Tag Archives: Gov. Doug Ducey

Big Primary Results

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 3, 2022

Primary Results

Venture capitalist Blake Masters

Arizona — Venture capitalist Blake Masters, armed with an endorsement from former President Trump who remains a strong force in Republican primaries, defeated businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich with a 39-29-18 percent vote margin with about 80 percent of the expected vote tabulated. Masters now advances to the general election to face a tough political opponent in Sen. Mark Kelly (D).

In the open governor’s race, Trump-endorsed former news anchor Kari Lake has a very slight lead of approximately 9,000 votes over Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, who both former Vice President Mike Pence and term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey supported. The outstanding 21 percent of the vote, however, including that from the most populous Maricopa County where about 62 percent of the state’s residents live, makes it unclear as to who will prevail when all of the ballots are counted. The eventual winner will face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who scored a landslide 73 percent victory in the Democratic primary.

In House races, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) looks to have won re-nomination in the new Scottsdale-anchored 1st District, but in unimpressive form. With 82 percent of the expected vote counted at this writing, Rep. Schweikert only has 43 percent of the Republican vote.

In the very different 2nd District that now will favor a Republican candidate as opposed to Democratic incumbent Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona), retired Navy SEAL Eli Crane, another Trump-endorsed candidate, has defeated state Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) to win the GOP nomination. At this writing, 80 percent of the expected vote has been counted and Crane has a nine-percentage point lead, which should be more than enough to clinch the win. A O’Halleran-Crane general election now becomes one of the top GOP conversion target races in the nation.

The new competitive 4th District where Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) sees his partisan index drop to just D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, saw a surprise winner in the Republican primary. Though former Phoenix Suns executive Tanya Wheeless was attracting the most media attention, the district’s GOP electorate has instead chosen local businessman Kelly Cooper as the party nominee. With approximately 80 percent of the vote counted, Cooper has a five-percentage point lead. He looks to be a strong general election candidate, and this will be a real race in the fall.

In the Tucson-anchored open 6th District, from which Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) is retiring, former gubernatorial aide and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani, as expected, easily captured the Republican nomination. He will now face former state Sen. Kirsten Engel who was a strong winner on the Democratic side. The general election will yield a tight political district, but the area and national political prognosticators promote Ciscomani as the favorite to win the general election and convert this southeastern Arizona seat for the GOP.

Michigan — The big story in the Michigan primary and perhaps the overall national primary result among the five states voting was the defeat of freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) in the GOP nomination campaign. He fell 52-48 percent to former Housing & Urban Development Department official John Gibbs who had former President Trump’s endorsement. The new 3rd District leans Democratic, Gibbs faces a tough challenge against 2020 party nominee Hillary Scholten (D) in the coming general election.

The other Michigan congressional defeat came in the Democratic pairing from the state’s suburban Detroit 11th District. There, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) scored a 60-40 percent win over fellow Democratic Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township), as late polling predicted would occur.

Missouri — Another of the key Aug. 2 primary races ended as projected. Late in what had been a tightly fought campaign, Attorney General Eric Schmitt looked to have broken away from the candidate pack and scored a 46-22-19-5 percent open Republican primary victory over US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, and US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield), respectively.

Schmitt now becomes a strong favorite in the general election to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R). In November, he will face philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the Anheuser Busch beer family. She defeated Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce, 43-38 percent, to capture the Democratic nomination, overcoming a heavy negative attack campaign.

The two US House members, Reps. Hartzler and Long, left open a pair of solidly Republican congressional districts that featured crowded Republican primaries. Former news anchorman and conservative commentator Mark Alford and state Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield/Springfield) were strong winners in the 4th and 7th District congressional nomination contests. Both men have effectively punched their tickets to Washington, as each should easily win the general election.

Washington — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), despite earlier polling suggesting a competitive re-election race, easily placed first in the state’s jungle primary. Though only about half of the vote is tabulated under Washington’s all-mail election system that allows ballots to be received and counted after the election, it is clear that Sen. Murray placed first in the multi-candidate field with 54 percent of the vote.

In second place, as expected, and also advancing into the general election is veterans’ activist and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R) who garnered 32 percent of the votes tabulated at this writing. It appears that Sen. Murray is now a heavy favorite for re-election to a sixth term.

The more watched races occurred in congressional districts 3 and 4. It appears that both Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) and Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) will advance into the general election, but with low vote percentages. Each voted to impeach former President Trump.

From the Vancouver area anchored 3rd CD, Democratic businesswoman Marie Perez, taking advantage of the badly split Republican vote, looks to have secured first position from the jungle primary and will advance into the general election. Rep. Herrera Beutler, with just 24.5 percent of the tabulated vote, which is from 57 percent of the expected total, looks to have enough of a cushion over retired Army officer and Trump-endorsed contender Joe Kent (R) despite her low percentage. The total Republican vote, however, spread among four GOP candidates is approximately 63 percent, which portends well for Rep. Herrera Beutler in the general election.

In Washington’s middle-state 4th CD, incumbent Newhouse is holding first place, but with only 27 percent of the jungle primary vote. It appears that he and Democratic businessman Doug White will advance into the general election in what is the Evergreen State’s most Republican district. Trump-endorsed candidate Loren Culp (R), the former town police chief who was a finalist in the 2020 gubernatorial election, placed third and will be eliminated. The cumulative Republican vote here is 74 percent, so Rep. Newhouse, facing a Democratic opponent in the general election, should be safe for re-election.

Iowa Sen. Grassley in Close Race; Kaptur Ahead in OH-9 Poll; Kahele Funding App Rejected in Hawaii

By Jim Ellis — July 11, 2022

Senate

Iowa’s seven-term US Sen. Chuck Grassley (R)

Iowa: Sen. Grassley Close in Opponent’s Poll — A Change Research online poll for Democratic US Senate nominee Michael Franken, a retired Navy admiral (June 30-July 1; 488 likely Iowa general election voters; text & online), finds Sen. Chuck Grassley holding only a 49-44 percent edge. CR’s first released post-primary Iowa poll found the Grassley advantage to be an even smaller 45-42 percent. These are the only two released surveys of the Iowa race since the state’s June 7 primary election. Sen. Grassley, 88, already is the longest-serving Iowa US senator, originally elected on the same night when Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980. He has been an elected official since winning his first term in the state House of Representatives back in 1958. Should he win the coming election and complete his next term, he will have served 70 consecutive years as a public official, counting his time in the state legislature, US House and Senate. We are sure to see more data on this race in short order.

House

OH-9: Rep. Kaptur Leads in Republican Poll — A new GOP poll from Info Strategy Northeast (partnering with the Knight Takes Rook consulting firm; June 28-29; 1,254 likely OH-9 general election voters; interactive voice response system) finds veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) leading Republican nominee J.R. Majewski, 47-42 percent, in a new district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+6 with a Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean of 48.8D and 48.6R.

Majewski is an Afghan War veteran and Trump campaign activist who defeated both a state representative and senator in the primary election. Rep. Kaptur, elected in 1982, is the most senior House Democrat. Though the voter history of this newly configured 9th District should yield a competitive race, the internal dynamics already suggest that Rep. Kaptur is a clear favorite.

Governor

Arizona: Gov. Ducey Endorses — Term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey (R) publicly endorsed a candidate late last week to succeed him. Ducey supports Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson over the candidate backed by former President Trump, former news anchor Kari Lake. Since ex-US representative and 2000 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon dropped out of the race and endorsed Robson, polling suggests this Republican primary race is headed to toss-up status before the Aug. 2 primary election. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is likely to easily win the Democratic nomination.

Hawaii: Rep. Kahele’s Funding Application Rejected — The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission late last week formally rejected US Rep. Kai Kahele’s (D-Hilo) bid to obtain public financing for his gubernatorial campaign. The commission spokesperson indicated that Kahele did not file the affidavit that would commit his campaign to the program’s proscribed spending limits. Kahele was the only one of the gubernatorial candidates to apply for the available $200,000.

Rep. Kahele was elected to the House in 2020, but is leaving after one term to pursue the statewide office, but his effort has not gone well. As we reported Friday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green holds a substantial 48-16 percent lead over Kahele in the Democratic primary. The Democratic nominee will then become the prohibitive favorite to succeed term-limited Gov. David Ige (D).

Oregon: New Poll Projects Three-Way Race — The GS Strategy Group, polling for Independent gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state senator (June 23-29; 600 likely Oregon general election voters) finds former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) leading Johnson and ex-state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) by a tight 33-30-23 percent margin.

A competitive three-way contest could take the race in many directions. The pollster asked if the voters would favor a “socially progressive Democrat,” a “qualified common sense independent,” or a “devout Trump Republican.” The results were 41-32-24 percent in favor of the independent choice, which isn’t particularly good considering the language was slanted to produce a result favoring such a choice. Still, the ballot test suggests that this open race could become interesting.

Another Close Arizona Race Beckons

By Jim Ellis

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (D)

Jan. 31, 2022 — The state of Arizona has become a volatile political domain, and a new poll suggests we will see another razor-thin US Senate race evolve later this year.

Over the course of history, the Arizona voting universe boasts a pattern of electing similar numbers of candidates from both parties. Admitted to the Union in 1912 as the 48th state, Arizonans have elected just 14 individuals to their two Senate seats, seven of whom have been Democrats with an equal number of Republicans. Since 2010, however, the electorate has strayed from its conservative political roots and moved toward the ideological center.

With this backdrop, the Data for Progress research organization just released their major statewide survey of the Grand Canyon State electorate (Jan. 21-24; 1,469 likely Arizona general election voters, online & text). The DfP finds Sen. Mark Kelly (D) already falling into a tight battle with Attorney General Mark Brnovich, should the latter man win the GOP nomination.

In the campaign from two years ago, you will remember that Sen. Kelly won a special election in 2020 and now serves the remaining two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) final term. In this election year, he stands for a full six-year term.

The ballot test found Kelly holding a slight 49-47 percent edge over AG Brnovich, but with the senator’s personal approval rating lapsing into the negative realm, 46:49 percent favorable to unfavorable. He still rates higher, however, than President Biden (45:54 percent), fellow Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (42:52 percent), and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey (39:57 percent).

Brnovich also records a negative personal approval rating at 26:32 percent, while venture capitalist Blake Masters, another top Republican in the US Senate field, posts a 16:17 percent ratio, with 68 percent replying that they “haven’t heard enough (about him) to say.”

In a ballot test against Gov. Ducey, who is not a Senate candidate, Sen. Kelly’s advantage is 50-47 percent. Masters was not included in the head-to-head pairing questions with Sen. Kelly.

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Assessing Arizona

By Jim Ellis

Sen. Mark Kelly (D) won the special election in November to fill the balance of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) final term in office. He again comes before the voters in this election cycle to stand for a full six-year term.

April 13, 2021 — The Club for Growth released the results of their new Arizona Republican primary poll on Friday, and it draws attention to a race that should become a top-tier 2022 campaign.

As you will remember, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) won the special election in November to fill the balance of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) final term in office. Therefore, he again comes before the voters in this election cycle to stand for a full six-year term. Kelly, a retired astronaut and husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), defeated appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R), 51-49 percent, in a result much closer than the polling predicted.

WPA Intelligence conducted the Club for Growth 2022 poll during the April 5-6 period of 505 likely Republican primary voters via live interview. They tested Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) against Gov. Doug Ducey. The results found the congressman holding a 46-45 percent lead over the governor and, in what seems to be a clear indication that base Republican voters still follow ex-President Donald Trump’s lead, the margin swells to 59-32 percent if the latter man endorses Rep. Biggs.

It is important to note, however, that Gov. Ducey has already announced that he is not running for the Senate. National Republican leaders are attempting to convince the governor to reverse his decision, but his entrance in the Senate race, at least for now, appears highly unlikely. Rep. Biggs has not given a firm public indication if he will become a statewide candidate.

Currently, the only Republican to announce for the Senate is software engineer Rob Paveza. While the pace of this eventual competitive contest is slow in the early going when compared to states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, a full year remains before candidate filing closes in Arizona, a state that hosts an August primary.

Those mentioned as possible candidates aside from Rep. Biggs include Attorney General Mark Brnovich, State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, state Republican Party chair and former Senate candidate Kelli Ward, ex-US representative and 2002 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon, State Adjutant General Michael McGuire, and solar energy company executive Jim Lamon, all according to the Politics1 blog.

Sen. Kelly was one of the top fundraisers of the 2020 election cycle, obtaining more than $101,000,000 for his campaign committee. Only Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff (D) and Raphael Warnock (D), who both were forced to compete in general election runoff campaigns, and South Carolina’s Jaime Harrison, the current Democratic National Committee chairman, raised more. Already for 2022, Sen. Kelly announced that he pulled in $4.4 million during the first quarter of this year.

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Could Force Arizona’s Hand

By Jim Ellis

Appointed Arizona Sen. (and former representative) Martha McSally (R)

Aug. 13, 2019 — Soon after Republican Congress-woman Martha McSally was appointed to the Senate, a group of Arizona voters — two Democrats, a Repub-lican, a Libertarian, and an Independent — challenged the length of time that she could serve without going to election. Now the case awaits a ruling in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that could force the state to hold an early special election.

Sen. John McCain (R), who was re-elected in 2018, passed away in late August almost a year ago, on the 25th. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) then appointed former Sen. Jon Kyl (R) to serve until the 2020 election, but Kyl only pledged to stay through 2018. He then resigned before the new Congress took office at the beginning of this year. Gov. Ducey responded by appointing then-Rep. McSally (R-Tucson), who had just lost the 2018 open seat US Senate election to then-Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix).

Because Sen. McCain died so early into his term, there would be an appointment followed by a special election. The appointment would extend to the next general election in 2020, with the winner serving the balance of the term. Therefore, whoever wins next November’s special election wouldn’t be eligible to run for a full six-year term until 2024.

Under Arizona law, which is similar to succession laws in 35 other states, the governor appoints an interim senator who serves until the next regular election. In 14 states, which have systems similar to what the plaintiffs are demanding, a special election is scheduled at the earliest possible date according to the individual state law.

In Sen. McSally’s case her interim term would stretch to 27 months, which the group of plaintiffs argues is too long a time to not give the voters a say. The federal district court judge rejected the argument, but the plaintiffs appealed to the 9th Circuit. Late last week, the appellate court agreed to hear the case, and will do so in an expedited manner.

The 2020 Arizona special election promises to be one of the most hard-fought campaigns during the cycle. Even at this early date it is already clear that the two major party nominees will be Sen. McSally and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D), who is the husband of former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Tucson).

The contest is already almost at fever pitch. In fact, Kelly raised more money in the 2nd Quarter than any other US Senate candidate, $4.24 million, but he was closely followed by Sen. McSally who raised the second-most of any federal candidate in the country, $3.4 million. Kelly had $5.9 million cash-on-hand at the end of June while Sen. McSally had $4.4 million.

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