Tag Archives: Nikki Snyder

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.

Rosendale Leads GOP Primary Poll; Former Michigan Rep Files Senate Exploratory Committee; Another Challenger in NY-3; Afghan War Vet to Return to NC-14 Race

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023

Senate

Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive)

Montana: Rep. Rosendale Leads GOP Primary Poll — A J.L. Partners survey released to the Semafor online news site (Aug. 12-17; 418 likely Montana Republican primary voters; live interview) projects two-term Congressman Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) holding a big 55-19 percent lead over aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy (R).

Sheehy is the party-endorsed candidate. He has support from Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), and 1st District Congressman and former US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish).

Both men fare well against Sen. Jon Tester (D). Rep. Rosendale, who lost to Sen. Tester 50-47 percent in 2018, would lead this race 46-42 percent. Sheehy would hold a similar 46-43 percent edge over the senator.

Michigan: Ex-US Rep Files Senate Exploratory Committee — Former Congressman Peter Meijer, who was elected in 2018 but failed to win renomination for a second term in the 2020 Republican primary, has filed a US Senate exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission. Meijer, however, came far short of saying he would enter the Senate race, only that he remains in a consideration phase.

Former Congressman Mike Rogers (R) is soon expected to enter the Senate race. Michigan Board of Education member Nikki Snyder is the only Republican elected official who has joined the Senate field. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) leads a host of candidates for the Democratic nomination. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four terms at the end of this Congress.

House

NY-3: Another Republican to Challenge Rep. Santos — The Security Traders Association CEO, Jim Toes, announced that he will join the growing Republican field who are challenging beleaguered Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) for renomination. Toes becomes the eighth announced Republican candidate, but possibly the most accomplished. A total of six Democrats have declared their candidacies.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-3 as D+4, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 56.4D – 42.0R. President Joe Biden carried the district 54-45 percent. This is one of several New York US House seats that will be difficult for the Republicans to protect in the 2024 election.

NC-14: 2022 Nominee Likely to Return — Afghan War veteran and 2022 Republican congressional nominee Pat Harrigan (R) is likely to return for another attempt, though the Charlotte anchored 14th District will likely be radically different after the legislature redraws the North Carolina congressional map in the next few weeks.

The redraw will play to the Republicans favor, which likely means that freshman incumbent Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) will run for attorney general. This would be good news for Harrigan, but his more difficult election would be in the Republican primary particularly if state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland County) draws the seat for himself.

Michigan Senate Race Shaping Up; Close Senate Race in Ohio; Potential House Re-Matches in CO-8, NE-2

By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 10, 2023

Senate

Former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers (R)

Michigan: Ex-Congressman Testing Senate Waters — Former Congressman Mike Rogers (R), who served in the House from 2001 to the beginning of 2015 and chaired the House Intelligence Committee for four years, is reportedly considering entering the open US Senate race.

While Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) is the early favorite for the party nomination and to win the seat, Rogers would probably be the strongest candidate the GOP could field and certainly puts the open seat in play. Other potential Republican candidates are businessman John Tuttle and former US Rep. Peter Meijer. The only announced significant GOP contender is Michigan Board of Education member Nikki Snyder.

While Rep. Slotkin is favored in the Democratic primary, she does have credible opposition. Michigan Board of Education President Pamela Pugh is in the race along with former state Rep. Leslie Love and attorney Jacquise Purifoy. Actor Hill Harper is also expected to announce his candidacy soon.

The Michigan Senate race is now getting more interesting. The seat is open because Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four terms.

Ohio: Poll Shows Close Race — The Ohio Senate race will be one of the premier 2024 electoral contests and is considered a must-win for Republicans. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) seeks a fourth term, but this may be his toughest campaign as the state has shifted considerably to the right since he was last on the ballot in 2018.

East Carolina University recently polled the state (June 21-24; 805 registered Ohio voters; interactive voice response system & online), and their results find Sen. Brown locked in a tight race no matter who becomes the Republican nominee. While slightly leading against all three tested Republicans, he is nowhere near 50 percent in any configuration.

State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball club, fares best against Sen. Brown, trailing only 45-44 percent. Businessman Bernie Moreno, despite not having universal name identification, is behind 46-42 percent. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is soon expected to become a Senate candidate, would come within 44-42 percent of Sen. Brown. In the Republican primary, LaRose holds a slight 17-14-7 percent lead over Sen. Dolan and Moreno.

House

CO-8: Potential Re-Match — The 8th District of Colorado is the new seat the state gained in national reapportionment and was designed as a politically marginal domain that stretches from the northern Denver suburbs to the city of Greeley. It performed as such last November, as now-Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton) scored a close 48.4 – 47.7 percent victory from a voter pool that exceeded 236,000 individuals.

The losing candidate, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld County), is likely to seek a re-match. One candidate who just announced that she will not run again is Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann. She placed second to Kirkmeyer in the 2022 Republican primary. The 8th District is sure to host another hotly contested congressional campaign in 2024.

NE-2: Re-Match on Tap — Last November, Nebraska state Sen. Tony Vargas (D-Omaha) held Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion) to a 51.3 – 48.7 percent re-election victory. As expected, late last week Vargas announced that he will return for a rematch in 2024. Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District is a swing seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+3, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 50.1R – 47.1D.

The 2nd also figures prominently in the presidential race. Nebraska is one of two states — Maine being the other — where the congressional districts carry their own electoral vote. In 2020, the 2nd broke with the state and awarded its electoral vote to President Biden as he carried the district with a 52-46 percent margin, or some 22,000-plus votes.

We can expect heavy campaigning here for all races. In addition to the presidential and congressional campaigns, both US Senate seats will be on the ballot. While Sens. Deb Fischer (R) and Pete Ricketts (R) are secure for re-election, this district will be relatively tight even for them.

No-Go For Ro; Hogan Says No; Benson Takes a Pass; Justice Moving Closer

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Senate

California US Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont)

California: Rep. Khanna to Remain in House — California US Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) announced over the weekend that he is ending consideration of entering the state’s open US Senate race and, instead, will back his San Francisco Bay Area colleague, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), in her statewide campaign. Rep. Khanna says he plans to seek re-election to the House in 2024, which he claims is the best place for him to serve.

Khanna’s move further crystallizes an open all-party March 5 primary race among Reps. Lee, Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). A credible Republican candidate has not yet come forward. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Senate’s top senior Democrat, is retiring.

Maryland: Ex-Gov. Hogan Again Says No — Republican leaders are again trying to recruit former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) into the Maryland US Senate race. It appears, however, they will not have any better luck convincing him to challenge veteran incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D) in the 2024 campaign than they did in recruiting him against Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) last year.

Hogan reiterated that he has no interest in running for the Senate, and that includes an open-seat scenario. Sen. Cardin, who will be 80 years old at the time of the next election, is a retirement prospect.

Michigan: Another Takes a Pass — On Friday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), who had not previously closed the door on entering the open Senate race, said that she would not run. The move strengthens Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who, at this point, is the only announced Democratic candidate. Michigan Education Board President Pamela Pugh and actor and author Hill Harper are the remaining noteworthy potential candidates.

For the Republicans, state Education Board member Nikki Snyder is the only declared candidate. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is not seeking re-election to a fifth term. Rep. Slotkin is the clear early favorite for the Democratic nomination and to win the general election in November of 2024.

West Virginia: Gov. Justice (R) Moving Closer to Senate Candidacy — Reports are coming from West Virginia, and even quoting Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) as a source, that Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is ineligible to seek a third term in 2024, is moving closer to entering the US Senate contest. Apparently, he held a meeting with the National Republican Senatorial Committee leadership and has been communicating directly with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about the next campaign.

Earlier, it was reported that Gov. Justice would not announce for the Senate until he had shepherded his major tax cut proposal through the legislature. Now that the revenue bill has passed, it appears the governor will soon declare his federal candidacy.

In order to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the general election, he must initially move past US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town). The congressman, who declared for the Senate right after the November election and has support from the Club for Growth political action organization, will be a formidable opponent. Gov. Justice, however, has universal name identification and a favorable image throughout the state. He is the obvious favorite.

Manchin appears to be the most vulnerable of the Democratic senators standing for re-election, and the West Virginia race is becoming a must-win for the Republicans if they are to take advantage of a favorable 2024 Senate map that forces them to defend only 11 of 34 in-cycle seats next year.

Dixon Won’t Run for Senate; Pelosi Successor Waiting in the Wings; A Gonzales Challenger; A Republican Leads Liberal Group’s Poll

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Senate

Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder (R)

Michigan: Tudor Dixon Won’t Run for Senate — Over the weekend, Tudor Dixon, the defeated 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate, announced she will not join the forming open US Senate field. Last week, three-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) entered the race, and is widely viewed as the favorite for the Democratic nomination and the seat. In December, four-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) announced that she will retire at the end of this Congress.

We can soon expect more Republican action in this race. Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder is the only announced GOP candidate. Others reportedly considering the race are US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland), and former Reps. Fred Upton, Mike Rogers, and Peter Meijer.

House

CA-11: Pelosi Successor Waiting in the Wings — California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is making his political future known. Anticipating that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) will not seek re-election in 2024, Sen. Wiener has filed a congressional exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission. He says he will run for the 11th District seat, which covers most of the San Francisco peninsula, if Rep. Pelosi decides to retire.

He could be getting the jump on another scenario, also. Should Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly (D) resign later this year to mount a race for governor of Indiana as many believe he will, odds are strong that Pelosi will be appointed as his replacement. If so, a special election would then be scheduled for District 11. The ambassador of the United States to the Holy See is the official representative of the United States of America to the Holy See, the leadership of the Catholic Church. Before his ambassadorial appointment, Donnelly served both in the House and Senate. He was defeated for re-election to the Senate in 2018.

TX-23: Rep. Gonzales’ Primary Challenge — US Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio), after the Texas Republican Party recently voted to censure him for his support of gun control legislation, voting for the establishment of the January 6th Committee, and border legislation that the organization felt was not strong enough, drew Republican primary opposition. Medina County Republican Party chair Julie Clark announced that she will challenge the two-term incumbent who in 2022 scored the largest re-election percentage (55.9 percent) for any Republican since former Rep. Henry Bonilla’s 2004 victory.

Governor

North Carolina: GOP Lieutenant Governor Leads Liberal Group’s Poll — Raleigh based Public Policy Polling conducted a survey of the North Carolina electorate for the progressive left Forward Carolina organization (March 2-3; 704 registered North Carolina voters) and finds an unsurprisingly tight battle developing between unannounced gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson (R), the state’s lieutenant governor, and Attorney General Josh Stein (D) who is an official contender. The poll results find the two locked in a dead heat with Robinson holding a 44-42 percent edge. The lieutenant governor’s strong 56-28 percent showing in the state’s substantial rural areas is what catapults him to the lead.

Robinson was elected lieutenant governor as a Republican in 2020 despite now term-limited Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper (D) winning re-election. Robinson carried the state 51.6 – 48.4 percent. Attorney General Stein survived a close re-election battle in the same year, slipping past his Republican opponent with only a 50.1 – 49.9 percent victory margin. The open NC governor’s race will undoubtedly feature a tight finish.

Presidential Data Points; Williamson Challenges Biden; Dems Look for Cruz Challenger; Slotkin’s Senate Track; Wilson to Announce for Louisiana Governor’s Race?

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 2, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump; Florida Gov. Ron Desantis

Emerson College Poll: National Data Reveals Interesting Underlying Points — Emerson College is reporting the results of their latest national survey (Feb. 24-25; 1,060 registered US voters; interactive voice response system & online panel) and while some of the results are consistent with other polling – former President Trump leading Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP field by a wide margin nationally; President Biden upside-down on the job approval question (44:50 percent) – other data points are proving more interesting.

First, in the general election ballot test, Trump records a 46-42 percent edge over President Biden nationally, which is one of his better polling showings. Second, in contrast to several other recent national polls, the 476 tested Democratic primary voters give overwhelming support, 71 percent, to President Biden as the 2024 party nominee. Interestingly, a whopping 85 percent within the youngest segment, those aged 18-34, are supportive of this position. Third, while Trump records a 55-25 percent national lead over Gov. DeSantis, the latter manages to gain among Hispanics, college educated Republican voters, GOP voters over 65, and Midwest respondents when compared with Emerson’s January poll.

Marianne Williamson: Biden’s First Dem Challenger Emerges — Author Marianne Williamson (D), who ran for President in 2020 but fared very poorly in that year’s Democratic nomination campaign, said she will formally announce her 2024 national campaign on Saturday. Williamson will not become a major factor in the race, but could earn some delegates in New Hampshire if the state fails to adhere to the Democratic National Committee schedule and, as a result, President Biden decides not to enter the state’s primary. Otherwise, a Williamson campaign will be a non-factor.

Senate

Texas: New Democrat Potential Candidate Emerging — Democratic leaders have been attempting to recruit a strong opponent for Sen. Ted Cruz (R) as he seeks a third term next year, and most of the early speculation has centered around former HUD Secretary, presidential candidate, and ex-San Antonio mayor, Julian Castro, and US representative and former NFL football player Colin Allred (D-Dallas). With neither man so far jumping into the race, statements from Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, as reported in the Daily Kos Elections blog, suggest that outgoing Houston mayor and former veteran state Rep. Sylvester Turner may be moving toward becoming a candidate.

Democrats are expected to make a run at Sen. Cruz, but in a presidential election year with the turnout model almost assuredly favoring the eventual Republican presidential nominee the future Democratic candidate will be in a decided underdog position.

Michigan: Rep. Slotkin’s Senate Track — Three-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), as expected for weeks, formally announced that she will run for the Senate next year. In December, four-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) announced that she will retire at the end of this Congress. Rep. Slotkin, one of the more prolific fundraisers in the House, is already perceived as the favorite for the Democratic nomination and the general election.

Though there was much activity right after Sen. Stabenow announced that she would step down, only one elected official, Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder (R), has actually declared her candidacy until Rep. Slotkin made her intention known.

While Rep. Slotkin has the inside track to the Democratic nomination and may not even face a significant intra-party opponent, several Republicans are still contemplating whether to run for the open Senate seat. Among them are former gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon, US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland), and former Reps. Fred Upton, Mike Rogers, and Peter Meijer.

Prominent Michigan politicos who have said they will not run for the Senate include Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D), Attorney General Dana Nessel (D), Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), US Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Birmingham) and John James (R-Farmington Hills), and state Senate Majority Whip Mallory McMorrow (D-Oakland and Wayne Counties).

House

CA-12: First Open-Seat Candidate Emerges — Bay Area Rapid Transit Board member Lateefah Simon (D) became the first individual to announce her candidacy for California’s new open 12th District, which encompasses the cities of Oakland and Berkeley. Twelve-term Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) is leaving the House to run for the Senate.

The 12th, a coalition majority minority seat, is the most Democratic district in this bluest of states. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates it D+77, while the Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean finds a 89.7D – 8.3R spread. Therefore, two Democrats advancing to the general election in what is expected to be a crowded all-party qualifying election field is a virtual certainty.

Potential candidates include state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Assemblywomen Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) and Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D), and several local officials.

Governor

Louisiana: Democrats Uniting — While the candidate filing deadline for this year’s Louisiana governor’s race is still more than five months away, Democrats appear to already be uniting behind one candidate. Shawn Wilson is the outgoing state Secretary of Transportation who will be resigning from office on March 4. His official gubernatorial announcement will come soon after. Gary Chambers (D), who ran against Sen. John Kennedy (R) last year and was viewed as a potential candidate now says he will not run and is lining up behind Wilson. Term-limited Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has already given his tacit endorsement to Wilson.

All of this likely means Wilson will surely advance into the general election runoff. Republicans will split their votes, thus ensuring that no candidate will reach the 50 percent mark in the Oct. 14 all-party jungle primary. The top two finishers will advance into the Nov. 18 general, meaning Wilson will await the outcome of a tight GOP gubernatorial nomination contest. Republicans will be favored to convert the Louisiana governorship, but Democrats are clearly doing their best to correctly position themselves for the autumn election.

Biden Weak Among Dems; Desantis Leads Trump; Two Potential Michigan Candidates Decline to Run; Chicago’s Lightfoot Trails in Mayoral Race

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023

President

President Joe Biden

National Polling: Biden Weak Among Dem Voters — While First Lady Jill Biden was questioning over the weekend why people are not fully believing that President Biden is running for re-election when he has repeatedly said that he is, national Democratic primary voter polling since the 2022 election suggests internal weakness for the party’s incumbent. Though Democrats generally rate his job performance as very positive, a large percentage would also prefer another candidate run in 2024.

For example, the new California Field Poll conducted at the University of California at Berkeley (Feb. 14-20; 7,51 registered California voters; online) finds 86 percent of the state’s Democrats approving of President Biden’s job performance, but only 57 percent of this same segment favor him running for re-election.

Four national Democratic primary polls have been conducted since the 2022 election from Emerson College, YouGov, Reuters/Ipsos, and Harvard University/Harris; just among Democrats, President Biden only scores between 35-42 percent preference within a hypothetical field of notable Democratic potential candidates. Though this suggests weakness for renomination, it doesn’t appear that the president will face major intra-party competition as he begins his 2024 campaign.

California: DeSantis Leads Trump — The California Field Poll conducted at the University of California at Berkeley (Feb. 14-20; 7,512 registered California voters; 1,755 self-identified California Republican voters; online) also looked at the Republican presidential field. The statewide totals find Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, an unannounced candidate for president, topping former President Donald Trump, 37-29 percent, with former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley recording seven percent preference. All other potential Republican candidates score support figures of four percent or less.

The important point to remember about the California Republican nomination system is that the state selects delegates through its 52 congressional districts. Therefore, though DeSantis may be leading in the statewide count, the nomination battle is determined through the votes tabulated in the individual congressional districts. This system could make the California primary a wild card state on Super Tuesday.

Senate

Michigan: Two Say No — Two-time GOP US Senate nominee John James, who won the 10th District US House race last November, says he will not compete for Michigan’s open Senate seat next year and will instead defend his politically marginal congressional district in a bid for re-election. James was one of the national Republicans’ top Senate prospects, but his decision is good news for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

For the Democrats, state Senate Majority Whip Mallory McMorrow (D-Oakland and Wayne Counties) also said she will not enter the US Senate race. Though candidate speculation has been heavy, only Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder (R) has announced her Senate candidacy among current elected officials. After much speculation and anticipation, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) entered the Senate race yesterday, saying in a campaign video that “We all know America is going through something right now, we seem to be living crisis to crisis,” after which she speaks to a relatively broad agenda. “Look, our country is going to get through this,” she declares. “It’s hard work, but that’s what Michiganders do.” In December, four-term incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) announced that she would not seek a fifth term.

Cities

Chicago: Closing Mayoral Poll Suggests Defeat for Incumbent Lori Lightfoot — The Chicago non-partisan mayoral primary is today, and a closing poll from M3 Strategies (Feb. 20-21; 450 likely Chicago voters) gives former Chicago Schools CEO Paul Vallas a substantial lead with 32 percent of the vote. Vallas is a Democrat but widely seen as the most conservative candidate in the nine-person field.

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who Reps. Jonathan Jackson (D-Chicago) and Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) support, is second with an 18 percent support factor. Mayor Lori Lightfoot now trails with only 14 percent backing, and Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), who once led the race, drops all the way back to fourth position at 12 percent preference. Though all the candidates are relatively close, the poll shows the real possibility that Mayor Lightfoot would fail to qualify for the runoff election.

The city is reporting that over 210,000 mail ballots have been requested. Since the ballots may be postmarked on election day, Feb. 28, it could be several days before final tallies are reported. Under Chicago election law, however, mail ballots received before election may be counted early and added to the initial public reports on election night. If no candidate receives majority support in today’s election, which is a virtual certainty, the top two finishers will advance to an April 4 runoff contest.