By Jim Ellis — Thursday, April 6, 2023
PresidentNo Labels Party: AZ Democrats Sue to Disqualify — The No Labels Party is attempting to qualify for the ballot in as many states as possible, and has already done so in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon. The Arizona Democratic Party, however, has filed a lawsuit attempting to disqualify the No Labels entity under the reasoning that Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes was in error for certifying the organization because it doesn’t meet all of the legal qualifications. The ADP claims that No Labels has not filed with the Federal Election Commission nor have they disclosed their donors, both requirements for political parties under Arizona election law.
The Arizona Democrats are particularly concerned about No Labels because a candidate under this banner could potentially draw Democratic votes away from President Biden while further attracting a large percentage of Democratic support for Independent and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a former Democrat, now an Independent. Arizona is again expected to deliver very close statewide election results in 2024, as its electorate has done in the last two elections.
There is a strong possibility that Sen. Sinema could run as the No Labels Senate candidate. Doing so would allow her to qualify for the ballot with far fewer petition signatures than required to secure an Independent ballot line. Under Arizona procedure, an Independent candidate would be required to submit 45,000 valid registered voter petition signatures. A new party’s candidate would see such a signature requirement drop to less than 1,300.
Asa Hutchinson: Announces Candidacy — Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who has repeatedly come out in opposition to former President Donald Trump, announced that he will become a presidential candidate. Though Hutchinson would be considered a “Never Trumper,” his jumping into the race could well help the former president because even small numbers of votes deflect from whoever becomes Trump’s top opponent, likely Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, will allow the former to score a plurality victory.
West Virginia: New GOP Primary Poll Finds Gov. Justice with Big Lead — The National Public Affairs survey research firm released the results of their new West Virginia US Senate Republican primary poll. The study (March 14-17; 360 likely West Virginia Republican primary voters and Independents likely to vote in the Republican primary; live interview & text), unsurprisingly finds Gov. Jim Justice leading Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) and US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) with a 43-21-10 percent count. If the race were only between Gov. Justice and Rep. Mooney, the governor would hold a 55-24 percent advantage.
It is likely that Morrisey will likely opt for the open governor’s race instead of taking on Justice in another Senate primary. In 2018, Morrisey held Sen. Joe Manchin (D) to a 50-46 percent re-election victory after easily winning the Republican primary. A Senate announcement from Gov. Justice is expected soon.
AZ-1: Democrats Rebound with New Candidate — Late last week, 2022 congressional nominee Jevin Hodge (D), who held Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) to a tight 50.4 – 49.6 percent victory margin, announced that he would not return for a re-match. State Rep. Amish Shah (D-) said Monday that he will run.
The newly-configured 1st District electorate is voting much more Democratic than the FiveThirtyEight R+7 rating would suggest. Though Rep. Schweikert barely won, President Joe Biden, Sen. Mark Kelly (D), and Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) all carried the 1st district in their 2020 and 2022 elections, albeit by similarly slim margins. Expect AZ-1 to be a top-tier Democratic conversion seat in the next election.
FL-11: Rep. Webster to Face Primary Challenge — Former Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R), who finished a distant second to now-Rep. Cory Mills (R-New Smyrna Beach) in the open 7th District Republican primary last year, announced that he will challenge veteran Rep. Dan Webster (R-Clermont) next year in the neighboring 11th District. Sabatini will be a long-shot contender, but he will likely be able to attract sufficient resources to become competitive.