By Jim Ellis — Sept. 1, 2023
SenateArizona: 2022 GOP Nominee Preparing ’24 Senate Run — Reports are surfacing from Arizona that 2022 Republican US Senate nominee Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who fell to Sen. Mark Kelly (D) by a 51-47 percent margin, will soon enter the current three-way Senate race. Independent incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) is expected to seek re-election possibly as the No Labels Party candidate, while Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) is already becoming a likely consensus Democratic contender.
The Grand Canyon State contest will prove unpredictable because all three contenders, Sen. Sinema, Rep. Gallego, and the eventual Republican nominee, will have a pathway to victory.
Should Masters choose to enter the campaign, he will likely have Republican primary opposition. Kari Lake, the former news anchorwoman who received 49.6 percent of the gubernatorial vote in a losing effort against current incumbent Sen. Katie Hobbs (D), is also expected to become a Senate candidate. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb is already in the race and has been campaigning for the party nomination over a period of months.
The Arizona primary is scheduled for Aug. 6, 2024, meaning this race will have a long development period.
NC-13: Republican State Rep Announces for Congress — State Rep. Erin Pare (R-Holly Springs), the only Republican to represent part of Wake County in the legislature, announced yesterday that she will seek the GOP congressional nomination with the goal of challenging 13th District freshman Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-Cary). This will be an interesting race since the NC-13 seat is sure to change, and likely in a dramatic way. The legislature is scheduled soon to redraw the congressional map, and it is expected that the 13th will become much more Republican.
In 2022, Nickel defeated Republican Bo Hines, 52-48 percent, in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated R+3. Dave’s Redistricting App saw a different picture, however. This group calculates the partisan lean at 49.5D – 48.1R. President Joe Biden carried the district with a slight 50.1 – 48.4 percent victory margin even though he lost the statewide count.
After the redraw we can expect this seat to lean decidedly Republican, thus making Rep. Nickel a highly vulnerable Republican target.
WI-3: 2022 Dem Nominee Bypasses Rematch Opportunity — State Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse), who did surprising well in the 2022 WI-3 congressional race in losing to freshman Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien) 52-48 percent even though Democratic party leaders virtually conceded the open race, has made a decision about seeking a re-match. Since Sen. Pfaff’s four-year term in the legislature expires at the end of next year, he announced that he will seek re-election instead of embarking upon another congressional race.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the WI-3 district as R+9, and the Democratic presidential nominee lost here in both 2020 and 2016 by five percentage points, thus leading the national party leadership to spend outside resources in places they believed to be more competitive.
In the upcoming 2024 campaign, however, Democrats are likely to make a stronger run since Pfaff exceeded expectations in 2022, but now it will have to be with a new candidate.
Mississippi: Dem Poll Shows Tie — An Impact Research poll taken for Democrat Brandon Presley (D) in early August but just released Wednesday (Aug. 6-9; 600 likely Mississippi 2023 general election voters) produced interesting results in the Mississippi governor’s race. The ballot test finds Presley tied with Gov. Tate Reeves (R) at 46 percent, apiece. The pollsters note that Presley’s support has risen in all three of their previously conducted surveys, while Gov. Reeves has consistently dropped.
Similar polling trends were published in the 2019 governor’s race, and many believed that Reeves, then the state’s lieutenant governor, would lose to Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood. In the end, Reeves scored a 52-47 percent win, a much stronger performance for the Republican than most believed would occur. Expect the Reeves campaign to soon counter with their own polling data. This year’s general election is scheduled for Nov. 7.