Tag Archives: Catherine Templeton

Party Division Changes in US House; Credible Challenger in FL-6; Challenger to Rep. Mace Drops Out; Legal Wranglings in New Jersey

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, April 2, 2024

House

House: Party Division Changes — There is a great deal of confusion as to where the House party division currently stands with the large number of resignations and related special elections soon to occur. Because of this unusual situation the numbers are going to change frequently as we head through the June primaries.

Right now, the House stands at 218R — 213D. There are four vacancies, three Republican seats — ex-Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20), Ken Buck (R-CO-4), and Bill Johnson (R-OH-6) and one Democratic (Brian Higgins (D-NY-26). Rep. Gallagher will resign on April 19. Because Gallagher is staying past April 9, the replacement special election will be concurrent with the general election. The count will then recede to 217R — 213D.

  • The first special election is April 30: Higgins, NY-26. The Democrats are a virtual lock to win. Doing so will make the division count 217R — 214D.
  • The next special is May 21: McCarthy, CA-20. Republicans will win. The division count will then move to 218R — 214D.
  • The Ohio special election is June 11: Johnson, OH-6. Republicans will win in the person of state Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem). The division count goes to 219R — 214D.
  • The Colorado special is June 25: Buck, CO-4. The Republicans will win with a caretaker candidate named Greg Lopez, the former mayor of the city of Parker. The division count will then move to 220R — 214D.

FL-6: Prominent NAACP Leader to Challenge Rep. Waltz — Three-term Florida US Rep. Michael Waltz (R-St. Augustine Beach) has drawn a credible challenger for the first time since his original election in 2018. Marion County NAACP president and pastor James Stockton (D) announced his candidacy yesterday as the Florida candidate filing deadline fast approaches on April 26 in conjunction with the state’s Aug. 20 primary election.

Marion County is the second largest population entity in Florida’s 6th District. Though Stockton may be the most credible of Rep. Waltz’s challengers, his chances of upsetting the incumbent are slim to say the least. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates FL-6 as R+28. Former President Donald Trump recorded a 61-38 percent victory percentage here in 2020, the third strongest of Florida’s 20 Republican congressional districts.

SC-1: Ex-Chief of Staff Drops Bid Against Rep. Mace — Earlier this winter, news was made when Dan Hanlon, the former chief of staff to South Carolina US Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) resigned his position and announced he would oppose his former boss in the coming Republican primary. Just before candidate filing expired yesterday, Hanlon closed the committee he filed with the Federal Election Commission and chose not to enter the race.

Perhaps the main reason for his action is the presence of a serious opponent, former South Carolina cabinet secretary Catherine Templeton who clearly is capable to offering a credible Republican alternative to Rep. Mace. Templeton also announced that she has topped the $500,000 mark in fundraising after just eight weeks on the campaign trail.

A third contender, non-profit executive Bill Young, while not a threat to outpace either Mace or Templeton, could attract enough votes to force the leader below the 50 percent mark. Should that happen, the top two finishers would then advance to a June 25 runoff election to determine the nominee. This will be a primary race to watch on June 11.

States

New Jersey: Caveat to Court Ruling — Last week, we reported on a New Jersey court ruling that agreed with Rep. Andy Kim’s (D-Moorestown) lawsuit over the local political parties having the power to award favorable ballot positions at the expense of their primary opponents. The judge agreed and issued an injunction that will stop the practice at least for this election.

Yesterday, however, the judge clarified his ruling in saying that the injunction applies only to the Democratic primary to which the plaintiff, Kim, who is now the prohibitive favorite to win the Senate Democratic primary regardless of where is appears on the ballot, limited his complaint.

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.

Fong’s Fight; Rep. Jamaal Bowman in Primary Battle; Another US House Member to Resign; More Primary Trouble for Rep. Nancy Mace

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024

House

California Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) / Photo by Kevin Sanders for California Globe

CA-20: Candidates Qualify for Special Election — The California Secretary of State has attested that nine candidates have qualified for the March 19 special election to replace resigned former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). Controversy, however, still surrounds the favorite to win the electoral contest, Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield).

Since Fong had already filed for re-election before Rep. McCarthy resigned from the Congress, the Secretary of State ruled that he could not enter the congressional race because such action would violate a California election law that prohibits individuals from simultaneously running for multiple offices. Fong sued over the administrative ruling and won in Superior Court. Therefore, he has been slated as a congressional candidate while not being removed from the state assembly ballot. The state is appealing the court ruling, so even if Fong wins the special election as expected, he could be hampered by a future court decision.

Also qualifying are Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R), and seven other Republicans, Democrats, and No Party Preference candidates. If no one receives majority support on March 19, the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation will advance to a special general election on May 21. The regular election cycle primary is scheduled for March 5, featuring most of these candidates. The special election winner will serve the balance of Rep. McCarthy’s final term.

NY-16: Serious Primary Challenge Unfolding — New York US Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), while receiving good news that the House Ethics Committee is not going to pursue further action against the congressman for pulling a fire alarm in a House office building, is now facing a backlash over social media posts he made after the 9/11 attack. The posts referred to theories that the US government orchestrated the terrorist massacre, and a ring of globalist bankers were actively involved in the conspiracy.

“Well over a decade ago, as I was debating diving into a doctoral degree, I explored a wide range of books, films, and articles across a wide swath of the political spectrum and processed my thoughts in a personal blog that few people ever read. I don’t believe anything that these cranks have said, and my life’s work has proven that.”

While Bowman may survive these controversies in the short term, he faces a very difficult Democratic primary election in June. His principal opponent, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is reporting a dollars raised figure of $1.4 million since his declaration of candidacy in early December. Latimer is a veteran campaigner, having been elected four times to the state Assembly, once to the state Senate, and twice to his current position. Therefore, Rep. Bowman must be considered as a highly vulnerable incumbent as he heads into a serious renomination fight.

NY-26: Rep. Higgins to Resign Friday — New York US Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), who announced back in November that he would resign the House seat he has held for almost 20 years to take a position in the non-profit sector back in Buffalo, issued a statement saying that he will leave Congress on Friday. Once the seat is officially vacant, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will have 10 days to call a special election for a period no less than 70 and no greater than 80 days from the scheduling announcement.

The local Democratic county chairmen have already chosen state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as the party’s special election nominee. Republicans are not likely to be competitive in the Buffalo anchored district which carries a partisan rating of D+18 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. At this point, the local Republican county chairs have not announced a special election nominee.

SC-1: More Trouble for Rep. Mace — Earlier in the week, we reported that South Carolina US Rep. Nancy Mace’s (R-Charleston) former chief of staff, Dan Hanlon, had filed a campaign committee to challenge her in this year’s Republican primary. Now, a former Nikki Haley gubernatorial cabinet official, Catherine Templeton, announced that she, too, will oppose the congresswoman.

Templeton, the former director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ran for governor in 2018 but finished third in the Republican primary, losing to Gov. Henry McMaster. As lieutenant governor in 2017, McMaster ascended to the governorship when Haley was appointed UN Ambassador.

With the US Supreme Court still deciding whether the lawsuit challenging the 1st District as a racial gerrymander is valid, there is still a possibility that this seat could be redrawn before the candidates appear on the ballot. The South Carolina primary is June 11, with a runoff scheduled for June 29 if no candidate receives majority support. Unless the district is ordered changed, the eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite in the general election.

Virginia, South Carolina Filings;
Majority of States Done

By Jim Ellis

April 3, 2018 — As March ended, the two most recent filing states of Virginia and South Carolina reached their declaration deadline. We now see a majority of domains (28) posting a final set of political contenders in preparation for the coming primary season.

VIRGINIA

virginia-south-carolina-mapsIn Virginia, we again see a familiar pattern, one that has often emerged in the preceding states. That is, a large number of Democrats filing against incumbent Republican House members, the overwhelming majority of whom have not previously run for office.

Against 1st District Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Montross/Fredericksburg), in what should be a safe Republican district, five Democrats filed — including Prince William County School Board chairman Ryan Sawyers — and will be on the primary ballot.

To the southeast, six Democrats, none of whom have ever previously run for public office, are challenging freshman Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach). Democratic leaders are pushing retired Navy Commander Elaine Luria as their preferred nominee. James County former supervisor, Mary Jones, is challenging Rep. Taylor in the Republican primary, but she is not expected to be a major force.

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) is the only incumbent in the 11-member Virginia delegation who will be running unopposed both for his party’s nomination and in the general election.

Fourth District freshman Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) draws two minor Republicans and a Libertarian candidate. He will have little trouble securing a second term in a court-mandated district that was reconfigured before the 2016 election.

The 5th District Democrats are taking advantage of Virginia’s unique election laws that allow party leaders in each CD to choose whether they nominate via primary or convention. Six Democrats, all first-time candidates, will battle for delegate support to determine which of them advances to the general election to face freshman Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Scottsville/ Charlottesville). The 5th District Democratic convention will meet on May 5.

Both parties in the open 6th District (Rep. Bob Goodlatte retiring) will meet in convention to produce nominees. Republicans are scheduled for May 19, while Democrats have yet to announce a schedule. Interestingly, for the first time, the Republicans are adopting a plurality format instead of voting multiple times to ensure the winner receives majority delegate support. The western Virginia 6th District is the safest Republican seat in the state, so the eventual nominee becomes the prohibitive favorite in November.

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Unelecteds and Opens

By Jim Ellis

June 12, 2017 — It was always known that a large number of 2017-18 cycle governors’ races would be open contests, but finding several unelected incumbents running to hold their new positions is an unforeseen nuance.

In three states, and possibly soon a fourth, governors have been appointed to Trump administration positions or forced from office, thus allowing the lieutenant governor to move into the state’s top position.

South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, now UN Ambassador; Terry Branstad of Iowa becoming US Ambassador to China and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley being forced from office for misappropriation of state funds have made Henry McMaster (SC), Kim Reynolds (IA), and Kay Ivey (AL) overnight governors. While on paper and in practice this is a big advantage for the former lieutenant governors in running for the state’s top position, none of them have easy campaign roads, and not even for their respective party nominations.

Last week’s announcement from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) that he will enter his state’s open gubernatorial contest next year may soon lead to him battling a new incumbent if on-again, off-again Washington, DC appointment rumors eventually prove true.

Speculation has abounded that President Trump will tap Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) for an open United Nations position, or another associated with foreign policy. Though such talk has been a subject of discussion since February and he has yet to be appointed, it is unclear if such will ever happen. Should it, however, then Secretary Kobach, oil businessman Wink Hartman, and ex-state Rep. Ed O’Malley will have to face a new sitting Republican governor, Jeff Colyer, the current lieutenant governor.

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Haley Narrows Her List

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) visit to the Charleston area yesterday did not result in her naming a replacement for outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint (R) as some thought it might, but reports from her office suggest that her short list contains five names.

Top Choice: Rep. Tim Scott

Most believe the leading contender is freshman Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC-1), who won a big re-election in November and was subsequently appointed to the House Ways & Means Committee. Aside from being a capable replacement for DeMint, Rep. Scott scores political points for the governor in several ways. Haley is standing for re-election in 2014 with upside down approval ratings, and along comes a new Public Policy Polling survey (Dec. 7-9; 520 registered South Carolina voters) that posts her two points behind (44-46 percent) the man she defeated in 2010, Democratic state Sen. Vincent Shaheen. This tells us that the governor needs political strengthening.

Among other benefits, the Scott appointment would allow her to take credit for appointing the first African-American senator in the state’s post-Reconstruction history. Secondly, since Scott enjoys strong support from South Carolina’s Tea Party movement, selecting him would help Haley with the very group that could bring forth a challenger against her in the Republican primary. Third, by appointing the Charleston area congressman, she can restore the Upcountry/Low Country balance that the state traditionally featured. Both current senators, DeMint and Lindsey Graham (R), are from the northwestern sector of the state. Thus, she could theoretically increase her Charleston area support with this move. Fourth, Haley would gain kudos from national conservatives who are also pushing Scott for the appointment, possibly including Sen. DeMint himself. Though he claims not to be lobbying for anyone, most observers believe that the outgoing incumbent favors Rep. Scott as his successor.

The Remaining Four Options

Others on what is believed to be her short list of contenders are Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC-4), state cabinet officer Catherine Templeton, former Attorney General Henry McMaster (R), and Jenny Sanford, the state’s former First Lady, who handled herself so positively during her husband’s — former Gov. Mark Sanford — nationally publicized extra-marital affair.

Rep. Gowdy, also a freshman who just won a big re-election, brings little to the table for Haley. Though conservative, he represents DeMint’s former congressional district, so he fails to bring any geographic balance. He is unknown outside of the Greenville-Spartanburg region, so it’s difficult to see how the governor improves her own standing through his appointment.

Templeton is a confidant of the governor who already has received appointments to a pair of statewide cabinet posts. She currently is in charge of the South Carolina Department of Health. She hails from the Charleston area, thus bringing geographical balance but has little in the way of a political base. Furthermore, Templeton has no legislative experience, so starting her career as a legislator in the United States Senate will require a rather large learning curve that could put her well behind in preparing for a statewide election. This could make her vulnerable in what would likely transform itself into a messy primary confrontation — something Haley will certainly want to avoid.

McMaster is a former two-term attorney general and chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. He ran against Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-SC) in 1986, and for governor against Haley, herself, in 2010. McMaster finished a distant third in the gubernatorial primary contest, failing to secure the second run-off position. That fell to Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-SC-3), who Haley defeated in a landslide. McMaster, from Columbia, does not appear to be a good fit for Haley, but including him on her short list does throw a bone to the state’s Republican establishment.

Jenny Sanford is a popular figure with obviously high name identification. She, too, is from Charleston and highly identified with the city, since she maintained the family home there instead of moving to the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia when her husband was elected. Sanford is not closing the door on accepting the appointment, saying she is “honored” to be considered. What is probably more likely than her being appointed to the Senate is running in the special election for the 1st Congressional District – her husband’s former House seat – should Scott receive the appointment.

The Likely Outcome

The prevailing political winds point toward Gov. Haley appointing Rep. Scott. Expect this action to occur immediately upon Sen. DeMint’s official resignation. All of the prospective candidates on this list would be competent Senators for the state, so making a credible selection is not an issue. Since Scott is the best political pick, and the governor needs a political boost, the odds are strong that she will soon turn in his direction.