By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023
SenateCalifornia: Rep. Barbara Lee (D) Declares for Senate — In an expected move, 12-term California US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) announced that she will officially join the open US Senate campaign to replace retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D). Rep. Lee had already filed a Senate committee with the Federal Election Commission, and had been making it clear she would announce once Sen. Feinstein made her retirement plans public.
Already declared are fellow Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). Schiff has recruited endorsements from 15 members from the California Democratic delegation, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). At this point, however, no statewide elected office holders are making a move to run for the Senate. California features an all-party jungle primary system, so it is likely that two Democrats will advance to the general election. In 2024, because it is a presidential election year, the California primary moves to Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
While Rep. Lee is the only major candidate at this point hailing from northern California, she will be a decided underdog on the fundraising circuit. Both Reps. Porter and Schiff are two of the most prolific House fundraisers in the country. Though the seat will remain in Democratic hands, this race will continue to feature a highly competitive cycle-long open seat campaign.
RI-1: Rep. David Cicilline (D) to Resign — Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) announced that he will resign from the House on May 31 to accept a new position as president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. Cicilline’s move will require Gov. Dan McKee (D) to schedule a special election later in the year to fill the congressional post.
The Rhode Island Foundation is a 100-plus year-old donating nonprofit entity with an endowment of more than $1.3 billion according to their latest public financial statement. The organization specializes in providing financial grants and scholarships particularly in the areas of community development and education.
The FiveThirtyEight organization rates RI-1 as D+32. The neighboring 2nd District has a D+17 rating, but hosted a competitive 2022 open seat race after veteran Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick) decided to retire. State Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D) recorded a 50-47 percent win over former Cranston mayor and two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung in a race the national GOP had high hopes of winning.
VA-4: State Sen. McClellan (D) Wins Special Election — Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) easily won the state’s 4th District special election Tuesday night, earning the right to succeed the late Congressman Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) who passed away at the end of November.
McClellan was the clear favorite going into the election after winning the Democratic nomination process in December. She easily defeated Republican Leon Benjamin, a frequent candidate, with 74 percent of the vote. The 4th District, which stretches from Richmond to the North Carolina border, is heavily Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district D+30, while Dave’s Redistricting App scores the seat’s partisan lean at 66.8D – 31.6R.
Mississippi: Two Democrats Disqualified — A pair of minor Democratic gubernatorial contenders have been disqualified from the ballot for failing to meet the state’s candidate requirements. This means that Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, cousin to the late music legend Elvis Presley, will be unopposed for the party nomination.
With Gov. Tate Reeves (R) facing only minor opposition in the Aug. 8 Republican primary, we will now assuredly see both the governor and Presley advancing into the general election. Therefore, a defined Mississippi gubernatorial campaign commences and will continue for the better part of this year. The general election date is Nov. 7.