Tag Archives: Rep. Conor Lamb

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.

TN Legal Challenge Rejected; MO/FL Redistricting Maps Remain In Limbo

By Jim Ellis
May 20, 2022

House

Former State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, who former President Donald Trump was supporting, is among three potential candidates unable to run in TN-5.

TN-5: Starbuck’s Legal Challenge Rejected — Before the early April filing deadline, the Tennessee Republican Party adopted new candidate qualification rules that included past voting history requirements. The new standard requires that all potential GOP office seekers must have voted in the last three statewide elections. Thus, a trio of filed candidates in the new 5th Congressional District were disqualified because they recently moved into the state. The three are former State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, who former President Donald Trump was supporting, business owner Baxter Lee, and video producer Robby Starbuck.

Starbuck sued in federal court asking that the judge strike down the Tennessee party’s requirement, arguing that the party leaders established a requirement that is “inconsistent with federal and state law.” Late last week, Judge Waverly Crenshaw rejected the claim saying that “Starbuck’s efforts were thwarted not because of any clear violation of federal law, but because (for whatever reason) the (Tennessee Republican Party) decided not to follow its own rules.” Ortagus and Lee did not challenge the new rule. Starbuck says he may take the matter to state court. The Tennessee primary is Aug. 4.

FL-27: Rep. Salazar Close in Opponent’s Poll — Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell (D) released the results of his internal poll that was conducted last month (April 18-21; 350 likely FL-27 general election voters). The results show him within two points of freshman Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami), 43-41 percent. If the bounced Florida redistricting map is restored in the upper-level courts, as many believe will happen, the new 27th plays three points better for Rep. Salazar, though it would still be rated as tipping toward the Democrats by one percentage point.

In the current Democratic version of FL-27, Salazar defeated then-Democratic incumbent Donna Shalala (D-Miami), 51-49 percent, in the 2020 election.

Redistricting

Missouri: Map Sent to Governor — Missouri is one of just two states that has not yet completed the congressional redistricting process, though it appears the legislature and governor may finally have an agreement. Had the legislature not acted this weekend before the session ended Sine Die, the federal courts would have assumed the re-mapping process.

The plan now before Gov. Mike Parson (R) would likely preserve the state’s current 6R-2D ratio. The argument among Republicans was over increasing the draw to 7R-1D, thus collapsing the Kansas City Democratic district of Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver. Under the map now likely to be adopted, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin), who has fought to win consecutive close finishes against strong Democratic opponents, sees her new 2nd CD become more Republican because politically favorable rural territory was added west of St. Louis County.

Polling Shows Clear Results in Arkansas Senate Race, Continued Indecision in Pennsylvania

By Jim Ellis
May 9, 2022


Senate

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman

Arkansas: Sen. Boozman Close to Victory — A Talk Business & Politics survey that Hendrix College conducted of Arkansas voters tested the US Senate Republican primary and incumbent John Boozman’s positioning with regard to winning re-nomination outright on May 24. The study (May 2; 802 likely Arkansas Republican primary voters; live interview and text) found Sen. Boozman posting 45 percent support, just short of the 50 percent needed for re-nomination.

His opponents, businessman and former Arkansas football star Jake Bequette and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Jan Morgan post 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively. With 18 percent saying they are undecided, Sen. Boozman’s chances of reaching the 50 percent threshold appear relatively strong.

Pennsylvania: Franklin & Marshall College Releases New Primary Data — Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College, featuring a frequent Keystone State polling entity, released their pre-primary data as a prelude to the May 17 statewide primary. No particular surprises came from the Senate race results. The survey (April 20-May 1; 792 registered Pennsylvania voters; 357 Democrats, 325 Republicans, and 110 independents; live interview and online). The poll has flaws in that the sampling period is long and the numbers of primary voters interviewed is small for a state the size of Pennsylvania. The results, however, are consistent with other polling.

For the Democrats, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman continues to enjoy a strong lead, 53-14-4 percent, over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) according to this survey. The Republican side continues close with no candidate breaking away from the pack. The F&M results see Dr. Mehmet Oz barely leading the group with 18 percent, just two points ahead of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick. Trump campaign activist and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette follows with 12 percent, while former US Ambassador Carla Sands, and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos are well back with just five and two percent support, respectively.

Governor

Hawaii: Ex-Mayor Withdraws — Former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell (D) announced that he is folding his gubernatorial campaign and will not submit documents at the June 7 candidate filing deadline. The Hawaii primary is Aug. 13. Caldwell sites lack of fundraising and organizational support for his decision to leave the race. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), and former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano are the leading Democratic candidates. Republicans have 13 announced candidates, but the Democratic nomination will be tantamount to election in November. Gov. David Ige (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Establishes Lead — The aforementioned Franklin & Marshall College survey also tested the GOP gubernatorial primary. The results find state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), a retired Army colonel, now leading the large group of Republican contenders with 20 percent, as ex-US Attorney Bill McSwain, and former US Rep. Lou Barletta follow with 13 and 12 percent. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Self-Funding Candidates Saving GOP

By Jim Ellis

April 21, 2022 — The first-quarter financial reports are now public and we see a stark difference between Democrats and Republicans in funding for the key May primary Senate races, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. If it wasn’t for self-funding candidates in these two states, the GOP would be in trouble.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds strong polling leads over his primary opponents as well as a major fundraising advantage over all contenders. According to the Federal Election Commission’s March 31 campaign finance reporting, Fetterman has raised just over $15 million for his US Senate effort.

His receipts total is well over $9 million more than his chief Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh), and his $5.7 million aggregate figure. The third competitive Democrat, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), has obtained $1.8 million. None of the three Democrats have self-funded their races to any degree.

The Pennsylvania Republicans, on the other hand, offer a stark contrast. While the top two GOP resource candidates, television doctor Mehmet Oz and ex-hedge fund CEO David McCormick, report aggregate receipts in the same realm as Fetterman, the sources are very different.

Dr. Oz posts total receipts through March 31 of $13.4 million and McCormick has $11.3 million. The difference, however, is that 82 percent of Dr. Oz’s money comes from him, and 61 percent of McCormick’s money is self-donated, mostly in the form of campaign loans.

The same pattern also appears for the third-highest funded Republican candidate, former US Ambassador Carla Sands. She reports $4.62 million in receipts, but 85 percent of that total comes from her personal funds. The fourth-place candidate, former lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos, is the only one with a majority percentage of his dollars coming from contributors. He has raised $3.4 million, with 62 percent coming from individuals other than himself.

The story is the same in neighboring Ohio. There, the two top fundraising Republicans report self-funding as their major source.

Businessman Mike Gibbons leads all candidates in total receipts with $17.4 million raised. In his case, all but $1 million, or 94 percent of his aggregate total, comes from his own funds. The second-highest Republican in terms of dollars raised is state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians MLB baseball club, with $11.1 million in receipts. He also has self-donated, mostly in terms of personal loans, 94 percent of his campaign treasury.

We also see the same pattern appear for the Ohio Democrats that exists in Pennsylvania. US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) is the consensus party candidate, way ahead of former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official and 2020 congressional candidate Morgan Harper in terms of polling and money.

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Pennsylvania Candidate Filings Close

Click on image to go to FiveThirtyEight.com’s interactive redistricting map.


By Jim Ellis

March 18, 2022 — Pennsylvania’s candidate filing period closed late Tuesday, yielding official May 17 primary candidates for the Keystone State’s federal and state offices. A total of 11 contenders are competing in the Republican gubernatorial primary, while Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed on the Democratic side. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

The Senate race is also a crowded affair, with seven Republicans compared to five candidates in the Democrat primary. The Senate contest is also open because Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not seeking a third term. A total of 66 Democrat, Republican, and some minor party candidates filed for the congressional races. The state’s Independent and minor party filing deadline does not conclude until Aug. 1.

Among the Republican gubernatorial candidates are two former US House members, Lou Barletta and Melissa Hart, two state senators, Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte), former US Attorney Bill McSwain, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, and former Delaware County Commissioner Dave White. Shapiro will begin the general election campaign as the favorite, if for no other reason than seeing the eventual Republican nominee having to fight through a tough crowded primary.

The Senate race features primaries on both sides. The Democrats are in basically a two-way affair between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who leads in all polls and fundraising, and US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh). Both Democrats are from western Pennsylvania, but Fetterman should have the advantage in the vote-rich southeastern PA region considering his statewide ties, thus making him the favorite for the party nomination.

Two candidates on the Republican side have been spending heavily to attempt to separate themselves from the rest of the field, and they look to have succeeded. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick is leading in the latest two statewide surveys over television doctor Mehmet Oz. Former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos are the trailing candidates.

The Pennsylvania Senate general election will be one of the most important in the nation, and the results will go a long way toward determining which party will control the majority in the next Congress.

In the congressional races, Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Swarthmore), Dan Meuser (R-Dallas), Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), John Joyce (R-Hollidaysburg/Altoona), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Peters Township), Glenn Thompson (R-Howard/State College), and Mike Kelly (R-Butler) all should have easy rides to re-election. Rep. Reschenthaler has no Republican or Democratic opposition post-filing. Rep. Joyce faces only one minor Republican opponent.

Rep. Fred Keller’s (R-Middleburg) safe Republican 12th District was eliminated because Pennsylvania lost a seat in national reapportionment. He originally was going to challenge Rep. Meuser in the 9th District Republican primary, but later decided to retire.

Pennsylvania hosts four major congressional races: two open seats and two top challenger efforts against vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Rep. Lamb’s open 17th District, which sits west of Pittsburgh and stretches to the Ohio border, has a rating of D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization; this is the type of seat that Republicans must convert if they are to win the majority in November.

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