Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Big Change for DeSantis in GOP Poll; Trump Ahead Big in New Poll;
PA’s Mastriano’s Surprise;
Late Congressman’s Daughter Enters AZ-3 Race; New Candidates in MN-2

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 31, 2023

President

Presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

California: New GOP Primary Data Shows Big Change — The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Government Studies surveyed the California electorate and found a major change from their February poll. This new survey (May 11-17; 7,465 registered California voters; 1,853 registered Republicans; online) projects former President Donald Trump moving into a big lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which is a marked change from February when the reverse was true.

According to the ballot test results, Trump holds a 44-26 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis with no other candidate even reaching five percent. In February, Gov. DeSantis led 39-27 percent. The surprising data point is that both candidates still maintain very high favorability indexes from the California GOP electorate, unusual when one candidate has such a big lead. Trump holds a 74:23 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio while Gov. DeSantis registered 75:15 percent. It is important to remember, however, that California uses a congressional district delegate apportionment system, so the statewide numbers are less important than in other places.

Iowa: Trump Leading Big in New Poll — The latest Emerson College survey of Republican potential Iowa Caucus voters (May 19-22; 442 likely GOP Iowa caucus voters; multiple sampling techniques) gives former President Donald Trump a huge 62-20 percent advantage over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with no other candidate reaching six percent. It is important for DeSantis to do well in the early nomination events if he is to overtake Trump, but starting this far behind makes his task all the more difficult.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Mastriano’s Surprise Announcement — Despite signals to the contrary, state senator and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano (R-Chambersburg/ Gettysburg) announced at the beginning of the weekend that he would not run for the US Senate and will instead seek re-election to his state Senate position. The move opens the door for 2022 Senate candidate and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick to run virtually unencumbered for the nomination, something that will be necessary in order to fully compete against Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D).

Though this allows the Republicans to field a stronger candidate than Mastriano, who was defeated 56-42 percent in the governor’s race, Sen. Casey must still be viewed as the favorite to win re-election next year.

House

AZ-3: Late Congressman’s Daughter Enters Race — Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor (D) announced that she will run for the open Phoenix-anchored 3rd District, the seat her late father, Rep. Ed Pastor (D), represented for seven terms. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) currently represents the seat, but is leaving the House to run in the three-way contest for US Senate.

Along with Pastor, Osborn School Board Member Ylenia Aguilar, Phoenix City Councilwoman Yassiman Ansari, Glendale School Board Member Hector Jaramillo, and former state Senate Minority Leader Raquel Teran comprise the early Democratic primary. The 3rd District is heavily Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat D+44, so the battle to succeed Rep. Gallego will be fought in the Democratic primary.

MN-2: New Candidates Emerge — In the past two election cycles, Republicans fielded USMC Reserve Officer Tyler Kistner as their 2nd District congressional nominee, but he lost twice to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Prior Lake) by close margins: 48-46 percent in 2020, and 51-46 percent last November. Now, others are coming forward believing a fresh candidate would provide the GOP a better chance of upending Rep. Craig.

Originally, former Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy (R) announced his candidacy and now Attorney Tayler Rahm joins the field. Apparently, Kistner has not ruled out making a third run against Rep. Craig, but he has also made no discernible move to enter the race. Regardless of what happens in the Republican nominating convention and/or primary election, Rep. Craig will be favored for re-election.

DeSantis Trails in New Poll; Sen. Casey Expands Lead in PA; A Pastor Looks to Run in CA-41; Defeated Gov Candidate Interested in MD-6 House Race; Washington State Gov Candidate

By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 15, 2023

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida: DeSantis Trails in New Poll — A National Research, Inc. survey of Florida Republican voters (May 8-9; 500 likely Florida Republican primary voters; live interview & text) for the first time found Gov. Ron DeSantis trailing in his home state. According to these results, which the DeSantis Super PACs will undoubtedly soon counter, former President Donald Trump has taken a 42-34 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis, with no other candidate even reaching three percent. A total of 16 percent claim to be undecided in the early part of the presidential race.

This poll again underscores Trump’s current strength in the party primaries. The trend could change, however, when Gov. DeSantis officially begins his national campaign.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Expands Lead — Susquehanna Polling & Research returned a new Keystone State survey (May 2-8; 700 likely Pennsylvania voters) testing the upcoming US Senate race. Though former hedge fund CEO and 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R) is not yet an announced candidate, he was the only person tested against Sen. Bob Casey. The ballot test yielded the incumbent a stronger twelve-point lead, 53-41 percent. The previous published poll, from Franklin & Marshall College in early April, projected a 42-35 percent Casey edge.

House

CA-41: Party Switcher Enters Race Against Rep. Calvert — Pastor and San Jacinto City Councilman Brian Hawkins is looking to make a second run for Congress, but it will be in a different district and under a different party banner. Rev. Hawkins was the Republican nominee against Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Indio) in the new 25th District last November. He drew 42.6 percent of the vote. Now, however, he has popped up in District 41, wanting to run as a Democrat in hope of challenging veteran Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) in next year’s general election.

Already declared under the Democratic label is Lake Elsinore City Councilman Tim Sheridan, but the potential candidate the area politicos are watching is 2022 nominee Will Rollins (D) who held Rep. Calvert to a 52-48 percent victory. Most believe Rollins will return and be favored to advance into the general election with the congressman. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the 41st District as R+7. Former President Donald Trump carried the seat with a bare 50-49 percent margin over current President Biden.

MD-6: Defeated Gov Candidate Showing Interest in Open House Race — Former state Delegate Dan Cox (R), who was not much of a factor in the 2022 Maryland governor’s race in losing to author Wes Moore (D) by a 65-32 percent margin, said this week that he may have interest in entering the open 6th District congressional race that includes his home city of Frederick. Former state Delegate Neil Parrott, also from Frederick and who lost the last two congressional races against incumbent Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), is also looking at a third run.

Both men come from the right wing of the Republican Party. This means they could split the primary vote, thus allowing a more moderate candidate who would likely fare better in the general election to claim the party nomination. With Rep. Trone vacating the seat to run for the Senate, this open seat will attract national attention in what promises to be a hotly contested battle for the House majority.

Governor

Washington: Second Candidate Announces — State Land Commissioner Hilary Franz (D) became the second announced gubernatorial candidate after three-term incumbent Jay Inslee (D) made public his intention not to seek re-election next year. Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) was first to take such action, indicating that he filed an “exploratory committee.” Since Washington election law does not recognize exploratory committees, he is officially considered a candidate.

The Washington all-party jungle primary is scheduled for Aug. 6, 2024. The top two finishers, possibly a pair of Democrats, will advance into the general election.

Poll Shows Biden Trailing Both Trump & DeSantis; New Senate Candidate in Maryland; IL-7, NC-13 House Candidates Emerge

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, May 10, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump;
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R)

ABC/Washington Post Poll: Biden Trailing Both Trump & DeSantis — ABC News and the Washington Post released the results of their new national poll (April 28-May 3; 1,006 US adults; 438 Republican and Republican-leaning voters; 396 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters; live interview) and the data reveals President Joe Biden trailing both former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in ranges beyond the polling margin of error. The latter point, relating to the polling margin of error, is significant since the sample cut seems to skew Republican.

On the national ballot test, among an unspecified number of registered voters, President Biden trails Trump, 39-45 percent, and Gov. DeSantis, 38-44 percent. As stated before many times in previous posts, the national popular vote poll is not particularly important. The race will likely come down to how key states such as Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin ultimately break.

Senate

Maryland: PG County Executive to Announce Senate Campaign — Prince Georges County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) officially kicked off her open US Senate campaign yesterday. The move has been expected. Already in the Democratic primary race are US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) and Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park) and former Rep. John Delaney (D) are potential candidates. The Democratic primary will almost assuredly decide the successor to retiring Sen. Ben Cardin (D). The Maryland nomination battle, which will be hotly contested and a determinative precursor for the general election, is scheduled for May 14, 2024.

House

IL-7: Rep. Davis Running; to Face Dem Primary — The second Democratic challenger to Illinois Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago) came forward, which drew a quick response from the Davis camp indicating that the 81-year-old veteran representative will seek re-election. Davis had been on the rumored retirement list.

Educator Nikhil Bhatia (D) announced her candidacy, which precipitated the response from the Davis political operation. The major potential opponent, however, is Chicago city treasurer and former state Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin (D) who has filed a congressional exploratory committee and reiterated that she continues to test the political waters irrespective whether Rep. Davis will be her opponent.

The Democratic primary is the key to re-election (FiveThirtyEight rating D+70), so the March 19, 2024 election date is the key to winning the succeeding term. The race is worth watching. Rep. Davis won the 2022 Dem primary with only a 52-45 percent margin over community organizer Kina Collins.

NC-13: State Rep. Files Federal Exploratory Committee — Wake County state Rep. Erin Pare (D-Fuquay-Varina) announced the formation of a congressional exploratory committee in anticipation of the 13th Congressional District being redrawn before the 2024 election.

The state Supreme Court opened the door to another congressional and legislative redraw with their related ruling at the end of April. The new map is expected to help Republicans, and the 13th District, which freshman Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) represents and currently houses southern Wake County, the Fayetteville area, and Johnston County, is cast as a politically marginal district (FiveThirtyEight rating: R+3; Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean: 49.5D-48.1R). It will likely become better Republican territory.

The redrawing process likely will begin after the US Supreme Court takes action on the North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case currently on their docket. A decision is expected before the end of June.

Battleground Polling

By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 1, 2023

President

Battleground States: A Look Inside the Numbers — The key 2024 presidential campaign battleground states are already known, and a national polling firm just completed a study covering five of these critical domains.

Public Opinion Strategies (POS) conducted a series of 500-sample general election polls in the important battleground states during the April 11-20 period, and all of the surveys produced very close results while highlighting a familiar pattern. This research gives us an early indication that we will again see a tight general election campaign.

POS tested both former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis individually against President Joe Biden in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In every instance, we see DeSantis running better when paired against Biden than does Trump.

First, in Arizona, President Biden would lead Trump by a single point, 45-44 percent, while DeSantis would record a six-point advantage over the Democratic incumbent, 48-42 percent.

For Republicans, Arizona is one of the most critical states on the board. Unless the eventual GOP nominee can capture Arizona and Georgia — the Peach State was not included in the POS battleground state study – the chances of attaining national victory are almost nil. Together, these two states account for 27 of the 35 conversion electoral votes a Republican candidate will need to win the White House.

Michigan, based upon the 2022 election results, is now viewed as leaning decidedly toward the Democrats, so the Wolverine State will likely not be as heavily emphasized on the Republican target list as some of the others covered in the POS multi-state study. Still, the current polling results put the Republicans within early victory range.

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AZ Polls Show Trump Over Desantis, But Desantis Over Biden; Ex-House Member Considers PA Senate Bid; Tiffany Readying for Senate Run in Wisc.; Kentucky Governor Poll

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, April 19, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump; Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R)

Arizona: Trump Up in AZ GOP Primary Poll; DeSantis Leads in General — Two presidential polls were released in critically important Arizona, one for the Republican primary and the other isolating the candidates against President Biden. It is abundantly clear that Republicans must bring the Grand Canyon State back into their Electoral College coalition if they are to have any chance of winning the 2024 national election.

The Republican primary survey posts former President Donald Trump to a substantial advantage over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Desantis, however, would lead President Biden in a general election poll, while Trump would not.

JL Partners (April 10-12; 550 registered Arizona Republican and Undeclared voters) finds Trump holding a 47-24-4-4-3-2 percent advantage over Gov. DeSantis, ex-Vice President Mike Pence, former US Rep. Liz Cheney, ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, respectively, in the GOP primary study. Public Opinion Strategies surveyed the state’s general electorate (April 11-13; 500 likely Arizona voters; live interview) and forecasts Gov. DeSantis leading President Biden, 48-42 percent, while Trump trails 45-44 percent.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Ex-Rep. Rothfus Considering Senate — Republican Keith Rothfus served three terms in the US House from 2013 to 2019. He was defeated for re-election in 2018 when the state Supreme Court map collapsed Rep. Rothfus’ Pittsburgh area seat with that of fellow Rep. Conner Lamb (D). In that Democratic wave election year, Rep. Lamb defeated Rothfus with a 56-44 percent margin. The victorious congressman would then lose the 2022 US Senate Democratic primary to current incumbent John Fetterman, however.

Though the national and state Republican leadership are making it clear they would like to see 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick return to challenge Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D), Rothfus is indicating that he would have the ability to become a consensus candidate. There is yet no word from McCormick himself if he will again become a Senate contender. The Republican leadership certainly wants to put this seat in play but defeating Sen. Casey will be a tall order regardless of who becomes the GOP nominee.

Wisconsin: Rep. Tiffany Okays Senate Website — Reports are surfacing that Wisconsin US Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) has approved the purchase of US Senate campaign domain names. The Congressman indicated, however, that this act does not necessarily mean he will actually become a statewide candidate.

Tiffany won a special election to the 7th Congressional District in 2020 with 57 percent of the vote, and then a full term with 61 percent later that year. He was re-elected in 2022 with a 62 percent vote margin. Should he run for the Senate and win the Republican primary, Rep. Tiffany would then face Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) who recently announced that she will compete for a third term.

Governor

Kentucky: AG Cameron Securing First Place in New Poll — Now less than one month before the 2023 Kentucky statewide primary election, a new Emerson College poll (April 10-11; 900 likely Kentucky Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system & text) sees Attorney General Daniel Cameron continuing to lead the GOP gubernatorial primary despite being under intense attack from his main opponent.

The poll results find AG Cameron leading former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft 30-24 percent. Trailing are Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (15 percent), disbarred attorney Eric Deters (6 percent), and state Auditor Mike Harmon (2 percent). The winner of the May 16 primary battle will then challenge Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in the November general election.

Costello Challenges Maine’s Sen King; PA Senate Poll; Romney’s Rough Road in Utah; Louisiana Gov. Race Update

By Jim Ellis — Monday, April 17, 2023

Senate

Maine: Sen. King Draws Democratic Opponent — David Costello (D), a former aide to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) before moving to Maine, announced his candidacy for the US Senate late last week. (See video above.) He hopes to oppose Independent Sen. Angus King, who is expected to seek a third term. Democrats have filed candidates in both of Sen. King’s victorious races, but neither have been competitive. Still, the three-way race including the Republican nominee, was able to keep Sen. King’s winning percentages down to 54 and 51 percent in 2012 and 2018, respectively.

Should Costello be able to mount a significant campaign, the chances increase for Sen. King to drop below 50 percent, and that means Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting system would take effect. In that wild-card system, the end result would not be as easy to predict.

Pennsylvania: First 2024 Poll — On the heels of Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) announcing that he will seek a fourth term, Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College went into the field with a statewide survey (March 27-4/7; 643 registered Pennsylvania voters; live interview). According to these results, Sen. Casey would lead 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R), 42-35 percent. His lead significantly expands to 47-31 percent if his opponent were 2022 gubernatorial nominee and state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R).

Somewhat surprisingly, the poll finds Sen. Casey’s job approval rating at a rather poor 29:48 percent favorable to unfavorable. This compares to Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro’s positive 43:36 percent job approval ratio.

Utah: Sen. Romney Files 2024 Campaign Committee — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) has filed a 2024 campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. While this action is not a formal declaration of candidacy, filing a campaign committee is certainly the first step toward him seeking a second term.

It is likely that Sen. Romney will be forced to petition his way onto the ballot since the chances of him coming through the conservative Utah Republican Party nominating convention are slim. Such would lead to a June 2024 Republican primary challenge. The most prominent potential opponent being discussed is former congressman and Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz. State House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) has formed a US Senate exploratory committee. Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) is also a potential Senate candidate.

States

Louisiana: Gov Candidate to Switch Races — The surprise announcement from Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) that he is not going to seek re-election has now changed the governor’s race. State House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales), who was clearly laying the groundwork to enter the open governor’s race, has now adjusted his political course and announced his run for the open Secretary of State’s position.

The top Republicans already in the governor’s race are Attorney General Jeff Landry, state Treasurer John Schroder, and former Chamber of Commerce CEO Stephen Waguespack. Democrats look to be coalescing around former state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term. The Louisiana primary is Oct. 14, 2023. If no candidate receives majority support, a two-person runoff will occur on Nov. 18.

Biden Confirms He’ll Run Again; Trump Picks Up Endorsements;
A Possible Senate Bid for Police Chief Craig; Casey Announces in PA;
“No Labels” Has Sights Set on Ohio

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, April 12

President

President Joe Biden

President Biden: Plans to Run — In an interview with NBC’s Al Roker, President Biden confirmed that he “plans to run” for re-election, though is not yet ready to make a formal announcement. It is again surprising that the 2024 presidential race on both sides is not coming into form more quickly. With no one launching a serious Democratic primary challenge to the President, he certainly is under no pressure to formally announce his re-election candidacy anytime soon.

Donald Trump: Florida Congressional Endorsements — Former President Donald Trump continues to make inroads from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ home state of Florida. Rep. Cory Mills (R-New Smyrna Beach) announced his endorsement of former President Trump Monday, as did his colleague, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Naples/Ft. Myers). Previously, Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) and Anna Paulina Luna (R-St. Petersburg) had publicly announced their support of Trump.

Senate

Michigan: Ex-Police Chief Craig Looking Toward Senate — Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) had planned to enter the Michigan governor’s race in 2022 but failed to submit the required number of valid petition signatures. Now, reports are surfacing that Craig is considering entering the open US Senate race. At this point, Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder is the only current or former Republican elected official to declare for the race. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) is the most well-known Democrat to step forward.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is not seeking a fifth term. Democrats will be favored to retain the open Michigan seat, but another close election result is expected.

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Announces — Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) indicated his re-election plans were on hold until he received a clean bill of health from his surgeon. Earlier in the year, Sen. Casey underwent surgery to treat prostate cancer. Apparently, the senator has received positive reports from his physicians, because on Monday he announced his re-election effort.

Sen. Casey, who is the son of the late former Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey Sr., was first elected in 2006, defeating then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R). He was re-elected in 2012 and 2018 with 54 and 56 percent of the vote, respectively. He will again be favored to clinch a fourth term next year.

States

Ohio: No Labels Files Signatures — The No Labels organization is attempting to qualify for ballot position in many states with the goal of offering centrist candidates in various races, possibly including that of president. The entity has so far qualified for a ballot line in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) announced Monday that the No Labels organization has petitioned for recognition in the Buckeye State. LaRose indicated that the signature verification process to determine if the group has met the state political party recognition requirement has begun.

Though the No Labels leadership — which includes former US senator and 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan as national co-chairmen — has so far indicated they are not looking to file a presidential candidate, both parties are wary that they might.

In different states, No Labels could hurt each party. It is also conceivable that Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema could run for re-election on the No Labels line since the party has qualified in her state of Arizona. The Arizona Democratic Party, however, has filed a lawsuit attempting to invalidate its status claiming the No Labels organization has not completely fulfilled Arizona’s legal requirements.