By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024
PresidentPrimary Polling: NH Closing; SC Not So — Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley, the former UN ambassador and ex-South Carolina governor, saw some good and bad news in recently released polling. The American Research Group (Dec. 27-Jan. 3; 600 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; live interview) sees former President Donald Trump maintaining only a 33-29 percent edge over Ms. Haley.
This is the closest New Hampshire survey result published so far during the election campaign. ARG found that Haley is gaining because of her support from non-affiliated voters who can vote in New Hampshire partisan primaries. Among only registered Republicans, Trump leads Haley, 42-31 percent. Among the non-affiliateds who say they will vote in the GOP primary, Haley holds a 42-36 percent edge, thus explaining her closing ability.
However, in Haley’s home state of South Carolina, the results are much different. The latest Emerson College survey (Jan. 2-3; 584 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds Trump continuing to hold a commanding 54-25 percent lead over Haley. With Trump poised for strong victories in the pre-Super Tuesday states of Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and Michigan, even a strong New Hampshire performance for Haley will not likely give her enough of a boost to overtake the former president for the party nomination.
CO-5: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) to Retire — Nine-term Colorado US Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) who has typically repelled serious primary challengers throughout his 18-year career in Congress, announced over the weekend that he will retire when the current Congress ends. Lamborn is the 42nd House member not seeking re-election and the 18th Republican. He is the third of Colorado’s seven incumbents who will leave a seat open.
The Centennial State’s 5th District is anchored in the city of Colorado Springs and fully contained within El Paso County. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CO-5 as R+18. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 74th most vulnerable in the Republican Conference. Therefore, the eventual new Republican nominee will be heavily favored to hold the seat in the November election.
MI-8: Strong Candidates Announce — With Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) retiring, that leaves a politically marginal seat open, and both parties are filing strong candidates. National Democrats have successfully recruited who they believe is their strongest prospect, state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City). Also in the Democratic primary race are Michigan State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, and non-profit executive and former Genesee County Democratic Party chairman Dan Moilanen. Therefore, we will see a very active Aug. 6 Democratic primary to determine the party nominee.
Republicans also now have a candidate with a well known name. State Rep. Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland) is the son of former attorney general, appellate judge, US congressman, and state Sen. Bill Schuette, announced his congressional candidacy late last week. Also in the Republican primary is the twice nominated Paul Junge.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MI-8 as R+1. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 11th most vulnerable in the Democratic Conference. Now as an open seat, the vulnerability becomes even more pronounced. This and the adjacent open MI-7 will be two of the most hotly contested congressional districts in the country. The 8th District is anchored in the Flint-Midland-Saginaw area. It contains Genesee, Saginaw, and Bay Counties, with parts of Midland and Tuscola counties.
Utah: Gov. Cox Draws Second Credible Primary Opponent — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R), seeking a second term, will now face another Republican primary opponent. Former Utah Republican Party chairman Carson Jorgensen announced his gubernatorial candidacy at the end of last week. State Rep. Phil Lyman (R-Blanding) declared his candidacy in late October.
Although Gov. Cox — who has alienated the conservative base from time to time during his tenure — could have trouble in the Republican nominating convention, he would be favored to win a primary election. If both challengers qualify for the Republican primary, having multiple opponents will help the governor clinch the party nomination.