By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023
PresidentNew Hampshire: Democratic Leaders Launch Biden Write-in Effort — A group of leading Democrats, including the state’s two senators and their pair of US House members, as well as all 10 Democratic state senators and most of the party’s large delegation to the state House of Representatives, are forming an organization to qualify President Joe Biden as a write-in candidate for the still unscheduled Democratic presidential primary. Biden is choosing to bypass New Hampshire because the state did not agree with the new Democratic National Committee presidential primary scheduling recommendations.
Though the show of internal Democratic strength is positive for the Biden campaign, their move also increases the stakes for the New Hampshire primary. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) is a candidate and will secure a ballot position. Therefore, the pressure would be on the Biden write-in effort to defeat Phillips, otherwise his national campaign would begin with a major political black eye.
New Jersey: NJ First Lady Files Candidate Committee — New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy (D) may be joining the US Senate race. Rumored to be a candidate once the scandal involving incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D) broke, Murphy had not taken any official step to create a formal campaign. That changed Tuesday, however, as she filed a senatorial exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission but stopped short of declaring her candidacy. An announcement may be coming in the next couple of weeks.
Murphy may have a difficult time in the Senate Democratic primary. Sen. Menendez, though faring poorly in early polling, has not indicated that he will resign or retire. Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) immediately announced his Senate primary entry upon the Menendez indictment becoming public and has jumped out to an early lead.
Additionally, Gov. Phil Murphy had a close call for re-election in 2021, meaning the Murphy family is likely weakened within the Democratic voting base. Finally, Murphy has never been a candidate before, and starts well behind Rep. Kim despite having name identification. An early October Data for Progress poll showed Kim leading an entire proposed candidate field, including Sen. Menendez, by a large margin. Murphy stood at just four percent support.
OR-3: Rep. Earl Blumenauer to Retire — Fifteen-term Oregon US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) has announced that he will retire at the end of the current Congress. Blumenauer, first elected to the House in a 1996 special election, has served in public office consecutively since 1973, including his time in the Oregon House of Representatives, the Multnomah County Commission, and as a Portland City Commissioner, in addition to his 28-plus years in Congress. He currently serves on the Ways & Means and Budget Committees.
Rep. Blumenauer leaves a safely Democratic Portland suburban-anchored seat that covers Hood River County and parts of Multnomah and Clackamas counties. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+43. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a whopping 70.5D – 25.0R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks OR-3 as the 155th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.
Blumenauer’s retirement decision means there are now 22 open House seats, 15 from the Democratic side, six that Republicans hold, with one new redistricting-created open seat in Alabama. Of the 21 incumbents not seeking re-election at this point, eight are retiring or have resigned, and 13 are running for a different office. We can expect a crowded and hotly contested 3rd District Democratic primary scheduled for May 21, 2024.
NY-16: Rep. Bowman Primary Opponents Unifying — Pastor Michael Gerald (D) announced that he is putting his Democratic primary challenge against Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) on hold until Westchester County Executive George Latimer (D) decides whether he will run. Rep. Bowman has been on the hot seat regarding being found guilty of deliberately pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building and could face an expulsion resolution. Obviously, this has generated negative publicity for the congressman.
Prior to winning the County Executive’s position in the 2017 election, Latimer had served in the New York State Senate and Assembly. Westchester County contains 91 percent of NY-16, so a Latimer challenge to Rep. Bowman, should it materialize, would become a major campaign.