Alaska’s Palin in Trouble?
Florida Redistricting Map Tossed

By Jim Ellis
May 13, 2022

House

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

AK-AL: Palin Begins Special with Slight Lead, but May Not Prevail — The Alaska Survey Research firm, headed by longtime local pollster Ivan Moore, released their new special election US House study featuring 48 candidates. The survey (May 6-9; 605 AK-AL likely special election voters; online) finds former governor and 2008 vice presidential Republican nominee Sarah Palin leading the huge field with 19 percent, followed closely by officially endorsed Republican Party candidate Nick Begich III at 16 percent, with Independent and former 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee Al Gross and North Pole City Councilman Santa Claus (the former Thomas O’Connor) capturing the third and fourth qualifying positions with 13 and six percent, respectively.

Under the new Alaska election law, the top four finishers from the jungle primary, in this case scheduled for June 11, will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election. If no one receives majority support among the finishing four in the succeeding vote, the Ranked Choice Voting System takes effect. It is here where Palin may find trouble. Under this configuration, ASR projects that Claus would be first eliminated, then Palin in the next round. A Begich-Gross final round would favor Begich at 53-47 percent.

Nick Begich III is the grandson of former US Rep. Nick Begich (D), who died in a plane crash before the 1972 election. His uncle is former US Sen. Mark Begich (D). Nick Begich, III, however, is a Republican. ASR tested four different iterations with four separate fourth-place contenders, and in each scenario Begich ultimately wins the seat.

NE-2: Dem Group Poll Shows Rep. Bacon Trailing — Democratic pollster Change Research, polling for the left of center 314 Action group (May 6-10; 564 NE-2 general election voters of whom 94 percent say are definite or probable voters; online) finds Omaha Democratic state Sen. Tony Vargas leading US Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), 42-39 percent, in a survey conducted just before the Nebraska primary.

The poll skews slightly left, meaning that the race is likely no worse then being tied from Rep. Bacon’s perspective. Approximately 25,000 more people voted in the NE-2 Republican primary than Democratic suggesting the enthusiasm level favors the GOP. The seat became three points more Republican in redistricting. Despite this particular poll result, Rep. Bacon is still favored for re-election.

Redistricting

Florida: Congressional Map Tossed — A Florida state judge, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appointed, disqualified the new Florida congressional map, ruling that the elimination of Rep. Al Lawson’s (D-Tallahassee) majority minority District 5 violates Florida’s Fair Districts Act. The state will clearly appeal, but the map’s fate, the Republicans’ best in the country, now is suspended in political limbo.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey Below 50 Percent — A Cygnal group poll for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 6-7; 600 likely Alabama Republican primary voters) two days ago covered the Alabama Senate race confirming that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is gaining on his two GOP opponents. Wednesday, Cygnal released its data on the state’s gubernatorial campaign. While Gov. Kay Ivey (R) still holds a comfortable lead according to the poll, the survey shows that she has dropped to 40 percent support.

Real Estate developer Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, is second with 18 percent, and former US ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, is a close third with 15 percent. Three more candidates divide 14 percent of the vote, while the remainder is recorded as undecided/won’t say. There is little doubt that Gov. Ivey will finish first, but the question remains whether she can attain the 50 percent threshold to avoid being forced into a secondary runoff election. The Alabama primary is May 24. If a runoff becomes necessary, that election would occur on June 21.

Brooks Rebounds in Alabama After Trump Pulls Endorsement

By Jim Ellis
May 12, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Brooks Rebounding — It appears that analyses of US Rep. Mo Brooks’ (R-Huntsville) Senate campaign being dead in the water after former President Trump pulled his earlier endorsement have proven incorrect. Two new surveys point to Rep. Brooks rebounding to the point of again becoming competitive for the second runoff position from the May 24 primary. The Republican primary is among Brooks, former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt, and businessman and former “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant.

Two new polls have surfaced suggesting that Rep. Brooks is now making this a three-way race. The Moore Information Group (May 2-5; 400 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Britt leading the field with 27 percent, followed by Rep. Brooks and Durant in a tie at 20 percent apiece for the second runoff position. In Alabama, if no one reaches the 50 percent mark in this year’s May 24 primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on June 21.

The second poll, from McLaughlin & Associates (May 2-5; 500 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview & text), gives Britt a larger lead at 37 percent, before projecting Durant in second place with 27 percent, and Rep. Brooks closely trailing at 22 percent. The combined data suggests that Britt is the race leader, while the second runoff slot is clearly undecided.

Missouri: Greitens Releases Internal Poll — Resigned Gov. Eric Greitens (R), attempting to rebound from domestic and child abuse accusations from his ex-wife, yesterday released an internal Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey. The poll, conducted for the Greitens campaign (May 2-4; 806 likely Missouri Republican primary voters), sees Greitens leading the group of Republican candidates, but with only 26 percent of the vote. Trailing are US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) with 19 percent and Attorney General Eric Schmitt with 14 percent.

In the last four polls prior to the Fabrizio Lee release, from four different pollsters, Greitens led in none, with Rep. Hartzler and AG Schmitt topping the field in two apiece. Despite the polls trading leaders, Greitens’ support level remains consistent between 21 and 26 percent in all of the latest publicly released research studies.

Pennsylvania: Trump Endorsement Questioned — Former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick (R) is calling out former President Trump’s endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

In new commercials, the McCormick effort points to television statements that Dr. Oz made supporting the less conservative positions relating to abortion and transgender sex change operations. One of the ads features a clip of Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham stating that Trump endorsing Dr. Oz “is a mistake.” This is the first time we’ve seen an active campaign aggressively oppose a Trump endorsement.

House

HI-2: Rep. Kahele Finally Announces — Coming as no surprise since four elected or formerly elected Democratic officials had already declared their candidacy for what they knew would become an open congressional seat, freshman US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) made public Monday his decision to run for governor and not seek re-election to the House this year.

Rep. Kahele has come under fire for casting the most proxy congressional votes of any member and continuing to fly commercial flights for Hawaiian Airlines while he is a sitting member of the House. The Kahele decision means that a minimum of 61 seats will be open for the 2022 election. The congressman enters a gubernatorial primary where Lt. Gov. Josh Green enjoys large polling leads.

Governor

Nebraska: Close Primary — Two late tracking polls from WPA Intelligence (April 30-May 2; 500 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters; live interview and April 26-28; 505 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters; live interview) find the poll sponsor, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, leading both company CEO and rancher Charles Herbster and Omaha state Sen. Brett Lindstrom. The largest margin is 31-26-16 percent, and while this does suggest some late momentum for Pillen, the previous WPAi poll found the Pillen lead to be only 24-23-20 percent.

Therefore, the Republican gubernatorial nomination appeared to be up for grabs heading into the primary. Former President Trump endorsed Herbster, but several accusations of sexual harassment have arisen against Herbster, thus causing some support to peel away. Herbster denies the claims. The winner has the inside track toward claiming the November election and succeeding term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts (R).

Primary Results Are In

By Jim Ellis
May 11, 2022

Primary Results

University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen

Nebraska: Gov. Ricketts’ Candidate Defeats Trump’s Contender — The media is leading with the point that former President Donald Trump’s Nebraska gubernatorial candidate, rancher and company CEO Chuck Herbster, lost his primary battle last night to rancher and University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen. The fact that eight women, including a state senator, accused Herbster of sexual harassment long after the Trump endorsement was announced likely was the more critical factor in how the race ended.

For his part, Pillen had the support of term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts, former US congressman and ex-University of Nebraska championship head football coach Tom Osborne, former Gov. Kay Orr, the Nebraska Farm Bureau, and Americans for Prosperity, thus demonstrating a wide range of conservative and institutional backers.

Pillen defeated Herbster and Omaha state Sen. Brett Lindstrom in a close 33-30-26 percent result to claim the Republican nomination. He will be a heavy favorite in November against the new Democratic nominee, Bellevue state Sen. Carol Blood. Republican turnout was up approximately 53 percent when compared with the 2018 midterm election. Democrats also increased their participation rate but only in the six percent range.

West Virginia: Mooney Defeats McKinley — In the first of potentially six incumbent-paired contests of the 2022 post-redistricting election cycle, US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) scored a double-digit win over fellow Congressman David McKinley (R-Wheeling) last night. West Virginia lost one of its three seats in reapportionment, hence the reason for the two Republicans facing each other.

All of Rep. McKinley’s current district was contained in the new 2nd, but only half of Mooney’s territory. Former President Donald Trump backed Rep. Mooney after McKinley backed the Biden infrastructure package, which appeared to even the advantages. With polling correctly projecting a Mooney win, the four-term West Virginia congressman who previously served in the Maryland state Senate recorded a convincing 54-36 percent victory.

Senate

Alabama: Confirming Poll — Another released survey confirms that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is moving back into contention and very much alive to capture one of the two runoff slots that the May 24 primary will yield. A Cygnal group poll for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 6-7; 600 likely Alabama Republican primary voters) agrees that former Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Britt leads the race while Rep. Brooks and former “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant are in a tight battle for the second runoff position. In this study, Britt holds a 32-23-21 percent lead over Rep. Brooks and Durant.

Pennsylvania: Three-Way Race Emerging — Two new surveys find the Pennsylvania Senate Republican primary turning into a three-way race within the last week prior to the May 17 primary election. Pennsylvania has no runoff system, so whoever has the most votes next Tuesday, regardless of percentage attained, will become the party nominee.

The Trafalgar Group (May 6-8; 1,080 likely Pennsylvania Republican primary voters; culled from a large sample through live interview, interactive voice response system, email and text) finds television Dr. Mehmet Oz leading the candidate field with newcomer Kathy Barnette, an Army veteran and 2020 congressional nominee, placing second ahead of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. The respondents split 24.5 – 23.2 – 21.6 percent. Insider Advantage, polling for Fox29 (released May 10; 750 likely Pennsylvania GOP primary voters) produced similar numbers: Oz 22.5 percent; Barnette 20.9 percent; and McCormick 18.5 percent.

These polls suggest that any of the top three contenders can still win the nomination. The Republican standard bearer will likely face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), who has a large polling lead over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) in all published surveys.

House

NE-1: As Predicted — Both party-endorsed candidates easily won their respective congressional nominations in the vacant 1st District. Norfolk state Sen. Mike Flood captured the Republican nomination with 73 percent, and Lincoln state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks became her party’s nominee with an 87 percent score. The two will square off in a June 28 special election to fill the unexpired portion of the current term. Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) resigned his seat at the end of March after being convicted for campaign finance violations in a California court. Regardless of how the special ends, both Sens. Flood and Pansing Brooks will face each other in the regular general election.

NE-2 & 3: Incumbents Easily Re-Nominated — US Reps. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) and Adrian Smith (R-Gering) were easily re-nominated last night in their respective primary elections. Both posted more than 75 percent of the vote. Bacon, in a competitive 2nd District will now face Omaha state Sen. Tony Vargas, while Rep. Smith drew farmer David Else as his general election opponent in the expansive 3rd CD. The NE-3 seat stretches the width of Nebraska from the Wyoming border on the west all the way to the Iowa state line in the east.

Trump Endorses Again; Rep. Greene Cleared of Insurrection Charges

By Jim Ellis
May 10, 2022

House

Former Georgia Ethics Commission chairman Jake Evans

GA-6: Trump Endorses Jake Evans — Former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement of former Georgia Ethics Commission chairman Jake Evans for the open 6th Congressional District primary scheduled for May 24. Trump joins former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) in supporting Evans among others. The early leader appeared to be Dr. Rich McCormick (R) who challenged current Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee) in the neighboring 7th District, but lost a close 51-49 percent battle in 2020. The new 6th was made highly Republican, R+24 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, hence the reason current 6th District incumbent Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) decided to challenge Rep. Bourdeaux in the 2022 Democratic primary.

A total of nine Republican candidates are vying for the party nomination, but it will likely come down to a battle between McCormick and Evans. The chances of these two advancing to a July 26 runoff election are high. Georgia employs a 50 percent threshold to claim a nomination outright. If no one reaches that percentage plateau, the top two finishers then face each other in a succeeding runoff election.

GA-14: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Wins Judicial Ruling — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome) was cleared of insurrection charges, and subsequently awarded a ballot position as she seeks a second term in the House. Left of center forces were challenging Greene’s status because of what they said was her role in the Jan. 6 US Capitol protest.

Greene faces five Republican primary opponents on May 24. The likely Democratic nominee is Army veteran Marcus Flowers who had raised over $7 million for the contest, but showed only $1.9 million remaining in his account on March 31. Flowers will need all of these funds and then some, since the new GA-14 is rated R+45.

NY-19: State Senator Won’t Run for Congress — Rep. Antonio Delgado’s (D-Rhinebeck) appointment as New York’s lieutenant governor leaves the upstate 19th Congressional District as an open seat. State Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D-Kingston), daughter of the late US Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D) who served 10 terms in the House, had been considering a congressional bid but announced on Friday that she would instead seek re-election to the legislature. This perhaps robs the Democrats of their best potential candidate in a district that could be re-drawn as more favorable to the Republicans when the new maps are completed by the assigned May 20 deadline.

NC-4: State Senator Leads Dem Open Seat Field — Veteran Tar Heel State US Rep. David Price (D-Chapel Hill) is retiring after serving what will be 34 non-consecutive years in the House. The battle to replace him comes in the Democratic primary in what is rated as a new D+30 district that contains the cities of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Burlington. An Impact Research survey (April 25-28; 425 NC-4 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) projects state Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Chapel Hill) as the race leader with 35 percent support. Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam is second with 16 percent preference, and country singer and former congressional candidate Clay Aiken is third with 10 percent.

Under North Carolina election procedure, a candidate must receive at least 30 percent of the vote to win a partisan nomination outright. It appears that Sen. Foushee is in position to win the May 17 Democratic primary, which is tantamount to clinching the general election in this district.

WV-2: Independent Poll Casts Mooney as Leader — There has been a large number of public polls released in this intra-party incumbent pairing contest, the first of five such battles to be conducted around the country this year. Almost all of the polls, however, have been internally commissioned and show the poll sponsor leading.

The new Research America poll was conducted for the West Virginia MetroNews and not one of the candidates (April 27-5/4; 350 likely WV-2 GOP primary voters; live interview & text), but the results largely confirm the Public Opinion Strategies survey that Rep. Alex Mooney’s (R-Charles Town) campaign released last week. The RA poll finds Mooney leading fellow US Rep. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) by a 48-33 percent count. The POS result posted Rep. Mooney to a similar 50-30 percent lead. The West Virginia primary is today.

Polling Shows Clear Results in Arkansas Senate Race, Continued Indecision in Pennsylvania

By Jim Ellis
May 9, 2022


Senate

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman

Arkansas: Sen. Boozman Close to Victory — A Talk Business & Politics survey that Hendrix College conducted of Arkansas voters tested the US Senate Republican primary and incumbent John Boozman’s positioning with regard to winning re-nomination outright on May 24. The study (May 2; 802 likely Arkansas Republican primary voters; live interview and text) found Sen. Boozman posting 45 percent support, just short of the 50 percent needed for re-nomination.

His opponents, businessman and former Arkansas football star Jake Bequette and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Jan Morgan post 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively. With 18 percent saying they are undecided, Sen. Boozman’s chances of reaching the 50 percent threshold appear relatively strong.

Pennsylvania: Franklin & Marshall College Releases New Primary Data — Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College, featuring a frequent Keystone State polling entity, released their pre-primary data as a prelude to the May 17 statewide primary. No particular surprises came from the Senate race results. The survey (April 20-May 1; 792 registered Pennsylvania voters; 357 Democrats, 325 Republicans, and 110 independents; live interview and online). The poll has flaws in that the sampling period is long and the numbers of primary voters interviewed is small for a state the size of Pennsylvania. The results, however, are consistent with other polling.

For the Democrats, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman continues to enjoy a strong lead, 53-14-4 percent, over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) according to this survey. The Republican side continues close with no candidate breaking away from the pack. The F&M results see Dr. Mehmet Oz barely leading the group with 18 percent, just two points ahead of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. Trump campaign activist and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette follows with 12 percent, while former US Ambassador Carla Sands, and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos are well back with just five and two percent support, respectively.

Governor

Hawaii: Ex-Mayor Withdraws — Former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell (D) announced that he is folding his gubernatorial campaign and will not submit documents at the June 7 candidate filing deadline. The Hawaii primary is Aug. 13. Caldwell sites lack of fundraising and organizational support for his decision to leave the race. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), and former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano are the leading Democratic candidates. Republicans have 13 announced candidates, but the Democratic nomination will be tantamount to election in November. Gov. David Ige (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Establishes Lead — The aforementioned Franklin & Marshall College survey also tested the GOP gubernatorial primary. The results find state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), a retired Army colonel, now leading the large group of Republican contenders with 20 percent, as ex-US Attorney Bill McSwain, and former US Rep. Lou Barletta follow with 13 and 12 percent. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.