By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 13, 2023
SenateMissouri: First Early Poll — Emerson College conducted the first general election published poll of the Missouri Senate race featuring incumbent Sen. Josh Hawley (R) seeking a second term. The EC poll (Oct. 1-4; 491 registered Missouri voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds Sen. Hawley leading attorney and Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce, also a 2022 US Senate candidate who failed to win the Democratic nomination, by a 45-32 percent clip. If St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell (D) were to win the party nomination, Sen. Hawley’s margin would lessen slightly to 44-34 percent.
Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Maintains Edge — An Emerson College Pennsylvania poll (Oct. 1-4; 430 registered Pennsylvania voters; multiple sampling techniques) shows the electorate switching back to the Democrats when voting for Senate. According to the EC numbers, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) would lead businessman David McCormick (R) by a 41-33 percent spread, which is similar to Quinnipiac University’s 50-44 percent margin from their late September-early October survey.
California: Baseball Great Steve Garvey Announces — Republicans now have a potential top-tier US Senate candidate as former Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres baseball star Steve Garvey announced that he will run for the Senate. While no Republican has a viable chance of winning the general election, uniting the smaller GOP base in the March 5 jungle primary could be enough to secure Garvey a runoff position.
Democrats have three strong candidates — Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland). Appointed Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) may also run. Splitting the vote so many ways could help Garvey clinch a runoff against one of the strong Democrats. His addition to the race makes the March 5 Super Tuesday all-party jungle primary even more interesting.
Speaker Vote: More Intrigue — The chances of any one candidate securing a majority vote within the Republican Conference may have become even more remote, even with Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) stepping down from his party’s nomination to become House Speaker. Two members, Reps. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) and John Duarte (R-CA), announced that they will only vote for now-former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). While he is not an official candidate, it is highly likely that these two members will not be the only ones who will support McCarthy.
NY-3: Ex-Rep. Suozzi Announces — Former Congressman Tom Suozzi (D), who gave up his 3rd District seat for an ill-fated 2022 run for governor, announced that he will return to the congressional political wars next year. Earlier, he said he would run if a special election occurred because current Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) might be forced to resign but would not compete in the regular election. Obviously, he changed his mind.
In the race are seven other Democrats, including former state Senator Anna Kaplan and Nassau County Legislator John Lafazan. Nine Republicans have announced against Rep. Santos in the Republican primary.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+4. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks this seat as the eighth most vulnerable seat in the 222-member House Republican Conference. There is a strong chance the New York congressional map will be redrawn before the 2024 election. If so, the likelihood exists that this seat will become more Democratic. NY-3 is a prime Democratic conversion district.
NY-18: Former Lieutenant Governor Nominee Announces for House — Alison Esposito, a 25-year veteran of the New York City Police Department and the 2022 Republican lieutenant governor nominee, announced that she will run for the US House in the state’s 18th Congressional District. She will challenge freshman incumbent Pat Ryan (D-Gardiner) who won a close 49.6 – 48.3 percent victory over GOP state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt last November.
The 18th District will likely be changed if the New York legislature redraws the state’s congressional map before the 2024 election, as expected. Currently, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+3. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NY-18 as the 18th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.
Louisiana: Voters Cast Ballots Tomorrow — On Saturday, Bayou State voters will cast ballots in the first round of the state’s open governor’s race. Expected to advance to the runoff election are Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) and former Transportation Department Secretary Shawn Wilson (D). Both continue to show polling strength and have developed leads well beyond the other 13 all-party jungle primary candidates. Assuming no candidate receives majority support tomorrow, the top two vote-getters, regardless of political party affiliation, will advance into the Nov. 18 runoff election.
West Virginia: Race Flips Back to Morrisey — Already, the open Republican primary battle to succeed term-limited Gov. Jim Justice (R) has seen another lead change. A new I-360 survey for the Morrisey campaign (Oct. 3-4; 811 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters) sees Attorney General Patrick Morrisey re-establishing the lead over state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV); Secretary of State Mac Warner; and businessman Chris Miller, son of West Virginia US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington).
The ballot test favors AG Morrisey 29-18-8-6 percent over Capito, Warner, and Miller, respectively. When those leaning to a particular candidate are included, Morrisey’s lead expands to 41-23-10-10% over his opponents in the same order.
Will Hurd: Withdraws and Endorses — Former Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX), who was a late long-shot entry into the presidential race, has made an early exit. Hurd his decision to leave the race official earlier this week. Though he failed to move the political needle with his short national campaign, Hurd’s parting statement as a candidate included endorsing former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Since the second Republican presidential debate, it appears that Haley is the non-Trump candidate having the most upward momentum.