Tag Archives: Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Presley Stands Aside; CA-20 Special Election Scheduled; Pence to Retire; Buffalo Mayor Won’t Run for Open House Seat; Vermont Governor’s Race

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024

Senate

Former Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D)

Mississippi: Brandon Presley Won’t Run — Former Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), who held Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to a 51-48 percent re-election victory in November, said he will not challenge Sen. Roger Wicker (R) later this year, but indicated that his time in politics is not yet over. This could mean he is already laying the groundwork to again run for governor in 2027 when the position will be open. Presley is a second cousin to the late “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” singer Elvis Presley. Gov. Reeves will be ineligible to stand for a third term. With Mississippi candidate filing closing today, it is unlikely the Democrats will field a strong candidate against Sen. Wicker.

House

CA-20: Special Election Scheduled — Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that the special election to replace resigned Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) will be held on March 19, two weeks after the California state primary on March 5. Therefore, two candidates will advance to the regular general election before the special vote is held. Under California election law, if no candidate receives majority support in the first election, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held at a later date. Gov. Newsom has scheduled the potential runoff for May 21.

CA-20 is the safest Republican seat in California. State Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield) is favored to succeed Rep. McCarthy. His strongest competitor appears to be Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R).

IN-6: Rep. Greg Pence (R) to Retire — The House retirement drumbeat continues; another announcement comes from three-term Rep. Greg Pence (R-Columbus), brother of former Vice President Mike Pence. Saying it is an “honor and privilege” to serve the people of Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, Pence stated that he decided he would not seek a fourth term. The House open seat count now ticks upward to 44. Four of these races will be decided in special elections before the regular election.

The 6th District will remain in Republican hands. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+37, making it the safest Indiana seat for the GOP. A majority of the Hoosier State Republican delegation (4 of 7) will not be seeking re-election. Reps. Victoria Sparts (R-Noblesville), Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) and Pence all are retiring. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) is running for the Senate.

NY-26: Mayor Won’t Run — Five-term Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) announced that he will not compete for what will be an open congressional seat headed for a special election. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) is resigning his office in February, at which point Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will schedule a special election. Since the county party chairmen have the power to nominate candidates for special elections, it appears a lock that state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) will be the Democratic candidate to replace Rep. Higgins. With a FiveThirtyEight data organization rating of D+18, Sen. Kennedy will become a prohibitive favorite to replace Rep. Higgins.

Governor

Vermont: Democratic Former Local Official Files — Despite running in one of the most heavily Democratic states, Republican Gov. Phil Scott consistently ranks as the most popular state chief executive in the country. While he has yet to announce that he will seek a fifth two-year term — Vermont and New Hampshire are the only states that limit their governors to two years between elections — former Middlebury Town Selectwoman Esther Charlestin this week announced that she will seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Should Gov. Scott decide to retire, the Democrats will have the inside track toward converting the State House. If he runs again, Gov. Scott becomes a prohibitive favorite.

Pre-Christmas Poll Favors Schiff & Garvey; Potential New Utah Senate Candidate; Fong Reinstated in California Race

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024

Senate

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) / Former baseball great Steve Garvey (R)

California: Pre-Christmas Poll Favors Schiff & Garvey — A new survey, this one from Politico/Morning Consult (Dec. 15-19; 858 likely California jungle primary voters; online with leaners), finds US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) posting his largest polling lead over the large multi-party candidate field and is the second to show retired baseball great Steve Garvey (R) claiming second position.

The Morning Consult data records Rep. Schiff at 28 percent and Garvey following with 19 percent. If this trend were to continue, Schiff and Garvey would advance into the post-March 5 general election. US Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) trail with 17 and 14 percent, respectively. If this poll were the final vote, both Reps. Porter and Lee would be eliminated from further competition.

Utah: Rep. Curtis Poised to Enter Senate Race — Utah political reports are suggesting that four-term US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) will imminently join the open US Senate race with the hope of succeeding retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R). Originally saying he would not run for the Senate, the congressman is apparently on the brink of changing his mind as he sees the candidate field develop.

With several key Republicans such as Gov. Spencer Cox declining to run for the federal post, and no other GOP House member entering to date, Curtis now believes he would have a strong chance of winning the party primary. Looking at the field, the strongest contender appears to be former state House Speaker Brad Wilson. Utah’s candidate filing period expires on Jan. 8, so decisions will now be made quickly.

Should Rep. Curtis run for the Senate, he will likely petition onto the ballot. When he won his special congressional election in 2017, he was not the choice of the local Republican nominating convention but did win the special primary election. Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Curtis was twice elected as Provo’s mayor.

House

CA-20: Fong Reinstated to Cong Ballot — Reversing the California Secretary of State’s ruling, a California Superior Court judge ruled that state Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield) can run for the open 20th Congressional District seat that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has vacated. Because Fong had filed and been qualified as a candidate for re-election to the assembly, the secretary of state ruled that he could not enter the regular congressional election campaign after McCarthy announced his intention to retire. Fong challenged the administrative ruling and will now become a congressional candidate.

Also in the regular jungle primary are Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux, five other Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents. CA-20, carrying a R+31 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, is the safest Republican seat in California. A special election to fill the balance of the current term should be called now that McCarthy has officially left office.

Garvey Moves Into Second in Calif.; LaRose Widening Lead in Ohio; Decision Looming for Arizona Sheriff; No Rematch in RI-2

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023

Senate

Steve Garvey, former LA Dodgers great

California: Garvey Moves Into Second in New Poll — Survey USA went into the field to test the California electorate in anticipation of the state’s open US Senate primary on Super Tuesday, March 5. As you may remember, California uses an all-party top two primary system that serves as a qualifying election for the November vote. The top two finishers on March 5, regardless of political party affiliation or percentage attained, will advance to the general election. All other candidates will be eliminated from further competition.

This means that at least one Democratic US House member will not advance. The huge field of 53 individuals who filed with California’s secretary of state will be winnowed down (the California SoS is targeting Dec. 28 as the date to have an official list of qualified candidates in all elections) but will still feature a very large ballot.

Three of the contenders who are sure to qualify as Senate candidates are US Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Katie Porter (D-Irvine), and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). Each is attempting to qualify for the general election but at least one will fail. Because the bulk of votes will likely split among these three — relatively evenly, as polling suggests — it is conceivable that a well-known Republican such as baseball great Steve Garvey (R), could capture the second qualifying position in coalescing the minority Republican vote, thus eliminating two of the three House members.

The Survey USA poll (Dec. 7-10; 676 registered California voters; 590 likely voters; online) sees Rep. Schiff leading the large ballot, as he has in most other polls, with 22 percent. S-USA detects the scenario described above in that Garvey is second with 15 percent. Reps. Porter and Lee follow with 12 percent apiece. Democrats will be heavy favorites to hold the open seat that appointed Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) is leaving after replacing the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), but Garvey sneaking into second place from the jungle primary now appears as a distinct possibility.

Ohio: New Survey Finds LaRose Opening GOP Lead — Survey USA released their latest Ohio US Senate poll (released Dec. 18; no methodology available) and finds a much different result than other recent polls. The last two studies released earlier in the month, from McLaughlin & Associates and Fabrizio Lee & Associates, found businessman Bernie Moreno posting very small (one to two points) Republican primary leads over Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls).

The S-USA data sees a wholly different result. Here, Secretary LaRose maintains a large 33-18-12 percent advantage over Sen. Dolan and Moreno. We will need more data to gain a better picture of this primary race as the candidates move through January and February to the nomination election on March 19. The Ohio primary is plurality based, meaning the candidate with the most votes, regardless of percentage attained, will win the nomination in this one election. The eventual nominee will then challenge three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the most important Senate general elections in the 2024 voting cycle.

House

AZ-2: Recruiting Primary Opponent for Rep. Crane — Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb (R) confirms that he is being recruited by unnamed sources to leave the Senate race and turn his political effort toward challenging 2nd District US Rep. Eli Crane (R-Oro Valley/ Flagstaff) in next year’s GOP primary. Crane was one of the eight Republican members who voted to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

While Sheriff Lamb may be rejecting such overtures now, candidate filing for the Aug. 6 primary does not end until April 8, so much time remains for him to reverse course. It is probable that Lamb will continue to see the Senate nomination rapidly slipping away. If so, challenging Rep. Crane may eventually prove to be the sheriff’s better political move.

RI-2: No Re-Match — As reported in the Cook Political Report and by the Daily Kos Elections site and as noted in our post yesterday, former Cranston mayor and ex-gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung (R), who held freshman Rhode Island Rep. Ira Magaziner (D-Cranston) to a 50-46 percent win in a 2nd District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+17, will not return to run again in 2024.

Fung is clearly the Republicans’ best possible candidate, so this seat will not be considered a GOP conversion target in 2024 despite the closeness of the most recent campaign. Polling had indicated Fung was in position to score a major upset in 2022 but fell short when the votes were actually counted.

Trump Tops 50 Percent in Iowa; Leading CA-20 Contender Won’t Run; Tight IA-1 Race; Jackson Lee Registers in TX-18 at Deadline

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump: Tops 50 Percent in Iowa — The latest Des Moines Register/NBC News poll (Selzer & Company; Dec. 2-7; 502 likely Iowa Republican Caucus attendees; live interview) sees former President Donald Trump again breaking the majority vote threshold. Selzer & Company, a survey research firm that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as an A+ pollster and consistently described as Iowa’s most accurate research entity, projects Trump to be holding a 51-19-16-5-4 percent advantage over Gov. Ron DeSantis, ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, respectively.

According to the analysis, this is the largest historical advantage anyone has held for a competitive Iowa Caucus.

House

CA-20: Leading Contender Won’t Run — With Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) resigning his seat before the end of the year, the California candidate filing deadline has been extended five days in this district because the incumbent is not seeking re-election. A surprise occurred Monday, as the potential candidate viewed as having the best chance to succeed McCarthy, state Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) who already represents 91 percent of the 20th Congressional District constituency, announced that she will not run for Congress.

Immediately, state Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield), who had filed for re-election after announcing he would not run for Congress, now wants to file for the congressional seat. It may be difficult for him to withdraw from the assembly race, however, since his candidacy for the legislature has been officially approved. At the time of this writing, rumors also abound that former Congressman Devin Nunes (R) may also file at the last moment. The filing period ends today, so all questions will be answered at that time.

IA-1: Poll Shows Rep. Miller-Meeks With Close Lead — The US Term Limits organization polled Iowa’s politically marginal southeastern 1st Congressional District (RMG Research; Nov. 28-Dec. 2; 448 likely IA-1 voters; online) and finds Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Le Claire) edging former state representative and 2022 congressional nominee Christina Bohannon (D) by a 38-35 percent margin.

The term limits push question then places Bohannon ahead after the pollsters indicate that the challenger supports limiting terms while the incumbent does not, but this will not likely be a determinative issue for the 2024 election campaign.

TX-18: Rep. Jackson Lee (D) Files for Re-Election — Just two days after losing a landslide runoff election in the Houston mayoral campaign, veteran Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) quickly turned around and filed for re-election to the House. Candidate filing closed Monday in Texas for the 2024 election cycle in preparation for the state’s March 5 primary.

Now, we could potentially see a Democratic primary battle develop. Anticipating the seat would be open if Jackson Lee was elected mayor, five Democrats filed as congressional candidates including former Houston City councilwoman and ex-US Senate candidate Amanda Edwards. It remains to be seen how many of these filed contenders decide to continue to run now that the incumbent has returned.

The 18th District is fully contained within Harris County. The population is 40 percent Hispanic, 34 percent black, and 6 percent Asian. Only 19 percent is recorded as non-Hispanic white. Dave’s Redistricting App’s partisan lead calculation is 73.6D – 24.4R. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates TX-18 as D+43, so winning the Democratic nomination process is tantamount to claiming the seat.

Haley Gaining in Poll Test; McCarthy Out as House Speaker; Ex-North Las Vegas Mayor Announces for House Race; Majewski Returns

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023

President

Insider Advantage Poll: Haley Gaining — The Insider Advantage polling organization (Sept. 29-30; 850 likely US voters) finds former UN Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley getting a bounce from the second Republican primary debate. According to the IA ballot test, former President Donald Trump continues to dominate the field with 50 percent support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is second with 15 percent, just ahead of Haley’s 14 percent score.

Haley gained three percentage points since the firm’s late August poll, while Gov. DeSantis’ support fell by the same margin. No other candidate reached double digits. The candidate falling furthest from August, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, dropped from seven to three percent support.

House

Former Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Speaker Vote: Eight Rs Against McCarthy; Three Not Voting — The House Speaker saga continues with Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) being removed from the post on a 216-210 vote. McCarthy likely has at least two more votes from those Republicans not voting yesterday. Texas US Reps. John Carter (R-Round Rock) and Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) were loyal McCarthy supporters in the original 15 votes. The other non-voting Republican was Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), who typically votes with the Freedom Caucus.

With the two vacancies – the RI-1 and UT-2 special elections are scheduled for Nov. 7 and Nov. 21, respectively – the House stands at 433 members. Therefore, the winning speaker candidate must obtain 217 votes instead of the typical 218. Assuming at least two more votes from yesterday’s non-voters, McCarthy would need to convince five of the nine Republicans who either voted against him or did not vote (Luna).

The eight Republicans against are: Reps. Eli Crane (R-AZ-2), Andy Biggs (R-AZ-5), Ken Buck (R-CO-4), Matt Gaetz (R-FL-1), Matt Rosendale (R-MT-2), Nancy Mace (R-SC-1), Tim Burchett (R-TN-2), and Bob Good (R-VA-5). Six of these members consistently opposed McCarthy in January. Reps. Buck and Mace are the newcomers to this group.

Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-9), Lauren Boebert (R-CO-3), Dan Bishop (R-NC-8), Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), Victoria Spartz (R-IN-5), Andy Ogles (R-TN-5), and Chip Roy (R-TX-21), who had either opposed McCarthy in January or voted “present,” all supported him in this vote. Filling that now vacant seat is a fluid and ever-evolving situation.

NV-4: Ex-Mayor Announces — John Lee (R), the former North Las Vegas mayor and ex-state legislator, announced that he will enter the competitive 4th District congressional race next year. Assuming Lee wins the Republican primary, he will face four-term US Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas). Lee entered the 2022 gubernatorial race but did not fare well in the Republican primary. He placed fourth, only attracting eight percent of the vote.

In the congressional race, with his North Las Vegas base included within this district, he will be a formidable general election candidate in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+5. The Daily Kos Elections site ranking the district as the 34th most vulnerable seat in the 213-member Democratic Conference.

OH-9: Majewski Returns — J.R. Majewski, the 2022 Republican nominee who lost to veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) on a substantial 57-43 percent vote largely due to his January 6 history, was originally in the 2024 race, then out, and has now injected himself back into the race. Majewski was able to win a contested primary in 2022 with just a base conservative vote of 36 percent, since the remaining votes were split among three others.

His main opponent in the 2024 primary election, former state Rep. Craig Riedel, was one of the multi-candidates in the last GOP nomination contest. It appears Riedel has more unified support this time around and will likely be favored over the returning Majewski.

With the FiveThirtyEight data organization rating OH-9 as R+6, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranking the district as the fifth most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference, expect this race to draw a great deal of national political attention from beginning to end.

The Logjam

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023

House

Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) — potential House Speaker option?

Speaker: Multiple Ballots — For the first time since 1923, the US House of Representatives conducted multiple ballots to elect a new Speaker and have yet to overcome the impasse; this, after three complete 434-member alphabetical roll call votes produced only one representative who changed his vote.

With 20 Republicans voting against the conference nominee, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), and 19 of those over three separate votes, the logjam can only be broken in his favor if 15 of these members change their position and agree to support him later today. 

Since McCarthy’s ability to somehow finding a magic bullet to save his quest for the Speakership seems rather unlikely at this point, speculation is rampant about what may happen. Many believe that incoming Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) may be able to construct a coalition large enough to reach the 218-majority figure. Others feel that he is viewed as too close to McCarthy – being, in effect, a “McCarthy Light” – which might be enough to disqualify him.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) has floated the idea of attempting to build a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats to vote for a more centrist Republican. This strategy has worked in some state legislatures, Alaska and Texas being the most prominent, as well as in the New York state Senate for a time. Yesterday, the moderate Ohio House Republicans and Democrats forged a successful coalition to claim the Speakership in that body.

Because personal relationships are stronger in smaller state legislatures and generally more bipartisan, coalition strategies in these bodies have a much better chance of success than they do in Congress. In the current US House situation, with all 212 Democrats holding tight for conference nominee, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), peeling off even one such member to join a bipartisan coalition is likely out of reach. 

Jeffries and the Democrats’ best chance is that the McCarthy team attempts an end run around the rules by having some of their votes not be present or by voting “present” in an attempt to lower the number of votes McCarthy would need to secure majority support. 

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Schiff Explores Senate Race; Valadao Re-Elected; House Candidate Filings

By Jim Ellis — Nov. 23, 2022

Senate

California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)

California: Rep. Schiff Exploring Senate Race — With most people believing that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) will not seek re-election in 2024 when she will be 91 years of age, Southern California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said that he is considering launching a US Senate exploratory committee. Schiff is already in a battle to keep his seat on the Intelligence Committee after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — should he be elected Speaker — said that Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) would be removed from the panel.

Should Sen. Feinstein retire, we will see a strong Democratic battle to replace her. In California’s jungle primary system, it is likely that two Democrats would advance into the general election. One thing is certain: Rep. Schiff would be able to raise the money to compete. In his bid for re-election to the House in the current cycle, he raised more than $22 million.

House

CA-22: Rep. David Valadao Wins Re-election — The Associated Press, late Monday afternoon Pacific time, projected that Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) had defeated state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) in their hard-fought congressional race. This, despite Rep. Valadao finishing a distant second on the jungle primary back in June when he received only 26 percent of the vote versus Salas’ 45 percent in a field of four candidates in the most Democratic congressional district in the country that elects a Republican to the House.

According to the California Secretary of State’s official count, Valadao held a 3,381 vote lead with just over 100,000 votes counted. Based upon the number of outstanding ballots and where they are from, the AP made the unofficial projection. The Valadao victory gives the Republicans 220 members in the new Congress as compared to 212 Democrats. Three races, two in California and one in Alaska, remain uncalled. Republicans lead in both Golden State races, Democrats in the Last Frontier.

NC-13: Hines Files 2024 Committee — The court-drawn North Carolina congressional map featured a new 13th District that contained the southern Raleigh suburbs, the city of Fayetteville, and Republican Johnston County, which made the CD a toss-up seat. Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel carried the district with a 52-48 percent margin, defeating Republican Bo Hines, who received the Trump endorsement in the GOP primary.

Hines, 27, was a former football player for North Carolina State University, but had no other particular ties to the region and actually planned to run in another district before this open seat was drawn. He filed a new 2024 committee on Monday, presumably sending signals that he intends to run again.

Hines did not receive particularly favorable marks as a candidate, and there is a good chance we will see a new North Carolina map drawn after the Supreme Court rules on the state’s partisan gerrymandering case before them. Even if Hines decides to run, he can expect heavy competition in the Republican primary before getting another opportunity of opposing Rep-Elect Nickel.

WV-2: State Treasurer Announces for House — Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) already announcing that he will challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the next election year has ignited the first of what promises to be political musical chairs for what will be an open 2nd Congressional District. State Treasurer Riley Moore (R) announced his congressional candidacy Monday and is the first major candidate to enter the 2024 race. Rep. Mooney’s successor will likely be decided in the Republican primary in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+34.