By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024
Nevada: Primary Today; GOP Caucus Thursday — Nevada voters will cast their votes for a Democratic presidential nominee with 49 delegates at stake in their primary, while Republicans will be participating in what is termed as only a “beauty contest” primary because delegate apportionment will not correspond to the cast ballots. The delegates will be awarded in a caucus system with meetings scheduled for Thursday.
President Joe Biden will easily sweep the small Democratic field, maybe not to the point of getting 97 percent support as he did in South Carolina, but he will win in a substantial landslide. On the Republican side, where the candidates chose to enter either the primary or caucus, sees ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on the outside; she will win a virtually meaningless primary, against virtually meaningless minor candidates, while former President Donald Trump opted to enter the caucus and is likely to sweep Nevada’s 26 convention delegates.
IN-5: Rep. Spartz “Un-Retires” — In early 2023, Indiana sophomore US Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) became the session’s first lame duck House member when announcing that she would not seek a third term in order to spend more time with her two daughters who are entering their teenage years. Yesterday, Spartz reversed course and now becomes the first of the burgeoning departing group of members to “unretire.”
Rep. Spartz said the urging from many of her constituents to run again and what she termed as the “failed leadership in Washington,” were her reasons for deciding to stand for another term just as the Indiana candidate filing deadline approaches on Friday.
The focus now turns to the 10 Republicans who are vying to succeed Spartz and see just how many, if any, will terminate their campaigns. State Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville) is viewed as the leading contender and has already spent over $1 million on his congressional effort. He also has more than twice the amount of money in the bank than does Rep. Spartz ($679,000 to $313,000) according to the year-end (2023) Federal Election Commission disclosure report. No other candidate has significant resources.
Louisiana: New Map Challenged — While the Louisiana legislature and governor complied with a court order to draw a new majority minority seat in the congressional delegation, a group of “non African-American voters” have filed suit against the new plan as a racial gerrymander.
A different three-judge panel will hear the lawsuit suggesting the possibility that this map could be rendered illegal, too. The plaintiffs site a 1994 case where a similarly drawn district, one that stretches from Baton Rouge to Shreveport to create a black majority district, was in fact declared a racial gerrymander, which forced a redraw then. This lawsuit suggests that Louisiana congressional redistricting may not be quite over.
Now, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) weighed in on “X” saying, “there are multiple other map options that are legally compliant and do not require the unnecessary surrender of a Republican seat in Congress.” The new 6th District virtually cuts Johnson’s 4th District into two parts, driving through the middle of the Speaker’s current territory in order to annex the black dominated precincts in Shreveport.
MI-13: A Second Strong Democrat to Challenge Rep. Thanedar — In 2022, then-Detroit state Rep. Shri Thanedar won an eight-person Democratic congressional primary with 28 percent of the vote to claim his seat in the US House. In doing so, Thanedar self-financed his effort to the tune of $9.1 million.
In October, Rep. Thanedar’s top 2022 challenger, former state Sen. Adam Hollier, announced that he would return for a Democratic primary rematch. Yesterday, another major Detroit political figure joined the primary race. Detroit City council member and former state House Minority Leader Mary Waters filed a congressional campaign committee with the FEC. She did not run in 2022. Another potential entry is two-time former candidate John Conyers III, the son of the late Congressman John Conyers (D-Detroit), who held the seat from his initial election in 1964 to his resignation from the House in 2017.
From the freshman incumbent’s perspective, he benefits from having more opponents that will split the vote just the way the 2022 race unfolded.
Regardless of his number of opponents, the congressman looks again to be the biggest spender. According to the year-end (2023) Federal Election Commission campaign finance disclosure report, Rep. Thanedar shows $2.6 million in his political committee bank account. The Michigan candidate filing deadline is April 23 in conjunction with the Aug. 6 primary election.