By Jim Ellis — Friday, April 21, 2023
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Formally Announces — The son of former US Attorney General and New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy officially entered the Democratic presidential primary yesterday. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gained national attention for his anti-vaccination stance but is unlikely to be a serious threat to President Biden. He could, however, do some damage in New Hampshire and Georgia if the two states don’t adhere to the Democratic National Committee primary schedule, thus likely forcing the president to skip those primaries.
The adjusted DNC schedule bounces New Hampshire from the first primary position and adds Georgia to the pre-Super Tuesday calendar, among other changes. New Hampshire will not easily relinquish its traditional position — and doesn’t have to, because the individual states, and not the political parties, control their own primary election schedule. The Georgia legislature and governor may not approve the schedule because doing so would force the state to finance two primaries, since the Republicans are not adding the Peach State to the pre-Super Tuesday schedule.
New Hampshire: Trump Leading in New Poll — A new University of New Hampshire Granite State poll (April 13-17; 818 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online) sees former President Donald Trump continuing to lead the proposed Republican presidential primary field, while home state Gov. Chris Sununu breaks into double-digits ascending to third place. Trump would lead Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Gov. Sununu, 42-22-12 percent. No other potential candidate reaches five percent support. On the Republican side, New Hampshire will remain as the first-in-the-nation primary.
South Carolina: Trump Leads Home State Opponents — The recently released National Public Affairs survey (April 11-14; 538 registered South Carolina voters likely to vote in the Republican primary; online & text) finds former President Trump again topping the Palmetto State field with 40 percent of the vote, a full 20 points ahead of DeSantis.
South Carolina candidates Nikki Haley (the state’s former governor), and Sen. Tim Scott, who has filed a presidential exploratory committee, would command 18 and 16 percent, respectively. Though the two still trail badly in their home state, the NPA ballot test posts the South Carolina pair to their strongest showing to date.
Ohio: Businessman Moreno Joins GOP Race — Buckeye State businessman Bernie Moreno (R), who for a short time was in the 2022 Senate race but dropped out before the first ballots were cast, announced that he will join the 2024 Republican primary with the hope of challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the general election. While a candidate in the previous campaign, Moreno spent $4 million of his personal fortune on his political effort.
Currently in the race is state senator and 2022 US Senate candidate Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) who has already invested $3 million of his own money into the ’24 Senate race. Thus, it appears we have two major self-funders set to battle each other for what should be a valuable GOP nomination in what portends to be one of the hottest general election Senate races in the country.
IL-7: Exploratory Committee Filed: — Veteran Illinois Congressman Danny Davis (D-Chicago) was first elected to the US House in 1996 after serving both as a Cook County Commissioner and on the Chicago City Council. Though his district is heavily Democratic and safe from a Republican opponent, Rep. Davis did have a relatively close call in the 2022 Democratic primary when he defeated community organizer Kina Collins by a 52-45 percent count. In 2020, he defeated the same opponent with a 60-13 percent victory margin.
At the age of 81, he is considered a retirement prospect for the 2024 election. That being the case, Chicago City treasurer and former state Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin (D) formed a congressional exploratory committee for the 7th District. This is a March 2024 Democratic primary campaign to watch.
IN-3: Former Rep. Stutzman Launches Comeback — Indiana Republican Marlin Stutzman, who served three terms in the US House before losing the 2016 US Senate Republican primary to then-Congressman Todd Young, announced yesterday that he will attempt to reclaim the seat he vacated eight years ago. The race, however, will be no “gimme” for the former congressman and ex-state legislator. Already announced as candidates are state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) and former Circuit Judge Wendy Davis, among others.
In a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates R+34, the successor to Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who is now running for Senate, will be decided in the May 2024 Republican primary.
MI-10: Another Democrat Surfaces to Challenge Rep. James — A third Democratic candidate came forward to compete for the party nomination to challenge Michigan freshman US Rep. John James (R-Farmington Hills). Emily Busch, a gun control activist and defeated state representative candidate, said she will run for Congress next year. Already in the Democratic primary are attorney Brian Jaye and financial consultant and ex-state representative candidate Diane Young.
It is likely that 2022 nominee and former judge and prosecutor Carl Marlinga will return for a re-match. He will be heavily favored in the Democratic primary, having lost to James by just a half-percentage point. The 10th District 2024 campaign again promises to be highly competitive and is a national Democratic congressional target.