Category Archives: Senate

Utah GOP County to Censure Romney; Rhode Island Election Calendar;
2026 Race Already Underway in Ohio

By Jim Ellis — Monday, April 3, 2023

Senate

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) | Facebook

Utah: GOP County to Censure Sen. Romney — The Utah Republican Party’s conservative flank is beginning to take action against GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, as he considers whether to seek a second term next year. The Emery County Republican Party will consider a resolution to officially censure Sen. Romney with language that includes the phrase, “ … providing aid and comfort to Democrats by voting for Trump’s ‘20/’21 impeachment, for not helping Trump in 2020, and marching in an openly communist and anti-American BLM protest” during that same year.

This act may be the first of other such moves to portray Romney as being outside of the Republican mainstream, thus paving the way for a GOP primary challenger. Former US representative and Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz has been mentioned as a possible Romney challenger.

House

RI-1: Governor Announces Special Election Calendar — With so many individuals either announcing or moving toward a congressional special election candidac — 11 at last count — Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) last week announced the voting schedule he plans to call when Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) resigns on June 1 to accept a position leading a granting foundation.

The governor will schedule the special primary on Sept. 5 this year, with the special general slated for the regular election on Nov. 7. The Democratic primary will decide the election since the 1st District will heavily favor the party’s eventual nominee. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+32.

Governor

Ohio: 2026 Race Already Underway — Lt. Gov. John Husted (R) launched his campaign last week for governor even though the election is still almost four years away. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) was elected to a second term in November, but is ineligible to seek a third term.

Husted is not the only candidate getting a head start. Previously announcing that they would run for governor in the 2023 are former Department of Homeland Security official and conservative think tank president Matt Mayer (R) and Iraq War veteran Jeremiah Workman (R).

No-Go For Ro; Hogan Says No; Benson Takes a Pass; Justice Moving Closer

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Senate

California US Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont)

California: Rep. Khanna to Remain in House — California US Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) announced over the weekend that he is ending consideration of entering the state’s open US Senate race and, instead, will back his San Francisco Bay Area colleague, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), in her statewide campaign. Rep. Khanna says he plans to seek re-election to the House in 2024, which he claims is the best place for him to serve.

Khanna’s move further crystallizes an open all-party March 5 primary race among Reps. Lee, Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). A credible Republican candidate has not yet come forward. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Senate’s top senior Democrat, is retiring.

Maryland: Ex-Gov. Hogan Again Says No — Republican leaders are again trying to recruit former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) into the Maryland US Senate race. It appears, however, they will not have any better luck convincing him to challenge veteran incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D) in the 2024 campaign than they did in recruiting him against Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) last year.

Hogan reiterated that he has no interest in running for the Senate, and that includes an open-seat scenario. Sen. Cardin, who will be 80 years old at the time of the next election, is a retirement prospect.

Michigan: Another Takes a Pass — On Friday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), who had not previously closed the door on entering the open Senate race, said that she would not run. The move strengthens Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who, at this point, is the only announced Democratic candidate. Michigan Education Board President Pamela Pugh and actor and author Hill Harper are the remaining noteworthy potential candidates.

For the Republicans, state Education Board member Nikki Snyder is the only declared candidate. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is not seeking re-election to a fifth term. Rep. Slotkin is the clear early favorite for the Democratic nomination and to win the general election in November of 2024.

West Virginia: Gov. Justice (R) Moving Closer to Senate Candidacy — Reports are coming from West Virginia, and even quoting Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) as a source, that Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is ineligible to seek a third term in 2024, is moving closer to entering the US Senate contest. Apparently, he held a meeting with the National Republican Senatorial Committee leadership and has been communicating directly with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about the next campaign.

Earlier, it was reported that Gov. Justice would not announce for the Senate until he had shepherded his major tax cut proposal through the legislature. Now that the revenue bill has passed, it appears the governor will soon declare his federal candidacy.

In order to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the general election, he must initially move past US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town). The congressman, who declared for the Senate right after the November election and has support from the Club for Growth political action organization, will be a formidable opponent. Gov. Justice, however, has universal name identification and a favorable image throughout the state. He is the obvious favorite.

Manchin appears to be the most vulnerable of the Democratic senators standing for re-election, and the West Virginia race is becoming a must-win for the Republicans if they are to take advantage of a favorable 2024 Senate map that forces them to defend only 11 of 34 in-cycle seats next year.

Kelly & Kelly for Senate; Challenger to NJ Rep. Pascrell, 87, May Emerge; Chicago Mayoral Battle Continues; Two in Florida Runoff Battle

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Senate

Scott (left) and twin brother, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly

Texas: Democrats Searching for Candidate — Just like the Wisconsin Republicans in their quest to find a standard bearer to challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) next year, the Lone Star State Democrats are continuing their search for a strong challenger to oppose Sen. Ted Cruz (R). Still not successfully recruiting either Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) or former HUD Secretary and ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the Democrats are now floating the idea of astronaut Scott Kelly, the twin brother of Arizona senator and former astronaut Mark Kelly (D).

Though Scott Kelly, who for a time was the world record holder for being in space for the longest duration (340 days), has not made any confirming statement that he is taking the same political path as his brother, if the Democratic leadership were to convince him to run, that would make an interesting race.

House

NJ-9: Potential Challenge for Rep. Pascrell — In mid March, we reported that 14-term New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) announced that he would seek re-election next year at age 87. He may not have a free ride, however. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh is reportedly weighing his chances of challenging Rep. Pascrell in the 2024 Democratic primary.

Prior to being elected to Congress for the first time in 1996, Pascrell was simultaneously the mayor of Paterson and a state assemblyman. In 2012, when New Jersey lost a seat in national reapportionment, Rep. Pascrell and then Rep. Steve Rothman (D) were paired in the new 9th District. Initially, Rep. Pascrell was considered the underdog in the incumbent vs. incumbent Democratic primary, but the elder congressman would prevail in the end with a landslide 62-38 percent victory. Rep. Pascrell has not been seriously challenged since.

Mayor

Chicago: Vallas and Johnson Continue to Battle — The Chicago municipal contest, where voters have already defeated Mayor Lori Lightfoot, continues to brandish polling showing a very tight runoff contest between former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. Several published polls disagree as to who is leading whom in the race. The latest Victory Research survey (March 20-23; 806 Chicago likely runoff voters) sees Vallas leading 46-44 percent. IZQ Strategies (March 15-16; 680 likely Chicago runoff voters) arrives at the same 46-44 percent ballot test result, but they find Commissioner Johnson holding the slight edge.

Vallas has recently been able to cross racial lines by attracting endorsements from African American former officeholders Jesse White, who served six terms as the Illinois Secretary of State, and ex-Congressman Bobby Rush, who was in office for 30 years. Crime is a big issue in the contest and could be the defining one. The runoff is scheduled for April 4.

Jacksonville: Two Advance — The Jacksonville mayoral primary was held during the week, and Democrat Donna Deegan topped the field of candidates with 39 percent of the vote. Daniel Davis (R), the local Chamber of Commerce CEO, was second with 25 percent. Since neither candidate received majority support, the two will advance to a May 16 runoff election. Combined, Republican candidates received 51 percent of the vote as compared to the combined Democratic percentage of 48. Republican incumbent Lenny Curry is ineligible to seek a third term.

Michigan State School Board President Considers Senate Run; Washington Sen. Cantwell Cruising; Ex-Gov. Walker Says No;
House Candidate Announcements

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 23, 2023

Senate

Michigan School Board President Pamela Pugh (D)

Michigan: State School Board President Considers Senate — Michigan School Board President Pamela Pugh (D), who has won two statewide elections to the state school board, a post that features eight-year terms, says she is considering entering the Democratic primary for US Senate.

At this point, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) is unopposed for the party nomination, but Pugh says she is concerned with the lack of African American representation throughout the state. Even the congressional delegation has no black Democrats despite the two Detroit-anchored congressional seats featuring plurality African American populations. The only black in the congressional delegation, freshman Rep. John James, is a Republican.

Washington: Sen. Cantwell (D) Cruising in New Poll — Public Policy Polling, the regular survey research firm for the Northwest Progressive Institute, released their latest Washington statewide study (March 7-8; 874 registered Washington voters; live interview & text) and tested the 2024 Senate race featuring four-term incumbent Maria Cantwell (D). Paired with former Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R), who is reportedly considering the challenge, PPP finds Sen. Cantwell holding a comfortable 50-35 percent advantage.

The 2022 Washington Senate race was billed as a competitive contest between Sen. Patty Murray (D) and Republican Tiffany Smiley, but ended in a 57-43 percent result. Since Republicans have a target-rich Senate cycle in 2024, it is doubtful the party will invest any serious resources toward a Cantwell challenge.

Wisconsin: Ex-Gov. Walker Says No — While Republicans are searching for a candidate to challenge two-term Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) in a race that could become competitive, one prominent Republican closed the door on a candidacy. Former two-term Gov. Scott Walker (R), who twice was elected governor but was defeated for a third term after not faring well in the 2016 presidential race, says he will not run for the Senate next year. The two potential GOP candidates most talked about are Walker’s former lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, and businessman Scott Mayer.

House

MI-7: Mayor Won’t Run — Recently, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor (D) launched a congressional exploratory committee since Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) will vacate the 7th Congressional District seat in order to run for the state’s open Senate seat. Typically, filing such a committee is the first step to announcing a candidacy, but in this case the opposite has occurred. Clearly, Mayor Schor did not find the results for which he had hoped, and announced Monday that he would not be a candidate for the 2024 open seat.

No one has yet announced for the 7th District. It is presumed that 2022 Republican candidate Tom Barrett, now a former state senator, will again make a run for the seat. He lost 51-46 percent to Rep. Slotkin last November.

RI-1: Second Special Election Candidate Announces — Though Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) will not resign from the House until June 1 to accept a position running a large Rhode Island non-profit organization, two Democratic candidates wanting to succeed him in Congress have now announced for the impending special election. Last week, Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos (D) declared her candidacy, and now state Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket) has followed suit.

Once Rep. Cicilline officially resigns, Gov. Dan McKee (D) will then schedule a special election to fill the seat for the balance of the current term. The special election will be decided in the Democratic primary in a safe seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+32.

Lt. Gov. a Potential Senate Candidate in Wisc.; Mayor Sheila Jackson Lee?; Reeves Rebounds in Mississippi; West Virginia Candidate Decisions

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Senate

Wisconsin’s former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R)

Wisconsin: Former Lieutenant Governor Potential Senate Candidate — We reported late last week that business owner Scott Mayer is considering competing for the Wisconsin US Senate nomination in a race that has not yet begun. Now we see reports surfacing that former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) is “leaving the door open” to considering a bid against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D).

Kleefisch, who served as lieutenant governor under then-Gov. Scott Walker (R) from 2011 to 2019, but who lost the 2022 GOP nomination for governor to businessman Tim Michels — who would then lose the general election to Gov. Tony Evers (D) — is currently leading the 1848 Project organization, a Wisconsin-based conservative action group.

House

TX-18: Mayor’s Option Still Open — Texas US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) is not commenting about further reports suggesting she will enter the open mayor’s race later this year. At the same time, she is not denying interest in doing so, and reports suggest that the congresswoman is telling close supporters that she is actively considering the race. The candidate filing period does not conclude until August, so quite a bit of time remains for her to enter the citywide campaign. Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) is ineligible to seek a third term, and is reportedly considering challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R) next year.

Governor

Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D)

Mississippi: Reeves Rebounds — Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy conducted a new Mississippi governor’s poll for the Magnolia Tribune (March 6-9; 625 registered Mississippi voters; live interview) and sees Gov. Tate Reeves (R) rebounding from a January Tulchin Research survey. The Mason-Dixon ballot test posts Gov. Reeves to a seven-point lead over Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), 46-39 percent. The Tulchin poll staked Presley to an early 47-43 percent advantage.

In the M-D poll, the governor has leads throughout the state with the exception of the state’s 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Bennie Thompson-D), that occupies most of the Mississippi Delta area. In that region, Presley pulls a 15-percentage point lead. Gov. Reeves is strongest — a pair of 15-point spreads — in the Tennessee border region and on the Gulf Coast. With party nominations secure for both Gov. Reeves and Presley, the two are already waging a general election battle that will be settled on Nov. 7.

West Virginia: AG Morrisey Leads in New Poll — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), who lost to Sen. Joe Manchin in a close 49-46 percent result in 2018, claims to be deciding among seeking a re-match in the Senate race, or running for the open governor or 2nd Congressional District positions, or simply seeking re-election.

A newly released National Research poll that was conducted in late February for the Black Bear PAC (Feb. 23-28; 600 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters) projects Morrisey to be holding a 28-15-11-6 percent advantage in an open governor’s primary against state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), the son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R); Secretary of State Mac Warner (R); and businessman Chris Miller, son of Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington).

Though Morrisey has yet to commit to a race, this poll suggests his gubernatorial prospects are positive. Incumbent Gov. Jim Justice (R) is ineligible to seek a third term, and is likely to challenge Sen. Manchin.

Desantis-Trump Conflicting Results; 2022 PA Candidate Won’t Run Again; Decision Time in Wisconsin, Texas

By Jim Ellis — Friday, March 17, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump; Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R)

National Polls: Conflicting Results — While national polls don’t mean much in terms of projecting who will win a presidential nomination because the ultimate winner is decided through accumulating delegate votes through the states, we now see a released pair of interesting Republican nomination surveys conducted during the same period.

The CNN national survey (conducted by SSRS; March 8-12; 1,040 registered US voters; live interview & online) showed that the ballot test favored Gov. Ron DeSantis, who led former President Donald Trump 39-37 percent. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and ex-Vice President Mike Pence were a distant third and fourth with 7 and 6 percent, respectively.

Conversely, Quinnipiac University, in the field with their national poll (March 9-13; 677 Republican and Republican-leaning voters; live interview) projects a completely different ballot test result. The Q-Poll sees Trump holding a strong 46-32 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis, with Haley and Pence following at 5 and 3 percent, respectively.

Because the sample sizes are typically small for national polls, and therefore possess high error factors, we can expect to see continued diverse survey results as the campaign continues to take shape.

Senate

Pennsylvania: 2022 Senate Candidate Won’t Try Again — Businesswoman and political activist Kathy Barnette, who placed a credible third place with 25 percent of the vote behind both Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick in the 2022 Pennsylvania Republican US Senate primary, says she will not return to run again next year. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the major outside GOP support organizations are attempting to recruit McCormick into next year’s challenge race against Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D).

Doug Mastriano, the ‘22 Republican gubernatorial nominee and a state senator from Chambersburg, says he is considering a comeback. Republican leaders are working to ensure a Mastriano repeat does not happen since he was defeated 56-42 percent in the general election and failed to run a competitive campaign. In any event, Sen. Casey will be favored for re-election.

Wisconsin: Businessman Considering Challenge to Sen. Baldwin — Business owner Scott Mayer (R) confirms he is considering competing for the Wisconsin US Senate nomination in a race that has not yet seen much activity. Mayer is capable of self-funding his race, though he says it’s “not something he is comfortable with.” He has been told he might have to fund as much as $20 million to run a competitive race.

At this point, no notable Republican has come forward to declare their Senate candidacy. Since Wisconsin always features close races, it is probable that this contest has the eventual potential of becoming a top-tier targeted campaign.

House

TX-34: Ex-Rep Leaning Against Re-Match — Republican Mayra Flores made national news in 2022 when she scored an upset special election win in the Texas Rio Grande Valley 34th District that is anchored in the city of Brownsville. In the regular election, however, she fell 51-43 percent to fellow Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) who decided to run in the 34th instead of his previous 15th CD.

The principal reason for Flores losing was redistricting. The 34th went from a D+5 to a D+17 under the FiveThirtyEight data organization statistical calculation making the seat difficult for any Republican to attain.

Seeing the political reality, Flores is indicating that she is unlikely to run again in 2024. In order to make the adjacent 15th CD more winnable for a Republican, which happened with the election of Rep. Monica de la Cruz (R-McAllen) in November, the 34th became more Democratic. The redistricting map was drawn long before Flores won the special election, hence the lopsided partisan lean for a district the GOP was able to convert.

Sen. Scott Moves Toward Candidacy; Nixon Son-In-Law Reinstalled in NY; Gaetz Won’t Challenge Sen. Scott; Rep. Pascrell, 87, Will Run Again

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 16, 2023

President

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R)

Sen. Tim Scott: Moving Toward Candidacy — The Hill newspaper is reporting that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott is taking definitive steps to formally enter the Republican presidential campaign. This is not surprising since Sen. Scott has been considered a potential national candidate for months. It’s difficult, however, to see a victory path for the Palmetto State senator, especially with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley already in the field.

A Scott entry would presumably be helpful to Donald Trump, since the former president would be the beneficiary of a larger field, similar to the configuration that helped him win the 2016 nomination. Such is likely the case because Trump has a large, loyal base within the Republican Party, enough to carry him to a plurality win.

New York: Former Ex-Chairman Says Party Won’t Endorse — The New York Republican Party last week reinstalled their former state chairman, Richard Nixon son-in-law Ed Cox, to again lead the organization. The previous chairman, Nick Langworthy, was elected to Congress in November from the state’s 23rd District thus creating a vacancy in the chairman’s position.

In a statement Tuesday, Cox said that the state party would not issue an official endorsement in the presidential race in order to encourage all of the eventual GOP candidates to come to New York and compete for the state’s delegate base. He said this policy is consistent with their 2016 practice, the last time the Republicans had an open race for the presidential nomination. Cox previously chaired the state party organization from 2009 to 2019.

Senate

Florida: Rep. Gaetz Won’t Challenge Sen. Scott — Quelling recent speculation popping up that Florida US Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) might launch a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Rick Scott (R), the congressman issued a statement regarding the matter. Saying he would not oppose Scott for renomination, Rep. Gaetz quipped, “if I wanted to spend my time in a retirement community, I’d definitely choose The Villages over the Senate.”

House

NJ-9: One Less Retirement Prospect — Veteran New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) announced that he will run for a 15th term next year thus ending speculation that he might retire from Congress. Rep. Pascrell will be 87 years old at the time of the next election. Before winning his House seat in 1996, he served simultaneously in the New Jersey state Assembly and as mayor of Paterson.

The congressman is expected to have little trouble winning re-election, despite his advanced age, in a 9th District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+17. Dave’ Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean as 60.7– 37.1R. The New York City suburban CD includes the cities of Passaic, Paterson, and Clifton, the town of Kearny, and the borough of Oakland.