Tag Archives: Kari Lake

Consistent Inconsistency

By Jim Ellis — Monday, June 17, 2024

Senate

Arizona senate candidate Kari Lake (R) struggles in race despite Trump’s lead in polls. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

While news stories are prevalent discussing former President Donald Trump’s polling status, which, despite being convicted in his New York trial, shows him leading in most of the swing states, the same cannot be said for most of the Republican senatorial candidates.

Last week, Senate surveys were released in Arizona, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, three key swing states. Marist College conducted the Ohio and Pennsylvania studies, while a Republican/Democratic polling combination, Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D), executed the Arizona project.

The Fabrizio/IR Arizona survey, conducted for AARP (May 28-June 4; 600 likely Arizona voters; live interview & text), projects former President Trump to be holding a 45-37-11-3 percent advantage over President Joe Biden, Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. Yet, the open Senate ballot test before the same sampling universe favors Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) over former news anchor and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, 48-45 percent, a net 11-point swing from Trump’s lead to Lake’s deficit.

We see a similar pattern in the latest Ohio data. Marist College conducted the Buckeye State poll during the June 3-6 period and communicated with 1,137 registered Ohio voters either through telephone interview or online questionnaire. Here, we see Trump topping President Biden, Kennedy, Stein, and Dr. Cornel West, 48-41-5-1-1 percent. Yet, in the Senate race, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) posts a five point, 50-45 percent edge over Republican nominee Bernie Moreno, or a net 12 points behind Trump’s standing (Trump up 7; Moreno down 5).

Marist’s Pennsylvania findings also follow this similar pattern. The college’s polling administrators conducted the Keystone State survey during the same June 3-6 period as the Ohio study and interviewed either through phone or online contact 1,181 registered Pennsylvania voters. The results found Trump holding a two-point lead over President Biden, 47-45 percent, while Kennedy posted only three percent support, and Stein and Dr. West, one percent apiece. On the Senate question, however, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) tops businessman David McCormick (R), by six percentage points, 52-46 percent, or a net eight points below Trump’s position.

Though we did not see new general election data released in Nevada and Wisconsin during the week, the Trump leading (or close to tied in Wisconsin)/Republican Senate candidate trailing pattern is also consistently present in these two places.

In two other highly competitive races, Michigan and Montana, the Senate races are much closer. The numbers between Trump and the leading Michigan Republican, former Rep. Mike Rogers, are pretty close, with each clearly falling into a toss-up realm. In Montana, while Trump is consistently running well ahead of President Biden, the Senate race between incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D) and challenger Tim Sheehy (R) is a virtual tie.

Some of the presidential to Senate discrepancy can be explained through incumbency. In Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin the Republican candidates are challenging incumbent Democratic senators, Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Sens. Brown, Casey and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). But, that’s not the case in Arizona where the similar pattern exists even in an open seat race.

The other state with a competitive Senate race, Maryland, is in a different category. Trump is far from leading in the Free State polling, nor will he at any time before the election. Maryland is going to be one of President Biden’s strongest states, and GOP nominee and former Gov. Larry Hogan has a different set of obstacles to overcome if he is to be successful.

With the current Senate map decidedly favoring the Republicans because they must defend only 11 seats as opposed to 23 for the Democrats, the GOP must maximize their win-to-loss ratio in the 2024 elections. Though they are effectively at a 50D-50R break from an electoral standpoint because of what appears as a virtual conversion lock in West Virginia, the Republican leadership must make a concerted effort to assist several of the challengers in defeating their incumbent Democratic opponents.

Getting to 53 or 54 Republican senators is the GOP goal for this election year. They must have such a cushion when they head into the 2026 and ’28 election years when the Senate election maps favor the Democrats.

Therefore, unless the Republican strategists can find a way to break the pattern we’re seeing in most of the competitive race states where their candidates trail while Trump leads, they will fall short of their goal. Monitoring their developing offensive strategy in the coming weeks merits significant attention.

Split Tickets in AZ, NV? SCOTUS Rules in SC; Dead Heat in CA-41; Mace Leads in Two South Carolina Polls

By Jim Ellis — Friday, May 24, 2024

Senate

Former President Donald Trump

Polling: Potential Split Tickets in AZ, NV — Two new surveys find Democratic Senate candidates pulling away from their presumed Republican opponents in two southwestern swing states while former President Donald Trump continues to lead within the same polling samples.

Phoenix-based Noble Predictive Insights (May 7-14; 1,003 registered Arizona voters; online) finds Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) maintaining a double-digit lead, 46-36 percent, over Republican former news anchor and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake. Yet, on the presidential ballot test, former President Trump holds a 43-36-8-2-1 percent advantage over President Joe Biden, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I), Jill Stein (Green), and Dr. Cornel West (I).

In Nevada, we see a similar pattern. Mainstreet Research, polling for Florida Atlantic University (May 19-21; 522 registered Nevada voters; interactive voice response system & online), finds Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) leading Republican Sam Brown, 48-37 percent. When turning to the presidential contest, however, the results flip. According to this data, Trump would hold a 44-40-9 percent advantage over Biden and Kennedy. Both the most recent Arizona and Nevada polling results suggest that each electorate could engage in ticket splitting for the top two offices on their respective ballots.

House

SCOTUS: Overturns South Carolina Lower Court’s Redistricting Ruling — On a 6-3 vote, the United States Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling that declared South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District (Rep. Nancy Mace — R-Charleston) as a racial gerrymander. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito stated that the lower court’s ruling saying race had been the predominate factor in drawing the 1st District was “clearly erroneous,” according to the Daily Kos Elections site analysts. Therefore, the current South Carolina map will stand.

The state had already proceeded under the current lines since the high court’s decision came after the candidate filing deadline. Therefore, the current campaigns will continue along their present path.

This decision could well affect the Louisiana case, which the high court stayed. The lower court had overturned the Louisiana legislature’s original map as a racial gerrymander. The appellate court then reversed the ruling, but the Supreme Court stayed that decision. It is possible the stay was ordered because the court was making an important ruling on the South Carolina case, and that decision could again change the Louisiana situation.

CA-41: Rep. Calvert in Dead Heat — Veteran Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) is again in a highly competitive race with his 2022 opponent, former federal prosecutor Will Rollins (D). The Rollins campaign just released the results of their latest internal poll from David Binder Research (May 1-6; 600 likely CA-41 general election voters; live interview & text). According to the ballot test, Rollins would hold a slight one-point lead, 45-44 percent, over Rep. Calvert. Both candidates see 31 percent of their support being recorded as definite, while 14 percent of Rollins’ voters say they could change their vote, as do 13 percent of Calvert voters.

While the polling is virtually even, the all-party jungle primary results gave Rep. Calvert a 53-38 percent advantage from 162,066 individuals who voted. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-41 as R+7.

SC-1: Rep. Mace Leads in Two Polls — While the US Supreme Court was ruling on the legality of the state’s 1st Congressional District, a new Republican primary poll was simultaneously released. Emerson College (May 19-21; 400 likely SC-1 Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) publicized their new data results that post incumbent Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) to a 47-22 percent advantage over her principal challenger, former Haley Administration official and previous gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton. A third candidate, non-profit executive Bill Young, attracted seven percent of the vote.

The results are similar to a recent Kaplan Strategies survey (May 6-7; 343 likely SC-1 Republican primary voters; online & text) that produced a Mace lead of 43-21-3 percent.
The South Carolina primary is June 11. If no one reaches majority support, and neither poll shows Rep. Mace winning outright, the top two finishers will advance to a June 25 runoff election.

Tightening Senate Race in Arizona; Hogan Building Lead in Maryland; Tight Margins in California Vote Tallies; Bost Wins Tight Primary

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 21, 2024

Senate

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D) holds a narrow lead in Arizona polling.

Arizona: Emerson College Shows a Tightening Race — Emerson College released a new two-way poll of the Arizona Senate race, their first since Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) announced she would not seek re-election. The survey (March 12-15; 1,000 registered Arizona voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects the new Arizona Senate race dropping to within the polling margin of error between Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) and 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake. The ballot test finds Gallego holding a 44-40 percent lead, which is approaching the toss-up realm.

Within the same polling sample, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden, 48-44 percent, which is bad news obviously for Biden, but also for Lake. With the data showing Trump leading the Republican ticket in the Grand Canyon State, her standing trails him by a full eight percentage points.

While Emerson tested only Biden and Trump and did not include the independent or third party candidates, they did push the undecided respondents to make a choice. When doing so, Trump would lead the aggregate count 52-48 percent, suggesting the undecideds, which are good prospects to support one of the minor candidates, would break evenly between the two men.

Rep. Gallego has an edge among the youngest and the oldest respondents in the sample. He is also rather surprisingly favored, 43-38 percent, among those who said the economy is their top issue. Lake is favored by a whopping 77-12 percent margin among those who are most concerned about the southern border.

Maryland: Ex-Gov. Hogan Building Lead — The University of Maryland, partnering with the Washington Post, released a new survey of the Maryland Senate race (March 5-12; 1,004 registered Maryland voters; live interview & text) that shows former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan building a strong lead in this most Democratic of states. According to the ballot test, Hogan leads US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) 47-39 percent, while his lead would expand to 50-36 percent if Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) were his general election opponent.

Hogan also enjoys an extremely positive 64:23 percent favorability index, while Rep. Trone scores 33:21 percent favorable to unfavorable, and Alsobrooks records a 26:15 percent ratio. Despite Trone so far outspending Alsobrooks by a 12:1 ratio ($24 million to $2 million), he leads the Democratic primary ballot test only 34-27 percent according to this survey.

Considering the lopsided spending amount, the ballot test suggests that Rep. Trone is at least slightly underperforming as a statewide candidate.

House

California: Two-Vote Margin; Another Race in Doubt — While the California vote totals are still not complete from the March 5 Super Tuesday primary, the battle for second qualifying position in the open 16th Congressional District continues to get tighter and tighter. The latest vote iteration, with an estimated 400-plus votes remaining to count, is literally down to a two-vote margin.

State Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) now leads San Mateo County Supervisor and former state Sen. Joe Simitian (D), 30,211 to 30,209. It is obvious we will see a recount when all the votes are finally tabulated. The Secretary of State has 22 more days to certify the election, and it is likely the tabulation process for this race will consume every bit of the allowable time. Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) has already clinched the first general election position. Incumbent Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton) is retiring.

Another race is also uncalled. Forty-fifth District Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County) has easily clinched the first qualifying position with just under 55 percent of the aggregate jungle primary vote. Attorney Derek Tran (D) has run in second place during the entire counting period, but he now leads Garden Grove Councilwoman Kim Nguyen-Penaloza (D) by only a 327-vote margin and the end result is now in doubt. An estimated 2,500 ballots remain to be counted.

IL-12: Rep. Bost Wins Close Primary Battle — It took well into a second day of counting, but Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) successfully won renomination in his southern Illinois congressional district. His opponent, 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey, issued a statement conceding defeat but saying his campaign “made a statement.” The current unofficial tally shows Rep. Bost capturing 51.4 percent of the vote as compared to Bailey’s 48.6 percent, translating to a vote spread of 2,590 from a turnout of over 94,000 individuals. A smattering of ballots will soon be added to the final tally.

The district featured wide swings, as both candidates typically won their respective counties by landslide proportions. Both men won 17 of the district’s 34 counties.

Arizona Sen. Sinema Out of Running; More Super Tuesday News

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 7, 2023

Senate

Arizona: Sen. Sinema Bows Out — In addition to all the election results on Super Tuesday, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I), not seeing a victory path for herself, announced that she would not seek a second term. The Independent senator thanked Arizonans in a video message (above) for allowing her to serve for 20 years in the state House of Representatives, the US House, and the US Senate. At least in the short term, the Sinema departure appears to give Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) the inside track to winning the Arizona Senate seat over former GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake.

The Sinema retirement decision means there are eight open Senate seats among the 34 statewide campaigns in the current election cycle.

President

Nikki Haley, Dean Phillips: Exit Presidential Race — Yesterday brought two campaign suspension announcements that at least unofficially clinch the respective Democratic and Republican presidential nominations for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Both Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (R) indicated they are ceasing campaign activity, and thus ending any competition in the presidential nomination campaign.

Trump looks set to become the Republican presumptive party nominee on March 12, while President Biden will do so on March 19. The presumptive nominee is the individual who has secured a majority of legally bound first ballot delegates (1,968 for the Democrats; 1,215 for the Republicans), which guarantees a candidate the party nomination.

Rep. Phillips, who is not running for re-election to the House, publicly endorsed President Biden, while Haley did not announce support for Trump in her suspension declaration address, and said, “It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him. And I hope he does that.”

Super Tuesday: GOP Turnout Overwhelms — In looking at the 14 Super Tuesday states where both parties held nomination events, in only two, California and Massachusetts, did more Democrats vote than Republicans. Among the more than 14.65 million people who voted in a major party Super Tuesday event, 60.6 percent chose to vote in the Republican primary. In even stalwart Democratic states such as Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Vermont, and Virginia, more voters cast a Republican ballot than a Democratic. This is a bad sign for President Biden, as primary turnout often is a good indicator of voter enthusiasm.

Republican Leadership: Sen. Barrasso Not Running for Leader — Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso announced yesterday that he would not join the Republican Caucus battle for Leader to replace Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Instead, Sen. Barrasso announced that he will run for the Caucus’s number two slot, that of Senate Republican Whip. In the race for Leader are Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and John Cornyn (R-TX). Reports suggest that Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) is also considering entering the race. Of the three potential Leader campaign combatants, Sen. Scott is the only one seeking re-election this year.

Sinema on the Rise; Tight Senate Poll in Nevada; Democrats Coalescing in OR-5; Jackson Lee Now in Close Texas Primary; Burgum Endorses Successor

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

Senate

Arizona incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Arizona: Sinema on the Rise — Two new Arizona US Senate polls were just released, and both show a significant change in the race status. First, while previous polls were projecting Republican Kari Lake as holding a small lead, this pair sees Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) moving into first place and incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, running on the Independent line, substantially improving her position. Previously, she was languishing in the teens, and now both surveys find her well in the 20-plus percentile range and back in competition to potentially win re-election.

Emerson College surveyed the Arizona electorate over the February 16-19 period (1,000 AZ registered voters; multiple sampling techniques) and the results find a 36-30-21 percent Gallego, Lake, and Sinema split.

Arizona based Noble Predictive Insights polled the state during the February 6-13 period (1,002 AZ registered voters; online) and found a similar result, 34-31-23 percent in the same order as the Emerson finding. These numbers suggest that the Sinema increase is coming at the expense of Lake and not Gallego, meaning she is pulling more Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents to her side than Democrats and Democratic leaning Independents.

Nevada: Tight Senate Poll Results — Emerson College, polling for The Hill newspaper and KLAS-TV in Las Vegas also polled the impending Nevada Senate race (Feb. 16-19; (1,000 registered Arizona voters; multiple sampling techniques) and already project a dead-heat contest. The results find Sen. Jacky Rosen (D), who is running for a second term, dropping to 40 percent support, and leading Afghanistan veteran Sam Brown (R) by only a 40-38 percent margin. The Nevada race will become a top-tier Republican challenge opportunity.

House

OR-5: Democrats Coalescing — Oregon’s 5th District race will be one of the most hotly contested US House campaigns in the country and is one of the keys toward deciding which party will control the chamber in the next Congress. One of the major OR-5 Democratic contenders ended her bid last week and endorsed an opponent. Lynn Peterson is the President of Portland’s Metro Council and was an announced congressional candidate. Seeing the race trends, Peterson dropped her bid and endorsed state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), following the lead of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The 2022 nominee, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, is in the race, but losing steam. She failed against current incumbent Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Happy Valley) in 2022, and it’s clear the Democratic synergy is turning toward Rep. Bynum as the person most believe is the stronger candidate.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates OR-5 as D+3. President Joe Biden carried the seat by a 53-44 percent margin in 2020. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the ninth most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. In 2022, Chavez-DeRemer defeated McLeod-Skinner, 51-49 percent.

TX-18: Rep. Jackson Lee in Close Primary — The Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston conducted a survey (Feb. 7-17; 450 likely TX-18 voters; text & online) of the Houston-anchored 18th Congressional District and finds a close Democratic primary developing. The ballot test projects veteran Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston), reeling from a poor performance in the Houston mayor’s race, leading former Houston city councilwoman and 2020 US Senate candidate Amanda Edwards by only a 43-38 percent spread. Minor candidate Rob Slater, a convicted felon, captures three percentage points.

This survey suggests there is a political hangover for Jackson Lee who lost badly to now-Mayor John Whitmire (D), 64-36 percent, in the December mayoral runoff. Therefore, we see another March 5 race that will draw major interest.

Governor

North Dakota: Gov. Burgum Announces Endorsement — It appears we are headed for a highly competitive open North Dakota Republican primary on June 11. Retiring Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced his endorsement late last week of Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller (R) to succeed him.

Miller already announced that she is bypassing the North Dakota Republican Party endorsing convention because she knows that at-large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck), a former party chairman, is a lock to be the official party candidate. This forces a primary election between the two, with the winner becoming the prohibitive favorite for the autumn campaign.

Trump Over 50 Percent in Iowa;
Dead Heats in Arizona & Michigan; Casey Expands Lead in Pennsylvania

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 15, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump

Iowa Caucus Polls: Trump Over 50 Percent; Haley in Second Place — The first votes of the presidential campaign are to be cast tonight. In frigid temperatures, Iowa Republicans will attend their individual precinct caucus meetings to cast the first votes of the 2024 presidential election beginning at 7 p.m. Central time. Because of a schedule change on the Democratic side, only the Republicans are voting tonight. No non-incumbent has ever topped the 50 percent plateau, but polling shows that Trump may well exceed that number in these caucus votes.

Suffolk University released a new Iowa Caucus survey in preparation for today’s vote. This survey (Jan. 6-10; 500 likely Iowa Republican Caucus attenders), as every other Iowa poll has projected, sees former President Donald Trump attracting majority support (54 percent). Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, according to the Suffolk data, has surpassed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for second place with 20 percent as compared to DeSantis’ 13 percent.

In terms of interesting side questions, the sampling universe broke virtually evenly regarding the traits of the candidate they want to support. Three responses dominated the answers. The one most often articulated is the respondent’s desire to support a candidate who can defeat President Joe Biden (27.2 percent). Next, is an individual having strong moral character (25.8 percent), and a close third is a person who “has the right experience” (25.0 percent).

Asked of people who said that Donald Trump was neither their first nor second choice, 45 percent said they would support the former president if he became the party nominee, 16.5 percent said they would vote for Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and 15.3 percent said they would support Biden.

No fewer than five polls have been released since Wednesday, including the survey that is typically regarded as the state’s most accurate — the Selzer & Company poll, routinely conducted for the Des Moines Register newspaper.

The Selzer poll, released late on Saturday night (Jan. 7-12; 705 likely Iowa caucus attenders; live interview) and conducted for the Des Moines Register and NBC News, found Trump below 50 percent but holding at 48 percent support, ahead of Haley, in second place again with 20 percent, and DeSantis in third, posting 18 percent preference. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy trailed in single digits with eight percent. Of the five polls conducted during the final week of campaigning, this is the only one that projects Trump with under 50 percent support.

Senate

Arizona: New Poll Shows Virtual Dead Heat — Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Replace Sinema PAC (Jan. 5-6; 590 registered Arizona voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees a dead heat developing between Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) and former news anchor and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake. Incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, running on an Independent ballot line, significantly trails.

According to the ballot test data, Rep. Gallego would record a 36-35 percent edge over Lake with Sen. Sinema well behind with a 17 percent support figure. Among the key non-affiliated voting sector, Lake takes the largest share with 31 percent. Sen. Sinema posted 27 percent from this category, while Rep. Gallego trailed with 24 percent. If the race were a two-way contest between Gallego and Lake, the Republican would hold a 46-45 percent edge. This poll again shows that the Arizona Senate race continues as a true wild card campaign.

Michigan: Virtual Ties All Around — The Glengariff Group, a Michigan-based pollster who frequently conducts political surveys for media organizations, tested the Wolverine State electorate for the Detroit News and WDIV-TV Channel 4 (Jan. 2-6; 600 likely Michigan voters) though the partisan division within the polling sample looks to have comparable numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Michigan does not register voters by political party, but it is clear through voter history statistics that the state houses at least a slightly higher number of Democrats than Republicans. Therefore, these results, though weighted to decrease a bias factor, are likely skewed somewhat toward Republicans.

The ballot test results find Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) and three potential Republican opponents all locked into virtual ties. Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig matches up most favorably with Rep. Slotkin, leading her 38-36 percent. Former Rep. Peter Meijer is tied with Slotkin at 36-36 percent, while former US Rep. Mike Rogers trails her by just one percentage point.

It is likely that the Michigan race will become a top-tier general election Senate campaign irrespective of which Republican candidate claims the party nomination in August.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Expands Lead — The new Quinnipiac University Pennsylvania poll (Jan. 4-8; 1,680 self-identified registered Pennsylvania voters; 746 Democrats; 651 Republicans; live interview) finds three-term Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) expanding his lead over Republican challenger David McCormick (R) to a full 10-point advantage, 54-43 percent, an improvement of a net four percentage points when compared to the October Q-Poll. Within this survey sample, the split between Democrats and Republicans is almost spot on, with Republicans under-counted by approximately just one percentage point.

The Casey lead is strong in comparison to how President Biden fares. Biden posts a job approval rating of only 40:58 percent as compared to Sen. Casey’s 51:31 percent. The president, however, still leads former President Trump, 49-46 percent in a general election ballot test. The Pennsylvania office holder with the best job approval ratio is Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) who records a 59:23 percent favorability index.

What Kari Lake’s Senate Bid Means;
Ex-Michigan Police Chief Out to Early Lead; CA-27 Democrat Drops Bid; NJ-7 Candidate Withdraws; Houston Mayoral Runoff Likely

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023

Senate

Kari Lake (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Arizona: 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.

House

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.

Cities

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.