By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023
SenateWest Virginia: Gov. Justice Records Strong Primary Lead — American Pulse, surveying for WMOV radio (Nov. 13-14; 414 WV likely Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques), sees Gov. Jim Justice developing a commanding lead over US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) in a just-released poll that was conducted in mid-November. This data shows Gov. Justice with a huge 56-20 percent lead over Rep. Mooney in a primary race that is now likely to determine the state’s next US senator. The race drastically changed when Sen. Joe Manchin (D) announced he would not seek re-election. At this point, Democrats do not have a credible announced candidate.
MN-3: Rep. Dean Phillips Won’t Seek Re-Election — Three-term Minnesota US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Plymouth), who is challenging President Joe Biden for the national Democratic nomination, announced yesterday that he would not seek re-election to the House next year. Phillips, said that running for Congress would be “both unproductive and uncomfortable,” and also that it is “time to pass the torch” in terms of representing Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District.
Rep. Phillips was already facing a Democratic primary challenge due to his move against President Biden. Democratic National Committee member Ron Harris announced for the House seat immediately upon the congressman declaring his presidential candidacy. Several weeks later, state Sen. Kelly Morrison (D-Deephaven) followed suit. We can expect a crowded and contested Democratic nominating convention along with a likely Aug. 13 primary campaign.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates MN-3 as D+14. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks the district as the 63rd-most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference. Republicans will likely make an effort here, but the eventual Democratic nominee will begin as a clear favorite to win the general election.
TX-26: Former Majority Leader’s Son to Try Again — When Texas US Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Pilot Point/Denton) first won his House seat in 2002, he defeated Scott Armey in a Republican runoff. Armey, then the Denton County Judge (Executive), is the son of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who he was attempting to succeed. With Burgess last week announcing his retirement after serving what will be 22 years in the House, the younger Armey again declared his candidacy for the seat during the Thanksgiving break.
The 26th District is solidly Republican (FiveThirtyEight rates it as R+26; Daily Kos Elections Rank shows it as the 96th safest Republican seat), so Rep. Burgess’ successor will almost assuredly be decided in a Republican nomination process that will likely include a May 28 runoff after the March 5 primary. At this point, six Republicans have declared for the seat but so far the field of candidates features no sitting elected official.
West Virginia: Morrisey Back in Front — The aforementioned American Pulse poll for WMOV radio (see West Virginia Senate above) also tested the Republican sampling universe for the open gubernatorial primary. With Gov. Jim Justice moving into the Senate race, the May 14 GOP primary will very likely decide who will succeed Gov. Justice.
Rebounding from an August MetroNews poll that showed him trailing, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has assumed the lead according to the American Pulse results. In this study, Morrisey, twice elected as AG, leads state Delegate Moore Capito, son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R), 31-23 percent. Secretary of State Mac Warner posts 14 percent in third position with businessman Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington), at 10 percent. While Morrisey has a clear advantage, this poll suggests the race could evolve into a four-way battle as the primary date gets closer.