Tag Archives: Louisiana

DeSantis Suspends Campaign; Louisiana Map Passes Legislature, State Changes Primary System;
NY-3 Poll Shows Tightening Race;

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 22, 2024

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ron DeSantis: Suspends Campaign: Two days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, once thought to be former President Donald Trump’s principal Republican challenger, announced that he is suspending his national campaign and endorsed the former president.

While DeSantis suspended his campaign, he didn’t soften his attacks on both President Joe Biden and fellow GOP challenger Nikki Haley. “I look forward to working together with him [Trump] to beat Joe Biden, who is the worst and most corrupt president in the history of our country,” DeSantis said.

Referring to Haley, Gov. DeSantis was quoted as saying, “I signed a pledge to support the nominee, and I will honor that pledge. He [Mr. Trump] has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”

The GOP presidential fight now winnows to two major contenders, former President Trump, and ex-UN Ambassador Haley. Tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary may be close; Trump, however, will easily win in Nevada on Feb. 6, after which the campaign heads to Haley’s home state of South Carolina on Feb. 24 where polling finds Trump holding a 2:1 lead. If such margin holds, the Republican nomination will effectively be clinched before Super Tuesday on March 5.

House

Louisiana: Congressional Map Passes Legislature — The Louisiana state legislature agreed upon legislation to create a new congressional map as part of their special session to satisfy a court order. The bill now goes to Gov. Jeff Landry (R) for his signature. The agreed upon plan creates a new 6th District anchored in Baton Rouge, which then stretches through Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton), virtually cutting it in half, to reach Shreveport. This satisfies the court order to create a second majority minority seat in the state (54 percent black). According to the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians, President Biden would have carried the new 6th by a 59-39 percent majority.

The big loser on this map is five-term Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge). He is now paired with Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in a new 5th District seat that stretches along the Mississippi border on the south and east and going all the way to the Arkansas border on the north. The new 5th contains at least two-thirds of Rep. Letlow’s current constituency.

The partisan division will now award another seat to the Democrats, making the future Louisiana delegation 5R-2D. Under the plan, Speaker Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Reps. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), and Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette) all get safe seats from a partisan perspective.

NY-3: New Poll Shows Tight Special Election Race — A newly released Emerson College survey (Jan. 13-15; 975 registered NY-3 voters; 819 likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees a close special election race developing between former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) and Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R). The ballot test shows a 45-43 percent split in favor of Suozzi.

The best news for the former Democratic congressman is that the most likely voters within the sample break for him on a 51-37 percent split. While the majority white vote (58 percent of the district population) favors Pilip 49-40 percent, the largest minority group, Asians (24 percent of the district population), overwhelmingly favor Suozzi (60-25 percent). Hispanics (13 percent of the population) are moving toward Pilip in a 44-33 percent clip.

Possibly the most troubling news for Suozzi are President Biden’s and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) poor job approval ratings. Only one-third of voters, 33 percent, approve of President Biden’s performance in office (59 percent disapprove). Gov. Hochul’s numbers are even worse. Her approval index is 25:66 percent favorable to unfavorable. The special election is scheduled for Feb. 13.

States

Louisiana: Changing to Party Primary System — As part of the special Louisiana state legislative session, the House and Senate are sending a bill to Gov. Jeff Landry (R), one that he initiated, to change Louisiana’s primary voting system from a top-two jungle system to a partisan primary. The changes would take effect for the 2026 election and would institute a modified system where registered members of the political party must vote in their own primary while non-affiliated voters would have their choice of where to cast their ballot.

The change would mean, as in most other states, that only the political party nominees and qualified Independents would advance to the general election. The legislation would affect all federal races along with the state Supreme Court, the state school board, and the Public Service Commission. All other offices would continue with the current system of sending the top two finishers regardless of political party affiliation to the general election.

GOP Presidential Field Narrows to Three; Second Redistricting Map Released in Louisiana; MD-2 Primary Opponent Challenges Incumbent

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks with supporters at a “Countdown to Caucus” campaign rally at the Country Lane Lodge in Adel, Iowa. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024

President

Candidates: And Then There Were Three — After former President Donald Trump’s victory in the Iowa Caucuses on Monday, two more presidential candidates, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, suspended their campaigns.

Prominent candidates who previously dropped their bids are former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. The moves essentially leave the presidential field to Mr. Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Of the exiting candidates, Ramaswamy and Burgum both have endorsed Trump. No other former candidate to date has issued an endorsement.

New Hampshire: ARG Sees Trump & Haley Tied — A third installment of the American Research Group survey series (Jan. 12-15; 600 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; 406 Republican voters; 194 Independent voters; live interview) sees Trump and Haley now tied as the candidates turn the corner toward the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23. Both candidates were drawing 40 percent support. DeSantis and now-ex presidential candidate Ramaswamy fell well back to four percent apiece. Clearly New Hampshire is the only pre-Super Tuesday state where Trump fails to dominate.

New Hampshire: A Biden Warning Sign — The American Research Group also ran a companion poll for the Democratic presidential primary as it was surveying the Republican side. This study (Jan. 12-15; 600 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters; 452 Democratic voters; 148 Independent voters; live interview) finds US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) posting his best standing against President Joe Biden of any poll. According to these results, Biden, clearly identified as a write-in candidate on the questionnaire, would lead Rep. Phillips 58-28 percent, with author Marianne Williamson drawing three percent.

The New Hampshire primary is Jan. 23, but Biden chose to bypass the state because New Hampshire did not agree to the proposed Democratic National Committee primary calendar changes. Therefore, voters wanting to support the current president will have to write in his name.

House

Louisiana: Second Redistricting Map Released — On the first day of the special legislative session for congressional redistricting and other issues, state Rep. Mike Echols (R-Monroe) released a map that was seen as potentially the basis for an eventual final draw. Under the introduced plan, Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) would likely find himself as the odd man out as a new Baton Rouge-anchored 6th District that would be designed to elect an African American representative. The original map was sent back to the legislature for the purpose of increasing minority representation.

The Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians have already released their calculations of all six districts in the proposed plan. Instead of the current 5R-1D plan, we would see a 4R-2D map, with the 6th District going from a partisan lean of 66.0R – 31.9D to one that favors the Democrats to the degree of 56.3D – 41.8R. Rep. Graves would be placed in the 5th District with fellow Republican incumbent Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start). In this map version, Letlow’s current constituency would comprise two-thirds of the new district, thus giving her a major advantage if the two ultimately face each other.

Now, a second plan has been submitted but two points are clear when comparing the two versions.

First, the legislature is clearly complying with the court order to draw a second majority minority seat within the six-member congressional delegation, and second, the targeted GOP House member likely to lose his seat is to make room for the new district is Rep. Graves. Once completed and passed into law, the new court-ordered map will almost assuredly mean a net gain of one seat for the Democrats in the 2024 election.

MD-2: Primary Opponent Emerges for Rep. Ruppersberger — Two-term state Delegate Harry Bhandari (D-Nottingham) announced that he will challenge 11-term US Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) for the Democratic nomination in the May 14 Maryland primary election. Bhandari does not have to risk his seat in the legislature because Maryland awards its state Delegates with four-year terms, and he was re-elected in 2022. Rep. Ruppersberger has yet to announce that he will run for re-election. The Maryland candidate filing deadline is Feb. 9.

MD-2 is a safe Democratic seat. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district as D+11. The Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the seat as the 62nd most vulnerable in the House Democratic Conference.

Redistricting Roundup

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 8, 2024

Putting together the redistricting puzzle

Several states have been conducting a second round of redistricting, and four have completed the process. Therefore, the group has new maps in place for the 2024 election cycle. Below is a redistricting recap:

Completed States

Alabama: The US Supreme Court rather surprisingly sided with the Democratic plaintiffs to force a redraw of the Alabama congressional map under the reasoning that a second majority minority seat could be drawn. The new map results in a pairing of Republican Congressmen Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) and Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) in a southern Alabama district that stretches from Mississippi to Georgia along the Gulf Coast and Florida border.

The Republican primary election, scheduled for March 5, will decide who represents this district likely for the remainder of the decade. Rep. Carl represents 59 percent of the new district while Rep. Moore overlaps with 41 percent of the new AL-1 territory. Since Carl and Moore are the only Republican candidates, no runoff election will be necessary.

As a result of the reconfiguration, a new Montgomery/Mobile-anchored 2nd District was designed to elect an African American. A total of 13 Democrats and eight Republicans are running for the new seat. Expect runoff elections to occur for both parties. The runoff election date is April 2. Democrats are expected to gain a net of one seat under the new court ordered map.

Georgia: The new Georgia congressional plan was completed and received court approval during the Christmas break. The court previously ruled that the plan should be drawn to create another majority minority district. The legislature and governor complied with the ruling in that they converted a racial coalition district into a majority minority seat. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) is moving from her current 7th District that lies east of Atlanta back to a more western suburban seat that is closer to the district from which she was originally elected. She should have little trouble winning the new 6th District.

Conversely, current 6th District Congressman Rich McCormick (R-Suwanee) will run in the new 7th CD that is Republican favorable. Therefore, expect no change in the 9R-5D Georgia delegation party division.

New Mexico: Republicans challenged the 3D-0R congressional map as an “excessive gerrymander,” but lost at the district court level. The New Mexico state Supreme Court then rejected the Republican appeal. Therefore, the current map will stand for the 2024 election, and likely throughout the decade.

The state’s 2nd District, while designed to elect a Democrat, is competitive and we can expect to see another tight election contest between freshman Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-Las Cruces) and former US Rep. Yvette Herrell (R). The 2022 race between the two ended with Vasquez unseating then-Rep. Herrell by less than one percentage point.

North Carolina: Republicans scored a big victory here, as the new map will yield the GOP a net three-seat gain. With Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) not seeking re-election, the Democrats are conceding the new 6th District without even fielding a candidate. Six Republicans are vying for the party nomination including former US Rep. Mark Walker and High Point Mayor Jay Wagner.

Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary) foregoing re-election in the new 13th District to run for the Senate in 2026 means the Republicans are a sure bet to convert this seat, too. A total of 14 Republicans have qualified for the ballot in this district.

The new 14th CD is another seat primed to go Republican. Democratic incumbent Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) is running for Attorney General, meaning state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland County) is becoming the prohibitive favorite to win this district.

The most competitive general election appears to be forming in the state’s 1st District where Democratic freshman Don Davis (D-Snow Hill/Rocky Mount) faces more Republican terrain in his new district. Former congressional nominee Sandy Smith and retired Army Col. Laurie Buckhout are vying for the party nomination. The Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate a new 50.9D – 47.7R partisan lean, meaning the seat now only leans Democratic. Under the previous map, the 1st District partisan lean was factored as 54.1D – 44.4R.

States in Progress

Florida: The Florida congressional map was declared illegal at the district level, but the state Appellate Court overturned the ruling. Therefore, it is likely the current map will stand at least for the 2024 election cycle.

Louisiana: Like Alabama, Louisiana was under court order to redraw their map for purposes of creating another majority minority congressional seat. The court has given the legislature and its new governor, Republican Jeff Landry, until the end of this month to submit a new plan. It is likely that the two most affected Republicans will be Reps. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) and Julia Letlow (R-Start). It is probable that Democrats will gain one seat in the Baton Rouge area once the final plan is completed and adopted.

New York: The New York congressional map has been returned to the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission for a redraw. The new map will require approval from the state legislature. This is the “wild card” plan for the 2024 election cycle. Most believe Democrats will make big gains, and the current map favors the party, yet their candidates could not deliver what was expected in 2022. Should some of the districts be made more Democratic, other marginal seats in the adjacent areas could become more Republican.

The areas most likely to be affected are Long Island, Brooklyn/Manhattan, the Hudson Valley, and the upstate area in and around Syracuse. Expect Democratic gains once the process is complete, but it is difficult to project just how many.

South Carolina: The US Supreme Court has heard oral arguments on a lawsuit challenging the 1st District (Rep. Nancy Mace-R) as a racial gerrymander. The high court ruling is pending. A decision for the plaintiffs could mean the loss of one Republican seat. Rejecting their claim would mean the current 6R-1D delegation map will likely stand throughout the remainder of the decade.

Wisconsin: During the Christmas break, the state Supreme Court ordered a redraw of the state Senate and Assembly boundaries but did not rule on the congressional map. Most expect the court to order a federal reconfiguration as well, but time is growing short. The Secretary of State has informed the court that new maps will have to be in place before March 15 in order to conduct 2024 elections. A new congressional map would likely mean a net gain of at least one seat for the Democrats.

Sen. Cantwell Well Ahead; Ex-Mayor Flips on Decision to Run; CA-45 Logjam; Louisiana Deadline Extended

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Dec. 4, 2023

Senate

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell (D)

Washington: Sen. Cantwell Easily Leads in New Poll — Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute (Nov. 14-15; 700 likely Washington general election voters; live interview & text) finds Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), running for a fifth six-year term, leading physician and former gubernatorial candidate Raul Garcia (R) by a 51-38 percent margin. Sen. Cantwell is a clear favorite for re-election in a race that should not become particularly competitive.

House

CA-16: Despite Saying No, ex-San Jose Mayor Forms Congressional Committee — Early this year, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) said he was planning to challenge either Reps. Ann Eshoo (D-Atherton) or Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) in the 2024 jungle primary. In September, he indicated that he would not run for Congress but instead was pursuing opportunities in the private sector. Adding Rep. Eshoo’s recent retirement announcement to the political equation, Liccardo has now reversed course again and filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission.

Though Liccardo still says he has not yet made a final decision about running, he cited a poll from Public Policy Polling showing him leading what will likely be a crowded field. Liccardo was twice elected to four-year terms as San Jose’s mayor, in addition to winning a pair of four-year terms on the City Council prior to his citywide victory.

Other Democrats in the race are Santa Clara County supervisor and former state Sen. Joe Simitian, Saratoga City Councilman Rishi Kumar, who twice challenged Rep. Eshoo, labor union organizer Evan Bell, and financial advisor Joby Bernstein. Former Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki and 2018 congressional candidate Karl Ryan are Republican contenders. State Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) is a possible candidate as is State Board of Equalization member and ex-state Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D).

The city of San Jose comprises approximately 40 percent of the 16th CD. A total of 85 percent of the district lies in Santa Clara County, with the remaining precincts crossing into San Mateo County. It is probable that two Democrats will advance from the March 5 all-party jungle primary. The candidate filing deadline in this race is Dec. 13. In California, candidate filing is extended five days when the incumbent does not file.

CA-45: Democrats Bunched in New Poll — A new Tulchin Research survey (Nov. 13-19; 500 likely CA-45 jungle primary voters; live interview & online) finds Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County) easily securing first place in the March 5 jungle primary but shows a tightly bunched group of Democrats trying to advance into the general election. According to the Tulchin results, Rep. Steel posts 39 percent support.

Iraq War veteran Derek Tran records 11 percent, just ahead of Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Nguyen-Penaloza with 10 percent, and attorney Cheyenne Hunt at 6 percent. Jay Chen, the 2022 finalist who is reportedly considering running again, was not included in this poll.

The 45th District is almost fully contained within Orange County with an added sliver of Los Angeles County and is highly competitive. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+5. The Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank the seat as the fifth most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. President Joe Biden carried the district with a 52-46 percent margin in 2020. Rep. Steel defeated Chen with a 52-48 percent victory margin in 2022.

Louisiana: Court Extends Redistricting Deadline — With Gov-Elect Jeff Landry (R) taking office on Jan. 8, the special federal three judge panel has extended the deadline for the state to draw a Voting Rights Act compliant map, in accordance with the US Supreme Court’s Alabama decision, from Jan. 15-30. It will be interesting to see what the legislature draws because the state is suing over the VRA in another lawsuit. This action concerns the Louisiana legislature maps.

Chances are strong that we will see a similar situation to that of Alabama, where a new African-American influenced district is drawn, and two incumbent Republicans are paired into one district. Democrats are likely to gain one seat when the process eventually concludes.

Endorsing NJ’s First Lady;
GOP Primary Challenge in SC-4; Washington’s Surprising Republican Contender; Louisiana Runoff Results

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023

Senate

Tammy Murphy, New Jersey’s First Lady

New Jersey: Tammy Murphy Scoring Key Endorsements — Being New Jersey’s First Lady certainly has its perks. Since announcing her Senate challenge to indicted incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) late last week, Tammy Murphy, the wife of incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D), already has secured four important county party endorsements.

In New Jersey, official county party endorsements mean more than in other states because the favored candidates received substantially better ballot positions in addition to having access to party resources. So far, the state’s two largest Democratic local party organizations, Bergen and Middlesex Counties, along with those in Camden and Hudson, have awarded Ms. Murphy their endorsements.

Additionally, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wycoff), who is reportedly testing the waters for a 2025 gubernatorial race when Mr. Murphy is ineligible to seek re-election, became the state’s first sitting US House member to endorse the First Lady. Aside from Sen. Menendez, who has yet to say whether he will seek re-election, US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) is in what is already becoming a highly competitive statewide Democratic primary campaign.

House

SC-4: Rep. Timmons Facing Potentially Strong Primary — In 2022, South Carolina Rep. William Timmons (R-Greenville) found himself winning his renomination campaign with just 53 percent of the vote against what were thought to be minor opponents. A highly publicized extra-marital affair that included accusing the congressman of using his office resources to conceal his activity was largely the reason his primary was so close.

On Friday, state Rep. Adam Morgan (R-Taylors) announced that he will challenge Rep. Timmons in the June primary election. Since Morgan will be a stronger opponent than any of the three individuals who ran in 2022, the 2024 primary will be one worth watching.

Governor

Washington: PPP’s Surprise Poll — Public Policy Polling again conducted one of their regular Washington statewide surveys for the Northwest Progressive Institute and the results are eye-opening. According to the PPP study (Nov. 14-15; 750 registered Washington voters; multiple sampling techniques), former Congressman Dave Reichert (R) and Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) are tied with 31 percent support apiece.

The shocker comes when the pollsters queried the respondents about who they would support in a general election assuming that both Reichert and Ferguson advance from the all-party jungle primary into the November election. On the ballot test, Reichert enjoyed a 46-44 percent lead over AG Ferguson. It is an astonishing result in that a Republican would post any kind of an advantage in Washington, one of the most Democratic states in the Union.

States

Louisiana: Runoff Election Results — After electing a new governor outright in the Nov. 14 election as Governor-Elect Jeff Landry (R) was able to secure majority support, Republicans finished the 2023 statewide elections with a landslide sweep. The GOP won the secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer’s office with between 65 and 67 percent of the vote. Former Congressman John Fleming (R) returns to elective office with his victory as State Treasurer.

Turnout was extremely low with almost 670,000 votes cast, which is just 44 percent of the total participation figure from the last statewide runoff in 2019. In that election, however, the governor’s race was being decided. The lack of the governor and lieutenant governor being forced into runoffs is the obvious reason turnout was down by such a large proportion.

Sheehy Leads Rosendale in Montana GOP Primary Poll; Another Florida Dem Senate Candidate Announces; Louisiana, NJ, Texas House News

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023

Senate

Montana: Sheehy Leads Rosendale in GOP Primary Poll — A new Fabrizio Lee statewide Montana survey (Oct. 23-25; 600 likely Montana Republican primary voters; live interview & text) finds that US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive), despite holding Sen. Jon Tester (D) to a 50-47 percent victory margin in 2018, is no lock to win the 2024 Senate Republican nomination.

According to the Fabrizio Lee data, aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, the Republican leadership’s choice, is already topping Rosendale among Republican primary voters. The full ballot test, which also includes GOP candidates Brad Johnson and Jeremy Mygland, projects Sheehy to be holding a 38-35-6-1 percent edge over Rosendale, Johnson and Mygland, respectively. In a head-to-head hypothetical pairing, Sheehy holds a 44-41 percent margin over Rep. Rosendale.

Sheehy, who announced his Senate candidacy in late June (see campaign announcement video at top), has been working the state and is on the air with an early television buy. Rep. Rosendale three weeks ago said he will decide whether to run for the Senate when Montana’s candidate filing deadline closes on March 11.

Florida: Second Major Dem Announces — Former health care company executive Stanley Campbell, who has the ability to at least partially fund his statewide campaign, has formally announced that he will enter the Florida US Senate Democratic primary. Campbell will face former US Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell in the Aug. 20 primary election. Nine other Democrats have also declared their candidacies, but it appears that Campbell and Mucarsel Powell are the two most credible contenders. The winner will then face Sunshine State Sen. Rick Scott (R) in what will be an uphill battle for the Democrats.

House

Louisiana: Court Assigns Redistricting Deadline — The three-judge federal Louisiana panel that affirmed the current Bayou State congressional map as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, has given the legislature until Jan. 15 to produce a map that creates a second African American-influenced district. The deadline is actually much shorter unless current Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) calls the legislature back into session. If he does not, incoming Gov. Jeff Landry (R) will have to act immediately since he will not be sworn into office until Jan. 8. Before winning his election outright in October, governor-elect Landry was Louisiana’s attorney general and previously a US congressman. He served only one term in the House when his seat was collapsed because Louisiana lost a seat in the 2010 national reapportionment.

NJ-8: Rep. Menendez Dem Primary Challenger Gains Strength — Freshman Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City) appears headed for a legitimate primary challenge battle. Menendez is the only member of the New Jersey delegation who has stood up for embattled Sen. Bob Menendez, who is the congressman’s father.

Immediately upon the Menendez indictment being announced in late September, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bholla declared his congressional candidacy in the Democratic primary to oppose the younger Menendez. The latest information proves Bholla is a serious candidate. The New Jersey Globe newspaper reports that the mayor has already raised over $500,000 for his campaign. Therefore, this June 4 primary has legitimate upset potential.

TX-4: Rep. Fallon Changes Mind About Retirement — Earlier this week, Texas Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco) declared that he would not seek re-election to the US House and instead filed papers to run for the state Senate seat that he vacated to run for Congress. Just a couple days later, however, he announced a change of heart and announced that he will run for re-election to the House after all. Rep. Fallon will have little trouble winning a third term despite his equivocation about what office to seek. Therefore, take TX-4 off the open-seat list.

Louisiana AG Landry Wins Outright, With Down-Ballot Results; Significant Democrat Primary Challenge in MN-3; New UT-3 Poll

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023

Governor

Republican Attorney General and former Congressman Jeff Landry

Louisiana: AG Landry (R) Wins Outright — Republican attorney general and former Congressman Jeff Landry, whom former President Donald Trump supported as did the Louisiana Republican Party, scored a surprise outright victory on Saturday in the open Louisiana governor’s race, capturing an unofficial 51.6 percent of the vote. Former Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, the consensus Democratic candidate, received 25.9 percent of the vote in what must be considered a substantial under-performance and a potential warning sign to Democrats. Former gubernatorial chief of staff Stephen Waguespack, who spent heavily on the race, only finished in the five percent range virtually tied with state Treasurer John Schroder (R).

Turnout registered 35.8 percent of Louisiana’s 2.97 million voters, below the 45.9 percent who participated in the 2019 gubernatorial primary and closer to the 39.2 percent turnout recorded in the commensurate 2015 election. Landry will now succeed outgoing Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) who was ineligible to seek a third term.

States

Louisiana: Down Ballot Results — Saturday’s Louisiana regular primary election produced results for several statewide races and ballot propositions. Lt. Gov. Bill Nungesser (R) won a second term with a 66 percent vote total, easily awarding him an outright victory. The open secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer positions all will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election. Each of these offices qualified a Republican and a Democrat.

In the secretary of state race, Assistant Secretary of State Nancy Landry (R) will face Democratic attorney Gwen Collins-Greenup. The attorney general campaign advances to a contest between State Solicitor General Liz Baker Murrill (R) and attorney Lindsey Cheek (D). In the treasurer’s campaign, the finalists are former US Rep. John Fleming (R) and financial planner Dustin Granger (D).

A total of 73 percent of the voters supported a ballot proposition that bans outside organizations helping the state to fund and administer elections. This measure was placed on the ballot as a response to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spending millions in the last election for election administration. A huge 79 percent majority supported a ballot prop that “provides that freedom of worship is a fundamental right worthy of the highest protection.” By a closer 56-44 percent margin, voters approved a final measure that restricts ad valorem tax exemptions for certain nonprofit organizations. (Ad valorem translated directly from Latin, means “according to the value of something.” In practical use, the term is used in taxation to designate taxes levied against property, real or personal assets, at a certain rate based on the property’s value.)

House

MN-3: Rep. Phillips Draws Significant Dem Primary Challenge — Responding to Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Plymouth) repeatedly calling for individuals to step forward and challenge President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, Democratic National Committee member Ron Harris announced his own intra-party challenge to the congressman. While Rep. Phillips is still not completely ruling out entering the presidential contest, he will now have to concentrate on a Minnesota party convention fight and potentially an August 2024 primary challenge.

Rep. Phillips was first elected in 2018, defeating then-Congressman Erik Paulsen (R). He has averaged 56.9 percent of the vote in his three elections. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MN-3 as D+14. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 63rd most vulnerable district in the 212-member Democratic Conference.

UT-2: New Poll Released for Nov. 21 Special Election — Lighthouse Research conducted a poll of the state’s 2nd District special election for the Utah Debate Commission that would decide which candidates would qualify for the Oct. 26 local PBS forum. The UDC (Sept. 26-Oct. 6; 528 registered UT-2 voters) required that candidates receive at least 5.74 percent support in the poll. Libertarian Brad Green only posted 5.68 percent, meaning he failed to qualify under the commission rules by the slimmest of margins.

Republican Celeste Maloy, resigned Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R) former legal counsel, placed first in the survey with 42.8 percent of the vote. State Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights), was second with 34.3 percent. Maloy’s showing should be considered an under-performance for the Republican nominee in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23, and the Daily Kos Elections statisticians rank as the 81st most vulnerable district within the 221-member Republican Conference. The special election is scheduled for Nov. 21.