Tag Archives: Gov. Doug Burgum

Rep. Mace Challenged by Ex-Staffer; Support Coalesces for North Dakota Candidate; Nebraska GOP, Trump at Odds; West Virginia Candidates Set

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024

House

Two-term Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) challenged by former staffer Dan Hanlon. (Handout photo)

SC-1: Ex-Staffer Announces Against Rep. Mace — Dan Hanlon, a former chief of staff to two-term South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston), announced that he will challenge his former boss in the upcoming Republican primary. The move had been rumored for several weeks.

A further complicating factor is the lawsuit arguing that this district is a racial gerrymander has been heard at the US Supreme Court, and the state is awaiting a decision. If the high court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, a 1st District redraw could be ordered. With an April 1 candidate filing deadline for the associated June 11 primary, it may be difficult to reconfigure the district for the 2024 election cycle even if SCOTUS compels the change.

Additionally, former state representative and 2018 congressional nominee Katie Arrington (R) has also not ruled out running. Without changing, the seat should easily remain in Republican hands, but the GOP primary will become interesting.

Governor

North Dakota: Rep. Armstrong Building Consensus — At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) continues to solidify himself as the heir apparent to retiring Gov. Doug Burgum (R). Former state Sen. Tom Campbell (R), an announced gubernatorial candidate, has already pulled out of the race. Instead, he will run for Rep. Armstrong’s open US House seat. It already appears that Armstrong is becoming a consensus gubernatorial candidate, and the real race will be the Republican primary to succeed him in the US House.

States

Nebraska: GOP Refuses to Endorse Incumbents — Exacerbating the feud between Cornhusker State incumbents — supported by former President Donald Trump — and establishment Republicans, the Nebraska Republican Party’s State Central Committee issued endorsements to all of the GOP primary congressional challengers.

In the Senate race, the party has endorsed retired Air Force officer John Glen Weaver over appointed senator and former Gov. Pete Ricketts. In US House District 2, the committee is officially supporting financial services executive and former congressional candidate Don Frei over Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), and in District 3, the party delegates issued an endorsement for businessman John Walz against nine-term Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Gering).

In the contests where the Republican incumbents are running unopposed for the party nomination, Sen. Deb Fischer, and Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), the committee members issued no endorsement. It is also worth noting that none of the incumbents sought the party endorsement.

West Virginia: Candidate Filing Closes — The West Virginia primary races are now set, as candidates will begin officially campaigning for the May 14th plurality primary. The races for governor and US senator will capture the most attention, while crowded primaries are underway for the open attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor’s offices. The only statewide incumbent seeking re-election is Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt (R).

Despite all the other statewide races being hotly contested, an oddity occurred in the open state treasurer’s race in that only one candidate filed. Former state Delegate Larry Pack (R) is unopposed both in the Republican primary and the general election.

The Republican gubernatorial primary features four top candidates, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; Secretary of State Mac Warner; former state Delegate Moore Capito, the son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R); and businessman Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington). Huntington Mayor Steve Williams is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

The Senate Republican primary is considered a match between two-term Gov. Jim Justice and US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town), though four other candidates filed. The Democratic side features Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott and former CEO and convicted felon Don Blankenship (a frequent candidate), along with former congressional aide Zack Shrewsbury. Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is retiring.

In the House races, 1st District Rep. Carol Miller faces only minor opposition in the Republican primary and general elections. In the open 2nd District, state Treasurer Riley Moore leads a Republican field of five candidates. His most serious opponent appears to be retired Air Force General Chris Walker. For the Democrats, retired Navy Cmdr. Steve Wendelin is unopposed for the party nomination.

Trump, Biden Win in New Hampshire; Blood Challenges Flood in NE-1; North Dakota Candidates Line Up for Governor’s Race; Louisiana Redistricting Map Signed Into Law

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024

President

New Hampshire: Trump, Biden Win — Former President Donald Trump successfully won the New Hampshire Republican primary last night and did so by about 12 percentage points, but his performance is apparently not enough to convince former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to leave the race.

In her concession speech, Haley pledged to continue moving forward and several times referenced going to her home state of South Carolina as a place that could reverse the political tide. Polling, however, suggests that she is not as strong there as she was in New Hampshire.

For the Democrats, President Joe Biden, despite not being on the primary ballot, won the primary with write-in ballots that tallied just over 67 percent of the vote. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who said he had no fundamental disagreement with the president over issues but believes Democrats should have a choice particularly with an 81-year old in office, secured just over 20 percent of the vote. Author Marianne Williamson attracted the remaining votes, just under 4 percent.

The New Hampshire primary yielded a record Republican turnout. The final participation count could reach 320,000. The previous record of 284,120 was set in 2016. The final Democratic turnout number will only be in the 100,000 range.

House

NE-1: Gov. Nominee to Challenge Rep. Flood — State Sen. Carol Blood (D-Bellevue), who was the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and lost to now-Gov. Jim Pillen (R), 59-36 percent, announced that she will now challenge Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) in the state’s 1st District that surrounds the Omaha metropolitan area on three sides. Flood was elected in a 2022 special election after Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) resigned. He won a full term in November with 58 percent of the vote. Blood’s candidacy gives the Democrats a credible challenger in what is considered a safe Republican seat.

Rep. Flood will be favored for re-election. The 1st District carries an R+17 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a partisan lean of 56.7R – 40.4D. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NE-1 as the 72nd most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.

Governor

North Dakota: One In, One Out — After Gov. Doug Burgum (R) on Monday announced that he will not seek a third term, other North Dakota politicos began to make public their own political plans. At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) quickly declared that he will run for governor. Armstrong leaving the House means that 46 seats will be open for the next election.

Conversely, Attorney General Drew Wrigley (R), also viewed as one of the top potential contenders to succeed Gov. Burgum, announced that he will not run for governor, instead opting to seek re-election to his current position. Former state senator and ex-congressional candidate Tom Campbell (R) will also run for governor.

The Republican statewide nominating convention is scheduled for April 6. The ND primary is set for June 11.

States

Louisiana: Redistricting Map Signed Into Law — Meeting the court-ordered requirement to draw a new majority minority seat in Louisiana, Gov. Jeff Landry (R) yesterday signed into law the legislature’s map. The new lines will cost the Republicans one seat, as an African American Democrat will be heavily favored to win a newly drawn 6th District that stretches from Baton Rouge all the way to Shreveport, cutting through the middle of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton) 4th CD.

Current 6th District Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) says he will run for the House, which likely means challenging Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in the state’s newly drawn, and safely Republican, 5th CD. Rep. Graves also says he is considering filing a lawsuit against the new map.

New Hampshire Primary Today; Close Race in Delaware; Gov. Burgum to Retire; Opponents Look to Change Alaska’s Ranked-Choice Voting

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024

President

Candidate signs along the road in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire: Primary Election Today — At one point it appeared that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was well positioned against former President Donald Trump in the New Hampshire primary, but a plethora of late polls find the former president expanding his advantage well into double digits.

Also on the ballot tonight is the Democratic presidential primary, though sans President Joe Biden. He is bypassing this event because the state refused to accept the Democratic National Committee recommended primary schedule change that would have deprived New Hampshire of its cherished first-in-the-nation primary status.

Ten polls have been released since Saturday from as many different pollsters, and except for the American Research Group, all show Trump holding leads between 10 and a whopping 27 percentage points. The ARG survey finds Trump holding only a 33-29 percent edge.

The Democratic race is much more difficult to forecast because of the write-in campaign underway for the president. The three polls, from the American Research Group, the University of New Hampshire for CNN, and Emerson College for WHDH-TV in Boston, see the Phillips support line falling between 10 and 18 percentage points.

The New Hampshire primary could effectively spell the end to competitive challenges.

First, for Haley: it’s hard to see a path going forward should she lose by the amounts suggested in most polls. The candidates’ next stop is Nevada. The legislature and former governor forced a primary law upon the state, but Republicans still wanted to have their caucus as in years past. Thus, the Nevada GOP is holding both a primary and a caucus, with the caucus being the delegate apportionment body, not the primary.

The candidates could only participate in one of the contests, and curiously Haley entered the primary. The other candidates, when they were in the race, chose the caucus. Therefore, regardless of how many primary votes Haley attracts in the primary, Trump is going to sweep the Nevada delegation because he is the only active candidate who will be receiving pledged delegates.

The South Carolina primary — Haley’s home state — will hold their primary on Feb. 24, and it will be interesting to see whether her candidacy will even remain alive at that time. Polling already shows Trump holding strong leads in the Palmetto State.

For the Democrats, US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) may well be a “one and done” candidate. He will have little in the way of an argument moving forward against President Biden if he fails to overtake him in New Hampshire where the incumbent’s name was not even on the ballot.

With data showing the respective party leaders expanding their leads, it will be an even bigger upset tonight if either President Biden or Donald Trump fail to meet their enhanced expectations.

Governor

Delaware: First Dem Primary Poll Suggests Close Race — With Gov. John Carney (D) being ineligible to run for a third term, lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Bethany Hall-Long (D) released the results of her internal Public Policy Polling Democratic primary survey (Jan. 10-11; 643 likely Delaware voters; live interview & text).

The study finds the lieutenant governor posting an early 30-23 percent lead over New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara, also an announced candidate, was not included on the Democratic primary ballot test.

The Delaware primary is one of the latest in the cycle, scheduled for Sept. 10, so much time remains for this race to develop. The eventual Democratic nominee will be in commanding position to win the open race in November.

North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum to Retire — Former presidential candidate Doug Burgum (R) announced yesterday that he will not seek a third term as North Dakota’s governor despite high approval ratings. With his endorsement of former President Trump, and the ex-chief executive indicating that Gov. Burgum would be primed for a position in a new Trump Administration should the 2024 election go the Republicans’ way, Gov. Burgum’s time in politics may not be coming to an end.

The decision to leave the governorship when his current term ends will open a highly competitive race for the Republican nomination through the state party convention and potentially a June 11 open primary. The eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite to succeed Gov. Burgum.

States

Alaska: Ranked Choice Voting Opponents File Petition Signatures — The proponents of a ballot proposition to repeal the state’s Top Four and Ranked Choice Voting systems have presented 55 percent more than the required number of signatures to reach the ballot, but they may be short on another qualifying requirement. While the group will likely have the proper aggregate number of valid signatures, there are questions as to whether they have met the requirement that certain numbers of the signatures must come from all the required districts. Therefore, it remains to be seen if this repeal measure will qualify for the 2024 election ballot.

The Ranked Choice system could have a wide-ranging effect on the coming presidential race, just as it has in the last two Alaska congressional campaigns.

Debate Prep; Poll Movement

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Tonight: GOP Debate — The first GOP presidential forum will be held tonight in Milwaukee, and it appears the Republican National Committee’s debate requirement criteria failed to meet its principal intended goal.

The chief reasons for instituting the debate qualification menu:

  • Reaching at least one percent support in a minimum of three post-July 1st polls with 800 or more respondents
  • Having 40,000 financial donors
  • Signing a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee …

… among other party related items, became easier to obtain than initially anticipated. The purpose of having requirements was to keep most minor candidates out, thus limiting the participants to a small number of major candidates.

At this time, it appears at least eight candidates will be on stage Wednesday night. The national leader, former President Donald Trump, is saying he won’t attend and refuses to sign the loyalty pledge that irrespectively should eliminate him. Without Trump among the participants, however, the debate will lose much of its luster, not to mention ratings for host Fox News.

The eight who apparently have earned a podium spot are:

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
  • Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
  • Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND)
  • Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence
  • Ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  • Ex-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Businessman Perry Johnson has also reportedly eclipsed the financial requirement but failed on the polling qualification.

Meeting the financial requirement became easier when Gov. Burgum, and then several others, ran an end-run around the requirement by concocting the idea of paying for $1 contributions and receiving a $20 gift card in exchange. The move was able to qualify several candidates who initially appeared incapable of pulling together such a donor portfolio within a limited time frame.

We are now seeing definitive movement in polling responses. While Trump continues to lead in all polls by substantial margins, the last five national polls have all found Ramaswamy finishing in either third or even second place in national Republican presidential polling. Simultaneously, Gov. DeSantis has lost considerable polling support.

The Fox News Poll (Aug. 11-14; 1,002 registered US voters; live interview), Quinnipiac University’s national survey (Aug. 11-14; 1,632 self-identified US registered voters; 681 Republican and Republican leaning voters; 666 Democratic and Democratic leaning primary voters; live interview), and Insider Advantage (Aug. 19-20; 750 likely US Republican primary voters; live interview) each project Ramaswamy as placing third behind Trump (Fox, 53 percent; Q-Poll, 57 percent; Insider, 51 percent) and Gov. DeSantis (Fox, 16 percent; Q-Poll, 18 percent; Insider, 10 percent).

The RMG Research and Emerson College surveys find Ramaswamy doing even better. In RMG’s latest poll (Aug. 11-14; 1,000 US registered voters; 229 likely Republican primary voters), though with a very small national GOP sample, Ramaswamy moves into second place with 13 percent compared to Gov. DeSantis’ eight percent. Trump tops the RMG poll with a whopping 60 percent support figure.

The Emerson College Poll (Aug. 16-17; 1,000 registered US voters; multiple sampling techniques), again found the self-identified Republicans favoring Trump who posted 56 percent support in this poll, while DeSantis and Ramaswamy each post 10 percent support figures. When compared to Emerson’s June national poll, Gov. DeSantis has dropped 11 percentage points and Ramaswamy has gained eight.

The polling bump that Ramaswamy demonstrates suggest that he may leave the first debate attracting even more support since he will have a more prominent podium position and, without Trump in the mix, has the opportunity to establish himself as the most talked-about candidate in the post-debate analysis. Conversely, with his stronger recent polling performance, the pressure to become a star participant tonight is significant.

Presidential Trends

By Jim Ellis — Friday, July 28, 2023

President

Are Trump and Biden locks for their respective parties?

Presidential Trends: Biden, Trump Party Nominations Look Inevitable — Heading toward August of the off-year, we are seeing clear presidential trends already developing.

President Joe Biden will be renominated. Despite Robert F. Kennedy Jr. being in the primary race and attracting some media attention, the Democratic process will almost assuredly be a non-event.

Trends are also clear for former President Donald Trump. He continues to lead in all polling and has actually gotten stronger within the party base after the series of indictments were leveled against him.

The Morning Consult data and research firm released a graph of the candidates’ progress from December of 2022 through the present. The latest result from their daily online track finds Trump now approaching 60 percent support nationally. In December, he was right at 50 support, but then generally dropped into the 40s through February but has continued to gain strength ever since.

The perennial second-place candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is now trending in the opposite direction. Beginning with 30 support national support in late December, Gov. DeSantis now finds himself languishing in the teens according to most GOP surveys.

The trajectory for most of the second-tier candidates has also been upward. Aside from Gov. DeSantis, who has fallen, and former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who have remained virtually stagnant, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum have all improved their standing. Ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has bolted onto the scene but appears to be running to deny Trump, and while he is moving into the middle of the pack, it is difficult to see how his support grows from the Republican Party’s relatively small “Never Trump” faction.

As we know, national polls do not deliver any delegate votes to the candidates. Those, of course, are won at the state level through public voting, so it is important to follow the state data to get a true indication of the nomination contest’s ebbs and flows.

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Burgum Qualifies for GOP Debate; Support for Montana Senate Candidate Wans; Democratic Competition in CA-22; Returning Candidate in FL-9

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, July 27, 2023

President

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R)

Gov. Doug Burgum: Qualifies for GOP Debate — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s campaign team announced that the candidate has qualified for the first Republican debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. Gov. Burgum is showing an uptick in backing from both Iowa and New Hampshire and has attracted enough small dollar contributions and polling support to qualify for a podium on the debate stage.

Gov. Burgum is the seventh debate participant joining former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Ex-Vice President Mike Pence remains the most well-known candidate who has not yet qualified.

Senate

Montana: Club for Growth Hedges on Support for Rosendale — The Club for Growth leadership several months ago said they would back US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) to the tune of $10 million if he decided to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D), as he did five years ago. In the 2018 election, Rosendale, then the state auditor, lost to Sen. Tester, 50-47 percent.

Now, CfG president David McIntosh, himself a former Republican congressman, is hedging on such a support level, saying that retired Navy SEAL and aerospace company CEO Tim Sheehy is an impressive candidate and Rep. Rosendale is needed in the House. Rosendale has long been a presumed Senate candidate but has yet to come forward and formally announce his political plans.

House

CA-22: Democratic Competition — In November, Golden State Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) defeated then-state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D), 51.5 – 48.5 percent, in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+10. Salas, who many regard as the congressman’s most difficult opponent from the group of candidates he faced during his five victorious federal campaigns, has already announced that he is returning for a rematch. Now, however, further competition looms on the horizon. State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger/Bakersfield) is reportedly preparing to announce for Congress and will enter the March 5, 2024, all-party jungle primary.

While Hurtado’s Senate district covers just over 96 percent of the 22nd Congressional District, she was only re-elected in November by just a 22-vote margin from more than 138,000 ballots cast. Therefore, it appears that Salas should still be favored to advance into the general election against Rep. Valadao.

FL-9: Republican to Try Again — Former state Rep. John Quinones (R), who ran for the 9th District seat in 2012 but lost soundly (63-37 percent) to then-Rep. Alan Grayson (D), is returning to run again in 2024, this time hoping to challenge incumbent Rep. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee). The 9th District, which contains the south Orlando area, was the most over-populated of the 27 Florida congressional districts prior to reapportionment and redistricting. It has 30 percent different territory from when Quinones ran the first time.

Rep. Soto was re-elected to a fourth term in November with a 54-46 percent margin, which was much lower than expected against an opponent who spent less than $600,000. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates FL-9 at a substantial D+16, with a partisan lean calculation from Dave’s Redistricting App of 58.8D – 39.2R.

Poll Shows Presidential Race Tightening; Ohio Senate Race Still a Toss-Up; Big Lead for Mondaire Jones; Gov. Sununu Declines to Run Again

By Jim Ellis — Friday, July 21, 2023

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

New Hampshire: UNH Poll Shows GOP Race Tightening — A University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll was released during the week (July 13-17; 2,208 registered New Hampshire voters; 898 likely Republican primary voters; 743 likely Democratic primary voters; online), and it shows a tightening of the Republican presidential contest. According to this data, former President Donald Trump’s lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has dropped to 37-23 percent. The second tier has also moved up. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley all posted between eight and five percent support.

On the Democratic side, 65 percent of President Joe Biden’s voters say they will vote for him as a write-in if he doesn’t participate in the New Hampshire primary. This would likely be enough for him to beat Robert F. Kennedy Jr, even without the president’s name on the ballot. New Hampshire is not likely to agree with the new Democratic National Committee primary schedule, so Biden may not participate.

Senate

Ohio: New Poll Continues to Show Toss-Up Race — Suffolk University, polling for USA Today (July 9-12; 500 Ohio mostly likely voters; live interview), finds Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in a dead heat match with newly announced US Senate candidate Frank LaRose (R), Ohio’s Secretary of State. According to the results, the two candidates would each attract 45 percent of the vote. If state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) were the Republican nominee, Sen. Brown would lead 46-43 percent. Should businessman Bernie Moreno win the GOP primary, Sen. Brown’s margin against him in a general election pairing would be 48-41 percent.

The poll tested the Republican primary, but the sample cell is too low (190) to make a definitive judgment. The basic results give LaRose just a 19-14-9 percent edge over Sen. Dolan and Moreno, respectively. A majority of 56 percent, however, said they were undecided. Ohio will be one of the top Senate races in the 2024 general election.

House

NY-17: Ex-Rep Opens with Big Dem Primary Lead — Former US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D), in a comeback attempt in his former Rockland/Westchester County district after losing re-election last year in New York City, released a survey of Democratic voters. The results of the Public Policy Polling study (July 14-15; 570 likely NY-17 Democratic primary voters) gives Jones a strong 43-8 percent ballot test advantage over local school board member Liz Gereghty, who is also the sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). The Democratic primary winner will face freshman Rep. Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) in what promises to be a tight general election.

Governor

New Hampshire: Gov. Sununu Won’t Run Again — As expected, four-term Granite State Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced Wednesday that he will retire when his term ends at the end of next year. Gov. Sununu is only the second chief executive in state history to serve four two-year terms. The other was Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who was in office from 2005 to the beginning of 2013.

Gov. Sununu was first elected in a close 2016 election, but then recorded three successive victories with substantial margins. He briefly considered entering the 2024 presidential campaign before deciding against launching a national effort.

Immediately, former state Senate President Chuck Morse (R), who actually served two days as governor when then-Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) resigned early to be sworn into the Senate, confirmed that he will run. Morse last ran for the Senate in 2022 but suffered a one-point loss in the Republican primary. Ex-US Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) is also a potential gubernatorial candidate. Previously announced Democratic gubernatorial candidates are Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington. Expect this open governor’s race to yield a hard fought toss-up campaign.