Trump’s Florida Endorsements; Mastriano Candidacy Could Hinder Republicans; Jungle Primary System Being Considered in Montana, SD

By Jim Ellis — Monday, April 24, 2022


Former President Donald Trump

Donald Trump: Scoring Florida Congressional Endorsements — Former President Donald Trump is playing the endorsement game to “one up” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and he has been quite successful in recruiting Sunshine State delegation congressional endorsements. How much such support will help the former President is yet to be determined, but he now has 11 Florida House members in his camp versus just one for the state’s governor.

Those publicly endorsing Trump are Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach); John Rutherford (R-Jacksonville); Mike Waltz (R-St. Augustine Beach), from the district that DeSantis previously represented; Cory Mills (R-New Smyrna Beach); Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor); Anna Paulina Luna (R-St. Petersburg); Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota); Greg Steube (R-Sarasota); Byron Donalds (R-Naples); Brian Mast (R-Ft. Pierce); and Carlos Gimenez (R-Miami). The lone DeSantis endorsement comes from freshman Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Tampa).

Pennsylvania: Trump Concerned About Mastriano — Reports are surfacing on Twitter that former President Trump is expressing anxiety that state senator and former gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano (R-Chambersburg) would hurt his own campaign if he were to run for the Senate and win the party nomination. Sen. Mastriano is a strong supporter of Trump’s, but his poor 2022 general election campaign for governor netted him only a 56-42 percent loss to then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D).

Again having Mastriano on the general election ballot would likely cost Republicans up and down the entire ballot because another poor campaign for one of the top offices would likely depress GOP turnout.


Montana: Top-Two Primary Bill Tabled — The state House policy committee considering whether Montana should employ the top-two jungle primary system in the US Senate race as a test case this year has run into a snag. All but one Republican committee member joined with the Democrats to table the bill that would enact such a plan.

Democrats claim the Republicans are trying to change the primary system in order to stop a Libertarian Party candidate from garnering its customary three percentage points in the general election, most of which hurts a Republican nominee.

The measure had already passed the Senate. The bill’s author said he doesn’t believe the idea is dead and could still pass the 68R-32D state House of Representatives before the legislature adjourns. Sen. Jon Tester (D) is seeking a fourth term in next year’s election. Should this measure pass, the results will likely directly affect his campaign.


South Dakota: Clears the Way for Top-Two Nominating System — The South Dakota Secretary of State approved the petition to begin gathering signatures to put a measure on the ballot that would change the way primaries are conducted in the Mount Rushmore State. Proponents of the top-two all-party jungle primary system, while at least temporarily on hold in Montana, can now move forward in South Dakota. To qualify a constitutional amendment measure for the state ballot, 35,000 valid registered voter signatures must be brought forth before the assigned deadline. The purpose of this effort is to qualify the top-two concept for the November 2024 ballot.

The Republicans, who dominate the state’s politics, are officially opposed to the measure. The state Republican Party chairman pledges to fight the ballot initiative and will likely get the party on public record in opposition to the proposed election system change.

Currently, California and Washington have adopted this system that originated in Louisiana. Alaska adopted a hybrid version of the all-party primary with four candidates qualifying for the general election, as opposed to two as in the other states. In all domains, the top finishers advance regardless of political party affiliation.

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