By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023
SenateMichigan: Democratic Senate Candidate Switches Races — Michigan State Board of Education president Pamela Pugh, who was facing an uphill Democratic US Senate primary against US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), exited the statewide campaign and on Monday declared for the now open 8th Congressional District race. Last week, six-term US Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) announced that he will not seek re-election next year. Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley (D), a former state representative, is also expected to join the party primary.
The 8th District is politically marginal. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+1, but Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 51.0D – 46.1R. President Joe Biden carried the district with a slight 50.3 – 48.2 percent margin. Therefore, both parties can expect to see competitive nomination battles and a toss-up general election.
New Mexico: State Supreme Court Rejects GOP Redistricting Appeal — The New Mexico state Supreme Court unsurprisingly unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that concluded the state’s congressional map did not constitute and “egregious gerrymander.” Therefore, the current map will stand for the remainder of the decade.
The courts sited the closeness of the 2022 District 2 election that saw Democratic local official Gabe Vasquez unseat freshman Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell by less than a percentage point (1,350 votes) from just under 193,000 cast ballots. Herrell is returning for a rematch next year, which is again expected to be close.
NY-26: One Man May Pick the Next Congressman — With 10-term Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) announcing that he will resign during the first week of February to run a civic organization back in Buffalo, speculation is churning as to who will replace the outgoing congressman. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will calendar a special election after the resignation is official, and then the party county chairmen will choose their nominees.
New York’s 26th District is comprised of parts of two counties, Erie and Niagara, and since the district is heavily Democratic (FiveThirtyEight rates the seat as D+18; the Daily Kos Elections site ranks NY-26 as the 78th-most vulnerable seat within the Democratic Conference), one man will effectively have the power of anointing the next congressman.
Since 80 percent of the district lies in Erie County, that county’s Democratic party chairman will have a greater weighted say than the Niagara County chair. Odds appear strong that chairman Jeremy Zellner will choose Eric County Executive Mark Poloncarz as the party nominee. Poloncarz will then easily win the succeeding special election.
Morning Consult: New Approval Ratings Rank Governors Highly — Morning Consult released their quarterly report on the nation’s governors Monday, and again we see almost all state chief executives posting strong job approval ratios. As has been the case for the past couple of years, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) have the strongest ratings at 84:13 percent and 74:16 percent positive to negative, respectively.
All but seven governors reached at least the 50 percent approval mark and only one, Mississippi’s Tate Reeves (R), was slightly upside-down with a 45:46 percent index. Yet, he was just re-elected to a second four-year term at the beginning of the month.
The top 10 highly rated governors are: Scott and Gordon; Govs. Josh Green (D-HI), Chris Sununu (R-NH), Kay Ivey (R-AL), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Jared Polis (D-CO), Ned Lamont (D-CT), Jim Justice (R-WV), and Spencer Cox (R-UT). Those with the poorest ratings are Reeves and Govs. Tina Kotek (D-OR), Kim Reynolds (R-IA), John Bel Edwards (D-LA), Katie Hobbs (D-AZ), Jay Inslee (D-WA), Dan McKee (D-RI), Tony Evers (D-WI), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Mike Parson (R-MO).