Tag Archives: North Carolina

Rep. Budd’s Nomination Secure in NC?
A Close Gov. Race Brewing in NM

By Jim Ellis
May 16, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Dueling General Election Polls — With US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) now substantially ahead in 12 consecutive Republican primary polls from the end of March to present, it appears clear he is going to be nominated on Tuesday. Therefore, attention is already being paid to the formulating general election. Two polls featuring Rep. Budd and consensus Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, have just been released.

The first, from the Beasley campaign that the Global Strategy Group conducted (April 28-May 4; 800 likely North Carolina general election voters) finds the poll sponsor and Rep. Budd tied at 45 percent. Emerson College also released their survey (May 7-9; 1,000 registered North Carolina voters) that gives Budd a 48-41 percent advantage. We can expect this to be one of the top Senate races in the country come November and will feature a plethora of public polls.

House

NC-1: Dems Have Clear Poll Leader; Republicans Attacking Their Own — The GQR survey research firm ran a poll of the open 1st District Democratic primary (May 6-8; 407 likely NC-1 Democratic primary voters) and find state Sen. Don Davis (D-Snow Hill) leading former state senator and 2020 US Senate candidate Erica Smith, 44-31 percent, as the candidates make their final pitch before Tuesday’s primary election.

The Republican-oriented Congressional Leadership Fund, loosely associated with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), is actively running ads against GOP candidate Sandy Smith, the 2020 CD-1 nominee who held incumbent Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) to a 54-46 percent re-election victory.

The CLF does not indicate support for another candidate, but former Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson appears to be Smith’s strongest competitor. The move is curious in that the ads lay out personal negatives against Smith that could be used against her in the general election should she win the GOP nomination. The new 1st, which the state Supreme Court drafted, is rated D+5, thus suggesting a competitive general election.

Governor

New Mexico: Close Race Brewing — Survey USA polling for KOB-TV in Albuquerque (April 29-May 7; 1,389 likely New Mexico general election voters; interactive voice response system and online) tested the upcoming governor’s race and finds 2020 US Senate Republican nominee and former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti pulling to within the margin of polling error against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D).

The ballot test breaks 47-43 percent in favor of the incumbent. More troubling for Gov. Lujan Grisham, however, is her results against the entire Republican field. Paired individually with each of five candidates, Gov. Lujan Grisham, though leading in every case, fails to reach 50 percent against any of her GOP opponents. The cumulative results portend a highly competitive November race.

Pennsylvania: Senate President Drops Out — Just days before Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, state Senate President Jake Corman has dropped his Republican gubernatorial bid and endorsed fellow contender Lou Barletta, the former congressman and 2020 US Senate nominee. With Corman never able to increase his support from low single digits, his withdrawal is designed to help Barletta overcome the polling lead that state Sen. Doug Mastriano (D-Fayetteville) has established.

Pennsylvania Republican leaders are reportedly nervous that Sen. Mastriano, who was a legislative leader in attempting to determine if there was widespread fraud in the state during the 2020 election, would be unable to defeat Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is the consensus Democratic gubernatorial nominee. It is likely that the Corman-Barletta move will prove too little, too late, however.

States

Texas Attorney General: Paxton Leading Big — A CWS Research poll (May 4-10; 992 likely Texas Republican primary runoff voters; interactive voice response system and text) reports that Attorney General Ken Paxton is substantially ahead of Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The CWS results find AG Paxton holding a whopping 58-31 percent lead as the candidates move toward the state’s May 24 runoff election date. In the primary, Paxton garnered 42.7 percent of the vote, which is obviously short of the majority vote a candidate needs to win the nomination outright. In a field of four candidates, Bush finished second with 22.8 percent.

Trump Endorses Again; Rep. Greene Cleared of Insurrection Charges

By Jim Ellis
May 10, 2022

House

Former Georgia Ethics Commission chairman Jake Evans

GA-6: Trump Endorses Jake Evans — Former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement of former Georgia Ethics Commission chairman Jake Evans for the open 6th Congressional District primary scheduled for May 24. Trump joins former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) in supporting Evans among others. The early leader appeared to be Dr. Rich McCormick (R) who challenged current Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee) in the neighboring 7th District, but lost a close 51-49 percent battle in 2020. The new 6th was made highly Republican, R+24 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, hence the reason current 6th District incumbent Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) decided to challenge Rep. Bourdeaux in the 2022 Democratic primary.

A total of nine Republican candidates are vying for the party nomination, but it will likely come down to a battle between McCormick and Evans. The chances of these two advancing to a July 26 runoff election are high. Georgia employs a 50 percent threshold to claim a nomination outright. If no one reaches that percentage plateau, the top two finishers then face each other in a succeeding runoff election.

GA-14: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Wins Judicial Ruling — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome) was cleared of insurrection charges, and subsequently awarded a ballot position as she seeks a second term in the House. Left of center forces were challenging Greene’s status because of what they said was her role in the Jan. 6 US Capitol protest.

Greene faces five Republican primary opponents on May 24. The likely Democratic nominee is Army veteran Marcus Flowers who had raised over $7 million for the contest, but showed only $1.9 million remaining in his account on March 31. Flowers will need all of these funds and then some, since the new GA-14 is rated R+45.

NY-19: State Senator Won’t Run for Congress — Rep. Antonio Delgado’s (D-Rhinebeck) appointment as New York’s lieutenant governor leaves the upstate 19th Congressional District as an open seat. State Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D-Kingston), daughter of the late US Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D) who served 10 terms in the House, had been considering a congressional bid but announced on Friday that she would instead seek re-election to the legislature. This perhaps robs the Democrats of their best potential candidate in a district that could be re-drawn as more favorable to the Republicans when the new maps are completed by the assigned May 20 deadline.

NC-4: State Senator Leads Dem Open Seat Field — Veteran Tar Heel State US Rep. David Price (D-Chapel Hill) is retiring after serving what will be 34 non-consecutive years in the House. The battle to replace him comes in the Democratic primary in what is rated as a new D+30 district that contains the cities of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Burlington. An Impact Research survey (April 25-28; 425 NC-4 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) projects state Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Chapel Hill) as the race leader with 35 percent support. Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam is second with 16 percent preference, and country singer and former congressional candidate Clay Aiken is third with 10 percent.

Under North Carolina election procedure, a candidate must receive at least 30 percent of the vote to win a partisan nomination outright. It appears that Sen. Foushee is in position to win the May 17 Democratic primary, which is tantamount to clinching the general election in this district.

WV-2: Independent Poll Casts Mooney as Leader — There has been a large number of public polls released in this intra-party incumbent pairing contest, the first of five such battles to be conducted around the country this year. Almost all of the polls, however, have been internally commissioned and show the poll sponsor leading.

The new Research America poll was conducted for the West Virginia MetroNews and not one of the candidates (April 27-5/4; 350 likely WV-2 GOP primary voters; live interview & text), but the results largely confirm the Public Opinion Strategies survey that Rep. Alex Mooney’s (R-Charles Town) campaign released last week. The RA poll finds Mooney leading fellow US Rep. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) by a 48-33 percent count. The POS result posted Rep. Mooney to a similar 50-30 percent lead. The West Virginia primary is today.

Rep. Budd Cements Lead in NC;
Sen. Manchin Goes Republican?

By Jim Ellis
May 5, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Rep. Budd Cements Lead — The Club for Growth, running a support independent expenditure for Rep. Ted Budd’s (R-Advance) US Senate campaign, released the results of their most recent WPA Intelligence poll (April 24-26; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters; live interview). While Rep. Budd led in the last six consecutive polls, the WPAi numbers now post him to a 20 percentage point lead over former Gov. Pat McCrory, 43-23 percent. Ex-US Rep. Mark Walker trails with nine percent support, while author Marjorie Eastman records four percent preference.

Considering North Carolina only has a 30 percent threshold to win a nomination outright, it appears the congressman is in strong position to clinch on May 17. The GOP winner will face consensus Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice. Sen. Richard Burr (R) is retiring after three terms.

House

FL-15: Candidates Enter Race — With the Florida congressional map now adopted, candidates are beginning to come forward. In the new open 15th District that contains half of the city of Lakeland and part of Hillsborough County, former US Rep. Dennis Ross is drawing Republican primary opposition. In the race are state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), retired Navy officer Kevin McGovern, and Afghan war Navy veteran Demetrius Grimes.

The seat leans Republican, but expect Democratic competition in the general election. At the early going, considering he represented more than 70 percent of this district for eight years in the House before retiring, Ross is the clear favorite for the party nomination and to capture the seat.

WV-2: Manchin Involved in Republican Campaign — The paired Republican congressional campaign between Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) and Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has drawn an unusual advocate. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has endorsed Rep. McKinley, and is now starring for him in a new testimonial ad. Sen. Manchin dispels the notion that Rep. McKinley supported the Build Back Better legislation and directly criticizes Rep. Mooney.

With the primary fast approaching on May 10, we can expect Rep. Mooney to quickly counter the message. Sen. Manchin’s approval numbers are strong in West Virginia, but bringing a Democratic figure in to help decide a Republican primary battle could well backfire. Expect Mooney to attempt to turn the tables regarding this endorsement.

Helping explain Rep. McKinley’s move to highlight the Democratic senator, the latest public poll (Public Opinion Strategies for the Mooney campaign; April 26-28; 400 likely WV-2 Republican primary voters) gives Rep. Mooney a 20-point, 50-30 percent advantage as the two candidates begin the final week of campaigning. The two were forced into one district because West Virginia lost one of its three seats in national reapportionment.

Ohio Republican Turnout Dominates

By JIM ELLIS
May 5, 2022


Primaries

Turnout: Republicans Dominate in Ohio — Primary turnout can often be a harbinger of what happens in a general election. In the Buckeye State, Republicans claimed the turnout war in impressive fashion even when considering the Democratic contests were not particularly competitive. Compared to the 2018 midterm election, Republican turnout was up 28 percent, with over 1 million voting. Conversely, Democrat participation was down 26 percent from the last midterm with an aggregate turnout total of just over 510,000 voters, literally half of the GOP figure.

These results are close to the stats from Texas’ early March primary. Republican turnout there was up 26.6 percent, while Democratic participation grew only 3.6 percent. There were no contested statewide contests to measure the Indiana turnout. So far, the political enthusiasm gap is pointing toward the Republicans.

OH-11: Loss Could Mean a Presidential Run — Former Ohio state senator and 2020 Bernie Sanders for President national co-chair Nina Turner, who lost a 66-34 percent landslide Democratic primary election to Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) on Tuesday, is reportedly considering entering the 2024 presidential campaign. To say the least, Turner would enter the presidential nomination battle as a major underdog.

Senate

North Carolina: Two More See Budd Leading — A pair of new polls, one of which was conducted for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, echo the findings of all other surveys released since March 22. That is, Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) is topping former Gov. Pat McCrory, US Rep. Mark Walker, and author Marjorie Eastman.

In the NC Chamber poll, conducted through Atlantic Polling Strategies (April 25-28; released May 4; 534 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; live interview and online), Rep. Budd is holding a 45-21-9-3 percent advantage. Meredith College (April 25-27; 1,225 adults; 588 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters; online) posts the Budd margin at 33-26-7-3 percent in the same order as above. The North Carolina primary is May 17. Rep. Budd has now led in eight consecutive published polls.

Governor

Florida: Rep. Crist Increases Primary Lead — A new St. Pete Polls survey (May 2-3; 1,859 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; online) projects that US congressman and former Gov. Charlie Crist holds a dominating lead in the Democratic primary. The ballot test result finds Crist capturing 52 percent of the Democratic preference vote, way ahead of state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s 19 percent and state Sen. Annette Taddeo’s (D-Miami) five percent support. Interestingly, Taddeo was Crist’s lieutenant governor running mate when the pair lost to then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2014. The winner of the Aug. 23 Democratic primary will then challenge incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the general election.

New York: Gov. Hochul’s Comfortable Lead — A new Emerson College poll (May 1-3; 1,000 likely New York voters, 444 likely New York Democratic primary voters; combination interactive voice response system, text, and online) sees Gov. Kathy Hochul leading her Democratic primary opponents, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, by a 45-12-7 percent count.

More interesting, however, is the general election survey that includes former Gov. Andrew Cuomo running as an Independent. In this scenario, 33 percent would support a generic Democratic candidate, 33 percent a generic Republican candidate, while 16 percent would vote for Cuomo. There is no indication at this point, however, that the resigned governor will enter the race.

Wisconsin Senate Race Tightens; House News; Surprising Governor Approval Ratings; New York Redistricting Map Rejected

By Jim Ellis

May 2, 2022:

Senate

Wisconsin: Dem Race Tightening — Marquette Law School released its quarterly survey of the Wisconsin electorate (April 19-24; 805 registered Wisconsin voters; 363 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) and sees a tightening Democratic US Senate primary. The ballot test gave Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes only a 19-16 percent lead over Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball club executive Alex Lasry. The result represents a net seven-point swing in Lasry’s favor since the last Marquette survey in February. Lasry has been advertising heavily in media buys. This race has time to gel. The Wisconsin primary is not until Aug. 9. The winner faces Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in November.

House

NC-11: Rep. Cawthorn in Position for Plurality Win — The Differentiators Data research organization, polling for GOPAC (April 25-26; 400 NC-11 likely Republican primary voters; live interview and text), finds that a majority of GOP sampled voters saying they would not vote to re-nominate Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville), but his hard-core support group appears large enough to allow him to win a plurality election.

When asked if they would support Rep. Cawthorn in the North Carolina primary, 61 percent said they would choose another candidate. The 39 percent coalition that would vote to re-nominate him is large enough to win the primary in a state that has a runoff law, but with only a 30 percent threshold. With seven opponents opposing him, Rep. Cawthorn is clearly playing to his benefit.

Governor

Wisconsin: Kleefisch Continues to Lead — As mentioned above in the Wisconsin Senate section, Marquette Law School released a new Wisconsin survey (4/19-24; 805 WI registered voters; 375 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch continues to lead the party nomination race. The numbers haven’t changed much since February, though this poll was taken before construction company executive and 2004 US Senate nominee Tim Michels entered the race. The ballot test finds Ms. Kleefisch holding a 32-10% lead over businessman and frequent candidate Kevin Nicholson. The winner will face Gov. Tony Evers (D) in the general election in what will be a highly competitive race.

Approval Ratings: Top 11 Governors are all Republican — The latest Morning Consult Governor approval ratings are out, and Republican governors led by Charlie Baker (R-MA), Phil Scott (R-VT), Larry Hogan (R-MD), and Jim Justice (R-WV) head a group of 11 GOP state chief executives who are the top rated in the nation. Of the 11, six are on the ballot for re-election this year including Gov. Scott, who has still not indicated that he will run for a fourth two-year term. Chris Sununu (R-NH), Kay Ivey (R-AL), Mark Gordon (R-WY), Doug Burgum (R-ND), and Mike DeWine (R-OH) are the other top-rated governors seeking re-election.

On the other end of the spectrum, the only two who have negative ratings above 50 percent, Govs. Kate Brown (D-OR) and David Ige (D-HI), are both retiring.

Redistricting

New York: High Court Rejects Dem Map — The New York Court of Appeals, the highest judicial body in the state, upheld the two lower court decisions to invalidate the Democrats’ 22D-4R congressional map. The high court ruled that the legislature did not have the power to usurp the created redistricting commission even though the members could not complete their task by the assigned date. The CoA also ruled that the map is a partisan gerrymander. The court remanded the map back to the lower court and instructed a special master be hired to draw the new congressional and state Senate maps. The court also recommended the June 28 state primary be moved to a time in August.

Self-Funding Candidates Saving GOP

By Jim Ellis

April 21, 2022 — The first-quarter financial reports are now public and we see a stark difference between Democrats and Republicans in funding for the key May primary Senate races, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. If it wasn’t for self-funding candidates in these two states, the GOP would be in trouble.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds strong polling leads over his primary opponents as well as a major fundraising advantage over all contenders. According to the Federal Election Commission’s March 31 campaign finance reporting, Fetterman has raised just over $15 million for his US Senate effort.

His receipts total is well over $9 million more than his chief Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh), and his $5.7 million aggregate figure. The third competitive Democrat, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), has obtained $1.8 million. None of the three Democrats have self-funded their races to any degree.

The Pennsylvania Republicans, on the other hand, offer a stark contrast. While the top two GOP resource candidates, television doctor Mehmet Oz and ex-hedge fund CEO David McCormick, report aggregate receipts in the same realm as Fetterman, the sources are very different.

Dr. Oz posts total receipts through March 31 of $13.4 million and McCormick has $11.3 million. The difference, however, is that 82 percent of Dr. Oz’s money comes from him, and 61 percent of McCormick’s money is self-donated, mostly in the form of campaign loans.

The same pattern also appears for the third-highest funded Republican candidate, former US Ambassador Carla Sands. She reports $4.62 million in receipts, but 85 percent of that total comes from her personal funds. The fourth-place candidate, former lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos, is the only one with a majority percentage of his dollars coming from contributors. He has raised $3.4 million, with 62 percent coming from individuals other than himself.

The story is the same in neighboring Ohio. There, the two top fundraising Republicans report self-funding as their major source.

Businessman Mike Gibbons leads all candidates in total receipts with $17.4 million raised. In his case, all but $1 million, or 94 percent of his aggregate total, comes from his own funds. The second-highest Republican in terms of dollars raised is state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians MLB baseball club, with $11.1 million in receipts. He also has self-donated, mostly in terms of personal loans, 94 percent of his campaign treasury.

We also see the same pattern appear for the Ohio Democrats that exists in Pennsylvania. US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) is the consensus party candidate, way ahead of former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official and 2020 congressional candidate Morgan Harper in terms of polling and money.

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Senate Snippets

By Jim Ellis

April 19, 2022 — We have seen recent changes in many key 2022 in-cycle Senate races. Below is a competitive state-by-state recap:

Alabama: Polling now consistently shows that the GOP nomination battle, which will determine who will replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), is turning into a two-way race. Early leader Mo Brooks, the northern Alabama congressman who former President Trump originally endorsed only to see him recently rescind his support, has now dropped well back. It appears clear that “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant and former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt will advance to a runoff election. The Alabama primary is May 24 with the succeeding runoff scheduled for June 21.

Alaska: State Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) withdrew from the race to seek re-election to the legislature, and 2020 Senate nominee Al Gross filed to run for the at-large US House special election; thus the Democrats have no announced candidate. Candidate filing is June 1 for the Aug. 16 primary. The new election system will send four candidates to the general election, so whoever comes forth as a Democratic contender will likely advance to November. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is seeking re-election.

Arizona: Recent polling continues to show a tight GOP contest among Attorney General Tim Brnovich, and businessmen Blake Masters and Jim Lamon. Candidate filing is closed, so the field is set for the Aug. 2 primary. The eventual Republican nominee will challenge freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D).

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman continues to campaign hard in a Republican primary battle against former University of Arkansas football player and Iraq War veteran Jake Bequette. The senator is still a heavy favorite for re-nomination and re-election.

California: Appointed Sen. Alex Padilla (D) is a cinch for election to a full term in the autumn.

Colorado: Only state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Fremont) and construction company owner Joe O’Dea qualified for the Republican primary either through the state nominating assembly or petitioning onto the ballot. Early leaders Deborah Flora, a talk show host, and former Olympian Eli Bremer failed to qualify. Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is favored for re-election.

Connecticut: Seven Republicans have announced their candidacies against Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D). The two most credible candidates appear to be former Republican National Committeewoman Leora Levy, who has almost $1 million cash-on-hand, and state Senate Minority Leader Themis Klarides. This race may draw a bit of attention, but it’s still a very long shot for any Republican to beat Sen. Blumenthal.

Florida: Both Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) have now each raised more than $30 million for the 2022 race, and both have over $13 million cash-on-hand. Sen. Rubio remains favored in a state that is moving closer to the GOP, but Rep. Demings has now actually raised a bit more money than the incumbent. A close finish here is virtually guaranteed.

Georgia: Polling suggests that former University of Georgia and NFL football star Herschel Walker will win the Republican nomination outright on May 24, thus setting the stage for the general election between he and freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D).

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