Tag Archives: Rebecca Kleefisch

Gaetz’s FL-1 Primary Becoming Tougher; Conflicting Polls in AZ; Hawaii’s Kahele Looks to Sweep

By Jim Ellis — July 8, 2022

House

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach)

FL-1: Gaetz’s Primary Becoming Serious — Embattled US Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) just saw his Republican primary challenge become tougher. One of his GOP opponents, Air Force veteran Bryan Jones, announced that he is withdrawing from the campaign in order to support and give former FedEx executive and Marine Corps veteran Mark Lombardo a stronger chance of unseating the incumbent.

Lombardo has ingested $1 million of his own money into the race and just released a new television ad emphasizing the sex trafficking investigation that involves the congressman. Now with only test pilot Greg Merk on the ballot to deflect anti-Gaetz votes, Lombardo has positioned himself as a challenger with the potential ability to snatch the nomination away from the congressman. The Florida primary is Aug. 23, and this race will become very interesting between now and then.

Governor

Arizona: Conflicting Polls — Data Orbital and Moore Information are out with polls that tell a different story in what has become a GOP gubernatorial race between former news anchor Kari Lake and Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson. Last week, ex-US representative and 2000 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon dropped out of the race and endorsed Robson.

The Moore Information survey was conducted for the Salmon campaign (June 22-23; 1,000 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) and produced a ballot test that posted Robson, for the first time, to a 38-37 percent edge over Lake in a two-way race.

Data Orbital’s poll released Wednesday (June 30-July 2; 515 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; live interview & text), indicated that without Salmon in the race, the previous Lake 39-31 percent advantage drops to 40-35 percent. The Arizona primary is Aug. 2. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is the likely Democratic nominee. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Hawaii: Lt. Gov. Green Swamping Rep. Kahele — A Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now survey (conducted by MRG Research; June 28-30; 1,120 registered Hawaii voters; 782 likely Hawaii Democratic primary voters) projects physician and Lt. Gov. Josh Green to be holding a huge 48-16-15 percent lead over US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), and former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano. Green has enjoyed big leads since the campaign’s beginning. He is clearly the favorite for the party nomination on Aug. 13, and to succeed term-limited Gov. David Ige (D) in the general election.

Maryland: Too Close to Call — The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, polling for the Wes Moore gubernatorial campaign (June 22-27; 601 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters; live interview), finds the Maryland Democratic primary headed for a razor-thin finish in the upcoming July 19 delayed nomination election.

According to the GHY results, state Comptroller Peter Franchot slips by author Moore by just a 21-20 percent margin, with former Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez closely trailing with 16 percent. A third of the voters still claim to be undecided within two weeks of the primary election. The nomination vote was delayed from its original June 28th date when a court overturned the state’s new congressional lines.

Wisconsin: One Less Republican — Businessman Kevin Nicholson was a late entry into the Republican gubernatorial campaign and now he is an early exit. Nicholson, a former US Senate candidate, Wednesday said he is discontinuing his gubernatorial campaign conceding that he has little chance to win the party nomination. This leaves the race as an ostensibly two-way affair between former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and construction company owner Tim Michels. Gov. Tony Evers is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The general election is expected to be rated as a toss-up.

Walker’s Convincing Win in Wisconsin; NJ-9 Surprise

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) handily repelled his recall challenge with a 53-46 percent victory over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) with a turnout larger than the 2010 midterm vote that originally elected him. The extraordinary outcome yielded a voter participation rate exceeding 2.5 million voters. In the 2010 midterm election, the total turnout was just under 2.2 million. Walker won that election over Barrett 52-46 percent, so he even slightly increased his margin of victory, too. The 2008 presidential election year turnout saw 2.9 million Wisconsin voters going to the polls, putting the size of the recall participation rate into perspective.

In a separate race, even though the two ran as a team in the midterm, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) also survived her recall, 53-47 percent. Three of the four Republican state senators who were facing recalls also won, but the lone Democratic victory does flip majority control by one vote. Much more in-depth analysis will be forthcoming about this race in the coming days.

In New Jersey’s new 9th Congressional District, in what was projected as a close contest between paired incumbents Steve Rothman (D-NJ-9) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-8), recorded the exact opposite result. Veteran Rep. Pascrell, trumpeting his backing from former President Bill Clinton but long thought to be the underdog here, scored an impressive 61-39 percent victory over Rep. Rothman. This is especially stunning considering that two of the three Democratic county party structures officially endorsed Rothman. Pascrell rode a huge turnout and overwhelming 92 percent loyalty factor from his Democratic voting base in Passaic County, thus leading to his strong victory. He will now cruise in the general election.

“Badgering” the Wisconsin Voter

Tuesday’s Badger State primary took center stage in the GOP presidential nomination contest this week, but voters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s biggest city, were asked to do something slightly unusual that day – vote for a candidate who already had announced that he will run for another office.

Milwaukee mayor and former congressman Tom Barrett (D) was re-elected to a third term as the city’s mayor, but apparently isn’t planning to serve in that capacity for very long. On Friday of last week, he announced that he had also decided to become a candidate for the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination in the primary election to be held in a little over a month, on May 8, for the right to face Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election that is sure to carry national implications.

Barrett will have to ramp up a statewide campaign quickly in the primary battle against former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug LaFollette, and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout for the right to take on Walker in the June 5 recall election. Also being conducted are recall elections against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three state senators. A fourth legislative office under recall will see a special election after incumbent Sen. Pam Galloway (R) announced her resignation in early March.

For the past few weeks Barrett had been coy, but dropped several hints that he was interested in a possible third run for governor even as he was campaigning for another term as Milwaukee’s mayor. Barrett lost the 2010 gubernatorial election to Walker by a 52 percent – 47 percent margin. He and Falk also previously lost a Democratic gubernatorial nomination, in 2002 to then-Attorney General Jim Doyle, who went on to serve as governor until Walker’s election in 2010.

Mr. Barrett has had a testy relationship with public employee unions, particularly those representing teachers, in Milwaukee. In fact, some union leaders had urged him to stay out of the race to clear the way for Falk and avoid a contentious Democratic primary with only one month to put together a general election campaign against Walker.

Counting the presidential primary, the regular primary, the recall, and the general election, Wisconsin voters are being asked to go to the polls at least five times between April and November all in significant contests that will affect more than just their own state’s politics. No wonder many in Wisconsin feel so “badgered” by politics.