Tag Archives: Michael Watson

Sen. Feinstein’s Cryptic Statement; Montana Sen. Tester’s Timetable; Sen. Casey Clarifies Re-Election Status in Wake of Cancer Diagnosis; Miss. Gov. Reeves Faces Challenger

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

Senate

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)

California: Sen. Feinstein’s Cryptic Statement — Responding to a large number of Democrats making political plans based upon what they believe surrounds her impending retirement announcement, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) made a statement Wednesday that at the very least strings along the people chomping at the bit to run for a new or different office.

The only individual to announce for the Senate so far is Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), but her move kicked off an array of candidates, six to be exact, already declaring for what they believe will be her open congressional seat, while others openly plan to enter the statewide race.

In a way of saying, “not so fast,” Sen. Feinstein said that she will make up her mind about the 2024 election “in the next couple of months.”

Montana: Sen. Tester’s Timetable — Sen. Jon Tester (D), answering reporters’ questions about whether he will run for a fourth term from Big Sky Country earlier this week, said he would make a decision by the end of the first quarter. Sen. Tester will face a difficult re-election in a state that has turned decidedly more Republican since he was re-elected in 2018. In that year, his victory margin was only 50-47 percent over Matt Rosendale (R) who was subsequently elected to the House in 2020.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Clarifies Re-Election Status — Just after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Keystone State Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) indicated that he would be running for re-election once he recovers from his impending surgery. Clarifying his status yesterday, the senator said running will be dependent upon his health once he completes his cancer treatment, but his goal is to run again. Sen. Casey said he is not yet ready to commit to launching another campaign.

House

CA-45: Rep. Steel (R) Draws Different Challenger — Golden State Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County), fresh from a 52-48 percent victory in a new 45th District that contained only 16 percent carryover from the 48th District to which she was originally elected in 2020, has drawn a potentially new opponent for 2024.

Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Bernice Nguyen (D), a twice defeated county supervisor contender, announced her congressional candidacy Wednesday in a district that is 41.4 percent plurality Asian and over 72 percent minority. Community College Trustee Jay Chen (D), who held Rep. Steel to her four-point win in a district that contains a five-point Democratic lean according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, is also a potential candidate, but has not yet formally decided whether he will seek a re-match.

Governor

Mississippi: Gov. Reeves Faces GOP Challenge — With the Feb. 1 candidate filing deadline fast approaching for the 2023 governor’s race, incumbent Tate Reeves will not have a free ride in the Republican primary. Dr. John Witcher, who is an anti-Covid vaccination physician, formally declared his candidacy Wednesday. This could be a harbinger to Gov. Reeves getting a stronger GOP opponent, however, such as Secretary of State Michael Watson who has still not ruled out entering the governor’s contest. Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley is the leading Democratic candidate.

Ricketts Selected to Replace Sen. Sasse; CA-30 Race Already Rolling; Elvis’s Cousin Announces for Gov.

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 13, 2023

Senate

Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts selected to replace Sen. Ben Sasse.

Nebraska: Gov. Pillen Tabs ex-Gov. Pete Ricketts for Vacant Senate Seat — Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has officially resigned his seat in order to assume his new duties as president of the University of Florida, and new Gov. Jim Pillen (R), as expected, chose former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as the interim replacement. Ricketts will serve until the next general election in 2024. The seat is next in-cycle for a six-year term in 2026.

Gov. Pillen wanted to pick a senator who would commit to serving a long while in order to build seniority for the state to compliment two-term Sen. Deb Fischer (R) who is seeking re-election in 2024. Therefore, Ricketts committed to running both in 2024 and 2026. Senate-Designate Ricketts will be sworn into office when the Senate next convenes on Jan. 23.

House

CA-30: House Race Already Rolling — California Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-Irvine) move to declare for the Senate even before incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) announces her retirement has already set off a chain of reaction. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) says she will announce once Sen. Feinstein makes her retirement public. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) looks to be doing the same. In anticipation of the latter jumping into the Senate race, Los Angeles School Board member Nick Melvoin (D) announced yesterday that he will run for Schiff’s House seat.

Governor

Louisiana: Rep. Graves Considering Gov Race — Saying, “I think that the sentiment out there in the public for another candidate in this race is absolutely extraordinary,” Louisiana US Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) confirmed that he is still considering whether to run for governor later this year, and promises a decision in the next few days. The open gubernatorial field has changed drastically with both Sen. John Kennedy (R) and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) declining to become candidates.

Graves was first elected to the House in 2018 and easily re-elected in 2020 and 2022 with 71 and 80 percent of the vote, respectively. He would not have to risk his congressional seat to run for governor in this odd-numbered year election. Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), state Treasurer John Schroder (R), and Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) presently appear to be the leading contenders.

The candidate filing deadline is not until Aug. 10. The jungle primary is scheduled for Oct. 14. If no one receives majority support in the initial vote, the top two finishers will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Mississippi: Elvis’s Cousin Announces for Governor — Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), a second cousin to the late music legend Elvis Presley, announced that he will compete for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a quest to challenge Gov. Tate Reeves (R) later this year. Presley was elected to the Public Service Commission in 2007 after serving seven years as mayor of Nettleton, a town of approximately 2,000 residents. He is the first person to become an official 2023 opponent to Gov. Reeves. Secretary of State Michael Watson is a potential Republican primary challenger.

Candidate filing closes Feb. 1. The statewide primary is set for Aug. 8 with a runoff date on Aug. 29 for those races where no candidate achieves majority support in the initial vote. The general election is Nov. 7.

Lightfoot Drops to Third in New Poll; Dolan Prepares for Ohio Senate Bid; Mississippi, NC Governor Races

By Jim Ellis, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022

Cities

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D)

Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot Drops to Third in New Poll — An M3 Strategies poll for News Channel Fox32 in Chicago (Dec. 11-13; 440 Chicago likely municipal election voters; SMS web to text) finds Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) dropping to third place in anticipation of the Feb. 28 non-partisan jungle primary election. In this system, only the top two finishers would advance to an April 4 runoff election from the field of nine contenders if no individual receives a majority from the initial vote.

The M3 ballot test result sees US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) leading the field at 28 percent support with former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in second place with 19 percent preference. Mayor Lightfoot is in third position posting only 14 percent backing for a second term. The mayor points out that she was at one percent in polling this time four years ago.

Senate

Ohio: Former Senate Candidate Preparing Another Run — State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) who placed third in the 2022 Republican US Senate primary, finishing nine percentage points from the lead, is reportedly building another campaign operation to this time challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the next election. Dolan, a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball club and chairman of the state Senate’s Finance Committee, spent more than $11 million on his 2022 campaign, almost $8 million of which came from his personal finances. He began the race as a minor candidate but finished strong, making himself a viable contender as the primary campaign drew to a close.

Dolan is likely to be a stronger GOP nomination contender in 2024 in what is likely to be a crowded primary, but would have a tough run in the general election against Sen. Brown, who will be running for his fourth term after originally being elected to the statewide post in 2006. Prior to his tenure in the Senate, Sen. Brown served seven terms in the US House and eight years as Ohio’s Secretary of State.

Governor

Mississippi: Potential GOP Primary Challenge Brewing — The Politics1.com site is reporting that GOP Secretary of State Michael Watson is polling the state to test his chances against Gov. Tate Reeves (R) in the upcoming 2023 Republican gubernatorial primary. In 2019, Reeves, then the state’s lieutenant governor, defeated former state Supreme Court Associate Justice Bill Waller Jr., 49-33 ;ercent. Waller was a 22-year veteran of the high court, half of which he spent as Chief Justice.

Reeves would go on to win the general election against four-term Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood by a tighter 52-47 percent count. In a state where the GOP is the dominant party, the Republican primary is likely to be Gov. Reeves’ toughest re-election test next year.

North Carolina: Lt. Gov. Robinson Way Up in Early GOP Polling — The Differentiators Data firm conducted an early 2024 North Carolina Republican gubernatorial poll (Dec. 8-11; 500 North Carolina Republican primary voters; live interview & text) and found Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson in very strong position as speculation begins regarding who will run for what will be an open Tar Heel State governor’s position in 2024. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is ineligible to seek a third term.

Against former governor and 2022 US Senate candidate Pat McCrory, Lt. Gov. Robinson would lead 60-21 percent. If ex-vongressman and 2022 US Senate candidate Mark Walker (R) were his opponent, Lt. Gov. Robinson would lead by a whopping 58-8 percent. Finally, if state Treasurer Dale Folwell were Robinson’s Republican primary opponent, the lieutenant governor would lead by an even larger 60-6 percent margin.

Differentiators did not test the candidates in a multi-candidate format. None of the individuals paired with Robinson have indicated that they would run for governor. In fact, after this year’s Senate primary, McCrory indicated that he would not again pursue public office. The polling firm also did not test a potential Democratic field.