By Jim Ellis — Monday, April 10, 2023
HousePA-1: Nominee Returning — Retired Army pilot Ashley Ehasz (D), who fell last November to four-term Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Levittown) by a 55-45 percent count, will return for a re-match, she announced late last week. The 10-point spread was the congressman’s strongest performance since he first began running for the seat in 2016.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the Philadelphia suburban district as EVEN. It is likely Democrats will want to find a stronger 2024 candidate, but Ehasz’s presence in the race suggests a primary contest will result if the party leadership decides to recruit a different contender.
CA-31: Preparing for Retirement? — California state Sen. Bob Archuleta (D-Norwalk) filed a congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission last week. This is a curious move since veteran Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk) has not announced that she is retiring. The act of filing a federal committee is not necessarily an official declaration of candidacy, but does allow the raising of federal funds.
Rep. Napolitano will be 87 years old at the time of the next election and is clearly a retirement possibility. Sen. Archuleta is now officially waiting in the wings. It is unlikely that he will launch a primary challenge against the incumbent since he would be risking his state Senate seat to do so. The 31st Congressional District is heavily Hispanic and Democratic, so any primary challenge will likely result in a double Democratic general election campaign under California’s all-party jungle primary system.
Missouri: Secretary of State Enters Governor Race — As expected, the “Show Me” state’s Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R), the son of former Missouri senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft (R), announced late last week that he will enter the open 2024 governor’s race. Ashcroft was first elected to his statewide post in 2016, and re-elected in 2020. He lost his first race, however, a St. Louis-area state Senate campaign in 2014.
Gov. Mike Parson (R), who assumed the governorship in June of 2018 after then-Gov. Eric Greitens (R) was forced to resign and then was elected to a full term in 2020, is ineligible to seek a second full term.
Already in the open Republican primary are Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and state Sen. Bill Eigel (R-St. Charles County), thus guaranteeing a nomination fight. No Democrat has yet declared his or her candidacy. Republicans will be favored to hold the position in the general election.
Denver Mayor: Runoff Set — Last Tuesday’s open mayoral primary in Denver that featured 16 candidates attempting to succeed retiring Mayor Michael Hancock (D), who is ineligible to run for a third term, has now been officially decided. The two candidates advancing to the November runoff election are both Democrats.
The official general election contenders will be former state senator and ex-gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston and ex-Denver Chamber of Commerce CEO and former mayoral chief of staff Kelly Brough. Brough served as then-Mayor John Hickenlooper’s top aide. Hickenlooper is now, of course, Colorado’s current junior US senator and a former governor and presidential candidate. A competitive general election is expected.
Houston Mayor: New Candidate Emerging — Former Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee, who lost the 2019 runoff to Mayor Sylvester Turner, 55-45 percent after spending $12 million of his own money, may enter the 2023 campaign. Buzbee was quoted as saying he could spend $15-50 million more of his own money to win the election. His stated belief is that he is the only candidate who could defeat US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston), who is now an official mayoral contender.
Candidate filing does not conclude until August, so this open race still has much time to solidify. Mayor Turner is ineligible to seek a third term and is openly considering entering the 2024 Senate race against incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.