Tag Archives: CA-20

Garcia Trails in Early Poll; Fong Ballot Status Dropped; Washington Senate Finalist Announces for House; Louisiana Redistricting; Good Well Behind in New Primary Poll

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, May 9, 2024

House

California Republican Mike Garcia

CA-27: Rep. Garcia Trails in Early Poll — Impact Research, polling for the George Whitesides campaign, released the results of their mid-April poll (April 12-18; 650 CA-27 registered voters; 100 over-sample of Hispanic voters), which shows their client leading three-term California US Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) by a 47-44 percent count. In the jungle primary, however, Rep. Garcia topped Whitesides, a former NASA chief of staff and ex-CEO for Virgin Atlantic Airlines, 55-33 percent, from a turnout of 135,161 primary voters.

This will clearly be one of the top national congressional campaigns. Rep. Garcia represents one of four California Republican held districts that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as a Democratic seat. In this instance, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission made the northern Los Angeles County district even more Democratic, stretching the seat to a D+8 rating. President Biden carried this district configuration with a 55-43 percent victory margin, so Rep. Garcia has his work cut out for him to win here again in November.

CA-20: Appeal to Fong Ballot Status Dropped — California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) announced that she is dropping her office’s appeal of the ruling that allows Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) to run for the open 20th District congressional seat while still on the ballot for state Assembly. Weber contended that a candidate cannot seek two offices simultaneously. Two court rulings, however, allowed Fong to continue his regular election campaign for the seat from which former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) resigned even after qualifying for the state Assembly ballot. Weber’s action means that Fong’s congressional candidacy is finally unimpeded.

Assemblyman Fong did appear on the ballot for both offices on the March 5 jungle primary. He placed first in the congressional race and was unopposed for re-election to his current office. He is also on the ballot for the May 21 special congressional election to fill McCarthy’s unexpired term. In both the special election and in November, Fong will face Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux in a double-Republican format.

Should Fong win the special election, and he is favored to do so, he will resign from the Assembly before taking the congressional oath. At that point, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will call a special election to fill the balance of the unexpired Assembly term and another for the regular election.

WA-4: Senate Finalist Announces for House — There has been growing speculation that Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside), one of two remaining Republican House members to vote for the Trump impeachment, would announce his retirement before the state’s May 24 candidate filing deadline and the latest development here will increase such talk.
Tiffany Smiley (R), who was a credible opponent to Sen. Patty Murray (D) in the 2022 statewide election, yesterday announced that she will enter the 4th District House race. The move is unusual since it seems unlikely that she would challenge the incumbent especially when former President Donald Trump has already endorsed former race car driver Jerrod Sessler (R). Her candidacy does make sense, however, if Rep. Newhouse has decided not to seek re-election and has quietly told her such. This is a developing situation worth watching.

Louisiana: Judges Order New Cong Map by June 3 — The three judge federal panel that invalidated the new Louisiana congressional map is now sending the plan back to the state legislature with a deadline of June 3 to redraw the map. This time, there is no judicial requirement to specifically add a new majority minority district.

In response, Secretary of State Nancy Landry (R) is filing an appeal of the original ruling with the US Supreme Court and criticized the panel for not adhering to her May 15 deadline for producing a 2024 map. She said the state needs such a time frame to adequately administer the election.

While the Louisiana redistricting situation will soon come to a head, it is difficult to see exactly how the map’s final version will develop.

VA-5: Rep. Good Well Behind in New Primary Poll — A just-released Battleground Connect poll (April 30-May 2; 504 likely VA-5 voters; live interview) finds two-term Virginia US Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) falling well behind his Republican primary challenger, state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin-Sabot). According to the survey data, Sen. McGuire would lead Congressman Good by a double digit margin, 45-31 percent, as the two battle for position in anticipation of the June 18 Old Dominion primary.

The McGuire effort, which has been principally hitting Rep. Good over his lack of support for former President Donald Trump, is being supplemented by heavy outside spending much of which is coming from organizations affiliated with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who Rep. Good was instrumental in deposing. Additionally, this is the first time Rep. Good has faced a primary election. Previously, he was nominated through a district convention, which is the way he denied former Rep. Denver Riggleman renomination in 2020.

Brown Posts Big Primary Lead in Nevada; Justice Holds Commanding Lead in West Virginia; Fong Leading in CA-20 Special Election Poll; Menendez Trailing in NJ-8 Primary

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, April 18, 2024

Senate

Army veteran Sam Brown

Nevada: Brown Posts Big Primary Lead — A new Tarrance Group poll for the National Republican Senatorial Committee produces good news for endorsed candidate Sam Brown, the businessman and Afghan War disabled veteran. The survey (April 7-10; 500 likely Nevada Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Brown posting 58 percent support. His closest opponent, former state assemblyman and past secretary of state and congressional nominee Jim Marchant, records only a six percent preference factor. Former US Ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter, who has pledged to spend $3 million of his own money to fund his candidacy, and former lieutenant governor candidate Tony Grady each have only three percent support.

Aside from yielding Brown’s highly positive reviews, the survey data returns bad news for Gunter. When the respondents were asked for their second choice in the race, Marchant posted 30 percent as opposed to Gunter’s four percent. The winner of the June 11 primary then challenges Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) in what will be a premier general election campaign.

West Virginia: Justice Continues Holding Commanding Lead — Research America published the results of their early April survey (April 3-9; 400 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters; live interview & online) that again sees Gov. Jim Justice (R) holding a huge lead over Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) as the two compete to succeed retiring Sen. Joe Manchin (D). As has been found in many other surveys, Research America pegs the Justice lead at 66-24 percent as the two enter the final month of campaigning. The West Virginia primary is scheduled for May 14.

Winning the West Virginia race in November is critical to Republican hopes of capturing the Senate, and the eventual Republican nominee should have little trouble converting the seat in the general election. Doing so would even the Senate’s partisan division at 50D-50R.

House

CA-20: Fong tops Bourdeaux in Special Election Poll — Now that Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) has successfully defended the secretary of state’s lawsuit attempting to prevent him from running in the regular term and simultaneously for state Assembly with last week’s appellate court ruling, we now see favorable Fong survey data.

The assemblyman placed first in the March 19 special election primary with 42.3 percent of the vote in a field of nine jungle primary candidates. Also advancing into the May 21 special general election is Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R) who posted a 25.8 percent support figure. The special election winner will immediately be sworn into Congress and finish the term from which former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) resigned.

WPA Intelligence surveyed the 20th District (April 1-3; 400 likely CA-20 special election voters; live interview) and finds Fong leading Sheriff Bourdeaux by a 46-30 percent margin. He also has the advantage in three of the district’s four counties, Fresno, Kern, and Kings, while Bourdeaux leads in his home of Tulare County.

NJ-8: Rep. Menendez Trailing in Primary — A just released Global Strategy Group survey (April 1-4; 400 likely NJ-8 Democratic primary voters; live interview) finds freshman Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City), suffering the fallout from his father’s upcoming corruption trial, trailing Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla (D) by a 33-28 percent margin with businessman Kyle Jasey (D) attracting seven percent of the vote.

With Sen. Bob Menendez (D) facing a jury trial in early May, even more attention will be paid to the Menendez family, though Congressman Menendez is not accused of any wrongdoing. The senator’s favorability index in the 8th District, however, has dropped to 22:69 percent favorable to unfavorable according to the GSG poll. Rep. Menendez is in much better position but barely in positive territory at 38:34 percent. Mayor Bhalla, not as well known, ties the congressman on the favorable point at 38 percent positive, but his negative number is only eight percent. This June 4 primary challenge continues to be rated as a highly competitive contest.

Former Navy SEAL Edges Tester in New Montana Poll; California Appeals Court Upholds Pro-Fong Ruling; Challenger to Florida Rep. Lee

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, April 11, 2024

Senate

Retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy

Montana: Sheehy Edges Tester in New Poll — JL Partners returned a poll for the Montana State News Bureau (March 26-29; 503 likely Montana voters) and, for the first time this year, data shows the Republican challenger leading Sen. Jon Tester (D) as he attempts to secure a fourth term.

The survey finds presumptive Republican nominee Tim Sheehy, an aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL, edging the senator 48-45 percent in one of the most important races to determine the next Senate majority.

The questionnaire did not contain a question about the presidential race, but Montana is again expected to be one of former President Donald Trump’s strongest states. Thus, a favorable Republican turnout model will also elevate Sheehy’s chances.

House

CA-20: Appeals Court Upholds Pro-Fong Ruling — A California appellate court upheld the lower court ruling that allowed Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) to compete in the congressional race after he was certified as a candidate for state Assembly. The Secretary of State barred Fong from entering the regular congressional primary under the premise that an individual cannot seek two public offices simultaneously. Through court ruling, Fong, in fact, did seek both offices, placing first in the congressional regular election and runoff, while running unopposed for the Assembly.

The appellate court ruling for the state would have sent the Central Valley political situation into chaos and, as the judges stated, would have invalidated a legitimate election. Such a move would have led to even more ambiguity, confusion, and additional special elections not only for the vacant US House seat, but also for Fong’s Assembly district should the assemblyman successfully win the congressional special election set for May 21. At this time, he is favored to win both the special and general election. Upon winning the special, Fong would immediately replace former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R), who resigned.

It is possible that Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) could still continue along the appellate process, hopefully, from her perspective, convincing the state Supreme Court to address the matter. Unless that happens, Fong is likely headed to Congress.

FL-15: Candidate Comes Forth to Challenge Rep. Lee — In March, former President Trump called upon Tampa Bay area Republicans to field a primary challenger to freshman Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Tampa) because she endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the ’24 presidential campaign. Now, James Judge, who ran in the area’s 14th District against entrenched Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) in 2022, is answering the call and will switch districts. He began the ’24 election cycle attempting to challenge Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor) in adjacent District 12.

Rep. Lee should still be considered a heavy favorite, however. Judge, running in a D+14 district according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, recorded 43 percent of the vote against Rep. Castor. This is the type of performance one would expect for a Republican congressional nominee in such a Democratic district. Additionally, he spent just over $200,000 for that race, indicating he doesn’t have much fundraising ability, and a judge had to award him ballot placement in the 2022 election because he did not file the proper candidate forms, which originally led to his disqualification.

Rep. Lee was elected to the House with 59 percent of the vote in the last election from a district that 538 rates as R+7, but one that Trump carried only 51-48 percent. Prior to running for Congress, Lee served as a Circuit Court judge and as secretary of state when Gov. DeSantis appointed her to the position. In 2022, she won a five-way open Republican primary by just under 14 points against her closest competitor.

Tuesday’s Roundup of Primaries: Moreno Wins Big; Deja Vu in California; Bost in Close Finish; Replacement Vote in Ohio

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Senate

Ohio businessman Bernie Moreno (R)

Ohio: Moreno Wins Big — Chalk up a big mistake for the polling community. The polls prior to yesterday’s primary predicted very tight Republican Senate contest, but it proved to be quite the opposite as businessman Bernie Moreno won in a landslide. Moreno will now move into the long general election cycle against three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).

With almost the entire state reporting at this writing, Moreno would have been nominated even if Ohio were a runoff state. He captured majority support, at 50.6 percent. State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who several polls had projected to be leading the race, finished a distant second with 32.8 percent. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the field’s only statewide official who was perceived to be falling off the pace as the election drew near, lagged in third position recording just 16.6 percent support.

The result is another big win for former President Donald Trump who, along with Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), had endorsed Moreno. The victory margin was so complete that Moreno carried all of the state’s 88 counties. Turnout was heavily Republican. Though he was in a three-way race in the Republican primary and Sen. Brown was unopposed for the Democratic nomination, Moreno still received more votes last night than the Democratic incumbent.

House

CA-20: Special Election Deja Vu — Last night’s CA-20 special election, held as the first step in replacing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R), unfolded as a virtual carbon copy of the original March 5 regular primary. As in that election, it appears that Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), who is well over 40 percent support in early returns, will advance into the special general election scheduled for May 21. Just like in the coming November regular general election, he will face fellow Republican and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux in the special general.

The special general winner will immediately take the seat and serve the balance of the current term. Regardless of the outcome in May, Fong and Bourdeaux will face each other again on Nov. 5.

Illinois: Rep. Bost in Close Finish — While almost all of the congressional primary challengers lost in landslide proportions to the veteran incumbents, southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) looks to have only eked out a close renomination win over 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee and ex-state Sen. Darren Bailey (R), but the turnout projection totals suggest that as many as 30,000 votes could still be outstanding. At this writing, with 75 percent of the estimated number of total votes having been counted, Rep. Bost has only a 51.8 – 48.2 percent advantage, a margin of 3,362 votes.

The county votes were polarized. Two small counties are not reporting any votes as yet, while Bost has won 17 counties to Bailey’s 15. In virtually every county, the vote produced lopsided leads for either man. It is probable that Rep. Bost’s advantage will hold, but the final result could become much closer.

Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago), who faced four challengers, managed to break the majority threshold with a 53 percent total. Because the opposition vote was evenly spread among his challengers, his closest competitor had just under 22 percent. Reps. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) and Bill Foster (D-Naperville) also faced credible opposition, but both won easily.

In the Quad Cities region, retired Circuit Judge Joe McGraw (R) will now challenge freshman Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) in what should be a competitive general election.

Ohio: Key House Races Also on Ballot — The top House primary attraction was the special primary for the vacant 6th Congressional District where state Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) and state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Delaware) battled to replace resigned Rep. Bill Johnson (R). Since this is a partisan special election, the winner advances to a June 11 general election. The result was close most of the evening, but Sen. Rulli pulled away in the final count to score a 49-41 percent win.

Highly competitive crowded battles are underway in the open 2nd District from which Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Hillsboro) is retiring. Three self-funding businessmen led the crowded field, and concrete company owner David Taylor defeated entrepreneurs Tim O’Hara and Larry Kidd by a 25-22-19 percent split. Taylor’s victory last night virtually assures him of winning the seat in November in what is Ohio’s safest Republican seat.

The other major primary occurred in the Toledo anchored 9th District where Republican state Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) and former state Rep. Craig Reidel battled for the nomination after 2022 nominee J.R. Majewski dropped out of the race. The race went Merrin’s way with a 52-34 percent victory margin. The state representative now faces 21-term incumbent Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) in the general election in what should be a highly competitive election in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+6.

In the Akron-based 13th CD, former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin (R) easily defeated local City Councilman Chris Banweg. Coughlin will now challenge freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) in another competitive Ohio general election campaign.

Three-Way Ohio Race Ends Tonight; California Special Election;
Key Illinois, Ohio House Races

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Senate

Ohio State Sen. Matt Dolan (R)

Ohio: Primary Today — A hard-fought Republican US Senate primary draws to a close tonight. The contest is a three-way race among state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and businessman Bernie Moreno.

Polling has shown a close race for months. In the closing week, the polling lead has changed hands between Sen. Dolan and Moreno. Moreno man has former President Donald Trump and US Sen. J.D. Vance’s (R-OH) endorsements. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) supports Sen. Dolan. Both Moreno and Dolan have loaned millions of their own personal fortunes into their respective campaigns. Secretary LaRose, the only previously elected statewide official, appears to have fallen well back and consistently into third place.

Whatever tonight’s final result, the winner will head into what promises to be a tight and bruising campaign against three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the nation’s most important 2024 Senate races.

House

CA-20: Special Election Today — Despite California’s 20th District voters choosing general election finalists on March 5, they go back to the polls today to potentially select an immediate successor to resigned House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R). If no candidate receives majority support in today’s vote, the top two finalists will advance to a May 21 special general election. At that point, the winner will take the seat.

Chances are strong that Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R), both of whom have secured regular general election ballot positions for November, will also advance tonight. The field is somewhat different than what was present for the regular election, but the major participants return. The reason this special vote was not made concurrent with the March 5 election is that California law stipulates a specific number of days must elapse between the occurrence of an official vacancy and the subsequent replacement election.

Illinois: House Races Dominate — With no Senate or governor’s election on the Illinois ballot this year, the most interesting elections tonight, now that both parties have presumptive presidential nominees, are for the US House. Several members face primary challenges, but all incumbents are favored to win renomination.

For the Democrats, Reps. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), Danny Davis (D-Chicago), and Bill Foster (D-Naperville) face opponents with either campaign resources or a political base. Chicago Alderman Ray Lopez, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress and mayor, opposes Rep. Garcia who also lost the 2023 mayor’s race. Rep. Davis received only 52 percent in the 2022 Democratic primary and faces four relatively strong candidates. The large number of challengers and the plurality format certainly favors Rep. Davis since his opposition vote will be split among four contenders. Rep. Foster is facing a well-financed effort from human rights activist Qasim Rashid, but his previous electoral experience has come in Virginia. Therefore, expect Rep. Foster to record a comfortable win tonight.

The top Republican primary comes in southern Illinois where five-term Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) defends his seat against the 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee and former state Sen. Darren Bailey. Though the congressman has a major financial advantage, the only recent publicly released poll found only a single-digit support difference between the two men.

Ohio: Key House Races Also on Ballot — The top House attraction this evening is in the vacant 6th Congressional District where state Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) and state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Delaware) battle to replace resigned Rep. Bill Johnson (R). Since this is a partisan special election, the winner advances to a June 11 general election. After the subsequent winner is chosen, the individual will immediately take the seat to fill the balance of the current term.

Highly competitive crowded battles are underway in the open 2nd District from which Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Hillsboro) is retiring. Tonight’s Republican primary winner will be a lock to claim the seat in November. The other major primary occurs in the Toledo anchored 9th District where Republican state Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) and former state Rep. Craig Reidel are battling for the nomination after 2022 nominee J.R. Majewski dropped out of the race. The winner faces 21-term incumbent Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) in the general election.

Four Primaries Today; Fong Advances; Trump Endorses Nancy Mace; Indiana Governor’s Poll

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, March 12, 2024

President

Primaries Today: Four States — Voters go to the polls today in Georgia, Hawaii (Republican Caucus only), Mississippi (full primary), and Washington.

In all, there are 161 Republican delegates at stake in the four states, and with former President Donald Trump already having 1,078 bound delegates of the 1,215 he needs to score a first ballot victory, securing just over 85 percent of the available delegates tonight will allow him to clinch “presumptive nominee” status. This means he will have enough bound delegates to claim a first ballot victory at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee during mid-July. For President Joe Biden, it appears he will clinch “presumptive nominee” status next week in the March 19 primaries.

In Mississippi, a quiet night is expected regarding the full ballot primary. Sen. Roger Wicker (R) faces two Republican challengers, including state Rep. Dan Eubanks (R-Walls), but there is little doubt the incumbent will be renominated outright for a fourth term tonight. In House races, each of the state’s four incumbents: Reps. Trent Kelly (R-Saltillo/ Tupelo), Bennie Thompson (D-Bolton), Michael Guest (R-Brandon/Jackson), and Mike Ezell (R-Pascagoula), are seeking re-election and only Ezell faces an intra-party challenge.

The first-term congressman, who unseated then-Rep. Steven Palazzo in the 2022 Republican nomination battle, faces two Republican opponents. Businessman Carl Boyanton, who finished fifth in the 2022 congressional primary with just 6.2 percent of the vote, returns for a re-match with Ezell, and retired Army veteran Michael McGill joins them. Rep. Ezell is expected to easily win renomination tonight, thus avoiding an April 2 runoff election. Should any candidate fail to reach majority support in the initial primary, a runoff election then becomes mandatory.

House

CA-20: Fong Officially Advances — NBC News is projecting that state Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) will advance into the regular general election from the still unfolding California jungle primary. Fong has 38.8 percent of the votes counted with approximately 26 percent of the ballots still outstanding.

Ironically, the group of candidates may be on the ballot again, in the March 19 special election to immediately replace resigned former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), before the two regular general election participants are officially certified. Under the laborious California ballot counting process, the state still has another 31 days to count and then certify the final results.

Currently in second position is Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R) with 25.8 percent, just ahead of Democratic educator and 2022 congressional nominee Marissa Wood who posts 22.0 percent of the vote. A total of 11 candidates are on the jungle primary ballot.

Should Sheriff Bourdeaux hold second place, a double-Republican regular general election will then occur in November. For the special election, with nine of the candidates competing, including Fong and Bourdeaux along with Wood, the special election result is expected to produce a similar result to the one just witnessed.

SC-1: Trump Endorses Rep. Mace — In 2022, former President Donald Trump endorsed former state Rep. Katie Arrington against Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston), saying the incumbent is “a terrible candidate,” and she was renominated with only 53 percent of the vote.

Trump is singing a different tune for the 2024 election. Yesterday, he announced his support for Rep. Mace as she again faces a serious primary election opponent. Saying she is “a strong conservative voice for South Carolina’s 1st District,” Trump now endorses Mace as she faces former Haley cabinet secretary Catherine Templeton, who is campaigning from the congresswoman’s right political flank. Three other Republicans, including the representative’s former chief of staff, are also announced candidates.

If no one receives majority support in the June 11 primary election, a short schedule runoff will occur on June 25. The US Supreme Court is also considering a lawsuit that would declare this district an illegal racial gerrymander. If the court rules such, the 1st CD will have to be redrawn and that could lead to a postponed primary.

Governor

Indiana: Sen. Braun Way Up in Governor’s Poll — A new Emerson College statewide Indiana Republican primary survey (March 2-5; 526 likely Indiana Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds US Sen. Mike Braun (R) cruising in his quest for the state’s open governorship. The Emerson data finds Sen. Braun posting a 34-7-7-5 percent split over Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, venture capitalist Eric Doden, and former State Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers.

This data tracks with reported internal Braun data from the Mark It Red polling firm that records a 41-12 percent split over Lt. Gov. Crouch. The Indiana plurality primary is scheduled for May 7. The eventual Republican nominee will become a prohibitive favorite to then win the general election in November.

Pre-Christmas Poll Favors Schiff & Garvey; Potential New Utah Senate Candidate; Fong Reinstated in California Race

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024

Senate

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) / Former baseball great Steve Garvey (R)

California: Pre-Christmas Poll Favors Schiff & Garvey — A new survey, this one from Politico/Morning Consult (Dec. 15-19; 858 likely California jungle primary voters; online with leaners), finds US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) posting his largest polling lead over the large multi-party candidate field and is the second to show retired baseball great Steve Garvey (R) claiming second position.

The Morning Consult data records Rep. Schiff at 28 percent and Garvey following with 19 percent. If this trend were to continue, Schiff and Garvey would advance into the post-March 5 general election. US Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) trail with 17 and 14 percent, respectively. If this poll were the final vote, both Reps. Porter and Lee would be eliminated from further competition.

Utah: Rep. Curtis Poised to Enter Senate Race — Utah political reports are suggesting that four-term US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) will imminently join the open US Senate race with the hope of succeeding retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R). Originally saying he would not run for the Senate, the congressman is apparently on the brink of changing his mind as he sees the candidate field develop.

With several key Republicans such as Gov. Spencer Cox declining to run for the federal post, and no other GOP House member entering to date, Curtis now believes he would have a strong chance of winning the party primary. Looking at the field, the strongest contender appears to be former state House Speaker Brad Wilson. Utah’s candidate filing period expires on Jan. 8, so decisions will now be made quickly.

Should Rep. Curtis run for the Senate, he will likely petition onto the ballot. When he won his special congressional election in 2017, he was not the choice of the local Republican nominating convention but did win the special primary election. Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Curtis was twice elected as Provo’s mayor.

House

CA-20: Fong Reinstated to Cong Ballot — Reversing the California Secretary of State’s ruling, a California Superior Court judge ruled that state Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield) can run for the open 20th Congressional District seat that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has vacated. Because Fong had filed and been qualified as a candidate for re-election to the assembly, the secretary of state ruled that he could not enter the regular congressional election campaign after McCarthy announced his intention to retire. Fong challenged the administrative ruling and will now become a congressional candidate.

Also in the regular jungle primary are Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux, five other Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents. CA-20, carrying a R+31 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, is the safest Republican seat in California. A special election to fill the balance of the current term should be called now that McCarthy has officially left office.