By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 22, 2023
PresidentDonald Trump: Skipping Second Debate — Former President Donald Trump said this week that he will not join the other Republican candidates at the Sept. 27 debate forum at the Ronald Reagan Library in southern California. Instead, he will be making a speech about the striking United Auto Workers union to lay the groundwork for potential support in the general election.
As he continues to hold a big lead over the entire GOP candidate field, Trump would stand to gain little by participating in the next forum. Due to more stringent debate requirements, the Republican National Committee expects to have fewer candidates earning a debate podium, with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and ex-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson unlikely to qualify.
Utah: Two Make Moves to Join Open Race — Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R) announcement that he will not seek re-election has led to a pair of Republicans readying to enter the race. Roosevelt Mayor Rod “JR” Bird Jr. just announced his candidacy, joining Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs in the active field. State House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) said he will resign his position in mid-November and has scheduled a “special announcement” for Sept. 27. We can expect a large Republican field to form.
VA-7: ’22 Cong Candidate will Return — Iraq War veteran and attorney Derrick Anderson (R), who ran for the 7th District seat in the last election but failed to win the Republican primary, announced that he will return in 2024. Four other Republicans have already declared their candidacies for the politically marginal seat.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) is reportedly looking at a 2025 run for governor, and if she ultimately moves in that direction, she would not seek re-election to the House in 2024. Therefore, this race will move up the competitive scale. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the VA-7 seat as D+2. The Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the 7th as the 14th most vulnerable seat in the 213-member Democratic conference.VA-10: Health Problems Will Keep Rep. Wexton From Seeking Re-Election — Three-term Virginia US Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) announced that she will not run for a fourth term next year due to a catastrophic health diagnosis.
“I’ve always believed that honesty is the most important value in public service, so I want to be honest with you now – this new diagnosis is a tough one. There is no ‘getting better’ with PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy).” The Mayo Clinic says that “Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is an uncommon brain disorder that causes serious problems with walking, balance and eye movements, and later with swallowing. … [It] worsens over time and can lead to life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia and swallowing problems. There’s no cure for [it], so treatment focuses on managing the signs and symptoms.”
Virginia’s 10th Congressional District is anchored in Loudoun County and contains Fauquier and Rappahannock counties along with parts of Prince William and Fairfax counties. The cities of Manassas and Manassas Park are also included.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+8, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 55.2D – 43.0R. President Joe Biden carried this district with a substantial 58.3 – 40.2 percent margin. We can expect a competitive open campaign to develop here, but the eventual Democratic nominee will have a clear advantage in the general election.
NM-2: Tight District Race — One of the closest 2022 campaigns occurred in southern New Mexico where then-Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez (D) defeated freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) by a scant 50.3 – 49.6% victory margin in a gerrymandered district designed to elect a Democrat. Survey USA was just in the field testing the 2024 re-match campaign. Again, the polling results suggest a toss-up finish.
The S-USA study (Sept. 6-12; 541 likely NM-2 voters; live interview & online) sees Herrell clutching to a slight onepoint edge over Rep. Vasquez, 46-45%. If the Republicans are to hold their slim House majority, they must win tight districts such as this one to neutralize the Democrats’ apparent advantage on the second round of redistricting.
Houston: Runoff Schedule Set — Gov. Greg Abbott (R) indicated that he would select Dec. 9 as the runoff election date for any contest that is not decided in the coming Nov. 7th election.
Under Texas law, a runoff is not officially scheduled until it is certain that one would be required. The open Houston mayoral contest largely between current US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) and state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) is likely the premier electoral contest, which will require a secondary vote. The Abbott comments give the candidates a better idea as to what time they will have regarding post-election campaign planning.