Tag Archives: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

TN Legal Challenge Rejected; MO/FL Redistricting Maps Remain In Limbo

By Jim Ellis
May 20, 2022

House

Former State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, who former President Donald Trump was supporting, is among three potential candidates unable to run in TN-5.

TN-5: Starbuck’s Legal Challenge Rejected — Before the early April filing deadline, the Tennessee Republican Party adopted new candidate qualification rules that included past voting history requirements. The new standard requires that all potential GOP office seekers must have voted in the last three statewide elections. Thus, a trio of filed candidates in the new 5th Congressional District were disqualified because they recently moved into the state. The three are former State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, who former President Donald Trump was supporting, business owner Baxter Lee, and video producer Robby Starbuck.

Starbuck sued in federal court asking that the judge strike down the Tennessee party’s requirement, arguing that the party leaders established a requirement that is “inconsistent with federal and state law.” Late last week, Judge Waverly Crenshaw rejected the claim saying that “Starbuck’s efforts were thwarted not because of any clear violation of federal law, but because (for whatever reason) the (Tennessee Republican Party) decided not to follow its own rules.” Ortagus and Lee did not challenge the new rule. Starbuck says he may take the matter to state court. The Tennessee primary is Aug. 4.

FL-27: Rep. Salazar Close in Opponent’s Poll — Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell (D) released the results of his internal poll that was conducted last month (April 18-21; 350 likely FL-27 general election voters). The results show him within two points of freshman Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami), 43-41 percent. If the bounced Florida redistricting map is restored in the upper-level courts, as many believe will happen, the new 27th plays three points better for Rep. Salazar, though it would still be rated as tipping toward the Democrats by one percentage point.

In the current Democratic version of FL-27, Salazar defeated then-Democratic incumbent Donna Shalala (D-Miami), 51-49 percent, in the 2020 election.

Redistricting

Missouri: Map Sent to Governor — Missouri is one of just two states that has not yet completed the congressional redistricting process, though it appears the legislature and governor may finally have an agreement. Had the legislature not acted this weekend before the session ended Sine Die, the federal courts would have assumed the re-mapping process.

The plan now before Gov. Mike Parson (R) would likely preserve the state’s current 6R-2D ratio. The argument among Republicans was over increasing the draw to 7R-1D, thus collapsing the Kansas City Democratic district of Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver. Under the map now likely to be adopted, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin), who has fought to win consecutive close finishes against strong Democratic opponents, sees her new 2nd CD become more Republican because politically favorable rural territory was added west of St. Louis County.

Budd Wins in NC; PA Senate Race
Still Too Close to Call

By Jim Ellis
May 18, 2022

Primary Results

Yesterday’s Voting — As predicted, North Carolina US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) soundly defeated former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to win the US Senate nomination, winning 99 of the state’s 100 counties. Former US Rep. Mark Walker and author Marjorie Eastman finished third and fourth. The general election is now set, as Rep. Budd advances to face former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who became a consensus Democratic candidate. The Tar Heel contest will be one of the most important Senate races in the country.

US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) lost his battle for re-nomination last night to state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Hendersonville). In the field of eight candidates, Edwards claimed the nomination with 33 percent of the vote, as compared to the scandal-plagued congressman’s 32 percent. In North Carolina, runoffs only occur if all of the candidates fall below a 30 percent threshold.

In what appears to be another congressional defeat, veteran Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) is running far behind his Democratic primary challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a former city manager, but half of the vote is still outstanding under Oregon’s all-mail voting system. Still, with a 61-39 percent margin, Rep. Schrader appears too far behind to make up all of the vote difference.

The Pennsylvania Senate Republican race is still too close to call, as television Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick are locked in a battle separated with less than two-tenths of a percentage point. It is difficult to tell how many votes remain uncounted because the state will allow ballots postmarked yesterday to be received in the coming days. It will be some time before we know the outcome, but Dr. Oz has a 2,672-vote lead of the more than 1.31 million votes cast. Pennsylvania election law guarantees an automatic recount if the margin is within .5 percent. McCormick claims the remaining mail votes will hand him the victory.

As expected, the Pennsylvania Democrats nominated Lt. Gov. John Fetterman who lays in a hospital recovering from a recent stroke that occurred from a blood clot in his heart. Fetterman, who underwent a pacemaker procedure, is expected to make a full recovery but will be sidelined for some time.

In the election, Fetterman easily defeated US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) with a 59-26-10 percent landslide victory margin. He won all of the state’s 67 counties in a turnout of more than 1.17 million voters. Surprisingly, Democratic turnout dropped below that of Republicans for the first time in decades. This, despite the party’s 45.8 to 35.9 percent voter registration advantage.

In the PA governor’s race, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (D-Fayetteville) easily won the open Republican nomination and will face Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) in the general election. The latter man was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Media reports suggest that Mastriano may be too conservative to win in Pennsylvania, but the large Republican primary turnout is a precursor that this race will be competitive.

In other key statewide races, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul romped to an 86 percent Republican primary victory. He will face former Louisville state Rep. Charles Booker who was an easy winner on the Democratic side. Sen. Paul is a heavy favorite for re-election. In the open 3rd Congressional District, state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, also as expected, won a landslide Democratic primary victory last night and will succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) in the Autumn.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) defeated Trump backed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, 53-32 percent, and becomes a prohibitive favorite in the general election. US Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) again defeated his 2014 primary opponent, attorney Bryan Smith, this time by 13 percentage points and will claim a 13th term in November.

Governor

Wisconsin: New Republican Leader According to Dem Poll — Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling surveyed the Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial primary and produced results not found in other polls. The study (May 9-10; 675 likely Wisconsin Republican primary voters) projected construction company executive and 2004 US Senate nominee Tim Michels taking a small lead over former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. This is the first poll find anyone but Kleefisch claiming the top position. The ballot test gave Michels a 27-26 percent edge, with businessman Kevin Nicholson trailing well behind in third place with nine percent preference. The Milwaukee Works, Inc. organization released the ballot test portion of the PPP survey.

States

Texas: Conflicting AG Polls — Next Tuesday, Texas Republican voters will decide the runoff election between incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton and Land Commissioner George P. Bush. The race has turned negative and earlier polls were giving Paxton, who is still under a stalled 2015 SEC indictment, a strong lead. The new University of Texas at Tyler survey (May 2-10; 570 likely Texas Republican runoff voters) projects Paxton’s lead to be only 41-35 percent.

During the same sampling period, as previously reported, the CWS Research group (May 4-10; 992 likely Texas Republican runoff voters) produced a much different 58-31 percent ballot test result in the attorney general’s favor. Since these polls were conducted during the same period, we will have to see more data to determine the correct trajectory. It appears clear, however, that Paxton is the race leader, but whether his margin is wide or tight is open to question.

Primaries Set for Five States Today

Pennsylvania primary GOP candidates Kathy Barnette, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and David McCormick are in a virtual dead heat with McCormick fading.

By Jim Ellis
May 17, 2022


Primaries

Today’s Voting — Primaries are being conducted in five states today, including the crucial Pennsylvania and North Carolina races. The most watched campaigns being decided tonight include the Pennsylvania Senate and governor’s races in both parties, the North Carolina Republican Senate race, freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) nomination challenge, and the hotly contested new open 13th District seat in the Tar Heel State.

In Oregon, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) faces a significant Democratic primary challenge, while Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) is defending himself from a challenge from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, who has former President Trump’s support. The open Louisville seat in Kentucky will be virtually decided today as state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) appears as a lock to capture the Democratic nomination. In this 3rd District seat, clinching the Democratic nomination is tantamount to winning the seat.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Final Polling Still Too Close to Call — Major occurrences are happening in both parties on primary eve. For the Republicans, The long-awaited Pennsylvania primary is on tap, and the Republican side is ending with a flurry of outside organizations running media attack ads. Supporters of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz turned their attention in the final days of the race toward trying to blunt Army veteran and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette who has driven herself into the top tier and beginning to peak at the optimum time. Supporting Barnette is the Club for Growth organization, spending $2 million in a media blitz around the state to bolster her improving chances of winning the primary.

Susquehanna Polling & Research released their final poll before the votes are counted (May 12-15; 400 likely Pennsylvania Republican primary voters) and it projects a virtual dead heat at the top of the ticket. The Susquehanna numbers find Oz leading Barnette by just a single point, 28-27 percent, with a 24 percent undecided factor. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick is way back, according to this study, with just 11 percent support.

Democratic front-runner John Fetterman was hospitalized with a stroke over the weekend, but appears well positioned to make a full recovery and capture the nomination today. Lt. Gov. Fetterman has a large polling lead over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and looks to be the clear favorite on the Dem side today.

House

MI-13: Another Close Primary Race — Target Insyght completed a poll of Detroit’s open new 13th District (May 3-5; 600 likely MI-13 Democratic primary voters; live interview) and finds another political contest that is tight among several candidates. Eleven candidates are in the Democratic field, but only three enter double digits.

Former Detroit City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail leads the group at 20 percent, John Conyers III, son of former 52-year congressional veteran John Conyers, is second with 15, and state Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) is third with 12. The Michigan primary is Aug. 2. The seat is open after Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) announced her retirement and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) decided to seek re-election in District 12.

Governor

Minnesota: Former State Senator Wins Party Endorsement — Minnesota Republicans met in their state nominating endorsement convention and chose, on the sixth ballot, former state Sen. Scott Jensen as their official party candidate. Others may oppose him in an Aug. 9 primary election. Should Jensen come through the primary, he will then challenge Gov. Tim Walz (D). A recent Survey USA poll (May 5-10; 629 registered Minnesota voters; 513 who identify themselves as likely general election voters; live interview) finds Gov. Walz leading Jensen only 44-39 percent, and carrying a favorability index of 44:41 percent positive to negative.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Pulling Away — Susquehanna Polling & Research (see Senate post above) also tested today’s governor’s race. Here they find state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), despite two candidates dropping out in an attempt to deny him the nomination, expanding his polling lead. The results project Mastriano to a 29-18-15 percent lead over former US Attorney Bill McSwain and ex-US Rep. Lou Barletta. Tonight’s winner faces Attorney General Josh Shapiro who is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Redistricting

New York: Draft Map Sent to Judge — The special master hired to draw a replacement New York map after the judiciary ruled the legislature’s plan was a partisan gerrymander, presented his effort to the presiding judge yesterday, meeting the previously assigned deadline. The judge is now accepting public comments and pledged to finalize the congressional and state Senate plans by Friday. The congressional map improves the political situation for Republicans, giving them at least one more seat than the Democratic draw, but putting possibly as many as 10 of the 26 seats into potential competition.

The map also pairs two sets of Democratic incumbents. In New York City, Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney are placed in one district. Both said yesterday that they would run. The new district contains 61 percent of Maloney’s district and 39 percent of Nadler’s. It is safely Democratic in the general election.

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) finds himself having to choose a Democratic pairing either against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) or Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), or possibly running in an open 18th District that is relatively far from his current CD. If this map is adopted, we will see a much different New York election cycle than what was originally intended.

Polling Shows Clear Results in Arkansas Senate Race, Continued Indecision in Pennsylvania

By Jim Ellis
May 9, 2022


Senate

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman

Arkansas: Sen. Boozman Close to Victory — A Talk Business & Politics survey that Hendrix College conducted of Arkansas voters tested the US Senate Republican primary and incumbent John Boozman’s positioning with regard to winning re-nomination outright on May 24. The study (May 2; 802 likely Arkansas Republican primary voters; live interview and text) found Sen. Boozman posting 45 percent support, just short of the 50 percent needed for re-nomination.

His opponents, businessman and former Arkansas football star Jake Bequette and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Jan Morgan post 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively. With 18 percent saying they are undecided, Sen. Boozman’s chances of reaching the 50 percent threshold appear relatively strong.

Pennsylvania: Franklin & Marshall College Releases New Primary Data — Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College, featuring a frequent Keystone State polling entity, released their pre-primary data as a prelude to the May 17 statewide primary. No particular surprises came from the Senate race results. The survey (April 20-May 1; 792 registered Pennsylvania voters; 357 Democrats, 325 Republicans, and 110 independents; live interview and online). The poll has flaws in that the sampling period is long and the numbers of primary voters interviewed is small for a state the size of Pennsylvania. The results, however, are consistent with other polling.

For the Democrats, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman continues to enjoy a strong lead, 53-14-4 percent, over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) according to this survey. The Republican side continues close with no candidate breaking away from the pack. The F&M results see Dr. Mehmet Oz barely leading the group with 18 percent, just two points ahead of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. Trump campaign activist and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette follows with 12 percent, while former US Ambassador Carla Sands, and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos are well back with just five and two percent support, respectively.

Governor

Hawaii: Ex-Mayor Withdraws — Former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell (D) announced that he is folding his gubernatorial campaign and will not submit documents at the June 7 candidate filing deadline. The Hawaii primary is Aug. 13. Caldwell sites lack of fundraising and organizational support for his decision to leave the race. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), and former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano are the leading Democratic candidates. Republicans have 13 announced candidates, but the Democratic nomination will be tantamount to election in November. Gov. David Ige (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Establishes Lead — The aforementioned Franklin & Marshall College survey also tested the GOP gubernatorial primary. The results find state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), a retired Army colonel, now leading the large group of Republican contenders with 20 percent, as ex-US Attorney Bill McSwain, and former US Rep. Lou Barletta follow with 13 and 12 percent. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Self-Funding Candidates Saving GOP

By Jim Ellis

April 21, 2022 — The first-quarter financial reports are now public and we see a stark difference between Democrats and Republicans in funding for the key May primary Senate races, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. If it wasn’t for self-funding candidates in these two states, the GOP would be in trouble.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds strong polling leads over his primary opponents as well as a major fundraising advantage over all contenders. According to the Federal Election Commission’s March 31 campaign finance reporting, Fetterman has raised just over $15 million for his US Senate effort.

His receipts total is well over $9 million more than his chief Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh), and his $5.7 million aggregate figure. The third competitive Democrat, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), has obtained $1.8 million. None of the three Democrats have self-funded their races to any degree.

The Pennsylvania Republicans, on the other hand, offer a stark contrast. While the top two GOP resource candidates, television doctor Mehmet Oz and ex-hedge fund CEO David McCormick, report aggregate receipts in the same realm as Fetterman, the sources are very different.

Dr. Oz posts total receipts through March 31 of $13.4 million and McCormick has $11.3 million. The difference, however, is that 82 percent of Dr. Oz’s money comes from him, and 61 percent of McCormick’s money is self-donated, mostly in the form of campaign loans.

The same pattern also appears for the third-highest funded Republican candidate, former US Ambassador Carla Sands. She reports $4.62 million in receipts, but 85 percent of that total comes from her personal funds. The fourth-place candidate, former lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos, is the only one with a majority percentage of his dollars coming from contributors. He has raised $3.4 million, with 62 percent coming from individuals other than himself.

The story is the same in neighboring Ohio. There, the two top fundraising Republicans report self-funding as their major source.

Businessman Mike Gibbons leads all candidates in total receipts with $17.4 million raised. In his case, all but $1 million, or 94 percent of his aggregate total, comes from his own funds. The second-highest Republican in terms of dollars raised is state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians MLB baseball club, with $11.1 million in receipts. He also has self-donated, mostly in terms of personal loans, 94 percent of his campaign treasury.

We also see the same pattern appear for the Ohio Democrats that exists in Pennsylvania. US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) is the consensus party candidate, way ahead of former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official and 2020 congressional candidate Morgan Harper in terms of polling and money.

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