By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 17, 2023
HouseAlaska: Begich Announces for House — Nick Begich III, who ran in the special at-large congressional election after Rep. Don Young (R) suddenly passed away, and then again in the 2022 general election announced that he will return to run again next year. He hopes for the opportunity of facing Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) one-on-one in the final Ranked Choice Voting round.
Both in the special and regular elections, Begich failed to reach second place, finishing third behind former Gov. Sarah Palin by three percentage points in each contest, while Peltola, coalescing the smaller Democratic base, was able to place first. For Begich to get the chance of facing Rep. Peltola in the final Ranked Choice round in 2024, the three finalists coming from the primary must hold the Congresswoman to less than a majority.
Though the Republican vote is much larger than the Democratic segment in Alaska, the GOP split has allowed Peltola to win the seat by attracting more second and third choice votes than did Palin. Begich will need a more united Republican Party behind him if he is to overcome Rep. Peltola. The AK-AL seat is the most Republican seat in the nation that sends a Democrat to the House. For the Republicans to hold their small House majority, the Alaska seat is fast becoming a must-win for them.
New York: Court Orders Cong Map Redraw — A lower appellate court last week sided with the Democratic lawsuit challenging New York’s court-drawn congressional map and ordered the Independent Redistricting Commission to begin a new re-mapping process. Republicans will then appeal to the state’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, which is the panel that made the original ruling that led to the creation of the current map.
Republicans gained seats on the current map; hence, the reason why Democrats are moving to replace the plan. It appears a final decision about whether we will see a new map for 2024 is undoubtedly months away.
UT-2: Two Candidates Qualify — The Utah Secretary of State announced late last week that the two special election congressional candidates who filed petitions to earn a ballot position have both officially qualified. Former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough both successfully submitted at least 7,000 petition signatures.
The pair will now join congressional legal counsel Celeste Maloy in a Sept. 5 special Republican primary election. Maloy prevailed in the pre-primary party convention. Doing so gave her an automatic ballot slot in the nomination campaign along with the official Republican Party endorsement. The last time Utah hosted a special election – 2017 in the 3rd Congressional District – the eventual primary winner, then-Provo Mayor John Curtis, did not win the convention. Therefore, it appears we may see a free-for-all campaign for the party nomination. The winner will face state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights) in the Nov. 21 special general election. The Republican nominee will be favored in a seat the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) is resigning the seat on Sept. 15 due to family considerations.
New Hampshire: Manchester Mayor to Run Statewide — Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D), who already announced that she will not seek re-election to her current position but gave broad hints that she would enter the 2024 governor’s campaign, formally announced her intention to run statewide late last week.
With Gov. Chris Sununu (R) sending clear signals that he is unlikely to run for a fifth two-year term, it is very likely that Craig will be competing for an open seat. There will be a Democratic primary, however. Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington announced her gubernatorial campaign in early June.
The Executive Council, unique to New Hampshire, is an elected five-member panel from districts to serve as a check on gubernatorial power. A majority of the Executive Council can veto state contracts and nominations. The Council also has the power to issue pardons. Because Gov. Sununu says he will make a formal decision about whether to run again later this summer, no Republicans have yet come forward as potential gubernatorial candidates.