Tag Archives: Sen. John Kennedy

Ricketts Selected to Replace Sen. Sasse; CA-30 Race Already Rolling; Elvis’s Cousin Announces for Gov.

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 13, 2023

Senate

Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts selected to replace Sen. Ben Sasse.

Nebraska: Gov. Pillen Tabs ex-Gov. Pete Ricketts for Vacant Senate Seat — Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has officially resigned his seat in order to assume his new duties as president of the University of Florida, and new Gov. Jim Pillen (R), as expected, chose former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as the interim replacement. Ricketts will serve until the next general election in 2024. The seat is next in-cycle for a six-year term in 2026.

Gov. Pillen wanted to pick a senator who would commit to serving a long while in order to build seniority for the state to compliment two-term Sen. Deb Fischer (R) who is seeking re-election in 2024. Therefore, Ricketts committed to running both in 2024 and 2026. Senate-Designate Ricketts will be sworn into office when the Senate next convenes on Jan. 23.

House

CA-30: House Race Already Rolling — California Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-Irvine) move to declare for the Senate even before incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) announces her retirement has already set off a chain of reaction. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) says she will announce once Sen. Feinstein makes her retirement public. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) looks to be doing the same. In anticipation of the latter jumping into the Senate race, Los Angeles School Board member Nick Melvoin (D) announced yesterday that he will run for Schiff’s House seat.

Governor

Louisiana: Rep. Graves Considering Gov Race — Saying, “I think that the sentiment out there in the public for another candidate in this race is absolutely extraordinary,” Louisiana US Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) confirmed that he is still considering whether to run for governor later this year, and promises a decision in the next few days. The open gubernatorial field has changed drastically with both Sen. John Kennedy (R) and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) declining to become candidates.

Graves was first elected to the House in 2018 and easily re-elected in 2020 and 2022 with 71 and 80 percent of the vote, respectively. He would not have to risk his congressional seat to run for governor in this odd-numbered year election. Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), state Treasurer John Schroder (R), and Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) presently appear to be the leading contenders.

The candidate filing deadline is not until Aug. 10. The jungle primary is scheduled for Oct. 14. If no one receives majority support in the initial vote, the top two finishers will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Mississippi: Elvis’s Cousin Announces for Governor — Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), a second cousin to the late music legend Elvis Presley, announced that he will compete for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a quest to challenge Gov. Tate Reeves (R) later this year. Presley was elected to the Public Service Commission in 2007 after serving seven years as mayor of Nettleton, a town of approximately 2,000 residents. He is the first person to become an official 2023 opponent to Gov. Reeves. Secretary of State Michael Watson is a potential Republican primary challenger.

Candidate filing closes Feb. 1. The statewide primary is set for Aug. 8 with a runoff date on Aug. 29 for those races where no candidate achieves majority support in the initial vote. The general election is Nov. 7.

Two Announce in Michigan; Gov. Vacancy in Nebraska; House Announces Committee Chairs; Turmoil in Louisiana

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023

Senate

Michigan: First Two Announce — The first two candidates came forward to announce their intention to run for what will now be an open Michigan US Senate seat in 2024. Former state Rep. Leslie Love (D) and attorney Jacquise Purifoy (D) both declared their candidacy yesterday. These are the first in what is expected to be a long list of contenders for both parties. Last week, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) announced that she will not seek a fifth term in 2024.

One person who will not likely be in the field is Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), who indicated yesterday that she will continue to serve in her current position.

Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, likely replacement for Sen. Ben Sasse.

Nebraska: Officially Vacant — Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has officially resigned his seat in order to assume his new duties as president of the University of Florida. This means new Gov. Jim Pillen (R) will now be able to name a replacement. Odds are strong that he will choose former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R). The announcement could come as early as today.

Once a replacement is chosen, the individual will then come before the voters in a special 2024 election, run concurrently with the general cycle, to fill the balance of the unexpired term. The seat next comes in-cycle for a full six-year term in 2026.

House

AZ-1: Rep. Schweikert Already Draws First Opponent — Veteran Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) had another close call in the 2022 election, winning a seventh term with just 50.4 percent of the vote in a newly configured district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+7. His opponent was first-time candidate Devin Hodge (D), a communication consultant who may well run again.

Yesterday, however, orthodontist Andrew Horne (D) became Rep. Schweikert’s first 2024 challenger with his announcement of candidacy. We can again expect this race to be competitive in two years. A crowded Democratic field is expected to form.

Committee Chairs: Steering Committee Elects Three Newcomers — With the Speaker’s election now complete, the Republican Steering Committee met yesterday to finalize the remaining committee chairman posts. In a bit of a surprise, the committee, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy holding four votes and Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) having two, elected Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee defeating favored Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) in a contest that went to a second ballot.

In other contests, Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), a former military doctor, defeated Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) for the Homeland Security Committee post. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), as expected, was elected chair of the Education and the Workforce panel, and Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Lubbock) will be the new Budget Committee chairman. He defeated Reps. Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Lloyd Smucker (R-PA).

Governor

Louisiana: Lt. Gov. Shakes Up Field — In a surprising move, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) changed his mind about running for governor and instead yesterday announced his intention to seek re-election later this year. Before, Nungesser said he would run for governor if Sen. John Kennedy (R) didn’t. After Sen. Kennedy declined to enter the race, it was assumed that Nungesser would immediately jump and become one of the leading contenders. Several others were declaring for the lieutenant governor role with the understanding that the seat would be open.

With Nungesser’s decision to stay put, it appears that attorney general and former Congressman Jeff Landry (R), someone Nungesser described as “not a good person” when previous discussion arose about his intentions regarding the governor’s election, becomes the front runner to replace term-limited incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D).

As a result of the Nungesser decision, state Treasurer John Schroder (R) then entered the governor’s race. The leading Democrat to date is Transportation Department Secretary Shawn Wilson. Candidate filing does not end until Aug. 10 for the Oct. 14 jungle primary, so the fluid contender field can still greatly change. If no candidate receives majority support in this first election, the top two finishers will runoff on Nov. 18.

Nebraska Appointment Coming Soon; A Look at Indiana Campaign Chests; Kennedy Declines to Run;
Chicago Mayoral Race Heats Up

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 6, 2023

Senate

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R)

Nebraska: Appointment Coming Soon — Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has already delivered his farewell speech to the Senate, and scheduled Sunday, Jan. 8 as his official resignation day. He is leaving the Senate to become president of the University of Florida. With Gov. Jim Pillen (R) being sworn into office yesterday, he will soon announce his appointed choice to replace Sen. Sasse.

The odds clearly favor outgoing Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as Pillen’s selection, but such a move is reportedly not being completely well received within Nebraska GOP circles. Charges of an inside deal surround the potential pick since Gov. Ricketts was instrumental in helping Pillen win a crowded Republican primary back in May. Whoever is chosen must stand for election in 2024 to fill the remaining two years of the present term. The seat is next in-cycle in 2026.

Governor

Indiana: Equivalent Resources — 2024 Indiana gubernatorial candidates are already releasing their financial figures in anticipation of the state’s impending disclosure deadline. At this point, the three announced Republican candidates, US. Sen. Mike Braun, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, and businessman Eric Doden are all indicating they have in the neighborhood of $3 million in their individual campaign accounts. The combined funds comes from contributions, transfers from previous campaign committees, and self-funding loans or donations. Sen. Braun is the clear favorite to win both the Republican primary and general election, but it is also clear that he will have competitive party nomination opponents.

Louisiana: Without Kennedy, Tight Gov Campaign — Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) announced yesterday that he will not enter the 2023 Louisiana governor’s race, thereby creating a wide-open race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) said he will run if Sen. Kennedy does not, and his now released internal poll from last month testing his standing against potential opponents has great relevancy.

The BDPC local Louisiana consulting firm poll conducted in mid-December (Dec. 7-13; 603 likely Louisiana jungle primary voters; live interview) sees Lt. Gov. Nungesser and Democratic Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson tied at 23 percent apiece. Closely following is Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) with 22 percent, which means a virtual three-way tie.

The Louisiana jungle primary is scheduled for later this year, on Oct. 14. If no one receives majority support, which is likely, the top two finishers will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election.

Cities

Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot Unloads on Rep. Garcia — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), in a fight for her political life as the nine candidates move toward the Feb. 28 Windy City municipal election, has released a major negative attack against who polling shows to be her chief opponent, US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago).

Her new media ad attacks Rep. Garcia as being corrupt for his association with, and receiving financial favors from, indicted crypto currency fund owner Sam Bankman-Fried, along with his relationship with indicted former Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (D), and for what she claims is his delivering the deciding vote for a red light camera company contract just hours after receiving a contribution from the manufacturing company. The gloves have already come off in this major mayoral battle, and it is certainly a campaign to watch.

Opposition Candidates Announce to Run Against VA Sen. Kaine; Quick “Firehouse” Primary Set; Retiring Congressman Plans Mayoral Run

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

Senate

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D)

Virginia: Many Announce Against Sen. Kaine — For a Senate race that appears safe in this early part of the 2024 election cycle, the Virginia contest is surprisingly already drawing a great deal of candidate interest. It’s unlikely that any of the five Republicans and one Democrat who have announced their candidacies can defeat Sen. Tim Kaine (D), but we are at least assured of seeing a multi-candidate Republican nomination battle.

Of the five announced candidates, only two, financial advisor and retired Army officer Eddie Garcia and attorney and Navy veteran Chuck Smith, seem credible enough to become potentially viable candidates.

House

VA-4: Republicans Schedule Quick Firehouse Primary — Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) call to the political parties to choose their nominees by Dec. 23 for the Feb. 21 special congressional election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) has given the party leaders precious little time, but now both entities have scheduled “firehouse primaries.” As reported yesterday, the Democrats will hold their primary next Tuesday, Dec. 20. Now the local Republicans are moving even quicker. They will hold their special primary tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 17.

The schedule is ridiculously short and does not give the candidates time to campaign nor the voters an adequate ability to know who is running and where to vote, since the polling places in a “firehouse” primary are very scarce. At this point, Democrats have five candidates and Republicans four.

Governor

Louisiana: Sen. Kennedy Releases Another Poll — While Sen. John Kennedy (R) says he will make a decision about running for governor after the first of the year, he continues to release polling data showing him holding a lead against a field of prospective open seat 2023 gubernatorial candidates.

His latest survey, again from Torchlight Strategies (Dec. 6-9; 861 likely Louisiana 2023 gubernatorial election voters; live interview and text), projects Sen. Kennedy to be holding a 42-22-14 percent lead over state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) and attorney general and former US Congressman Jeff Landry (R) in what will be an Oct. 14, 2023 jungle primary. In potential runoff pairings, which would be scheduled for Nov. 18 of next year, Sen. Kennedy would lead AG Landry 46-21 percent and Secretary Wilson by a much larger 58-27 percent.

These numbers, and the fact that Kennedy is releasing them, clearly suggests that the senator will affirmatively announce his gubernatorial campaign in January. Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Cities

West New York: Retiring Congressman Plans Mayoral Run — Though New Jersey Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) is retiring from the House of Representatives this year after serving eight terms, he is apparently not finished with elective politics. Reports suggest that Sires will soon announce his candidacy for mayor of West New York, a town in New Jersey — one of the elected positions he held before winning his seat in Congress.

Sires served as mayor from his original election in 1995 until he won the US House position in 2006. Beginning in 2001, he was also an elected member of the New Jersey state Assembly, where he became Speaker in 2002.

Biden Suggests Primary Schedule; Maine’s King Prepping for Re-Election Campaign; A Budding GOP Primary Challenge in VA-9; Louisiana’s Gov Race Hinges on Kennedy

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

President

President Joe Biden

Primaries: President Biden Suggests Schedule — Considering that the White House will have a major say as to how the new Democratic presidential nomination rules are changed, President Biden shared his idea for a new primary schedule. He suggests South Carolina, the state that launched his own victory through the previous nomination process, be the first state to vote. He then says that New Hampshire and Nevada, voting on the same day, should be scheduled a week after the Palmetto State with Georgia and Michigan following on successive Tuesdays. This idea would increase the number of places voting before Super Tuesday from four to five.

Senate

Maine: Sen. Angus King (I) Preparing for Re-Election Campaign — Sen. Angus King (I), who has previously overcome both skin and prostate cancer, is reportedly planning to seek re-election in 2024 when he will be 80 years old. The senator, who previously served two terms as Maine’s governor, was first elected to his federal office in 2012. At the time, it appeared the 2018 campaign would be his last, but retiring at the end of the succeeding Congress does not now look to be the senator’s ultimate career path.

Sen. King runs as an Independent on the Maine ballot but caucuses with the Democrats, as does New England neighboring Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Should he indeed run in 2024, it will be the first time Sen. King will experience Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting system. Considering this situation, the veteran office holder may draw stronger opposition than in his past election campaigns.

House

VA-9: A Budding GOP Primary Challenge — Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), who was just re-elected to a seventh term with 73.5 percent of the vote, may be drawing a 2024 Republican primary challenge. Freshman state Delegate Marie March (R-Floyd) made a statement late last week saying that Rep. Griffith has “been in Congress too long,” and hinted that she might challenge him in the next GOP primary.

Rep. Griffith was first elected in 2010, defeating long-time incumbent Rick Boucher (D) and has had little in the way of competition ever since. He’s averaged 72.4 percent in his six re-election victories and has not yet faced a Republican primary challenge.

Governor

Louisiana: Yielding to Sen. Kennedy — Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder (R) announced late last week that he will run for governor next year unless, he said, Sen. John Kennedy (R) enters the jungle primary field. If Kennedy does run, Schroder will opt to seek re-election. Sen. Kennedy, fresh from a 62 percent jungle ballot election victory in November that saw him winning a second US Senate term outright, is expected to enter the governor’s race and be considered the clear front runner. The senator says he will make a decision after the first of the year. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

2024 Presidential Polls Already Emerging; CNN Exit Polling Numbers; Senate Election Turnout Stats; Sen. Kennedy Planning to Run for Gov?

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022

President

Former President Donald Trump; Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R)

New Polling: Already Testing for 2024 — The House of Representatives isn’t even decided yet, and already we see a series of polls testing newly re-elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pitted against former President Donald Trump. The WPA Intelligence polling series finds the Florida governor opening up big Republican primary leads against Trump in several important nomination states: Iowa (+11), New Hampshire (+15), Texas (+11), Georgia (+20), and of course, Florida (+20). Count on presidential fever going non-stop for the next two years.

Voting

Exit Polling: CNN Releases Results — Though exit polling has not proven particularly accurate in past elections, looking at the results of the organization’s data still has value. A quick glance at the CNN data brings forth a couple of key observations. First, the Independent vote, which polling suggested through most of the election cycle was moving toward the Republicans, came back to the Democrats at election time. Self-described moderates were breaking Democratic, 56-41 percent. Those describing themselves as Independents voted Democratic in a 49-47 percent split. Within the cell segment, Independent women moved toward the Democrats in a 54-42 percent clip.

On the other end of the spectrum, Republicans actually were making their marks with minority voters, at least according to this data. Republicans were able to attract 39 percent of the Hispanic vote, 40 percent among Asians, and 13 percent with black voters. All of these numbers are an improvement from immediate past elections.

Additionally, while all men break toward the Republicans 56-42 percent, all women prefer the Democrats, 53-45 percent. Still, CNN measures that the national vote went Republican in a 51.3 – 46.7 percent swing even though Democrats held the Senate majority and it appears House control will come down to a minimum number of seats.

Senate

Senate States: Key Turnout Stats — Now that we are seeing closer to final turnout numbers in many places, we have derived some interesting participation statistics from the most competitive US Senate states.

In Georgia, the turnout may fall just short of the 4.0 million voters who cast ballots in 2018. The Nevada turnout, projected to just exceed the 1 million mark, will be an approximate four percent increase over 2018. In Wisconsin, once the final turnout report is released will likely show the same relative participation rate as recorded in 2018.

The Pennsylvania turnout looks to be up five percent from 2018. Florida, where Sen. Marco Rubio won an impressive 58-41 percent victory over US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), who was clearly one of the strongest Democratic candidates in the nation, looks to be six percent under 2018’s total. In Iowa and Ohio, where Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) won an eighth term and Republican J.D. Vance held the open seat over US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown), turnout appears to be down just under nine percent when compared to the 2018 participation rate in both states.

Governor

Louisiana: Sen. Kennedy Releases Poll — Armed with a fresh six years in the Senate with his 62 percent re-election vote against nine opponents, Sen. John Kennedy (R) is now admitting he is considering a run for governor next year when incumbent John Bel Edwards (D) will be ineligible to seek a third term. He then released a Torchlight Strategies poll (Nov. 9-12; 800 likely 2023 Louisiana jungle primary voters; live interview & text) that posted him to a 22-18-13-7-6 percent lead over state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D), attorney general and former Congressman Jeff Landry (R), Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R), and fellow US Sen. Bill Cassidy (R), respectively.

Sen. Kennedy Poised for Win in Louisiana; Close as Ever in Georgia Senate Race; Sen. Lee struggling in Utah; Kemp Maintains Advantage

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 17, 2022

Senate

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (R)

Louisiana: Sen. Kennedy Poised for Outright Win — Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (R) is on the ballot for a second term and a just released Public Policy Polling survey (Oct. 10-11; 633 likely Louisiana general election voters; interactive voice response system & text) projects that his outright win is probable. Sen. Kennedy leads retired Navy officer Luke Mixon (D) and community organizer Gary Chambers (D), 53-16-8 percent.

Even after the PPP surveyors posed negative questions about Sen. Kennedy in an effort to push respondents away from him, the ballot test did not change. On election night, expect Sen. Kennedy to be re-elected in Louisiana’s jungle primary system with a majority vote and thus avoiding a secondary Dec. 10 runoff election.

Georgia: As Close as Ever — Despite the serious attacks that Republican Herschel Walker has absorbed over the past 10 days, a series of three polls, including one from a Democratic source, finds little change in the senatorial campaign battle that pits the former football star against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.

All three of the polls were conducted over the Oct. 8-11 period, with sample sizes ranging from 717 to 1,084, using multiple sampling techniques. Moore Information actually sees Walker leading the race, 46-44 percent. The Trafalgar Group posts a similar 46-45 percent cut, but with Sen. Warnock on top. Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Elections website, gives Warnock his best showing, but even that is a tepid, 49-46 percent.

Utah: McMullin Tops Sen. Lee in Poll — The Hill Research Consultants, polling for the Put Utah First Super PAC (Oct. 5-11; 500 likely Utah general election voters; live interview & online) has found Independent Evan McMullin posting his first significant lead over Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R). The ballot test reveals a 46-42 percent McMullin edge over the two-term incumbent. Sen. Lee’s favorability index has gone south, and now reaches a 42:52 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. The failure of Utah’s junior senator, Mitt Romney (R), to endorse Sen. Lee has also attracted a large amount of attention. This is another race to watch as the election cycle continues to wind down.

Governor

Georgia: Two More Surveys Find Gov. Kemp with the Advantage — Two of the three pollsters that surveyed the Georgia Senate race (see above) also released numbers for the Peach State governor’s campaign. Both the Trafalgar Group and Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Elections website, find that Gov. Brian Kemp has a lead beyond the polling margin of error over 2018 gubernatorial nominee and former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D). Trafalgar sees the governor holding a nine-point advantage over Abrams, 53-44 percent. Civiqs projects a closer contest, posting the Governor to a 51-46 percent edge.

In 2022, a total of 40 polls have been publicly released of the Georgia Governor’s campaign, and Kemp has the lead in 39 of these surveys.