By Jim Ellis — Friday, March 1, 2024
PresidentMarianne 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.
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.
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.