Tag Archives: Rep. Bob Good

Incumbent Trend Could Soon Turn

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, June 6, 2024

Incumbents

New Jersey freshman Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City)

We have now seen primary elections held in 22 states, meaning electorates in a majority of 242 US House districts have chosen their general election nominees, and we have yet to see one incumbent lose renomination to a challenger. Alabama Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) did lose to Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), but that was due to an incumbent pairing from a court-ordered redistricting directive.

Earlier in the week, New Jersey US Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City) defeated his Democratic challenger, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, by a 54-36 percent margin in a race that polling and fundraising suggested would be close. To date, it appeared that Rep. Menendez was the most vulnerable House incumbent standing for renomination, but in the end he easily repelled the strong challenge.

Menendez, a freshman member of the New Jersey delegation, saw his favorability numbers tumble as a result of his father, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and step-mother being indicted for bribery.

With Menendez and Iowa Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-LeClair) and Randy Feenstra (R-Hull/Sioux City) winning their primaries on Tuesday, we’ve now seen the incumbents going nine for nine in non-jungle partisan primaries when facing a reasonably credible intra-party opponent. At least another 16 challenges are on tap in the remaining primaries.

The strong incumbent performances suggest we may be seeing early signs that the 2024 election cycle will be similar to 2022. In an election year when polling suggested that the public overwhelmingly believed, and still does, that the country is on the wrong track, and moving in the wrong direction, the voting public then turned around and re-elected virtually every incumbent on the ballot.

Two years ago, 56 senators and governors from both parties ran for re-election; 55 won. In the House, the incumbent retention rate for those seeking re-election was 98.1 percent. These are unusual statistics for an electorate demanding a change in public policy. Though we see the same unrest regarding government policies today, the early voting pattern suggests that, so far, we again see the juxtaposition of incumbents having a strong year even though the electorate is generally displeased.

The trend may soon change, however. Two of the most vulnerable incumbents facing primary challenges are on the ballot this month. Reps. Bob Good (R-VA) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) look to be in serious trouble as their respective primaries loom on the near horizon — June 18 for Good and a week later in Bowman’s case.

Rep. Good’s opponent is state senator and retired Navy SEAL John McGuire, who brandishes an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Since Good was one of the key Republican House members behind the ouster of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, another source of opposition is present. Thus, Rep. Good not only faces a Trump endorsement going against him, which has more often than not been golden in a Republican primary, but McCarthy is assisting in directing outside money to help ensure the congressman’s defeat.

Furthermore, competing in a primary is something new for Rep. Good. Previously, he won his nominations through a district party convention before a small number of delegates who favored him. Therefore, facing a credible opponent with backing from national party leaders in an unfamiliar election structure could well be enough to deny Congressman Good renomination.

Rep. Bowman is facing an even more difficult opponent than Good. George Latimer is the Westchester County Executive who represents 91 percent of Bowman’s 16th Congressional District’s constituency in his current position. Before being elected County Executive, Latimer served in the state Senate and Assembly. Latimer has also raised about $1 million more than Rep. Bowman, and even has the endorsement of one of the congressman’s fellow “Squad” members.

Former Rep. Mondaire Jones (D), who represented the adjoining Westchester County congressional district for a term, was a “Squad” member, and is trying to come back in this election. Earlier this week, Jones endorsed Latimer, a former employer, and publicly dispelled Bowman’s comments that Latimer is a racist.

Only two polls of this race have been released, and those were back in March. One showed the two men virtually tied, while the other yielded Latimer a 17-point lead. Yet, Bowman has not produced any countervailing data in the succeeding weeks.

Ironically, both Good and Bowman came to office by deposing an incumbent from their own party. Good, via the district convention, unseated freshman Rep. Denver Riggleman in 2020, while Bowman defeated veteran Congressman Eliot Engel in the Democratic primary of the same year. Now, both men could see the tables turn on themselves very soon.

Curtis Leads in New Utah Poll; California Dem Party Endorses Low; Michigan Candidate in Danger of Disqualification; Three Incumbents Being Outspent in NY, VA, SC

By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 20, 2024

Senate

Utah Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo)

Utah: Rep. Curtis Leading in New GOP Poll — Four Republican candidates are vying for the right to succeed retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R) in Utah’s June 25 primary election, but one is pulling away from the field. The Conservative Values for Utah super PAC commissioned a Guidant Polling & Strategy survey for the Utah Senate race (April 30-May 3; 600 likely Utah Republican primary voters) and released the results late last week. The ballot test finds US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) developing a large 41-14-9-2 percent GOP primary advantage over Riverton Mayor John Staggs, former state House Speaker Brad Wilson, and businessman Jason Walton, respectively.

Mayor Staggs was officially endorsed at the Utah Republican Party Convention and earned former President Donald Trump’s support. Through submitting 28,000 valid signatures, Rep. Curtis and Wilson and Walton all successfully petitioned onto the primary ballot. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the open general election.

House

CA-16: State Dem Party Endorses Low — With the recount of the tied jungle primary finish between San Mateo County Supervisor Joe Simitian (D) and state Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), and awarding Low the second qualifying general election ballot position by five votes, the California Democratic Party has taken action. With Simitian not requesting a recount, even though many expected him to ask for a second canvass, the official California party issued an endorsement for Assemblyman Low.

The first-place finisher, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D), wrapped up his qualifying position on the March 5 primary election date. Neither Low nor Simitian requested an original recount because under California election procedure, tied candidates both advance into the general election. Instead, allies of Liccardo paid for the recount figuring the tally would move by a handful of votes, which proved true. Later, polling surfaced showing Liccardo doing better in a two-way race against either Low or Simitian, as opposed to a three-way all-Democratic battle. The November winner will replace retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton).

MI-13: Former State Senator in Danger of Being Disqualified — In 2022, then-state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) lost a close crowded primary to then-state Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit), 28-24 percent, and vowed to try again in 2024. While Hollier announced for the seat and circulated petitions, the preliminary city clerk staff report indicates that his valid signature petitions will fall short of the minimum required number for ballot qualification. After the two-day public comment period expires, the city clerk will make the final decision of whether to award Hollier a ballot line.

Even without Hollier on the ballot, Rep. Thanedar will likely face a Democratic primary challenge from Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Waters and former Southfield City Clerk Shakira Hawkins. The Michigan primary is scheduled for Aug. 6.

House Incumbents: Three Being Outspent — Three US House incumbents are on the short end of spending battles in their respective primaries. Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Nancy Mace (R-SC), and Bob Good (R-VA) all face tough challenges against credible opponents.

Reports are surfacing that, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s United Democracy Project, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is the beneficiary of a media spending advantage against Rep. Bowman of about $3 million to $171,000 according to the AdImpact media monitoring organization. The congressman had more than $1.4 million in his account through March 31 and can expect further outside money to help him close the voter contact gap in the final six weeks of the primary campaign.

Largely due to a PAC that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s allies run, AdImpact estimates spending against Rep. Mace is approximately $4.3 million as compared to $2.5 million backing the congresswoman. Mace’s opponent is former Nikki Haley Administration official Catherine Templeton.

While there are no reported figures for the Virginia race to date, it is clear that challenger John McGuire, a Virginia state senator who has former President Trump’s endorsement, is well ahead of Rep. Good in advertising and polling. An early May Battleground Connect poll found Sen. McGuire leading Rep. Good, 45-31 percent. The congressman, like Rep. Mace, voted to oust former Speaker McCarthy.

House Speaker Vote Today;
Biden’s Approval Rating & A Beginning of the Election Cycle

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023

House

House Republican Speaker nominee Kevin McCarthy (R)

Speaker Vote Today: Likely to Require More than One Ballot — For the first time in a century, it appears the Speaker’s election that will convene the 118th Congress, will require more than one roll call. With Republicans holding only a 222-212 majority with one Democratic seat vacant due to the death of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Republican Speaker nominee Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) does not appear to have the 218 votes that he needs to claim the gavel for the ensuing session.

Five Republican members have publicly said they will vote against McCarthy, and one of them, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) is an announced candidate for the position as he was in the Republican conference vote. The other four are Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Bob Good (R-VA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), and Matt Rosendale (R-MT).

Another group of nine members signed a public letter questioning McCarthy’s ability to be a successful Speaker while stopping short of saying the signees will vote against him. They are Reps and Reps-Elect Dan Bishop (R-NC), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Eli Crane (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Harris (R-MD), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Andy Ogles (R-TN), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Chip Roy (R-TX). It is these 14 members who will be key on the first roll call. Not voting for McCarthy within this group will certainly send the voting to a second ballot.

The other group to watch, possibly led by Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), are moderate Republicans who would coalesce with moderate Democrats to attempt to elect a compromise candidate. If the ballot drags on for more than two roll calls, it will be interesting to see which group begins to develop cracks. The membership will vote until one individual reaches the 218-vote threshold and thereby claims the Speakership.

President

Biden Approval: A Benchmark to Begin the Election Cycle — With the new Congress being sworn into office today, we begin the 2024 election cycle. Such being the case, let’s take a look at where President Biden’s job approval rating stands as he likely begins to prepare for a re-election run.

The two most recent survey reports during this holiday period came from Rasmussen Reports and the Morning Consult firm. Both organizations continually track presidential job approval on a daily basis. Rasmussen (sampling conducted through Pulse Opinion Research; Dec. 27-29; 1,500 US registered voters) projects the President to have a 47:51 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. Morning Consult, which has been closer to a more consensus ratio among the plethora of typical job approval polling (Dec. 21-27; 45,000 US adults; online) finds Biden’s favorability index at worsened 42:51 percent favorable to unfavorable clip.

Comparing these two polls produces typical results since President Biden has always fared better with registered voter samples than among a respondent pool of adults. Still, it is clear that the president will begin the road to re-election with more people disapproving of his performance in office than those who approve.

McCarthy’s Math

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022

House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

Leadership — The announcement from several Republicans saying they will not vote for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the election for Speaker of the House even after he was overwhelmingly chosen the party nominee for the position makes the mathematics of his achieving a majority vote a bit tricky. The leadership election will be decided when the new members are sworn into office on Jan. 3. 

The sudden and unfortunate passing of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) reduces the number of members taking the oath of office on commencement day to 434. Even so, McCarthy would still need 218 votes if all are present and voting. Therefore, the McEachin death does not reduce McCarthy’s majority quota, but it could become a factor if a “present” vote strategy were to come into play.

Another complicating factor is the outcome of the lone outstanding House race, the CA-13 contest in the Fresno Valley. Republican candidate John Duarte, a local farmer and agri-businessman, predicted that he will eventually win the election once officials finally count all the ballots. 

Duarte supports his prediction by pointing out that most of the uncounted ballots are from Fresno and San Joaquin Counties in areas where the Republican performed better than his opponent, state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced). Currently, the district-wide count is stalled with Duarte clinging to a 593-vote lead. If the remaining votes from the five counties perform like the counted ballots, Duarte would win by approximately 483 votes. There is, however, no guarantee that the uncounted ballots will fall in similar fashion, thus the race is still up for grabs.

A Duarte win, however, would increase the Republican Conference size to 222, and that extra vote would be important for the McCarthy-Speaker equation. It is also possible that recounts and legal challenges to individual ballots will hold up the certification of a winner in that race for an undetermined amount of time, thus possibly delaying a new member from being sworn in until after the Speaker vote. If this were to happen, the total House membership would drop to 433, and McCarthy would then need 217 votes to establish a majority as opposed to 218.

His bigger problem is that six Republican members have publicly stated they either will not support him in the floor vote or questioned his leadership ability. According to press reports, the four saying they will not support McCarthy on the floor are Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Bob Good (R-VA), and Ralph Norman (R-SC). The pair publicly questioning his leadership ability are Reps. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) and Chip Roy (R-TX). 
 
There has been some talk that members voting “present” would actually reduce the number of votes to determine a voting majority. While this theory would be open to legal or parliamentary challenge, for the purposes of this example let’s see if such a strategy would work.

If the six members either committing to vote against McCarthy, or possibly doing so, were to simply vote present, and the majority number is truly reduced, then McCarthy would look to have 216 votes as compared to the Democratic likely Speaker candidate, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’ (D-NY), 212 votes. Within this scenario, the “present” strategy would work because the aggregate counted votes would be 428, thus making the majority number 215.

If those six members, or any others, would vote for an individual other than McCarthy when answering the initial House roll call, then the result would be costly. Under this vote count, McCarthy would be one short of securing the majority.

The other idea being bandied about is having some of McCarthy’s supporters vote “present” in order to reduce the number necessary for securing a majority vote. This would be a very dangerous strategy because his margin is so small that he would come precariously close of dropping below Mr. Jeffries’ 212 votes, assuming the Democratic Conference votes in lock-step. Even one miscount on the roll call vote could elect Jeffries if this idea were attempted.

If McCarthy has 216 votes and the six opposition Republicans were to all vote for other individuals, then the supporter “present” strategy simply wouldn’t work because the McCarthy-committed vote would drop commensurately with the number needed for a majority.

Therefore, the only true path for McCarthy to win the Speakership race is to, first, ensure that no other fall-off is coming from the Republican ranks; second, that no other GOP candidate emerges with potentially more strength; third, that no hybrid coalition forms with the Democrats; and fourth, reaching an arrangement with his six Republican opponents to at least vote “present” in order to allow for a smaller majority number. 

Warnock Leads in New Runoff Poll; WVa. Gov. Considers Senate Race;
Kiley Wins CA-3 – Republican Majority Now at 221; Questions Over McCarthy’s Leadership

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 28, 2022

Senate

Georgia freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D)

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Leads in New Poll — The Fabrizio Lee (R) and Impact Research (D) polling team conducted another survey for the AARP organization, this time of the Georgia Senate runoff election scheduled for Dec. 6.

According to the joint poll (Nov. 11-17; 500 likely Georgia runoff voters; live interview), the first published study of this race since the general election yielded a 49.4 – 48.5 percent result for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) over retired professional football player Herschel Walker (R), the incumbent again posts a small advantage. The AARP ballot test finds Sen. Warnock’s lead a reaching 51-47 percent. As is the case with all runoff elections, voter turnout will likely be the determining factor.

West Virginia: Gov. Justice Considering Senate Race — While Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has already announced his bid to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) next year, Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is ineligible to seek re-election in 2024, indicated last week that he, too, is considering launching a Senate campaign.

Gov. Justice’s approval numbers are high – rated as the sixth most popular governor nationally at 65:29 percent favorable to unfavorable according to the Morning Consult quarterly ratings for the period ending Sept. 30, 2022 – so he would certainly be a formidable candidate for the Republican nomination and against Sen. Manchin. A Triton Polling & Research organization August poll found Gov. Justice leading Sen. Manchin 47-32 percent in an early hypothetical race survey, for example.

House

CA-3: Republican Kevin Kiley Declared Winner — The Associated Press, in a race that appeared to be clinched days ago, finally projected California Republican state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay/Sacramento) as the winner of the newly created open 3rd Congressional District that stretches from the northern Sacramento suburbs all the way into southern California via the Nevada border. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-3 as an R+8 district, so the outcome of Kiley defeating Democratic physician and Iraq War veteran Kermit Jones is hardly a surprise result.

The Kiley victory brings the Republican House total to 221 with two races outstanding, the CA-13 seat that is a close contest between agri-businessman John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), and the at-large Alaska seat of Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel).

Once the Alaska contest advances into the Ranked Choice Voting rounds, which began right after Thanksgiving, the system will produce another victory for Peltola. Therefore, count her in the Democratic column. The race between Duarte and Gray is very tight: Duarte has an 852-vote lead with an estimated 93 percent of the vote counted. Therefore, this contest can still go either way when examining from where the outstanding votes lay.

Speakership: More Republicans Express Negative Views Toward McCarthy — Last week we covered a story indicating that three Republicans were headed toward a “No” vote for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in his quest to become Speaker of the House. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) publicly announced their opposition to McCarthy, while Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said he does not believe McCarthy would be a successful Speaker.

Now joining the “No” chorus are Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Bob Good (R-VA). Texas Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) was among those expressing similar feelings of failure regarding a McCarthy Speakership. With the Republicans having a 222-member conference at best (if John Duarte holds his lead in the CA-13 outstanding race), McCarthy has little margin with which to play in order to secure his 218 votes to be elected Speaker during the Jan. 3 initial roll call of members.