Tag Archives: Sen. Roy Blunt

Today’s Primaries: Latest Numbers for
Missouri, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 2, 2022

Senate

Missouri AG Eric Schmitt (R)

Missouri: AG Eric Schmitt in Driver’s Seat — The new Survey USA poll conducted for eight Missouri television news outlets (July 24-27; 1,981 registered Missouri voters; 787 likely Republican primary voters; 547 likely Democratic primary voters; online) sees Attorney General Eric Schmitt establishing himself as the clear leader heading into the Republican primary vote today to determine a successor to retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R).

The S-USA numbers find Schmitt holding a 28-20-13-8 percent advantage over scandal-tainted resigned Gov. Eric Greitens, and US Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) and Billy Long (R-Springfield). These results suggest an improvement for Greitens and a severe dip in support for Rep. Hartzler.

The Remington Research Group, however, while projecting AG Schmitt with a strong lead, doesn’t detect the Hartzler fall. The RRG poll (July 28; 818 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) sees Schmitt holding a 34-22-18 percent advantage over Rep. Hartzler and Greitens.

For the Democrats, despite hard attacks coming against her, philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the Anheuser Busch beer family, leads Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce by a whopping 40-14 percent margin. Kunce has raised substantial money for this race — more than $4.7 million, according to his pre-primary July 13 financial disclosure report — but most of that money has been recently spent on attack ads against Valentine. The fact that he is going hard negative at the end suggests his internal polling is producing similar figures to those of Survey USA.

More Missouri: Republicans Up in New Gen Election Poll — Survey USA tested the Show Me State electorate (July 24-27; 787 likely Missouri voters; online) and sees the Republican candidates holding an early general election edge. If AG Schmitt wins the Republican nomination tonight, he would lead Democratic polling leader Trudy Busch Valentine, a philanthropist and member of the Anheuser Busch beer family, 36-30 percent with Independent John Wood drawing nine percent support. Additionally, AG Schmitt would top Kunce (D) and Wood, 37-27-10 percent.

Should US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) become the party nominee, she would begin with a general election advantage of just 32-31-9 percent over Valentine and Wood, but a much larger 34-24-12 percent if Kunce and Wood were her November opponents. Though apparently unlikely, if the resigned scandal-tainted former Gov. Greitens scores an upset win tonight, he too would have a lead over Kunce, 31-26 percent with Wood recording 12 percent support. Opposite Valentine, she and Greitens would begin on even footing, a 31-31 percent tie, with Wood increasing his base to 13 percent.

Arizona: Masters Now Well Ahead in Last Polls — The final two polls for the Arizona Senate primary have been released in preparation for today’s primary. Both surveys, from Rasmussen Reports and OH Predictive Insights, find Trump-endorsed venture capitalist Blake Masters developing a lead beyond the polling margin of error in the battle for the Republican nomination.

Rasmussen Reports (July 27-28; 710 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; live interview & online) projects Masters to a 31-19-16-10 percent advantage over businessman Jim Lamon, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and retired Arizona Adjutant General Mick McGuire. OH Predictive Insights (July 27; 502 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; live interview & peer-to-peer text) sees a similar result. According to the OH data, Masters’ holds an even more substantial lead over Lamon and Brnovich, 36-21-12 percent, with Gen. McGuire dropping below the 10 percent threshold.

Arizona Again: Sen. Kelly Breaking with General Election Advantage — Beacon Research, polling for the Environmental Voter Project (July 5-20; 504 likely Arizona general election voters from a series of polls covering four states) tested the general election potential pairings and sees Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (D) holding a 51-39 percent lead over venture capitalist Blake Masters, who leads the closing Republican primary polls in a nominating election that will be decided tonight. Faring just slightly better, businessman Jim Lamon would trail the senator, 40-50 percent. If Attorney General Mark Brnovich were to score an upset in tonight’s Republican primary, he, too, would land in the same realm as the others, trailing Sen. Kelly, 40-51 percent.

Governor

Arizona: Kari Lake Poised for Victory — The Rasmussen Reports and OH Predictive Insights survey research firms also released numbers for the open Republican gubernatorial primary (see Arizona Senate above). The two pollsters find former news anchor Kari Lake, who long ago was endorsed by former President Trump, ahead well beyond the polling margin of error — 43-34 percent (Rasmussen) and 51-33 percent (OH Predictive Insights).

Lake’s opponent is Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, who both former Vice President Mike Pence and outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey publicly support. For the Democrats, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs looks like a sure bet to win the party nomination tonight.

Michigan: Tudor Dixon Running Strong — The Trafalgar Group released their final Republican primary poll in Michigan before today’s primary, and while they find a change in order from second through fifth positions, online radio talk show host Tudor Dixon appears poised to capture the Republican gubernatorial nomination. According to the Trafalgar survey (July 26-28; 1,098 likely Michigan Republican primary voters; mixed sample-gathering tactics), Dixon holds a 28-19-17-14 percent advantage over chiropractor Garrett Soldano, and businessmen Kevin Rinke and Ryan Kelley. Today’s winner advances to face Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the general election.

States

Kansas: Abortion Measure on Ballot — Kansas voters go to the polls today to choose nominees for the fall election, and while there isn’t much serious candidate competition within the parties for the key posts, the electorate will voice its opinion on the first abortion-related ballot proposition since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Polling suggests the pro-life side has a slight lead on the measure, which would clarify that the Kansas constitution does not recognize abortion access as a right. This vote, regardless of the outcome, will generate much political discussion in the coming days.

Missouri Anxiety

By Jim Ellis

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

March 21, 2022 — In 2016, retired Navy SEAL Eric Greitens was an upset winner in the Missouri governor’s contest and was quickly looked upon as a rising national Republican political star, but the glow would soon fade. Nineteen months later Gov. Greitens would resign his office in disgrace as a pre-election extra-marital affair came to the forefront followed by associated criminal charges relating to actions toward the woman and alleged campaign finance violations.

Later, the criminal charges were dropped because the prosecuting St. Louis District Attorney’s proven corrupt actions transformed into official prosecutorial misconduct. The embarrassing details that surfaced around the Greitens affair, however, underscored with him having a pregnant wife at home, ruined his previously stellar reputation.

Despite his tarnished personal image, Greitens was not finished with electoral politics, and decided to enter the open US Senate race after Sen. Roy Blunt (R) chose not to seek re-election to a third term. Speculation had been rampant earlier in the cycle that Greitens was even considering launching a primary challenge against the veteran politician if Sen. Blunt had run again. Had such a contest come to fruition, Greitens was viewed as having little to no chance of pulling an upset victory.

When the resigned governor entered the open seat Senate campaign, many Republican leaders began expressing trepidation that if he won the nomination the door would open to the party losing the general election against the eventual Democratic nominee. With virtually any other Republican standard bearer, the Missouri race would be considered safely Republican.

The new Trafalgar Group survey (March 9-13; 1,075 likely Missouri Republican primary voters, live interview, interactive voice response, online and text) gives credence to the previous analysis. Paired individually with two Democrats, Greitens only ties former St. Louis area state Sen. Scott Sifton, 45-45 percent, and holds the smallest of leads, 46-45 percent, over Iraq/Afghan War veteran Lucas Kunce.

In contrast, US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) would defeat Sifton, 57-37 percent, and Kunce, 56-39 percent. Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) would also easily top the two Democrats (against Sifton: 54-40 percent; opposite Kunce: 55-40 percent).

However, a previous February Trafalgar poll (Feb. 22-24; 1,026 likely Missouri Republican primary voters) posted Greitens to a 31-23-17 percent Republican primary lead over Schmitt and Rep. Hartzler, respectively.

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Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Retirement Could Create a Domino Effect of 0pen Seats

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D)

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 17, 2021 — Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), the Senate President Pro Tempore and fifth longest-serving senator in American history, announced Monday that he would not seek a ninth term next year.

The decision was a surprise in that few expected the senator to do anything but run despite some cryptic comments he made earlier in the year. Sen. Leahy will retire as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee after previously heading both the Agriculture and Judiciary Committees. He came to national prominence as the 10-year Judiciary Committee chairman.

As the Chittendon County State’s Attorney, Leahy first ran for the Senate as a little known underdog and was able to win a close general election in the Watergate year of 1974. In those days, Vermont was a Republican state. He was then re-elected in 1980, ’86, ’92, ’98, 2004, ’10, and ’16. Over his long electoral career, he averaged 60.6 percent of the vote over the eight elections.

During all of that time, he had one close call after his original victory, beating Republican Stewart Ledbetter by 2,755 votes in his first re-election during the 1980 campaign cycle. After that, in only one contest did he drop below 60 percent.

In his first election, with a combined vote on the Democratic and Independent Vermonters ballot lines, he was able to defeat Republican Richard Mallary and Bernie Sanders, the latter of whom drew 4.1 percent of the vote on the Liberty Union Party ticket.

After a string of Republican senators exiting, five in all with two more — Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and John Thune (R-SD) — not yet revealing their 2022 political plans, Sen. Leahy becomes the first in-cycle Democrat not to seek re-election. The five departing Republicans are Richard Shelby (AL), Roy Blunt (MO), Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), and Pat Toomey (PA).

Vermont, however, is unlikely to become a competitive open seat. Eight-term at-large Rep. Peter Welch (D-Norwich), who has the same constituency as a senator, is well positioned to succeed Sen. Leahy and is expected to soon announce his candidacy.

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Huge Missouri Polling Swing

By Jim Ellis

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

April 6, 2021 — Two new Missouri Senate surveys are about as divergent as polling gets.

For background purposes, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) received a great deal of media attention when he declared for the Senate during the latter part of March, just after incumbent Roy Blunt (R) announced his retirement. Much of the coverage dealt with Greitens’ 2017 sex scandal that forced him from office. Just days later, Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) went public with his plans to challenge the disgraced former governor for the 2022 Republican nomination.

With so much early attention being paid to the race, two pollsters fielded surveys during the same period, but their ballot test numbers drew very different conclusions. Fabrizio, Lee & Associates interviewed 400 likely Republican primary voters during the March 23-25 period. The Remington Research Group conducted their interactive voice response study within the same time frame, March 24-25, but their sampling universe was a much larger 1,041 Missouri likely Republican primary voters.

Fabrizio Lee puts Greitens in far better position than Remington Research. They see the ex-governor leading AG Schmitt by a whopping 48-11 percent margin with unannounced potential contenders Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin) and Jason Smith (R-Salem) posting support percentages of nine and seven, respectively.

Conversely, Remington Research finds a very close race. Their ballot test finds Greitens leading AG Schmitt, by only a single percentage point, 40-39 percent. Adding the other potential candidates, Reps. Wagner and Smith along with Reps. Billy Long (R-Springfield), Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) and St. Louis businessman John Brunner, we see a 31-18-12-9-8-6-2 percent division with Greitens and Schmitt leading the pack with Reps. Wagner, Smith, Hartzler, and Long trailing respectively. Brunner, who has previously lost two statewide races, tracks at only two percent support.

In the head-to-head pairing with Greitens and Schmitt, the geographic segmentation between the two candidates virtually mirrored the statewide 40-39 percent split in Columbia, Joplin, and Cape Girardeau. We see a much different result in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield, the state’s largest population centers. Greitens built a 46-35 percent lead in Springfield and a 43-38 percent edge in Kansas City. Schmitt, however, had the advantage in his home area of St. Louis, 43-34 percent.

Severe breaks occur when an ideological prism is placed over the two candidates. Among those in the survey universe who self-identify as very conservative, Greitens has a 48-34 percent lead. For those who say they are somewhat conservative, the margin tightens: Greitens, 41-37 percent. When looking at the moderate-progressive segment, the outcome substantially flips: Schmitt, 51-21 percent.

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Scandal-Tainted Ex-Gov. Eric Greitens Declares for Senate in 2022

By Jim Ellis

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

March 25, 2021 — Former Gov. Eric Greitens, originally threatening to challenge Sen. Roy Blunt in the 2022 Missouri Republican primary, launched his US Senate campaign Tuesday for what is now an open seat. Sen. Blunt’s decision to not seek re-election obviously drastically changes the Missouri political landscape and opens the door for what could be a nasty GOP primary with a potential ending that could jeopardize what should be a relatively safe Republican seat.

Greitens first ran for office as a conservative retired Navy SEAL and author in 2016, coming from behind to win the Republican nomination for Missouri governor against a crowded field.

Cast as an underdog in that year’s general election to then-Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster, polls suggested he would lose from beginning to end. On election night, however, Greitens scored a 51-46 percent upset victory simultaneously with Donald Trump winning the presidency and Sen. Blunt being re-elected in a close fight.

After attaining the governorship, events turned against the fledgling politician. Reports began surfacing that he, as a married man, was having an affair with his hairdresser. Allegations then came forward that he had briefly held her against her will, taking pictures of her in compromising positions and blackmailing her with threats to make the photos public.

Soon after, Greitens was indicted, and largely due to poor relations with legislative leaders in his own party who were even beginning to prepare impeachment articles, it became evident that a year and several months into his term a forthcoming resignation appeared inevitable. He left office on June 1, 2018.

Later, the charges against him were dropped mostly due to prosecutorial misconduct matters that forced the government to forfeit its case. Despite never being convicted, the sordid affair situation can certainly reappear in a new political campaign. Early analysis suggests that a Greitens victory in the Republican primary could cause the party to potentially lose the seat in the 2022 general election.

The primary situation could be exacerbated if the GOP field becomes crowded as is usually the case in an open race for a seat under the party’s control. Those reported to be considering the Senate race are state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and US Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin/St. Louis County) and Jason Smith (R-Salem), among others. Such a split field could allow Greitens to again win the party nomination with only a plurality.

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