Tag Archives: Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes

Senate Victory for Trump-Endorsed Candidate in Connecticut; Omar Barely Survives in Minnesota; Easy Wins in Other Primaries

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 10, 2022

Primary Results

Former Trump ambassadorial appointee Leora Levy wins in Connecticut.

Connecticut: Trump-Endorsed Candidate Scores Senate Victory — Former Trump ambassadorial appointee Leora Levy, though she failed to win Senate confirmation, easily won the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut. Levy defeated former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides by a significant 51-40 percent share of the statewide vote. She now advances to challenge Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) who is seeking a third term.

Minnesota: Finstad Wins; Omar Barely Survives — Last night, Minnesota former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R) appears to have won the open 1st District special congressional election left vacant when Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in mid-February. At this writing, Finstad leads former Hormel corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D) 51-47 percent with all counties reporting and 99 percent of the expected vote tabulated.

Finstad holds a 4,920-vote lead over Ettinger, which should be more than enough to account for any mailed absentee ballot not included in the overall count. The currently recorded turnout of 118,018 votes is high for a special election. Finstad carried 16 of the district’s 21 southern Minnesota counties.

Finstad also easily won the regular Republican primary in the 1st District after state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake) made a run at the nomination despite losing the special election primary back in late May. Following suit on the Democratic side, Ettinger was an easy winner in last night’s regular primary, so the two will again do battle in the regular term for a House seat that has been trending more Republican in recent years.

In the 5th District, suggestions that former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels could give two-term controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) a highly competitive battle proved true. Rep. Omar was renominated in a 50-48 percent squeaker over Samuels, thus guaranteeing her another term in the November election.

Vermont: Scott, Welch, Balint Easily Win — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott was a 69 percent winner in his state’s Republican primary. As expected, the Vermont Democratic open Senate primary resulted in a landslide 87 percent-plus victory for at-large Congressman Peter Welch (D-Norwich). He automatically becomes a prohibitive favorite against the new Republican nominee Gerald Malloy, a retired Army officer.

With Rep. Welch running for the state’s open Senate seat, now in strong position to succeed the retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), the open al-large House seat will go to the Democratic primary winner, state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Burlington). Her 60 percent-plus primary win puts her in position to score a landslide general election victory in November.

Wisconsin: Barnes Confirmed; Michels Defeats Kleefisch — Wisconsin Democratic voters confirmed that Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will be their candidate to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). With his three major opponents dropping out of the race within the past two weeks and all endorsing Barnes as a show of party unity, the lieutenant governor captured 77 percent-plus of the Democratic primary vote. Sen. Johnson topped 83 percent in the Republican primary.

Finally, the lone competitive Wisconsin House primary also resulted as expected. State Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse) recorded a 39 percent plurality victory over three opponents to win his party’s nomination for the open 3rd District House seat of retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). Sen. Pfaff earned Rep. Kind’s endorsement as his successor.

Republican Derrick Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL who held Rep. Kind to a tight 51-49 percent re-election win in 2020, returns in another attempt to capture the seat. Van Orden was unopposed in last night’s election. Winning this seat in November becomes a must for Republican House majority prospects in the fall.

Tennessee Primary Today; Tight Race Forming in Arizona Senate; Godlewski Drops From Wisconsin Senate Race; Indiana Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash

Tennessee Congressional Districts (click on image to see larger)

By Jim Ellis — August 4, 2022

Primary

Tennessee Primary Today: While still waiting for the remaining final numbers from Tuesday’s Arizona, Michigan, and Washington primaries, Volunteer State voters will go to the polls today to choose their nominees in the nation’s only Thursday primary.

There is no Senate race in the state in this election cycle, as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) will next be on the ballot in 2024 with Sen. Bill Hagerty (R) presumably running for his second term in 2026. While Gov. Bill Lee (R) is in-cycle this year, he is unopposed in today’s Republican primary.

Three Democrats are tonight vying for their party nomination, which of course will give the winner the right to challenge the governor in November. The only elected official of the group is Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley. Challenging him are physician Jason Martin and African American History Museum founder Carnita Atwater. Regardless of tonight’s outcome, Gov. Lee will be rated as a prohibitive favorite in the general election.

In the nine congressional races, five Republican incumbents are all unopposed for re-nomination this evening. Two incumbents — Reps. Charles Fleishmann (R-Chattanooga) and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), the state’s lone Democratic member on the ballot this year — face only minor opponents. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Germantown) has three opponents tonight, but none look to be serious challengers. Therefore, all of the action lies in the open 5th District.

Retiring Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) has represented the district since the beginning of 2003. However, as a result of redistricting, Tennesseans decided to restructure a new 5th District, which was formerly a Nashville center city seat and wholly contained within Davidson County. As a result, the FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new 5th as R+15, thus upending what was a D+17 domain, which is one of the widest partisan redistricting swings in the nation. The Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean calculations sees the new 5th as 54.4 – 42.6 percent in the Republicans’ favor. Nine Republicans are on the ballot, and with no runoff law in Tennessee, a plurality winner will be chosen tonight.

TN-5 attracted much attention just after redistricting because the state Republican Party decided to add qualifications for their candidates, such as voting in the most recent three statewide elections. The party requirement, which survived a court challenge, was designed to bounce former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, music producer Robby Starbuck, and businessman Baxter Lee from participating in the election. It was successful. All three had just recently moved to the area.

Once today’s Tennessee primary concludes, 36 states will have completed their nomination process. Two big states will remain, however, Florida, and the New York congressional and state Senate primary, both scheduled for Aug. 23.

Senate

Arizona: New Post-Primary Poll Shows Tight Race Forming — Venture capitalist Blake Masters won the Republican Senate primary on Tuesday night, and a new OnMessage survey already shows him within striking distance of Sen. Mark Kelly (D). The poll (Aug. 1-2; 600 likely Arizona general election voters) finds the senator leading Masters, 49-44 percent.

We can expect the Arizona race to be one of the most heavily polled general election campaigns during the remaining time before the Nov. 8 election. Arizona is a tight political state, and this race will go a long way toward determining which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.

Wisconsin: Dem Race Ends — While it looked as if state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski would have a last-ditch opportunity to deny Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes the Democratic US Senate nomination in a one-on-one race, that will not be the case. After both Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson dropped out of the race, some believed Godlewski could become a factor in the closing days before the Aug. 9 primary election.

Late last week, however, Godlewski followed suit and ended her Senate campaign. All three now former candidates have endorsed Lt. Gov. Barnes, meaning a united Democratic Party will head into the general election to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). The Johnson-Barnes campaign will be national in scope and one of the key races to decide the next Senate majority.

House

IN-2: Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash — Indiana five-term Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Elkart) and three others were all tragically killed in a car accident yesterday. The congresswoman and her two aides were returning from an event in the district, and died when another vehicle crossed the median line and struck them head-on. The driver of that car also died.

Walorski, who was 58, is the sixth House member to pass away in this session of Congress. Indiana state law will govern the succession procedure to replace the late representative.

Incumbent Defeats — Tuesday’s defeats of Michigan Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries are the ninth and tenth House incumbents to lose their seats in this election cycle. Five come from both parties. Five of the incumbent losses are redistricting related, two because of ethics or personal behavior problems, one for ideological reasons, and a pair on the Republican side, such as Rep. Meijer, for voting to impeach then-President Trump.

Sen. Warnock Still Up, Slightly, in GA; Lasry Drops out of Wisconsin Race; Maloney Trails in NY-17

By Jim Ellis — July 29, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Still Up — The University of Georgia, polling for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper (July 14-22; 902 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview), finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) clinging to a small lead in the US Senate race — the third consecutive published poll to project Warnock’s edge margins between three and nine points. The UGA/AJC ballot test sees Sen. Warnock holding a 46-43 percent edge over retired NFL football star Herschel Walker (R). Another poll, from Survey USA (July 21-24; 604 likely Georgia general election voters), posts the senator to a 48-39 percent advantage.

Warnock holds the lead despite the Republicans having a 46-41 percent lead on the UGA’s generic ballot question, with the right track/wrong track ratio at 10:78 percent, and President Biden reaching a 60 percent disapproval rating.

Wisconsin: Lasry Follows Suit — On Monday Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson (D), whose campaign for US Senate never caught fire, formally ended his statewide effort. Wednesday, Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive and former Obama Administration official Alex Lasry then followed suit and also departed the race on Wednesday. The latter move was the more surprising since Lasry had loaned his campaign over $12 million and all polling found him placing second in the field.

In their concession statements, both Nelson and Lasry endorsed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, which could pave the way for him clinching the party nomination and advancing to challenge Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in the general election.

House

NY-17: DCCC Chair Maloney Trailing in New Poll — Veteran Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is having trouble securing the new seat according to a new publicly released research survey.

The congressman created post-redistricting controversy when he decided to challenge Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) in the 17th CD rather than staying in his own 18th District, thus forcing the freshman incumbent to seek re-election in a New York City CD.

McLaughlin & Associates, polling for the Mike Lawler for Congress campaign (July 19-21; 400 likely NY-17 general election voters; live interview), finds Rep. Maloney trailing his Republican opponent, 46-44 percent. The McLaughlin data also shows state Assemblyman Lawler claiming a lead over state Sen. Allessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) if she were to upend Rep. Maloney in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary. Under this scenario, Lawler would post a 47-41 percent advantage in such a subsequent general election pairing. The 17th is one of three Upstate NY congressional districts that will be hotly contested in the November campaign.

Governor

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Maintains Edge — The aforementioned University of Georgia – Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey also tested the Peach State governor’s contest. Here, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leads former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) by a 48-43 percent count. The accompanying Survey USA poll shows a much closer 45-44 percent Kemp edge.

This is the 15th poll conducted of this race since the beginning of 2022, and Kemp has led in all but one. In that stand-alone survey, the two were tied. The governor’s job approval rating is 54:42 percent favorable to unfavorable. The UGA/AJC and S-USA studies are the second and third consecutive polls that place Gov. Kemp ahead in the governor’s race while fellow Republican Herschel Walker (R) trails in the Senate contest.

Another Lead Change in Arizona; Competitive Race Brewing in Illinois Senate? Trending House News

By Jim Ellis — July 27, 2022

Senate

Arizona businessman Jim Lamon (R)

Arizona: Another Lead Change — The Battleground Connect organization tested the Arizona GOP Senate field (July 17-18; 800 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; live interview) and found businessman Jim Lamon bouncing back into the lead over venture capitalist Blake Masters and Attorney General Mark Brnovich. The spread is 33-28-16 percent, which is the second time Lamon has placed first in five publicly released July polls.

The lead is seesawing between Lamon and Masters with AG Brnovich generally registering a distant third. Since April, both Lamon and Masters have each topped the field in seven published surveys. The Arizona primary is Tuesday, and the volatility in the surveys suggest we will see a close finish. The GOP winner then challenges Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in November.

Illinois: A Competitive Race Brewing? — The Victory Research organization polled the Illinois Senate contest between incumbent Tammy Duckworth (D) and attorney and conservative activist Kathy Salvi, wife of former state representative and two-time statewide Republican nominee Al Salvi. The survey (July 17-19; 1,208 likely Illinois general election voters) arrived at a much closer result than one would have expected.

According to the VR data, Sen. Duckworth’s lead over Salvi is 43-34 percent. The result is surprising not so much in the margin between the two candidates, but that the senator is so far below the 50 percent mark. It is still likely that Sen. Duckworth wins re-election in the fall, but seeing such a poll after a June 28 primary that yielded a higher turnout for the Republican Senate primary than the Democratic side suggests the Salvi campaign might receive at least a slight boost.

The same polling sample showed Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) with only a 49-39 percent spread against new GOP gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey, a Louisville area state senator.

Wisconsin: County Exec Out, Endorses Lt. Gov. Barnes — Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson (D), whose campaign for US Senate never caught fire, has formally withdrawn his candidacy. In his exit statement, Nelson endorsed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is in a tight race with state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry for the Democratic nomination. The winner of the Aug. 9 Democratic primary will face Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in the general election.

House

MI-13: Big Self-Funder Has Lead –– State Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) has spent more than $8 million of his own money to attempt to win the open Detroit-anchored 13th Congressional District race. It appears his expenditures are working. A Target Insyght survey (July 19-22; 500 likely MI-13 Democratic primary voters) finds Rep. Thanedar leading Michigan Civil Right Commission member Portia Roberson and state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), among six other contenders, including John Conyers, III, son of the late veteran congressman. Thanedar’s polling margin is 22-17-16-7 percent respectively over Roberson, Sen. Hollier, and Conyers.

Thanedar’s personal spending edge is 8:1 over his next closest financial rival, Sen. Hollier, but that does not count a seven-figure expenditure from the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee intended to promote the latter man.

The Michigan primary is Tuesday. The 13th District is open because Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) is retiring and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) chose to seek re-election in the new 12th District, thus departing from the new CD-13.

NY-10: A Free-For-All — A new Change Research poll for candidate Elizabeth Holtzman finds the Democratic primary for this open seat turning into a race that any one of six candidates could win. This is the first poll conducted and released since former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) exited the contest because of poor performance.

The CR poll (July 19-23; 437 likely NY-10 Democratic primary voters; online) finds former Trump impeachment counsel Daniel Goldman taking first position with 14 percent preference. Holtzman, who was last on a ballot in 1993, a losing re-election effort for NYC comptroller, places second at 12 percent support.

Tied with 10 percent are NYC Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, who led the last two published surveys, state Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) and Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn), and US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County). The new 10th, an open seat created when Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler were paired in a new 12th CD, encompasses Lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn. The Democratic primary winner on Aug. 23 will claim the seat in the general election.

Conflicting Polls in NC;
Fetterman Up in PA; Gubernatorial Challenger Drops Out in MA

By Jim Ellis — June 27, 2022

Senate

Cheri Beasley (left) holds a 44-40 percent edge over Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in a recent poll in the open North Carolina Senate campaign.

North Carolina: Countering Poll — Last week, we reported on a Survey USA poll (June 8-12; 650 likely North Carolina voters; online) that gave Democratic former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley a 44-40 percent edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) in the open North Carolina Senate campaign. This week, the Cygnal polling firm released its latest data (June 17-19; 600 likely North Carolina voters; live interview & text) that projects a different conclusion. These results show Rep. Budd holding a virtual mirror image 45-40 percent lead. Of those definitely voting for one candidate or the other, Rep. Budd leads that response, 38-31 percent.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Up in Two New Polls — Two surveys, a combined poll from Republican firm Fabrizio Ward & Associates and the Democratic Impact Research entity (June 12-19; 1,382 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview & text), and Suffolk University (June 10-13; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview), both find Democrat John Fetterman leading Republican Mehmet Oz even though the Democratic fundamentals in terms of direction of the country, views on the economy, and wanting their vote to be a message to Washington, are inconsistent with the support level for the party’s nominee. Fabrizio/Impact finds Fetterman’s advantage at 50-44 percent. Suffolk reveals a similar 46-37 percent split in Fetterman’s favor.

Wisconsin: Typical Close Polling — Pollsters haven’t fared too well in Wisconsin in recent election years. The last time Sen. Ron Johnson (R) was on the ballot in 2016, he led in just one of 30 public polls that were conducted that year. Now, we see Marquette Law School releasing new data projecting another close contest. According to their survey (June 14-20; 803 registered Wisconsin voters), Sen. Johnson would trail a pair of Democrats, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) and state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, by two percentage points apiece, 44-46 percent and 43-45 percent, but lead Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry, 45-42 percent.

Within this same time frame during the 2016 election cycle, Marquette found former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) leading Sen. Johnson, 51-42 percent. Johnson won the 2016 election, 50-47 percent.

Governor

Massachusetts: Challenger Drops Out — State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) announced last week that she is ending her gubernatorial bid, saying that she has no “path to victory.” This leaves Attorney General Maura Healey unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Considering a weak Republican field, it appears that AG Healey is now the prohibitive favorite to convert the Massachusetts governor’s office away from the Republicans. Incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker (R) chose not to seek a third term.

New York: Hochul Up Big; GOP Tight — Survey USA went into the field in New York to test both major party primaries in anticipation of the June 28 vote for the statewide candidates. The candidates running for state legislature and US House will have their primary on Aug. 23.

According to S-USA (June 15-20; 2,987 registered New York voters; 1,002 likely Democratic primary voters; 538 likely Republican primary voters; online), Gov. Kathy Hochul has a big lead in the Dem primary, 54-18-11 percent over Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. For the Republicans, US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley; East Long Island) holds only a 25-23 percent edge over Andrew Giuliani, son of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, while businessman Henry Wilson commands 13 percent support.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Close — While the aforementioned two Pennsylvania surveys, (see Pennsylvania in Senate section above; a combined poll from Republican firm Fabrizio Ward & Associates and the Democratic Impact Research entity and Suffolk University), find Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) topping Republican Mehmet Oz slightly beyond the polling margin of error, the governor’s contest is tighter. These same polls project Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) holding a bare 49-46 percent edge in the Fabrizio/Impact poll over state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), and a similarly tight 44-40 percent lead in the Suffolk poll.