By Jim Ellis — Friday, March 10, 2023
SenateIndiana: Klain Says No — It appeared for a time that Democratic leaders were attempting to recruit Biden former White House chief of staff Ron Klain into the open Hoosier State Senate race. Incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Braun is foregoing re-election to instead run for governor.
The Klain idea, however, was not met with overwhelming acceptance. The 2022 Indiana Democratic Senate nominee, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, for example, expressed opposition to Klain, pointing out that the Washington, DC political establishment did nothing to help him in his failed race against GOP Sen. Todd Young despite several polls suggesting the race was close early. For his part, Klain responded by saying he has never run for office and, therefore, has no plans to become a Senate candidate in 2024.
Michigan: Ex-Rep. Mike Rogers Won’t Run — Former Congressman Mike Rogers (R), who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during his tenure in office and was considering a political comeback in the open Michigan Senate race, says he will not run. The list of Republicans still considering the campaign is dwindling. With both Rogers and former gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon out of the race, the list of potential candidates now include Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland), and former Reps. Fred Upton and Peter Meijer. Of this group, Meier appears to be making the most moves to organize a campaign.
TX-23: Another Republican to Challenge Rep. Gonzales — For the second time this week, a Republican has come forward to announce a GOP primary challenge to two-term Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio) after the incumbent was censured by the Texas Republican Party for taking certain issue positions. Joining Medina County Republican Party chair Julie Clark in the race is retired ICE officer Victor Avila. Since Texas is a runoff state, a crowded field does not necessarily help an incumbent. In a non-runoff state, a crowded field splitting the anti-incumbent vote would allow the latter to win with a plurality.
The Texas primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024; a runoff, if necessary, would be held May 28. The 23rd District is a politically marginal seat that stretches from San Antonio to El Paso and contains more of the US-Mexico border than any other district. The GOP challenges will likely spur the Democrats to recruit a strong general election candidate, so Rep. Gonzales is likely to face several serious campaigns next year.
Louisiana: Rep. Graves Decides to Bypass Gov Race — After much speculation suggesting five-term US Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) would soon join the open 2023 governor’s race this year, the congressman announced this week that he will remain in the House of Representatives. Graves said in his released written statement that he looks forward to helping unite the Republican Party behind a candidate “… with a bold, hopeful vision of Louisiana’s promise that is equal to her potential.”
State House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) and Stephen Waguespack, the president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry and former gubernatorial chief of staff, are now expected to join a Republican field that includes attorney general and ex-congressman, Jeff Landry, state Treasurer John Schroder, state Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R-Chalmette), and state Rep. Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville).
For the Democrats, former state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson appears to have successfully unified the party behind his candidacy. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who publicly supports Wilson, is ineligible to seek a third term.