By Jim Ellis — July 20, 2023
SenateFlorida: First Democrat Announces — Democrats have not yet recruited a top candidate to challenge Sen. Rick Scott (R), but at least they now have a contender coming forward. Navy veteran Phil Ehr, who challenged Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) in 2020 and lost 65-34 percent, is now a US Senate candidate. While losing, Ehr did raise over $2 million, but he will need substantially more even to win the Democratic primary.
The only other challenger to Sen. Scott, who was also twice elected governor, is Republican businessman Keith Gross. It was believed that Gross could fund a significant portion of his campaign, and so far he has added $661,000 to his political treasury. Outside of his personal loan, Gross only raised $9,000 during the 2nd Quarter fundraising period. At this point, Sen. Scott is a clear favorite for renomination and re-election.
NC-13: New Potential GOP Candidate — State legislative analyst Jeff Hauser (R) says he is interested in exploring a congressional candidacy next year in the district that freshman Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) currently holds. Expect this seat to significantly change once the new congressional map is drawn and passes the state legislature. With the new Republican state Supreme Court likely to approve the eventual map, expect this district to become much better territory for the GOP.
Bo Hines (R), who lost in November to Nickel 52-48 percent, is said to be considering mounting a comeback. He proved, however, to be a weak candidate so look for the GOP leadership to look in a different direction once the new map is presented and approved.
Louisiana: Landry Opens Huge Dollar Advantage — On Monday, we reported that a BDPC consulting firm poll (July 6-10; 600 registered Louisiana voters; live interview) found a close ballot test result of 30-28 percent between Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) and former LA Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D). The new fundraising disclosure reports show a much different picture of this developing statewide campaign.
During the 2nd Quarter, Landry raised $4.7 million and has over $9.2 million cash-on-hand. Conversely, Wilson raised only $560,000 and reports $590,000 in the bank. The closest contender to Landry is state Treasurer John Schroder (R). While raising only $220,000 for the quarter, the Schroder campaign reports $2.2 million in their campaign account. Louisiana’s all-party jungle primary is scheduled for Oct. 14 of this year. If no candidate receives majority support, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held on Nov. 18.
Missouri: Ashcroft Down on Money — While Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, son of former Missouri Senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, is viewed to be the leader of the open gubernatorial Republican primary, the 2nd Quarter fundraising reports show him on the downside of the money count. In a battle of supportive PACs, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe’s affiliated American Dream PAC raised $1.2 million as compared to the Committee for Liberty’s (Ashcroft) $290,000. St. Charles County state Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring), who has not yet officially announce for governor, saw his leadership committee, BILL PAC, raise over $800,000.
GOP Gov. Mike Parson is ineligible to run for a third term. State House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) is the leading Democratic contender. Republicans are favored to win the open general election.