Tag Archives: Gov. Kim Reynolds

Movement in NC; Oklahoma Senate Races Headed Toward GOP, But Republican Gov. Stitt Trailing; Grassley Trouble in the Polls Deepens

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022

Senate

Former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (left) and Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Finally, Some Movement — The open North Carolina Senate race has been languishing as a dead heat — a virtual tie between US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) for months. On Monday, East Carolina University released a survey (Oct. 10-13; 902 likely North Carolina voters; text & online) that finds Rep. Budd pulling away to a 50-44 percent advantage.

According to the poll analysis, the change is coming from the female sector. In the university’s September poll, Beasley led among women with a substantial 52-41 percent margin. The current respondent sample sees her lead among the female respondents dropping to 48-46 percent. Among men, Budd leads 54-39 percent.

Oklahoma: Both Senate Races Headed Toward GOP — While two polls find the Democratic candidate trending ahead in the Oklahoma gubernatorial race, the same polls, Amber Integrated study (Oct. 13-15; 500 likely Oklahoma general election voters) and Ascend Action, polling for Fox News Oklahoma TV stations (Oct. 10-12; 638 likely Oklahoma general election voters; live interview), projects the Republican candidates in both the regular and special US Senate elections to be in strong position.

Amber Integrated’s regular election poll shows Sen. James Lankford (R) holding a 52-36 percent margin over Democrat Madison Horn. In the special, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) leads former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D) by a similar 52-39 percent count. Ascend Action sees Sen. Lankford leading 51-37 percent, and Rep. Mullin posting a 50-39 percent spread.

House

GA-2: Rep. Bishop Up Only Four — A recent Trafalgar Group survey of the southwest Georgia electorate (Oct. 14-16; 515 likely GA-2 Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) holding only a 50-46 percent advantage over GOP attorney Chris West, suggesting yet another close congressional race.

This one, unlike several others we’ve covered in the past two weeks, is not a particular surprise. Post-redistricting, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated the new GA-2 seat as a D+4. Therefore, the Trafalgar poll is indicating the district is performing exactly as the voting history yields. Before the 2021 redistricting map was passed, the district was rated D+6. While Rep. Bishop remains the favorite for re-election, this is another pending Nov. 8 electoral contest that merits watching.

Governor

Oklahoma: Gov. Stitt Trailing in Two Surveys — We are now continuing to see data suggesting that Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is in serious trouble against Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D). Two surveys find Hofmeister claiming a polling lead against the governor. The Amber Integrated research study (Oct. 13-15; 500 likely Oklahoma general election voters) gives Hofmeister a slight 46-45 percent edge.

Ascend Action, polling for Fox News Oklahoma TV stations (Oct. 10-12; 638 likely Oklahoma general election voters; live interview), sees a much larger Hofmeister lead. The latter poll projects a ballot test of 49-42 percent. Last week, the small-sample Sooner Poll (Oct. 3-6; 301 likely Oklahoma voters) was the first to detect a Hofmeister lead. The news organization found a 47-43 percent spread. A Democratic upset here would be surprising, but the data is suggesting that such an outcome is a clear possibility.

Iowa: Selzer & Company’s Different Result — Yesterday, we reported on a Selzer & Company poll for the Des Moines Register newspaper that sounded warning bells for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R). According to the Senate ballot test, the veteran incumbent led retired US Navy Admiral Mike Franken (D) by a scant 46-43 percent margin.

Now, Selzer is releasing its gubernatorial results culled from the same data (Oct. 9-12; 620 likely Iowa general election voters), and it should give the Grassley campaign even more cause for concern. The polling sample gives Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) a 52-35 percent margin against Democratic marketing consultant Diedre DeJear, a strong margin for a Republican candidate in what is typically a swing state.

Grassley in Competitive Race in Iowa; Florida House Polling Series; Leaders in NY House Races

By Jim Ellis — July 20, 2022

Senate

Gaining on Grassley? Retired Navy Admiral Mike Franken, Democratic Iowa Senate candidate.

Iowa: Sen. Grassley in Competitive Race — Selzer & Company, which rates an A+ rating from the FiveThirtyEight poll ranking apparatus and is widely viewed as Iowa’s most consistent pollster, went into the field over the July 8-11 period. They interviewed 811 adults, 597 who identified themselves as likely voters. The Senate ballot test broke only 47-39 percent in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s favor over retired Navy Admiral Mike Franken, the Democratic nominee.

Though Sen. Grassley has the advantage beyond the polling margin of error, the race has signs of becoming competitive. The senator will be 89 years of age at the time of the election, which may be one reason he is trailing 40-30 percent with voters 35 years of age and younger. He continues perform strongly with men, 56-33 percent, but falls behind Admiral Franken with women, 44-38 percent.

Iowa is a Senate race to watch during the rest of the campaign. Contrasting the Grassley numbers, GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a strong 48-31 percent advantage over Democratic nominee Deirdre DeJear.

House

Florida: A House Polling Series — The Republican Party of Florida contracted with the Tyson Group research firm to conduct a series of GOP primary polls in the state’s new open congressional districts.

In the Jacksonville area’s new 4th CD, state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean leads college professor Erick Aguilar, 24-14 percent. Just to the south in the new Volusia County 7th District, businessman and Iraq War veteran Cory Mills and state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in the-Hills) are in a virtual tie with Mills leading Sabatini, 23-21 percent.

Turning to the St. Petersburg seat of Rep. Charlie Crist (D), who is running for governor, 2020 nominee Anna Paulina Luna leads attorney Kevin Hayslett and lobbyist and 2020 candidate Amanda Makki, 37-17-10 percent. The new Hillsborough County 15th CD features a virtual three-way tie among state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) who has 13 percent support, with Secretary of State Laurel Lee and state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) each trailing with 10 percent apiece.

NY-10: New Poll Confirms Leaders — The Justice Research Group, polling for state Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Nioh (D) and the Working Families Party largely confirms last week’s Data for Progress poll that finds NYC Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and Nioh at the top of the Democratic candidate throng competing for the new open Lower Manhattan congressional seat. Each posted a preference figure of 16 percent in this poll. There is no runoff law in New York, so the eventual nominee will almost assuredly win with just plurality support.

Like the DfP poll, the Justice Research survey finds both US Rep. Mondaire Jones, coming from his Westchester County seat, and ex-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio falling below the 10 percent plateau. In this survey, Rep. Jones posts only eight percent preference and de Blasio three percent. The pollsters, conducted the survey from July 1-11, and interviewed 636 likely NY-10 Democratic primary voters through live conversations and texts.

NY-23: Party Chairman Trailing — While the Republican Party establishment is clearly behind NY GOP state chairman Nick Langworthy to replace resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) in the new 23rd CD, a new poll suggests the likely Republican primary voters feel otherwise. The WPA Intelligence survey (July 9-11; 604 likely NY-23 Republican primary voters; live interview) finds former Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Padalino posting a whopping 54-24 percent lead over Langworthy.

This poll tested voters for the regular election. Neither Padalino or Langworthy are competing in the special election to fill the balance of the term, also to be held on primary day, Aug. 23. The Republican nominee in that race is political caretaker candidate Joe Sempolinski, the Steuben County Republican Party chairman.

A Look at Primary Results
From Across Seven States

By Jim Ellis — June 8, 2022

Primary Results

Wealthy developer, former Republican and now Independent Rick Caruso surprised many by claiming first place in the open Los Angeles mayor’s race last night.

California: The Golden State’s Mixed Results — Wealthy developer, former Republican and now Independent Rick Caruso surprised many by claiming first place in the open Los Angeles mayor’s race last night; he topped US Rep. Karen Bass (D) by five percentage points. Far left San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was recalled with 60 percent of the vote, and the down-ballot congressional results look to yield some interesting general election campaigns.

On positive notes for the GOP, former state Assemblywoman Connie Conway successfully won the special congressional election in the 22nd District and will assume office immediately after race certification to fill the unexpired portion of resigned Rep. Devin Nunes’ final congressional term. Additionally, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita), in a district that was made more Democratic through redistricting, finished substantially ahead at this point, 50-35 percent, over former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), the opponent he has twice beaten including a 333-vote win in 2020. An estimated quarter of the vote remains to be added, so these numbers will change at least to a degree, but the pair will again advance into the general election.

Two Central Valley seats have very low vote totals reporting, but both are interesting. In the most Democratic district in the nation that a Republican represents, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) badly trails state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), 47-26 percent, but with less than 15,000 votes counted. Surprisingly, Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) holds only a 36-29 percent edge over San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R), but with less than 14,000 votes tabulated. In the neighboring new 13th District, Republican farmer/businessman John Duarte appears positioned to capture second place and is running just two percentage points behind state Assemblyman Alex Gray (D-Merced) with over half the votes counted. This appears to be a competitive race come the fall.

In Orange County, incumbent Rep. Young Kim (R-La Habra) appears to be placing second in the jungle primary but will advance to the general election. Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County), after trailing most of the night, did place first in her new 45th CD and advances into the general election against Community College Trustee Jay Chen (D) as expected. Former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh, who was thought to be a strong Republican challenger to Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) in the coastal Orange County seat, saw the incumbent top 50 percent, some 20 points ahead of him, meaning this race may not be as competitive in November as once predicted.

The California counting, with almost all votes coming in through the mail and ballots accepted after the election will drag on for a period of weeks, so we won’t have final totals for some time.

Iowa: Admiral Franken Wins — Early in the election cycle, it appeared that former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer had the inside track to the Democratic US Senate nomination, but such was not to be as retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken easily defeated her by a 55-40 percent count to claim the party nomination. He will face Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) who won a landslide re-nomination for what would be an eighth six-year term.

The governor and House races, most of which were unopposed last night, all turned out as predicted. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) runs for a second full term and will square off against Democratic marketing consultant Deidre DeJear. As expected, state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Altoona) was an easy Republican primary winner in the state’s 3rd District. He will now oppose two-term Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) who has yet to reach 50 percent in any of her campaigns. Freshmen Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) and Ashley Hinson (R-Marion/Cedar Rapids) will both defend their competitive seats each against a pair of sitting state legislators, state Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City) and state Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha), respectively.

Mississippi: Incumbents Forced to Runoffs — It appears two Mississippi GOP congressional incumbents, Reps. Michael Guest (R-Brandon) and Steve Palazzo (R-Biloxi) will have to run in a secondary election to win re-nomination, an ominous sign for any southern incumbent. Because a majority of the voters chose a candidate other than the incumbent, a runoff vote will occur on June 28 between the top two finishers. Therefore, both Reps. Guest and Palazzo face difficult re-nomination prospects at the end of this month.

Rep. Guest and Navy Reserve officer Michael Cassidy will apparently battle in the 3rd District runoff election though about 15 percent of the estimated turnout is still outstanding. The two candidates are both hovering around the 47 percent mark, so it is unlikely that enough votes remain outstanding to allow one of the two to reach 50 percent. Challenger Cassidy labeled the incumbent as being too moderate, citing his vote to create the January 6 Commission, among other actions to justify his attack. Six-term Rep. Palazzo is under an ethics investigation for using campaign funds for personal use, and managed to only break 30 percent. His opponent looks to be Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell, who is clinging to second position but with almost a quarter of the votes still to be tabulated. Businessman Clay Wagner lags just over 2,000 votes behind Ezell in third position.

Montana: Tight Race Favoring ex-Rep. Zinke — In a surprisingly tight congressional race for Montana’s new western congressional district, a seat the state gained because of its strong population growth in national reapportionment, former US Interior Secretary and ex-Congressman Ryan Zinke appears to be successfully returning to the House but in a very close margin. At this writing, Zinke leads former state senator and frequent statewide candidate Al Olsewski by just about a percentage point as the final votes are being tabulated. The small margin will probably hold meaning that Zinke will become the new 1st District’s official Republican standard bearer. The final primary result should pave the wave for him to complete his political comeback attempt this November.

New Jersey: Key Re-Match Set — Without a statewide race on the ballot in 2022, New Jersey appears politically quiet this year. The top race in the state is a 7th District re-match between Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) and former state Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R). The two battled to a 51-49 percent finish two years ago. Kean easily defeated a crowded Republican field to earn another shot at Malinowski who faces his Republican opponent in a less Democratic district post-redistricting. The seat now trends Republican, thus making this one of the GOP’s top conversion opportunities in the nation.

New Mexico: Ronchetti Wins Big — Former Albuquerque TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti, who held Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D) to a closer-than-expected 52-46 percent win in 2020, romped to a win in the Republican governor’s primary topping the 58 percent mark after failing to qualify for the ballot through the Republican nominating convention. The Ronchetti win sets up a competitive battle with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) in the fall. The governor was unopposed for re-nomination last night.

In the gerrymandered southern 2nd District, freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) will face Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez (D) in a district that now leans Democratic with the inclusion of part of Albuquerque. This will be a highly competitive general election campaign and a must-win for Republicans if they are to capture the House majority as many predict.

South Dakota: Incumbents Score Big Wins — In an unsurprising result, both Sen. John Thune (R) and Gov. Kristi Noem (R) scored landslide Republican primary victories with each topping the 70 percent mark in voter support. In the state’s at-large congressional primary, second-term Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-Mitchell) defeated Rapid City state Rep. Taffy Howard with a 59-41% spread to win re-nomination for a third two-year term. All three of the statewide GOP incumbents now become prohibitive favorites for re-election in November.

Iowa Map Enacted

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 10, 2021 — Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed the new Iowa redistricting map package, legislation that contained the new US House, state Senate, and state House of Representatives maps. The new congressional plan makes what appear to be minor changes to the state’s four districts, while again crafting a new quartet that would have voted in unison for former President Donald Trump. As is the case on the current map, Trump’s district victory margins featured varying percentages.

The Iowa redistricting system is unique. Some believe the state redistricts through a commission, but that is not the case. Rather, a state legislative committee is tasked with drawing the three-map plans and presenting them to the legislature for final approval. The plans must be submitted as a package, and the legislators may only vote up or down on the whole group, as no amendments to any of the maps are allowed.

The committee also employs a formulaic algorithm to create the districts without regard to political proclivities or deference to incumbents. If three map packages are rejected, the legislature then takes full control of the process.

The adopted package is the second plan iteration. The committee staff first put forth a series of maps that failed to make it through the first state Senate committee of jurisdiction. That congressional map was much different than the ultimately enacted plan. In the first draw, freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion/Cedar Rapids) would have been placed in a decidedly Democratic district that would have made her an underdog for re-election in 2022.

It is likely, however, that alone was not the reason for the Senate committee members rejecting the map package. The committee staff created two separate pairings of three incumbent senators apiece, thus dooming the entire package. Once returned, the congressional map plan, using a changed formula, returned to a similar configuration as under the current map.

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Will Miller-Meeks’ 6-Vote Win Stand?

By Jim Ellis

IA-2 Republican congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks

March 12, 2021 — Yesterday, the House Administration Committee met virtually to consider Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R-Ottumwa) motion to dismiss the Federal Contested Elections Act challenge from Democrat Rita Hart in relation to the state certified results of the 2020 congressional election in Iowa’s 2nd District. The committee voted 6-3 on partisan lines to postpone the dismissal action.

To review, Rep. Miller-Meeks’ victory margin is only six votes of 394,800 ballots cast. Hart is challenging the results before the House Administration Committee claiming that 22 ballots, enough to overturn the final result, were legal but not counted.

Yesterday’s hearing was procedural in that committee chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) moved to postpone hearing the dismissal motion in order for the members to fully consider Hart’s argument of contestant. Rep. Lofgren indicated that both the Iowa Republican and Democratic Parties, along with Iowa election officials, will be sent identical questionnaires to fully investigate the matter. This means we can expect a much longer process to fully examine the contested ballots, allow testimony, and review the Iowa recount process.

Committee Minority Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) countered, indicating that the Iowa officials have twice counted the votes and, as committee member Bryan Steil (R-WI) reported, recount boards in all 24 counties that form the 2nd District – three member panels comprised of a Miller-Meeks’ appointed member, a Hart appointed member, and a county appointed member – all agreed on the final totals in each local entity.

Davis further explained to the committee members and listening audience that Hart, a former Iowa state senator and 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor, had eschewed the available legal process, which is to petition the Iowa court system. Davis said he concludes Hart made the decision to come directly to the House because she knew the courts would reject her legal arguments.

The Iowa recount process changed the original totals. The first reported outcome revealed a 44-vote Miller-Meeks margin. It then dropped to 30 votes during the recount and Scott County (Davenport), the district’s largest entity, reduced the number even further culminating in the current six-vote final result that the Iowa secretary of state certified as official, with which the bipartisan Iowa Election Canvass Board unanimously concurred. On Jan. 3rd, the House voted to provisionally seat Miller-Meeks until the Hart challenge is resolved.

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