Tag Archives: Tim Kennedy

“Squad” Member Bush Trailing;
Suozzi Wins Convincingly in NY-3; Malinowski Won’t Run; Special Election Scheduled in New York

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024

House

Freshman Missouri Rep. Cori Bush (D-St. Louis) has a competitive race on her hands.

MO-1: New Dem Primary Poll Finds Rep. Bush Trailing — The Remington Research Group has released a surprising new poll (Feb. 7-9; 401 likely MO-1 Democratic primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) that projects two-term incumbent Rep. Cori Bush (D-St. Louis), a member of the so-called House “Squad” or the most progressive left group in Congress, significantly trailing her Democratic primary opponent.

According to the Remington ballot test, former St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell, who was originally a candidate in the Senate race, enjoys a strong 50-28 percent lead over Bush. The congresswoman is also under an investigation from the House Ethics Committee over the potential misuse of campaign funds for personal gain.

Missouri’s 1st District is heavily Democratic, carrying a D+52 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, so the battle for re-election lies squarely in the nomination election. Bush, herself, came into office when defeating veteran Democratic Congressman Lacy Clay in the 2020 Democratic primary.

NY-3: Suozzi Wins — Former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) won a convincing 54-46 percent victory over Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R) last night even though five surveys from five different pollsters showed the race within a 1-4 point margin.

Rep-Elect Suozzi converts the seat back to the Democratic column, making the partisan division in the House an even closer 219R – 213D with three vacancies. It is probable that when all of the vacancies are filled after completing special elections in late April (NY-26), May (CA-20), and June (OH-6), the House will sit at 221R – 214D heading into the regular 2024 elections.

Once again, Democrats out-performing Republicans in early voting proved a reliable precursor as to which party had the electoral momentum, thus explaining how Suozzi exceeded the polling projections. Additionally, while poor weather was thought to keep the election day turnout low, it did not. A special election turnout of more than 174,000 voters is a strong display for any district. In comparison, just over 271,000 voted in the 2022 regular congressional election.

NJ-7: Ex-Rep. Malinowski Won’t Run — It appears that Democrats are staking their chances of upsetting Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) upon the former New Jersey executive director of the Working Families Party. The three Democratic candidates who have abandoned their own campaigns turned and endorsed Sue Altman. Now, former US Rep. Tom Malinowski, who the Democratic leadership had hoped to recruit into the race, has also declined to run and he, too, just endorsed Altman.

New Jersey’s 7th District is a politically marginal swing seat that the Daily Kos Elections site ranks as the 16th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district R+3, so these most recent developments, all of which help Rep. Kean, means the freshman congressman must be rated as a clear favorite for re-election.

NY-26: Governor Schedules Special Election — With New York Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) now officially resigned and his 26th District seat vacant, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced she is scheduling the replacement special election for April 30 to fill the remaining time left on the current term.

The district’s Democratic county chairmen have already chosen state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as their special election candidate. The Republican chairmen have yet to decide who will be their own standard bearer but regardless of the person selected, Kennedy will be favored to win the special. The seat is soundly Democratic. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates is as D+18. The Daily Kos Election site ranks NY-26 as the 78th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference.

Though Kennedy is the clear favorite to win the special election, his tougher challenge may be the June 25 Democratic primary for the regular term. Former Town Supervisor Nate McMurray (D), who twice ran close races in the former 27th District that was collapsed in the latest reapportionment, says he will challenge Kennedy for the Democratic nomination to advance into the November 2024 general election.

Fong’s Fight; Rep. Jamaal Bowman in Primary Battle; Another US House Member to Resign; More Primary Trouble for Rep. Nancy Mace

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024

House

California Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) / Photo by Kevin Sanders for California Globe

CA-20: Candidates Qualify for Special Election — The California Secretary of State has attested that nine candidates have qualified for the March 19 special election to replace resigned former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). Controversy, however, still surrounds the favorite to win the electoral contest, Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield).

Since Fong had already filed for re-election before Rep. McCarthy resigned from the Congress, the Secretary of State ruled that he could not enter the congressional race because such action would violate a California election law that prohibits individuals from simultaneously running for multiple offices. Fong sued over the administrative ruling and won in Superior Court. Therefore, he has been slated as a congressional candidate while not being removed from the state assembly ballot. The state is appealing the court ruling, so even if Fong wins the special election as expected, he could be hampered by a future court decision.

Also qualifying are Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R), and seven other Republicans, Democrats, and No Party Preference candidates. If no one receives majority support on March 19, the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation will advance to a special general election on May 21. The regular election cycle primary is scheduled for March 5, featuring most of these candidates. The special election winner will serve the balance of Rep. McCarthy’s final term.

NY-16: Serious Primary Challenge Unfolding — New York US Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), while receiving good news that the House Ethics Committee is not going to pursue further action against the congressman for pulling a fire alarm in a House office building, is now facing a backlash over social media posts he made after the 9/11 attack. The posts referred to theories that the US government orchestrated the terrorist massacre, and a ring of globalist bankers were actively involved in the conspiracy.

“Well over a decade ago, as I was debating diving into a doctoral degree, I explored a wide range of books, films, and articles across a wide swath of the political spectrum and processed my thoughts in a personal blog that few people ever read. I don’t believe anything that these cranks have said, and my life’s work has proven that.”

While Bowman may survive these controversies in the short term, he faces a very difficult Democratic primary election in June. His principal opponent, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is reporting a dollars raised figure of $1.4 million since his declaration of candidacy in early December. Latimer is a veteran campaigner, having been elected four times to the state Assembly, once to the state Senate, and twice to his current position. Therefore, Rep. Bowman must be considered as a highly vulnerable incumbent as he heads into a serious renomination fight.

NY-26: Rep. Higgins to Resign Friday — New York US Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), who announced back in November that he would resign the House seat he has held for almost 20 years to take a position in the non-profit sector back in Buffalo, issued a statement saying that he will leave Congress on Friday. Once the seat is officially vacant, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will have 10 days to call a special election for a period no less than 70 and no greater than 80 days from the scheduling announcement.

The local Democratic county chairmen have already chosen state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as the party’s special election nominee. Republicans are not likely to be competitive in the Buffalo anchored district which carries a partisan rating of D+18 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. At this point, the local Republican county chairs have not announced a special election nominee.

SC-1: More Trouble for Rep. Mace — Earlier in the week, we reported that South Carolina US Rep. Nancy Mace’s (R-Charleston) former chief of staff, Dan Hanlon, had filed a campaign committee to challenge her in this year’s Republican primary. Now, a former Nikki Haley gubernatorial cabinet official, Catherine Templeton, announced that she, too, will oppose the congresswoman.

Templeton, the former director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ran for governor in 2018 but finished third in the Republican primary, losing to Gov. Henry McMaster. As lieutenant governor in 2017, McMaster ascended to the governorship when Haley was appointed UN Ambassador.

With the US Supreme Court still deciding whether the lawsuit challenging the 1st District as a racial gerrymander is valid, there is still a possibility that this seat could be redrawn before the candidates appear on the ballot. The South Carolina primary is June 11, with a runoff scheduled for June 29 if no candidate receives majority support. Unless the district is ordered changed, the eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite in the general election.

Presley Stands Aside; CA-20 Special Election Scheduled; Pence to Retire; Buffalo Mayor Won’t Run for Open House Seat; Vermont Governor’s Race

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024

Senate

Former Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D)

Mississippi: Brandon Presley Won’t Run — Former Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), who held Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to a 51-48 percent re-election victory in November, said he will not challenge Sen. Roger Wicker (R) later this year, but indicated that his time in politics is not yet over. This could mean he is already laying the groundwork to again run for governor in 2027 when the position will be open. Presley is a second cousin to the late “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” singer Elvis Presley. Gov. Reeves will be ineligible to stand for a third term. With Mississippi candidate filing closing today, it is unlikely the Democrats will field a strong candidate against Sen. Wicker.

House

CA-20: Special Election Scheduled — Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that the special election to replace resigned Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) will be held on March 19, two weeks after the California state primary on March 5. Therefore, two candidates will advance to the regular general election before the special vote is held. Under California election law, if no candidate receives majority support in the first election, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held at a later date. Gov. Newsom has scheduled the potential runoff for May 21.

CA-20 is the safest Republican seat in California. State Assemblyman Vincent Fong (R-Bakersfield) is favored to succeed Rep. McCarthy. His strongest competitor appears to be Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux (R).

IN-6: Rep. Greg Pence (R) to Retire — The House retirement drumbeat continues; another announcement comes from three-term Rep. Greg Pence (R-Columbus), brother of former Vice President Mike Pence. Saying it is an “honor and privilege” to serve the people of Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, Pence stated that he decided he would not seek a fourth term. The House open seat count now ticks upward to 44. Four of these races will be decided in special elections before the regular election.

The 6th District will remain in Republican hands. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+37, making it the safest Indiana seat for the GOP. A majority of the Hoosier State Republican delegation (4 of 7) will not be seeking re-election. Reps. Victoria Sparts (R-Noblesville), Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) and Pence all are retiring. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) is running for the Senate.

NY-26: Mayor Won’t Run — Five-term Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) announced that he will not compete for what will be an open congressional seat headed for a special election. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) is resigning his office in February, at which point Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will schedule a special election. Since the county party chairmen have the power to nominate candidates for special elections, it appears a lock that state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) will be the Democratic candidate to replace Rep. Higgins. With a FiveThirtyEight data organization rating of D+18, Sen. Kennedy will become a prohibitive favorite to replace Rep. Higgins.

Governor

Vermont: Democratic Former Local Official Files — Despite running in one of the most heavily Democratic states, Republican Gov. Phil Scott consistently ranks as the most popular state chief executive in the country. While he has yet to announce that he will seek a fifth two-year term — Vermont and New Hampshire are the only states that limit their governors to two years between elections — former Middlebury Town Selectwoman Esther Charlestin this week announced that she will seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Should Gov. Scott decide to retire, the Democrats will have the inside track toward converting the State House. If he runs again, Gov. Scott becomes a prohibitive favorite.

New York Redistricting Action; NY-26 Leading Contender Out; Jackson Lee Faces Battle in TX-18; Two Former US Reps Run for California State Office

New York State Congressional Map / Click map or here to go to DavesRedistricting.org to see interactive version.

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023

House

New York Redistricting: High Court Orders New Map — The high court ruling in Albany Tuesday could change the balance of power in the US House of Representatives. The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, on a 4-3 vote ordered that the congressional districts be redrawn for the 2024 election, a move the Democratic plaintiffs sought. The majority agreed with the argument that the court-drawn map for the 2022 elections should stand only for that one period since the voters changed the state Constitution in order to empower the Independent Redistricting Commission with map drawing responsibilities.

With the map being sent back to the commission members, the redistricting process begins again. The high court established a Feb. 28, 2024, deadline for map completion and legislative agreement. Under the constitutional amendment procedure, the legislature must approve the commission prepared map. The New York state primary is scheduled for June 25, and the candidate filing deadline will be set for a date in late March.

NY-26: Leading Contender Won’t Run — Ten-term New York Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) announced last month that he will resign in February to accept a position to lead a Buffalo non-profit organization. Replacing Rep. Higgins largely falls to one man, Erie County Democratic Party chairman Jeremy Zellner.

Under New York election procedure, the various county party chairmen in a congressional district decide who becomes the party nominee in the event of a vacancy. The chairman from counties with the largest population get more influence because the chair votes are weighted. Since 80 percent of the NY-26 constituency lies in Erie County and only 20 percent in Niagara County, the Erie County chairman, i.e., Zellner, will effectively appoint the next congressman. Since the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-26 as D+18 and President Biden scored a 61-37 percent victory here in 2020, the eventual Democratic special election nominee will become the prohibitive favorite to succeed Rep. Higgins.

It appeared that Chairman Zellner was ready to nominate Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz (D) for the congressional post, but now such won’t happen. Poloncarz surprisingly announced that he will not run for Congress. This leaves, for now, state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as the only announced Democratic candidate. Five-term Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D), however, is also indicating interest in the congressional seat.

Mayor Brown is a former New York State Democratic Party chairman and an ex-state senator. He began his political career as a member of the Buffalo Common Council. Brown was actually defeated for renomination in 2021 but returned in the general election to win an unprecedented fifth term as a write-in candidate. Once Rep. Higgins resigns in February, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will call a special election to fill the balance of the current term. At that point, Chairman Zellner will make his decision.

TX-18: Primary Forced Against Rep. Jackson Lee — Updating the story of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) quickly turning around to file for re-election after losing the Houston mayor’s race on Saturday, the congresswoman will now face an active primary campaign for renomination. Former Houston City councilmember and ex-US Senate candidate Amanda Edwards says she will continue with her campaign and challenge the incumbent.

Edwards originally filed in case the 18th District seat would open because of a Jackson Lee victory in the mayor’s race. Instead, we will see a legitimate primary challenge in the March 5 Super Tuesday election. Three other Democrats also filed in anticipation of an open seat. Therefore, if none of the candidates reach the 50 percent plateau, a runoff would occur between the top two finishers on May 28.

Rep. Jackson Lee will be favored for re-election, but the Edwards challenge merits attention. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates TX-18 as D+43, so the Republican primary becomes irrelevant.

States

California: Two Ex-Congressmen Running for Legislature — With the California candidate filing deadline closing last Friday, we see the unusual situation of two retired eight-term US congressmen now running for seats in the California legislature. Former Rep. Jerry McNerney (D), who retired from Congress at the beginning of this year, filed for the open Stockton-anchored state Senate seat, and George Radanovich (R), who left the House at the beginning of 2011, is running in an open Fresno area Assembly district.

For Radanovich, this will be his second try for the legislature. In the 2022 election, he ran for an open state Senate seat but failed to advance into the general election from the all-party jungle primary.