By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023
PresidentABC/Washington Post Poll: Again Finds Trump with Big Lead — For the second consecutive time, the ABC/Washington Post (Sept. 15-20; 890 registered US voters; live interview) sees former President Donald Trump building a large lead over President Joe Biden. The latest numbers give Trump a 51-42 percent national advantage, and a larger 52-39 percent lead within the Independent segment. In May, the ABC/Washington Post survey found Trump leading by a similar 49-42 percent margin.
Once again, the ABC/WaPo poll gives Trump a bigger lead than other polls conducted during a similar time frame. Since Sept. 14, six national surveys have been conducted from six different pollsters, and these firms see Trump holding leads of four and one point, with four ties.
New Jersey: Sen. Menendez’s Indictment — Sen. Bob Menendez (D), who is in-cycle next year, was indicted on Friday along with his wife and three others. All five defendants were charged on two counts: bribery, and honest services fraud, as it relates to an Egyptian foreign affairs funding issue. Senator and Mrs. Menendez were also indicted on a conspiracy to commit extortion charge. How this affects the 2024 Senate election remains to be determined.
Sen. Menendez beat a different set of federal charges in 2015. In response to this latest indictment, he said, “For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. To my supporters, friends and the community at large, I ask that you recall the other times the prosecutors got it wrong and that you reserve judgement.”
New Jersey is a strong Democratic state, so the June 2024 primary election may be the senator’s toughest obstacle. Credible candidates currently in the race are municipal planning director Kevin Cupples and real estate financing company executive Kyle Jasey. Former Gov. Chris Christie, still a presidential candidate, confirmed after the Menendez indictment announcement that he will not run for the Senate.
Some Democratic leaders, however, are calling upon Sen. Menendez to resign. Among them are Gov. Phil Murphy, Attorney General Matt Platkin, and Reps. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair). At this point, the lone House member making a public statement in Menendez’s favor, unsurprisingly, is the senator’s son, Rep. Rob Menendez (D-Jersey City).
FL-9: A Plethora of Candidates — In a seat that should be solid for Democrats, former Kissimmee City Commissioner and ex-congressional candidate Wanda Rentas surprisingly became the sixth Republican to enter the 2024 GOP primary. Though the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district D+16 and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks FL-9 as the 85th safest Democratic seat in the House, local Republicans think the district can be won. In 2022, Rep. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) won a fourth term with a lower than expected 54-46 percent victory margin.
Among the six GOP candidates we find former state representative and ex-Osceola County Commissioner John Quinones. It is likely that the race will winnow down to a contest between Quinones and Rentas, but both would still begin the general election as a clear underdog to Rep. Soto.
OH-13: Challenger Candidate Withdraws — Attorney Greg Wheeler (R), who had declared his candidacy for Congress months ago, on Friday announced that he would suspend his campaign. This leaves Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg as the lone Republican candidate hoping to challenge freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).
Banweg then announced that Sen. J.D. Vance (R) is endorsing his candidacy, which may be a precursor to the party establishment soon following suit. For a time, it was believed that former Ohio Republican Party chair and 2022 US Senate candidate Jane Timken might enter the race, but she has since removed her name from consideration.
Rep. Sykes defeated Republican Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R) in last November’s election by a 53-47 percent margin. Originally, Gilbert, too, was planning to run in 2024, but last month withdrew to accept a spokesperson’s position with the Republican National Committee. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates OH-13 as D+2. The Daily Kos Elections site rank the district as the 13th most vulnerable seat within the Democratic conference.