Category Archives: Senate

Michigan Senate Seat a Toss-Up; Cardenas to Retire; A Dead Heat in CA-47; Utah’s Special Election


The EllisInsight will take a break to enjoy the holiday Thursday and will resume regular publishing Friday. Happy Thanksgiving to all.


By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023

Senate

Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing)

Michigan: Toss-Up New Poll — Regular Michigan pollster EPIC-MRA, conducting another survey for the Detroit Free Press newspaper (Nov. 10-16; 600 likely Michigan general election voters) again sees a close US Senate general election. The eventual winner will succeed Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) who is retiring after four terms.

While the presidential ballot test finds former President Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden 46-41 percent, and with former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley posting an 11-point advantage against the incumbent president, US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) still maintains a small margin over both of her leading Republicans — former Congressman Mike Rogers and retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig. Against each, Slotkin holds a two-point edge, meaning the open Michigan Senate race could soon be rated as a top-tier 2024 campaign.

House

CA-29: Rep. Tony Cardenas to Retire — Six-term California Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Pacoima/Los Angeles) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election next year. Cardenas becomes the fifth California House member, and third from Los Angeles County, to voluntarily leave the House at the end of the current Congress.

Democrats will have little trouble holding this heavily Hispanic district (Hispanic population: 61.1 percent). The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-29 as D+51, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a whopping 77.6D – 20.4R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 28th safest seat in the Democratic Conference. Immediately upon Rep. Cardenas making his announcement, state Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) announced that she will run for the newly open seat.

CA-47: Dead Heat General Election Polling — The Global Strategy Group just released the results of a late October internal poll conducted for Democrat Joanna Weiss in California’s open 47th Congressional District. The survey (Oct. 24-30; 500 likely CA-47 general election voters) finds both Weiss, an Orange County attorney, and state Sen. David Min (D-Irvine) embroiled in dead heats with former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh (R). Weiss would nip Baugh, 43-42 percent, while the Republican would hold the same edge over Min.

The pollsters tested the respondent’s reaction to Sen. Min being charged with a DWI violation where he registered a blood alcohol level twice the legal amount. A video of the arrest has also been released. The poll finds that 66 percent of the residents are “deeply concerned” about Sen. Min’s legal situation. His action, however, did not stop the California Democratic Party, at their state convention over the past weekend, from officially endorsing Sen. Min in the congressional race.

Baugh was a general election finalist in the 2022 election, losing to incumbent Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) by a 51.7 – 48.3 percent count. With Rep. Porter now running for Senate, this open-seat race will be one of the most important in the country toward determining the next House majority.

UT-2: Special Election — The contest to choose a successor to resigned Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) concluded yesterday. Republican Celeste Maloy, Rep. Stewart’s formal legal counsel, and Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights) were the two main contenders for the seat. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district as R+23 and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks UT-2 as the 81st most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. Maloy prevailed, securing 58 percent of the vote to Riebe’s 34 percent. There were a handful of other candidates, all of whom registered in the very low single digits. (See results here: The Salt Lake Tribune)

This is a race the Republicans were predicted to win comfortably with a victory percentage in the high 50s. A lesser performance would suggest that translating positive polling into actual votes would continue to be somewhat elusive. That did not happen.

Endorsing NJ’s First Lady;
GOP Primary Challenge in SC-4; Washington’s Surprising Republican Contender; Louisiana Runoff Results

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023

Senate

Tammy Murphy, New Jersey’s First Lady

New Jersey: Tammy Murphy Scoring Key Endorsements — Being New Jersey’s First Lady certainly has its perks. Since announcing her Senate challenge to indicted incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) late last week, Tammy Murphy, the wife of incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D), already has secured four important county party endorsements.

In New Jersey, official county party endorsements mean more than in other states because the favored candidates received substantially better ballot positions in addition to having access to party resources. So far, the state’s two largest Democratic local party organizations, Bergen and Middlesex Counties, along with those in Camden and Hudson, have awarded Ms. Murphy their endorsements.

Additionally, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wycoff), who is reportedly testing the waters for a 2025 gubernatorial race when Mr. Murphy is ineligible to seek re-election, became the state’s first sitting US House member to endorse the First Lady. Aside from Sen. Menendez, who has yet to say whether he will seek re-election, US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) is in what is already becoming a highly competitive statewide Democratic primary campaign.

House

SC-4: Rep. Timmons Facing Potentially Strong Primary — In 2022, South Carolina Rep. William Timmons (R-Greenville) found himself winning his renomination campaign with just 53 percent of the vote against what were thought to be minor opponents. A highly publicized extra-marital affair that included accusing the congressman of using his office resources to conceal his activity was largely the reason his primary was so close.

On Friday, state Rep. Adam Morgan (R-Taylors) announced that he will challenge Rep. Timmons in the June primary election. Since Morgan will be a stronger opponent than any of the three individuals who ran in 2022, the 2024 primary will be one worth watching.

Governor

Washington: PPP’s Surprise Poll — Public Policy Polling again conducted one of their regular Washington statewide surveys for the Northwest Progressive Institute and the results are eye-opening. According to the PPP study (Nov. 14-15; 750 registered Washington voters; multiple sampling techniques), former Congressman Dave Reichert (R) and Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) are tied with 31 percent support apiece.

The shocker comes when the pollsters queried the respondents about who they would support in a general election assuming that both Reichert and Ferguson advance from the all-party jungle primary into the November election. On the ballot test, Reichert enjoyed a 46-44 percent lead over AG Ferguson. It is an astonishing result in that a Republican would post any kind of an advantage in Washington, one of the most Democratic states in the Union.

States

Louisiana: Runoff Election Results — After electing a new governor outright in the Nov. 14 election as Governor-Elect Jeff Landry (R) was able to secure majority support, Republicans finished the 2023 statewide elections with a landslide sweep. The GOP won the secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer’s office with between 65 and 67 percent of the vote. Former Congressman John Fleming (R) returns to elective office with his victory as State Treasurer.

Turnout was extremely low with almost 670,000 votes cast, which is just 44 percent of the total participation figure from the last statewide runoff in 2019. In that election, however, the governor’s race was being decided. The lack of the governor and lieutenant governor being forced into runoffs is the obvious reason turnout was down by such a large proportion.

Utah Rep. Considering Senate Run; Santos Won’t Seek Re-Election; Alaska Lt. Gov. Dahlstrom in House Race; College Recruiting Ohio Rep.

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 20, 2023

Senate

Utah Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo)

Utah: Rep. Curtis Reportedly Considering Senate Run — “The drumbeat from Utahans around the state asking me to reconsider my decision last month to stay out of the Senate race has been constant and consistent,” Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) said yesterday. “These voices, getting louder and more organized, are increasingly difficult to ignore.” Originally, Rep. Curtis indicated he would not seek the state’s open US Senate seat now that Sen. Mitt Romney (R) has chosen to retire. Now, apparently, a Curtis entry into the race could be imminent.

Rep. Curtis was elected to the 3rd District House seat in a 2017 special election to replace then-Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) who resigned to accept a position in the media. Curtis has been easily re-elected ever since. Prior to his service in Congress, the representative was twice elected mayor of Provo. Seven Republicans have already announced for the Senate, the most prominent of which is former state House Speaker Brad Wilson.

House

NY-3: Rep. Santos Won’t Seek Re-Election — Embattled New York Congressman George Santos (R-Long Island), understanding that he cannot win re-election considering the ethics and criminal investigations that plague him, announced that he will not seek re-election next year. The move may not be enough for those who want him out of the House now. According to reports covering the House Ethics Committee report about Santos’ activities, the content is damning to the point that he may now be vulnerable to another budding expulsion resolution.

Should Santos be removed from office, a special election will be held to fill the balance of the term. Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) is poised to run along with five other Democrats including former state Sen. Anna Kaplan. Two other Democrats recently withdrew from the race and endorsed ex-Rep. Suozzi. Nine Republicans have also announced, but none have previously served in elected office. Republican leaders are trying to recruit state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) but so far he has yet to commit.

The 3rd CD holds a D+4 rating according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NY-3 as the eighth most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. Clearly, this will likely become the top Democratic conversion opportunity in the country.

AK-AL: Lieutenant Governor Announces for House — Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R) late this week announced that she will enter the at-large congressional campaign hoping to unseat incumbent Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel). Already in the race is 2022 Republican general election finalist Nick Begich III.

Lt. Gov. Dahlstrom’s addition to the race could actually help Rep. Peltola win re-election. Under the state’s Ranked Choice Voting system, four finalists will advance to the general election from the all-party jungle primary. In the general election, voters will then rank their choices from one to four. When Peltola first won the seat in the 2022 special election, approximately 60 percent of voters supported a Republican candidate in the all-party primary, and a majority voted Republican in the general election, yet the Ranked Choice system allowed Peltola to win.

A similar situation could occur in 2024. In the 2022 regular general election, Begich and former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) split the Republican vote, thus denying any candidate a majority, which led to Ranked Choice taking effect and Peltola’s victory. In 2024, the split between Begich and Lt. Gov. Dahlstrom, since at least these two and a third person are a lock to qualify for the general election, will probably once again re-elect the state’s Democratic congresswoman. This situation could change if the proposed ballot proposition to repeal the Ranked Choice Voting system qualifies for a vote and the measure passes.

OH-6: Rep. Johnson Being Recruited as University President — The Youngstown State University Trustees have unanimously voted to offer the institution’s presidency position to US Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Marietta), but it is far from certain that the congressman will accept. Johnson released a public statement acknowledging the offer and indicating that he is uncertain as to what will be his decision. Should he accept and resign the House seat, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) would have to call a special election to fill the balance of the term.

Ohio’s 6th District encompasses much of eastern Ohio that hugs both the Pennsylvania and West Virginia borders. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+31. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks OH-6 as the 82nd safest seat in the Republican Conference.

New Hampshire Presidential Primary Remains 1st; NJ First Lady Announces; Arkansas Candidate Filing Closes; VA-5 Candidate Emerges

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Nov. 17, 2023

President

New Hampshire: Presidential Primary Finally Scheduled — New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan announced that the state’s “first-in-the-nation” presidential primary will be scheduled for Jan. 23, 2024. There is little surprise associated with this date. To remain as the first primary state and comply with New Hampshire election law — Iowa still votes earlier (Jan. 15), but they feature caucus voting — Jan. 23 became the state’s only choice.

The Nevada primary is Feb. 6, and New Hampshire law, which gives the Secretary of State sole authority to schedule and move the election to prevent another domain from jumping to the front, requires the primary to be at least one week before any other state. Thus, Jan. 23, in holding with their Tuesday voting tradition, was the secretary’s only viable option.

President Joe Biden will not participate in the New Hampshire primary because the state would not agree to the new Democratic National Committee schedule. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) will be on the Democratic ballot, however, and most of the party’s state leadership is organizing a write-in campaign to support President Biden.

Senate

New Jersey: State’s First Lady Announces for Senate — Tammy Murphy (D), wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), officially declared her candidacy to oppose indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) in next year’s Democratic primary. Though most believe Sen. Menendez will not seek re-election, there has been no such confirmation from the Menendez camp.

Ms. Murphy should be regarded as a long shot to win the party nomination. Immediately upon Sen. Menendez’s indictment becoming public, US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) announced his challenge to Menendez, and he has already established a large lead in polling and fundraising. Conversely, Ms. Murphy is a first-time political candidate.

House

Arkansas: 2024 Candidate Filing Closes — The Arkansas ballot is now set. With the candidate filing deadline now past, we’ll look forward to seeing one contested congressional primary election on Super Tuesday, March 5. The presidential primary will be held that day, and with no Senate seat on the Arkansas ballot this year, the four congressional seats become the state’s only other federal elections.

In three districts, the general election candidates are now set. In the eastern 1st District, veteran Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) will run for an eighth term against Iraq War veteran Randy Govens (D). Five-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) will face retired Army Col. Marcus Jones (D) in the Little Rock-anchored 2nd CD. Fourth District incumbent Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) will be tasked with defending his seat against Democratic attorney Risie Howard.

The only primary contest among the congressional districts comes in the state’s western 3rd District where state Sen. Clint Penzo (R-Tontitown) will oppose seven-term Rep. Steve Womack (R-Rogers). It remains to be seen if this race develops into a major challenge. Republicans will be favored to again retain all four of the Natural State’s congressional districts.

VA-5: Rep. Good Challenged for Renomination — Two-term Virginia Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg), one of the outspoken Freedom Caucus members who was a leader in the move to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, will have a renomination challenge next year.

John McGuire III, a state Delegate first elected in 2017 who then won a state Senate seat last week in unopposed fashion, filed a congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. McGuire, a retired Navy SEAL, ran for Congress once before, losing in the former 7th District’s 2020 Republican nominating convention. State Delegate Nick Freitas, who defeated McGuire that year, would then lose a close battle to Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Ellen) in the general election.

Rep. Good was first elected to the Campbell County Board of Supervisors in 2015. He defeated then-US Rep. Denver Riggleman (R) in a district convention that his key supporters controlled. Assuming Rep. Good is as strong with the local Republican Party as he was during his first election campaign, it would be very difficult for McGuire to upset him within such a favorable venue.

Another Close Poll in Ohio; Three Retirements — Ohio’s Wenstrup, NY’s Higgins, Kilmer of Washington

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023

Senate

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D)

Ohio: Another Close Poll — The Data for Progress research organization released their new Ohio Senate poll, which differs wildly from the Ohio Northern University (ONU) survey results published in mid-October. The DfP poll (Oct. 31-Nov. 2; 597 likely Ohio voters; online) finds virtual ties for Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) with all three major Republican primary contenders. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose does the best among the Republicans, tying Sen. Brown at 46 percent apiece.

Opposite state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), the senator holds just a one-point, 47-46 percent, edge. His margin opposite businessman Bernie Moreno is only three points, 47-44 percent.

These results contrast with the ONU data that yielded Sen. Brown margins between 13 and 22 points against the same GOP opponents. The Data for Progress results, however, are more consistent with other polls conducted for this race. The Ohio campaign will be one of the nation’s top 2024 US Senate race and is considered a virtual must-win campaign for the GOP if the party is going to wrest the chamber majority away from the Democrats.

House

OH-2: Rep. Wenstrup to Retire — Ohio’s six-term US Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Hillsboro) announced via video message on Friday that he will not be seeking re-election in 2024. Wenstrup first came to Congress in 2012 when he scored an upset victory over then-Rep. Jean Schmidt in that year’s Republican primary. The congressman has not been seriously challenged since.

Ohio’s 2nd District contains all or parts of 16 southern counties that stretch from the eastern Cincinnati suburbs all the way to West Virginia. Republicans will have little trouble holding the district as an open seat and Wenstrup’s successor will be determined in the March 19 GOP primary. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+49. Former President Donald Trump carried the seat in 2020 with a whopping 72-27 percent majority. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks OH-2 as the 13th safest Republican seat in the GOP Conference.

NY-26: Rep. Brian Higgins (D) to Resign — New York US Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) clarified over the weekend that he will resign from the House in February in order to become president of the Shea’s Performing Arts Center in his home city of Buffalo. Rep. Higgins was first elected in 2004 from a 26th District that includes two-thirds of Erie County and almost three-quarters of Niagara County.

The Democrats should have little trouble holding this district, though a new open seat in western New York could influence what is likely a second round of redistricting to come early next year. Therefore, the confines of the Buffalo-anchored district could change.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-26 as D+18. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 61.4D – 36.1R partisan lean. President Joe Biden recorded a 61-37 percent win here in the 2020 election. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks this district as the 78th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

WA-6: Rep. Kilmer Won’t Seek Re-Election — Another six-term US House member also announced his retirement on Friday. Washington Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) will leave the House after what will be 12 years in office at the end of the current Congress. Rep. Kilmer indicated in his retirement announcement that it is time for a new challenge.

Washington’s 6th District encompasses the Olympic Peninsula, the large area west of Seattle and the Puget Sound that stretches to the Pacific Ocean. The 6th is reliably Democratic, and the August partisan primary will likely determine Kilmer’s successor. Before Rep. Kilmer won the seat in 2012, then-Rep. Norm Dicks (D) held the 6th District for 36 years.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates WA-6 as D+10, but Dave’s Redistricting App suggests a stronger 55.8D – 42.4R partisan lean advantage. President Biden won the 6th District constituency with a 57-40 percent victory margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks WA-6 as the 57th most vulnerable Democratic seat.

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.