Tag Archives: Don Bolduc

Final Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022

We have finally reached the end of primary season, as voters in three northeastern states will cast their nomination ballots today. Once these votes are counted, all of the stand-alone primary states will have nominated their general election candidates. At that point only Louisiana, which holds its qualification election concurrently with the general, will remain in primary mode.

Each of the states holding their primaries are in the east, with New England’s New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the schedule along with Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic region.

New Hampshire — The most noteworthy primary is the New Hampshire Republican Senate race, complete with its share of controversy. Polling leader Don Bolduc, a retired Army General who ran unsuccessfully in 2020 (failing to prevail in the Republican primary in order to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen), and Gov. Chris Sununu (R) have been in a public war of words. Gen. Bolduc accused the governor of being a “communist sympathizer” and that his family’s business supports terrorism. The governor retorted that Bolduc is a “conspiracy theory type” who is not “a serious candidate.”

Many in the Republican Party, including Gov. Sununu, believe that Gen. Bolduc will not be a strong enough nominee against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even though polling shows that she is vulnerable. The governor has endorsed state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), who seems to be the only viable competitor who could deny Bolduc the nomination among the 10 others on the ballot.

The latest available Senate poll, this from the University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online), found Gen. Bolduc leading Sen. Morse, 43-22 percent. Since this poll was conducted, however, some $4 million has been spent attempting to deny Bolduc the nomination, and Democratic organizations have come from the outside to help him win the primary since they, too, believe that he would be easiest for Sen. Hassan to beat.

The retired General is at an extreme financial disadvantage, so he has little ability to promote himself. This race will draw the most attention tonight.

New Hampshire’s two congressional districts also feature competitive Republican primaries. Both seats will be hotly contested in the general election because Reps. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) and Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) are clear Republican targets.

Another crowded ten-person Republican 1st District primary appears to be coming down to a battle among 2020 nominee Matt Mowers, who held Rep. Pappas to a 51-46 percent re-election victory before an electorate that has defeated more incumbents than any other in the nation, former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt, and ex-television news reporter Gail Huff Brown, wife of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). Polling suggests that Mowers has the slight edge heading into election day.

In the western 2nd District, the Republican race is a two-way battle between former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns and Keene Mayor George Hansel. Should Burns win the GOP nomination, and polling suggests he will, his challenge opposite Rep. Kuster will be formidable.

Rhode Island — The most notable race on the Rhode Island card is the Democratic primary for governor. Dan McKee assumed the governorship when incumbent Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.

The new governor, running for a first full term in his own right, has four Democratic challengers, and a close outcome in tomorrow’s primary is expected. McKee’s four opponents are Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, businesswoman Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and physician Luis Daniel Munoz. It appears the race is winnowing to a battle between Gov. McKee and Gorbea. Today’s winner becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election.

Delaware — With no governor or senator on the ballot this year, the Delaware primary is basically a non-event. At-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and educator/actor Lee Murphy is the only candidate on the Republican side. The general election will not be competitive, since Rep. Blunt Rochester is a lock for re-election.

Palin Loses in Alaska; Walker Leads in Second Poll in Georgia, Kemp Holds Edge; Gen. Bolduc Again Leading in NH; Gov. McMaster’s SC Quest

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

House

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) wins the Alaska special election race.

AK-AL: Sarah Palin Loses Special Election — Former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin fell to Democrat Mary Peltola in the at-large Alaska special election, which marked the first full usage of the state’s new Ranked Choice Voting system.
At the end of the final counting, 60 percent of voters chose a Republican candidate, but the RCV system yielded a Democratic victor. Therefore, in a system that is designed to create a majority candidate, in this case it produced a minority vote share winner.

The finalists were Peltola, who recorded 40.2 percent of the vote; Palin, who secured 31.3 percent, and Nick Begich III (R), the grandson of former Democratic US Rep. Nick Begich, and the nephew of former US senator and ex-Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D), who captured 28.5 percent. Finishing third, Begich was eliminated from further competition, and his first-place votes were located and then distributed to the other candidates via the voters’ ranking. In the end, Peltola defeated Palin by a 5,219 votes; another 14,965 ballots were disqualified in the Ranked Choice Voting process.

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker[/caption]Georgia: Walker Leading in Second Poll — Previously, an early August Phillips Academy poll projected Republican Herschel Walker to be holding a slight 45-44 percent lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) after trailing in seven of eight July surveys. Emerson College released the result of their most recent Georgia survey Tuesday (Aug. 28-29; 600 likely Georgia general election voters; interactive voice response system, text, and online), which found Walker posting an almost identical 46-44 percent edge, again providing more evidence that this race is a long way from being over.

New Hampshire: Gen. Bolduc Again Leading — In mid-August, when St. Anselm College released a survey showing retired Army general and 2020 US Senate Republican candidate Don Bolduc developing a substantial lead for the Sept. 13 GOP Senate primary, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) went public in an attempt to negate his advantage. Many believe, including Gov. Sununu, that Gen. Bolduc would lose to Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) in November. Previously, Gen. Bolduc had accused Gov. Sununu of being “a Chinese communist sympathizer,” among other comments that created bad blood between the two men.

The University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online) reported the results of their new statewide survey. According to the UNH Granite State Poll, Gen. Bolduc continues to lead state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) by over 20 points, 43-22 percent, with three other candidates languishing in low single digits.

Georgia: Kemp Again Holds Advantage — The aforementioned Emerson College survey (see Georgia Senate above) also tested the Peach State governor’s race between incumbent Brian Kemp (R) and challenger Stacey Abrams (D) who returns for a re-match from their close 2018 contest. The Emerson results give Gov. Kemp a 48-44 percent edge, which appears as a consistent margin routinely found in eleven of 12 July-August polls in which the incumbent held an edge. The lone outlier poll, a Research Affiliates study that concluded on Aug. 1, found the two candidates tied at 47 percent apiece.

South Carolina: Gov. McMaster Leading in Re-election Poll — Gov. Henry McMaster (R) succeeded then-Gov. Nikki Haley (R) when she resigned her office in 2017 to become US Ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster would then win a full term in 2018, and now seeks re-election. Because of the state’s former one and now two-term limit, winning re-election this year and serving most of the next term would make McMaster the longest-serving governor in state history.

The Trafalgar Group, as part of their nationwide polling series (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) tested the Palmetto State electorate and sees Gov. McMaster jumping out to a 51-43 percent lead over former Congressman Joe Cunningham, who won the Democratic nomination back in the June primary. Four years ago, Gov. McMaster was re-elected with a 54-46 percent margin.

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General; Wyoming Rep. Cheney Loses Big

By Jim Ellis — August 17, 2022

Primary Results

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the Alaska special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district.

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General — With just under 70 percent of the voting tabulated, and as expected by consolidating the smaller Democratic vote, former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district left vacant when veteran Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) passed away in March.

Former governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) holds a 5,266 vote lead over Nick Begich III (R) for the all-important second place position. Under Alaska’s new voting procedure, ballots postmarked yesterday have until Aug. 31 to reach the county clerk’s office and be tabulated. The extra time is important for the outlying rural areas to be included.

Second position is so important because the third-place finisher in this electoral situation, at this point that being Begich, will be eliminated and the Ranked Choice Voting process will begin. If Begich is eliminated, the ballots listing him as the first choice will be found and the second choice votes from only these ballots will be added to the process. The eventual winner will immediately be sworn into the House. All three of the aforementioned candidates also advanced into the regular general election.

Alaska republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka

Turning to the US Senate race, incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), running for a fourth full term, is first at this point in the counting process with 43.7 percent of the vote among 19 jungle primary candidates, and just ahead of former Alaska Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka (R), who former President Trump long ago endorsed. Tshibaka’s current vote percentage is 40.4. It appears Democrat Patricia Chesbro (6.2 percent) is well-positioned to take a distant third place; vying for the fourth and final position are Republicans Buzz Kelley and Pat Nolin.

In the governor’s race, incumbent Mike Dunleavy (R) looks to have secured first position with 41.7 percent of the jungle primary vote among 10 candidates. Also clinching general election ballot slots are former state Rep. Les Gara (D) with 22.0 percent of the vote, and ex-Gov. Bill Walker (I) who so far has posted a close 21.9 percent. The final general election qualifying position appears undecided between two Republicans, Charlie Pierce and Christopher Kurka.

At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R)

Wyoming: As Expected, Rep. Cheney Loses Big — Early in the counting process, it was clear that At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) would lose her US House seat to attorney Harriet Hageman, the candidate former President Donald Trump supported early.

The vote count was a landslide in favor of Hageman — 66-29 percent — who ran a measured campaign. Her theme was concentrating on serving the constituency while highlighting that Rep. Cheney used the position to fulfill her own political goals.

Incumbent Sen. Cheney carried only her home county of Teton, which houses the cities of Jackson and Jackson Hole, and southeastern Albany County; Hagman topped the vote totals in the state’s other 21 counties. Republican turnout overwhelmed that of the Democrats, 170,409 to just 7,233 ballots cast, suggesting that a large number of the latter party’s members did what Cheney asked them to do and crossed over to vote for her in the Republican primary.

The GOP turnout was up 58.7 percent compared to 2020, while Democratic participation was down 30.7 percent, providing more evidence that a significant number of Democrats voted in the Republican primary. Two years ago, Cheney won a contested Republican primary with 73.5 percent of the vote, and scored a 68.6 percent win in the general election.

Hageman will now face the new Democratic nominee, Native American community activist Lynette Grey Bull, the 2020 party standard bearer against Cheney. Hageman now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the general election.

Senate

New Hampshire: Candidate Staked to Big Lead — St. Anselm’s College released the results of their quarterly poll of Granite State voters, this one taken a month before the state’s late primary election. This New Hampshire sampling universe (Aug. 9-11; 1,898 registered New Hamshire voters; 900 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; live interview), as have those from two other St. Anselm’s 2022 polls, sees President Biden with an upside-down job approval rating. Biden registers 42:57 percent favorable to unfavorable status.

Republicans hold a three-point lead on the generic party vote questions, and 68 percent of the respondents believe the country is on the wrong track versus just 21 percent who believe America is headed in the right direction. Democrats have a clear advantage on the abortion issue by a 49-23 percent margin.

In the Senate GOP primary, retired general and 2020 Senate candidate Don Bolduc holds a significant 32-16-4-4 percent advantage over state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, and investor Bruce Fenton, respectively.

House

NH-1: 2020 Nominee Mowers Leading in New Poll — The co/efficient survey research firm tested the upcoming Sept. 13 Republican congressional field in the state’s swing 1st District. New Hampshire’s eastern CD has defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country since the 2004 election.

In the Republican primary where candidates hope to challenge Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in the general election, the survey (Aug. 13-14; 829 likely NH-1 Republican primary voters; live interview & text) projects 2020 nominee Matt Mowers to be leading the field with 31 percent support. Former Trump White House media aide Karoline Leavitt 16 percent, state Rep. Tim Baxter (R-Portsmouth) nine percent, and former news reporter and wife of ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R), Gail Huff Brown, at eight percent preference. This district electorate will once again witness a highly competitive general election.

Toss-Up Polling Results in NH;
A Dead Heat in Iowa; A Nevada Voting Initiative to be Considered

By Jim Ellis — July 25, 2022

Senate

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan (D)

New Hampshire: Toss-Up Polling — The progressive left research firm Data for Progress (June 22-July 8; 903 likely New Hampshire voters; online) released their latest Granite State poll and find Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) headed toward her predicted re-election dogfight. The ballot test series appears interchangeable, suggesting that the incumbent is endangered regardless of who she faces after the Sept. 13 primary. Though the sampling period for this poll is long, the sample size is high thus negating some of the accuracy flaws. The results are also consistent with other polling, so the numbers appear legitimate.

Polled against state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), Sen. Hassan leads 49-46 percent. Both retired Army General Don Bolduc (R) and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith (R) record 49-45 percent deficits against Sen. Hassan. The New Hampshire Senate race will prove to be one of the key races in the nation to determine the next majority.

House

IA-3: No Surprise, a Dead Heat — The Moore Information Group tested the toss-up rated IA-3 congressional race between two-term Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) and state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant). Not surprisingly, the poll results (July 9-11; 400 likely IA-3 voters; live interview) found the two candidates tied at 43 percent apiece. Axne never reached 50 percent in either of her congressional wins. Therefore, we can expect another very close result come election night.

MI-11: Shock Poll — We haven’t seen a poll of the intra-party Democratic congressional primary pairing between Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) since February, but a new Target Insyght survey conducted for the Jewish Insider publication suggests the race has drastically changed. Early in the year, the two were virtually tied in a series of surveys. The TI poll (July 18-20; 500 likely MI-11 Democratic primary voters; live interview) now finds Rep. Stevens holding a commanding 58-31 percent advantage, however.

The result doesn’t make much sense when looking at the favorability indexes of both candidates. Stevens records a 71:20 percent favorable to unfavorable score, while Rep. Levin’s is a similar 65:21 percent. Comparing these numbers with a landslide ballot test conclusion appears inconsistent. Expect the Levin camp to shortly release countering data.

States

Nevada: Top Five Qualifies — The ballot change initiatives keep popping up around the country, and the Nevada Secretary of State announced a measure late last week to create a jungle primary that sends five finalists to the general election; this initiative has qualified for the November initiative ballot. Ranked Choice Voting would then be used to determine the general election winner.

The plan is a long way from being enacted, however. Under Nevada initiative law, measures must be adopted in two consecutive elections. This means even a victorious “Yes” vote in November would again go before the voters in 2024. Furthermore, the state’s Democratic leadership has stated their united opposition. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Jackie Rosen (D), along with the state AFL-CIO, are all urging a “No” vote.

Kelly Beyond Margin of Error in AZ Polling; Tightening Race for GA Senate; Dead Heat in MO

By Jim Ellis — July 6, 2022

Senate Polling

Sen. Mark Kelly (D) strong in new polling

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Beyond Margin of Error — Last week, we reported on a Public Policy Polling survey (June 28; 595 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) that projected venture capitalist Blake Masters, who former President Donald Trump endorses, to a 29-15-10 percent advantage over Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) and businessman Jim Lamon (R). Earlier, the Trafalgar Group (June 7-9; 1,077 likely Arizona Republican primary voters) found the Masters’ lead at a more modest 29-24-17 percent over Brnovich and Lamon.

Change Research just released their new general election poll (June 24-27; 705 likely Arizona general election voters; online) and projects Sen. Kelly to be holding a substantial 48-39 percent lead over Masters. Lamon performs better. He would trail Sen. Kelly, 47-41 percent. Surprisingly, it does not appear that CR tested Brnovich against the incumbent.

Georgia: Closer Than Quinnipiac — Last week, we also covered the Quinnipiac University survey (June 23-27; 1,497 registered Georgia voters; live interview) that forecast Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) leading Republican Herschel Walker, 54-44 percent. The more recent Change Research poll (June 24-27; 704 likely Georgia general election voters; online) projects a closer contest, however. The CR results find Sen. Warnock’s lead to be 48-44 percent, which is more consistent with other publicly released data for this campaign.

Missouri: Trafalgar’s Dead Heat — The Trafalgar Group tested the open Missouri Republican US Senate primary (June 28-30; 1,072 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; multiple sources) and found a virtual three-way tie for the GOP open seat nomination. Their latest ballot test finds US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) and former Gov. Eric Greitens tied at 24 percent, with Attorney General Eric Schmitt right behind at 23 percent. US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) and state Senate President Dave Schatz (R) are way back at six and two percent support.

Greitens was forced to resign from the governor’s office in 2018 because of an extra-marital affair and charges brought against him in St. Louis County. The indictment was later dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct. The former governor and ex-Navy SEAL recently released an ad showing him holding an automatic weapon, attacking a vacant house, and claiming he is chasing down “Republican RINO’s” (Republicans in Name Only). Despite the negative feedback, Greitens continues to promote the theme.

The Democratic race features Afghan War veteran Lance Kunce and philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the August Busch Budweiser beer family. Sen. Roy Blunt (R) is retiring.

Nevada: Another Toss-Up Result — Change Research also tested the Nevada Senate race as part of their multi-state series. The Silver State survey (June 24-27; 701 likely Nevada general election voters; online) again finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) running neck and neck. The CR Nevada ballot test finds the Senator holding a 46-43 percent lead, which is consistent with five other polls that have been conducted from March to the present time. Nevadans are no strangers to close elections. In their past 10 statewide contests, only four winners have topped the 50 percent mark with the strongest victor receiving only 50.6 percent.

New Hampshire: Sen. Hassan Expands Lead, But Against Weakest Opponent — Continuing with the series of late June Change Research online polls, the New Hampshire race was also tested. At this point, the only released data is of an unlikely general election pairing between Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and retired Army General Don Bolduc (R). This poll (June 24-27; 704 likely New Hampshire general election voters; online) gives the senator a 49-40 percent lead.

Gen. Bolduc, however, is an underdog to win the Republican primary as state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), Londonderry former town manager, Kevin Smith, and investor Bruce Fenton all look to be stronger candidates in the Sept. 13 Republican primary race. This poll should be considered the base Republican position against Sen. Hassan.

Governor

Texas: Gov. Abbott Maintains Advantage — International online pollster YouGov, for CBS News, tested the Texas general election electorate and again finds Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leading in his quest for a third term. The poll (June 22-27; 548 likely Texas general election voters; online) sees the governor topping former US congressman and 2020 presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke (D), 49-41 percent. Considering that Texas Republican candidates tend to under-poll based upon the eventual final election result, it is conceivable that Abbott is in an even stronger position than this survey indicates.