Tag Archives: Chris Christie

The Effect of Christie Exiting Race; Dems Line Up for 2028; New Mexico’s Party-Switching Candidate;
MI-8 Republican Changes Mind

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 12, 2024

President

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) exits the presidential race. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Chris Christie: Exits Race: Seeing no viable victory path toward the Republican nomination, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out of the presidential campaign in an address to New Hampshire town hall meeting attenders and the media Wednesday. On the eve of the Iowa Caucus vote scheduled for Monday, Christie’s departure will likely have little effect upon the Hawkeye State outcome.

The ex-governor was a factor in New Hampshire, however, where the campaign will move after Iowa. Some polls are showing former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley gaining on former President Donald Trump with Christie recording double digit support in third place. Without him on the New Hampshire ballot, it is possible that Haley will see a bump in her support.

Even if she were to score an upset in New Hampshire, the big showdown would come in Haley’s home state of South Carolina before an electorate that twice elected her governor. At this point, however, her support appears to be lagging well behind Trump.

Democrats: Candidates Already Preparing for 2028 — Headed toward a 2024 rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Trump means that the 2028 presidential race will be open since neither man will be able to seek re-election in four years. Already, we see several Democratic governors making moves in anticipation of that impending campaign. Govs. Wes Moore (D-MD) and Andy Beshear (D-KY) have each formed federal political action committees to help Democratic candidates around the country, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) has been running a national media effort for months.

Senate

New Mexico: Republicans Get Party-Switcher Candidate — Former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales announced that he is leaving the Democratic Party and will challenge Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) as a Republican. The move gives the Republicans a well known candidate, but this is still a long shot GOP conversion opportunity. If the Republicans are to maximize their opportunities on a favorable Senate map, however, they need to put more seats in play.

Heinrich, after serving two terms in the US House and one on the Albuquerque City Council, was elected to the Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2018. Sen. Heinrich averaged 52.5 percent of the vote in his two successful statewide runs.

House

MI-8: Republican Changes Mind — Michigan state Rep. Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland) last week announced that he would enter the open 8th Congressional District race, but this week he has changed his mind. Now, Schuette says he will run for re-election to the state House. The move may suggest an opening of the door for his father, former attorney general, appellate judge, US congressman, and US Senate nominee Bill Schuette to run for the open 8th.

Since the 8th CD is a politically marginal district and will host one of the most competitive congressional races in the country, we can expect both parties to invest heavily in the 2024 campaign. Democrats already have several strong candidates, such as state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City), the national Democratic establishment choice; Michigan Board of Education president Pamela Pugh; Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley; and former Genessee County Democratic Party chairman Dan Moilanen.

Trump’s Lead Dwindles; Masters Trails in New Poll; Battle Lines Drawn in NJ; Ohio Candidate Filing Closed;

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

New Hampshire: Trump’s Lead Dwindling — Two polls released towards the end of 2023 have shown that the New Hampshire Republican primary is getting closer. The American Research Group survey (Dec. 17-20; 1,100 New Hampshire adults; 990 New Hampshire registered voters) finds former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley pulling to within a 33-29 percent split with former President Donald Trump.

Another poll, this from St. Anselm College (Dec. 18-19; 1,711 likely New Hampshire voters; online), sees Trump posting 44 percent support while Haley trails at 30 percent, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with 12 percent. Under New Hampshire procedure, non-affiliated voters can vote in a partisan primary, and this plays a major factor in the support numbers for both Haley and Christie.

House

AZ-8: Masters Trailing in New House Poll — It was a good political end of year for former Arizona US Senate nominee Blake Masters (R). First, former President Trump endorsed one of his chief opponents, 2022 attorney general nominee Abe Hamadeh (R), and a new National Public Affairs survey was released that showed Masters trailing badly in an early battle test.

According to the poll (Dec. 16-17; 418 likely AZ-8 Republican primary voters; live interview & text) Hamadeh, who lost his statewide race by only 280 cast ballots, leads this open congressional GOP primary, 37-14 percent over Masters. State House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and former Congressman Trent Franks trail with seven and six percent, respectively.

The Arizona primary is not until Aug. 6, so plenty of time remains for this race to change. Incumbent Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) is retiring.

NJ-7: Dem Primary Battle Lines Being Drawn — A major Democratic primary battle is brewing over who will have the opportunity of challenging freshman Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield). The Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed political organizer Sue Altman in her quest to win the party nomination, while the more centrist New Democrat Coalition is backing former State Department official Jason Blazakis. A third Democrat, Summit City Council President Greg Vartan, is also an announced candidate.

The 7th District race will be a major battleground campaign this year. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+3, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 51.5R – 46.5D partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 16th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. Former Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), who Kean unseated in 2022, is unlikely to run again. He is testing the waters to enter the US Senate contest.

States

Ohio: Candidate Filing Closes — The Ohio candidate filing deadline passed for the 2024 election in preparation for the state’s March 19 plurality primary. The US Senate Republican primary race will feature, as has been the case for months, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and businessman Bernie Moreno. Only one other minor candidate is in the mix. The preponderance of polling suggests a close three-way race. The winner will challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in what promises to be one of the most important Senate races in the country.

The most competitive House primary is again in the state’s 9th District where the Republican winner will face veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo). At the last moment, a new entry, state Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) entered the race, challenging former state Rep. Craig Riedel, Napoleon Mayor Steve Lankenau, and 2022 congressional nominee J.R. Majewski.

Majewski proved a poor general election candidate, and with Merrin now in the race to challenge the others, the outcome of the future primary could be the same as the one in the immediate past. That is, Majewski takes advantage of a split vote, captures the party nomination but then loses to Rep. Kaptur.

With a FiveThirtyEight rating of R+6, losing here again because of a botched primary will greatly diminish the Republicans’ chances of keeping the House majority. In the competitive 1st District, the general election match between freshman Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Cincinnati) and attorney Orlando Sonza (R) appears set.

Other congressional primaries in both parties feature several races with multiple candidates, but mostly they are in districts where the incumbent will again score an easy win.

Christie Out in Maine; Florida Redistricting; Santos Out, Now What?; Maloy Challenged in Utah; House Retirements Reversal

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023

Senate

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Chris Christie: Fails to Qualify for Maine Ballot — Due in part to a notary clerical error, GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie has failed to qualify for the Maine Super Tuesday primary scheduled for March 5, 2024. It remains to be seen if the Christie campaign will attempt to access the ballot via court order. Christie is the only significant GOP candidate not to meet the Maine ballot qualification requirement of submitting 2,000 valid registered voter petition signatures.

House

Florida Redistricting: Appeals Court Overturns Map Rejection — A Florida appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that declared the state’s congressional map as an illegal racial gerrymander. This means the ruling that the northern portion of the map be redrawn is nullified. An appeal to the state Supreme Court is likely. Even if the plaintiffs move forward, however, the time it would take for the high panel to hear the complaint could well extend past the April 26 candidate filing deadline. This means the current map now has a relatively strong chance of lasting at least through the 2024 election cycle.

In its ruling, the appellate directive stated, “The constitution cannot demand that all voters are treated equally without regard to race and at the same time demand that voters are treated differently based on race.” The plaintiffs want a majority minority district reinstated in northern Florida. In the previous decade a 5th District that stretched from Tallahassee into Jacksonville was drawn to elect an African American Representative.

NY-3’s Rep. Santos Expelled: What Now? — Based upon the House Ethics Committee report about now former Rep. George Santos’ (R-Long Island) alleged unethical and illegal activities, the House on a 311-114 count reached the necessary two-thirds vote of those present and voting to expel the freshman member. A special election will now be called to fill the balance of the term. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will have 10 days in which to schedule the vote. According to New York governing parameters, the eligible election days are either Feb. 20 or 27.

Under the Empire State procedure, the affected county party chairmen have the power to nominate their special election standard bearers. Because Nassau County comprises three quarters of the 3rd District, only one individual will effectively select the nominee for the various parties. Since the county chairmen votes are weighted based upon entity population, the Nassau chairman can out-vote the Queens Borough chairman.

The Democrats are apparently going to announce their nominee today, which will very likely be former Congressman Tom Suozzi. He will be favored in the special general against whomever the Republican chairman chooses. It is less clear what action the Republican chairman will take and when.

Suozzi represented the 3rd District for three terms beginning in 2017. He did not seek re-election in 2022 because he launched a long-shot campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was unsuccessful.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-3 as D+4, but Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a more favorable Democratic partisan lean, 56.4D – 42.0R. President Joe Biden posted a 53.6 – 45.4 percent victory here opposite Donald Trump in 2020. Republicans scored a rebound in 2022, however. Gubernatorial nominee Lee Zeldin carried NY-3 with a 56-44 percent margin despite losing statewide. The Republicans also saw their Nassau County Executive candidate unseat a Democratic incumbent.

UT-2: New Rep. Maloy Already Challenged — While Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy (R-Cedar City) was just sworn into office last week after winning the Nov. 21 special election, she has already drawn a 2024 Republican primary opponent. Army Reserve colonel and technology company executive Colby Jenkins (R) declared his congressional candidacy against the new congresswoman on Friday.

Jenkins says he will pursue the controversial ruling that awarded Maloy a ballot position even though she registered to vote after the candidate filing deadline. At this point, Rep. Maloy should be favored for renomination, but it is likely that she will already become embroiled in a new campaign. The Utah state primary is scheduled for June 25.

House Members: Re-Election Announcements — While we saw a spate of House retirements in November (13 in all), five members on Friday declared for re-election. Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), Chris Smith (R-NJ) second in House seniority and returning to seek a 23rd term, Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Joe Wilson (R-SC) are en masse reversing the retirement trend.

Trump Well Below 50 Percent in Iowa; Primary Pairing Develops in AL-1; Missouri Candidate Leaves Senate Race to Run for House; West Virginia Governor Candidate Emerges

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump speaks in Las Vegas Saturday. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Iowa: Trump Well Below 50 Percent, Again — According to the new Selzer & Company poll for the Des Moines Register newspaper (Oct. 22-26; 404 likely Iowa Republican Caucus attenders; live interview), former President Donald Trump is still enjoying a healthy lead over the Republican field, but his support level continues to become stagnant. According to this survey, he has 43 percent of the impending Iowa Caucus vote, scheduled for Jan. 15, 2024. This is a one-point increase from Selzer’s August survey. Tied for second place are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and ex-UN Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Both record 16 percent support.

The allegiance percentage is an increase of 10 points since the August survey for Haley but a three-point drop for Gov. DeSantis. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who has now moved his whole campaign focus to Iowa, draws a seven percent preference. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are tied in this poll with four percent apiece.

House

AL-1: GOP Primary Pairing Develops — The recently completed court-driven Alabama congressional map creates a new majority minority district anchored in the capital city of Montgomery, but then stretches southwest to encompass downtown Mobile. Now we see that the draw results in a pairing of two Republican congressmen. Two-term Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) announced Monday that he will challenge Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), also serving his second term, in the state’s new 1st District. The seat now spans the entire width of southern Alabama from the Mississippi border all the way to Georgia.

This will be a short-term paired campaign in that the Alabama state primary is held concurrently with the Super Tuesday presidential vote on March 5. Should no one receive majority support, the top two finishers will advance to an April 2 runoff election.

This version of AL-1 favors Rep. Carl in that he already represents 59 percent of the new territory as compared to 41 percent for Rep. Moore. The former also leads in fundraising and cash-on-hand. According to the Sept. 30 Federal Election Commission disclosure filing. Rep. Carl reported raising $1.3 million for the campaign-to-date; $257,000 in the 3rd Quarter just completed and holds $869,000 in his account.

By contrast, Rep. Moore has raised just $309,000 during the cycle-to-date, $109,000 for the Q3 period, and shows $647,000 cash-on-hand. Rep. Moore, a member of the Freedom Caucus, may be viewed as the more conservative of the two, which often proves to be the defining factor in a safe district Republican primary.

MO-1: Democratic Prosecutor Exits Senate Race to Run for House — St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell (D) who was challenging for the Democratic US Senate nomination, announced Monday that he is ending his statewide bid and will instead run a primary challenge against Democratic Socialist Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-St. Louis).

Four Democrats opposed Rep. Bush in the 2022 election, two years after she upset veteran Rep. Lacy Clay (D), but she was easily renominated with 69.5 percent of the primary vote.

Bell will be a credible challenger, but Rep. Bush must be viewed as the favorite for renomination and then an easy re-election in a 1st District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+52.

Governor

West Virginia: First Credible Dem Candidate Announces — Though Democrats are viewed as a clear underdog to convert the open West Virginia governor’s mansion next year, the party now has a candidate capable of running a credible general election campaign. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D) announced his candidacy late last week. He is a former state Delegate and ex-Huntington City Manager.

Republicans are headed for a competitive gubernatorial primary among Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), Secretary of State Mac Warner, and businessman Chris Miller. Capito is the son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Mr. Miller is US Rep. Carol Miller’s (R-Huntington) son.

RFK Jr. to Announce Independent Run; Sen. Feinstein Replacement Options; Menendez’s Re-Election Chances

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 2, 2023

President

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

RFK Jr.: To Announce Independent Run — Media reports are indicating that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will end his Democratic nomination challenge to President Joe Biden and instead launch a general election campaign. It is unclear whether he will run as an Independent or seek the nomination of an existing minor party.

Kennedy came to the realization that the Democratic Party establishment was going to block him from delegate acquisition, which gave him no hope of mounting even a competitive bid against President Biden. Kennedy’s name on the ballot could prove more detrimental to President Biden, though he will also take votes from former President Donald Trump.

The other question that Kennedy must answer is whether his candidacy will simply attempt to affect the general election outcome, or does he strive for a national victory. If the latter, he may have a difficult time in qualifying for the ballot in all 50 states. In any event, Kennedy’s appearance on the general election ballot can certainly change the course of the presidential campaign.

Senate

California: Sen. Feinstein Replacement Options — Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) death on Friday means California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will apparently soon appoint an interim replacement to serve the balance of the current senatorial term. Earlier in the year, Gov. Newsom indicated that he would appoint a black woman to the seat if the position opened. This seemed to indicate that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) would have the inside track. The two are close and both hail from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Now, however, Gov. Newsom — quite correctly — is saying he will not appoint one of the open seat Senate candidates who are currently vying for one of the two general election qualifying positions that will be determined in the March 5 Super Tuesday all-party jungle primary. Since Rep. Lee is a candidate, it appears she is no longer under consideration for the appointment. Gov. Newsom said he does not want to give one of the candidates, who are all working hard, an unfair advantage in the open primary by appointing one of them to the seat.

Many names are under consideration, but it is unlikely individuals such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass (D) would give up their current positions to serve in the Senate for just a year. Therefore, Newsom could turn to a senior individual who has served either in elective office or a key appointed position. One such individual who might be considered is retired US Sen. Barbara Boxer (D). Should Newsom go in that direction, and if she would agree to serve again, he would likely receive no objection since he can justify the appointment arguing the statewide voters elected her four times and she could “hit the ground running,” due to her Senate experience. Sen. Boxer served from 1997-2015, after winning election to five terms in the House.

New Jersey: First Post Indictment Poll — Public Policy Polling quickly jumped into the field to test the New Jersey electorate right after Sen. Bob Menendez was indicated. The PPP survey, for the VoteVets Action Fund (Sept. 26-27; 565 New Jersey voters; multiple sampling techniques), explored several potential general election scenarios, none of which looked favorable for the incumbent.

Against a generic Republican opponent, the senator would trail 42-20 percent. If Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), who has already announced his candidacy, were paired with the generic Republican, he would lead 44-32 percent. In a hypothetical match between Kim and former Gov. Chris Christie (R), though the latter man has already said he will not run for the Senate, the former would lead 46-20 percent. Christie, however, would nip Sen. Menendez 27-24 percent. PPP did not test any Democratic primary pairings, which is the more definitive battle.

GOP Presidential Debate Qualifiers; Menendez & Son’s Challenges; Montana Libertarians Change Bylaws

Seven Republican candidates qualified for the second presidential debate. (Fox News graphic)

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023

President

Presidential Debate: Seven Qualify — The second Republican presidential debate is scheduled for tonight, and Fox News announced the seven candidates who will participate. With more stringent debate requirements, it was believed that North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and ex-Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), who both appeared in the first debate, would be disqualified leaving six participants. Former President Donald Trump also qualifies but is again declining to appear. A last minute move from Gov. Burgum, however, allowed him to earn a debate podium spot; Hutchinson failed to do so.

The seven who will be present are: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), ex-Vice President Mike Pence, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and Gov. Burgum. Aside from Hutchinson, national commentator Larry Elder and former US Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) will also not meet the final requirements.

Debate: DeSantis-Newsom Forum Set — Continuing their ongoing public political feud, Florida Gov. DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) have agreed to a date and state for their mutual debate challenge. The event is scheduled for Nov. 30 at a site to be determined in Georgia. Fox News will air the forum that network headliner Sean Hannity will moderate.

Senate

New Jersey: Sen. Menendez Addresses Media; Rep. Kim to Run: — Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) held an indictment response news conference Monday. His statements left little doubt that he intends to fight the charges levied against him and has no intention of resigning his seat.

Some pre-news conference reports were predicting that the senator would announce his campaign for re-election. He did not specifically address his election status, only to say that he intends to remain New Jersey’s senior senator after he is cleared. He asked the Garden State voters to reserve judgment until “all the facts are known.” But Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) isn’t waiting. Kim announced that he will file a Democratic primary challenge against Sen. Menendez.

House

NJ-8: Mayor May Challenge Rep. Menendez — While Sen. Bob Menendez (D) is publicly defending himself over a new indictment brought against he, his wife, and three other associates, freshman Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City), the senator’s son who has defended his father, may be looking at a serious primary challenge.

New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District is solidly Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates it as D+47. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NJ-8 as the 167th safest seat of the 212-member House Democratic Conference. Therefore, Rep. Menendez’s more significant re-election obstacle is renomination.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla (D) confirmed that he is considering launching such a primary challenge. Hoboken, with a population just over 53,000 residents, represents about seven percent of the 8th District’s population but is a considerably larger share of a Democratic primary vote.

States

Montana: Libertarians Change Bylaws — The Montana Libertarian Party has made a significant change to their party bylaws. Beginning immediately, the MLP may now officially endorse a member of another party even if a Libertarian is in the same race. This is significant because the single-digit Libertarian vote has been a thorn in the Republicans’ side since their candidates tend to draw from GOP candidates. This causes certain close races, such as in Sen. Jon Tester’s (D) past campaigns, to allow a Democrat to win with a plurality or small majority support.

Should the Montana Libertarian Party decide to endorse the Republican candidate in the upcoming Senate race and not file their own contender, it would be a plus for the eventual GOP nominee.

Trump’s Big Lead; Sen. Menendez’s Turmoil; A Plethora of Candidates in FL-9; Candidate Withdraws in OH-13

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

ABC/Washington Post Poll: Again Finds Trump with Big Lead — For the second consecutive time, the ABC/Washington Post (Sept. 15-20; 890 registered US voters; live interview) sees former President Donald Trump building a large lead over President Joe Biden. The latest numbers give Trump a 51-42 percent national advantage, and a larger 52-39 percent lead within the Independent segment. In May, the ABC/Washington Post survey found Trump leading by a similar 49-42 percent margin.

Once again, the ABC/WaPo poll gives Trump a bigger lead than other polls conducted during a similar time frame. Since Sept. 14, six national surveys have been conducted from six different pollsters, and these firms see Trump holding leads of four and one point, with four ties.

Senate

New Jersey: Sen. Menendez’s Indictment — Sen. Bob Menendez (D), who is in-cycle next year, was indicted on Friday along with his wife and three others. All five defendants were charged on two counts: bribery, and honest services fraud, as it relates to an Egyptian foreign affairs funding issue. Senator and Mrs. Menendez were also indicted on a conspiracy to commit extortion charge. How this affects the 2024 Senate election remains to be determined.

Sen. Menendez beat a different set of federal charges in 2015. In response to this latest indictment, he said, “For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. To my supporters, friends and the community at large, I ask that you recall the other times the prosecutors got it wrong and that you reserve judgement.”

New Jersey is a strong Democratic state, so the June 2024 primary election may be the senator’s toughest obstacle. Credible candidates currently in the race are municipal planning director Kevin Cupples and real estate financing company executive Kyle Jasey. Former Gov. Chris Christie, still a presidential candidate, confirmed after the Menendez indictment announcement that he will not run for the Senate.

Some Democratic leaders, however, are calling upon Sen. Menendez to resign. Among them are Gov. Phil Murphy, Attorney General Matt Platkin, and Reps. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair). At this point, the lone House member making a public statement in Menendez’s favor, unsurprisingly, is the senator’s son, Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City).

House

FL-9: A Plethora of Candidates — In a seat that should be solid for Democrats, former Kissimmee City Commissioner and ex-congressional candidate Wanda Rentas surprisingly became the sixth Republican to enter the 2024 GOP primary. Though the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district D+16 and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks FL-9 as the 85th safest Democratic seat in the House, local Republicans think the district can be won. In 2022, Rep. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) won a fourth term with a lower than expected 54-46 percent victory margin.

Among the six GOP candidates we find former state representative and ex-Osceola County Commissioner John Quinones. It is likely that the race will winnow down to a contest between Quinones and Rentas, but both would still begin the general election as a clear underdog to Rep. Soto.

OH-13: Challenger Candidate Withdraws — Attorney Greg Wheeler (R), who had declared his candidacy for Congress months ago, on Friday announced that he would suspend his campaign. This leaves Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg as the lone Republican candidate hoping to challenge freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).

Banweg then announced that Sen. J.D. Vance (R) is endorsing his candidacy, which may be a precursor to the party establishment soon following suit. For a time, it was believed that former Ohio Republican Party chair and 2022 US Senate candidate Jane Timken might enter the race, but she has since removed her name from consideration.

Rep. Sykes defeated Republican Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R) in last November’s election by a 53-47 percent margin. Originally, Gilbert, too, was planning to run in 2024, but last month withdrew to accept a spokesperson’s position with the Republican National Committee. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates OH-13 as D+2. The Daily Kos Elections site rank the district as the 13th most vulnerable seat within the Democratic conference.