Tag Archives: Gov. Jim Justice

Ricketts Already Draws Challenge; West Virginia Gov. Eyes Senate Bid; More Challenges re: Rep. Schweikert; Another One Jumps the Gun in CA-30

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023

Senate

Nebraska Rancher Chuck Herbster (R)

Nebraska: Senator-Designate Ricketts Already Draws a Potential Challenge — Not yet even sworn into office, Nebraska Senate-Designate Pete Ricketts (R), who new Gov. Jim Pillen (R) last week chose to fill the vacancy that former Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R) resignation created, may already be drawing a 2024 Republican challenger.

Rancher Chuck Herbster, the 2022 gubernatorial candidate who former President Trump endorsed and would lose to Pillen with then-Gov. Ricketts’ strong support, confirmed that he is considering launching a nomination challenge when the latter man first faces the voters in the May 2024 Republican primary. One reason Herbster lost the ’22 primary, however, was because several women went public with sexual harassment accusations, a controversy sure to arise again if he makes another attempt to seek public office.

Regardless of Herbster’s plans, it is probable that Ricketts will face a contested primary next year. His appointment was not unanimously well received within all quarters of the Nebraska Republican Party, but he has a full year in which to build an expanded intra-party winning coalition.

West Virginia: Governor Contemplates Senate Campaign — In a media interview at the end of last week, term-limited West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) confirmed that he is “seriously considering” making a US Senate run next year. Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has not committed to seeking re-election. He could retire, or enter the open governor’s race, since Gov. Justice is ineligible to run for a third term. Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) already has announced his intention to challenge Sen. Manchin. At this point, West Virginia appears as the Republicans’ top national conversion target.

House

AZ-1: More Challenges Brewing Against Rep. Schweikert — Arizona Rep. David Schweikert’s (R-Fountain Hills) 3,195-vote victory over media consultant Jevin Hodge — a percentage margin of just 50.4 – 49.6 percent — proved to be the 12th-closest US House result in the 2022 election cycle. Predictably, Schweikert — who has been plagued with an ethics controversy surrounding his handling of campaign and federal monies and who significantly under-performed in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+7 — will draw another serious challenge in 2024.

Already, three individuals are publicly taking action or mulling challenges. Dr. Andrew Horne, a local orthodontist, has officially announced his candidacy. Hodge, the 2022 nominee, confirms that he is considering another run. Former local news anchor Marlene Galan-Woods (D), widow of the late Republican-turned-Democrat Attorney General Grant Woods, also acknowledges her potential interest in making a congressional run in the state’s new 1st CD. Count on this race developing into another major national target campaign next year.

CA-30: Another One Jumps the Gun — We continue to see a chain reaction of political moves in California since Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) announced her intention last week to run for the Senate. In anticipation of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) entering the Senate contest (though he has yet to say so), we now have two credible Democratic candidates announcing for what they think will be the congressman’s open seat.

As we previously reported, Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education Vice Chairman Nick Melvoin (D) declared for the House seat, and immediately afterward state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Burbank) announced that she, too, will compete for Rep. Schiff’s federal position. Through all of this, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) has yet to announce her own 2024 plans, though all of these moves are based upon her expected retirement.

Arizona’s Kari Lake Leads in New Senate Poll; Calif. Rep. Lee Indicates a Senate Run; Manchin for WVa Gov.?

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

Senate

Former Arizona newscaster Kari Lake (R)

Arizona: Kari Lake (R) Leads in New Senate Poll — Former local Phoenix news anchor Kari Lake (R), who just lost a close race for governor, claims a small lead in a new hypothetical US Senate poll featuring she, incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I), and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix).

David Binder Research conducted the survey (Jan. 5-8; 618 registered Arizona voters; interactive voice response system & text) and projects that Lake, who has not indicated that she will run for the Senate, leads Rep. Gallego and Sen. Sinema, 36-32-14 percent, respectively. Though Sen. Sinema trails badly, she could certainly rebound and come from the outside to win especially if the Democratic and Republican candidates almost evenly split the remaining vote. Considering recent vote history since 2018, such an outcome is certainly possible.

Rep. Gallego is an all-but-announced Senate candidate. He may, however, face opposition from US Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix), and possibly others, in the Democratic primary.

California: Rep. Lee (D) Says She will Run for Senate — California Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) reportedly is telling supporters that she will run for the Senate next year, following Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-Irvine) lead, but will not declare her intentions until Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) announces her expected retirement. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) is also expected to follow a similar path into the Senate contest.

We will probably see a Democratic brawl that could last the entire election cycle considering that California’s top two primary system will likely advance two Democrats into the general election.

Considering both Reps. Porter’s and Schiff’s strong fundraising prowess, Rep. Lee will be at a clear financial disadvantage. The Bay Area, however, has produced most of the recent statewide elected officials, so geography would be a point in her favor. Count on a very crowded Senate field should Sen. Feinstein, in fact, decide to retire.

Governor

West Virginia: Sec of State Announces for Governor — Secretary of State Mac Warner yesterday announced his 2024 gubernatorial candidacy in what is already becoming a crowded open seat Republican primary. Mountain State Gov. Jim Justice (R) is ineligible to seek a third term, and may run for the Senate.

Already in the race is state Del. Moore Capito (R-Charleston), son of West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R), and auto dealer Chris Miller, the son of 1st District Congresswoman Carol Miller (R-Huntington). Two other minor candidates have also entered the race. No Democrat has yet come forward. Former state Delegate S. Marshall Wilson is also running, representing the Americans Coming Together Party (ACT). Many more candidates are expected to enter the race. Rumors persist that Sen. Joe Manchin (D) may run for governor instead of seeking re-election.

Democrats Move Biden Schedule Forward; Warnock Leads in GA Runoff Polling; Duarte Wins Last Outstanding House Race, GOP Majority at 222 Seats; Manchin Not Ruling Out Gov Run

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022

President

Primaries: Democrats Move Biden Schedule Forward — The DNC’s Rules & Bylaws Committee approved President Biden’s suggested alterations for the 2024 primary schedule. This means that South Carolina moves into the first primary position on Feb. 3, 2024. Following on Feb. 6 will be New Hampshire and Nevada. The newcomers to the early group are Georgia, slated for Feb. 13, and Michigan two weeks later on Feb. 27.

Republicans say they will maintain the traditional schedule kicking off with the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary with Nevada and South Carolina following. The New Hampshire Democrats are objecting to being moved from the first primary position and state law allows them to ignore a political party’s rule. Though this is the first definitive step to nomination rules changes, more details must be finalized before any schedule takes effect.

Senate

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Leading in Last Runoff Polling — The Georgia Senate runoff election is today, and the latest two surveys give incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) a slight lead. Emerson College (polling for The Hill newspaper; Nov. 28-30; 880 likely Georgia runoff election voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds Sen. Warnock clinging to a 51-49 percent edge over former professional football player Herschel Walker (R). Survey USA (polling for television station WXIA in Atlanta; Nov. 26-30; 1,214 Georgia runoff election likely voters; online) sees a similar 50-47 percent spread in the senator’s favor.

Early voting looks even more favorable than the polling. Democratic early voting is up 5.7 percentage points when compared with the 2020 Georgia runoff election. Conversely, Republicans are down 7.3 percent based upon the previous statewide post-election runoff. Heading into today’s vote, Sen. Warnock is the clear favorite.

House

CA-13: John Duarte (R) Wins Last Outstanding Race — The final unresolved House race was called over the weekend, and California Republican John Duarte, an agriculture-related businessman, was projected a 584-vote winner over Democratic state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced). The win gives the Republicans a 222-213 House majority and provides GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) a much-needed vote for House Speaker, this one from a neighboring district, part of which touches his own CA-20 CD.

The race is officially over even though final numbers have not yet been recorded. Gray conceded the race to Duarte and, since California has no automatic recount law, the outcome is final.

Governor

West Virginia: Sen. Manchin Not Ruling Out Gov Run — Sen. Joe Manchin (D) said over the weekend that he has not made up his mind whether to seek re-election, run for governor, or retire. Sen. Manchin said he will make a decision about the 2024 election after the first of next year.

The interesting part of his statement is acknowledging that another run for governor is an option on his political table. Before winning a special 2010 US Senate election, Manchin served as governor from January 2005 to November of 2010, having won two elections to the state’s top elected post. Early polling suggests he would not fare well in a Senate race against Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is ineligible to seek a third term, and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town). This makes West Virginia the top early 2024 election cycle Republican conversion opportunity.

Michigan Senate Okays Primary Move; Sen. Braun Moving Toward Indiana Gov Race; West Virginia Senator’s Son Announces for Gov

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 2, 2022

President

Michigan: State Senate Okays Primary Move — The Michigan Senate approved a bill to move up the Wolverine State presidential primary from the day designated as Super Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February. The move underscores the state leadership’s desire to move Michigan into one of the state slots allowed to vote before Super Tuesday.

With the Democrats clearly preparing to change the nominating rules, voting schedule, and primary order of the states, Michigan is attempting to get a head start toward being one of at least the first four states to vote before Super Tuesday. If the state formally takes this action, it is likely that the Republicans would have to follow suit and schedule the Michigan primary early in the process.

Senate

Indiana: Sen. Braun Moving Toward Gov Race — As expected, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun (R) filed papers with the Secretary of State’s office in Indianapolis Tuesday to become an open-seat gubernatorial candidate, which is his first step toward foregoing re-election to a second term in the US Senate. Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term under Indiana’s term limit law.

Should he become a candidate, Sen. Braun will very likely face credible opposition in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Already venture capitalist Eric Doden (R) has announced his Senate candidacy. Other potential names being bandied about include former two-term Gov. Mitch Daniels, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, retiring Congressman Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville), and former state senator and ex-Indianapolis mayoral candidate Jim Merritt. For the Democrats, the only announced candidate is Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick.

Assuming he shortly makes a formal announcement of candidacy, the Indiana Senate seat will be the first to open in the 2024 election cycle.

House

IN-3: Rep. Banks Signals Interest in Senate — With Indiana Sen. Braun (R) making moves to enter the open governor’s race, a fierce Republican primary battle for the right to succeed him in the Senate is sure to occur. Already saying through a spokesman that he is considering competing for the open statewide position is US Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who was recently defeated in his run for House Majority Whip. Other Republican names popping up are Attorney General Todd Rokita, retiring US Rep. Hollingsworth, and Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville), who was just re-elected to a second term. Term-limited Gov. Holcomb’s (R) political plans at this point are unknown.

Should Banks run for the Senate, we can expect a heated open battle for his northeastern Indiana 3rd District seat anchored in Ft. Wayne. A crowded GOP primary is sure to form with the winner punching his or her ticket to Washington in a district that the FiveThirtyEight organization rates as R+34.

Governor

West Virginia: Senator’s Son Announces for Governor — West Virginia state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and grandson of the late former Gov. Arch Moore (R), this week announced his own campaign for governor. He hopes to succeed term-limited Gov. Jim Justice (R) who may soon launch his own run for US Senate. Delegate Capito was first elected to the state House in 2016 and currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

Warnock Leads in New Runoff Poll; WVa. Gov. Considers Senate Race;
Kiley Wins CA-3 – Republican Majority Now at 221; Questions Over McCarthy’s Leadership

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 28, 2022

Senate

Georgia freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D)

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Leads in New Poll — The Fabrizio Lee (R) and Impact Research (D) polling team conducted another survey for the AARP organization, this time of the Georgia Senate runoff election scheduled for Dec. 6.

According to the joint poll (Nov. 11-17; 500 likely Georgia runoff voters; live interview), the first published study of this race since the general election yielded a 49.4 – 48.5 percent result for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) over retired professional football player Herschel Walker (R), the incumbent again posts a small advantage. The AARP ballot test finds Sen. Warnock’s lead a reaching 51-47 percent. As is the case with all runoff elections, voter turnout will likely be the determining factor.

West Virginia: Gov. Justice Considering Senate Race — While Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has already announced his bid to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) next year, Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is ineligible to seek re-election in 2024, indicated last week that he, too, is considering launching a Senate campaign.

Gov. Justice’s approval numbers are high – rated as the sixth most popular governor nationally at 65:29 percent favorable to unfavorable according to the Morning Consult quarterly ratings for the period ending Sept. 30, 2022 – so he would certainly be a formidable candidate for the Republican nomination and against Sen. Manchin. A Triton Polling & Research organization August poll found Gov. Justice leading Sen. Manchin 47-32 percent in an early hypothetical race survey, for example.

House

CA-3: Republican Kevin Kiley Declared Winner — The Associated Press, in a race that appeared to be clinched days ago, finally projected California Republican state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay/Sacramento) as the winner of the newly created open 3rd Congressional District that stretches from the northern Sacramento suburbs all the way into southern California via the Nevada border. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-3 as an R+8 district, so the outcome of Kiley defeating Democratic physician and Iraq War veteran Kermit Jones is hardly a surprise result.

The Kiley victory brings the Republican House total to 221 with two races outstanding, the CA-13 seat that is a close contest between agri-businessman John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), and the at-large Alaska seat of Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel).

Once the Alaska contest advances into the Ranked Choice Voting rounds, which began right after Thanksgiving, the system will produce another victory for Peltola. Therefore, count her in the Democratic column. The race between Duarte and Gray is very tight: Duarte has an 852-vote lead with an estimated 93 percent of the vote counted. Therefore, this contest can still go either way when examining from where the outstanding votes lay.

Speakership: More Republicans Express Negative Views Toward McCarthy — Last week we covered a story indicating that three Republicans were headed toward a “No” vote for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in his quest to become Speaker of the House. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) publicly announced their opposition to McCarthy, while Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said he does not believe McCarthy would be a successful Speaker.

Now joining the “No” chorus are Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Bob Good (R-VA). Texas Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) was among those expressing similar feelings of failure regarding a McCarthy Speakership. With the Republicans having a 222-member conference at best (if John Duarte holds his lead in the CA-13 outstanding race), McCarthy has little margin with which to play in order to secure his 218 votes to be elected Speaker during the Jan. 3 initial roll call of members.

Delegate Reallocation
Brings Increase to 4,750

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 22, 2020 — As we approach the first votes being cast for the Democratic presidential nomination next month, the Democratic National Committee has reallocated delegate slots among certain state contingents, thus increasing the size of the overall delegate universe to 4,750.

The changes are relatively substantial within the states when compared to the last national convention in 2016, while the recent Super Delegate total sees an increase of five new votes. The alterations within the state counts — an increase in every affected place but California — feature an additional 210 delegate votes when compared with the totals from four years ago.

Most of the boosts reflect a reward for increased Democratic votes in the 2016 and 2018 elections. The calculations include results in the recent races for president, US Senate, US House, governor, and for state legislature. States that hold their presidential nominating event after April 1 are also rewarded.

The largest increases are found in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey where their respective delegations have grown by 50, 33, and 19 slots respectively, largely due to Democratic gains in the US House and state legislatures particularly from the 2018 elections. New Jersey, for example, converted a governor’s chair to the Democratic column in their 2019 election, after gaining five congressional seats in 2018 and ‘16, thus accounting for their delegation increase. And, all three states vote after April 1.

California’s regular delegate total has been reduced by one vote, possibly for moving their previous June primary to before April 1, on Super Tuesday, March 3. The state still has, by far, the largest contingent with 494 total delegates and 415 of those voting on the first ballot. The next largest delegation, after calculating their increase, is New York with 320 overall delegate slots, 274 of which are eligible to cast first-ballot votes.

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Another Trump Appointment;
A Double-Digit West Virginia Poll

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 7, 2017 — White House personnel this week announced that President Trump will nominate Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino (R-Williamsport) as the new director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The appointment was expected to happen much earlier in the year, but a serious illness in the congressman’s family forced him to ask the administration for a postponement.

Should Rep. Marino move quickly through the confirmation process we would likely see another congressional special election called, similar to the situation involving Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s (R-OK) appointment as NASA administrator, in order to fill the remainder of the current term.

There is a good bet, however, that Senate Democrats will want to delay Marino’s confirmation as long as possible. With a live redistricting lawsuit making its way through the Pennsylvania court system, the Dems hope a potential re-draw will significantly change the statewide map, and specifically this district, in time for the 2018 regular election.

The 10th District, which contains 10 complete Pennsylania counties and parts of five others, occupies the entire northeastern corner of the Keystone State that borders New York and New Jersey, encompasses the territory around the cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, and then shoots southwest past the Harrisburg-Carlisle area as far as the Tuscarora State Forest. Since 1952 inclusive, the district has voted Democratic only three times in congressional elections. During much of the succeeding six decades, veteran Rep. Joe McDade (R-Scranton) represented the region. He was in office for 36 years from the early 60s to the late 90s.

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