Tag Archives: Rep. Nick LaLota

Rep. Gallagher to Leave in April;
A Squeaker in CA-16; Party Chair Advances in Colorado;
Santos Leaves GOP

By Jim Ellis — Monday, March 25, 2024

House

Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay)

WI-8: Rep. Gallagher to Resign in April — In February, four-term US Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay) announced that he would not seek a fifth term this year. On Friday, Gallagher reiterated his plan to leave Congress, and will do so earlier than expected. The congressman indicated he will resign from the House on April 19.

Leaving at that point in April does not allow the state to replace him with an early special election to fill the balance of the term instead of waiting until the November election. Therefore, Republicans will be another seat down until the regular general. Gallagher becomes the sixth House member to resign during this session of Congress in addition to Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who was expelled from the body.

CA-16: 1, 2, 3, & 4 — The battle to claim the second general election position in California’s open 16th Congressional District continues to drag on, and now the election officials are determining if provisional and late arriving ballots should be added to the aggregate count. An estimated 400-plus ballots are in this category.

The current standing finds San Mateo County Supervisor and former state Sen. Joe Simitian (D) now leading Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) by a mere four votes — 30,222 to 30,218. This small number is an increase for Simitian from his previous one-vote edge. Previously, Low held two and three vote leads from a pair of released counts.

Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) has already clinched the first general election finalist position. The Secretary of State has until April 12 to certify all March 5 primary elections and it is likely determining the second place finisher here will consume the entire time allotment. Whoever is declared the loser once all ballots are tabulated will obviously call for a recount. Should the race for second place end in a tie, both contenders would advance into the general election against Liccardo. Incumbent Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton) is retiring.

CO-5: State Chairman Advances to GOP Primary — Local Republican delegates in Colorado’s open 5th District met over the weekend in their nominating convention. With Rep. Douglas Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) retiring, the seat becomes open for the first time in 18 years. Counting his time in the state legislature, Lamborn will leave elective office at the beginning of next year after serving 30 consecutive years.

The delegates, with a 70.4 percent vote, propelled Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams into the general election. A candidate must receive at least 30 percent of the vote to automatically advance. Falling below the lower threshold requires a candidate to access the ballot by submitting 1,500 valid petition signatures. Therefore, the only other announced GOP candidate for the seat, radio talk show host and former two time congressional candidate Jeff Crank, must circulate petitions in order to compete in the June 25 Republican primary.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CO-5 as R+18. Then-President Donald Trump carried the seat in 2020 with a 53.2 – 43.1 percent majority vote. Therefore, the eventual Republican nominee will become a definitive favorite for the general election. With the candidate filing deadline fast approaching on April 1, seven Democrats are announced contenders.

NY-1: Santos Leaves GOP — After declaring earlier this month that he would challenge freshman Republican Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County) in the GOP primary, on Friday the expelled Congressman George Santos announced he would leave the Republican Party and campaign for the 1st District congressional seat as an Independent.

In a written statement, Santos said, “The Republican Party continues to lie and swindle its voter base. I, in good conscience, cannot affiliate myself with a party that stands for nothing and falls for everything.” It is unlikely that Santos will be a factor in the general election for the Independence Party, or any other ballot line. Any votes he does attract, however, would likely come from LaLolta’s base, thus allowing the eventual Democratic nominee, either 2020 congressional nominee Nancy Goroff or former CNN news anchor John Avlon, to potentially gain support from these disaffected Republicans.

No Labels Party – Spoiler Alert? Sen. Menendez Says He’s Out; Rosendale Out, Again; Santos to Run Again

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 14, 2024

President

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan

No Labels Party: Votes to Field Candidate — On Friday, the No Labels Party members voted to move forward with fielding a presidential ticket in this year’s election, but apparently the organization is not close to identifying who might be those contenders. Some within the organization suggested nominating former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R), who is critical of former President Donald Trump.

If No Labels were to go in this direction, it would signal that they are trying to be a spoiler — despite publicly saying that is not what their intention is — i.e., using a figure such as Duncan to draw votes away from Trump in the critical state of Georgia, which would give President Joe Biden a strong chance of again winning the state, thus assuring his re-election. Though the group wants to move forward with nominating a presidential candidate, the members are apparently a long way from selecting a ticket and gaining agreement from those who they might eventually choose.

Senate

New Jersey: Sen. Menendez Won’t Seek Re-Election — Facing multiple federal charges and consistent polling data showing him only with single-digit support within his own party, Sen. Bob Menendez (D) announced on Friday that he will not seek re-election later this year. This leaves the Senate Democratic field ostensibly to US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and Tammy Murphy, the state’s First Lady.

Sen. Menendez now becomes the ninth incumbent not to seek re-election in 2024, a figure that represents more than one-quarter of the 34 in-cycle senators. Of the nine, six are Democrats, two are Republican, and one, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who is now an Independent. Despite the large number of openings, it appears only two, Arizona and Michigan, will be competitive in the general election while three, Maryland, New Jersey, and Utah will see highly volatile Democratic (MD, NJ) and Republican (UT) primary elections.

House

MT-2: Rosendale Out, Again — Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive), in a statement saying he has received recent death threats amidst rumors of an extra-marital affair, has now decided he will not file for re-election. Yesterday was the Montana candidate filing deadline. MT-2 again joins the open seat ranks, as it did when Rosendale announced his short-lived US Senate campaign in February, which lasted only a week. He will retire from the House after serving two full terms, one as the at-large representative, and the other from District 2 since Montana earned a new seat in 2021 reapportionment.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced before Rep. Rosendale decided to step aside that she would continue running for the House. State Auditor Troy Downing confirmed his congressional candidacy shortly after the congressman’s retirement announcement.

It is expected that most, if not all, of the seven other announced contenders, including former Congressman Denny Rehberg and state Senate President Pro Tempore Ken Bogner (R-Miles City), will continue with their congressional campaigns. The Montana primary election will be held June 4. The new Republican nominee will be a lock to win the general election in an eastern Montana district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+30.

NY-1: Santos to Run Again — Expelled US Rep. George Santos (R), announced that he will indeed be on the ballot to return to Congress. He will not challenge Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who replaced him in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, but rather will oppose 1st District freshman Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County). Santos calls LaLota an “empty suit RINO” (Republican In Name Only). LaLota was especially critical of Santos during his short tenure in office.

The new redistricting map makes the 1st District more Republican, but it is highly unlikely the new configuration will allow Santos to deny Rep. LaLota renomination. The New York primary is scheduled for June 25.

Williamson “Un-Suspends” Her Campaign; Banks Unopposed in Indiana; McConnell Steps Down; Montana’s Rosendale Seeks Re-Election; Changes in NY-1 Race

By Jim Ellis — Friday, March 1, 2024

President

Marianne Williamson / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Marianne Williamson: “Un-Suspends” Campaign — Democrat Marianne Williamson, who suspended her presidential campaign after the Nevada primary, returned to active status on Wednesday. As a non-candidate in South Carolina and Michigan, she placed ahead of Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN) in both states. Neither, however, have registered even five percent support against President Joe Biden. Williamson’s return to active campaigning will do little to dissuade a Biden renomination. He remains on target to clinch the party nod after the March 19 primaries conclude.

Senate

Indiana: Rep. Banks Unopposed for Senate Nomination — The Indiana Election Commission unanimously removed Republican John Rust from the ballot for failure to meet one of the party standards to qualify as a candidate. That is, Rust could offer no proof that he voted in two consecutive Republican primaries. The Commission’s action means that Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) will enter the open Indiana Republican Senate primary as an unopposed candidate.

Winning the GOP primary will then give Banks the inside track to winning the Senate seat outright in the general election. This will become one of the easiest open Senate campaigns that we have seen in recent memory. Sen. Mike Braun (R) is bypassing running for a second term to launch a gubernatorial bid.

Sen. Mitch McConnell: Stepping Down from Leadership — Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) announcement that he will step down as Republican Leader after the elections in November could cause some uncertainty in the GOP fundraising ranks. The Senate Leadership Fund, which several of his key supporters run, raised over $289 million for the 2022 election cycle. In the year 2023 just concluded, the Fund attracted over $37 million. It remains to be seen if the national Republicans’ fundraising drops even more now that donors know McConnell’s time as Leader will be officially coming to an end.

House

MT-2: Rep. Rosendale Will Seek Re-Election — We are now seeing a retirement reversal trend taking hold. Montana US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive), after entering the Senate race for just a week, will now instead actively pursue a re-election campaign. With the incumbent returning, it remains to be seen just how many of the nine announced GOP candidates, including former at-large Rep. Denny Rehberg, State Auditor Troy Downing, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, and state Senate President Pro Tempore Ken Bogner (R-Miles City), will continue their candidacies.

Rosendale becomes the third House member to announce that he would not be seeking re-election only to change course and run again. The others are Reps. Pat Fallon (R-TX) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN). Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), who recently announced his own retirement, also may be in the process of changing his mind. The House open-seat count now recedes to 48. If Rep. Green decides to file, the number drops to 47. Once the three special elections are held, the total number of House open seats will reduce further to 44.

NY-1: Former State Senator Drops Challenge — New York former state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D) announced that he is ending his congressional challenge to freshman Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County) after seeing the new redistricting map that made Long Island’s 1st District more Republican. In his exit, Gaughran endorsed former CNN anchor John Avlon (D). Also in the 1st District Democratic race are 2020 congressional nominee Nancy Goroff and ex-congressional staff member Kyle Hill. Rep. LaLota is favored for re-election.

Candidate Finds Joy Again; Dem Explores Challenge to NJ Rep. Kean; Goroff to Challenge in NY-1; Louisiana Governor’s Candidates Set

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023

House

Attorney and CA-45 candidate Aditya Pai (D)

CA-45: Candidate Returns — A day after attorney Aditya Pai (D) announced that he was leaving the campaign trail because he found “no joy” in his effort, he reversed himself. Now, Pai is back in the race. Three other Democrats are competing, so it is probable that Pai fails to advance from the jungle primary. Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Orange County) is the two-term incumbent and is a lock to secure the first general election ballot position.

Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Nguyen and attorney Cheyenne Hunt appear to be the leading Democrats. The California jungle primary is held concurrently with Super Tuesday on March 5, 2024.

NJ-7: New Candidate Files Exploratory Committee — Former State Department official Jason Blazakis (D) filed a congressional exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission for a potential run in New Jersey’s 7th District against GOP freshman Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield). Should Blazakis officially enter the Democratic primary he would have to get past Roselle Park Mayor Joe Signorello and Working Families Party state Director Sue Altman in order to advance into the general election. Another State Department official previously represented the district, former Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), who lost his 2022 re-election campaign to Kean after defeating him in 2020.

New Jersey’s 7th CD covers about one-third of Union County, all of Hunterdon and Warren, and parts of Morris, Somerset, and Sussex counties. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+3. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 51.5R – 46.6D. Rep. Kean will have the edge for re-election, but we can anticipate seeing a competitive campaign develop within the district confines.

NY-1: Democratic Primary Brewing — Late last week, Nancy Goroff, the 2020 NY-1 Democratic nominee who lost to then-Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) 56-44 percent, announced that she will enter the 2024 Democratic primary in hope of challenging freshman Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Suffolk County). First, however, she will have to overcome a bid from former state Sen. Jim Gaughran, who announced two days before Goroff. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-1 as R+5. Dave’s Redistricting App, however, calculates the partisan lean in the Democrats’ favor at 51.1D – 47.1R.

Governor

Louisiana: 2023 Candidate Filing Closes — The candidate filing period for this year’s Louisiana governor’s race closed on Friday, and 16 candidates filed for the office. The field includes eight Republicans, three Democrats, and five Independents. The jungle primary is scheduled for Oct. 14.

For the Republicans, the battle appears to be among Attorney General Jeff Landry, state Treasurer John Schroder, and former gubernatorial chief of staff Stephen Waguespack. Democrats are coalescing behind former state Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson. It is likely that Wilson and one of the three aforementioned Republicans will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to run for a third term.