RFK Jr. Qualifies in Michigan;
More Candidates in KS-2;
Wisconsin Rep. Gallagher Resigns; Pennsylvania Primary Today

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

RFK Jr: Qualifies for Ballot in Michigan — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has obtained ballot position in the critical swing state of Michigan on the Natural Law Party line. The Independent national candidate is also on the ballot in Utah, and his campaign says he will file the requisite number of signatures plus significantly more in Idaho, Iowa, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. His chances of obtaining 4,000 valid signatures in Maine are also strong.

Currently, Kennedy will compete in some critical swing states and could determine the outcome for one of the major party candidates if his vote coalition takes decidedly more votes from President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump. Therefore, we see that his candidacy could tip the electoral vote count in Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and the 2nd District of Nebraska. All are expected to produce very close final tallies for the two major party presidential candidates.


KS-2: More Individuals in the Candidate Mix — Potential Kansas congressional candidates continue to contemplate their political moves in response to last week’s surprise retirement announcement from two-term Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Topeka).

Republicans already expressing interest in announcing their candidacies are state House Majority Leader Chris Croft, Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson, and state Sen. Caryn Tyson (R-Parker). Former state attorney general and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Derek Schmidt acknowledges that his name is in the mix for the 2nd District but has not yet made a statement regarding intent. State Insurance Commissioner Vicky Schmidt is a possible candidate. Topeka Mayor Michelle de la Isla is mentioned as a potential Democratic contender.

The Kansas candidate filing deadline is June 1. The real action is in the Republican primary as the seat will almost assuredly remain in the GOP column. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+21, and Trump carried the district 57-41 percent in the 2020 presidential campaign.

WI-8: Rep. Gallagher (R) Resigns — After staying to vote on the foreign aid bills, Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay) officially resigned his seat. His action reduces the total House count to 430, and the Republican majority to 217-213. Gallagher joins former Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Ken Buck (R-CO) who also left the House prior to finishing the current term.

Special elections to fill the balance of the terms will be held in all but Wisconsin. The New York district will be filled April 30, CA-20 on May 21, the OH-6 seat on June 11, and Rep. Buck’s Colorado CD on June 25. Each party is expected to hold the seats of their departing members. If so, when the special election cycles conclude, the Republicans will have 220 seats and the Democrats’ 214.


Pennsylvania: Primary Today — The nation’s only April primary is scheduled for today, and electorates in several key House races will choose nominees. Presidential turnout, as a gauge for voting enthusiasm, will be monitored, while both major party US Senate candidates — Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) and businessman David McCormick (R) — are unopposed in their respective nomination campaigns.

We have several major primaries occurring, one that will seal a seat for the Democratic nominee in the Pittsburgh anchored 12th District, and two more in swing districts that will lead to highly competitive general election races.

Freshman Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pittsburgh) defends against local official Bhavini Patel in District 12. Republicans feature a competitive primary to challenge vulnerable Reps. Susan Wild (D-Allentown), as do Democrats opposite six-term Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg/ Harrisburg).

Republicans also look to mount strong challenges against Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) and Chris Deluzio (D-Aspinwall). Tomorrow, however, their candidates, businessman Rob Bresnahan and state Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Pine Richland), face no intraparty opposition.

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