By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 22, 2024
PresidentRon DeSantis: Suspends Campaign: Two days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, once thought to be former President Donald Trump’s principal Republican challenger, announced that he is suspending his national campaign and endorsed the former president.
While DeSantis suspended his campaign, he didn’t soften his attacks on both President Joe Biden and fellow GOP challenger Nikki Haley. “I look forward to working together with him [Trump] to beat Joe Biden, who is the worst and most corrupt president in the history of our country,” DeSantis said.
Referring to Haley, Gov. DeSantis was quoted as saying, “I signed a pledge to support the nominee, and I will honor that pledge. He [Mr. Trump] has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”
The GOP presidential fight now winnows to two major contenders, former President Trump, and ex-UN Ambassador Haley. Tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary may be close; Trump, however, will easily win in Nevada on Feb. 6, after which the campaign heads to Haley’s home state of South Carolina on Feb. 24 where polling finds Trump holding a 2:1 lead. If such margin holds, the Republican nomination will effectively be clinched before Super Tuesday on March 5.
Louisiana: Congressional Map Passes Legislature — The Louisiana state legislature agreed upon legislation to create a new congressional map as part of their special session to satisfy a court order. The bill now goes to Gov. Jeff Landry (R) for his signature. The agreed upon plan creates a new 6th District anchored in Baton Rouge, which then stretches through Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton), virtually cutting it in half, to reach Shreveport. This satisfies the court order to create a second majority minority seat in the state (54 percent black). According to the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians, President Biden would have carried the new 6th by a 59-39 percent majority.
The big loser on this map is five-term Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge). He is now paired with Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in a new 5th District seat that stretches along the Mississippi border on the south and east and going all the way to the Arkansas border on the north. The new 5th contains at least two-thirds of Rep. Letlow’s current constituency.
The partisan division will now award another seat to the Democrats, making the future Louisiana delegation 5R-2D. Under the plan, Speaker Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Reps. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), and Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette) all get safe seats from a partisan perspective.
NY-3: New Poll Shows Tight Special Election Race — A newly released Emerson College survey (Jan. 13-15; 975 registered NY-3 voters; 819 likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees a close special election race developing between former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) and Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R). The ballot test shows a 45-43 percent split in favor of Suozzi.
The best news for the former Democratic congressman is that the most likely voters within the sample break for him on a 51-37 percent split. While the majority white vote (58 percent of the district population) favors Pilip 49-40 percent, the largest minority group, Asians (24 percent of the district population), overwhelmingly favor Suozzi (60-25 percent). Hispanics (13 percent of the population) are moving toward Pilip in a 44-33 percent clip.
Possibly the most troubling news for Suozzi are President Biden’s and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) poor job approval ratings. Only one-third of voters, 33 percent, approve of President Biden’s performance in office (59 percent disapprove). Gov. Hochul’s numbers are even worse. Her approval index is 25:66 percent favorable to unfavorable. The special election is scheduled for Feb. 13.
Louisiana: Changing to Party Primary System — As part of the special Louisiana state legislative session, the House and Senate are sending a bill to Gov. Jeff Landry (R), one that he initiated, to change Louisiana’s primary voting system from a top-two jungle system to a partisan primary. The changes would take effect for the 2026 election and would institute a modified system where registered members of the political party must vote in their own primary while non-affiliated voters would have their choice of where to cast their ballot.
The change would mean, as in most other states, that only the political party nominees and qualified Independents would advance to the general election. The legislation would affect all federal races along with the state Supreme Court, the state school board, and the Public Service Commission. All other offices would continue with the current system of sending the top two finishers regardless of political party affiliation to the general election.