Tag Archives: George Latimer

Fong’s Fight; Rep. Jamaal Bowman in Primary Battle; Another US House Member to Resign; More Primary Trouble for Rep. Nancy Mace

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024

House

California Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) / Photo by Kevin Sanders for California Globe

CA-20: Candidates Qualify for Special Election — The California Secretary of State has attested that nine candidates have qualified for the March 19 special election to replace resigned former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). Controversy, however, still surrounds the favorite to win the electoral contest, Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield).

Since Fong had already filed for re-election before Rep. McCarthy resigned from the Congress, the Secretary of State ruled that he could not enter the congressional race because such action would violate a California election law that prohibits individuals from simultaneously running for multiple offices. Fong sued over the administrative ruling and won in Superior Court. Therefore, he has been slated as a congressional candidate while not being removed from the state assembly ballot. The state is appealing the court ruling, so even if Fong wins the special election as expected, he could be hampered by a future court decision.

Also qualifying are Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R), and seven other Republicans, Democrats, and No Party Preference candidates. If no one receives majority support on March 19, the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation will advance to a special general election on May 21. The regular election cycle primary is scheduled for March 5, featuring most of these candidates. The special election winner will serve the balance of Rep. McCarthy’s final term.

NY-16: Serious Primary Challenge Unfolding — New York US Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), while receiving good news that the House Ethics Committee is not going to pursue further action against the congressman for pulling a fire alarm in a House office building, is now facing a backlash over social media posts he made after the 9/11 attack. The posts referred to theories that the US government orchestrated the terrorist massacre, and a ring of globalist bankers were actively involved in the conspiracy.

“Well over a decade ago, as I was debating diving into a doctoral degree, I explored a wide range of books, films, and articles across a wide swath of the political spectrum and processed my thoughts in a personal blog that few people ever read. I don’t believe anything that these cranks have said, and my life’s work has proven that.”

While Bowman may survive these controversies in the short term, he faces a very difficult Democratic primary election in June. His principal opponent, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is reporting a dollars raised figure of $1.4 million since his declaration of candidacy in early December. Latimer is a veteran campaigner, having been elected four times to the state Assembly, once to the state Senate, and twice to his current position. Therefore, Rep. Bowman must be considered as a highly vulnerable incumbent as he heads into a serious renomination fight.

NY-26: Rep. Higgins to Resign Friday — New York US Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), who announced back in November that he would resign the House seat he has held for almost 20 years to take a position in the non-profit sector back in Buffalo, issued a statement saying that he will leave Congress on Friday. Once the seat is officially vacant, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will have 10 days to call a special election for a period no less than 70 and no greater than 80 days from the scheduling announcement.

The local Democratic county chairmen have already chosen state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as the party’s special election nominee. Republicans are not likely to be competitive in the Buffalo anchored district which carries a partisan rating of D+18 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. At this point, the local Republican county chairs have not announced a special election nominee.

SC-1: More Trouble for Rep. Mace — Earlier in the week, we reported that South Carolina US Rep. Nancy Mace’s (R-Charleston) former chief of staff, Dan Hanlon, had filed a campaign committee to challenge her in this year’s Republican primary. Now, a former Nikki Haley gubernatorial cabinet official, Catherine Templeton, announced that she, too, will oppose the congresswoman.

Templeton, the former director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ran for governor in 2018 but finished third in the Republican primary, losing to Gov. Henry McMaster. As lieutenant governor in 2017, McMaster ascended to the governorship when Haley was appointed UN Ambassador.

With the US Supreme Court still deciding whether the lawsuit challenging the 1st District as a racial gerrymander is valid, there is still a possibility that this seat could be redrawn before the candidates appear on the ballot. The South Carolina primary is June 11, with a runoff scheduled for June 29 if no candidate receives majority support. Unless the district is ordered changed, the eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite in the general election.

McCarthy’s Resignation; NY-16 Primary Challenge; NY-17 Primary Challenge Avoided; Disgraced Nashville Mayor Now in House Race; Utah Challenger Emerges

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 8, 2023

House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R)

CA-20: Ex-Speaker McCarthy to Resign — With the California candidate filing deadline looming today, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) announced that he will not seek re-election to a 10th term and is leaving Congress at the end of the year. The outcome is not surprising, and one many expected since his ouster as House Speaker two months ago. The McCarthy decision means 35 House seats are now open with seven coming from California alone.

McCarthy’s Bakersfield-anchored district will remain safely in Republican hands, but the question remains as to whether a special election will be called. When the most recent California seat became vacant — San Diego’s Duncan D. Hunter resignation in early 2020 — Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) simply didn’t schedule a special election and the seat remained vacant for the better part of a year.

Since Newsom previously got away with this course of action, it is quite possible he will attempt to again hold the McCarthy seat in abeyance, particularly since the Republican majority is dwindling with the expulsion of Rep. George Santos and Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-OH) pending resignation.

California’s 20th District draws a R+31 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization and is the safest Republican seat in this heavily blue state. Former President Donald Trump posted a 61-34 percent victory margin here over Joe Biden in 2020. For the regular election, seeing a double-Republican runoff evolve from the all-party jungle primary is a distinct possibility. The two leading potential contenders appear to be state Sen. Shannon Graves (R-Bakersfield) and Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield).

NY-16: Primary Challenge Now Official — Earlier in the week, we reported that Westchester County Executive and former state legislator George Latimer had filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission and was expected to officially declare his Democratic primary candidacy against two-term Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers). Wednesday, Latimer made his official announcement.

Several key primaries are evolving around the nation, and this challenge is a serious effort. Bowman, himself, came to Congress through unseating an incumbent, veteran Rep. Eliot Engel, in the 2020 Democratic primary, and now the tables may turn in 2024.

NY-17: Rep. Lawler Avoids Primary Challenge — Former Trump White House aide Bill Maloney, who was considering challenging freshman Rep. Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) because he believed the congressman was not demonstrating sufficient loyalty toward Trump, now says he will not run. Rep. Lawler is likely to find himself in a very difficult general election campaign, thus making it necessary for him to have an uncontested primary campaign.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-17 as D+7. The district, however, will likely change after a congressional map redraw, so it is likely this Hudson Valley seat will become even more Democratic. The Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the seat as sixth most vulnerable in the Republican Conference, and is likely to become even more competitive post-redistricting.

TN-7: Disgraced Nashville Mayor Announces Against Rep. Green — Former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry (D), who resigned her position in disgrace as part of a plea deal for misuse of public funds to facilitate an extra-marital affair with a member of her security detail, on Wednesday announced that she will enter the 7th Congressional District Democratic primary. Should she win the nomination election, Barry would then challenge three-term Tennessee US Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

CD-7 is a safely Republican western Tennessee district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+21. Former President Donald Trump carried TN-7 with a 56-41 percent victory margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 76th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. Rep. Green was re-elected in 2022 with a 60-38 percent victory margin.

Governor

Utah: Another Gubernatorial Primary Challenger Emerges — Gov. Spencer Cox (R) is favored to win a second term next year, but he will first have to out poll now two intra-party opponents. In late October, state Rep. Phil Lyman (R-Blanding) announced his Republican primary challenge to Gov. Cox, and this week, state Rep. Brian King (R-Salt Lake City) also entered the race.

While Gov. Cox would be favored against multiple candidates on a primary ballot, the candidates will first enter the Utah Republican Party endorsement convention, which can send as many as two candidates to the primary ballot. Not entering the convention, which may be the route Gov. Cox chooses, a candidate would need to recruit 28,000 valid petition signatures in order to compete in the party primary. Expect Gov. Cox to prevail in the nomination process and for re-election next November.

Trone Leads in NJ Poll; Three-Way Tie in Ohio; Menendez Repercussions; Incumbent Challenge in NY; Early Showdown in Virginia

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023

Senate

Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac)

Maryland: Rep. Trone Leads in New Internal Poll — The Trone for Senate campaign released an internal Hickman Analytics survey (Nov. 27-30; 1,000 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters; live interview) that projects US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) to be leading his top primary competitor in the open Senate race, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, by a 41-34 percent spread.

Rep. Trone, who is largely self-financing his own campaign, has already spent more than $10 million on his statewide effort. The Hickman poll sample consisted of 50 percent white and 42 percent black voters, which may prove an accurate depiction of the Maryland Democratic primary’s racial composition. On the other hand, the sample was weighted heavily toward females, with women comprising 62 percent of the respondent base. This number will prove too high. The Maryland primary is scheduled for May 14.

Ohio: Virtual Three-Way Tie — A new co/efficient poll for the Bernie Moreno (R) Senate campaign finds the Ohio businessman edging ahead of his two Republican opponents, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). Moreno has gained support with a new ad tying him to former President Donald Trump. Still, with the overwhelming majority of respondents classifying themselves as undecided, and the trio of candidates separated by a total of two percentage points, this Republican primary race appears as a pure three-way tie. The Ohio plurality primary is scheduled for March 19.

House

NJ-8: Rep. Menendez Gains Endorsement, Fares Poorly in Poll — It appears that freshman New Jersey Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City) is absorbing heavy political baggage from his indicted father, Sen. Bob Menendez (D). While just winning the Hudson County Democratic Party’s endorsement, which houses 72 percent of the 8th District’s population and translates into a very favorable primary ballot position, a new Change Research poll (Nov. 28-12/1; 762 likely NJ-8 Democratic primary voters; online) suggests Rep. Menendez is in trouble for re-nomination.

According to the Change Research results, Rep. Menendez’s favorability index stands at a poor 17:51 percent favorable to unfavorable. In a ballot test with his top Democratic primary opponent, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla who had already raised $400,000 through the end of September, the congressman posts only a 16-13 percent edge. Clearly, this primary challenge will be a race to monitor throughout the early cycle. The New Jersey plurality primary is scheduled for June 4.

NY-16: County Executive Files Congressional Committee — Another hotly contested Democratic primary battle is beginning. On Monday, Westchester County Executive and former state legislator George Latimer (D) filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. A formal declaration of candidacy is likely to follow shortly. Latimer will be challenging two-term Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) who himself came to office by denying an incumbent renomination. In 2020, Bowman unseated veteran Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel.

Latimer has been in elective office consecutively since the beginning of 2005. This includes his time as Westchester County Executive, a state senator, and a state assemblyman. He will be able to command financial resources and clearly has a base of support. Westchester County comprises 91 percent of the 16th Congressional District’s population. Rep. Bowman’s base comes from the African American community, which is a quarter of the resident base but accounts for a far greater percentage in the Democratic primary.

Governor

Virginia: An Early Showdown — A year and one-half before the next Virginia gubernatorial primary election, we already have a brewing contest. In mid-November, US Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) announced she would forego re-election to a fourth term in the US House in order to run in the open 2025 governor’s race. Now, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has already joined the Democratic primary race with his announcement.

Since Virginia is the only state in the Union that has a one-term limit for its governors, incumbent Republican Glenn Youngkin is ineligible to seek re-election, thus guaranteeing an open contest in 2025.

New Hampshire for Biden Write-In Effort; NJ First Lady Files; OR-3 Rep. Blumenauer to Retire; Bowman on Hot Seat Since Pulling Fire Alarm

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023

President

A New Hampshire for Biden poster

New Hampshire: Democratic Leaders Launch Biden Write-in Effort — A group of leading Democrats, including the state’s two senators and their pair of US House members, as well as all 10 Democratic state senators and most of the party’s large delegation to the state House of Representatives, are forming an organization to qualify President Joe Biden as a write-in candidate for the still unscheduled Democratic presidential primary. Biden is choosing to bypass New Hampshire because the state did not agree with the new Democratic National Committee presidential primary scheduling recommendations.

Though the show of internal Democratic strength is positive for the Biden campaign, their move also increases the stakes for the New Hampshire primary. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) is a candidate and will secure a ballot position. Therefore, the pressure would be on the Biden write-in effort to defeat Phillips, otherwise his national campaign would begin with a major political black eye.

Senate

New Jersey: NJ First Lady Files Candidate Committee — New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy (D) may be joining the US Senate race. Rumored to be a candidate once the scandal involving incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D) broke, Murphy had not taken any official step to create a formal campaign. That changed Tuesday, however, as she filed a senatorial exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission but stopped short of declaring her candidacy. An announcement may be coming in the next couple of weeks.

Murphy may have a difficult time in the Senate Democratic primary. Sen. Menendez, though faring poorly in early polling, has not indicated that he will resign or retire. Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) immediately announced his Senate primary entry upon the Menendez indictment becoming public and has jumped out to an early lead.

Additionally, Gov. Phil Murphy had a close call for re-election in 2021, meaning the Murphy family is likely weakened within the Democratic voting base. Finally, Murphy has never been a candidate before, and starts well behind Rep. Kim despite having name identification. An early October Data for Progress poll showed Kim leading an entire proposed candidate field, including Sen. Menendez, by a large margin. Murphy stood at just four percent support.

House

OR-3: Rep. Earl Blumenauer to Retire — Fifteen-term Oregon US Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) has announced that he will retire at the end of the current Congress. Blumenauer, first elected to the House in a 1996 special election, has served in public office consecutively since 1973, including his time in the Oregon House of Representatives, the Multnomah County Commission, and as a Portland City Commissioner, in addition to his 28-plus years in Congress. He currently serves on the Ways & Means and Budget Committees.

Rep. Blumenauer leaves a safely Democratic Portland suburban-anchored seat that covers Hood River County and parts of Multnomah and Clackamas counties. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+43. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a whopping 70.5D – 25.0R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks OR-3 as the 155th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

Blumenauer’s retirement decision means there are now 22 open House seats, 15 from the Democratic side, six that Republicans hold, with one new redistricting-created open seat in Alabama. Of the 21 incumbents not seeking re-election at this point, eight are retiring or have resigned, and 13 are running for a different office. We can expect a crowded and hotly contested 3rd District Democratic primary scheduled for May 21, 2024.

NY-16: Rep. Bowman Primary Opponents Unifying — Pastor Michael Gerald (D) announced that he is putting his Democratic primary challenge against Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) on hold until Westchester County Executive George Latimer (D) decides whether he will run. Rep. Bowman has been on the hot seat regarding being found guilty of deliberately pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building and could face an expulsion resolution. Obviously, this has generated negative publicity for the congressman.

Prior to winning the County Executive’s position in the 2017 election, Latimer had served in the New York State Senate and Assembly. Westchester County contains 91 percent of NY-16, so a Latimer challenge to Rep. Bowman, should it materialize, would become a major campaign.

Brown Becoming Leading Senate GOP Candidate in Nevada; Redistricting Activist Challenges in Michigan; Kuster Stands Pat; Competition in NY-16; NC Gubernatorial Race Update

By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 24, 2023

Senate

Afghan War veteran Sam Brown (R)

Nevada: Brown Becoming GOP Candidate of Choice — Afghan War veteran Sam Brown (R), disfigured through his war injuries, is becoming the leading Nevada Republican US Senate candidate just since his official announcement on July 10.

According to published reports, he is already the leading fundraiser in the Republican field and has the endorsement of National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Steve Daines (R-MT), the Americans for Prosperity organization, and individual senators such as Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). The eventual Republican nominee will oppose first-term Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) in the general election. For Republicans to gain the Senate majority, the Nevada seat must become a prime target.

House

MI-4: Redistricting Activist to Challenge Rep. Huizenga — Attorney Jessica Swartz (D), who was one of the prime movers behind the successful ballot initiative to convert the Michigan redistricting system to a citizens’ commission, announced that she will challenge US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) next year.

Originally, Rep. Huizenga appeared to be the odd man out as national reapportionment cost Michigan a congressional seat. The map led to he and veteran Rep. Fred Upton (R) being paired in the new southwestern Michigan’s 4th CD. However, with Rep. Upton opting for retirement after serving 36 years in the House, that ultimately left the seat to Huizenga, who was re-elected with a 54-42 percent victory percentage last November even though he had not previously represented 75 percent of the new constituency. Expect this race to draw some national attention in 2024.

NH-2: Rep. Kuster Staying Put — Saying that Democrats already have “two great candidates,” US Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton) said late last week that she would not enter the open governor’s race now that four-term incumbent Chris Sununu (R) has announced his retirement. It is presumed that Rep. Kuster will seek re-election to a seventh term in the House.

In her comments, Rep. Kuster was referring to Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington who are declared Democratic gubernatorial candidates. Republican former state Senate President Chuck Morse immediately announced his candidacy when Gov. Sununu made his retirement plans public. Ex-US Sen. Kelly Ayotte may also soon join the open Republican primary.

NY-16: Potential Tougher Challenger for Rep. Bowman — Last year, New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) turned back two Democratic primary challengers by a 54-25-19 percent margin in what proved to be a moderately competitive campaign. This cycle, his competition may be more formidable.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer (D), who defeated a Republican incumbent in 2017 and then won a 62-38 percent re-election campaign, confirms that he is considering challenging Rep. Bowman. Prior to his election to local office, Latimer served in both the New York Assembly and state Senate. Westchester County, the population of which is just short of 1 million residents, dominates the 16th CD. A total of 91 percent of the district lies in this one county, with the remaining territory crossing into the Bronx borough.

Governor

North Carolina: New Candidate Emerges — Former state Sen. Andy Wells announced late last week that he will enter the Republican gubernatorial primary. This sets up a re-match of sorts with Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. The two ran against each other in the 2020 lieutenant governor’s primary, a political battle that Robinson won by almost a 2:1 ratio. Also in the race is former Congressman Mark Walker. Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro at this point is unopposed but may have opposition from former state Supreme Court justice Mike Morgan. The 2024 governor’s race is open because incumbent Roy Cooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.