Tag Archives: Brandon Presley

Pelosi Endorses in Calif. Senate Race; A Challenger for Sen. Cruz in Texas; FEC Publishes Year-End Finances; Mississippi Candidates Set for ’23

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Feb. 6, 2023

Senate

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) endorses Adam Schiff.

California: Rep. Schiff Attracts Major Political Endorsements — Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), the veteran former House Speaker, said yesterday that she will support Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) in the 2024 US Senate race so long as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) decides to retire. An additional 14 California US House members also publicly pledged their support to Rep. Schiff. This, even though Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) is already in the race, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) is a virtual certainty to also enter. The March 5, 2024 California jungle primary is likely to advance two Democrats into the general election.

Texas: Ex-Presidential Candidate Considers Senate Race — Former US Housing & Urban Development Secretary and ex-San Antonio mayor, Julian Castro (D), is reportedly considering entering the Texas US Senate race to challenge two-term incumbent Ted Cruz (R). US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) is also discussed as a possible candidate, but the Congressman has yet to confirm that he has interest in running statewide.

Though Sen. Cruz only won re-election in 2018 with a 51-48 percent victory margin over then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D), he appears to be in stronger position this year. In a presidential year, and with Republicans still controlling all of the major Texas statewide elected offices, Sen. Cruz must begin this race as a solid favorite for re-election.

Finance Numbers: FEC Publishes Senators’ Year-End Filings — The Senate campaign finance figures are now public, thus giving us clues as to which incumbents are best prepared to wage their re-election campaigns. Though not facing a competitive 2024 battle, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) ended the year with the most cash-on-hand, well over $9.7 million.

The senator who has the highest account balance while facing a competitive challenge is West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D). He appears to have the most difficult re-election path of any in-cycle Senate incumbent. In his two-congressional district state, Sen. Manchin posts just over a whopping $9.5 million in his campaign account. The two senators with the lowest cash-on-hand figures are Mitt Romney (R-UT) with $3,569, and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who holds just $9,968.

States

Mississippi: Candidates Set for ’23 Off-Year Election — The Magnolia State’s candidate filing period has closed and in all eight statewide races set for this year’s ballot, each currently Republican held, Democrats have candidates for every campaign. The two elections sure to attract the most attention are the battles for governor and lieutenant governor, though the latter is a GOP primary confrontation.

It is likely the general election will feature Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) in what many observers believe will become a significant race. The Republican lieutenant governor primary highlights state senator and former US Senate candidate, Chris McDaniel, challenging incumbent Delbert Hosemann.

A Trend of Candidates Declining to Run … And a Challenger in NY-22

By Jim Ellis — Feb. 2, 2023

Senate

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R)

Indiana: Ex-Gov. Mitch Daniels Won’t Run — Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who was considering entering the 2024 open US Senate race from his state, said he would not become a candidate. The announcement is good news for Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who had previously declared his own Senate candidacy. Immediately after the Daniels announcement, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) heaped praise upon Rep. Banks, whom he described as one of the party’s “top recruits.”

Daniels served two full terms as governor, from 2005-2013. His last time on the ballot, however, was for re-election in 2008. Daniels indicated that he was not right for the Senate, since developing seniority is still important in being able to achieve major goals. Since Daniels would be 75 years old upon election, his ability to accumulate many years of Senate seniority would be obviously limited.

Incumbent Sen. Mike Braun (R) is not seeking re-election in order to run for governor. Republicans are prohibitive favorites to hold the seat in the general election.

House

NY-22: Freshman Brandon Williams (R) Draws Challenger — Manlius Town Councilmember Katelyn Kriesel (D) declared her congressional candidacy at the beginning of the week. She will challenge freshman upstate New York Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) in what promises to be another close election.

In November, Rep. Williams succeed retiring US Rep. John Katko (R) with a 51-49 percent victory over former US Intelligence analyst Francis Conole (D) in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+2. We can expect further Democrats to come forward for this race, possibly including Conole, for a re-match. NY-22 will likely be a national top Democratic target in 2024.

Governor

Mississippi: 2019 Reeves’ Opponent Won’t Run Again — With candidate filing closing in Mississippi for the 2023 elections, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. (R) announced that he will not challenge Gov. Tate Reeves in this year’s Republican primary. In 2019, the two faced each other with Reeves prevailing, 54-46 percent.

At the end of last week, Secretary of State Mike Watson, another potential Reeves’ primary opponent, also said that he would not run. This leaves physician John Witcher as the governor’s lone GOP primary challenger. Obviously, these developments enhance Gov. Reeves’ political standing. It is likely he will face Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) in the general election.

Cities

Nashville: Mayor Won’t Seek Second Term — Nashville Mayor John Cooper (D), brother of retiring Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper (D), announced that he will not seek a second term, saying he has completed his objectives upon which he ran in 2019. He went on to say that being in municipal office during the Covid year of 2020 was “like serving an entire term” in and of itself. Local politicos are expecting now to see a highly competitive open-seat mayoral campaign in the Music City.

Sen. Feinstein’s Cryptic Statement; Montana Sen. Tester’s Timetable; Sen. Casey Clarifies Re-Election Status in Wake of Cancer Diagnosis; Miss. Gov. Reeves Faces Challenger

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

Senate

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)

California: Sen. Feinstein’s Cryptic Statement — Responding to a large number of Democrats making political plans based upon what they believe surrounds her impending retirement announcement, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) made a statement Wednesday that at the very least strings along the people chomping at the bit to run for a new or different office.

The only individual to announce for the Senate so far is Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), but her move kicked off an array of candidates, six to be exact, already declaring for what they believe will be her open congressional seat, while others openly plan to enter the statewide race.

In a way of saying, “not so fast,” Sen. Feinstein said that she will make up her mind about the 2024 election “in the next couple of months.”

Montana: Sen. Tester’s Timetable — Sen. Jon Tester (D), answering reporters’ questions about whether he will run for a fourth term from Big Sky Country earlier this week, said he would make a decision by the end of the first quarter. Sen. Tester will face a difficult re-election in a state that has turned decidedly more Republican since he was re-elected in 2018. In that year, his victory margin was only 50-47 percent over Matt Rosendale (R) who was subsequently elected to the House in 2020.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Clarifies Re-Election Status — Just after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Keystone State Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) indicated that he would be running for re-election once he recovers from his impending surgery. Clarifying his status yesterday, the senator said running will be dependent upon his health once he completes his cancer treatment, but his goal is to run again. Sen. Casey said he is not yet ready to commit to launching another campaign.

House

CA-45: Rep. Steel (R) Draws Different Challenger — Golden State Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County), fresh from a 52-48 percent victory in a new 45th District that contained only 16 percent carryover from the 48th District to which she was originally elected in 2020, has drawn a potentially new opponent for 2024.

Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Bernice Nguyen (D), a twice defeated county supervisor contender, announced her congressional candidacy Wednesday in a district that is 41.4 percent plurality Asian and over 72 percent minority. Community College Trustee Jay Chen (D), who held Rep. Steel to her four-point win in a district that contains a five-point Democratic lean according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, is also a potential candidate, but has not yet formally decided whether he will seek a re-match.

Governor

Mississippi: Gov. Reeves Faces GOP Challenge — With the Feb. 1 candidate filing deadline fast approaching for the 2023 governor’s race, incumbent Tate Reeves will not have a free ride in the Republican primary. Dr. John Witcher, who is an anti-Covid vaccination physician, formally declared his candidacy Wednesday. This could be a harbinger to Gov. Reeves getting a stronger GOP opponent, however, such as Secretary of State Michael Watson who has still not ruled out entering the governor’s contest. Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley is the leading Democratic candidate.

Phoenix Restaurant Owner Makes House Run; CA-30 Field to Replace Schiff Grows; Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Challenger; Miss. Gov. Gov. Reeves Clings to Tight Lead

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

House

Phoenix area restaurant owner Kelly Cooper (R)

AZ-4: Cooper to Return — Phoenix area restaurant owner Kelly Cooper (R), who lost in November to Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix), 56-44 percent from a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates only as D+1, said late last week that he will run again in 2024. With Congressman Stanton eschewing a US Senate run, the chances are good that we will see a re-match congressional race here next year. In 2022, Cooper upset GOP establishment favorite Tanya Wheeless in the Republican primary with a 28-25 percent win within a field of five contenders.

CA-30: Field to Replace Schiff Again Grows — Though California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) has yet to announce that he is running for the Senate, it is becoming a foregone conclusion that he will officially declare his candidacy when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) publicly confirms her retirement. We now see a fourth Democratic candidate coming forward to run in what they believe will be an open 2024 congressional race.

Actor Ben Savage (D), brother of actor Fred Savage, who has appeared in film and television in roles from 1989 to the present, made public his intention to enter the 30th District congressional field. Already in the race are Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Burbank), Los Angeles Unified School District board member Nick Melvoin, and businessman John Bocanegra. CA-30 is a safely Democratic seat that will likely advance two Democrats from the top-two jungle primary format.

IN-3: First Open Seat Potential Candidate Emerges — Responding to four-term northern Indiana Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) announcing for the open Senate race, the first major potential US House candidate has filed an exploratory committee. State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) confirmed that he is testing the waters for a congressional run but has not made any final decision about entering the open contest. A crowded Republican field is expected in a seat where the GOP nominee will have a major advantage in the general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates IN-3 as R+34.

Puerto Rico: Resident Commissioner Draws Challenger — There are several unique points in Puerto Rico politics associated with sending one non-voting Delegate to the US House of Representatives. First, the position in Puerto Rico is designated as “Resident Commissioner,” second, the term is four years instead of two, and third, the political parties are different.

The current Resident Commissioner, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, is a member of the New Progressive Party (PNP), which is closely associated with the Republican Party. Yesterday, she received a challenge for the 2024 election from attorney and former gubernatorial aide Pablo Jose Hernandez Rivera of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which is closely aligned with the mainland Democratic Party.

Governor

Mississippi: Gov. Reeves’ Tight Lead — A Siena College poll conducted for the Mississippi Today organization (Jan. 8-12; 821 registered Mississippi voters; live interview) finds first-term Gov. Tate Reeves (R) holding only a four-point, 43-39 percent, edge over newly announced Democratic candidate Brandon Presley, a cousin to the late music legend Elvis Presley, as the Feb. 1 candidate filing deadline fast approaches. The statewide primary is scheduled for Aug. 8, with a runoff on Aug. 29 for those races where no candidate receives majority support on the initial vote.

Gov. Reeves polled close in the 2019 election, but in the end won a 52-47 percent victory over four-term Attorney General Jim Hood (D). While his job approval rating, according to the Siena poll, is 48:45 percent positive to negative, his personal rating is an upside down 40:48 percent. It is unusual to see a personal rating register more negative than a job approval score.

Ricketts Selected to Replace Sen. Sasse; CA-30 Race Already Rolling; Elvis’s Cousin Announces for Gov.

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 13, 2023

Senate

Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts selected to replace Sen. Ben Sasse.

Nebraska: Gov. Pillen Tabs ex-Gov. Pete Ricketts for Vacant Senate Seat — Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has officially resigned his seat in order to assume his new duties as president of the University of Florida, and new Gov. Jim Pillen (R), as expected, chose former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as the interim replacement. Ricketts will serve until the next general election in 2024. The seat is next in-cycle for a six-year term in 2026.

Gov. Pillen wanted to pick a senator who would commit to serving a long while in order to build seniority for the state to compliment two-term Sen. Deb Fischer (R) who is seeking re-election in 2024. Therefore, Ricketts committed to running both in 2024 and 2026. Senate-Designate Ricketts will be sworn into office when the Senate next convenes on Jan. 23.

House

CA-30: House Race Already Rolling — California Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-Irvine) move to declare for the Senate even before incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) announces her retirement has already set off a chain of reaction. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) says she will announce once Sen. Feinstein makes her retirement public. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) looks to be doing the same. In anticipation of the latter jumping into the Senate race, Los Angeles School Board member Nick Melvoin (D) announced yesterday that he will run for Schiff’s House seat.

Governor

Louisiana: Rep. Graves Considering Gov Race — Saying, “I think that the sentiment out there in the public for another candidate in this race is absolutely extraordinary,” Louisiana US Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) confirmed that he is still considering whether to run for governor later this year, and promises a decision in the next few days. The open gubernatorial field has changed drastically with both Sen. John Kennedy (R) and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) declining to become candidates.

Graves was first elected to the House in 2018 and easily re-elected in 2020 and 2022 with 71 and 80 percent of the vote, respectively. He would not have to risk his congressional seat to run for governor in this odd-numbered year election. Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), state Treasurer John Schroder (R), and Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) presently appear to be the leading contenders.

The candidate filing deadline is not until Aug. 10. The jungle primary is scheduled for Oct. 14. If no one receives majority support in the initial vote, the top two finishers will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Mississippi: Elvis’s Cousin Announces for Governor — Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), a second cousin to the late music legend Elvis Presley, announced that he will compete for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a quest to challenge Gov. Tate Reeves (R) later this year. Presley was elected to the Public Service Commission in 2007 after serving seven years as mayor of Nettleton, a town of approximately 2,000 residents. He is the first person to become an official 2023 opponent to Gov. Reeves. Secretary of State Michael Watson is a potential Republican primary challenger.

Candidate filing closes Feb. 1. The statewide primary is set for Aug. 8 with a runoff date on Aug. 29 for those races where no candidate achieves majority support in the initial vote. The general election is Nov. 7.