Category Archives: Special ELection

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.

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.

Louisiana AG Landry Wins Outright, With Down-Ballot Results; Significant Democrat Primary Challenge in MN-3; New UT-3 Poll

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023

Governor

Republican Attorney General and former Congressman Jeff Landry

Louisiana: AG Landry (R) Wins Outright — Republican attorney general and former Congressman Jeff Landry, whom former President Donald Trump supported as did the Louisiana Republican Party, scored a surprise outright victory on Saturday in the open Louisiana governor’s race, capturing an unofficial 51.6 percent of the vote. Former Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, the consensus Democratic candidate, received 25.9 percent of the vote in what must be considered a substantial under-performance and a potential warning sign to Democrats. Former gubernatorial chief of staff Stephen Waguespack, who spent heavily on the race, only finished in the five percent range virtually tied with state Treasurer John Schroder (R).

Turnout registered 35.8 percent of Louisiana’s 2.97 million voters, below the 45.9 percent who participated in the 2019 gubernatorial primary and closer to the 39.2 percent turnout recorded in the commensurate 2015 election. Landry will now succeed outgoing Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) who was ineligible to seek a third term.

States

Louisiana: Down Ballot Results — Saturday’s Louisiana regular primary election produced results for several statewide races and ballot propositions. Lt. Gov. Bill Nungesser (R) won a second term with a 66 percent vote total, easily awarding him an outright victory. The open secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer positions all will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election. Each of these offices qualified a Republican and a Democrat.

In the secretary of state race, Assistant Secretary of State Nancy Landry (R) will face Democratic attorney Gwen Collins-Greenup. The attorney general campaign advances to a contest between State Solicitor General Liz Baker Murrill (R) and attorney Lindsey Cheek (D). In the treasurer’s campaign, the finalists are former US Rep. John Fleming (R) and financial planner Dustin Granger (D).

A total of 73 percent of the voters supported a ballot proposition that bans outside organizations helping the state to fund and administer elections. This measure was placed on the ballot as a response to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spending millions in the last election for election administration. A huge 79 percent majority supported a ballot prop that “provides that freedom of worship is a fundamental right worthy of the highest protection.” By a closer 56-44 percent margin, voters approved a final measure that restricts ad valorem tax exemptions for certain nonprofit organizations. (Ad valorem translated directly from Latin, means “according to the value of something.” In practical use, the term is used in taxation to designate taxes levied against property, real or personal assets, at a certain rate based on the property’s value.)

House

MN-3: Rep. Phillips Draws Significant Dem Primary Challenge — Responding to Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Plymouth) repeatedly calling for individuals to step forward and challenge President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, Democratic National Committee member Ron Harris announced his own intra-party challenge to the congressman. While Rep. Phillips is still not completely ruling out entering the presidential contest, he will now have to concentrate on a Minnesota party convention fight and potentially an August 2024 primary challenge.

Rep. Phillips was first elected in 2018, defeating then-Congressman Erik Paulsen (R). He has averaged 56.9 percent of the vote in his three elections. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MN-3 as D+14. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 63rd most vulnerable district in the 212-member Democratic Conference.

UT-2: New Poll Released for Nov. 21 Special Election — Lighthouse Research conducted a poll of the state’s 2nd District special election for the Utah Debate Commission that would decide which candidates would qualify for the Oct. 26 local PBS forum. The UDC (Sept. 26-Oct. 6; 528 registered UT-2 voters) required that candidates receive at least 5.74 percent support in the poll. Libertarian Brad Green only posted 5.68 percent, meaning he failed to qualify under the commission rules by the slimmest of margins.

Republican Celeste Maloy, resigned Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R) former legal counsel, placed first in the survey with 42.8 percent of the vote. State Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights), was second with 34.3 percent. Maloy’s showing should be considered an under-performance for the Republican nominee in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23, and the Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank as the 81st most vulnerable district within the 221-member Republican Conference. The special election is scheduled for Nov. 21.

GOP Changes Delegate Allocation Rules; Former Rep. Cisneros May Return; Re-Match Possible in New Hampshire, Other House News; Wisconsin Redistricting Lawsuit

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Aug. 4, 2023

President

California: GOP Changes Delegate Allocation Rules — The California Republican Party’s executive committee, a total of 100 members, voted to change the way the state allocates its Republican delegates. Despite California being a poor performer for Republicans, the presidential delegation to the GOP national convention is still the largest in the country. In 2024, the state will feature 169 voting delegates.

Instead of allocating the delegates through the state’s 52 congressional districts – three delegates per district plus at-large votes – the California GOP will now authorize a system that awards a winning candidate who obtains majority support in the March 5, 2024 primary all of the state’s delegate votes. Many states use this system, but California doing so will provide an extra vote boost to the Golden State primary winner.

At this point, several polls show former President Donald Trump at or exceeding the 50 percent threshold. The change makes it all the more likely that the nomination will be clinched as voting ends on Super Tuesday.

House

One-term ex-Congressman Gil Cisneros (D)

CA-31: Former Rep. Cisneros May Return — One-term ex-Congressman Gil Cisneros (D), a former US Navy officer who struck it rich in winning over $200 million from a major lottery, has resigned his position as Under Secretary of Defense. Speculation suggests this is his first definitive move to declare for retiring Rep. Grace Napolitano’s (D-Norwalk) Los Angeles County congressional seat.

Cisneros defeated now-Congresswoman Young Kim (R-La Habra) in 2018 from a 39th District that covered parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties. In 2020, Kim returned for a re-match and reversed the outcome. She now represents the post-redistricting 40th CD that covers parts of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

Already in the open 31st District race are state senators Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) and Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) along with Community College Trustee and former Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz (D). It is likely that two Democrats will advance into the general election from the all-party primary. While Cisneros represented virtually none of the current 31st CD during his previous stint in the House, even Rep. Napolitano fails to reside within the district, so the lack of residency is likely not much of a detriment.

NH-2: Re-Match Possible — Former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns (R), who lost the 2022 congressional race 56-44 percent to veteran Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/ Concord), confirms that he is considering returning for a re-match. His decision is nowhere close to being made, however. He also says he would like to run for governor and would even consider a bid for Executive Councilor if one of those seats were to open. It is likely the Republican leadership would prefer a more committed candidate.

Since the New Hampshire June candidate filing deadline is later than most state’s primaries, this race will develop over a long period. At this point, Rep. Kuster will be favored to win a seventh term in 2024.

PA-7: New Candidate Announces — The Public Affairs director of the Philadelphia Convention Center, Maria Montero (R), announced her congressional candidacy Wednesday. This will be the second time she has run for the US House. Montero, also former staff member for Republican former Gov. Tom Corbett, entered the special nomination for the 12th District seat, closer to central PA, when then-Rep. Tom Marino (R) resigned. She lost to then-state Rep. Fred Keller who would go onto win the special election.

Already in the race are state Rep. Ryan MacKenzie (R-Macungie) and 2022 candidate Kevin Dellicker who secured 49 percent of the Republican primary vote. The winner will face vulnerable Rep. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) in a politically marginal 7th CD that covers the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area. In the past two competitive elections against Republican Lisa Scheller, Rep. Wild has been re-elected with 52 and 51 percent of the vote.

UT-2: Maloy Approved for Ballot — Celeste Maloy, who the Republican 2nd District convention chose as its candidate for the special election to replace resigning Rep. Christopher Stewart (R-Farmington), has faced a serious challenge to her standing as a candidate.

A state judge in ruling Wednesday over a lawsuit filed against Maloy claiming that she did not meet the state’s residency requirement to run for Congress, declared that she will be slated on the Sept. 5 special primary ballot. The judge stated that “the public interest favors respecting the party convention’s choice.” He further said that the election process is well underway, and ballots have been printed. Therefore, altering the candidate configuration would be disruptive.

Earning Republican ballot positions through the signature petition process are former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough. Democrats have united around state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights). The special general election is scheduled for Nov. 21. Rep. Stewart will resign on Sept. 15.

States

Wisconsin: Redistricting Lawsuit Filed — A coalition of law firms and progressive left activists filed a challenge to Wisconsin’s state Senate and Assembly redistricting maps, labeling them partisan gerrymanders. Now that the new liberal majority state Supreme Court has taken office, the plaintiffs winning this lawsuit is probably just a matter of time.

The court will likely order a redraw of the two plans, which will almost assuredly be a precursor to the congressional map being re-configured as well. At this time, however, the federal plan is not included in this particular lawsuit.

McClain Declines Michigan Senate Run; Boebert Challenged in CO-3; Pappas Gets Republican Challenger; Matos Review Reversed

By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 31, 2023

Senate

© Theresa Finck Photography 2018, Lisa McClain for Congress

Michigan: Rep. McClain Declines Senate Run — Two-term Michigan US Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Bruce), who represents the region commonly referred to as “the thumb” since the state’s Lower Peninsula configuration resembles a human hand, said yesterday that she will not enter the open US Senate race next year. The move presumes that she will seek re-election to the House in 2024.

Rep. McClain had been mentioned from time to time but was not considered as having a serious desire to run for the Senate, so her decision to pass on the statewide run is not surprising. As the Republican Conference Secretary, Rep. McClain is part of the GOP majority leadership team.

House

CO-3: Dem Primary Forming to Challenge Rep. Boebert — Grand Junction Mayor Mary Anna Stout (D) announced late last week that she will run for the US House. Her main opponent in the Democratic primary is 2022 nominee Adam Frisch, who only lost to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) by 546 votes in the closest US House race in the country. Beginning this campaign, Frisch has already raised a whopping $2.6 million in the 2nd Quarter and has $2.5 million cash-on-hand, or more than $1 million over what Rep. Boebert has in her account ($1.4 million). Three other minor Democrats are also announced candidates.

There are two options for qualifying for the Colorado ballot. First, is through garnering the requisite number of delegate votes at the Democratic Party district convention, or second, through obtaining petition signatures from registered voters in the particular district. It is a virtual certainty that Frisch will dominate the convention, so the others will likely choose the petition route. The CO-3 race will probably be the top Democratic conversion target in the country next year despite a R+15 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization.

NH-1: Rep. Pappas Draws GOP Opponent — Former New Hampshire Executive Councilor and ex-state Sen. Russell Prescott (R) announced that he will again enter the 1st District congressional race. He ran in 2022 but finished a poor fourth in the Republican primary with only 10 percent of the vote. Prescott and incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) are well known to each other. They served together on the state’s Executive Council, the position Pappas held before his election to the House in 2018.

Prior to redistricting, the 1st District had defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country during the past decade. Therefore, the campaigns here are always competitive. Rep. Pappas won a surprisingly strong 54-46 percent victory last November over former Trump Assistant Press Secretary Karoline Leavitt (R).

RI-1: Board of Elections Reverses Course — After voting 5-1 to review the signature petition process for Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos’ (D) special election congressional campaign, the Board members reversed themselves 24 hours later. Their stated reasoning is that the local boards had already done the job of culling through the names and referring those they found irregular to law enforcement.

The reversal sets the stage for Matos being approved for the ballot. Early polling casts her as the race leader. A dozen Democrats have already been awarded a ballot position. The special Democratic primary to replace resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) is scheduled for Sept. 5. The special general will be Nov. 7, but winning the Democratic primary will prove tantamount to claiming the seat.

Rep. Raskin Won’t Run for Senate; Retired Navy Captain Running for Senate in Virginia; House Race Updates; New Mexico Supreme Court Allows Gerrymandering Case

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Senate

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park)

Maryland: Rep. Raskin Won’t Run for Senate — Saying, “if these were normal times, I’m pretty sure I would run for the Senate,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park) said he will not enter the race to succeed retiring Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin (D). The congressman, as he has in the past, continued to thank the medical personnel who helped him through six rounds of five-day chemotherapy treatments that appears to have eradicated his cancer. Raskin further said he can best way he can “make a difference in American politics,” is to seek re-election to the US House. He will be a prohibitive favorite to win a fifth term next year.

Virginia: Ex-Congressional Candidate Announces for Senate — Retired Navy Capt. Hung Cao (R), who held Rep. Jennifer Weston (D-Leesburg) to a 53-47 percent re-election win in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+8 and the Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean projects a 55.2D – 43.0R Democratic advantage, will now attempt to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D).

Cao faces eight announced opponents in the Republican primary but will likely be favored to win the party nomination. He will be a clear underdog against Sen. Kaine, but Cao will give the Republicans a credible nominee and potentially a candidate who can forge bridges into the state’s substantial Asian community. The demographic now accounts for 8.2 percent of the statewide population, but almost 16 percent in the Northern Virginia region, where Republicans don’t fare well.

House

CA-34: Rep. Gomez Rival Returns for Third Race — Largely because there is no inter-party political drama in California’s 34th Congressional District located wholly within Los Angeles County that contains a large portion of downtown LA, the two close races between Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) and former prosecutor David Kim (D) have generated little publicity. In 2020, Rep. Gomez defeated Kim, 53-47 percent in the first of their two double-Democratic general elections. In 2022, the congressman’s margin dropped to 51-49 percent. On Friday, Kim announced that he will return for a third run.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-34 as D+63, and President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump here, 81-17 percent. The district is almost 88 percent minority. The Hispanic segment accounts for 61.6 percent of the population, while Asians comprise 20.4 percent. Expect this race to again be close and Kim must be considered a significant challenger candidate.

New Mexico: State Supreme Court Allows Republican Lawsuit to Proceed — The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously at the end of last week that the Republicans’ political gerrymandering lawsuit can move forward against the state. Reflecting upon the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the North Carolina judicial role in redistricting, the state high court is in much stronger position to review the 2021 congressional and state legislative maps as political gerrymanders. For example, the congressional plan eliminated the state’s lone Republican seat in the current draw.

Whether the map will be invalidated is yet to be determined, but the high court agreed that the case has merit to continue.

PA-7: New Challenger Emerging — In the past two elections in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton 7th District of Pennsylvania, Rep. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) has won two 51-49 percent victories over former Lehigh County Commissioner and businesswoman Lisa Scheller (R). On Friday, a new candidate, Pennsylvania Convention Center director and DeSales University trustee Maria Montero (R), filed a congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.

While Scheller is not expected to return for a third run, Montero is likely to have Republican primary competition. Technology firm owner and 2022 congressional candidate Kevin Dellicker, who held Scheller to only a 51-49 percent GOP primary victory, is expected to again surface as a candidate. State Rep. Ryan MacKenzie (R-Macungie) is another potential participant.

The 7th District general election should again be highly competitive. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+4, but Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean in the Democrats’ favor, 50.4D – 47.4R.

UT-2: Two File Special Election Petition Signatures — After the Utah 2nd District Republican endorsing convention chose congressional legal counsel Celeste Maloy to replace her boss, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington), most contenders from the large field ended their Sept. 5 special primary election campaigns.

Two, however, are moving forward. Former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough were the only two who submitted petition signatures in an attempt to qualify for the special primary ballot. It remains to be seen if there are 7,000 valid 2nd District registered voter signatures from each of their submissions.

Assuming the pair qualifies, the three candidates will comprise the primary election field. The winner will advance to a Nov. 21 election against the unopposed Democratic candidate, state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights), and any Independent or third party contender who can also qualify for the ballot. Rep. Stewart has announced he will leave office on Sept. 15.

Poll Shows Biden Holding Strong; Hoyer Says Don’t Write My Obit;
Texas Rep. Carter Draws Opponent;
UT-2 Special Election Moves Forward

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2023

President

NBC News Poll: Trump Strong for Nomination; Trails Biden — Hart Research (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R) collaborated on a national survey for NBC News (June 16-20; 1,000 US registered voters; 500 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and found former President Donald Trump, despite his federal indictments, increasing his lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the others. According to this data, Trump secures 51 percent in the national poll, well ahead of Gov. DeSantis who records 22 percent support. Former Vice President Mike Pence receives seven percent, and no other candidate even reaches the five percent plateau.

In the general election, however, President Joe Biden would lead former President Trump by four percentage points in the national popular vote, while Gov. DeSantis draws even with the president. A whopping 74 percent believe the country is on the wrong track. President Biden’s job approval was recorded at 43:53 percent favorable to unfavorable.

House

Former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville)

MD-5: No Retirement in Sight — Former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville), who after winning a special congressional election in 1981 would spend 26 years in top House leadership positions, indicated to the audience of a local Democratic organization event to “not write any obituaries,” as reported on the Daily Kos Elections site. At 84 years old and out of leadership for the first time since 1989, Rep. Hoyer appeared to be a candidate for retirement. Instead, it looks like he will be on the ballot in 2024 seeking a 23rd term.

TX-31: Rep. Carter Faces Primary — Army veteran and former Bell County Republican Party chairman Mark Latimer, who claims 11-term Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) is “not ready for the fight ahead,” announced that he will enter the March 2024 Republican congressional primary. Carter, first elected in 2002, faced a primary from two Republicans in 2022 and was renominated with 71 percent of the vote. He was unopposed in the general election.

Over his 11 congressional elections, he’s had only one close call. In 2018, Army veteran Mary Jennings Hegar (D) held him to a 51-48 percent re-election victory. The 31st District contains two-thirds of Rep. Carter’s home county of Williamson, half of Bell County, and all of Bosque, Burnet, Coryell, and Hamilton Counties in central Texas. Prior to his service in Congress, Rep. Carter was a Williamson County district judge for 20 years.

UT-2: Republicans Hold Special District Convention — Utah’s 2nd District Special Republican endorsing convention met in the small, but centrally located town of Delta on Saturday to choose one candidate to advance into the special primary election scheduled for Sept. 5 to replace resigning Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington).

After five rounds of balloting, Rep. Stewart’s congressional legal counsel, Celeste Maloy, scored a 52-48 percent victory over former state House Speaker Greg Hughes. Others may still qualify for the primary ballot but must obtain 7,000 valid 2nd District Republican registered voter signatures by July 5. At least two of the candidates, former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough, are pursuing the signature option.

If no other candidate qualifies for the ballot, Maloy will officially become the party nominee, and be rated as a heavy favorite to win the Nov. 21 special general election in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23, and Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 60.1R – 34.2D.