By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022
SenateIndiana: Former Governor Making Moves — After going through a very quiet 2022 election, the Indiana political scene is fast becoming a focal point of the early 2024 election cycle. Reports from the state surfaced late last week that former Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who has ruled out a run for his former job, is making moves to assess his chances in an open US Senate race. Sen. Mike Braun (R) won’t seek re-election in order to mount his own campaign in the open governor’s race. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term, but has not wholly closed the door on entering the Senate race.
The Republican nominee, to be chosen in an early May 2024 primary, will be the heavy favorite to win both the open Senate and governor’s positions. Therefore, much attention will be paid to the GOP primary as it continues to evolve over what will now be a long period.
Pennsylvania: Republicans Searching for Challenger Candidate — The Pennsylvania Republican Party is planning to make a major run against Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) in 2024 and are already searching for a strong challenger. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who came within 900 votes of winning the 2022 Republican primary, is certainly a possible option, but the latest reports suggest that state Treasurer Stacy Garrity would be an attractive potential Senate candidate. We can expect a competitive GOP primary to develop, and yet another hard-fought general election in two years here not only for President, but also again for a critically important US Senate seat.
Pennsylvania House: Majority Depends Upon Deceased Representative — The 203-member Pennsylvania House is facing a dilemma. The Democrats scored a one-seat majority in the election and, on paper, have a 102-101 edge. Unfortunately, veteran Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Penn Hills), passed away just before the election; he represented that 102nd vote. Running against a Green Party candidate, DeLuca was re-elected with 85 percent of the vote even though he had already passed away.
Additionally, Pennsylvania law allows candidates to simultaneously run for more than one office in the same election. This means two more Democratic House vacancies have occurred. State Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) resigned her state House seat because she was elected to Congress. State Rep. Austin Davis (D-McKeesport) left the House to assume his new position as lieutenant governor.
A further problem at the state house is that the Speaker of the House sets the special election calendar to fill vacancies in the chamber and not the governor. Therefore, the legislators are embroiled in a dispute over whether or not these special elections can even legally be called since no official Speaker has been elected. Republicans have rejected the Democratic Leader’s special election schedule and Democrats opposed the outgoing GOP Speaker’s special election plan even though both had placed the elections on the same day.