Blueprint and Fox analyses illustrate, with less than one week remaining in the campaign, realistically four of the candidates still have a chance to catch a flyer at the end and claim the nomination. Early voting continues for the May 3 primary election.


House

OR-5: Biden Endorses Rep. Schrader — In a disappointing development for challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, President Biden just involved himself in the impending May 17 Oregon primary by endorsing veteran Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) over the more progressive contender who is an attorney and former local city manager. The two are vying to win the party primary for the newly constructed 5th District that is rated D+3, making it the most competitive seat in the Beaver State.

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Campaign Dollars – Quarter 1

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2022 — The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has released the campaign finance reports for the quarterly period ending March 31, and the Daily Kos Elections site analysts have published their regular comprehensive summaries for all Senate and House incumbents and candidates.

In the Senate, the top fundraisers for the campaign-to-date are familiar names, and they are repeating their overwhelming performance from the 2020 election cycle. For the 2022 race, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) reports $44.2 million in receipts with a cash-on-hand total of $25.6 million. Both are higher than any individual running for the Senate in the 2022 cycle. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) is close behind, raising $39.0 million for the campaign cycle with $23.3 million in his treasury.

Based upon state population segments, Sen. Kelly is actually the stronger of the two because he comes from a smaller state. Dividing the funding evenly by congressional district, Sen. Kelly averages $4.3 million per his state’s nine congressional districts, while Sen. Warnock posts $3.2 million per Georgia’s 14 CDs.

The next most prolific fundraisers come from the same race. Florida Congresswoman Val Demings (D-Orlando) is the top money producing challenger in the country, posting $30.5 million in receipts for the campaign cycle. Her opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), is virtually even with her, attracting $29.3 million. Cash-on-hand is about dead even, too. Rep. Demings reports $13.2 million in her account; Sen. Rubio, $13.1 million.

For the Republicans, the top challenger fundraiser, though he is leagues behind general election opponent Sen. Warnock, is Georgia’s Herschel Walker with $14.2 million raised.

The aggregate group of Senate candidates raising the most in one challenger contest is found in Wisconsin, as Democrats Alex Lasry, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes have cumulatively brought in $18.2 million. Lasry, an executive with the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball club, has gross receipts of over $9 million, but $5.8 million is self-sourced. Godlewski reports $5.1 million in total dollars raised, but $3.3 million comes from herself. Lt. Gov. Barnes has raised $4 million without any self-funding. For his part, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has obtained $10.8 million for his 2022 re-election campaign.

The most prolific open seat fundraisers are in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The combined candidate dollar total in the Keystone State exceeds $45 million, but almost $18 million of that total is self-funded from Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). The group from Ohio is close behind with $44.8 million obtained. In this case, we see a combined self-funding total that exceeds $21 million.

On the House side, a total of 32 incumbents and challengers raised over $1 million just during the first quarter. Naturally, the party leaders, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ($4.3 million), Minority Whip Steve Scalise ($3.4 million) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi ($3.3 million) are the most prolific.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ($510,000) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn ($284,000) are clearly not in the top echelon, but are likely spending their time raising funds for their leadership PACs or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Additionally, with Democratic incumbents and candidates raising considerably more than their Republican counterparts, the individual campaigns need less from Washington.

The top non-incumbents breaking the $1 million mark for the quarter are Jessica Cisneros, now in a Texas Democratic runoff with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and Marcus Flowers, who is challenging Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome), both at $2.4 million.

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