Tag Archives: Iowa

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.

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.

Seven States Host Primaries;
More House News

By Jim Ellis — June 7, 2022

Primaries

Iowa’s seven-term US Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) will be 89 at the time of the general election.

Voting Today: Seven States Host Primaries — One of the busiest nomination days occurs today and voters will be choosing November candidates in states stretching from California to New Jersey. Those state primaries on the calendar for today include California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. One special general election will also be determined, that being the race in California’s 22nd District from which former Congressman Devin Nunes (R) resigned at the end of last year. Republican former state Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway is the clear favorite to win the special, but will have no place on a congressional ballot during the regular election.

Some of the more interesting races include Iowa Democrats choosing an opponent for veteran Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), who will be 89 years old at the time of the general election, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, attempting to return to the House of Representatives from Montana; Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Biloxi), fighting for re-nomination amid an ethics investigation; and a host of US House incumbents attempting to win post-redistricting CDs that in some cases are very different than the ones they currently represent.

House

NY-23: Dems Decide on Nominee; Filing Ends Friday — Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has scheduled the replacement special election for resigned Rep. Tom Reed’s (R) vacant seat to run concurrently with the regular Aug. 23 congressional primary. Under New York electoral procedure, the party leaders nominate candidates for special elections, and the local Democratic leadership has already made their selection. Retired Air Force Colonel Max Della Pia was selected as the special election nominee, and he will face whomever the Republican leadership decides to nominate. Della Pia also said he will file for the regular term, but the voters will choose the nominee for that race, also on Aug. 23.

Several Republicans are in the mix, the most noteworthy name being mentioned of late is New York Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy. Candidate filing for the regular election ends this Friday, June 10.

The southwestern Upstate district favors the Republicans. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rating is R+23. Dave’s Redistricting App scores it 55.37 percent R and 41.98 percent D. Former President Trump carried the new 23rd District in 2020 by a 55-43 percent count.

SC-7: Rep. Rice Trailing in Primary Poll — With the South Carolina primary fast approaching on June 14, the Trafalgar Group released a new survey of the Palmetto State’s 7th District that features Republican incumbent Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach) who is fighting for re-nomination after being one of the 10 House Republicans to support the second attempt to impeach former President Trump.

According to the Trafalgar data (May 26-29; 572 likely SC-7 Republican primary voters; mixed data collection elements), Rep. Rice trails state Rep. Russell Fry (R-Murrell’s Inlet), Trump’s endorsed candidate, by a substantial 42-25 percent clip within the field of seven Republican candidates. If no one receives majority support, which appears likely according to this poll, the top two will advance into a two-week runoff campaign that will be decided June 28.

Texas: Canvasses for Two Dem Runoffs Finally End — Though recounts are likely to be called, the canvassing process for the state’s two unresolved May 24 runoff elections has concluded. At the end of the counting, both leaders heading into the canvass gained strength.

In Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-Laredo) 28th CD, the Congressman increased his lead from a small spread of 177 votes in the unofficial count to 281 votes. In the open McAllen-anchored 15th CD, businesswoman Michelle Vallejo (D) increased her tiny lead from 23 votes to 30. In the latter race, attorney and Iraq War veteran Ruben Ramirez is indicating that he will ask for the ballots to be counted again citing the razor-thin difference between the two competitors. Contenders have until tomorrow to officially request recounts.

Assuming that Cuellar and Vallejo are both certified the winners of their runoffs, which is the likely outcome in both cases, they will face Republican former congressional aide Cassy Garcia (R) and insurance agent and 2020 nominee Monica de la Cruz (R), respectively.

Senate Snippets

By Jim Ellis

April 19, 2022 — We have seen recent changes in many key 2022 in-cycle Senate races. Below is a competitive state-by-state recap:

Alabama: Polling now consistently shows that the GOP nomination battle, which will determine who will replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), is turning into a two-way race. Early leader Mo Brooks, the northern Alabama congressman who former President Trump originally endorsed only to see him recently rescind his support, has now dropped well back. It appears clear that “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant and former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt will advance to a runoff election. The Alabama primary is May 24 with the succeeding runoff scheduled for June 21.

Alaska: State Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) withdrew from the race to seek re-election to the legislature, and 2020 Senate nominee Al Gross filed to run for the at-large US House special election; thus the Democrats have no announced candidate. Candidate filing is June 1 for the Aug. 16 primary. The new election system will send four candidates to the general election, so whoever comes forth as a Democratic contender will likely advance to November. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is seeking re-election.

Arizona: Recent polling continues to show a tight GOP contest among Attorney General Tim Brnovich, and businessmen Blake Masters and Jim Lamon. Candidate filing is closed, so the field is set for the Aug. 2 primary. The eventual Republican nominee will challenge freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D).

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman continues to campaign hard in a Republican primary battle against former University of Arkansas football player and Iraq War veteran Jake Bequette. The senator is still a heavy favorite for re-nomination and re-election.

California: Appointed Sen. Alex Padilla (D) is a cinch for election to a full term in the autumn.

Colorado: Only state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Fremont) and construction company owner Joe O’Dea qualified for the Republican primary either through the state nominating assembly or petitioning onto the ballot. Early leaders Deborah Flora, a talk show host, and former Olympian Eli Bremer failed to qualify. Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is favored for re-election.

Connecticut: Seven Republicans have announced their candidacies against Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D). The two most credible candidates appear to be former Republican National Committeewoman Leora Levy, who has almost $1 million cash-on-hand, and state Senate Minority Leader Themis Klarides. This race may draw a bit of attention, but it’s still a very long shot for any Republican to beat Sen. Blumenthal.

Florida: Both Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) have now each raised more than $30 million for the 2022 race, and both have over $13 million cash-on-hand. Sen. Rubio remains favored in a state that is moving closer to the GOP, but Rep. Demings has now actually raised a bit more money than the incumbent. A close finish here is virtually guaranteed.

Georgia: Polling suggests that former University of Georgia and NFL football star Herschel Walker will win the Republican nomination outright on May 24, thus setting the stage for the general election between he and freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D).

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Iowa Senate: Finkenauer Disqualified

By Jim Ellis

Former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D)

April 13, 2022 — An Iowa district judge rejected former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s (D) signature petitions late Sunday night, thus disqualifying her from the Democratic primary ballot. It appeared that she was the party’s early front runner to challenge Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) in the general election.

Under Iowa law, a statewide candidate must submit 3,500 valid registered voter signatures to obtain ballot position. A side requirement is that at least 100 signatures must come from a minimum of 19 individual counties, and it is here where Finkenauer came up short. While filing more than 5,000 signatures statewide, the qualification came down to two of her 19 counties where all but the bare minimum number were rejected outright.

The State Objection Panel, comprised of two Democratic statewide officials and one Republican, had approved the petitions, but Polk County District Judge Scott Beattie said the body was wrong for ignoring the full legal requirements. Three signatures from the two counties in question lacked the date of signature, which is a clear requirement under the Iowa procedure. Republicans then filed their legal challenge arguing that the Objection Panel did not fully adhere to the law.

Judge Beattie agreed, and wrote that though the “court takes no joy in this conclusion,” he had no choice but to enforce the letter of the law.

Finkenauer immediately claimed the judicial ruling was partisan in nature because Judge Beattie is a Republican. She said his decision is a “massive gift to Washington Republicans,” according to the Des Moines Register newspaper.

She then launched an appeal to the state Supreme Court. The Secretary of State, however, has said he has to see a ruling overturning the decision, if such is to be rendered, before April 15 in order to satisfy the national MOVE Act requirements, which mandates notice of an election at least 45 days prior for overseas and military voters. The Iowa primary is June 7. Therefore, if the Court proceeds with their review, it will have to act within the next couple of days.

It is not yet known what amount Finkenauer raised during the year’s 1st quarter, but she had already obtained more than $1.9 million in contributions prior to 2021 ending. Of that, she reported more than $723,000 in the bank at the Dec. 31 reporting deadline.

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