Tag Archives: Former President Trump

House Updates – Including Gerrymandering: AL, CO, NM, NJ & NY

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

House

Alabama redistricting map

Redistricting: Supreme Court Hears Alabama Case — In one of the first cases on the US Supreme Court’s new term docket, oral arguments were heard for the Alabama racial gerrymandering redistricting case, which could result in a landmark ruling relating to future interpretation of the Voting Rights Act.

The state of Alabama is arguing its reasons for keeping the state’s congressional map, which features one strong majority minority district. The US government is arguing that a second minority seat can be drawn. The presentations consumed more time than usual for Supreme Court oral arguments, and now it is up to the nine justices to craft a definitive ruling, which will be released sometime before June next year.

In November, the high court will hear oral arguments on the North Carolina redistricting case, which will lead to a definitive ruling pertaining to judicial power over the constitutional authority of state legislatures.

CO-3: Rep. Boebert’s Slight Lead — Despite representing a relatively safely Republican western slope 3rd Congressional District, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) looks to have a competitive race on her hands as we begin the campaign cycle’s final weeks. Colorado-based Keating Research conducted a poll for the Adam Frisch (D) campaign (Sept. 28-Oct. 2; 500 likely CO-3 voters; live interview & text). The ballot test results found Rep. Boebert’s lead shrinking to 47-45 percent, down from Keating’s 49-42 percent spread detected in its July survey.

Expect to see countering numbers from either the Boebert campaign or the National Republican Congressional Committee to soon be released.

NM-2: Gerrymandered District Yields Dem a Slight Edge — The Global Strategy Group, polling for the Gabe Vasquez (D) campaign, tested the NM-2 electorate to determine the state of the race featuring freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) and Vasquez, a Las Cruces City councilman. The GSG survey (Sept. 20-26; 500 likely NM-2 voters; live interview) sees Vasquez pulling ahead of Rep. Herrell, 45-43 percent.

The result is not particularly surprising in that the Democratic legislature and governor crafted the new 2nd CD to flip. Before redistricting, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated the seat, R+14. Post-redistricting, we see a D+4 categorization. This district will still yield a close finish, and voter turnout will tell the ultimate tale.

NJ-7: Rep. Malinowski Internal Poll Shows Dead Heat — The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research organization conducted a congressional poll for two-term Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill), who is again in a tight battle with former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R). In 2020, Kean held Rep. Malinowski to a 51-49 percent re-election win in a district that was more Democratic than the new 7th. The GQR survey (Sept. 20-26; 500 likely NJ-7 general election voters) sees both candidates now attracting 48 percent of the vote. The Democratic pollster, however, also detects a partisan generic party label split of 50-45 percent favoring the Republicans. NJ-7 is a key Republican conversion opportunity seat.

NY-22: Republican Breaks Ahead — The Syracuse-anchored 22nd District is open in the 2022 election cycle because Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse), one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump, is not seeking a fifth term. Ironically, the court-drawn map actually makes this district two points more Republican than the seat the Rep. Katko consistently won.

Siena College conducted an independent poll for the Spectrum News Service (Sept. 25-28; 453 likely NY-22 general election voters) and sees Republican technology company executive Brandon Williams jumping out to a five point, 45-40 percent, advantage over former intelligence agency analyst Francis Conole (D).

With the respondents believing the country is on the wrong track by a 25:63 percent margin, it is not particularly surprising to also see Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) falling behind Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) in this Upstate District. NY-22 is a must-win for the GOP in November.

All About Arizona Arithmetic …

(A Katie Hobbs ad that seems to test what could be her campaign’s change in direction.)

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 30, 2022

Governor

Former news anchor and current gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R)

Arizona: Beneath the Surface — A strange turn of events coming from Arizona leads us to question some of the most recent polling and whether or not there could be a conservative backlash forming. This would explain why the Democratic gubernatorial nominee is clearly moving to the ideological right with her campaign strategy.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs won the open Democratic nomination for governor with over 73 percent of the vote in early August. Former television news anchor Kari Lake (R) is her opponent, and many believed Hobbs would sweep past the latter once Donald Trump’s strong support for Lake became the central campaign issue. For the Aug. 2 primary, Lake enjoyed strong support from the former president, which helped her score a close 47-44 percent Republican primary victory over University of Arizona Regent Karin Taylor Robson.

The general election, however, has become much more competitive than many expected. Lake is running neck-and-neck with Hobbs. Lake is basically taking a Glenn Youngkin-style approach to Trump in the general election — that is, graciously accepting his endorsement but continuing to campaign individually for the office sought without making Trump a campaign factor. In the most recent polling, seven released surveys since Sept. 6, both candidates lead in three of the research studies and are tied in another.

In the three polls favoring Democrat Hobbs, her lead is one point in each survey. Of the three where Republican Lake holds an edge, her margin is four points in two of the three. During this same time-frame — Sept. 6th to the present — nine polls have been conducted and Sen. Mark Kelly (D) holds the lead over Republican Blake Masters in all with an average spread of just under six percentage points in the accompanying statewide campaign.

Seeing these Senate campaign numbers would suggest that Hobbs would feel comfortable remaining close to her Democratic base, figuring that the Kelly campaign would take the lead in driving the party turnout. Not so, when looking at her most recent ad (above).

The new Hobbs ad basically adopts Republican themes, and not the current Democratic approach. She doesn’t mention abortion, unusual for a Democratic candidate these days since the party has clearly adopted a national single-issue strategy surrounding the issue. The party candidates across the board continue along this campaign path because the strategists believe that emphasizing the pro-choice position above all else is the way toward energizing the casual Democratic voter, i.e., those who only vote in presidential elections.

Instead, Hobbs is talking about implementing a tax cut for over 800,000 Arizona families and ending the sales tax on baby formula, school supplies, and medicines. Moving to the right while Sen. Kelly has a discernible advantage over Masters even while being attacked for his liberal voting record is a surprising development.

It appears the Hobbs campaign team may have uncovered patterns and trends in their research that leads them to conclude Republicans are in considerably better political shape than the current polls suggest. The primary turnout is one clue. Some 235,000 more Republicans than Democrats voted in the 2022 Arizona primaries, thus suggesting a possible precursor to a strong election night this November.

Such a closing surge would also be consistent with the Arizona vote in the 2020 election. Then, Sen. Kelly led by an average of just under seven points through the month of October, but only defeated then-Sen. Martha McSally (R) by just two percentage points.

In the presidential campaign, Joe Biden led then-President Trump by an average of 2.5 percentage points over the final 22 polls conducted in the state, but only managed to carry the state by 10,457 votes of almost 3.4 million votes cast — or just .3 of one percent.

The Hobbs move to the right is unorthodox, but if successful will prove a Democratic candidate can win when “cutting across the grain.”

Oregon: Republican Drazan Takes Lead — A just-released DHM Research survey (Sept. 23-24; 600 likely Oregon general election voters) finds former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) taking a one-point lead over former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), with strong Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state legislator, dropping well back.

The gubernatorial ballot test gives Drazan a 32-31-18 percent edge over her two opponents. When the pollsters asked a second question just centered around the three top contenders, the ballot test actually strengthened Drazan slightly, to a 35-33-21 percent margin. The last time a Republican was elected Oregon’s governor came in 1982. In terms of the state’s status perception, just 25 percent said that the Beaver State is headed in the right direction while 62 percent replied that Oregon is on the wrong track.

Senate

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Expands Advantage — After several mid-September polls found Republican US Senate challenger Blake Masters pulling to within the polling margin of error against Sen. Mark Kelly (D), two new surveys see the two-year incumbent pulling back ahead by a more substantial margin.

Suffolk University’s (Sept. 21-25; 500 likely Arizona voters; live interview) latest study reports a seven-point spread in the senator’s favor, 49-42 percent. Marist College’s new likely voter survey (Sept. 19-22; 1,076 likely Arizona voters; live interview, text & online) found a slightly smaller Kelly lead, 50-45 percent. The Arizona race continues to be one to watch, especially considering the late GOP surge that occurred here in 2020.

Washington: Another Outlier — Yesterday, we reported on The Trafalgar Group’s new September poll that posted Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) to a 49-47 percent lead over Republican Tiffany Smiley and suggested the poll may be an outlier, since no other firm found such a close division between the two major candidates.

Now we see Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling quickly countering with a new survey of their own (Sept. 27-28; 770 Washington voters). The PPP response gives Sen. Murray a much stronger 52-40 percent advantage. In the Aug. 2 Washington jungle primary, Sen. Murray outpaced Smiley, 52-34 percent.

Competitive Colorado Senate Race; Cortez Masto and Laxalt in Nevada Donnybrook; NC-13: Deadlocked Poll

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022

Senate

Colorado incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

Colorado: Three Competitive Polls — While the Colorado Senate race has been on the edge of competitiveness for quite awhile, three new polls suggest this is a contest that deserves some national attention. The most surprising survey comes from the Tarrance Group, which tested the Centennial State electorate for the Republican Attorneys General Association (Aug. 22-25; 600 likely Colorado general election voters; live interview). Tarrance finds the Senate race between incumbent Michael Bennet (D) and challenger Joe O’Dea (R), a construction business owner, separated only by one point, 48-47 percent.

Two others see the race somewhat differently. The Trafalgar Group (Aug. 22-25; 1,087 likely Colorado voters; multiple sampling techniques) posts the race at 47-42 percent in Sen. Bennet’s favor. Finally, the most recent survey, from Public Policy Polling (Aug. 30-31; 782 likely Colorado voters; interactive voice response system) sees Bennet holding a 46-35 percent lead.

Republican Colorado Senate challenger Joe O’Dea (R)

Even this last survey, however, contains political warnings for the senator. President Biden’s job approval is decidedly upside-down at 43:51 percent, and Bennet is well below the 50 percent support level. The latter number is always a red flag for an incumbent.

Nevada: Sen. Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt in Donnybrook — The Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) firms again collaborated on a statewide survey for AARP, as they have done in several places this year. Their latest joint effort ventured to the key swing state of Nevada. The poll was conducted over the Aug. 16-24 period of 500 registered Nevada voters, with over-samples of 550 senior voters aged 50 and older, and another over-sample of 290 Hispanic voters.

The ballot test finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) again barely leading former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 44-40 percent. When the two candidates were isolated on an individual ballot test, Cortez Masto’s edge dropped to a virtually even 48-47 percent.

House

NC-13: Deadlocked Poll — Public Policy Polling released a new survey of the Raleigh-Fayetteville new 13th Congressional District open seat campaign in North Carolina. The survey (Aug. 23-24; 506 likely NC-13 general election voters; live interview & text), finds Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) and former North Carolina State University football player Bo Hines (R) tied at 40 percent apiece. Both have “top of the ticket” problems.

President Biden’s job approval score is a poor 37:51 percent favorable to unfavorable, where former President Trump’s favorability index is a similar 35:56 percent.

WI-3: Van Orden Leads on Dem Poll — Wisconsin state Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse) released the results of his internal Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 18-19; 626 registered WI-3 voters; live interview & text) and found Republican retired Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden leading the race by a 45-40 percent count. It is a bit unusual to see a campaign release a survey that projects their candidate trailing, but Van Orden is viewed as the race favorite.

WI-3 is one of the few districts that voted for former President Trump in 2020 (51.5 – 47.8 percent) and elected a Democratic congressman, retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). This race is a must-win for the Republican majority matrix.

Governor

Nevada: AARP Also Shows Tight Gov Race — The aforementioned Fabrizio Ward/Impact Research statewide Nevada survey for AARP (see Nevada Senate above) also finds a very close governor’s race with the incumbent far below the 50 percent threshold. The ballot test for this race finds Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) holding only a 41-38 percent advantage over Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R). Perhaps more troubling for Gov. Sisolak, the respondents believe Nevada is on the wrong track by a hefty 38:62 percent margin.

Florida House Primary Polls; Succeeding the Late Rep. Walorski

By Jim Ellis — August 18, 2022

House

Florida: Series of House Primary Polls — Late primary polling was released in several Florida US House districts in anticipation of the Aug. 23 statewide primary election.

In the newly created open 4th Congressional District seat in Jacksonville, St. Pete Polls (Aug. 4; 312 FL-4 registered Republican voters; interactive voice response system) state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), with the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), has a huge lead over his main opponent, Erick Aguilar (R). The ballot test finds Sen. Bean holding a whopping 59-16 percent advantage. Aguilar got into trouble in the race when intimating in fundraising appeals that Gov. DeSantis supported him. The governor then made his preference clear, which sent the Aguilar campaign on a downward spiral.

St. Pete Polls also conducted a very small sample survey of the state’s 7th District, which now includes part of the Orlando area and stretches to the Atlantic Ocean through Volusia County. Though the poll (Aug. 5; 205 FL-7 likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) is far below the typical sample-size standard for a congressional district, the results were consistent with other earlier polls. This one found Iraq/Afghan War veteran Cory Mills, who attracted national attention when organizing flights into Afghanistan to rescue people when the Taliban was over-running the country, leading state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills) 23-22 percent. Though the race features eight Republican candidates, the primary battle appears to be winnowing down to Mills and Sabatini. The Republican primary winner will be favored in the general election.

The open St. Petersburg-anchored 13th District is also featuring a close contest. An American Viewpoint survey (July 24-27; 400 FL-13 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds attorney Kevin Hayslett coming close to 2020 GOP nominee Anna Paulina Luna, who carries former President Trump’s endorsement. The AV results found Luna leading Hayslett, 36-34 percent. Reports suggest that a more recent Hayslett internal poll drew a similar conclusion. The Republican winner will oppose former Defense Department official Eric Lynn who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The post-redistricting 13th now favors a Republican in the general election.

St. Pete Polls also conducted a small-sample survey of the state’s new 15th District race, the seat Florida gained in national reapportionment. The poll (Aug. 1; 275 FL-15 likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) is another survey too small to be considered highly reliable, but the result shows such an overwhelming spread as to be reliable. The St. Pete ballot test finds former Secretary of State Laurel Lee leading state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), and retired Navy Capt. Kevin McGovern, 44-16-11-5 percent respectively. Though the general election will be competitive, St. Pete Polls has not surveyed the Democratic primary here.

Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Miramar) won the special Democratic primary by just five votes over former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach), but little polling has been conducted of the regular election re-match. The most recent survey, from RMG Research, came in early June and found the new congresswoman topping Holness, 45-21 percent. Still, this is a race to watch on Aug. 23. The Democratic winner will secure the seat in November.

IN-2: Defeated AG Announces for House Seat — Former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R), who was rejected in the Republican renomination process after sexual impropriety claims became public, is in the congressional candidate mix to succeed the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R). After the claims became public, Hill was suspended from practicing law for a 30-day period, which was enough to force his resignation from office.

To replace Walorski on the ballot for both the special election to fill her unexpired term and the regular election, the 2nd District Republican committee will meet on Aug. 20 to select a new nominee. Also requesting consideration for the nomination are state Rep. Curtis Nisly (R-Elkhart County); former state Rep. Christy Stutzman, wife of former US Rep. Marlin Stutzman; businessman Rudolph Yakym, a former Walorski finance director who has the congresswoman’s widowed husband’s endorsement; and attorney Tiernan Kane.

The Democrats are expected to nominate their 2022 congressional nominee, educator Paul Steury, who won the May 3 primary. Republicans are favored to hold the seat, which the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+26.

Today’s Primaries; Final Results Close to Complete in Ariz.; Herrera Beutler Hanging By a Thread in Washington

By Jim Ellis — August 9, 2022

Primaries

Voting Today: Four States Holding Primaries; One Special Election — The final phase of primary season continues today with nomination elections occurring in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. The most competitive statewide races include choosing Senate candidates in Connecticut and governor’s contests in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

A total of 22 House races are on the cumulative political card tonight, including three open seats, one each in Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and a special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) in southern Minnesota. With a victory tonight, either former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R) or ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D) will take the seat immediately upon election certification and serve the balance of Hagedorn’s final term.

Primary Results

Former news anchor Kari Lake (R)

Arizona: Final Results Close to Complete — In states that feature large numbers of mail ballots and allow such votes to count even when arriving after election day, the better part of two weeks is needed to finalize the election totals. From Arizona’s Aug. 2 primary, the winners of all races are now statistically projected as the last remaining votes are being tabulated. The latest published figures show 98 percent of the Republican ballots and 92 percent of the Democratic votes recorded. Republican turnout looks to top 815,000, while Democrats are likely to exceed 625,000.

In the general election, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) will face venture capitalist Blake Masters (R), while Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and former news anchor Kari Lake (R) square off in the open governor’s race.

The key House races feature Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) against businessman Jevin Hodge (D); retired Navy SEAL Eli Crane (R) challenging Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona); Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) in a competitive contest against business owner Kelly Cooper, who upset favored Tanya Wheeless in the 4th District Republican primary; and former state Sen. Kirsten Engel (D) and ex-Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani (R) doing battle in the Tucson-anchored open new 6th District.

Washington: Rep. Herrera Beutler Hanging By a Thread — Washington’s laborious vote counting procedure continues from the Aug. 2 all-mail jungle primary, and the biggest development is that Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) has not yet secured a general election ballot slot, and may in fact lose to challenger Joe Kent (R).

With just under 96 percent of the 3rd District votes counted, Democrat Marie Perez, with 31.2 percent of the vote, has clinched the first ballot position. Rep. Herrera Beutler barely holds the second qualifying position with 22.6 percent (41,603 votes) nipping Kent’s 22.5 percent (41,346 votes), a margin of just 257 votes with as many as 7,000 votes remaining to be counted. Since 45.1 percent of the voters chose either Herrera Beutler or Kent, it is reasonable to believe approximately 3,000 of those votes will determine the second-place qualifier. Of the remaining votes for either Herrera Beutler or Kemp, the latter man would need 54 to overcome the congresswoman’s edge.

In the 4th District, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) who, like Rep. Herrera Beutler, voted to impeach former President Trump, has clinched a general election ballot position with 25.4 percent, but with as many as 25,000 votes to count. In second place, also clinching a general election slot, is Democratic businessman Doug White. Eliminated in third place is Trump-endorsed former town police chief and 2020 gubernatorial finalist Loren Culp (R).

Turning to the 8th District, 2020 Attorney General qualifier Matt Larkin (R) has clinched second position over King County Councilman Reagan Dunn and 2020 general election qualifier Jesse Jensen. Larkin now advances to the 2022 general election to challenge Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish). This is evolving into a top competitive national congressional campaign. Schrier only secured 47.9 percent in the jungle primary, and the cumulative partisan totals suggest that a very tight general election is coming. The cumulative Democratic vote so far totals 97,341 with 91.3 percent of the expected vote tabulated compared to the cumulative Republican total of 96,572.

House

MN-1: Finstad Leading in Final Special Election Poll — The closing poll in the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) was released late last week. The Survey USA poll (July 26-30; 544 likely MN-1 special election voters; live interview) finds Republican former state Rep. Brad Finstad leading ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) by a 46-38 percent margin. Finstad also faces a regular election primary contest with former state Rep. Jeremy Munson whom the former defeated in the May 24 special primary election by just 427 votes.

MN-5: Rep. Omar Facing Serious Primary Challenge — Former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels is waging a strong Democratic primary challenge against controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) in an election that will be decided today. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune announced its editorial board endorsement of Samuels and so did the city’s mayor, Jacob Frey (D). In the last week, a Super PAC entitled “Make A Difference” sponsored a $350,000 television buy to support Samuels. This will be a race to watch tonight.

NY-12: Rep. Nadler Leads in New Poll — Emerson College tested the upcoming Democratic-paired incumbent primary between Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). The survey (Aug. 1-2; 1,000 likely NY-12 Democratic primary voters; live interview, text & interactive voice response system) finds Rep. Nadler, largely with the overwhelming support of men, leading Rep. Maloney 40-31 percent, with the third candidate, businessman and former congressional candidate Suraj Patel attracting 11 percent support. The New York congressional primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.