By Jim Ellis — Jan. 31, 2023
SenateNew York: Ex-Rep. Zeldin’s Contemplation — Former Long Island US Congressman Lee Zeldin (R), who held Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to a highly competitive 53-47 percent statewide re-election victory in November, has seen his name being bandied about for many potential positions. Some Republican leaders want him to challenge New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) next year, which would likely be a political suicide run in a presidential year from one of the Democrats’ strongest states, while others are talking up the possibility of him running for Suffolk County Executive.
This latter election will occur later this year and is an open race since Democratic incumbent Steve Bellone is ineligible to run for a third term. Considering Zeldin carried his home county by a 59-41 percent margin in the governor’s race and represented Suffolk in Congress for eight years, he would clearly be the Republicans’ strongest candidate for such a position. At this point, Zeldin has been quiet about what future political plans, if any, he may be contemplating.
NY-3: Dems Positioning for Next Race — While the fate of beleaguered freshman US Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) continues as a daily media story, Democrats are beginning to position themselves for what could be a special election if Santos is eventually forced to resign or run in next cycle’s regular election. Some local Democratic leaders are reportedly attempting to convince former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), to make a political comeback for his former position.
Suozzi left the House last year to make a head-scratching run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, a race he had scarcely little potential to win. So far, the former congressman has been non-committal about a future District 3 race. On the other hand, the man who Rep. Santos defeated in November, George Zimmerman (D), is preparing for another run. Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan (D), who lost the congressional nomination to Zimmerman in 2022, has already announced that he will run for the seat in the next election.
Chicago: Poll Shows Five Competitive Candidates — There has been a lot of attention paid to the Chicago mayoral race because the incumbent is in trouble and the election is fast approaching, now less than a month away on Feb. 28.
A new Victory Research survey (Jan. 23-25; 806 likely Chicago voters; live interview) finds former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and current Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a virtual tie at 19 percent support apiece. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) is a close third with 17 percent, while Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, and businessman Willie Wilson follow with 15 and 12 percent, respectively. This shows that two of these candidates will head to a runoff election on April 4, but it remains unclear as to which pair will advance.
Republican National Committee: Ronna McDaniel Re-Elected — On Friday, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel was easily re-elected to her position, capturing 66 percent support among the 168 voting members. Former President Donald Trump originally appointed McDaniel and continued to support her through this election. California National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, who criticized McDaniel for the party losing touch with the grassroots and drew support from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, finished a distant second with 53 votes. My Pillow company founder Mike Lindell received four votes. McDaniel will now serve through the 2024 presidential election.