By Jim Ellis — Friday, May 19, 2023
SenateMichigan: New Candidate Enters — Resigning as the state’s Natural Resources Commissioner, former state Rep. Leslie Love (D) announced her candidacy for the US Senate on late last week, hoping to become Michigan’s first African American senator. Democratic leaders had been interested in recruiting actor Hill Harper into the race. Harper is a potential opponent that Love described as being “inexperienced in politics and government,” and further pointed out that he does not even live in Michigan.
State Board of Education President Paula Pugh (D) is also a potential candidate. If all three of these African Americans enter the race the black vote will likely be split, thus favoring Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who is commonly viewed as the race leader. The Michigan Senate seat will be open in 2024 because four-term incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring.
Nevada: Republicans’ Recruit Target — Disabled American veteran Sam Brown, who challenged former Attorney General Adam Laxalt for the 2022 Republican Senate nomination and raised over $4.3 million before losing the primary election, is apparently high on the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s (NRSC) recruit list, according to reports. Nevada, where Republicans won three of seven statewide races last November including unseating Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, is likely to be in the toss-up category for 2024. Incumbent Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) is seeking re-election for a second term.
Hawaii: Gabbard Dispels Senate Poll — The Hawaii News Network is reporting that a Survey Monkey text poll is being conducted in the state pitting former US congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard against Sen. Mazie Hirono (D). Gabbard was quick to dispel the possibility of her running for the Senate, saying she is not associated with the poll and has “no plans to run for the Senate.” The 2024 Senate election is rated as “Safe” for Sen. Hirono.
New Jersey: Another Menendez Opponent Announces — New Jersey investor Kyle Casey became the third Democrat to challenge Sen. Bob Menendez (D), who again faces a federal investigation. Three Republicans have also declared. None of the candidates, however, appear strong enough to run a campaign with the strength to unseat the three-term Senate incumbent and 31-year congressional veteran when adding his seven terms served in the House.
Sen. Menendez will be safe in both the Democratic primary and the general election unless the federal investigation gains legs. The senator was previously indicted in 2015, but the case fell apart and was dropped in 2018. If his legal trouble worsens, expect stronger candidates, likely from both parties, to come forth.
NY-22: New Candidate Emerges — In 2022, businessman Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) continued the Republican tradition in this part of the Empire State of winning a congressional seat where the partisan lean favors their Democratic counterparts. Since 1980, GOP Reps. Williams, John Katko, James Walsh, and George Wortley together represented the Syracuse-anchored district for all but six years.
It is clear Rep. Williams will be a major 2024 campaign target, but now a Democratic primary potentially looms upon the political horizon. Earlier, DeWitt Town Councilmember Sarah Klee Hood (D) declared her candidacy. On Friday, associate college professor and author Clem Harris (D) entered the race. Dr. Harris is also a former staff member to then-Gov. David Paterson (D).
It is likely we will see other candidates coming forward and can expect the local Democratic Party leaders to eventually make an endorsement with the intention of delivering the nomination to their chosen candidate. This is another of the key national 2024 House campaigns that will largely determine the next majority.
TX-15: Another Re-Match Possible — In 2022, second-time congressional candidate Monica de la Cruz (R) defeated businesswoman Michelle Vallejo (D) by a relatively strong 53-45 percent victory margin in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated as EVEN, and Dave’s Redistricting App’s partisan lean calculation favored the Democrats, 51.2D – 47.1R. Vallejo, however, did not draw favorable reviews as a candidate, nor was her campaign particularly strong.
Though Vallejo is preparing to soon announce her 2024 candidacy, likely later this week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Democratic leaders search for a different candidate. At this point, and despite the partisan lean and the region’s voter history, Rep. de la Cruz is favored for re-election in this 15th District that stretches from the area just south of Austin all the way to the Mexican border.
South Carolina: SCOTUS to Hear Redistricting Case — The US Supreme Court announced that the justices will hear the Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP case in the fall term. Earlier, a three-judge panel declared that the state’s 1st District, the Charleston anchored seat that Rep. Nancy Mace (R) represents, as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, and now the high court will hear arguments from both sides.
The move is interesting since the justices are currently preparing a ruling on the Alabama racial gerrymandering case that is thought to be the vehicle for a landmark ruling. SCOTUS hearing the South Carolina case makes the coming Alabama ruling even more curious.