Tag Archives: Nikki Fried

Crist Wins Florida Gov. Primary; Nadler Easily Defeats Maloney in NY; Mullin Wins OK Senate GOP Runoff

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 24, 2022

Primary Results

Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) easily wins Democrat nomination for governor to run against incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Florida: Crist Wins Gov Primary; Few Surprises — A busy night occurred around the country and particularly in the Sunshine State, as the political parties chose nominees in key statewide races and for Florida’s 28 newly drawn congressional districts. Thus, the last major primary date is now in the books.

The Florida statewide races were not in particular doubt. While Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio were unopposed in their respective Republican primaries, congressman and former governor, Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), easily defeated Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, 60-35 percent, to claim the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), as expected, was an easy 84 percent winner in the Democratic US Senate primary.

The competitive House primary winners were:

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R; 70-24 percent victory margin)
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R; 68-26 percent; created open seat)
  • Cory Mills (R; 34-21 percent; open Stephanie Murphy seat)
  • Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D; 35-25 percent; open Val Demings seat)
  • Rep. Dan Webster (R; 51-44 percent), Anna Paulina Luna (R; 44-34 percent; open Charlie Crist seat)
  • Laurel Lee (R; 41-28 percent; new seat from reapportionment), Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D; 66-29 percent)
  • Jared Moskowitz (D; 61-21 percent; open Ted Deutch seat)
  • state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D; 68-26 percent; versus Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar)
  • ex-state Rep. Robert Asencio (D; 69-31 percent; versus Rep. Carlos Gimenez)

New York: Parties Hold Specials; Reps. Maloney & Jones Lose — The very active New York congressional primary begins with a special general election win for the Democrats. In a race many believed the Republican nominee, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro would covert, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan successfully held the 19th CD in the Democratic column with a close 52-48 percent win. Ryan will now serve the unexpired portion of former Rep. Antonio Delgado’s term. Delgado resigned the seat to accept his appointment as lieutenant governor.

Curiously, Ryan will seek his re-election in the 18th District as he ran for both seats simultaneously. There, he will face state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-New Windsor) who was unopposed in the open seat Republican primary. Former congressional aide John Riley won the 19th Democratic primary and now advances into the regular general election against Molinaro.

Another incumbent pairing was also decided last night. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) easily defeated Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), 55-24 percent, thus ending the congresswoman’s 30-year congressional career. Nadler had led in all polling, hence the final result is not surprising, though the size of his victory is greater than expected.

Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) resigned his seat to accept a position in the private sector earlier this year. The Republican caretaker candidate, Steuben County Republican Party chairman Joe Sempolinski, won the special election to serve the balance of the term. He scored a 53-47 percent win over Democrat Max Della Pia. The latter man, however, won the regular election Democratic primary and he moves into the general election.

The competitive House primary winners were:

  • Nick LaLota (R; 47-28 percent; open Lee Zeldin seat)
  • Robert Zimmerman (D; 36-26 percent; open Tom Suozzi seat; versus George Santos)
  • Lauren Gillen (D; 63-24 percent; open Kathleen Rice seat)
  • Dan Goldman (D; 26-24 percent; created open seat)
  • Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R; 78-21 percent; in general versus ex-Rep. Max Rose)
  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D; 57-23 percent)
  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D; 67-33 percent; in general versus state Assemblyman Michael Lawler)
  • Brandon Williams (R; 58-42 percent; in general versus Francis Conole; open John Katko seat)
  • Nick Langworthy (R; 52-48 percent; regular election successor to Rep. Tom Reed)
  • Rep. Claudia Tenney (R; 54-40 percent)

Oklahoma: Rep. Markwayne Mullin Wins Senate GOP Runoff; OK-2 Surprise — As expected, US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) scored a landslide special election Republican runoff victory, 65-35 percent, over former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. Mullin advances into the special general election where he will be favored to defeat former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D). The winner will replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) in January and serve the remaining four years of the current term.

With Rep. Mullin’s 2nd Congressional District being open, the primary’s second-place finisher, former state Sen. Josh Brecheen, won the Republican runoff with a 52-48 percent win over favored state Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee). In Oklahoma’s safest Republican seat, rated R+55, Brecheen is now a prohibitive favorite to defeat Democratic nominee Naomi Andrews in the general election.

Florida, NY, OK Primaries; Term Limits Polling; Whitmer With Larger Lead

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022

Primaries

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida — The Sunshine State voters also will choose their nominees today, and many important intra-party races will be decided.

Gov. DeSantis Well Ahead in Pre-Primary Poll — Florida voters will choose their general election nominees today, and a new Cherry Communications survey (conducted for the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Aug. 4-15; 608 likely Florida general election voters; live interview) projects Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as well positioned for re-election. The CC poll results find the governor leading US Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) 51-43 percent, while his advantage over state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is a similar 50-43 percent. This, in a state where Republicans traditionally under-poll. Crist, the former governor and multi-time statewide candidate who has run, and lost, under the Democratic, Republican, and Independent banners.

After recent polls found Florida Crist falling into an increasingly more competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign with Fried, a new St. Pete Polls survey, on election eve, finds the congressman and former governor now ahead in a landslide. The St. Pete Polls survey (Aug. 20-21; 1,617 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) projects Rep. Crist to be holding a major 59-30 percent lead, far above any advantage he has recently posted. The Democratic winner will face Gov. DeSantis in November and will face an uphill battle against DeSantis in a campaign that will become a national event.

The Senate nomination contests in both parties, while leading to a competitive general election, are set. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will be defending his seat against US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), the former Orlando police chief. Recent polling has tightened, but voting history suggests that Sen. Rubio has at least a small lead.

A large number of US House races feature competitive nomination battles beginning in northwestern Florida’s 1st District where controversial Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) is in a serious campaign with former FedEx executive Mark Lombardo. Gaetz’s highly publicized legal trouble is front and center in this race as well as Lombardo charging that the congressman’s national activities and profile have taken his attention away from serving the local district. This is certainly a race to watch, and a Lombardo upset is possible.

Florida gained a new seat in national reapportionment, and the state’s 15th District has been created. The district stretches from Lakeland into Tampa and leans Republican but we can expect some competition in the general election. Both parties feature five-person candidate fields. Polling suggests that former Secretary of State Laurel Lee has the inside track for the Republican nomination over state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa). The leading Democrat appears to be former news anchorman and two-time congressional nominee Alan Cohn.

New York — When the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ordered the congressional districts and state Senate map redrawn, a second primary was scheduled just for these races. The original NY primary was held on June 28. The congressional and state Senate nominees will be finally decided today, and many US House contests are in a competitive mode.

Oklahoma: Close Result on Tap for Tonight in OK-2 — When Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) opted to run for the Senate, his open eastern Oklahoma congressional district drew a crowded 14-candidate Republican field. In the June 28 regular primary for the strongest GOP district in the state (R+55 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization), two candidates advanced into today’s runoff election even though they finished with less than 30 percent of the aggregate primary vote combined.

State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) topped former state Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-Ada) by just 757 votes to secure the first runoff position. Brecheen then claimed the second slot over former Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee by an even lesser 616-vote margin. In all, the top five candidates finished within 2,892 votes of each other.

Polling finds that the race still remains tight. The wrap-up Sooner Poll (Aug. 11-17; number of likely voter polling respondents undisclosed) projected Rep. Frix holding the lead, but with only a 43-35 percent margin. While Frix apparently enjoys a small edge, this race is still anybody’s game.

Rep. Mullin has enjoyed large leads in his bid for the Senate in post-primary polling up until the latest release. Immediately after the June 28 primary election, where he easily topped former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, 44-18 percent within a field of 12 candidates, Rep. Mullin was seeing average leads of 18 percentage points among three polls conducted from July 25 through Aug. 15.

The latest study, however, from the Sooner Poll, which is an add-on track from their Aug. 11-15 survey that ended on Aug. 17 (322 likely Oklahoma Republican runoff voters), shows the congressman’s statewide advantage at only 53-47 percent over Shannon. Tonight’s special runoff winner will advance into the general election against former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D).

Governor

Michigan: Whitmer With Larger Lead — Countering last week’s published Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) teamed Michigan governor’s study (Aug. 8-14; 1,365 likely Michigan voters; live interview & text) that projected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to be leading online talk show host Tudor Dixon (R) 51-46 percent, Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling (Aug. 15-16; 611 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts the governor to a much larger 51-39 percent advantage.

Ohio: One-Point Lead — Democratic pollster Lake Research (Aug. 4-9; 611 OH likely general election voters; live interview) released their latest survey that finds Gov. Mike DeWine (R) holding only a narrow one-point, 44-43 percent, edge over Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D).

This result is not particularly surprising. First, the Ohio electorate typically polls close and then one candidate significantly pulls away in the campaign’s last two weeks. Second, Gov. DeWine won his Republican primary with only 48.1 percent of the vote opposite three opponents suggesting clear weakness within his party’s base. Additionally, over one-third of DeWine voters say their support for him is “not so strong” or that they are only “leaning” in his direction. Expect the governor to soon use his strong financial advantage to put distance between he and Mayor Whaley.

Beasley Up in North Carolina; CO-8 Shows Toss-Up Race; Dem Race Tightens in Florida

By Jim Ellis — August 12, 2022

Senate

Former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D)

North Carolina: Democrat Beasley Up in New Poll — Blueprint Polling released a new North Carolina US Senate poll (Aug. 4-6; 656 registered North Carolina voters; live interview) that projects former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) to be holding a 46-42 percent edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). A Republican being down in a North Carolina poll is nothing new, however. In 2020, GOP Sen. Thom Tillis found himself outside the lead in 26 of 28 October public polls but won the race by two percentage points.

House

CO-8: Toss-Up District Shows Toss-Up Race — Colorado received a new congressional district in national reapportionment, and the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission members drew the new seat, located just north of Denver, to be an even district from a partisan perspective. A new Global Strategy Group poll (July 26-Aug. 2; 500 likely CO-8 general election voters) suggests the district is performing as designed. The ballot test finds Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer leading state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D) by a tight 44-42 percent margin. This district is highly important to both parties in determining the next congressional majority.

NY-12: Potential Three-Way Race — Slingshot Strategies, polling for the Indian American Impact Fund (Aug. 2-5; 600 likely NY-12 Democratic primary voters) sees a tight ballot test forming between Democratic paired incumbents Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, but also a third candidate coming into range. Businessman Suraj Patel returns for a third Democratic primary challenge to Rep. Maloney, and the poll, the sponsors of which favor Patel, find the race breaking 29-27-20 percent in favor of Rep. Nadler. Maloney holds a close second place, with Patel showing enough momentum to possibly make a significant closing run.

The New York congressional primary is Aug. 23. The Democratic primary in this new Lower Manhattan/Brooklyn congressional district easily wins the seat in the general election.

Governor

Florida: Dem Race Tightens — State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a new Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 8-9; 664 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) that suggests the primary race scheduled for Aug. 23 is becoming much closer.

The PPP data finds Rep. Charlie Crist’s (D-St. Petersburg) once substantial lead over Fried now falling to just 42-35 percent suggesting that the latter candidate may have enough closing momentum to cast doubt over the eventual outcome especially with 23 percent saying they are still undecided. The eventual Democratic nominee begins a shortened general election cycle in the underdog position opposite GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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).

California Counting Continues;
New Candidates in FL-10 (Including Ex-Con); Dem Gov. Candidate Battle in FL

By Jim Ellis — June 20, 2022

House

California: Counting Continues, More Known — According to the California Secretary of State, at the close of business Friday, a total of 1,080,064 ballots throughout the 58 counties have been received after the June 7 primary election but still not counted and/or verified. With more than 5,000,000 votes statewide now counted, more information is known about congressional match-ups for the fall campaign.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Republican nursery business owner John Duarte appearing to clinch first position in the new open 13th District. He topped state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), 34-31 percent. Perhaps more significantly, the aggregate Republican vote topped the total Democratic figure, 51.9 – 48.1 percent. Though President Biden won in this new district with a 54-43 percent margin, this district has the potential of becoming highly competitive in 2022.

In other races, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) has not pulled away from third place finisher Chris Mathys (R) in the new 22nd District. State Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) leads the field with 44 percent while the congressman trails well behind for the second qualifying position with just 26.3 percent, while Mathys is close behind at 22.5 percent. The aggregate vote total is very low, with only 37,201 ballots counted. The positive news for Republicans here is that the aggregate partisan totals favor their candidates, 56-44 percent.

In the open southern California 37th District, state Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D) commands 43.9 percent of the vote, and she will advance to the general election. Her likely opponent in what will be a double-Democratic general election is former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry.

FL-10: Ex-Reps. Brown and Grayson Enter Field — Former Democratic US House members Corinne Brown, recently released from prison after being convicted of tax fraud, and Alan Grayson, who left a long-shot US Senate bid, both announced their candidacies for the open Orlando-anchored 10th District, the seat that Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) is relinquishing to run her own Senate race.

Seven other Democrats, including state Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Orlando) and Bitcoin investor Jeff Boone, are already in the race making the Aug. 23 party primary a more interesting campaign. Both Brown and Grayson represented parts of Orlando during their careers, Brown in the 4th CD that stretched from Jacksonville to the city and Grayson who held the 9th District that captures the southern part of Orlando and then went into the central part of the state.

Governor

Florida: Democratic Primary Poll Shows Closing Race — In a surprising new poll, the Global Strategy Group released a survey for Florida state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (June 8-13; 600 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) and the ballot test indicated the race between she and US representative and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) has closed to just three points, 34-31 percent. This is a much different result than similar polls taken in April and May. Those studies, from St. Pete Polls and Sachs Media Group, projected Crist to hold leads of 15 and 33 percent respectively. Therefore, it is possible the GSG poll is an outlier. The winner of the Aug. 23 Democratic gubernatorial primary challenges Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in November.

Texas: New Poll Produces Different Conclusion — Earlier this week, we reported upon Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling releasing their survey of the Texas electorate (June 8-10; 603 likely Texas general election voters) posting Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to a huge 56-37 percent advantage over former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso).

On the heels of the Blueprint poll, Quinnipiac University, in their most recent Lone Star State survey (June 9-13; 1,257 registered Texas voters; live interview), found a much different result. The Q-Poll sees Gov. Abbott’s lead over O’Rourke closing to just 48-43 percent, with the governor possessing an upside-down job approval rating of 46:48 percent favorable to unfavorable. More data will be required to see which of these two pollsters, surveying basically during the same sampling period, is the more accurate. Gov. Abbott is seeking a third four-year term.