Tag Archives: MT-2

Williamson “Un-Suspends” Her Campaign; Banks Unopposed in Indiana; McConnell Steps Down; Montana’s Rosendale Seeks Re-Election; Changes in NY-1 Race

By Jim Ellis — Friday, March 1, 2024

President

Marianne Williamson / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Marianne Williamson: “Un-Suspends” Campaign — Democrat Marianne Williamson, who suspended her presidential campaign after the Nevada primary, returned to active status on Wednesday. As a non-candidate in South Carolina and Michigan, she placed ahead of Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN) in both states. Neither, however, have registered even five percent support against President Joe Biden. Williamson’s return to active campaigning will do little to dissuade a Biden renomination. He remains on target to clinch the party nod after the March 19 primaries conclude.

Senate

Indiana: Rep. Banks Unopposed for Senate Nomination — The Indiana Election Commission unanimously removed Republican John Rust from the ballot for failure to meet one of the party standards to qualify as a candidate. That is, Rust could offer no proof that he voted in two consecutive Republican primaries. The Commission’s action means that Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) will enter the open Indiana Republican Senate primary as an unopposed candidate.

Winning the GOP primary will then give Banks the inside track to winning the Senate seat outright in the general election. This will become one of the easiest open Senate campaigns that we have seen in recent memory. Sen. Mike Braun (R) is bypassing running for a second term to launch a gubernatorial bid.

Sen. Mitch McConnell: Stepping Down from Leadership — Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) announcement that he will step down as Republican Leader after the elections in November could cause some uncertainty in the GOP fundraising ranks. The Senate Leadership Fund, which several of his key supporters run, raised over $289 million for the 2022 election cycle. In the year 2023 just concluded, the Fund attracted over $37 million. It remains to be seen if the national Republicans’ fundraising drops even more now that donors know McConnell’s time as Leader will be officially coming to an end.

House

MT-2: Rep. Rosendale Will Seek Re-Election — We are now seeing a retirement reversal trend taking hold. Montana US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive), after entering the Senate race for just a week, will now instead actively pursue a re-election campaign. With the incumbent returning, it remains to be seen just how many of the nine announced GOP candidates, including former at-large Rep. Denny Rehberg, State Auditor Troy Downing, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, and state Senate President Pro Tempore Ken Bogner (R-Miles City), will continue their candidacies.

Rosendale becomes the third House member to announce that he would not be seeking re-election only to change course and run again. The others are Reps. Pat Fallon (R-TX) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN). Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), who recently announced his own retirement, also may be in the process of changing his mind. The House open-seat count now recedes to 48. If Rep. Green decides to file, the number drops to 47. Once the three special elections are held, the total number of House open seats will reduce further to 44.

NY-1: Former State Senator Drops Challenge — New York former state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D) announced that he is ending his congressional challenge to freshman Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County) after seeing the new redistricting map that made Long Island’s 1st District more Republican. In his exit, Gaughran endorsed former CNN anchor John Avlon (D). Also in the 1st District Democratic race are 2020 congressional nominee Nancy Goroff and ex-congressional staff member Kyle Hill. Rep. LaLota is favored for re-election.

McDaniel Reported Out at RNC; Trump Way Ahead in New Poll; Schiff Helps Garvey; Another Close Ohio Poll; Utah’s Tight Senate Race; House News

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024

President

Ronna McDaniel / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Republican National Committee: Trump Recommends New Chairman — As reports intensify that RNC chair Ronna McDaniel will be leaving the committee after the South Carolina primary, former President Donald Trump has made a replacement recommendation.

The news media is reporting that North Carolina Republican Party chairman Michael Whatley is Trump’s choice largely because he was “so powerful on election fraud” in 2020, according to the ex-president’s statement. It is a virtual certainty that the committee members will adopt Trump’s recommendation, but the question to be asked is how strong a fundraiser is Whatley? While Trump may be most concerned with his election fraud narrative, the RNC is under-performing in the campaign resource battle and must quickly upgrade their efforts.

South Carolina: Trump Way Ahead in New Poll — A new Monmouth University poll for the Washington Post (Jan. 26-30; 815 registered South Carolina voters; live interview & online) sees former President Donald Trump posting a significant 58-32 percent lead over former Gov. Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina leading to the Feb. 24 Republican primary election.

Trump holds an advantage among both men and women in the statewide voter sample, and within all age groups. He trails Haley only among college-educated voters, but by only two points, and certain non-evangelical voter groups. Additionally, 90 percent of the respondents saying they would vote for Trump in the primary election would do so in the general election even if he is convicted of some of the many legal charges he faces.

Senate

California: Schiff Helps Garvey — Confident he will finish first in the March 5 open California US Senate primary, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) is running ads “against” Republican baseball great Steve Garvey claiming he is too conservative for California in that he twice voted for Donald Trump. In reality, Schiff is attempting to help Garvey finish second in the top two jungle primary, thus eliminating Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), which would allow him to escape having to run a double-Democratic general election.

Having Garvey, or any Republican as an opponent, would virtually guarantee that Schiff would win the seat in November. The ads’ actual purpose is to move more Republicans to Garvey, and thus edge him into second place.

A new University of Southern California for the Center for Urban Politics and Policy at California State University at Long Beach (Jan. 21-29; 1,416 likely Califoria jungle primary voters) survey sees Rep. Schiff holding a 25-15-15-7 percent lead over Garvey and Rep. Porter (D-Irvine). Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) trailed the other major candidates in fourth position. Therefore, a small push from Schiff might just help Garvey succeed.

Ohio: Another Close Poll — The March 19 Ohio Republican primary will be a hugely important election. Among other races, it will decide which GOP candidate will challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the country’s most compelling statewide campaigns. The Emerson College poll (Jan. 23-25; 1,844 registered Ohio voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees all three Republican candidates coming to within one or two points of Sen. Brown with the incumbent failing to reach 40 percent support in all iterations.

In the Republican primary, the battle is equally close. Businessman Bernie Moreno, who former President Trump and Sen. J.D. Vance support, nips Secretary of State Frank LaRose, 22-21 percent, with state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) trailing with 15 percent. In 2022, Sen. Dolan came on strong at the end, failing to reach second place by one percentage point after lagging during the early part of the campaign. Therefore, the Republican nomination is still very much in doubt.

Ohio features a modified primary system that allows voters to change their registration on the day of the election in order to choose a selected primary.

Utah: Rep. Curtis Begins with Small Lead — Dan Jones & Associates, Utah’s top media polling firm, released a new US Senate Republican primary survey, the first since US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) joined the field. The survey (Jan. 16-21; 428 registered Utah Republican voters) finds Rep. Curtis posting a tepid 18-14 percent lead over attorney Brent Orrin Hatch, the son of the late seven-term Sen. Orrin Hatch (R). Following at eight percent is former state House Speaker Brad Wilson. With a majority of the Republican voters still undecided, this contest is wide open.

The state’s April Republican nominating convention will send two candidates to the primary ballot. The others will have to petition for a ballot line. The Utah primary is scheduled for June 25. Sen. Mitt Romney (R) is retiring after one term.
Continue reading

Unusual NH Presidential Poll; Republican Primary Developing in Montana; VA-7 Candidates Coming Forward; NH Governor News

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023

President

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

New Hampshire: New Poll; Unique Info — The new Emerson College survey (Aug. 9-11; 837 registered New Hampshire voters; interactive voice response system, text & online) provides new information not seen in any other similar study.

For example, the results find:

  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie moving into second place
  • No candidate but former President Donald Trump landing in double digits
  • Cornel West’s influence level is confirmed at four percent, which appears to come from President Joe Biden’s vote pool
  • Businessman Perry Johnson attracting enough support to be recorded on a poll
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence flirting with last place

It remains to be seen if this survey is an outlier, or if new trends are forming.

House

MT-2: Republican Primary Developing — We reported that Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen (R) filed a congressional exploratory committee in anticipation that Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) will run for the Senate. Now we see State Auditor Troy Downing (R) doing the same.

Both qualify that their interest in the 2nd District seat is present only if Rep. Rosendale foregoes re-election and formally enters the Senate race. Downing has run for Congress before. He entered the 2018 US Senate primary and placed third with 19.1 percent of the vote. Rosendale won the nomination with 33.8 percent, and then lost 50-47 percent to Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the associated general election.

VA-7: GOP Candidates Coming Forward — Political speculation suggesting that Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) will not seek re-election in order to prepare for a 2025 open governor’s race has already encouraged potential Republican candidates to come forward. Several are now testing the political waters for a 2024 run in the politically marginal 7th Congressional District.

Two military veterans — retired Navy SEAL and defense contractor Cameron Hamilton and Iraq War veteran Jon Myers, a retired Marine Corps officer — have both filed congressional campaign committees with the Federal Election Commission. Business consultant Bill Moher and Army veteran Shaliek Tarpley are previously announced Republican candidates.

Should Rep. Spanberger retire, we can expect a very crowded Republican and Democratic primary season. Republicans will likely hold either a nominating convention or what they term as a “firehouse primary” (where only a few polling places are open throughout the sprawling district), while Democrats typically hold a traditional primary. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates VA-7 as a highly competitive D+2.

Governor

New Hampshire: Ayotte Leads in Early Poll — Former US Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) is starting her campaign for governor with a lead according to a new Emerson College poll (Aug. 9-11; 837 registered New Hampshire voters; interactive voice response system, text & online). According to the results, Ayotte would lead Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D) 46-37 percent, and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington (D) by a larger 47-34 percent span.

The poll did not test the Republican primary. At this point, former state Senate president and 2022 US Senate candidate Chuck Morse is opposing Ayotte for the Republican nomination and others are expected to enter. Incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is not seeking a fifth term.

General to Oppose Marjorie Taylor Greene; Montana Candidate Filing; Another Opponent for Wisconsin Rep. Steil; Republican Candidate for Houston Mayoral Race

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023

House

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

GA-14: Retired General to Oppose Rep. Greene — Retired Army Brigadier Gen. Shawn Harris (D) announced that he will enter the Democratic primary to hopefully challenge two-term Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome).

Defeating Rep. Greene in the general election is the longest of shots. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates GA-14 as R+45. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 69.4R – 28.8D. The question as to whether Greene is even vulnerable to a Republican primary challenge remains doubtful. In the 2022 race, the congresswoman was re-nominated with 69.5 percent of the vote with five opponents dividing the remaining 30.5 percent.

MT-2: Republican Files Exploratory Committee in Anticipation — Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen (R) filed a congressional exploratory committee Monday in anticipation that Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) will run for the Senate. Arntzen, who is ineligible to seek a third term in her current statewide position, says she will only enter the US House contest if Rosendale vacates the seat for another statewide race.

Should he depart for the Senate, the 2nd District Republican primary figures to host a very crowded and competitive open primary. Carrying a R+30 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization and a 59.8R – 37.9D partisan lean factor that the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate, a succession battle here would be decided in the Republican primary. The 2nd District covers central and eastern Montana and encompasses the cities of Billings, the state’s largest municipality, Great Falls, and the state capital of Helena.

WI-1: Second Democrat Announces Against Rep. Steil — Lorenzo Santos (D), a Racine County Emergency official, joined the Democratic primary with the goal of challenging three-term Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) next year. Already running is former local official Anthony Hammes (D).

This race is beginning to attract attention because of the possibility that the Wisconsin congressional map will be redrawn. If that happens, there is a strong probability the 1st District becomes more Democratic and enhances the possibility that Rep. Steil may opt for a Senate bid. We can expect further action coming from southern Wisconsin as the potential of a district reconfiguration begins to grow.

Cities

Houston: Republican Emerges — Hoping to split the Democratic vote between US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) and veteran state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), former at-large City Councilman Jack Christie (R) announced that he will now compete in the open mayoral race scheduled for Nov. 7. The structure is a jungle election contest where all 14 declared candidates would appear on the same ballot. If no contender receives 50 percent of the vote in the first election, a runoff will be scheduled between the two top finishers.

Though the field is large, polling suggests that Sen. Whitmire and Rep. Jackson Lee are well ahead of the remaining candidates who comprise the pool. Therefore, Christie’s strategy of coalescing the minority Republican vote and coming from the outside to capture a runoff position could potentially become viable. Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) is ineligible to run for a third term.