Tag Archives: Mike Rogers

Trump Expands Huge Lead in Primary States; Craig Suspends Senate Campaign; Primary Averted in NJ-9

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024

President

Former President Donald Trump

South Carolina: Trump Expands Huge Lead — The international survey research firm YouGov, polling for CBS News (Feb. 5-10; 1,483 registered South Carolina voters; 1,001 likely South Carolina Republican presidential primary voters; online) finds former President Donald Trump expanding his previous ballot test lead over former UN ambassador and ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as the candidates move toward the Feb. 24 Palmetto State GOP primary. Trump secured 65 percent of the poll respondents’ support versus 30 percent for Haley.

Trump does much better as to who would perform better on all associated issue questions with the exception of which candidate is most likable. In terms of committed support, 87 percent of the individuals who say they support Trump report that their vote is firm. A total of 78 percent of Haley voters say the same about their support. A convincing Trump South Carolina victory in her home state will effectively end the Haley campaign.

Upcoming Primaries: Trump Way Ahead — The Morning Consult firm released the results of polls they conducted through key states with primaries on March 5, 12, and 19. The ballot tests are overwhelming in favor of former President Trump. In Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Ohio, Trump registers between 75 percent (Arizona) and 85 percent (Florida) of the Republican respondents. Haley posts support percentages only between 14 percent (Florida) and 20 percent (Illinois).

Senate

Michigan: Craig Suspends Senate Campaign — For the second election in as many cycles, retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) has ended a political campaign before the candidate filing process even concludes. Craig announced that he is suspending his statewide US Senate campaign but may instead turn to what could be an open Detroit mayoral race in 2025.

With Craig departing the Senate race, former Congressman Mike Rogers (R) looks to be in good shape. Also in the GOP race is ex-US Rep. Peter Meijer, while another former congressman, Republican-turned-Libertarian Justin Amash, remains a potential entrant. The Michigan candidate filing deadline is April 23 in association with the Aug. 6 primary. US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) is a prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination.

House

NJ-9: Primary Averted — State Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Paterson) ended her primary challenge to veteran Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) after all three of the county Democratic Party organizations that comprise the 9th District voted to slate the 14-term incumbent. Therefore, Rep. Pascrell, who is 87 years old, will be a lock for the Democratic nomination and should again breeze to re-election in November.

New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District is anchored in Paterson and Passaic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+17. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NJ-9 as the 84th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

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.

Michigan Senate Seat a Toss-Up; Cardenas to Retire; A Dead Heat in CA-47; Utah’s Special Election


The EllisInsight will take a break to enjoy the holiday Thursday and will resume regular publishing Friday. Happy Thanksgiving to all.


By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023

Senate

Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing)

Michigan: Toss-Up New Poll — Regular Michigan pollster EPIC-MRA, conducting another survey for the Detroit Free Press newspaper (Nov. 10-16; 600 likely Michigan general election voters) again sees a close US Senate general election. The eventual winner will succeed Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) who is retiring after four terms.

While the presidential ballot test finds former President Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden 46-41 percent, and with former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley posting an 11-point advantage against the incumbent president, US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) still maintains a small margin over both of her leading Republicans — former Congressman Mike Rogers and retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig. Against each, Slotkin holds a two-point edge, meaning the open Michigan Senate race could soon be rated as a top-tier 2024 campaign.

House

CA-29: Rep. Tony Cardenas to Retire — Six-term California Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Pacoima/Los Angeles) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election next year. Cardenas becomes the fifth California House member, and third from Los Angeles County, to voluntarily leave the House at the end of the current Congress.

Democrats will have little trouble holding this heavily Hispanic district (Hispanic population: 61.1 percent). The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-29 as D+51, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a whopping 77.6D – 20.4R partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 28th safest seat in the Democratic Conference. Immediately upon Rep. Cardenas making his announcement, state Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) announced that she will run for the newly open seat.

CA-47: Dead Heat General Election Polling — The Global Strategy Group just released the results of a late October internal poll conducted for Democrat Joanna Weiss in California’s open 47th Congressional District. The survey (Oct. 24-30; 500 likely CA-47 general election voters) finds both Weiss, an Orange County attorney, and state Sen. David Min (D-Irvine) embroiled in dead heats with former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh (R). Weiss would nip Baugh, 43-42 percent, while the Republican would hold the same edge over Min.

The pollsters tested the respondent’s reaction to Sen. Min being charged with a DWI violation where he registered a blood alcohol level twice the legal amount. A video of the arrest has also been released. The poll finds that 66 percent of the residents are “deeply concerned” about Sen. Min’s legal situation. His action, however, did not stop the California Democratic Party, at their state convention over the past weekend, from officially endorsing Sen. Min in the congressional race.

Baugh was a general election finalist in the 2022 election, losing to incumbent Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) by a 51.7 – 48.3 percent count. With Rep. Porter now running for Senate, this open-seat race will be one of the most important in the country toward determining the next House majority.

UT-2: Special Election — The contest to choose a successor to resigned Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) concluded yesterday. Republican Celeste Maloy, Rep. Stewart’s formal legal counsel, and Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights) were the two main contenders for the seat. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district as R+23 and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks UT-2 as the 81st most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. Maloy prevailed, securing 58 percent of the vote to Riebe’s 34 percent. There were a handful of other candidates, all of whom registered in the very low single digits. (See results here: The Salt Lake Tribune)

This is a race the Republicans were predicted to win comfortably with a victory percentage in the high 50s. A lesser performance would suggest that translating positive polling into actual votes would continue to be somewhat elusive. That did not happen.

Trouble for Biden in Swing States; Incumbents Reign in 2023 Elections; Former Michigan Rep. Announces for Senate; What the Amo RI-1 Win Means

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023

President

President Joe Biden is in trouble in swing states. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Siena College/NYT Poll: Trouble for Biden in Swing States — Siena College and the New York Times teamed up on recent polls in six key swing states all conducted during the Oct. 22 to Nov. 3 period. The six states are: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The tested Republicans against President Joe Biden were former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In all instances, with the exception of Trump in Wisconsin, the named Republican would poll ahead of President Biden, thus unseating him if the election were today.

Of the three Republicans, Haley performs the strongest against the Biden. Her best number, +14, comes among Wisconsin likely voters. Trump’s best state is Nevada (+11); DeSantis tops President Biden by five percentage points among Arizona registered voters; Biden’s best showing comes against Trump in Wisconsin (+2).

The Democrats certainly have time to right their political ship, and if Trump is convicted in any of his criminal cases, that might get adjudicated before the election, and the tables could quickly turn. This campaign will prove the most unique of presidential elections.

Election 2023

Déjà Vu: Incumbents Reign — The 2023 odd-numbered year elections are now in the books, and, as we saw on Election Night, the results are very similar to what occurred a year earlier in the 2022 midterm elections.

Most of the political pundits are calling this election year a victory for Democrats despite having an unpopular president in office, while others cite the abortion issue as a continuing turnout driver, which also benefits Democrats. Both statements are true, but perhaps the more definitive underlying pattern is that the incumbents, just as they did in 2022, again reign supreme.

In 2022, 55 of the 56 US senators and governors who ran for re-election won. In the US House elections, 98.1 percent of incumbents who ran for re-election were successful. On Election Night, we saw two more incumbent governors win again.

Governors Andy Beshear (D) and Tate Reeves (R) in Kentucky and Mississippi, respectively, were re-elected with similar five percentage point margins. Polling in the two states suggested a closer result for both incumbents, but each was favored to win.

The Virginia situation is a bit different. Largely due to new court-imposed redistricting maps that radically changed the complexion of most districts, voters elected Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature. It is inconsistent to rate the Virginia results as incumbent-oriented because we saw roughly one-third of all districts run without incumbents, and most of those office holders who did seek re-election found themselves in new districts vastly different from the one in which they were originally elected.

Democrats will now have at least 21 of 40 seats in the Virginia state Senate and 52 of 100 in the House of Delegates. The party division margin differences yield no change in the Senate, while Democrats converted at least four seats in the House.

While it’s difficult to overlay an incumbent victory matrix across the Old Dominion legislative elections, it is not unusual to see a state that has become reliably Democratic over the past two decades to again vote for that party’s candidates in the 2023 elections. Therefore, the fact that the state’s favored party over the course of time again performed better is consistent with the incumbent voting pattern seen elsewhere.

The abnormal facet of the incumbent-oriented elections we have witnessed in 2022 and now 2023 is that the issue polls consistently show voters certainly believing the country is headed down the wrong track, with similar feelings regarding most states. The state right direction/wrong track questions, however, are not as intensely negative as at the national level.

Yet, despite the recorded discontent, voters return to their respective polling places and almost unanimously re-elect the incumbents. This again suggests that the Republican campaign message machine needs an overhaul. It is clear that their campaign themes and approaches are not driving enough voters to support the GOP candidates in the most hotly contested races.

Once numbers become finalized, we can better understand the results. Because the 2023 vote tabulations verified the pattern set in 2022, it is likely this precursor favors incumbents at large, and more specifically the Democrats, to have another positive election year in 2024 despite what today’s issue polls may currently be projecting.

Senate

Michigan: Ex-Rep. Meijer Announces — Former one-term Congressman Peter Meijer (R), who was defeated for renomination in 2022, announced Monday that he will join the open Michigan US Senate field. The move had been expected for weeks, but is a curious one, nonetheless. It is hard to see a victory path for Rep. Meijer since he couldn’t get enough conservative support to defeat his ’22 GOP challenger, John Gibbs. Gibbs would then go onto lose the general election to now freshman Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids).

The top Republican contenders for the party’s Senate nomination are former US Rep. Mike Rogers and retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig. It is possible that Meijer’s entry could actually help Rogers, since Craig and Meijer will likely both appeal to the more centrist element of the Republican voter base. If so, this will help Rogers unite the conservatives behind his candidacy and propel him to the nomination. Whoever wins the Republican primary will almost assuredly face Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) in the general election.

The open Michigan race is likely to be close, but Democrats will have at least a slight edge in the general election. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four full terms once the current congressional session concludes at the beginning of 2025.

House

RI-1: Gabe Amo (D) Wins Special Election — Former Biden and Obama White House aide Gabe Amo virtually assured himself of succeeding resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence) when he won the Sept. 5 special Democratic primary. Amo easily defeated Republican Gerry Leonard Tuesday in the special general election. Upon winning the seat, Amo now will be sworn in to the House and serve the balance of the current term.

Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District is solidly Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+32. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 64.9D – 33.1R. President Biden carried the seat with a 64-35 percent victory margin in 2020. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the seat as the 99th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference — pretty secure. Therefore, there was little doubt as to which candidate would win the special election.

The Amo victory will bring the Democrats back to their full 213-member compliment in the House. The next special election, in UT-2, will be held on Nov. 21. Republican Celeste Maloy is favored to hold resigned Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R-Farmington) seat. Should she win, the House will be restored to its post-regular election division of 222R-213D.

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.

Pennsylvania’s McCormick Announces for Senate; Retired Police Chief Craig to Announce Candidacy; Anti-Impeachment Rep. May Resign; IL-17 Battle; No Re-Election Run for Rep. Baird; Primary Clash Evolving in Maine; Chaffetz Declines to Run

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Sept. 25, 2023

Senate

Pennsylvania: Republicans Get Their Man — David McCormick, the former CEO of the Bridgewater Associates hedge fund who lost to Dr. Mehmet Oz by just 950 votes in the 2022 Pennsylvania US Senate race, announced late last week that he is returning next year to challenge Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D). Though he faces an uphill battle, McCormick’s presence gives the Republicans a credible candidate with whom to challenge the three-term incumbent.

Though Pennsylvania decidedly leans Democratic, it is one of the top targeted states in the presidential election. While that will mean more focus on former President Donald Trump throughout the general election campaign, it also means that McCormick will be the beneficiary of more party resources being spent on organization and voter turnout operations. At this point, Sen. Casey must be rated a clear favorite for re-election, but this contest is now a race to watch.

Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R)

Michigan: Another Candidate to Announce — According to the Politico publication, retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) will announce his US Senate candidacy at the beginning of October. Craig had filed to run for governor in 2022 but failed to return the proper number of valid petition signatures, thus disqualifying him.

Assuming this report is true, Craig will enter an Aug. 6 Republican primary against the favorite for the nomination, former Congressman Mike Rogers, and Michigan Board of Education member Nikki Snyder who was the first candidate to announce. The winner will then likely challenge Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who is favored to win the Democratic nomination.

House

CO-4: Rep. Buck Faces Potential GOP Challenge, May Resign — Rep. Ken Buck (R-Windsor), who has been critical of the House Republican leadership for moving to an impeachment hearing against President Joe Biden, may resign his seat. Apparently, he is talking to both MSNBC and CNN about developing a contractual relationship.

Additionally, as a direct result of his latest Republican-on-Republican attacks, Rep. Buck may have drawn a potential GOP primary challenger. State Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-Akron) filed a congressional exploratory committee to assess his chances against Rep. Buck in the expansive eastern Colorado district. The 4th District is safely Republican (R+26 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization) and encompasses most of the Colorado territory north and east of the Denver metropolitan area.

IL-17: Former Local Judge to Run for Congress — Former Circuit Judge Joseph McGraw (R), who resigned from the bench in July igniting speculation that he would run for Congress, has filed an organizational committee with the Federal Election Commission. He would join a field that includes businessman Ray Estrada and farmer Scot Crowl. The eventual Republican nominee will then challenge freshman Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) in a heavily gerrymandered district that begins in the city of Rockford, meanders west to capture the Illinois side of the Quad Cities, then back east to the cities of Galesburg, Peoria, and Bloomington.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+4. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 51.1D – 44.0R. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks IL-17 as the 26th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic conference. Republican Esther Joy King twice ran here, losing a competitive 2022 battle to Sorensen by a 52-48 percent count.

IN-4: Rep. Baird Reportedly Won’t Run for Re-Election — The local Indiana blog Howey Politics is reporting that US Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) is planning to retire in 2024 but may time his announcement to block other Republicans from challenging his son, state Rep. Beau Baird (R). The 4th District, located north and west of Indianapolis, is safely Republican. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+33. The Daily Kos House overview ranks IN-4 as the 59th safest seat in the Republican conference.

Now that local media reports are already covering this story, the element of surprise has been lost. Therefore, potential candidates wanting to run will now be ready to file in case Rep. Baird does not.

ME-2: Republican Primary Developing — Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, which has delivered an electoral vote to Donald Trump both in 2016 and 2020, is rated as the second-most vulnerable seat in the Democratic conference. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+10 yet, and largely thanks to Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting system, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) has won three consecutive elections here.

With former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) out of the 2024 picture, Republican leaders were pleased to see state representative and former NASCAR driver Austin Theriault (R-Fort Kent) come forward last week to declare his congressional candidacy. Now, Theriault has company. Fellow state Rep. Michael Soboleski (R-Phillips) declared his candidacy, thus creating a Republican nomination battle in the June 18, 2024, state primary. Regardless of who wins the party nomination, ME-2 will be a major GOP target race next year.

Governor

Utah: Ex-Rep Chaffetz Not Likely to Run — Former congressman and Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz (R) late last week ruled out challenging Gov. Spencer Cox in next year’s Republican primary and also said, while not closing the door on running for Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R) open seat, that the Senate race is “not something I’m actively pursuing.” The political move that he finds most attractive at present is entering the open 2028 gubernatorial campaign when Gov. Cox will be ineligible to seek re-election.

Former Rep. Rogers Enters Michigan Senate Race; New Candidate Announces in Texas; Alabama Redistricting Map Struck Down; Primary Results in RI-1 and UT-2

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 8, 2023

Senate

Michigan: Ex-Rep. Rogers Enters Senate Race — As expected, via a strong video announcement, former US Rep. Mike Rogers (R), who served in Congress from 2001 to 2015 and rose to chair the House Intelligence Committee, officially declared his US Senate candidacy.

“No candidate is better prepared to have an impact on day one,” Rogers said in his video announcement. “I’m ready to serve again.”

The Rogers entry gives the Republicans a top-tier candidate in a state that has trended against the GOP in the last two elections. Polling suggests the favored Democratic candidate, US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), who represents the same Michigan congressional district as did Rogers, would have only a small lead to start the campaign.

Former US Rep. Peter Meijer is also a potential Republican candidate, though the Rogers entry would make him a major underdog in a statewide primary. Meijer was elected to the House in 2020 but lost his bid for renomination in 2022. Rep. Slotkin faces state Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, actor Hill Harper, and former state Rep. Leslie Love in the Democratic primary. Both Rep. Slotkin and Rogers should be viewed as heavy favorites to win their respective partisan primaries.

Texas: New Dem Candidate Announces — Republicans in the Texas legislature have been coalescing in an attempt to strip Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez (D) from his office for failing to prosecute large numbers of criminals, following the lead of several big city DA’s such as those in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.

Instead of dealing with a potential legislative battle, Gonzalez abruptly resigned his post and then declared his candidacy for the US Senate. He, however, must first face US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) and state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) in the Democratic primary before getting a chance to make a statement in opposing incumbent US Sen. Ted Cruz (R). In what the Democratic leadership was hoping would become an easy primary for their favored candidate, Rep. Allred, is now evolving into something quite the opposite.

House

Alabama Redistricting: Replacement Map Struck Down — Yesterday, a federal three-judge panel in Alabama struck down the legislature and governor’s new map enacted to comply with the US Supreme Court’s June ruling that ordered a redraw for racial considerations. The argument rested upon census numbers indicating that a second majority minority seat could be drawn in the state.

The legislature’s map increased the African American population in District 2 from 30 to 39 percent, but the three-judge panel ruled the new plan did not go far enough. The judicial panel also ordered a special master to draw a new map.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) stated immediately after the new ruling that the state will appeal the decision. Redistricting appeals automatically go to the US Supreme Court. Considering the time required for the appeal to be heard and ruled upon, there is some chance that a new map will not be in place until after the 2024 election.

RI-1: Ex-White House Aide Wins Special Dem Primary — The long-awaited special primary election to replace resigned Rep. David Cicilline (D) was conducted Tuesday, and former Biden and Obama Administration official Gabe Amo clinched the crowded Democratic primary with a 32-25-14 percent victory over former state Rep. Aaron Regunberg and state Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket). The remaining nine candidates, including Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, failed to even reach the 10 percent threshold.

Amo will be a lock to defeat the Republican winner, military veteran Gerry Leonard Jr. in the Nov. 7 special general election and upon election will be the first person of color to represent Rhode Island in Congress.

UT-2: Party-Endorsed Candidate Claims GOP Nomination in Special Primary — In Utah’s 2nd District, where Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) will resign his seat on Sept. 15 due to family considerations, polling suggested that former state Rep. Becky Edwards had a significant lead in a three-way contest, and early vote counting seemed to confirm this prediction.

As counting progressed, however, Republican district convention winner Celeste Maloy chipped away at Edwards’ metro-area lead once the rural counties tallies began mounting. She then won a tight, but still unofficial, Republican primary special election. In third place, also relatively close, is former Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough.

Assuming this election is certified, and the 1,400-plus vote margin is likely enough to withstand a recount should Edwards move to have one conducted, Maloy will advance to the special general election where she will face state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights). Riebe was unopposed in last night’s Democratic primary.

Now, the partisans will turn their attention to the special general election scheduled for Nov. 21. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the UT-2 seat as R+23, and former President Donald Trump defeated President Joe Biden here, 57-39 percent. Last November, Rep. Stewart was re-elected with a 60-34 percent vote spread. Therefore, Maloy begins the special general cycle as a heavy favorite to carry the day for the GOP.