By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 8, 2023
Michigan: Ex-Rep. Rogers Enters Senate Race — As expected, via a strong video announcement, former US Rep. Mike Rogers (R), who served in Congress from 2001 to 2015 and rose to chair the House Intelligence Committee, officially declared his US Senate candidacy.
“No candidate is better prepared to have an impact on day one,” Rogers said in his video announcement. “I’m ready to serve again.”
The Rogers entry gives the Republicans a top-tier candidate in a state that has trended against the GOP in the last two elections. Polling suggests the favored Democratic candidate, US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), who represents the same Michigan congressional district as did Rogers, would have only a small lead to start the campaign.
Former US Rep. Peter Meijer is also a potential Republican candidate, though the Rogers entry would make him a major underdog in a statewide primary. Meijer was elected to the House in 2020 but lost his bid for renomination in 2022. Rep. Slotkin faces state Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, actor Hill Harper, and former state Rep. Leslie Love in the Democratic primary. Both Rep. Slotkin and Rogers should be viewed as heavy favorites to win their respective partisan primaries.
Texas: New Dem Candidate Announces — Republicans in the Texas legislature have been coalescing in an attempt to strip Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez (D) from his office for failing to prosecute large numbers of criminals, following the lead of several big city DA’s such as those in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.
Instead of dealing with a potential legislative battle, Gonzalez abruptly resigned his post and then declared his candidacy for the US Senate. He, however, must first face US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) and state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) in the Democratic primary before getting a chance to make a statement in opposing incumbent US Sen. Ted Cruz (R). In what the Democratic leadership was hoping would become an easy primary for their favored candidate, Rep. Allred, is now evolving into something quite the opposite.
Alabama Redistricting: Replacement Map Struck Down — Yesterday, a federal three-judge panel in Alabama struck down the legislature and governor’s new map enacted to comply with the US Supreme Court’s June ruling that ordered a redraw for racial considerations. The argument rested upon census numbers indicating that a second majority minority seat could be drawn in the state.
The legislature’s map increased the African American population in District 2 from 30 to 39 percent, but the three-judge panel ruled the new plan did not go far enough. The judicial panel also ordered a special master to draw a new map.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) stated immediately after the new ruling that the state will appeal the decision. Redistricting appeals automatically go to the US Supreme Court. Considering the time required for the appeal to be heard and ruled upon, there is some chance that a new map will not be in place until after the 2024 election.
RI-1: Ex-White House Aide Wins Special Dem Primary — The long-awaited special primary election to replace resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D) was conducted Tuesday, and former Biden and Obama Administration official Gabe Amo clinched the crowded Democratic primary with a 32-25-14 percent victory over former state Rep. Aaron Regunberg and state Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket). The remaining nine candidates, including Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, failed to even reach the 10 percent threshold.
Amo will be a lock to defeat the Republican winner, military veteran Gerry Leonard Jr. in the Nov. 7 special general election and upon election will be the first person of color to represent Rhode Island in Congress.
UT-2: Party-Endorsed Candidate Claims GOP Nomination in Special Primary — In Utah’s 2nd District, where Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) will resign his seat on Sept. 15 due to family considerations, polling suggested that former state Rep. Becky Edwards had a significant lead in a three-way contest, and early vote counting seemed to confirm this prediction.
As counting progressed, however, Republican district convention winner Celeste Maloy chipped away at Edwards’ metro-area lead once the rural counties tallies began mounting. She then won a tight, but still unofficial, Republican primary special election. In third place, also relatively close, is former Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough.
Assuming this election is certified, and the 1,400-plus vote margin is likely enough to withstand a recount should Edwards move to have one conducted, Maloy will advance to the special general election where she will face state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights). Riebe was unopposed in last night’s Democratic primary.
Now, the partisans will turn their attention to the special general election scheduled for Nov. 21. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the UT-2 seat as R+23, and former President Donald Trump defeated President Joe Biden here, 57-39 percent. Last November, Rep. Stewart was re-elected with a 60-34 percent vote spread. Therefore, Maloy begins the special general cycle as a heavy favorite to carry the day for the GOP.