By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023
SenateMichigan: GOP Senate Action Beginning — When Wolverine State Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced on Jan. 5 that she would not seek re-election in 2024, a spate of speculative activity occurred particularly among Democrats as to who may run to succeed the veteran incumbent. Despite the seemingly heightened interest level, no major candidate has yet to announce. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) was thought to be on the verge of declaring her Senate candidacy and is still expected to at some point, but she has yet to come forward.
The Republicans were quiet immediately after the Stabenow announcement, which caught many by surprise, but now increased chatter is evident. Last week, former US Rep. Mike Rogers said he is considering running, and this week speculation is surrounding potential Senate bids from Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) and former US Rep. Peter Meijer. The latter man was denied renomination in the 2022 election cycle. The Michigan race promises to be highly competitive, but Democrats will be favored to win a close open seat contest.
CA-13: Ex-Candidate Declares Against Rep. Duarte — Fresno area financial advisor and ex-Democratic congressional candidate Phil Arballo (D) says he will return in 2024 to hopefully challenge freshman Rep. John Duarte (R-Modesto) in the general election. The congressman recorded the 2022 election’s second-closest victory margin nationally, a 565-vote win over then-state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D).
Arballo first came on the political scene in 2020 when he challenged then-Rep. Devin Nunes (R). He raised over $5 million for that campaign but secured only 46 percent of the general election vote. He entered the 2022 race in new District 13 but failed to become a November election finalist, placing third in the jungle primary with a 17.4 percent preference total after raising $1.6 million.
The 13th District race will be a major national Democratic conversion target, so we can expect a large jungle primary field to form. At this point, there is little indication that Gray will return for a re-match.
NY-19: Field Forming to Challenge Rep. Molinaro — We’ve already seen brisk political activity in several upstate New York districts. Over the weekend, Dan Butterman (D), an insurance executive who has three times failed to win a state assembly seat, says he will join the growing field to challenge freshman Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-Red Hook). Also in the race are Democratic activist Joe Cerullo and Independent marketing executive Hal Stewart. Stronger Democratic candidates are expected to emerge.
Molinaro won the 19th District general election with a 51-49 percent victory over attorney Josh Riley (D), after the new congressman lost the special election conducted earlier in the year to replace former US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D) who resigned from the House to become lieutenant governor.
In two other Upstate districts, former Congressman Mondaire Jones (D) is contemplating a comeback effort against freshman Rep. Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) in the Westchester County-anchored 17th CD, and a pair of Democrats have announced their candidacies against freshman Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) in the 22nd District.
North Carolina: Former Congressman Considering Gov Race — Former Tar Heel State three-term Congressman Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who was redistricted out of his 6th District seat and then subsequently lost a GOP US Senate primary, indicated he is now interested in running for governor next year.
Walker fared poorly in the 2022 US Senate contest, however, placing a distant third to now-Sen. Ted Budd in the Republican primary. In that race he secured only 9.2 percent of the GOP vote. In the governor’s race, Walker would face Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) and likely several others. Incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.
It is probable that a new congressional redistricting map will be drawn to replace the current interim court map before the 2024 election. As has been the Republican map drawers’ past practice, a new plan would reconfigure one of the seats in the Greensboro area to favor a Republican candidate. Therefore, again running for the House could be another option for Walker.