Tag Archives: Sen. Mike Braun

A Trend of Candidates Declining to Run … And a Challenger in NY-22

By Jim Ellis — Feb. 2, 2023

Senate

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R)

Indiana: Ex-Gov. Mitch Daniels Won’t Run — Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who was considering entering the 2024 open US Senate race from his state, said he would not become a candidate. The announcement is good news for Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who had previously declared his own Senate candidacy. Immediately after the Daniels announcement, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) heaped praise upon Rep. Banks, whom he described as one of the party’s “top recruits.”

Daniels served two full terms as governor, from 2005-2013. His last time on the ballot, however, was for re-election in 2008. Daniels indicated that he was not right for the Senate, since developing seniority is still important in being able to achieve major goals. Since Daniels would be 75 years old upon election, his ability to accumulate many years of Senate seniority would be obviously limited.

Incumbent Sen. Mike Braun (R) is not seeking re-election in order to run for governor. Republicans are prohibitive favorites to hold the seat in the general election.

House

NY-22: Freshman Brandon Williams (R) Draws Challenger — Manlius Town Councilmember Katelyn Kriesel (D) declared her congressional candidacy at the beginning of the week. She will challenge freshman upstate New York Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) in what promises to be another close election.

In November, Rep. Williams succeed retiring US Rep. John Katko (R) with a 51-49 percent victory over former US Intelligence analyst Francis Conole (D) in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+2. We can expect further Democrats to come forward for this race, possibly including Conole, for a re-match. NY-22 will likely be a national top Democratic target in 2024.

Governor

Mississippi: 2019 Reeves’ Opponent Won’t Run Again — With candidate filing closing in Mississippi for the 2023 elections, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. (R) announced that he will not challenge Gov. Tate Reeves in this year’s Republican primary. In 2019, the two faced each other with Reeves prevailing, 54-46 percent.

At the end of last week, Secretary of State Mike Watson, another potential Reeves’ primary opponent, also said that he would not run. This leaves physician John Witcher as the governor’s lone GOP primary challenger. Obviously, these developments enhance Gov. Reeves’ political standing. It is likely he will face Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) in the general election.

Cities

Nashville: Mayor Won’t Seek Second Term — Nashville Mayor John Cooper (D), brother of retiring Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper (D), announced that he will not seek a second term, saying he has completed his objectives upon which he ran in 2019. He went on to say that being in municipal office during the Covid year of 2020 was “like serving an entire term” in and of itself. Local politicos are expecting now to see a highly competitive open-seat mayoral campaign in the Music City.

Rep. Banks Announces for Senate; Ohio Senate Rerun; More CA-30 Candidates; Mayor Announces House Challenge in Minnesota

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023

Senate

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City)

Indiana: Rep. Banks (R) Announces for Senate — Not backing down from a potential Republican primary race against former Gov. Mitch Daniels, four-term US Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) announced Tuesday that he will enter Indiana’s open Senate race next year. Daniels has been sending signals that he will also run for the Senate, but the Banks move means the May Republican primary will likely be the big battle to replace first-term Sen. Mike Braun (R) who is bypassing re-election to run for governor. Other potential GOP candidates include term-limited Gov. Eric Holcomb and US Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville), among others.

Banks ended the 2022 election cycle with approximately $1.4 million remaining in his campaign account. Gov. Daniels last appeared on the ballot in 2008 when he was re-elected to a second term with a 58-40 percent victory margin. Rep. Banks leaving the safely Republican 3rd Congressional District means we will see a crowded and hotly contested GOP congressional field in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+34.

Ohio: 2022 GOP Senate Candidate Returns — Ohio State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball club, will return for a second consecutive US Senate contest. This time, he hopes to challenge veteran Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the 2024 general election.

In the last election, for the open seat created when Sen. Rob Portman (R) announced he would not seek a third term, Sen. Dolan competed against six opponents, losing to now-Sen. J.D. Vance (R) by a 32-23 percent margin with former state Treasurer Josh Mandel placing second just a point ahead of Dolan. In the current election cycle, Dolan’s chances for the party nomination appear better. If he is successful in the Republican primary, Dolan faces a difficult general election opponent in Sen. Brown even though Ohio has been moving decidedly closer to the GOP in recent elections. In 2018, Sen. Brown defeated then-US Rep. Jim Renacci (R), 53-47 percent.

House

CA-30: Yet, Another — Businessman Josh Bocanegra (D) who was looking to enter the US Senate race has instead decided to compete for the Burbank-anchored congressional race that most presume will be open. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) is widely expected to run for the Senate once incumbent Dianne Feinstein (D) announces her retirement. Already in the congressional race are state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Burbank) and Los Angeles Unified School Board Vice Chairman Nick Melvoin.

The seat will remain in Democratic hands, but it is likely we will see two Democrats advance to the general election from the top two jungle primary format that California has used since the 2012 election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-30 as D+45.

MN-2: Local Mayor Announces for House — After Navy veteran Tyler Kistner (R) ran two close but unsuccessful campaigns against Rep. Angie Craig (D-Prior Lake) in 2020 and 2022, Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy (R) announced that he will attempt to win the party nomination in hopes of becoming the congresswoman’s 2024 challenger. There is little indication as to what Kistner might be thinking about a third congressional run, but him losing two consecutive races suggests that the party leaders will be looking for a new contender.

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.

Arizona’s Ducey Not Considering Running; Ex-Gov Daniels Tops GOP Field; Former Incumbent, Challenger to Return to House Races

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

Senate

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R)

Arizona: Ex-Gov Out; Gubernatorial Candidate Considering — Upon exiting office at the end of his two full terms, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) name continues to be mentioned prominently as a potential US Senate candidate. The now-former governor again confirmed, however, that he is not even considering running for the federal post in 2024. Another potential Senate candidate who is considering making a run is 2022 gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson (R), who lost to former news anchorwoman Kari Lake, 48-43 percent, in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) has not yet announced her re-election intentions but appears to be preparing her Independent run in a three-way race. Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) and Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) are actively assessing their individual chances in what could become a seriously contested Democratic primary. Again, the Arizona Senate race will be one of the focal points of the 2024 election cycle, but this time will feature a unique procedural contest.

Indiana: Ex-Gov Daniels Tops GOP Field — A Bellwether Research survey (Dec. 11-17; 1,000 registered Indiana Republican voters; 457 likely Republican primary voters; online & text) was fielded just before Christmas and found former governor, and most recently Purdue University President Mitch Daniels leading a prospective open Indiana Republican US Senate primary. If he were to run, Daniels would top Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) 32-10 percent with former Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, current US Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville), and attorney general and former Congressman Todd Rokita trailing with 9-7-7 percent support levels, respectively.

Sen. Mike Braun (R) is running for governor. None of the aforementioned has officially declared their intention to run for the Senate, but all admit to at least be considering the possibility of launching a campaign.

House

NY-17: Former Incumbent May Return — Democrat Mondaire Jones, who won the 17th Congressional District in 2020 only to depart for a post-redistricting New York City seat in 2022, says he is considering returning to Westchester County to challenge Rep-Elect Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) in 2024. Jones did not want to oppose then-Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in the Democratic primary after the latter man declared his candidacy, so he instead moved to a new Manhattan-Brooklyn 10th District that Rep-Elect Dan Goldman (D-New York City), an heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, eventually won.

In the 17th, Lawler, then a state assemblyman, unseated Rep. Maloney with a 51-49 percent general election victory margin. This, in a new district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+7. There is no question that NY-17 will be a top target in 2024.

WA-3: Defeated Favorite to Return — Joe Kent, the Republican who denied then-Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler advancement into the general election but then lost in November to Rep-Elect Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Skamania County) in one of the nation’s biggest 2022 upsets, says he will return for a 2024 re-match. Because Kent was widely favored to win the seat but failed to convert, we can expect intense competition in what will be an August Washington jungle primary. FiveThirtyEight rates WA-3 as R+11.

Governor

Indiana: Braun Tops Field — The aforementioned Bellwether Research poll (see Indiana Senate above) projects Sen. Mike Braun to a large lead in the impending open 2024 GOP gubernatorial contest.

Braun holds a 25-9-7-6-3 percent Republican primary advantage over Attorney General Todd Rokita, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, ex-Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, and businessman Eric Doden, respectively. At this point, Crouch and Doden have announced their candidacies, as has Sen. Braun. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Cruz Polling Up for Renomination, Down for President; Ariz. Dem Primary Looking Competitive; VA-4 Special Election Scheduled;
Sen. Braun Announces Candidacy

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022

President

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R)

Texas: Cruz Polling Up for Renomination, Down for President — According to a Texas-based Republican pollster, Sen. Ted Cruz is in strong shape among prospective GOP primary voters for renomination, but not for a presidential campaign. The CWS Research firm recently conducted a Texas poll (Nov. 8-29; 860 likely Texas 2024 Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system and online) and finds the senator posting a strong 81 percent renomination score, but only records three percent support for another presidential bid.

The CWS poll leader is former President Donald Trump at 37 percent preference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis following closely with 34 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-UN Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley also finish slightly ahead of Sen. Cruz in his home state. Pence draws five percent backing and Haley four percent, as compared to Sen. Cruz’s three percent.

Senate

Arizona: Dem Primary Could Be Competitive — Apparently Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) is not the only Arizona Democratic congressman considering a run for the Senate. According to a report from the Daily Kos Elections site, Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) — who served six years as mayor of Phoenix and nine years on the Phoenix City Council before being elected to the US House in 2018 — has conducted a statewide US Senate poll. If he were to run in what would now be an open US Senate Democratic primary since new Independent incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will advance directly into the general election, a tough battle would develop in an August 2024 primary between the two Phoenix-based congressional Democrats.

Rep. Stanton was re-elected in November with a 56-44 percent margin against a credible Republican, businessman Kelly Cooper. This, after his district was changed from a D+15 to a D+1 rating according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization calculations, meaning he rather impressively exceeded expectations.

House

VA-4: Special Election Scheduled — Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has surprisingly scheduled the special congressional election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) for Feb. 21. With Democrats certain to hold this seat in the special election, it was thought Gov. Youngkin would delay a bit longer, possibly to early April, in order to give the Republicans a further one-seat edge in the House party division count.

With the Feb. 21 general election date that will fast approach, the political parties must quickly assemble and determine how their nominees will be chosen. At this point, their realistic options are to nominate in a special district convention or hold a “firehouse primary,” that is an election with very few polling places around the district.

The Democratic nomination will be the contest to watch, since the 4th District is rated as D+30. At this point, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond) have announced their intention to file as candidates. For the Republicans, two-time nominee Leon Benjamin and insurance agent and frequent candidate Ron Wallace have declared that they will run.

Governor

Indiana: Sen. Braun Announces — First-term Hoosier State Sen. Mike Braun (R) made his obvious intentions to run for governor official Monday with his formal announcement. He will be a strong favorite for the Republican nomination, which gives him the inside track in the general election.

There is a good possibility that his Democratic opponent will be former US senator and current Ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly. The Holy See is the government of the Roman Catholic Church, which is led by the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. Ironically, this would set a re-match between the two men of the 2018 Senate race, a campaign that Sen. Braun won with a 51-45 percent victory margin. The Braun announcement now sets into motion a competitive Senate campaign that will likely feature a crowded Republican primary.

Former Indiana Gov Considering Senate Run; Repubs Search for Senate Challenger in PA

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022

Senate

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R)

Indiana: Former Governor Making Moves — After going through a very quiet 2022 election, the Indiana political scene is fast becoming a focal point of the early 2024 election cycle. Reports from the state surfaced late last week that former Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who has ruled out a run for his former job, is making moves to assess his chances in an open US Senate race. Sen. Mike Braun (R) won’t seek re-election in order to mount his own campaign in the open governor’s race. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term, but has not wholly closed the door on entering the Senate race.

The Republican nominee, to be chosen in an early May 2024 primary, will be the heavy favorite to win both the open Senate and governor’s positions. Therefore, much attention will be paid to the GOP primary as it continues to evolve over what will now be a long period.

Pennsylvania: Republicans Searching for Challenger Candidate — The Pennsylvania Republican Party is planning to make a major run against Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) in 2024 and are already searching for a strong challenger. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who came within 900 votes of winning the 2022 Republican primary, is certainly a possible option, but the latest reports suggest that state Treasurer Stacy Garrity would be an attractive potential Senate candidate. We can expect a competitive GOP primary to develop, and yet another hard-fought general election in two years here not only for President, but also again for a critically important US Senate seat.

States

Pennsylvania House: Majority Depends Upon Deceased Representative — The 203-member Pennsylvania House is facing a dilemma. The Democrats scored a one-seat majority in the election and, on paper, have a 102-101 edge. Unfortunately, veteran Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Penn Hills), passed away just before the election; he represented that 102nd vote. Running against a Green Party candidate, DeLuca was re-elected with 85 percent of the vote even though he had already passed away.

Additionally, Pennsylvania law allows candidates to simultaneously run for more than one office in the same election. This means two more Democratic House vacancies have occurred. State Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) resigned her state House seat because she was elected to Congress. State Rep. Austin Davis (D-McKeesport) left the House to assume his new position as lieutenant governor.

A further problem at the state house is that the Speaker of the House sets the special election calendar to fill vacancies in the chamber and not the governor. Therefore, the legislators are embroiled in a dispute over whether or not these special elections can even legally be called since no official Speaker has been elected. Republicans have rejected the Democratic Leader’s special election schedule and Democrats opposed the outgoing GOP Speaker’s special election plan even though both had placed the elections on the same day.

Indiana Gov. Holcomb Leaves Door Open for Senate Bid, Sen. Braun Up in Released Gov Poll; CA-22 Re-Match Already Building; NC Redistricting Case Could be Moot

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022

Senate

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R)

Indiana: Gov. Holcomb Leaves Door Open — Early political reports coming from the Hoosier State suggest that Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) will not pursue a 2024 US Senate bid when his tenure as governor comes to an end. Gov. Holcomb is ineligible to seek a third term.

When asked about running for the Senate this week on wishtv.com, however, Gov. Holcomb replied, “there’ll be time for me to think about the future in the future. But it would be next to irresponsible for me to take my eye off the job that I’ve got.”

This response suggests the Senate race door is not fully closed and will certainly remain an option for Holcomb as time moves forward. With universal statewide name identification and the ability to quickly raise large amounts money, Gov. Holcomb has the luxury of waiting to make a decision until he sees how an open Senate field develops. First-term Sen. Mike Braun (R) is a clearly preparing a run for governor, thus leaving his Senate seat open.

House

CA-22: Re-Match Already Building — California Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) is tied for representing the most Democratic seat in the country that sends a Republican to the US House. Long Island Rep-Elect Anthony D’Esposito (R-Hempstead) holds the other. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates both Valadao’s CA-22 and Mr. D’Esposito’s NY-4 at D+10.

Despite the odds stacked against him, Rep. Valadao was able to post a 51.5 – 48.5 percent victory over state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) in November, who was arguably the most difficult opponent Valadao faced in his five winning electoral campaigns. Yesterday, Salas, who risked his Assembly seat to run for Congress, filed a committee to seek a re-match in 2024. If he ultimately follows through and runs two years from now, this race will again become a top national Democratic conversion target.

Governor

Indiana: Sen. Braun Releases Gov Poll — Sen. Mike Braun (R) is clearly moving toward making a quick gubernatorial announcement after filing a state gubernatorial campaign committee last week. Reports suggest that Sen. Braun may make his formal declaration as early as next week. In preparation for launching a gubernatorial bid, he just released the results of an internal poll.

The study, from the Mark It Red research group (Nov. 18-22; sample size not released), finds Sen. Braun opening with a large Republican primary advantage in what will be an open race for governor. According to the survey results, Sen. Braun would lead Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and venture capitalist Eric Doden, 47-10-5 percent, respectively.

States

North Carolina: Redistricting Case Could be Moot — The North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case that was heard before the US Supreme Court yesterday is a potential landmark case, but some North Carolina state political sources suggest the arguments may go by the proverbial wayside. The high court will rule before the end of June, but before that occurs, the new North Carolina legislature may draft new redistricting plans for the US House, state Senate, and state House of Representatives. Since a court map is only an interim plan, the legislature can replace it with a permanent draw at any time.

If this occurs as described, and new maps are enacted –- remember, in North Carolina, the governor has no veto power over redistricting legislation -– it is possible that the action could render the case before the Supreme Court as moot. If so, the issue of whether the Constitution views state legislatures as solely independent when handling redistricting could well go unanswered.