By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, March 28, 2023
SenateTexas: Democrats Searching for Candidate — Just like the Wisconsin Republicans in their quest to find a standard bearer to challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) next year, the Lone Star State Democrats are continuing their search for a strong challenger to oppose Sen. Ted Cruz (R). Still not successfully recruiting either Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) or former HUD Secretary and ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the Democrats are now floating the idea of astronaut Scott Kelly, the twin brother of Arizona senator and former astronaut Mark Kelly (D).
Though Scott Kelly, who for a time was the world record holder for being in space for the longest duration (340 days), has not made any confirming statement that he is taking the same political path as his brother, if the Democratic leadership were to convince him to run, that would make an interesting race.
NJ-9: Potential Challenge for Rep. Pascrell — In mid March, we reported that 14-term New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) announced that he would seek re-election next year at age 87. He may not have a free ride, however. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh is reportedly weighing his chances of challenging Rep. Pascrell in the 2024 Democratic primary.
Prior to being elected to Congress for the first time in 1996, Pascrell was simultaneously the mayor of Paterson and a state assemblyman. In 2012, when New Jersey lost a seat in national reapportionment, Rep. Pascrell and then Rep. Steve Rothman (D) were paired in the new 9th District. Initially, Rep. Pascrell was considered the underdog in the incumbent vs. incumbent Democratic primary, but the elder congressman would prevail in the end with a landslide 62-38 percent victory. Rep. Pascrell has not been seriously challenged since.
Chicago: Vallas and Johnson Continue to Battle — The Chicago municipal contest, where voters have already defeated Mayor Lori Lightfoot, continues to brandish polling showing a very tight runoff contest between former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. Several published polls disagree as to who is leading whom in the race. The latest Victory Research survey (March 20-23; 806 Chicago likely runoff voters) sees Vallas leading 46-44 percent. IZQ Strategies (March 15-16; 680 likely Chicago runoff voters) arrives at the same 46-44 percent ballot test result, but they find Commissioner Johnson holding the slight edge.
Vallas has recently been able to cross racial lines by attracting endorsements from African American former officeholders Jesse White, who served six terms as the Illinois Secretary of State, and ex-Congressman Bobby Rush, who was in office for 30 years. Crime is a big issue in the contest and could be the defining one. The runoff is scheduled for April 4.
Jacksonville: Two Advance — The Jacksonville mayoral primary was held during the week, and Democrat Donna Deegan topped the field of candidates with 39 percent of the vote. Daniel Davis (R), the local Chamber of Commerce CEO, was second with 25 percent. Since neither candidate received majority support, the two will advance to a May 16 runoff election. Combined, Republican candidates received 51 percent of the vote as compared to the combined Democratic percentage of 48. Republican incumbent Lenny Curry is ineligible to seek a third term.