Utah’s Sen. Lee in Competitive Primary; Cheney’s Tumbling Numbers in WY

By Jim Ellis — June 13, 2022

Senate

Utah: McMullin Competitive with Sen. Lee — A new Dan Jones & Associates survey for the Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute of Politics (May 24-June 4; 810 registered Utah voters; live interview) suggests that the Utah Democrats’ move to forego fielding their own party nominee and instead coalescing behind Independent former presidential candidate Evan McMullin was the right course of action. The general election ballot test finds Sen. Mike Lee leading McMullin only 41-37 percent. It is probable that Sen. Lee is in better standing than this poll indicates, but it does appear that the Democrats’ coalition move apparently makes this race significantly more competitive.

House

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.

WY-AL: Rep. Cheney Decimated in New Poll — A new survey from the Fabrizio Lee & Associates firm conducted for the Wyoming Values PAC (June 1-2; 400 likely Wyoming Republican primary voters; live interview and text of a repeat universe from the Dec. 14-15 poll) reveals a brewing landslide for challenger Harriet Hageman in her Aug. 16 Republican primary contest with at-large US Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson). The poll shows just how upset the Wyoming Republican voter base is with Rep. Cheney, as her personal favorability of 26:73 percent favorable to unfavorable is even worse than her atrocious job approval rating of 27:70 percent.

On the ballot test, Hageman leads the congresswoman 56-28 percent with state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie) trailing badly at the eight percent support level. This is a significant improvement for Hageman, who led in the December poll only 34-26 percent. The Fabrizio Lee numbers are also consistent with a recent Club for Growth survey that found an almost identical 56-28 percent division in favor of Hageman.

AL-5: New Runoff Data — The May 24 open 5th Congressional District Republican primary ended with Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong and former Assistant US Army Secretary Casey Wardynski advancing into a June 21 runoff. Strong led in the first vote, 45-23 percent, which was five points short of clinching the party nomination outright. The Cygnal research organization conducted their survey (June 4-6; 400 likely AL-5 GOP runoff voters) and it posts Strong to a 46-31 percent lead, similar to the actual primary election’s finish. The winner replaces current representative and US Senate contender Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in the northern Alabama congressional district.

AK-AL: Special Primary Election — The special primary, the first step in replacing the late Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), will be held Saturday. Voting in the all-mail primary has been going on for the past several weeks, and is scheduled to culminate this weekend. The huge field of 48 candidates, all placed on the same ballot in a jungle primary format, will be whittled to four, as the state’s new top-four qualification system is in use for the first time.

It appears likely that former governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, party-endorsed Republican candidate Nick Begich III, and Independent surgeon Al Gross, who was the 2020 Democratic nominee for Senate, will advance into the special general election to be held concurrently with the regular state primary on Aug. 16. The fourth qualifying position appears up for grabs, with Anchorage Democratic City Assemblyman Chris Constant, state Sen. Josh Revak (R-Anchorage), who Anne Young, the late congressman’s widow, endorses, state Rep. Adam Wool (R-Fairbanks), and several others all vying for the final chance to slip into the general election.

The special general will be a regular in-person vote. If no one receives majority support in that election, the Ranked Choice Voting system takes effect. All voters will have ranked their choices from 1-4, and the process continues through rounds and candidate elimination until one contender breaks the 50 percent majority support level.

FL-2: Rep. Lawson Announces Bid — In another indication that the congressional redistricting map Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) drove through the legislature will be the plan at least for the 2022 election despite its legal challenges, Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee), whose 5th District was collapsed in the draw, has announced his re-election intentions. He will challenge GOP Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District.

This new 2nd contains Rep. Lawson’s home city of Tallahassee, a Democratic domain, but is also rated as R+16 from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, and earns a 54.5 percent R – 43.8 percent D rating from Dave’s Redistricting App. Former President Trump would have carried this new district 55-44 percent in the 2020 election. Looking at these ratings and numbers suggests that Rep. Lawson has a difficult road ahead of him if he is to return to the House next year.

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