Tag Archives: Nick Begich III

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General; Wyoming Rep. Cheney Loses Big

By Jim Ellis — August 17, 2022

Primary Results

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the Alaska special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district.

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General — With just under 70 percent of the voting tabulated, and as expected by consolidating the smaller Democratic vote, former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district left vacant when veteran Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) passed away in March.

Former governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) holds a 5,266 vote lead over Nick Begich III (R) for the all-important second place position. Under Alaska’s new voting procedure, ballots postmarked yesterday have until Aug. 31 to reach the county clerk’s office and be tabulated. The extra time is important for the outlying rural areas to be included.

Second position is so important because the third-place finisher in this electoral situation, at this point that being Begich, will be eliminated and the Ranked Choice Voting process will begin. If Begich is eliminated, the ballots listing him as the first choice will be found and the second choice votes from only these ballots will be added to the process. The eventual winner will immediately be sworn into the House. All three of the aforementioned candidates also advanced into the regular general election.

Alaska republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka

Turning to the US Senate race, incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), running for a fourth full term, is first at this point in the counting process with 43.7 percent of the vote among 19 jungle primary candidates, and just ahead of former Alaska Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka (R), who former President Trump long ago endorsed. Tshibaka’s current vote percentage is 40.4. It appears Democrat Patricia Chesbro (6.2 percent) is well-positioned to take a distant third place; vying for the fourth and final position are Republicans Buzz Kelley and Pat Nolin.

In the governor’s race, incumbent Mike Dunleavy (R) looks to have secured first position with 41.7 percent of the jungle primary vote among 10 candidates. Also clinching general election ballot slots are former state Rep. Les Gara (D) with 22.0 percent of the vote, and ex-Gov. Bill Walker (I) who so far has posted a close 21.9 percent. The final general election qualifying position appears undecided between two Republicans, Charlie Pierce and Christopher Kurka.

At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R)

Wyoming: As Expected, Rep. Cheney Loses Big — Early in the counting process, it was clear that At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) would lose her US House seat to attorney Harriet Hageman, the candidate former President Donald Trump supported early.

The vote count was a landslide in favor of Hageman — 66-29 percent — who ran a measured campaign. Her theme was concentrating on serving the constituency while highlighting that Rep. Cheney used the position to fulfill her own political goals.

Incumbent Sen. Cheney carried only her home county of Teton, which houses the cities of Jackson and Jackson Hole, and southeastern Albany County; Hagman topped the vote totals in the state’s other 21 counties. Republican turnout overwhelmed that of the Democrats, 170,409 to just 7,233 ballots cast, suggesting that a large number of the latter party’s members did what Cheney asked them to do and crossed over to vote for her in the Republican primary.

The GOP turnout was up 58.7 percent compared to 2020, while Democratic participation was down 30.7 percent, providing more evidence that a significant number of Democrats voted in the Republican primary. Two years ago, Cheney won a contested Republican primary with 73.5 percent of the vote, and scored a 68.6 percent win in the general election.

Hageman will now face the new Democratic nominee, Native American community activist Lynette Grey Bull, the 2020 party standard bearer against Cheney. Hageman now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the general election.

Senate

New Hampshire: Candidate Staked to Big Lead — St. Anselm’s College released the results of their quarterly poll of Granite State voters, this one taken a month before the state’s late primary election. This New Hampshire sampling universe (Aug. 9-11; 1,898 registered New Hamshire voters; 900 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; live interview), as have those from two other St. Anselm’s 2022 polls, sees President Biden with an upside-down job approval rating. Biden registers 42:57 percent favorable to unfavorable status.

Republicans hold a three-point lead on the generic party vote questions, and 68 percent of the respondents believe the country is on the wrong track versus just 21 percent who believe America is headed in the right direction. Democrats have a clear advantage on the abortion issue by a 49-23 percent margin.

In the Senate GOP primary, retired general and 2020 Senate candidate Don Bolduc holds a significant 32-16-4-4 percent advantage over state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, and investor Bruce Fenton, respectively.

House

NH-1: 2020 Nominee Mowers Leading in New Poll — The co/efficient survey research firm tested the upcoming Sept. 13 Republican congressional field in the state’s swing 1st District. New Hampshire’s eastern CD has defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country since the 2004 election.

In the Republican primary where candidates hope to challenge Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in the general election, the survey (Aug. 13-14; 829 likely NH-1 Republican primary voters; live interview & text) projects 2020 nominee Matt Mowers to be leading the field with 31 percent support. Former Trump White House media aide Karoline Leavitt 16 percent, state Rep. Tim Baxter (R-Portsmouth) nine percent, and former news reporter and wife of ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R), Gail Huff Brown, at eight percent preference. This district electorate will once again witness a highly competitive general election.

Primaries: Alaska Preview, Hawaii Wrapup; Oklahoma Special Election

By Jim Ellis — August 16, 2022

Primaries

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska — The long-awaited Alaska primary and special House election will be decided today, and the state’s unique top-four qualifying primary system will be put to its second test.

In the US Senate race, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is running for a fourth full term after being appointed to the seat in 2002 when her father, former Sen. Frank Murkowski (R), was elected governor.

The new top-four system virtually guarantees that the senator will advance into the general election, thus negating the potential of her again losing a partisan Republican primary as she did in 2010. In that year, she was able to win the general election after launching a write-in bid as an Independent.

This time, she faces another Republican challenger, one with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Kelly Tshibaka, the former Alaska Director of Administration and Trump-supported candidate, is also well positioned to advance into the general election and may well have been a serious threat to the Senator in a traditional Republican primary.

A total of 19 candidates are on the Senate ballot: eight Republicans, three Democrats, and eight minor party and independent candidates. Of the three Democrats, two — ex-Seward Mayor Edgar Blatchford and former state Senate nominee Pat Chesbro — have previously won campaigns. It is probable that one of these two will also qualify for the general election simply because one will likely attract enough Democratic votes to place either third or fourth.

As is usually the case, polling is sparse in Alaska and we see no late breaking data. This is likely due to the large number of candidates and that a total of four will advance, thus making the primary vote less significant. In the field of four general election candidates, the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system will be used. Voters will assign a priority of 1-4 for the listed candidates. Should no one reach 50 percent, the last-place finisher is eliminated and the process continues until one candidate reaches majority support.

The RCV system is in effect today and will produce a winner among the three finalists in the US House special election campaign to succeed the late at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon).

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

There are three finalists in this race because the original third place finisher, Independent Al Gross, the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee, dropped out of the race after qualifying. This left 2008 vice presidential nominee and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Party of Alaska officially endorsed contender Nick Begich III, whose grandfather, the late Nick Begich, Sr. (D), was the congressman prior to Rep. Young, and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D).

It is likely that Peltola will finish first, consolidating the Democratic vote, but falling well short of majority support. Thus, the RCV system would then swing into action. The key position will be second, and all indications suggest that Palin and Begich are in a tight battle to avoid elimination. It is then probable that the surviving Republican will defeat Peltola in the second round.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is also on the ballot running for a second term. It is expected that Dunleavy, former Gov. Bill Walker (I), and ex-state Rep. Les Gara (D) will secure three of the four available general election ballot positions.

It will be an interesting night in Alaska, but results won’t likely be clear until well into Wednesday considering the significant time change and the counting delays often seen in the Last Frontier when tabulating votes from the remote rural areas.

Hawaii — Hawaii held its statewide primary Saturday, and the results produced no surprises.  In the defining Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a physician, easily defeated former Aloha State first lady Vicky Cayetano and US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) in a landslide 64-21-14 percent, respectively.  Green now becomes the prohibitive favorite to defeat Republican nominee, former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, who scored a majority victory in the GOP primary.

In the open 2nd House District race, former state Sen. Jill Tokuda recorded a 59-25 percent victory over state Rep. Patrick Branco (D-Kailua) and four others.  She now becomes a lock to replace Rep. Kahele who risked his safe House seat for his long shot, and now proven unsuccessful, run for governor.  The Republican primary winner, with 83 percent of the vote, is 2020 GOP congressional nominee Joe Akana.  Two years ago, he lost to Kahele 58-28 percent in the general election, and is likely headed to a similar fate later this year.

Sen. Brian Schatz was an overwhelming winner in his Democratic primary, notching 94 percent of his party’s vote.  He will face state Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Ewa), who won the Republican primary with a 41 percent plurality over four opponents.

Rep. Ed Case (D-Kaneohe) also easily won renomination in his 1st District Democratic primary, with an 84-16 percent landslide over progressive left challenger Sergio Alcubilla.

Democratic turnout overwhelmed that of Republicans.  With ancillary counting remaining, a total of 218,523 individuals voted in the Democratic primary versus just 59,006 who chose the Republican contests.

Senate

Oklahoma Special: Conflicting Polls, Same Leader — The Oklahoma Republican runoff election to advance into the November special election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) will be decided on Aug. 23. We now see two recently released surveys, both projecting US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) leading former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon but by varying degrees.

The most recent, from Battleground Connect (July 31-Aug. 1; 800 likely Oklahoma Republican special runoff voters; live interview) sees Rep. Mullin leading Shannon, 46-38 percent. Both men are viewed favorably. Rep. Mullin sports a 62:23 percent favorable ratio, while Shannon scores 48:15 percent, though fewer respondents know him well enough to form an opinion.

The Sooner Poll conducted for News Channel 9 in Oklahoma City. The sampling period was longer and the sample size smaller than Battleground Connect’s (July 25-Aug. 1; 383 likely Oklahoma Republican special runoff voters; live interview) and it produced an overwhelming advantage for Rep. Mullin, 63-35 percent. The Republican runoff winner will be favored to defeat former US Rep. Kendra Horn, who is the official Democratic Party nominee, in the November special general election.

Alaska Candidates Settle to Three; Conflicting Polls in IL-15; Economy Polls as Highest Concern in MN

By Jim Ellis — June 24, 2022

House

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

AK-AL: Now Top Three — Officials from the Alaska Division of Elections, grappling with the new top-four qualifying system, have changed their initial ruling after finalist Al Gross (I/D), announced earlier this week that he was ending his campaign. Division officials initially were leaning toward placing the fifth-place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, into the group of four finalists, but they have since reversed themselves.

The final ruling does not add a replacement for Dr. Gross, meaning that only former Gov. Sarah Palin, businessman Nick Begich III (R), and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will advance into the special general election scheduled for Aug. 16. Sweeney followed up with an announcement that she will not challenge the Elections Division’s ruling.

IL-15: Conflicting Polls — The next in a series of paired incumbent elections is scheduled in Illinois when two sets of paired incumbents will square off in the June 28 primary election. In the downstate Republican primary, Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) and Mary Miller (R-Oakland) are battling for the new gerrymandered 15th District, one of only three Land of Lincoln seats that will likely send a Republican to the House. This week, we see two polls released with conflicting conclusions.

The Victory Geek firm, polling for the Illinoize political blog (June 15-19; 515 IL-15 respondents; interactive voice response system), finds Rep. Davis leading Rep. Miller, 38-35 percent. When forcing the undecideds to make a choice, the full universe breaks for Davis, 51-49 percent. The bad news for him is when voters are informed that former President Trump has endorsed Miller, the preference factor switches to 47-39 percent in Miller’s favor.

The Miller campaign also released their internal Cygnal firm survey conducted during the same time period (June 18-19; 420 likely IL-15 Republican primary voters; peer-to-peer text) that gave the congresswoman a 45-40 percent edge over Davis. The other paired incumbent election features a Chicago suburban Democratic pairing between Reps. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) and Marie Newman (D-La Grange).

MN-1 Special: Virtual Tie — An Expedition Strategies survey of the MN-1 special election (June 6-9; 400 likely MN-1 special election voters; live interview) scheduled for Aug. 9 finds the two party nominees, former Republican state Rep. Brad Finstad and ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) falling into a virtual tie. The ballot test gives Finstad a 48-47 percent edge in a district that is no stranger to close elections. The winning percentage in the past three congressional elections was 48.6 percent, 50.1 percent, and 50.3 percent in 2020, 2018, and 2016. The seat is in special election because incumbent Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in February.

In terms of what the survey respondents perceive as the most important issue, the “economy and cost of living” registered 27 percent, “guns” was second with a 12 percent mention, and “election integrity” was third with 10 percent. Interestingly, the healthcare issue, which now includes COVID, registered as the most important issue from only six percent of the respondents. Ettinger scored a 53-40 percent advantage on preferring a candidate with experience running a business as compared to Finstad’s career in government and rural policy making.

NY-19 Special: Republican Molinaro Launched to Big Led — A Triton Polling & Research survey conducted for the Freedom Council USA (June 16-20; 505 current NY-19 registered voters; interactive voice response system) finds Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) leading Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan (D) by a large 52-38 percent clip in the special election race to replace resigned US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D). The congressman left the House to accept his appointment as lieutenant governor.

A Molinaro victory would mean another special election GOP conversion of a Democratic seat as we saw in Texas on June 14 when Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez and two minor candidates to win the seat from which Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) resigned. If the GOP is successful in NY-19, and holds their other 2022 special elections in AK-AL, MN-1, NE-1, and NY-23, the conference will increase to 215 members, just three away from majority status.

TX-28: Rep. Cuellar Officially Wins — The tight Democratic primary and runoff campaign featuring veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and attorney and 2020 congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros has finally come to an official end. The Texas Secretary of State has reported the final results of the runoff recount. Counting the ballots again actually increased Cuellar’s lead by eight votes. The final counts shows a 22,901 to 22,612 margin in favor of Rep. Cuellar, a spread of 289 votes, or 50.3 percent of the runoff electorate.

Rep. Cuellar now advances into a general election against former Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) staff member Cassy Garcia. This could become a competitive general election in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+7. Though Garcia will have the ability to run a credible campaign, Rep. Cuellar is now viewed as the favorite to win a 10th term.

Governor

Florida: Crist Rebounds With Substantial Lead — A surprising poll released earlier in June (Global Strategy Group; June 8-13; 600 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview) found state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried pulling to within a 38-34 percent margin against US representative and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg). Now, a new St. Pete Polls survey (June 16-17; 1,007 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) posts Crist back to a more substantial lead, 49-24 percent. The Florida primary is scheduled for Aug. 23. The Democratic winner will then challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Britt Wins Alabama Runoff; Al Gross Exits Alaska Race; Tough Night For Trump in Peach State

By Jim Ellis — June 22, 2022

Senate

Katie Britt won the Republican US Senate nomination in Alabama.

Alabama: Britt Wins Runoff — As the post-primary polling unanimously foretold, Katie Britt, the former president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama organization and ex-chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), won the Republican US Senate nomination with a landslide 63-37 percent margin over Alabama US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in last night’s runoff election.

Britt’s victory was complete in that she carried 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties en route to claiming the party nomination, and a veritable ticket to the US Senate. She now faces pastor Will Boyd, who won the Democratic nomination outright on May 24 in what will prove to be a perfunctory general election in this safely Republican state.

House

AL-5: Dale Strong Headed to DC — Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong (R) defeated former Deputy Army Secretary Casey Wardynski with just over 63 percent of the Republican runoff vote. Like Britt, Strong has punched his ticket to Washington with last night’s victory.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates AL-5 as R+32, leaving little doubt that Strong is now the prohibitive favorite to defeat Democratic nominee Kathy Warner-Stanton who won her party’s nomination outright in the regular primary contest.

AK-AL: Al Gross Exits Race — Yesterday, surgeon Al Gross, who was the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee against Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) but running as an Independent in the US House special election, decided to end his campaign. Dr. Gross had qualified for the four-candidate runoff with his third-place finish in the special primary on June 11. He simply said he had “great hope for Alaska” in his departing statement but did not offer a particular reason for making the decision to prematurely end his campaign.

It appears the fifth place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney a former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the US Department of Interior will move into the fourth position, but even officials at the Board of Elections could not confidently confirm that such is the procedure.

Former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin qualified in first position, followed consecutively by businessman Nick Begich III (R), Dr. Gross, and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D).  In his statement, Dr. Gross endorsed both Peltola and Sweeney saying “they are two outstanding Native women who will serve our state well.” The special general election is Aug. 16.
 
Georgia: Trump has Another Tough Night in Peach State — Georgia proved another tough night for former President Donald Trump, as his two key candidates in House runoff races, Jake Evans in the newly reformed open District 6 and Vernon Jones in the open 10th CD, both went down in landslide proportions. These results, added to Trump candidates David Perdue and Rep. Hice losing the governor and Secretary of State’s races respectively in the May 24 primary, suggests that the Peach State will likely prove to be Trump’s poorest endorsement state.

Dr. Rich McCormick, a retired Navy physician who was the 7th District GOP nominee in 2020, scored a 67 percent win over Evans. In District 10, businessman Mike Collins, a trucking company owner and son of the late former Congressman Mac Collins, recorded almost 75 percent of the runoff vote.

Virginia: Two Congressional Primaries Decided — As predicted, state Sen. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach), a US Navy veteran and nurse practitioner, topped a field of four Republican candidates with a convincing 56 percent of the vote. She will now oppose Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) in what promises to be one of the most hotly contested GOP challenger races in the country.

Moving to northern Virginia, Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s (D-Glen Allen) politically marginal 7th CD produced a general election Republican challenger last night. Prince William County supervisor and former law enforcement officer Yesli Vega defeated five GOP opponents on her way to a tight 29-24-20 percent victory spread. The Spanberger-Vega general election will be hard fought. While the congresswoman has a slight advantage in partisan voting history, the potential turnout pattern suggests that this seat is still very much in play for a potential GOP upset.

Utah’s Sen. Lee in Competitive Primary; Cheney’s Tumbling Numbers in WY

By Jim Ellis — June 13, 2022

Senate

Utah: McMullin Competitive with Sen. Lee — A new Dan Jones & Associates survey for the Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute of Politics (May 24-June 4; 810 registered Utah voters; live interview) suggests that the Utah Democrats’ move to forego fielding their own party nominee and instead coalescing behind Independent former presidential candidate Evan McMullin was the right course of action. The general election ballot test finds Sen. Mike Lee leading McMullin only 41-37 percent. It is probable that Sen. Lee is in better standing than this poll indicates, but it does appear that the Democrats’ coalition move apparently makes this race significantly more competitive.

House

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.

WY-AL: Rep. Cheney Decimated in New Poll — A new survey from the Fabrizio Lee & Associates firm conducted for the Wyoming Values PAC (June 1-2; 400 likely Wyoming Republican primary voters; live interview and text of a repeat universe from the Dec. 14-15 poll) reveals a brewing landslide for challenger Harriet Hageman in her Aug. 16 Republican primary contest with at-large US Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson). The poll shows just how upset the Wyoming Republican voter base is with Rep. Cheney, as her personal favorability of 26:73 percent favorable to unfavorable is even worse than her atrocious job approval rating of 27:70 percent.

On the ballot test, Hageman leads the congresswoman 56-28 percent with state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie) trailing badly at the eight percent support level. This is a significant improvement for Hageman, who led in the December poll only 34-26 percent. The Fabrizio Lee numbers are also consistent with a recent Club for Growth survey that found an almost identical 56-28 percent division in favor of Hageman.

AL-5: New Runoff Data — The May 24 open 5th Congressional District Republican primary ended with Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong and former Assistant US Army Secretary Casey Wardynski advancing into a June 21 runoff. Strong led in the first vote, 45-23 percent, which was five points short of clinching the party nomination outright. The Cygnal research organization conducted their survey (June 4-6; 400 likely AL-5 GOP runoff voters) and it posts Strong to a 46-31 percent lead, similar to the actual primary election’s finish. The winner replaces current representative and US Senate contender Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in the northern Alabama congressional district.

AK-AL: Special Primary Election — The special primary, the first step in replacing the late Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), will be held Saturday. Voting in the all-mail primary has been going on for the past several weeks, and is scheduled to culminate this weekend. The huge field of 48 candidates, all placed on the same ballot in a jungle primary format, will be whittled to four, as the state’s new top-four qualification system is in use for the first time.

It appears likely that former governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, party-endorsed Republican candidate Nick Begich III, and Independent surgeon Al Gross, who was the 2020 Democratic nominee for Senate, will advance into the special general election to be held concurrently with the regular state primary on Aug. 16. The fourth qualifying position appears up for grabs, with Anchorage Democratic City Assemblyman Chris Constant, state Sen. Josh Revak (R-Anchorage), who Anne Young, the late congressman’s widow, endorses, state Rep. Adam Wool (R-Fairbanks), and several others all vying for the final chance to slip into the general election.

The special general will be a regular in-person vote. If no one receives majority support in that election, the Ranked Choice Voting system takes effect. All voters will have ranked their choices from 1-4, and the process continues through rounds and candidate elimination until one contender breaks the 50 percent majority support level.

FL-2: Rep. Lawson Announces Bid — In another indication that the congressional redistricting map Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) drove through the legislature will be the plan at least for the 2022 election despite its legal challenges, Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee), whose 5th District was collapsed in the draw, has announced his re-election intentions. He will challenge GOP Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District.

This new 2nd contains Rep. Lawson’s home city of Tallahassee, a Democratic domain, but is also rated as R+16 from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, and earns a 54.5 percent R – 43.8 percent D rating from Dave’s Redistricting App. Former President Trump would have carried this new district 55-44 percent in the 2020 election. Looking at these ratings and numbers suggests that Rep. Lawson has a difficult road ahead of him if he is to return to the House next year.

Brooks Continues Momentum in Alabama; An Unusual Alaska Endorsement; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis
May 23, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Brooks With Momentum — US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) continues to make strong strides to capture one of the two runoff positions in Tuesday’s primary election. All polling suggests that none of the three top candidates will reach the 50 percent plateau to claim the nomination outright. The latest survey, from the Cygnal research group for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 15-16; 634 likely Alabama Republican primary voters), sees Rep. Brooks moving past retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant, while knocking on race leader Katie Britt’s door.

The ballot test breaks 31-29-24 percent (Britt, Brooks, Durant) meaning that all three candidates still have the potential of qualifying for the two-person runoff. Tuesday’s vote will undoubtedly be close. The eventual Republican nominee is a lock to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R) in November. The runoff election is scheduled for June 21.

House

AK-AL: Cross-Endorsing — Previously, the Alaska Republican Party endorsed businessman Nick Begich III in the special election to replace the late US Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) over former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R). Now, we see another unusual endorsement. Begich is the grandson of the late US Rep. Nick Begich (D), who died in a plane crash in 1972. This led to Young winning the special election in 1973. While Nick Begich III is following in his family’s footsteps in running for public office, he is doing so as a Republican. This move now leads his uncle, former US Sen. Mark Begich (D), to endorse Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant (D) in the large field of 48 candidates instead of his nephew.

Under the new Alaska electoral system, four of the 48 candidates on the June 11 jungle primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election.

NY-17: Internal Dem Chaos — Assuming the presiding judge adopts the special master’s redistricting map, it appears that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) has created a political hornet’s nest with his declaration that he would challenge freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), who happens to be African American, in the new 17th District rather than compete for the seat directly to the north, the new 18th District. Rep. Maloney said he is running in the 17th because that is where the map placed his home, but a substantial part of his current constituency also lies in the new 18th.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx) criticized Maloney saying, “I don’t think he should be DCCC chair if he’s going to challenge another member. It’s completely inappropriate.” Neighboring Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) was more critical. He said Rep. Maloney is trying “to dismantle and tear down Black power in Congress” and should run in his own district (meaning District 18).

Redistricting

Missouri: Map Adopted — Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed the legislation enacting the new Missouri congressional districts. With that, now New Hampshire remains the only state that has not completed the re-mapping process. The Missouri map is largely an extension of the current eight-district plan and will likely continue to send six Republicans and two Democrats to Washington. Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Ballwin) 2nd District becomes more Republican, thus stabilizing her seat. Interestingly, the legislature did not change the candidate filing deadline of March 29, so no new individuals can enter the congressional races even though the district lines are somewhat different.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey Back Over 50 percent — A new Emerson College survey (May 15-16; 706 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; and text) tested the governor’s Republican primary. In another poll, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) had dropped below the 50 percent threshold, but Emerson finds her rebounding in this study. Here, she captures 53 percent support, while developer Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, posts 21 percent preference and ex-ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, records 13 percent. All other candidates fall into single digits.

Alaska’s Palin in Trouble?
Florida Redistricting Map Tossed

By Jim Ellis
May 13, 2022

House

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

AK-AL: Palin Begins Special with Slight Lead, but May Not Prevail — The Alaska Survey Research firm, headed by longtime local pollster Ivan Moore, released their new special election US House study featuring 48 candidates. The survey (May 6-9; 605 AK-AL likely special election voters; online) finds former governor and 2008 vice presidential Republican nominee Sarah Palin leading the huge field with 19 percent, followed closely by officially endorsed Republican Party candidate Nick Begich III at 16 percent, with Independent and former 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee Al Gross and North Pole City Councilman Santa Claus (the former Thomas O’Connor) capturing the third and fourth qualifying positions with 13 and six percent, respectively.

Under the new Alaska election law, the top four finishers from the jungle primary, in this case scheduled for June 11, will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election. If no one receives majority support among the finishing four in the succeeding vote, the Ranked Choice Voting System takes effect. It is here where Palin may find trouble. Under this configuration, ASR projects that Claus would be first eliminated, then Palin in the next round. A Begich-Gross final round would favor Begich at 53-47 percent.

Nick Begich III is the grandson of former US Rep. Nick Begich (D), who died in a plane crash before the 1972 election. His uncle is former US Sen. Mark Begich (D). Nick Begich, III, however, is a Republican. ASR tested four different iterations with four separate fourth-place contenders, and in each scenario Begich ultimately wins the seat.

NE-2: Dem Group Poll Shows Rep. Bacon Trailing — Democratic pollster Change Research, polling for the left of center 314 Action group (May 6-10; 564 NE-2 general election voters of whom 94 percent say are definite or probable voters; online) finds Omaha Democratic state Sen. Tony Vargas leading US Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), 42-39 percent, in a survey conducted just before the Nebraska primary.

The poll skews slightly left, meaning that the race is likely no worse then being tied from Rep. Bacon’s perspective. Approximately 25,000 more people voted in the NE-2 Republican primary than Democratic suggesting the enthusiasm level favors the GOP. The seat became three points more Republican in redistricting. Despite this particular poll result, Rep. Bacon is still favored for re-election.

Redistricting

Florida: Congressional Map Tossed — A Florida state judge, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appointed, disqualified the new Florida congressional map, ruling that the elimination of Rep. Al Lawson’s (D-Tallahassee) majority minority District 5 violates Florida’s Fair Districts Act. The state will clearly appeal, but the map’s fate, the Republicans’ best in the country, now is suspended in political limbo.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey Below 50 Percent — A Cygnal group poll for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 6-7; 600 likely Alabama Republican primary voters) two days ago covered the Alabama Senate race confirming that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is gaining on his two GOP opponents. Wednesday, Cygnal released its data on the state’s gubernatorial campaign. While Gov. Kay Ivey (R) still holds a comfortable lead according to the poll, the survey shows that she has dropped to 40 percent support.

Real Estate developer Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, is second with 18 percent, and former US ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, is a close third with 15 percent. Three more candidates divide 14 percent of the vote, while the remainder is recorded as undecided/won’t say. There is little doubt that Gov. Ivey will finish first, but the question remains whether she can attain the 50 percent threshold to avoid being forced into a secondary runoff election. The Alabama primary is May 24. If a runoff becomes necessary, that election would occur on June 21.