By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 20, 2023
PresidentDemocratic Poll: Harris vs. Newsom — Rumors have been rampant that the Democrats may somehow soon replace President Joe Biden as the party nominee. The Premise survey research company (Oct. 11-16; 1,417 registered US voters; 847 US Democratic registered voters; online) just tested the highly unlikely supposition.
The pollsters paired Vice President Kamala Harris against California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Many believe that Newsom would be Biden’s hypothetical replacement, but this first poll doesn’t concur. Premise reports a Harris lead over Newsom of 23-15 percent with a huge undecided factor. Expect President Biden to again become the Democratic nominee.
Marist College: First Three-Way Presidential Poll — Marist College, polling for National Public Radio (Oct. 11; 1,218 registered US voters), is the first survey research entity to release a Biden-Trump-Kennedy poll since Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced he would run in the general election as an Independent.
While the Biden-Trump ballot test found President Biden leading 49-46 percent, which is slightly better for the incumbent than most other current national polls, the addition of Kennedy sees the electorate break away from former President Donald Trump to the greater degree. The three-way result is 44-37-16 percent in favor of Biden. The big difference comes in the Independent sector. In a two-way, Independents break toward Trump, 49-43 percent. When Kennedy is added, the Trump-Biden-Kennedy split evolves to 34-33-29 percent, respectively.
Montana: Good News & Bad News for Sen. Tester — Emerson College surveyed the Montana electorate (Oct. 1-4; 447 registered Montana voters; multiple sampling techniques) as part of a series of polls conducted in several states. Here, we see Sen. Jon Tester (D) leading aerospace company CEO Tim Sheehy (R) by a close 39-35 percent split. The good news for Sen. Tester in this poll is his maintaining a lead in a state the Republicans must win if they are to claim the Senate majority. The bad news is he fails to even reach the 40 percent plateau.
Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive), who most believe will enter the race, was not tested because he is not yet an announced candidate. Former Secretary of State Brad Johnson (R) just declared his own candidacy, so he, too, was not included.
AZ-8: Rep. Lesko (R) to Retire, Two New Candidate Possibilities — Three-plus term Arizona US Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) announced that she will not seek re-election to her state’s 8th Congressional District next year.
The congresswoman indicated that time away from her family, including her 94-year-old mother, while expressing frustration saying, “it is hard to get anything done [in Congress],” led to the decision to bring her political career to a close.
Lesko first won election to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2008, before capturing a state Senate seat in 2014. After US Rep. Trent Franks (R) resigned from Congress, Lesko won the 2018 special election to become his successor. She was re-elected to a full term in the 2018 regular election and easily won two additional terms.
AZ-8 is reliably Republican. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+22. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 57.3R – 40.8D partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the 8th as the 77th most vulnerable district in the current 221-member GOP Conference. Former President Trump scored a 56.1 – 42.5 percent victory over President Biden here in 2020.
Lesko’s (R-Peoria) retirement announcement has potentially attracted two well known names from the 2022 election cycle. Attorney General nominee Abe Hamadeh, who lost the statewide race by just 280 votes of over 2.5 million votes cast, and US Senate nominee Blake Masters are among the Republicans being mentioned as potentially having interest in the newly open congressional seat.
North Carolina: New Redistricting Maps Released — Tar Heel State legislative leaders released two proposed congressional maps for legislators to consider. Both would improve Republican prospects and likely break the current 7D-7R map into a plan that would largely benefit the GOP.
Each map would endanger three Democratic incumbents: Reps. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro), Wiley Nickel (D-Cary), and Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte). The first map would likely return a 10R-4D split, while the second plan could conceivably bring the Republicans a 11R-3D division.
The legislators will now have the opportunity to debate the map proposals, consolidate the draws into one map, and amend the bills. Once the legislature passes a final plan, expect the Democrats to sue. The state Supreme Court will likely have to make a final ruling, but this is a much different judicial panel from the one that continued to reject the legislature’s intent during the past decade.
In 2022, Republicans captured a majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court, reversing the Democrats’ 4-3 edge. The new court features five Republicans and two Democrats. Getting to the US Supreme Court is a much more difficult exercise because SCOTUS has generally made the state Supreme Courts the redistricting final arbiter.
VA-10: Del. Filler-Corn Switches to House Race — Former state House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Springfield), who was ousted as minority leader after the Democrats lost the state House majority in the 2021 election, has altered her future political path. Originally saying she was not running for re-election to the state House of Delegates in order to prepare a run for governor in 2025, Filler-Corn announced that she now won’t run statewide but will instead enter the 2024 open 10th Congressional District race.
Incumbent Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) is retiring due to health considerations. The 10th District will remain in Democratic hands, but next year’s nomination process promises to feature a competitive party primary.