Colorado Rep. Boebert Stakes 49-42 Percent Advantage over Opponent; Special Election Confusion in MN-1

By Jim Ellis — August 8, 2022

House

Colorado freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt)

CO-3: New Dem Poll Shows Margin Beyond Error Margin — Democratic polling firm Keating Research released a survey of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, termed the “Western Slope Seat,” that features freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) and former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D). The poll (released Aug. 2; 550 likely CO-3 general election voters) gives Rep. Boebert a 49-42 percent advantage over Frisch. The 3rd District was largely kept intact in redistricting, and rates as R+15 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization.

IN-2: Rep. Walorski Succession Situation — The death of Indiana five-term Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Elkhart), who was killed in a car crash this past Wednesday, Aug. 3, is leading to a confusion succession situation. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) must call a special election to fill the unexpired portion of the late representative’s term, and is expected to schedule that election concurrently with the regular general election on Nov. 8.

The nomination process, however, is another matter. Under Indiana vacancy succession procedure, the District chairman, in this case the 2nd Congressional District chairman, would name the party nominee. That individual, however, is Zach Potts, an aide to Rep. Walorski who was the reported driver of the vehicle in which all perished. Therefore, the local party members will first have to elect a new district chairman who will have the power to name the congressional candidate and likely next member of the House in a district that rates R+26 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization.

The Democratic chairman is likely to name environmental consultant Paul Steury, the party’s regular election nominee, as their party’s special election candidate.

NY-23: Conflicting Polling Data — Last week the Carl Padalino campaign released a WPA Intelligence survey that suggested the former New York Republican gubernatorial nominee owns a wide 30-point lead over NY Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy in the primary election battle to replace resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning). Now, the Langworthy campaign is citing a Zeplowski Research survey (Aug. 1-2; 400 likely NY-23 special election voters) that finds the ballot test at only 39-37 percent in Padalino’s favor.

The race is getting testy between the two candidates as the contest for the safe western New York Republican district is drawing to a close. The New York congressional primary is scheduled for Aug. 23. The eventual GOP winner advances to the general election against unopposed Democratic candidate Max Della Pia, a retired US Air Force officer and attorney.

MN-1: Special Election Confusion — One of the unusual aspects of the 117th Congress is the large number of special US House elections we’ve seen in the current election cycle, possibly as high as 14, at least four of which must still be settled.

An aspect of several of these special contests has been the unusual situation of seeing a candidate being forced to run for two positions simultaneously. On Aug. 9, we are about to see this scenario unfold again in Minnesota as voters will simultaneously decide who will serve the balance of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s (R) final term and choose nominees for the regular election in November.

Just last week, the MN-1 race became very confusing. State Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake), who lost the special primary election back in May to succeed Hagedorn by just 427 votes, confirmed that he is running to win the regular congressional primary election. This means that former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R), who won the special primary, must now conduct two separate competitive campaigns against different opponents.

Finstad must now separately win the special general election against former Hormel Corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D), and the Republican nomination for the regular term against Munson since the special general is being run concurrently with the regular statewide primary.

With Munson competing in the regular election, the confusing scenario of seeing two different District 1 Republican winners tomorrow could occur. With the only publicly released special general poll suggesting a dead heat between Finstad and Ettinger, so many mixed GOP campaign messages could actually help yield a Democratic special election upset.

So far, we have seen nine special elections completed in this cycle with only one seat, TX-34, changing parties. Also in May, Rep. Mayra Flores (R-McAllen) converted the Brownsville-anchored seat from which Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela resigned to accept a position in the private sector.

In addition to MN-1, three more special elections, one in Alaska on Aug. 16 and two in New York on Aug. 23, are scheduled. A fourth could occur in Florida later this year when Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) officially resigns from the House. It is likely that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will align the special election with the regular general election date of Nov. 8, if he decides to call another election at all since so little time will remain in the current Congress.

The new developments in the MN-1 special election adds another twist to the campaign, and suddenly this race becomes a much better Democratic conversion target in the waning days before the final votes are cast.

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