By Jim Ellis — Friday, June 9, 2023
SenateMissouri: Sen. Hawley Draws Second Dem Opponent — St. Louis County prosecutor and ex-Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell (D) announced that he will enter next year’s US Senate race. He joins Iraq/Afghan War veteran and 2022 US Senate candidate Lucas Kunce in the 2024 Democratic primary.
In the ’22 race, Kunce lost the Democratic nomination 43-38 percent to Trudy Busch Valentine, a philanthropist who was a late entry into the campaign. She would then lose to current Sen. Eric Schmitt in the general election by a 55-42 percent count.
The Aug. 6, 2024, Democratic primary winner will face first-term Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R) in the general election. Sen. Hawley defeated Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in the 2018 race with a 51.4 – 45.6 percent margin. He is favored for re-election in a state that should lie solidly within the Republican realm during the next election. In 2020, then-President Trump defeated Joe Biden, 57-41 percent, in The Show Me State.
IA-3: Re-Match Doubtful — In 2022, then-state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) upset Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) to claim the 3rd District seat. Thoughts of a re-match were routinely discussed, but the latest action suggests one will not occur, at least in 2024. President Biden announced that he has appointed former Rep. Axne as a senior advisor to the Department of Agriculture for rural engagement, delivery, and prosperity.
While this move doesn’t completely eliminate Axne from returning to the political wars, her new position makes it less likely that she will be a candidate in the coming election cycle. Currently, mental health therapist Tracy Limon is the only announced Democratic candidate.
UT-2: Rep. Stewart Resignation Official — Utah Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) made his resignation statement official with a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Wednesday. The congressman, leaving office because of his wife’s health condition, will depart on Sept. 15. Making the resignation official now gives Gov. Spencer Cox (R) more scheduling leeway in calling the replacement special election.
Already, former state representative and 2020 US Senate candidate Becky Edwards (R) has announced her candidacy as has state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights). Crowded fields are expected for both parties. Republicans have a big advantage here in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23.
Fox News has reported in association with this story that the Republicans will be down a seat when Stewart departs. This is not accurate. Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) resigned his seat on June 1, meaning the majority margin will be retained with each party missing one member.
Denver: Johnston Wins Mayoral Election — Former state Sen. Mike Johnston defeated ex-Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Brough by a 55-45 percent margin to win the open Denver mayor’s position on Tuesday night. Johnston previously ran for governor and US senator after leaving the state legislature.
Though the race was ostensibly non-partisan, Johnston aligned with the Democrats while Brough was closer to the Republicans. Campaign spending was about even between the two contenders, but outside liberal organizations came in to tip the financial advantage towards Johnston.
The mayor-elect will take office on July 17. He replaces three-term incumbent Michael Hancock, who was ineligible to seek another term under the new service limit ordinance the city adopted. In fact, Mayor Hancock will be the city’s final three-term chief executive.