Category Archives: Senate

Britt Wins Alabama Runoff; Al Gross Exits Alaska Race; Tough Night For Trump in Peach State

By Jim Ellis — June 22, 2022

Senate

Katie Britt won the Republican US Senate nomination in Alabama.

Alabama: Britt Wins Runoff — As the post-primary polling unanimously foretold, Katie Britt, the former president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama organization and ex-chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), won the Republican US Senate nomination with a landslide 63-37 percent margin over Alabama US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in last night’s runoff election.

Britt’s victory was complete in that she carried 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties en route to claiming the party nomination, and a veritable ticket to the US Senate. She now faces pastor Will Boyd, who won the Democratic nomination outright on May 24 in what will prove to be a perfunctory general election in this safely Republican state.

House

AL-5: Dale Strong Headed to DC — Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong (R) defeated former Deputy Army Secretary Casey Wardynski with just over 63 percent of the Republican runoff vote. Like Britt, Strong has punched his ticket to Washington with last night’s victory.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates AL-5 as R+32, leaving little doubt that Strong is now the prohibitive favorite to defeat Democratic nominee Kathy Warner-Stanton who won her party’s nomination outright in the regular primary contest.

AK-AL: Al Gross Exits Race — Yesterday, surgeon Al Gross, who was the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee against Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) but running as an Independent in the US House special election, decided to end his campaign. Dr. Gross had qualified for the four-candidate runoff with his third-place finish in the special primary on June 11. He simply said he had “great hope for Alaska” in his departing statement but did not offer a particular reason for making the decision to prematurely end his campaign.

It appears the fifth place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney a former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the US Department of Interior will move into the fourth position, but even officials at the Board of Elections could not confidently confirm that such is the procedure.

Former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin qualified in first position, followed consecutively by businessman Nick Begich III (R), Dr. Gross, and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D).  In his statement, Dr. Gross endorsed both Peltola and Sweeney saying “they are two outstanding Native women who will serve our state well.” The special general election is Aug. 16.
 
Georgia: Trump has Another Tough Night in Peach State — Georgia proved another tough night for former President Donald Trump, as his two key candidates in House runoff races, Jake Evans in the newly reformed open District 6 and Vernon Jones in the open 10th CD, both went down in landslide proportions. These results, added to Trump candidates David Perdue and Rep. Hice losing the governor and Secretary of State’s races respectively in the May 24 primary, suggests that the Peach State will likely prove to be Trump’s poorest endorsement state.

Dr. Rich McCormick, a retired Navy physician who was the 7th District GOP nominee in 2020, scored a 67 percent win over Evans. In District 10, businessman Mike Collins, a trucking company owner and son of the late former Congressman Mac Collins, recorded almost 75 percent of the runoff vote.

Virginia: Two Congressional Primaries Decided — As predicted, state Sen. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach), a US Navy veteran and nurse practitioner, topped a field of four Republican candidates with a convincing 56 percent of the vote. She will now oppose Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) in what promises to be one of the most hotly contested GOP challenger races in the country.

Moving to northern Virginia, Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s (D-Glen Allen) politically marginal 7th CD produced a general election Republican challenger last night. Prince William County supervisor and former law enforcement officer Yesli Vega defeated five GOP opponents on her way to a tight 29-24-20 percent victory spread. The Spanberger-Vega general election will be hard fought. While the congresswoman has a slight advantage in partisan voting history, the potential turnout pattern suggests that this seat is still very much in play for a potential GOP upset.

Britt Looks Solid in AL; Dems Drop from AK Race; Velazquez Endorses Rivera in NY-10

By Jim Ellis — June 21, 2022

Senate

Former Business Council of Alabama CEO Katie Britt

Alabama: Polls Find Britt Comfortably Ahead — The Alabama Republican runoff is scheduled for today, and former Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Britt is poised to become the party nominee. Five polls from four pollsters conducted between June 6-16 with sample sizes between 400 and 1,000 find Britt with a support range between 50 and 58 percent, as Rep. Mo Brooks trails with a span between just 30-36 percent.

The pollsters are McLaughlin & Associates (two surveys), the University of Auburn at Montgomery, JMC Analytics, and Emerson College. Today’s GOP winner is a lock to claim the Senate seat in November. Sen. Richard Shelby is retiring.

House

AK-AL: Three Democrats Drop From Race — Saying that the at-large special primary election has made it clear that Democratic voters support ex-state Rep. Mary Peltola, state Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks), Kodiak Island Assemblyman Mike Milligan, and Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant have all ended their candidacies for the regular at-large House primary scheduled concurrently with Alaska’s special general election on Aug. 16. The move reduces the jungle primary field from 31 to 28 candidates.

The special general will feature, in order of primary finish, former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R), businessman Nick Begich III (R), surgeon and 2002 Democratic US Senate nominee Al Gross (I), and Peltola (D).

NY-10: Rep. Velazquez Endorses Against Rep. Jones — New York veteran Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn), who currently represents about half of the territory in the state’s new open 10th District, announced on Friday that she is endorsing NYC Councilwoman Carlina Rivera in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary. The race features 15 Democrats, including US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), ex-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and state Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.

Rep. Velazquez criticized Rep. Jones from seeking re-election in a new district an hour away from his current 17th CD. She said she doesn’t understand why he didn’t stay in the D+9 17th and seek re-election where his constituency lies. The Jones campaign responded in saying the congressman did not want to run in a member vs. member primary with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring). The spokesperson did not indicate why Jones didn’t run in what is now an open 18th CD, which also contains a portion of the congressman’s current constituency.

OH-13: Conflicting Polls — Two political pollsters, the Remington Research Group and the Democratic research firm GQR released survey results of what should be a very tight general election campaign in the new Akron-anchored CD-13. Here, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is competing against Republican nominee and attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert.

Both surveys were conducted in May but released on Friday. According to Remington (polling for US Term Limits; May 19-20; 500 likely OH-13 general election voters), Gilbert opens with a 46-37 percent lead. GQR has a different take. Their survey (May 13-31; 700 likely OH-13 voters with a 200-person over-sample of African Americans; live interview) projects that the two candidates are virtually tied with Rep. Sykes holding a 47-45 percent edge. This race is categorized a toss-up in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates R+2. Conversely, President Biden carried the new 13th by a 51-48 percent spread in 2020.

Fetterman Leads Oz in PA;
Beasley Takes a Lead Over Budd in NC;
Sisolak Edges Lombardo in NV

By Jim Ellis — June 17, 2022

Senate

Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Pennsylvania: Recuperating Fetterman Leads Oz — A new Suffolk University survey looks to be the first poll taken after the marathon Republican primary finally settled for Dr. Mehmet Oz by a total of 951 votes of 1.345 million ballots cast. The Suffolk poll (June 10-13; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview) produces interesting and mixed results. On the ballot test, Democratic nominee John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, leads Dr. Oz 46-37 percent, but a full 50 percent of the respondents said they want their vote “to change the direction President Biden is leading the nation.”

While President Biden has an upside-down job approval rating — 39:54 percent favorable to unfavorable, Dr. Oz surprisingly records an equivalently bad 28:50 percent ratio. On the other hand, Fetterman, at home recovering from a stroke suffered from a blood clot to the heart, records a positive 45:27 percent favorability index.

North Carolina: Beasley Up in New Study — Survey USA, polling for WRAL-TV in Raleigh (June 8-12; 650 likely North Carolina voters; online) found former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley taking a 44-40 percent lead over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). It is probable that we can expect to see close polls like this all the way through the general election.

Turning back to the 2020 NC Senate campaign, and just in the month of October during the Sen. Thom Tillis (R) vs. Cal Cunningham (D) campaign, 28 surveys were publicly released and the Democratic nominee led in all but four studies. Sen. Tillis would go onto win re-election with a 49-47 percent margin, suggesting that North Carolina aggregate polling contained a slight structural Republican undercount.

Governor

Nevada: Sheriff Lombardo Tips Gov. Sisolak — On Tuesday, Clark County Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo scored a 38-28-13-8 percent Republican primary win over retired professional boxer Joey Gilbert, ex-US Sen. Dean Heller, and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee to set the general election card. Lombardo will oppose Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in November.

Sheriff Lombardo, with a plurality of 37.8 percent of the vote within a field of 15 candidates, including former US Sen. Dean Heller who placed third in the primary vote, captured the party nomination for the state’s top post. This will be a battleground contest in November.

WPA Intelligence, polling for the Club for Growth organization just before the Nevada primary but released a day after (June 4-6; 502 likely Nevada voters; live interview) projects Lombardo taking a one-point, 48-47 percent, edge over rival Sisolak. The poll appears to undercount the non-affiliated voters, which is the largest of the party division segments.

How emphasizing both major parties changes the ballot test is unknown, but with the Lombardo-Sisolak question breaking virtually even, it is clear that this race begins as a toss-up.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Closely Trails — The aforementioned Suffolk University poll (see Senate section above), while finding Republican nominee Mehmet Oz trailing Lt. Gov. John Fetterman well outside the polling margin of error, sees state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) trailing Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) by only a 44-40 percent margin.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s job approval is a very poor 38:60 percent favorable to unfavorable. And, by a 29:54 percent ratio, the respondents believe Pennsylvania is on the wrong track. Though Sen. Mastriano is viewed by many as being extreme, the sour taste voters apparently have for the current gubernatorial administration and their poor perception of how the state is performing economically is putting the new Republican nominee in competitive position despite whatever perceived negative baggage he might be carrying.

House

NV-4: Peters Projected as Primary Winner — Insurance agency owner and Army veteran Sam Peters has been projected the winner of the 4th District Republican primary, with a 48-41 percent victory spread over Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black (R-Mesquite).

Peters now advances to challenge incumbent Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) in a seat that rates D+5, but is staged to be competitive in 2022. The 4th stretches from northern Clark County into the central part of the state. Horsford was unopposed for re-nomination.

In the state’s other three congressional races, 1st District incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) will face financial planner Mark Robertson who placed first in a field of eight Republican candidates that included former US Rep. Cresent Hardy.

In the northern Nevada 2nd CD, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City) was re-nominated with 54.5 percent of the vote against perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (32.7 percent) and three others. In the general election, Rep. Amodei will face Democrat Elizabeth Krause. The congressman becomes a heavy favorite for re-election.

In competitive District 3, another of the Clark County seats, Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) was easily re-nominated and will face Republican attorney April Becker who captured two-thirds of the Republican vote.

Considering these results and that it appears more Republicans voted in this primary than Democrats (about one-third of the vote is still unaccounted for), Nevada will be one of the key battleground states in the nation’s 2022 midterm election.

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.