By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023
PresidentNikki Haley: Announces Presidential Bid — Former South Carolina governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), as promised, officially announced her presidential campaign, joining former President Trump in the GOP field. Analysts pointed out that her announcement portfolio relies heavily on her background with little in the way of future vision. This approach largely proved a mistake for Republicans nationally in 2022, and the principal reason that many believed GOP candidates under-performed in the last election.
For his part, former President Trump seems to welcome her into the race, as he probably will with others. He understands a crowded field will likely award him the nomination with base support nationally of approximately 35 percent, just how the 2016 Republican campaign unfolded.
California: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) Announces Retirement Plans — As expected, veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), now the longest-serving Democrat in the chamber since former Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) retired, announced that she will not seek re-election to a sixth full term in office. The senator originally claimed the seat in a 1992 special election and won her first six-year term two years later.
Sen. Feinstein, who is 89 years old, was first elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969 and became board president in 1978. Later that year, she succeeded then Mayor George Moscone (D) after his tragic assassination. Feinstein would then win election to the position of mayor and serve a total of nine years. She lost the 1988 governor’s race to then-Sen. Pete Wilson (R) but rebounded to win the Senate seat four years later.
Two Democratic House members, Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) had both announced their Senate candidacies weeks before the incumbent made public her own retirement decision.
Texas: Sen. Cruz Seeks Re-Election, No Presidential Run — Two-term Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) announced that he is fully committed to seeking re-election to his current position and will not enter the 2024 presidential contest. Under Texas law, it would have been permissible for Sen. Cruz to simultaneously run for both offices, but he has chosen to concentrate on winning another senatorial term. In 2018, he defeated then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) only 51-48 percent in a race many thought the senator might lose. His focus on re-election suggests that we will see a more aggressive Senate campaign in this election cycle.
At this point no major Democrats have yet come forward to challenge Sen. Cruz. The party leadership would like to see Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) enter the statewide campaign, but with Allred now holding a safe House seat, his risking the chances of making a statewide bid lessen.
CO-3: Re-Match on Tap — Aspen Democratic former City Councilman Adam Frisch, who held Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) to the closest victory in any House race (546 vote margin), announced Wednesday that he will return to seek a re-match with the two-term congresswoman.
Frisch, however, already has Democratic primary opposition. Late last week, veterinarian and former congressional candidate Debby Burnett announced her candidacy, but she faces a difficult road to deny Frisch renomination after his strong general election performance. It is likely we will see another close general election here in 2024.
Mississippi: New Poll Finds Gov. Reeves Trailing — A late January 2023 Mississippi gubernatorial poll, for the first time, shows Gov. Tate Reeves falling behind Democratic Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley in a head-to-head ballot test question. Tulchin Research, polling for the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern Majority IE PAC (Jan. 21-25; 500 projected likely Mississippi voters; live interview, email & text) projects Presley, a cousin to the late singing legend Elvis Presley, pulling ahead of Gov. Reeves, 47-43 percent.
An earlier January poll, from Siena College (Jan. 1-12; 821 registered Mississippi voters), however, posted Gov. Reeves to a 43-39 percent edge. The closeness of the two early polls project that we will likely see a hard-fought gubernatorial campaign conducted in the Magnolia State later this year.