By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023
SenateArizona: Kari Lake Announces — As has been anticipated, 2022 Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee and former news anchor Kari Lake announced her US Senate candidacy yesterday. She enters what will likely be a three-way race with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), the latter of whom appears to be the consensus Democratic candidate. With Lake officially in the Senate race, 2022 Senate nominee Blake Masters will likely withdraw. He announced a 2024 campaign several weeks ago but said he would depart if Lake entered the race.
Kari Lake has created much post-election controversy in Arizona with election fraud accusations, but she is still likely strong enough to win the Republican Senate nomination. Also in the race is Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. Sen. Sinema has not formally announced her re-election campaign, but she is raising money and taking action to prepare for what will be the most interesting Senate general election in the country. All three candidates will have a path to victory, so the contest officially should be rated a toss-up. This Senate race will attract a great deal of national attention as the election cycle moves forward.
Michigan: Ex-Police Chief Craig Jumps Out to Early Lead — Public Policy Polling went into the Wolverine State to test Republican primary voters and just released their results. The survey (Oct. 9-10; 430 likely Michigan Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig beginning with a 30-19 percent Republican primary lead over former Congressman Mike Rogers in the open US Senate race. This contest will develop over time with a late Aug. 6 primary scheduled.
The winner will likely face US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who is a clear favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Four-term incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring at the conclusion of this Congress.
CA-27: Democrat Drops Bid — Franky Carillo, who was once convicted of murder but freed after spending decades in prison when DNA evidence proved his innocence and has since become a Los Angeles County probation officer, has ended his congressional bid. This paves the way for former Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides (D) to advance into the general election to face three-term Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita).
CA-27 is one of the most politically marginal seats in the Republican Conference, ranked as the fourth most vulnerable on the Daily Kos Elections site scale. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+8, but Rep. Garcia has proven a consistent winner in the north Los Angeles County district. The 2024 election, however, is the first time he will face an opponent other than former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), whom he defeated three consecutive times.
NJ-7: Mayor Withdraws — Roselle Park Mayor Joe Signorello (D), who originally announced a challenge to Sen. Bob Menendez (D) but dropped out to instead enter the congressional race against Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), has now withdrawn again. Signorello announced during the week that he would end his congressional effort.
The Signorello move leaves former State Department Counterterrorism official Joe Blazakis and progressive activist Sue Altman as the remaining Democrats vying for the party nomination. Others could still enter the race.
Rep. Kean will be a slight favorite for re-election in a politically marginal district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat R+3. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 51.5R – 46.5D partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NJ-7 as the 16th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.
Houston: Mayoral Runoff Likely — A new poll from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston (Sept. 30-Oct. 6; 800 likely Houston mayoral voters; text message), finds state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) almost assuredly advancing to a December runoff election from the Nov. 7 initial municipal vote. According to the University of Houston ballot test, Sen. Whitmire, the longest serving legislator in Texas history (first elected in 1972), leads Rep. Jackson Lee 34-31 percent among the seven tested Houston mayoral candidates. A candidate must obtain majority support to be elected outright.
Looking ahead to the succeeding runoff, Sen. Whitmire outpaces Rep. Jackson Lee by a substantial 50-36 percent margin. The best news for Sen. Whitmire is that 40 percent of the undecided voters said they would consider voting for him, while 53 percent said they would never vote for Rep. Jackson Lee. Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.