Tag Archives: Hill Harper

Hill Harper Announces for Senate; Nevada’s Brown Will Run for Senate; Sen. Ted Cruz Picks Up Challenger; Jockeying in Alaska for House Seat

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, July 13, 2023

Senate

Frank Eugene “Hill” Harper (D), one of the stars of the “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor” programs

Michigan: Actor Announces for Senate — As expected, actor Frank Eugene “Hill” Harper (D), one of the stars of the “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor” programs, announced that he will compete in the open Michigan US Senate primary. He becomes the fourth major candidate, and third African American, in the Democratic primary. He joins US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), Michigan State Board of Education president Pamela Pugh, and former state Rep. Leslie Love.

The crowded field likely plays well for the perceived leader, Rep. Slotkin. This primary will take a long while to unfold, however. The Michigan primary won’t occur until Aug. 6, 2024, and its competitiveness could tamp down the Democrats’ advantage in the general election. Though the party primary may well be more eventful considering Harper’s entry, Rep. Slotkin must still be rated as the favorite for the party nomination and to win the seat in the November election. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four full terms.

Nevada: Republicans Score Candidate Prospect — In another move that has been expected for several months, disabled Afghan War veteran and 2022 Senate candidate Sam Brown (R) announced he will return to again compete in a Nevada US Senate race. This time, he hopes to capture the Republican nomination and challenge first-term Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen.

In ’22, Brown lost the party primary to former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, 56-34 percent, but raised an impressive $4 million-plus for his effort. Laxalt would then lose the general election to Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by fewer than 18,000 votes from more than 1 million ballots cast. Now, it appears that Brown has the inside track for the party nomination and would be an interesting candidate in the general election. A strong Brown candidacy could elevate Nevada into top-tier campaign status.

Texas: State Senator Enters Battle to Challenge Sen. Cruz — San Antonio area state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) announced Tuesday that he will enter the Texas Democratic primary, which will likely ignite a difficult nomination battle against US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) who announced his candidacy in early May. The eventual party nominee will then challenge two-term Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the general election.

Sen. Gutierrez, who represents a legislative domain similar to that of US Rep. Tony Gonzales’ (R-San Antonio) congressional district in that it begins in the metro area and then stretches through most of west Texas toward El Paso, is a strong gun control advocate. Prior to defeating a Republican incumbent to win a Senate seat in 2020, Gutierrez had served six terms in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Allred is reporting raising more than $6.2 million for his Senate effort after announcing his candidacy, but now will have to spend heavily just to win the party nomination in March. It is likely the beneficiary of what will be a hotly contested race between Allred and Gutierrez is Sen. Cruz. The Texas primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

House

AK-AL: Nick Begich (R) Considering Another House Bid — Businessman Nick Begich III, whose grandfather was a Democratic congressman and uncle, Mark Begich, served as a Democratic US senator before losing to current Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, is again reportedly contemplating a run for the state’s at-large US House seat. He participated in the 2022 special and regular elections as a Republican, qualifying for the secondary election both times, but failing in Ranked Choice Voting.

Many observers believed he would be the strongest candidate against Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) who won both of those elections by outdueling Sarah Palin in the Ranked Choice rounds. Should Begich run in 2024, it is probable he would have a strong chance to end in the final round with Rep. Peltola. The at-large Alaska seat is now the most Republican congressional district in the country to send a Democrat to the US House.

Michigan Senate Race Shaping Up; Close Senate Race in Ohio; Potential House Re-Matches in CO-8, NE-2

By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 10, 2023

Senate

Former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers (R)

Michigan: Ex-Congressman Testing Senate Waters — Former Congressman Mike Rogers (R), who served in the House from 2001 to the beginning of 2015 and chaired the House Intelligence Committee for four years, is reportedly considering entering the open US Senate race.

While Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) is the early favorite for the party nomination and to win the seat, Rogers would probably be the strongest candidate the GOP could field and certainly puts the open seat in play. Other potential Republican candidates are businessman John Tuttle and former US Rep. Peter Meijer. The only announced significant GOP contender is Michigan Board of Education member Nikki Snyder.

While Rep. Slotkin is favored in the Democratic primary, she does have credible opposition. Michigan Board of Education President Pamela Pugh is in the race along with former state Rep. Leslie Love and attorney Jacquise Purifoy. Actor Hill Harper is also expected to announce his candidacy soon.

The Michigan Senate race is now getting more interesting. The seat is open because Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four terms.

Ohio: Poll Shows Close Race — The Ohio Senate race will be one of the premier 2024 electoral contests and is considered a must-win for Republicans. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) seeks a fourth term, but this may be his toughest campaign as the state has shifted considerably to the right since he was last on the ballot in 2018.

East Carolina University recently polled the state (June 21-24; 805 registered Ohio voters; interactive voice response system & online), and their results find Sen. Brown locked in a tight race no matter who becomes the Republican nominee. While slightly leading against all three tested Republicans, he is nowhere near 50 percent in any configuration.

State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball club, fares best against Sen. Brown, trailing only 45-44 percent. Businessman Bernie Moreno, despite not having universal name identification, is behind 46-42 percent. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is soon expected to become a Senate candidate, would come within 44-42 percent of Sen. Brown. In the Republican primary, LaRose holds a slight 17-14-7 percent lead over Sen. Dolan and Moreno.

House

CO-8: Potential Re-Match — The 8th District of Colorado is the new seat the state gained in national reapportionment and was designed as a politically marginal domain that stretches from the northern Denver suburbs to the city of Greeley. It performed as such last November, as now-Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton) scored a close 48.4 – 47.7 percent victory from a voter pool that exceeded 236,000 individuals.

The losing candidate, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld County), is likely to seek a re-match. One candidate who just announced that she will not run again is Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann. She placed second to Kirkmeyer in the 2022 Republican primary. The 8th District is sure to host another hotly contested congressional campaign in 2024.

NE-2: Re-Match on Tap — Last November, Nebraska state Sen. Tony Vargas (D-Omaha) held Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion) to a 51.3 – 48.7 percent re-election victory. As expected, late last week Vargas announced that he will return for a rematch in 2024. Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District is a swing seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+3, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 50.1R – 47.1D.

The 2nd also figures prominently in the presidential race. Nebraska is one of two states — Maine being the other — where the congressional districts carry their own electoral vote. In 2020, the 2nd broke with the state and awarded its electoral vote to President Biden as he carried the district with a 52-46 percent margin, or some 22,000-plus votes.

We can expect heavy campaigning here for all races. In addition to the presidential and congressional campaigns, both US Senate seats will be on the ballot. While Sens. Deb Fischer (R) and Pete Ricketts (R) are secure for re-election, this district will be relatively tight even for them.

New Michigan Senate Candidate; GOP Recruits DAV Sam Brown in Nevada; Gabbard Says She Wont Run; New Candidate in NY-22; Possible Re-Match in Texas; South Carolina SCOTUS to Hear Redistricting Case

By Jim Ellis — Friday, May 19, 2023

Senate

Former Michigan state Rep. Leslie Love (D)

Michigan: New Candidate Enters — Resigning as the state’s Natural Resources Commissioner, former state Rep. Leslie Love (D) announced her candidacy for the US Senate on late last week, hoping to become Michigan’s first African American senator. Democratic leaders had been interested in recruiting actor Hill Harper into the race. Harper is a potential opponent that Love described as being “inexperienced in politics and government,” and further pointed out that he does not even live in Michigan.

State Board of Education President Paula Pugh (D) is also a potential candidate. If all three of these African Americans enter the race the black vote will likely be split, thus favoring Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who is commonly viewed as the race leader. The Michigan Senate seat will be open in 2024 because four-term incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring.

Nevada: Republicans’ Recruit Target — Disabled American veteran Sam Brown, who challenged former Attorney General Adam Laxalt for the 2022 Republican Senate nomination and raised over $4.3 million before losing the primary election, is apparently high on the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s (NRSC) recruit list, according to reports. Nevada, where Republicans won three of seven statewide races last November including unseating Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, is likely to be in the toss-up category for 2024. Incumbent Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) is seeking re-election for a second term.

Hawaii: Gabbard Dispels Senate Poll — The Hawaii News Network is reporting that a Survey Monkey text poll is being conducted in the state pitting former US congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard against Sen. Mazie Hirono (D). Gabbard was quick to dispel the possibility of her running for the Senate, saying she is not associated with the poll and has “no plans to run for the Senate.” The 2024 Senate election is rated as “Safe” for Sen. Hirono.

New Jersey: Another Menendez Opponent Announces — New Jersey investor Kyle Casey became the third Democrat to challenge Sen. Bob Menendez (D), who again faces a federal investigation. Three Republicans have also declared. None of the candidates, however, appear strong enough to run a campaign with the strength to unseat the three-term Senate incumbent and 31-year congressional veteran when adding his seven terms served in the House.

Sen. Menendez will be safe in both the Democratic primary and the general election unless the federal investigation gains legs. The senator was previously indicted in 2015, but the case fell apart and was dropped in 2018. If his legal trouble worsens, expect stronger candidates, likely from both parties, to come forth.

House

NY-22: New Candidate Emerges — In 2022, businessman Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) continued the Republican tradition in this part of the Empire State of winning a congressional seat where the partisan lean favors their Democratic counterparts. Since 1980, GOP Reps. Williams, John Katko, James Walsh, and George Wortley together represented the Syracuse-anchored district for all but six years.

It is clear Rep. Williams will be a major 2024 campaign target, but now a Democratic primary potentially looms upon the political horizon. Earlier, DeWitt Town Councilmember Sarah Klee Hood (D) declared her candidacy. On Friday, associate college professor and author Clem Harris (D) entered the race. Dr. Harris is also a former staff member to then-Gov. David Paterson (D).

It is likely we will see other candidates coming forward and can expect the local Democratic Party leaders to eventually make an endorsement with the intention of delivering the nomination to their chosen candidate. This is another of the key national 2024 House campaigns that will largely determine the next majority.

TX-15: Another Re-Match Possible — In 2022, second-time congressional candidate Monica de la Cruz (R) defeated businesswoman Michelle Vallejo (D) by a relatively strong 53-45 percent victory margin in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated as EVEN, and Dave’s Redistricting App’s partisan lean calculation favored the Democrats, 51.2D – 47.1R. Vallejo, however, did not draw favorable reviews as a candidate, nor was her campaign particularly strong.

Though Vallejo is preparing to soon announce her 2024 candidacy, likely later this week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Democratic leaders search for a different candidate. At this point, and despite the partisan lean and the region’s voter history, Rep. de la Cruz is favored for re-election in this 15th District that stretches from the area just south of Austin all the way to the Mexican border.

South Carolina: SCOTUS to Hear Redistricting Case — The US Supreme Court announced that the justices will hear the Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP case in the fall term. Earlier, a three-judge panel declared that the state’s 1st District, the Charleston anchored seat that Rep. Nancy Mace (R) represents, as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, and now the high court will hear arguments from both sides.

The move is interesting since the justices are currently preparing a ruling on the Alabama racial gerrymandering case that is thought to be the vehicle for a landmark ruling. SCOTUS hearing the South Carolina case makes the coming Alabama ruling even more curious.

New Arizona Senate Candidate?; Actor Considers Running in MI; Potential Opposition to Romney; Oregon Counties to Secede?

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023

Senate

Arizona state Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope (R-Coolidge)

Arizona: New Republican Potential Candidate Coming Forward — Based upon recent statements from Arizona state Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope (R-Coolidge), it appears we could see a new Republican in the US Senate arena. Shope is indicating that he is seriously considering entering the statewide field. Former gubernatorial nominee and ex-television news anchor Kari Lake is also gearing up for a Senate run.

With Sen. Kyrsten Sinema likely running as an Independent and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) already well on his way to sewing up the Democratic nomination, a very interesting three-way race is headed our way next year.

Michigan: Actor Considers Senate Race — Hill Harper (D), the actor who plays the role of Dr. Marcus Andrews on ABC’s “The Good Doctor” program, indicates that he is testing the waters for his own run in what will be the open Michigan Senate seat next year. Despite many elected officials expressing interest, only State Board of Education Member Nikki Snyder (R) has officially announced her candidacy.

It was thought that US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) would officially launch a Senate effort just after incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) publicly stated that she would not seek re-election to a fifth term in 2024. So far, however, the congresswoman has yet to make such a declaration. However, it is still expected that she will enter the race.

Utah: Former Congressman, Current Commentator Mentioned for Senate — With Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) now saying he won’t decide until this summer about whether to seek a second full six-year term representing the Beehive State, another name is being floated as a potential candidate. Former US Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), who resigned from the House in the middle of his fifth term, and who was originally elected to the state’s 3rd Congressional District in 2008, is considering running. He left Congress to join Fox News as an on-air contributor, where he remains today.

While not denying that he may be seriously looking at challenging Sen. Romney in the 2024 GOP primary, Chaffetz, like Sen. Romney, says he will wait even longer before making a final decision about running. Attorney General Sean Reyes is a potential GOP challenger to Sen. Romney, along with several other prominent Utah Republicans.

States

Oregon: One More County to Vote About Joining Idaho — Since 2020, a total of 11 eastern Oregon counties have voted to explore ways for their geographic region to split from the state and join neighboring Idaho; now another, northeastern Wallowa County, has qualified an advisory ballot proposition on that for the next election.

The project is called the Greater Idaho Movement. The organizers of this movement say that although they don’t have any realistic possibility of seeing the voting counties break from Oregon and join Idaho (since both the Oregon legislature and Congress would have to approve), the votes will show the current liberal Beaver State political structure that more attention must be given to the needs of the voters in the conservative eastern Oregon rural communities.