Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Close in Colorado; Dead Heats in Ariz., PA; Herrell Pulling Away in NM; Oregon Upset in the Making?

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

Senate

Republican Colorado Senate challenger Joe O’Dea (R)

Colorado: Closest Reported Poll — The Colorado Senate race, like the Washington contest, has always been on the periphery of competitiveness, and now we see the closest poll between Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and construction company owner Joe O’Dea (R). The Trafalgar Group (Oct. 30-Nov. 1; 1,084 likely Colorado general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) new poll breaks only 48-46 percent in favor of the incumbent. This is the first time we’ve seen a survey that finds the candidates this close. The other most recent studies give the senator leads of between eight and 14 percentage points.

Polling: Critical Senate Races in Dead Heats — The Civiqs polling firm, surveying for the Daily Kos Elections website (Oct. 29-Nov. 2; 859 likely Arizona general election voters; online) sees Arizona Republican Blake Masters coming back all the way to an even standing versus Sen. Mark Kelly (D), and with the momentum on his side. The Civiqs numbers see a flat 49-49 percent flat tie between the two men while the early voting numbers and the governor’s race looks to slightly favor the Republicans.

Another post-debate poll in Pennsylvania was released yesterday. In the sixth of eight surveys produced since the Oct. 25 meeting between Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), the former man has either taken a slight lead or the two are tied. The latest, from Susquehanna Polling & Research (Oct. 28-Nov. 1; 700 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview) sees Dr. Oz leading Fetterman, 48-47 percent.

House

NM-2: Poll Shows Rep. Herrell Pulling Away — The few polls we’ve seen in the gerrymandered new 2nd Congressional District has found freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) slightly trailing Las Cruces City Councilman Gil Vasquez (D) in the newly constructed southern New Mexico district designed to elect a Democrat. The new Emerson College survey (Oct. 25-28; 302 likely NM-2 general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Rep. Herrell pulling away to a slight double-digit lead over Vasquez, however. This latest ballot test gives the congresswoman a significantly wide 54-44 percent advantage.

Governor

Oregon: Independent Still Throwing Race to Republican — The latest Oregon gubernatorial poll, this one from Nelson Research (Oct. 31-Nov. 2; 577 likely Oregon general election voters), sees former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) holding a three-point, 44-41 percent, edge over ex-state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D). Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, who appeared for a long while had a legitimate to win, has dropped back to only six percent support. This latter number, however, still appears enough to toss the election Drazan’s way. Of those who have early voted, according to Nelson Research, Drazan holds a one-point lead. A Republican win here would be a major upset in this most liberal of states.

Wisconsin: Dead Heat Headed into Election Day — While polling suggests that Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has a slight lead heading into Tuesday’s vote, the gubernatorial race between Gov. Tony Evers (D) and GOP businessman Tim Michels appears to be a dead heat. Frequent Wisconsin pollster Marquette Law School released their pre-election survey (Oct. 24-Nov. 1; 802 registered Wisconsin voters; 679 likely Wisconsin voters) the two candidates are tied at 48 percent, while Michels holds a slight 45-44 percent edge among those registered. Michels, however, has held a slight lead in the previously published five mid to late October polls.

Bolduc Pulls Into Tie in NH; Conflicting Senate Polls in Ohio;
PA Polls Show Dr. Oz Ahead

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022

Senate

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

New Hampshire: Bolduc Pulls Into Tie — The co/efficient firm tested the New Hampshire electorate (Oct. 25-26; 1,098 likely New Hampshire general election voters; live interview & text) and sees retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc coming all the way back to even in what was believed to be his long-shot chance against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). With Republican leaders coming within a percentage point of denying him the party nomination, Gen. Bolduc has successfully rebounded to competitive status in the short time since the Sept. 13 primary. The co/efficient ballot test finds both candidates pulling 46 percent preference.

Though the reported vote totals are customarily low in New Hampshire, only 21,089 recorded votes so far according to the Target Smart data organization representing 16.5 percent of the number voting early in 2020, Republicans are up 4.7 percent over their previous performance while Democrats are down .7 percent.

Ohio: Conflicting Five Point Leads — Two polling entities, surveying within the same time period, arrive at diametrically different results. In fact, both project the Ohio Senate candidate they see as the leader to a five-point advantage. Center Street PAC (Oct. 24-26; 508 likely Ohio general election voters) posts the race in Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-Warren/ Youngstown) favor with a 47-42 percent margin. The Cygnal polling firm (Oct. 22-26; 1,817 likely Ohio general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) comes to a wholly different conclusion: Republican J.D. Vance leading 49-44 percent.

The preponderance of October polling is more consistent with Cygnal’s findings. In the last 16 surveys, Vance has led in 11 of the ballot tests, Rep. Ryan in three, and in two the candidates were tied. So far, however, early voting favors the Democrats. Based upon their 2020 performance, the Democratic participation is up 3.5 percentage points while the Republicans are down 4.4 points.

Pennsylvania: Confirming Polls — At the end of last week, Insider Advantage became the first to publish a survey after the Pennsylvania Senate debate and projected the Republican nominee, Dr. Mehmet Oz, to be holding a 48-45 percent edge. Now, we see two more pollsters coming to similar conclusions.

The Wick Insights research firm tested the PA electorate (Oct. 26-27; 1,000 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; online) and sees a 48-46 percent Dr. Oz lead. The co/efficient firm was also in the field (Oct. 26-28; 1,716 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview & text) and likewise found a 48-45 percent Oz edge over Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D).

The latter poll found both Senate candidates saddled with upside-down favorability indexes. Dr. Oz, as he has for most of the election cycle, records a higher negative than positive ratio, 37:46 percent. Fetterman now joins Dr. Oz in negative territory with an index of 43:49 percent.

House

NH-1: Rep. Pappas’ Advantage — The 1st District of New Hampshire has seen more incumbents lose since 2004 than any CD in the country. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester), however, is working on bucking that trend. Running for a third term, the co/efficient New Hampshire poll (Oct. 25-29; 525 likely NH-1 general election voters; live interview & text) projects the congressman to a four-point 48-44 percent lead over former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt (R).

NH-2: Upset Possibility — As part of their statewide survey, co/efficient also tested the state’s 2nd CD, which covers New Hampshire’s western sector. This sub-poll (Oct. 25-26; 573 likely NH-2 general election voters; live interview & text) finds challenger Robert Burns (R), the former Hillsborough County (Manchester) treasurer, edging five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton), 44-43 percent.

Though this is the more Democratic seat of the state’s two districts – the FiveThirtyEight organization rates NH-2 as D+2 and NH-1 as R+1 – the 2nd CD may give the Republicans their better opportunity of claiming an upset on election night.

Post-Debate Poll Shows Oz Lead

By Jim Ellis; Monday, Oct. 31, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania Senate Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television doctor

Dr. Oz Ahead in Post-Debate PA Poll — The first poll conducted after the highly publicized Pennsylvania Senate debate was just released, and it reveals a lead change.

It is possible that the Pennsylvania race could well determine the next Senate majority. A Republican open seat from a politically marginal state, either major party candidate has a chance to win here next month. It is reasonable to assume, with so many other races around the country polling tight but largely in favor of the incumbent party in all but one of the other respective campaigns, that the path to the Senate majority runs through Pennsylvania.

To review, Dr. Mehmet Oz won the Republican primary back in May but it took election officials nearly a month to determine that he had defeated former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 950 votes from the 1.346 million ballots that were cast in the statewide GOP primary.

Democrats have well-known problems here, too. Just three days before the primary election, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading Democratic senatorial candidate who would go onto win a landslide intra-party victory over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh), suffered a serious stroke. He has yet to fully recover, and this debate marked the first time he would face Dr. Oz in a one-on-one format.

To facilitate Fetterman’s rehabilitation from the stroke, both campaigns agreed that the debate administrators, Nextar Media Group, would install a closed caption system where the Democratic nominee could read what was being asked of him. Immediately after the debate, the Fetterman communications director complained that the system was not working properly, which, he said, explained the lieutenant governor’s halting and sometimes rambling answers.

The Nextar spokesman retorted that the system worked properly, and that Fetterman only participated in one of the two rehearsals they offered him. He said Fetterman attending both sessions would have allowed him to better master the system.

The Insider Advantage firm tested the Keystone State electorate a day after the Pennsylvania US Senate debate. The IA poll (Oct. 25; 750 likely Pennsylvania general election voters) projects the Republican nominee, Dr. Oz, to a 48-45 percent edge, and is only the third survey during the entire election cycle that shows him topping Fetterman. A total of 39 polls have been conducted of this Senate race since the May 17 primary from 28 different survey research firms.

A total of 83 percent of the Insider Advantage poll respondents said they saw all or part of the debate either live or in post-debate news coverage. While this post-debate poll slightly favors the Republican candidate, early vote totals portend a Democratic advantage.

According to the Target Smart data organization early vote analysis, 713,029 people have already cast their ballot in the Pennsylvania election. This number represents 49.3 percent of the total early votes cast in 2020 and just over 10 percent of the total Pennsylvania presidential election vote. Compared to the 2018 midterm, the current early vote number represents just over 14 percent of the total vote figure from that comparable election.

At this point, 73.0 percent of the Pennsylvanians voting early are registered Democrats as compared to just 23.3 percent who identify as Republican. A total of 3.6 percent of the 2022 early votes come from non-affiliated voters.

Though the numbers overwhelmingly favor the Democrats, the pattern is similar to that of 2020, which yielded a close general election result. With about half of the early vote cycle remaining, Democrats have so far increased 7.5 percent from their 2020 early vote performance, while Republicans are down 3.9 percentage points. Obviously, these numbers are a positive sign for Democrats.

It is likely, however, that the partisan gap closes to more closely align with the 2020 end total since Republicans not only vote in commanding numbers on election day, but they also tend to vote late in the early voting cycle.

Expect to see several more post-debate polls released very shortly. It is clear that the Pennsylvania race has moved into a toss-up status; hence, the closing days of this campaign are likely to be determinative.

House

PA-12: The Name Game — State Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) has a unique problem. Though running in a strongly Democratic open congressional seat that includes downtown Pittsburgh, her Republican opponent’s name is the same as the long-time retiring Democratic Congressman, Mike Doyle.

Lee is running ads clearly explaining that her opponent is not the retiring congressman. Her approach is likely to work since the new 12th District is strongly Democratic. The fact that she has to advertise to warn about mistaken identity, however, tells us that Lee’s internal data is showing that the name confusion is causing her political problems.

Early Votes: Key Senate States

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

Early Voting Statistics — The Target Smart data organization continues to update early voting statistics from around the country, and we see several situations for both parties where the early vote totals in what should be more favorable states are showing a greater surge for the opposing party.

Of the key Senate races, we see four states where Republicans are either the incumbent party or should have a more favorable early vote performance, but Democrats are gaining the early edge: Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In four others, the GOP is performing better in places that are typically better for Democrats or where they have the incumbent candidate: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

Before delving into these key states, let’s take an updated look at Target Smart’s national report. Through Wednesday, Oct. 26, a total of 12,751,622 individuals have cast early votes in the 42 reporting states that employ an early voting procedure or are accepting and reporting mailed absentee ballots. At this point, 52.2 percent of the returned ballots come from Democrats, 37.9 percent from Republicans, and 9.9 percent from non-affiliated or independent voters.

Such a partisan pattern is consistent with previous years. Democrats tend to use early voting in a more prevalent manner than Republicans, with the GOP then dominating election day turnout. In comparison to the partisan complexion seen in 2020, so far, Democrats are up one full percentage point in the national early voting turnout while Republicans are down .4 percent. The non-affiliated total is down .6 percent.

These numbers are changing day by day, and now just about half-way through the early voting calendar, we can expect to see many differences occurring within the next week. The grand early vote total so far represents 31.1 percent of the aggregate number of people who voted early in the 2020 election.

Of the four states where Democrats have at least a preliminary advantage in early voting, the most significant are Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania — In the Keystone State, more than 683,000 people already have cast ballots. In 2020, a total of 1.179 million voted early according to Target Smart, so the 2022 number is a large sample. In 2020, just over 17 percent of the total electorate voted early.

Here, the Democrats have a wide advantage. A total of 73.4 percent of the recorded early vote are registered Democrats versus just 23.0 percent who are Republicans. These numbers represent a 6.3 percent increase in Democratic performance based upon 2020, while Republicans are down 2.8 percent.

Wisconsin — A little more than 302,000 people already have voted. Here, 39.9 percent of the early voters are Democrats, an improvement of 3.8 percentage points based upon their 2020 performance rate. Republicans are down a whopping 11.8 percentage points.

Iowa — Fewer than 100,000 people already have voted. Of those, 58.7 percent are registered Democrats, an improvement of 7.8 percentage points over the party’s 2020 performance. Republicans are just about even with their 2020 mark, down just half a percentage point.

Ohio — Numbers here also favor the Democrats. More than 529,000 people already have voted, which represents about 30 percent of the total early votes in 2020. A total of 44.2 percent of this year’s early voters are Democrats versus 40.3 percent who are Republican. This translates into a 3.0 percentage improvement for Democrats over their 2020 number, and a decline of 3.9 points for Republicans.

Republicans, however, are outperforming Democrats in another set of key Senate states.

Arizona — More than 530,000 people already have cast their 2022 midterm election ballot. This so far represents just over 50 percent of the number who voted early two years ago. Here, 48.0 percent of the voters are Republican, and 47.0 percent Democratic. These numbers represent a 2.6 percent increase for Republicans and a 1.2 percent decrease for Democrats.

Colorado — Surprising numbers are being seen here. In a state that has been moving decidedly toward the Democrats, it is the Republicans who have so far greatly increased their early voting participation rate.

Some 266,000 people have voted early this year in the Centennial State. This number represents just under a quarter of the number who voted early in 2022. A total of 49.3 percent of this year’s early voters are Democrats, down 4.4 points from two years ago. For Republicans, 43.2 percent of the early voters are their registrants. This represents a GOP increase of 5.8 percentage points from their 2020 performance.

Nevada — Home of another key Senate race, the GOP has an early vote growth advantage in the Silver State. At this point, Target Smart records slightly more than 142,000 early votes, meaning just over 32 percent of the 2020 aggregate early number. The breakdown is 50.8 percent for Democrats and 42.7 percent for Republicans. This means Democrats are down about .3 percent from their 2020 participation rate, while Republicans are up just under two full percentage points. Nevada elections are always tight, so even small fluctuations like these can mean a great deal.

New Hampshire — Our final state in this report; though the early totals are small, about 21,000 voters, which represents only about 16.5 percent of the 2020 early aggregate, the trends are significant. A total of 54.0 percent of the new early voters are Democratic, down .7 percent from 2020, while the Republican total has grown 4.7 percentage points.

While none of these numbers are indicative of the final vote totals in any of the eight states, the early totals have given us previous clues as to which party has the momentum and enthusiasm in a particular place. We will continue to monitor these and other important states through the early voting process.

Intriguing “Real Clear” Projections Show the GOP Winning the Senate

To see this map and the data behind it, visit Real Clear Politics (RCP).

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

Senate

How Republicans Look to Claim Senate Majority — The Real Clear Politics (RCP) data group released their updated US Senate projections, and their formula suggests that Republicans will claim a surprising 53-47 majority.

Such a projection seems to cut against most of the data we currently see, and, in at least three cases, their win projection is opposite of what their own current Real Clear Politics formula shows.

The crux of their predictions lies in a field entitled “Polls Underestimated,” which factors in an average under-poll for one party or the other. In the 10 Senate races they isolated, Republicans are the under-polled party in most but not all of the targeted campaigns.

Utah, Alaska, Iowa, Washington — The two competitive Senate races not included were first, Utah, where they list Sen. Mike Lee (R) as a “likely” winner, though polling generally shows his race with Independent Evan McMullin falling to within single digits. The second is Alaska, which is excluded because the contest is evolving into a race between two Republicans; hence, the seat is not a factor in determining the overall Senate majority. Also, the race between Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) and retired Navy Adm. Michael Franken (D) is also not included, but Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) battle against Republican Tiffany Smiley in Washington is added.

As mentioned above, in three of the races the RCP prognosticators are expecting a turnaround since their own current data is suggesting an opposite result.

Nevada — The RCP current polling projection in the Silver State suggests that Republican former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt holds a slight 0.8 percent lead over Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D). Here, RCP estimates that Democrats under-poll in Nevada by one percentage point. This should leave Sen. Cortez Masto with a 0.2 percent edge, but the table shows Laxalt holding such a lead. This appears to be an error. In any event, their final prediction shows a Laxalt victory, which is reasonable.

Arizona — A state away, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) currently holds an RCP polling lead of 2.5 percentage points over Republican opponent Blake Masters. A Republican under-poll of 1.6 is factored from results during the last three election cycles, which reduces the senator’s advantage to 0.9 percent. In 2020, a total of 21 polls were conducted of the Kelly-Martha McSally Senate race, and Kelly’s average margin was 6.6 points, yet he won only 51-49 percent. Therefore, concluding a Republican under-poll exists in Arizona is reasonable. In this situation, while their model finds Sen. Kelly leading today, RCP predicts a Republican victory for venture capitalist Masters.

Georgia — The other conclusion that is perhaps inconsistent is their prediction for the Georgia Senate race. Showing Republican Herschel Walker with a 1.1 percentage point edge after an under-poll factor of 1.4 is added to the Republican column leads the RCP final prediction that Walker and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) would be forced into a post-election runoff on Dec. 6. Yet, in the overall count, Georgia is counted in the Republican column. Though not stated, RCP must be predicting that Walker would win the runoff election.

Under Georgia law, as we will remember from 2020, a candidate must receive majority support to win the general election. On the ballot with Sen. Warnock and Walker is Georgia Libertarian Party chairman Chase Oliver. If Warnock and Walker split the vote to where both candidates post in the neighborhood of the 48-49 percent number, then a few points going to Oliver could send the two major party nominees into a Dec. 6 secondary election with Oliver being eliminated from the mix. Thus, we will see more even intrigue on election night coming from the Peach State.

Pennsylvania — RCP is also predicting victory for two candidates who their model suggests are currently behind but who flip after adding the under-poll factor. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is running ahead by 1.3 percentage points according to the current RCP survey average. Adding a 3.9 percent Republican under-poll to the aggregate gives Dr. Mehmet Oz a 2.6 percent adjusted lead. RCP predicts a Dr. Oz victory on Nov. 8.

New Hampshire — The race between Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R) has tightened. The RCP average sees a Hassan lead of 3.6 percent but adding a large 5.4 New Hampshire Republican under-poll actually gives Gen. Bolduc a 1.8 percent edge. Still, RCP predicts a Hassan Democratic victory on Election Day.

Other Wins — Finally, the Real Clear Politics data team predicts Republicans to win the Senate races in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, with Democrats holding Washington.

Added up, these numbers result in a 53-47 Republican majority. Possible? Yes. Likely? No.

Oz Closing the Gap in PA; MN-2 a Bellweather for House Majority; Split Georgia Vote May Be Developing; Zeldin Closes in on Hochul in NY

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania Senate Republican candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television doctor

Pennsylvania: Oz Closing the Gap — The AARP polling series that Republican pollster Fabrizio Ward and the Democratic data firm Impact Research jointly conduct again tested the Pennsylvania electorate. Their new poll (Oct. 4-12; 1,400 likely Pennsylvania general election voters; live interview & text) projects Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) as having only a 48-46 percent lead over Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, the television doctor. Previously, the AARP poll June poll found Fetterman holding a larger six-point advantage.

Within the same period, The Trafalgar Group also ran a Pennsylvania survey (Oct. 8-11; 1,078 PA likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) and arrived at a virtually identical 47-45 percent split. It is becoming clear, with early voting already underway, that this critical Senate race is going down to the wire, just as we saw back in May when the state Republican primary ended in a razor-thin result. In fact, from the last 10 polls released of this race, seven of the 10 found Fetterman leading by four percentage points or less.

House

MN-2: Close Again — In a surprise 2020 finish, Republican challenger Tyler Kistner, a military veteran who hadn’t gotten much national attention, lost only a battle to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Eagan) by only two points — 48-46 percent. It appears the two are headed for another razor-thin finish this year in their re-match campaign. A just-released Survey USA poll (Oct. 15-16; 586 likely MN-2 general election voters; automated telephone & online) projects Craig to be holding a slim 46-45 percent lead over Kistner in a polling result wholly consistent with this electorate’s voting history.

Both Minnesota’s southern sector districts — the 1st and 2nd — are important toward determining the new House majority. The GOP would conceivably be on a majority track by winning one of the state’s two southern swing seats. Should their candidates win both, a big Republican night could be in the making. If the Democrats win both, such a performance would suggest that the party would have a legitimate chance of holding their slim majority.

Governor

Georgia: Disconnect with Senate Race — Two more polls were released that find Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leading former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D), and running substantially ahead of Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker. The juxtaposition makes these races interesting to watch.

Insider Advantage (Oct. 16; 550 likely Georgia general election voters) gives Gov. Kemp a 50-43 percent lead over Abrams, but also sees Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock posting a 46-43 percent edge over Walker. Similarly, while Landmark Communications (Oct. 15-17; 500 likely Georgia general election voters) projects Gov. Kemp’s lead at 51-45 percent, the firm derives a 46-46 percent tie between Warnock and Walker. Therefore, we continually see a relatively substantial single-digit swing in Sen. Warnock’s favor when comparing the gubernatorial results from consistent polling samples. This suggests we could see a split decision from these major Georgia statewide races.

New York: More Data Finding Tightening Race — Quinnipiac University has joined the group of pollsters projecting the New York governor’s race between Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), on the ballot for the first time in her own right after ascending to the position when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, and US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) as a close race. The Q-Poll (Oct. 12-16; 1,617 likely New York general election voters; live interview) sees the spread between Gov. Hochul and Rep. Zeldin dropping to 50-46 percent.

Four of the past seven polls see the contest falling between two and six percentage points, which represents a notable improvement for Rep. Zeldin. With New York early voting not beginning until Oct. 29, this race’s patterns still have a significant period in which to firm.

Nebraska’s Gov. Ricketts to Become Sen. Ricketts? Dead Heats in CA-21 & FL-27; Oklahoma Shock Poll

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022

Senate

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R)

Nebraska: Gov. Ricketts Makes Succession Statement — Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R) resignation, to occur once he is confirmed as the University of Florida’s new president, has spurred discussion as to who will be appointed as Nebraska’s replacement junior senator. Term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), who refused to comment about his interest in assuming the position when Sen. Sasse announced his future plans, uttered a clarifying comment over the weekend.

Under Nebraska state law, a governor has 45 days to replace a resigning senator after the seat becomes officially vacant. Sen. Sasse indicated he will resign before the end of the year. Therefore, it is possible that Gov. Ricketts could make the appointment as one of his last official acts, or the likely incoming chief executive, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen (R), would do so as one of his first duties.

Ricketts now indicates if he develops an interest in receiving the appointment, he will let the new governor choose the new senator and not appoint himself. In a crowded 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary, Gov. Ricketts endorsement of Pillen helped him win the nomination, so the early tea leaves are suggesting that the outgoing governor could be headed to the Senate.

New Hampshire: Dollars Changing Direction — Earlier, we speculated upon the National Republican Senatorial Committee eventually making the move to pull their media reservation dollars from New Hampshire and begin moving the money to places where the GOP candidate looks to be in better victory position — namely Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. With the NRSC’s canceling its $2.6 million budget for the Boston market, as reported by the Adminpact and Daily Kos Elections organizations, the move has been made.

This, however, does not mean the Republican sector is abandoning New Hampshire, especially since polling still shows nominee Don Bolduc within high single-digits of Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). The Senate Leadership Fund and other outside right-of-center allies have reserved another $23 million in media time, so they are clearly not giving up on the NH Senate race even though the state and national party leadership overtly attempted to deny Bolduc his nomination.

House

CA-21: Rep. Costa in Dead Heat — The Trafalgar Group released the first post-primary survey of California’s new 21st Congressional District and the results reveal a surprising dead heat between Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and businessman and former FBI agent Michael Maher (R). The poll (Sept. 30/Oct. 3; 515 likely CA-21 general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds the two candidates tied at 44 percent.

While the Central Valley region is showing signs of voting more conservatively than the rest of the Golden State electorate, the Republicans taking this district would be quite a stretch. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the new 21st, which includes downtown Fresno, as D+16 while the Dave’s Redistricting App crew calculates a 58.2D – 39.7R partisan lean. In the jungle primary, Rep. Costa unexpectedly received just 47.0 percent of the vote, but the Democratic aggregate total was 57.0 percent.

FL-27: Tight Race Prediction Coming True — In 2020, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) upset then-Rep. Donna Shalala (D) from a South Florida district that votes Republican to a greater degree than the voter registration figures might suggest. The GOP redistricting map drawers made the seat more favorable for Rep. Salazar, but it still rates as a D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization and 52.4D – 46.5R on the Dave’s Redistricting App partisan scale.

Therefore, it is not surprising to see a SEA Polling & Strategic Design survey (Oct. 3-5; 400 likely FL-27 general election voters; live interview) finding state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) and Rep. Salazar in a virtual dead heat (Taddeo, 47-46 percent). The poll also found Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) leading former governor and congressman, Charlie Crist (D), 50-44 percent within the 27th District, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R) held a 48-47 percent edge over Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando).

Governor

Oklahoma: Shock Poll — Largely due to fallout from his Administration’s handling of some of the Covid 19 relief expenditures and attacks over his former business dealings, polling has suggested weakness for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) re-election bid. Now we see a new survey that, for the first time, projects the governor falling behind his Democratic opponent, Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D).
The Sooner Poll, which surveys the Oklahoma electorate for various media outlets, released their new data (Oct. 3-6; 301 likely Oklahoma general election voters) and sees Hofmeister holding a surprising 47-44 percent lead. Though the Sooner Poll contains a very small sample and therefore a high error factor, it is becoming clear that this race will now draw further national attention.