Category Archives: States

Masters Opens Significant Lead in AZ; Faulty FL Poll; Fung Unopposed in RI

By Jim Ellis — July 5, 2022

Senate

Venture capitalist Blake Masters (R)

Arizona: Masters Staked to Significant Lead — Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling went into the Arizona Republican field at the beginning of this week to test the GOP battle for the party’s Senate nomination. The survey (June 28; 595 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) finds venture capitalist Blake Masters, who former President Donald Trump endorses, opening up a significant 29-15-10 percent advantage over Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessman Jim Lamon. This is the first time since the early campaign days when we’ve seen a poll featuring any one of the three candidates holding a significant edge.

When asked if the Trump endorsement would make voters more or less likely to vote for Masters, 53 percent of the respondent sample said much more likely (31 percent) or somewhat more likely (22 percent), while those saying they would be less inclined to support Masters because of the endorsement reached only 20 percent.

House

FL-27: Close Poll Not What it Seems — State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) until quite recently was in the governor’s race challenging Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) for the Democratic nomination, even though he chose her as his lieutenant governor running mate in 2014. Now a congressional candidate, Taddeo’s campaign released a SEA Polling & Strategic Design survey that shows her trailing Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) by just two percentage points, 47-45 percent.

This poll should be discounted. It was conducted well over a month ago, during the May 23-25 period, which is before Taddeo even left the governor’s race. Therefore, too much has changed for this survey to be taken seriously.

RI-2: Fung Unopposed — It appears Republicans are uniting around former Cranston mayor and two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung to make a serious run at converting Rhode Island’s open 2nd Congressional District. Former state Rep. Bob Lancia (R) decided not to enter the race at the filing deadline. Trailing badly in the polls to Fung, Lancia ended his campaign, which opened the door for Fung to run unopposed for the party nomination. A published Suffolk University poll (June 19-22; 423 likely Rhode Island general election voters; live interview) finds Fung leading all six top Democratic candidates, including perceived leader Seth Magaziner, the Rhode Island general treasurer.

The 2nd District covers most of the small state’s western region including a portion of Providence County where more than half of Rhode Island’s population resides. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the 2nd as D+17 and Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the “partisan lean” as 56.9 percent D to just 41 percent R. Though a long shot, it appears this district is on the GOP conversion target list. Veteran US Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick) is retiring after serving what will be 11 terms at the end of the current Congress.

States

Maryland: Rep. Brown in AG Dogfight — When US Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) announced for the open state attorney general position, he looked difficult to beat. A new poll, however, shows him dropping into a dead heat with retired state judge Katie Curran O’Malley, the wife of former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

The Goucher College poll conducted for the Baltimore Banner news site (June 15-19; 501 Democratic Maryland registered voters; 403 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) finds O’Malley now edging ahead of Rep. Brown with a 30-29 percent margin. The O’Malley campaign is running ads crediting Rep. Brown with being an able congressman, but saying he does not have the legal experience to be an effective attorney general. The delayed Maryland primary is July 19.

Alabama’s Battle for Second; Conflicting Polls in Missouri;
de Blasio Returns in NY

By Jim Ellis
May 19, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Battling for Second — Emerson College released a new survey for next Tuesday’s Alabama Senate primary, and the results again show that US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has made a competitive comeback after former President Donald Trump rescinded his endorsement because he felt the congressman was running a poor campaign. For the third time, a recent poll shows Brooks rebounding to a virtual tie for the second runoff position.

For the three contenders, former Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Britt, retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant, and Brooks, advancing to a secondary runoff election is a virtual certainty. In Alabama, candidates must achieve majority support to win a party nomination.

The Emerson College survey (May 15-16; 706 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system and text) again finds Britt claiming first place with 32 percent, while Durant and Brooks closely follow with 26 and 25 percent, respectively. In other words, the latter two are in an effective tie for the second position. Assuming no one receives majority support Tuesday, the top two finishers will advance to a June 21 secondary runoff election. The Republican nominee then becomes a lock to succeed the retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R) in November.

Missouri: Conflicting Polls — Former Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who was forced to resign from office due to a sex scandal and is now dealing with abuse accusations from his ex-wife, has catapulted back into the lead according to a new Survey USA poll. The study (May 11-15; 1,412 likely Missouri general election voters; 642 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; 500 likely Missouri Democratic primary voters; online) projects Greitens to a 26-17-11 percent lead over Attorney General Eric Schmitt and US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia). The Democratic candidates, led by Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce and philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, are all lagging around the 10 percent mark in primary support. All Republicans defeat the Democratic candidates in preliminary general election pairings.

This S-USA poll is a significant change from previous polling and is in direct conflict with the latest Remington Research Group survey taken within the same period (May 11-12; 945 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system). These results find AG Schmitt with a 29 percent lead over Rep. Hartzler’s 23 percent, and Greitens trailing with 21 percent. The Missouri primary is Aug. 2.

House

NY-10: de Blasio, State Senator Announce — The revised New York congressional map has not yet received final judicial approval, but candidates are starting to make moves in anticipation of this being the active 2022 district plan. Because the map pairs NYC Democratic incumbents Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, another safe Democratic open seat was created adjacent to the hotly contested 12th CD. The new 10th District will be decided in the Democratic primary.

Yesterday, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his congressional candidacy, but so did state Sen. Brad Holyman (D-NYC). Assuming the map is approved, this will be a hotly contested primary election that should attract national attention. Because the original congressional map and that of the state Senate were disqualified, the judge postponed the primary election for races in these categories until Aug. 23.

Redistricting

Kansas: High Court Overturns — In April, a Kansas district court disqualified the legislature’s congressional map as a partisan gerrymander. Gov. Laura Kelly (D) originally vetoed the map, but the legislature was able to override her action with two-thirds support in both houses. The Kansas state Supreme Court has overturned the lower court ruling, meaning the original map that puts the state’s 3rd District, in and around Kansas City, into competitive status is back for the 2022 cycle. Two-term Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park) currently represents the district. This seat will again become a 2022 Republican conversion target.

States

Idaho: Ex-US Rep Defeats Incumbent AG — Former Congressman Raul Labrador, who served four terms in the House, will return to elective office. In the Idaho Republican primary, Labrador unseated the incumbent Attorney General Lawrence Wasden by a substantial 51-38 percent result. Prior to his service in Congress, Labrador was twice elected to the state House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, losing to current Gov. Brad Little, who also won his primary challenge on Tuesday. After leaving Congress, Labrador was elected as chairman of the Idaho Republican Party.

Rep. Budd’s Nomination Secure in NC?
A Close Gov. Race Brewing in NM

By Jim Ellis
May 16, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Dueling General Election Polls — With US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) now substantially ahead in 12 consecutive Republican primary polls from the end of March to present, it appears clear he is going to be nominated on Tuesday. Therefore, attention is already being paid to the formulating general election. Two polls featuring Rep. Budd and consensus Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, have just been released.

The first, from the Beasley campaign that the Global Strategy Group conducted (April 28-May 4; 800 likely North Carolina general election voters) finds the poll sponsor and Rep. Budd tied at 45 percent. Emerson College also released their survey (May 7-9; 1,000 registered North Carolina voters) that gives Budd a 48-41 percent advantage. We can expect this to be one of the top Senate races in the country come November and will feature a plethora of public polls.

House

NC-1: Dems Have Clear Poll Leader; Republicans Attacking Their Own — The GQR survey research firm ran a poll of the open 1st District Democratic primary (May 6-8; 407 likely NC-1 Democratic primary voters) and find state Sen. Don Davis (D-Snow Hill) leading former state senator and 2020 US Senate candidate Erica Smith, 44-31 percent, as the candidates make their final pitch before Tuesday’s primary election.

The Republican-oriented Congressional Leadership Fund, loosely associated with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), is actively running ads against GOP candidate Sandy Smith, the 2020 CD-1 nominee who held incumbent Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) to a 54-46 percent re-election victory.

The CLF does not indicate support for another candidate, but former Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson appears to be Smith’s strongest competitor. The move is curious in that the ads lay out personal negatives against Smith that could be used against her in the general election should she win the GOP nomination. The new 1st, which the state Supreme Court drafted, is rated D+5, thus suggesting a competitive general election.

Governor

New Mexico: Close Race Brewing — Survey USA polling for KOB-TV in Albuquerque (April 29-May 7; 1,389 likely New Mexico general election voters; interactive voice response system and online) tested the upcoming governor’s race and finds 2020 US Senate Republican nominee and former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti pulling to within the margin of polling error against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D).

The ballot test breaks 47-43 percent in favor of the incumbent. More troubling for Gov. Lujan Grisham, however, is her results against the entire Republican field. Paired individually with each of five candidates, Gov. Lujan Grisham, though leading in every case, fails to reach 50 percent against any of her GOP opponents. The cumulative results portend a highly competitive November race.

Pennsylvania: Senate President Drops Out — Just days before Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, state Senate President Jake Corman has dropped his Republican gubernatorial bid and endorsed fellow contender Lou Barletta, the former congressman and 2020 US Senate nominee. With Corman never able to increase his support from low single digits, his withdrawal is designed to help Barletta overcome the polling lead that state Sen. Doug Mastriano (D-Fayetteville) has established.

Pennsylvania Republican leaders are reportedly nervous that Sen. Mastriano, who was a legislative leader in attempting to determine if there was widespread fraud in the state during the 2020 election, would be unable to defeat Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is the consensus Democratic gubernatorial nominee. It is likely that the Corman-Barletta move will prove too little, too late, however.

States

Texas Attorney General: Paxton Leading Big — A CWS Research poll (May 4-10; 992 likely Texas Republican primary runoff voters; interactive voice response system and text) reports that Attorney General Ken Paxton is substantially ahead of Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The CWS results find AG Paxton holding a whopping 58-31 percent lead as the candidates move toward the state’s May 24 runoff election date. In the primary, Paxton garnered 42.7 percent of the vote, which is obviously short of the majority vote a candidate needs to win the nomination outright. In a field of four candidates, Bush finished second with 22.8 percent.

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

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2022:

Senate

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

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

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

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


Governor

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

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

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


Redistricting

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

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


States

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

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

Ohio’s Lost Seat

Ohio’s Congressional Districts

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 8, 2021 — In some of our previous redistricting articles, we’ve alluded to Ohio’s interesting situation. With a 16-member congressional delegation reducing to 15, it seemed unlikely that Republican map drawers would stretch the new map to 12R-3D from its current 12R-4D split. Outside pressures and other factors, however, suggest the first Buckeye State map could have such a partisan division.

Recently, news coming from Illinois suggests that Democratic leaders are looking at ways to reduce the Republican federal contingent in the Land of Lincoln from five House members to just three. If so, states like Ohio, where Republicans are in complete control of the redistricting process, face national pressure to maximize the partisan gain.

Another factor pointing to the Democrats losing the Ohio seat is that only one member to-date, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown), is not running for re-election. The eastern Ohio congressman is an announced US Senate candidate, meaning that his 13th District, which stretches from Akron to the Pennsylvania border, is largely unprotected.

As in Pennsylvania, where Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) is the lone House member not seeking re-election in his state because he, too, is running for the Senate, it is reasonable that the collapsed seat would be the one with no incumbent. Therefore, in both cases, Republican map drawers would have a defensible opportunity to collapse a Democratic seat. Furthermore, a Democratic power grab in Illinois, should that happen, makes Republican retribution in Ohio and Pennsylvania more likely.

Another transitional Ohio factor is the two new members coming into the House right after the Nov. 2 special election. Since the partisan primaries have already nominated candidates in a pair of vacated congressional districts that have consistently performed for each party, it became clear on primary night that Democrat Rep. Shontel Brown and Republican Rep. Mike Carey would be joining the delegation.

Brown’s 11th District that stretches from Cleveland to Akron is likely to be a key redistricting focal point. The 11th must gain 94,091 people to reach the new 15-District Ohio population quota of 786,630 individuals, which is the second most of any Buckeye State CD. Since this is also a majority minority seat, adding the necessary people from the Akron area would be a reasonable move, and such a population segment would have to come from Rep. Ryan’s 13th District.

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