Tag Archives: Trudy Busch Valentine

Schmitt Up Comfortably in Missouri;
Tight Election Evolving in AZ-1; Whitmer Still Leading in Michigan

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022

Senate

Missouri AG Eric Schmitt (R)

Missouri: GOP’s Eric Schmitt Up Comfortably — International online pollster YouGov tested the Missouri Senate race, one of the first we’ve seen since Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the Republican primary on Aug. 2 and philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine prevailed on the Democratic side. The YouGov poll (released Aug. 25; Aug. 8-16; 900 likely Missouri general election voters) posts Schmitt to a double-digit 49-38 percent advantage. This race, another must win for the national GOP, should be rated as Likely Republican.

House

AZ-1: Tight General Election Evolving — Arizona’s new 1st Congressional District was crafted as somewhat more favorable to the Democrats, but still a decidedly Republican seat (FiveThirtyEight rating: new AZ-1: R+7; former AZ-6: R+13; 25 percent new territory). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a new Normington Petts survey for the Jevin Hodge (D) campaign (Aug. 15-18; 500 likely AZ-1 general election voters; live interview & text) sees the 2022 congressional race as a dead heat, with Hodge and incumbent Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) each receiving 47 percent support.

The poll finds Rep. Schweikert, who before the 2020 election accepted 11 ethics violations fines for misuse of his congressional office and campaign finance related issues, posting a poor 26:46 percent personal favorability rating. The additional fact that the congressman received only 43.3 percent in this year’s Republican primary against two opponents, and may well have been defeated if only one individual had challenged him, suggests that this should be a race of concern for the Republican leadership.

Governor

Kansas: Independent Qualifies; Poll Result — Northeastern Kansas state Sen. Dennis Pyle (I-Hiawatha) qualified for the ballot as an independent gubernatorial candidate on Friday. Pyle, who was elected as a Republican but became an Independent in further evidence of the deep divide between Kansas conservative and centrist Republicans, is getting support from an improbable source.

Some in the Democratic Party were active in helping further the petition signature process that allowed him to qualify for the general election. Sen. Pyle attacks GOP nominee Derek Schmidt, the state’s attorney general, as being insufficiently conservative, while the Democrats want Pyle to take conservative votes away from the GOP nominee to help incumbent Gov. Laura Kelly (D).

Four years ago, Gov. Kelly won her office with plurality support (48 percent), and her likely path to re-election will again be with less than a majority. The latest released survey, from Battleground Connect (Aug. 8-10; 1,074 likely Kansas general election voters; text) found Schmidt leading Gov. Kelly, 48-45 percent, with Pyle attracting only two percent support. This poll was conducted, however, prior to the latter man qualifying as an official November contender.

Michigan: More Conflicting Polls — Around the country, we have been seeing a number of places report conflicting polling data. Such is the case last week in the Michigan governor’s race. Though both EPIC-MRA, polling for the Michigan Information & Research Service, and the Trafalgar Group find Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) leading GOP nominee Tudor Dixon, the margins are quite different.

EPIC (Aug. 18-23; 600 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts Gov. Whitmer to a double-digit, 50-39 percent advantage. But The Trafalgar Group, surveying basically within the same time realm (Aug. 22-25; 1,080 likely Michigan voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees the governor holding a lead just outside the polling margin of error, 49-45 percent. This example again reminds us of the volatility that can occur from pollsters using different techniques and weighting methodology.

Tennessee Primary Today; Tight Race Forming in Arizona Senate; Godlewski Drops From Wisconsin Senate Race; Indiana Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash

Tennessee Congressional Districts (click on image to see larger)

By Jim Ellis — August 4, 2022

Primary

Tennessee Primary Today: While still waiting for the remaining final numbers from Tuesday’s Arizona, Michigan, and Washington primaries, Volunteer State voters will go to the polls today to choose their nominees in the nation’s only Thursday primary.

There is no Senate race in the state in this election cycle, as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) will next be on the ballot in 2024 with Sen. Bill Hagerty (R) presumably running for his second term in 2026. While Gov. Bill Lee (R) is in-cycle this year, he is unopposed in today’s Republican primary.

Three Democrats are tonight vying for their party nomination, which of course will give the winner the right to challenge the governor in November. The only elected official of the group is Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley. Challenging him are physician Jason Martin and African American History Museum founder Carnita Atwater. Regardless of tonight’s outcome, Gov. Lee will be rated as a prohibitive favorite in the general election.

In the nine congressional races, five Republican incumbents are all unopposed for re-nomination this evening. Two incumbents — Reps. Charles Fleishmann (R-Chattanooga) and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), the state’s lone Democratic member on the ballot this year — face only minor opponents. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Germantown) has three opponents tonight, but none look to be serious challengers. Therefore, all of the action lies in the open 5th District.

Retiring Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) has represented the district since the beginning of 2003. However, as a result of redistricting, Tennesseans decided to restructure a new 5th District, which was formerly a Nashville center city seat and wholly contained within Davidson County. As a result, the FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new 5th as R+15, thus upending what was a D+17 domain, which is one of the widest partisan redistricting swings in the nation. The Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean calculations sees the new 5th as 54.4 – 42.6 percent in the Republicans’ favor. Nine Republicans are on the ballot, and with no runoff law in Tennessee, a plurality winner will be chosen tonight.

TN-5 attracted much attention just after redistricting because the state Republican Party decided to add qualifications for their candidates, such as voting in the most recent three statewide elections. The party requirement, which survived a court challenge, was designed to bounce former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, music producer Robby Starbuck, and businessman Baxter Lee from participating in the election. It was successful. All three had just recently moved to the area.

Once today’s Tennessee primary concludes, 36 states will have completed their nomination process. Two big states will remain, however, Florida, and the New York congressional and state Senate primary, both scheduled for Aug. 23.

Senate

Arizona: New Post-Primary Poll Shows Tight Race Forming — Venture capitalist Blake Masters won the Republican Senate primary on Tuesday night, and a new OnMessage survey already shows him within striking distance of Sen. Mark Kelly (D). The poll (Aug. 1-2; 600 likely Arizona general election voters) finds the senator leading Masters, 49-44 percent.

We can expect the Arizona race to be one of the most heavily polled general election campaigns during the remaining time before the Nov. 8 election. Arizona is a tight political state, and this race will go a long way toward determining which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.

Wisconsin: Dem Race Ends — While it looked as if state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski would have a last-ditch opportunity to deny Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes the Democratic US Senate nomination in a one-on-one race, that will not be the case. After both Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson dropped out of the race, some believed Godlewski could become a factor in the closing days before the Aug. 9 primary election.

Late last week, however, Godlewski followed suit and ended her Senate campaign. All three now former candidates have endorsed Lt. Gov. Barnes, meaning a united Democratic Party will head into the general election to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). The Johnson-Barnes campaign will be national in scope and one of the key races to decide the next Senate majority.

House

IN-2: Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash — Indiana five-term Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Elkart) and three others were all tragically killed in a car accident yesterday. The congresswoman and her two aides were returning from an event in the district, and died when another vehicle crossed the median line and struck them head-on. The driver of that car also died.

Walorski, who was 58, is the sixth House member to pass away in this session of Congress. Indiana state law will govern the succession procedure to replace the late representative.

Incumbent Defeats — Tuesday’s defeats of Michigan Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries are the ninth and tenth House incumbents to lose their seats in this election cycle. Five come from both parties. Five of the incumbent losses are redistricting related, two because of ethics or personal behavior problems, one for ideological reasons, and a pair on the Republican side, such as Rep. Meijer, for voting to impeach then-President Trump.

Big Primary Results

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 3, 2022

Primary Results

Venture capitalist Blake Masters

Arizona — Venture capitalist Blake Masters, armed with an endorsement from former President Trump who remains a strong force in Republican primaries, defeated businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich with a 39-29-18 percent vote margin with about 80 percent of the expected vote tabulated. Masters now advances to the general election to face a tough political opponent in Sen. Mark Kelly (D).

In the open governor’s race, Trump-endorsed former news anchor Kari Lake has a very slight lead of approximately 9,000 votes over Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, who both former Vice President Mike Pence and term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey supported. The outstanding 21 percent of the vote, however, including that from the most populous Maricopa County where about 62 percent of the state’s residents live, makes it unclear as to who will prevail when all of the ballots are counted. The eventual winner will face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who scored a landslide 73 percent victory in the Democratic primary.

In House races, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) looks to have won re-nomination in the new Scottsdale-anchored 1st District, but in unimpressive form. With 82 percent of the expected vote counted at this writing, Rep. Schweikert only has 43 percent of the Republican vote.

In the very different 2nd District that now will favor a Republican candidate as opposed to Democratic incumbent Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona), retired Navy SEAL Eli Crane, another Trump-endorsed candidate, has defeated state Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake) to win the GOP nomination. At this writing, 80 percent of the expected vote has been counted and Crane has a nine-percentage point lead, which should be more than enough to clinch the win. A O’Halleran-Crane general election now becomes one of the top GOP conversion target races in the nation.

The new competitive 4th District where Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) sees his partisan index drop to just D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, saw a surprise winner in the Republican primary. Though former Phoenix Suns executive Tanya Wheeless was attracting the most media attention, the district’s GOP electorate has instead chosen local businessman Kelly Cooper as the party nominee. With approximately 80 percent of the vote counted, Cooper has a five-percentage point lead. He looks to be a strong general election candidate, and this will be a real race in the fall.

In the Tucson-anchored open 6th District, from which Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) is retiring, former gubernatorial aide and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani, as expected, easily captured the Republican nomination. He will now face former state Sen. Kirsten Engel who was a strong winner on the Democratic side. The general election will yield a tight political district, but the area and national political prognosticators promote Ciscomani as the favorite to win the general election and convert this southeastern Arizona seat for the GOP.

Michigan — The big story in the Michigan primary and perhaps the overall national primary result among the five states voting was the defeat of freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) in the GOP nomination campaign. He fell 52-48 percent to former Housing & Urban Development Department official John Gibbs who had former President Trump’s endorsement. The new 3rd District leans Democratic, Gibbs faces a tough challenge against 2020 party nominee Hillary Scholten (D) in the coming general election.

The other Michigan congressional defeat came in the Democratic pairing from the state’s suburban Detroit 11th District. There, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) scored a 60-40 percent win over fellow Democratic Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township), as late polling predicted would occur.

Missouri — Another of the key Aug. 2 primary races ended as projected. Late in what had been a tightly fought campaign, Attorney General Eric Schmitt looked to have broken away from the candidate pack and scored a 46-22-19-5 percent open Republican primary victory over US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, and US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield), respectively.

Schmitt now becomes a strong favorite in the general election to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R). In November, he will face philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the Anheuser Busch beer family. She defeated Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce, 43-38 percent, to capture the Democratic nomination, overcoming a heavy negative attack campaign.

The two US House members, Reps. Hartzler and Long, left open a pair of solidly Republican congressional districts that featured crowded Republican primaries. Former news anchorman and conservative commentator Mark Alford and state Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield/Springfield) were strong winners in the 4th and 7th District congressional nomination contests. Both men have effectively punched their tickets to Washington, as each should easily win the general election.

Washington — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), despite earlier polling suggesting a competitive re-election race, easily placed first in the state’s jungle primary. Though only about half of the vote is tabulated under Washington’s all-mail election system that allows ballots to be received and counted after the election, it is clear that Sen. Murray placed first in the multi-candidate field with 54 percent of the vote.

In second place, as expected, and also advancing into the general election is veterans’ activist and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R) who garnered 32 percent of the votes tabulated at this writing. It appears that Sen. Murray is now a heavy favorite for re-election to a sixth term.

The more watched races occurred in congressional districts 3 and 4. It appears that both Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) and Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) will advance into the general election, but with low vote percentages. Each voted to impeach former President Trump.

From the Vancouver area anchored 3rd CD, Democratic businesswoman Marie Perez, taking advantage of the badly split Republican vote, looks to have secured first position from the jungle primary and will advance into the general election. Rep. Herrera Beutler, with just 24.5 percent of the tabulated vote, which is from 57 percent of the expected total, looks to have enough of a cushion over retired Army officer and Trump-endorsed contender Joe Kent (R) despite her low percentage. The total Republican vote, however, spread among four GOP candidates is approximately 63 percent, which portends well for Rep. Herrera Beutler in the general election.

In Washington’s middle-state 4th CD, incumbent Newhouse is holding first place, but with only 27 percent of the jungle primary vote. It appears that he and Democratic businessman Doug White will advance into the general election in what is the Evergreen State’s most Republican district. Trump-endorsed candidate Loren Culp (R), the former town police chief who was a finalist in the 2020 gubernatorial election, placed third and will be eliminated. The cumulative Republican vote here is 74 percent, so Rep. Newhouse, facing a Democratic opponent in the general election, should be safe for re-election.

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.

New Polls Lean to GOP Leaders in Missouri; Fetterman Expands Lead in Pennsylvania; Getting Close in NJ-1

By Jim Ellis — July 28, 2022

Senate

Scandal-tainted Gov. Eric Greitens (R) trending downward in Missouri.

Missouri: New Polls Pleasing GOP Leaders — The hard-fought Missouri Republican primary is a week away, and three new late July polls are bringing sighs of relief to GOP leaders. It has long been believed that the Missouri race comes off the table if either Attorney General Eric Schmitt or US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) wins the party nomination, but danger looms for the GOP if resigned, scandal-tainted Gov. Eric Greitens were to forge through a crowded field with plurality support.

Three polls were conducted from July 21 through 24, and the results are consistent. The Remington Research Group (July 23-24; 802 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system), the Trafalgar Group (July 22-24; 1,059 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; multiple sample-gathering tactics) and Emerson College, polling for The Hill newspaper (July 21-23; 1,000 likely Missouri Republican and Democratic primary voters, but the number of each is unspecified; multiple sample-gathering tactics), all arrived at similar conclusions. That is, Attorney General Schmitt seems to be developing a secure lead.

RRG sees Schmitt leading Rep. Hartzler and Greitens, 32-25-18 percent. Trafalgar finds the candidates placing in the same order, but a bit closer, 27-24-20 percent. Emerson’s numbers are better for Schmitt, at 33-21-16 percent. For the Democrats, Emerson projects philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, despite being under heavy political attack, as leading Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce 39-35 percent with a 22 percent undecided factor.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Expands Lead — The Democratic firm Blueprint Polling released a new PA statewide poll (July 19-21; 712 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview) and found Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), still recovering from a serious stroke he suffered just before the primary election, expanding his lead to 49-40 percent over Dr. Mehmet Oz (R). The most recent Senate survey prior to Blueprint’s, from Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) for AARP (June 12-19; 1,382 likely Pennsylvania voters), projected a 50-44 percent Fetterman edge. In the governor’s race, Blueprint found Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) topping state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), 51-39 percent, which is also a significant improvement for him over the previous statewide poll.

House

MN-1: Republicans Have Special Trouble — State Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake), who lost the special primary election to succeed the late US Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) by just 427 votes, confirms he is running to win the regular primary election. This means that former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R), who won the special primary, must continue conducting two separate campaigns through the Aug. 9 election.

In slightly different district configurations, Finstad must separately win the special general election against former Hormel Corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D), and the nomination for the regular term since the special general is being run concurrently with the regular statewide primary. With Munson competing in the regular election, the confusing scenario of having two different District 1 Republican winners could occur. With the only public post-special primary poll suggesting a dead heat between Finstad and Ettinger, so many mixed messages could yield a Democratic special election upset.

NJ-1: Surprisingly Close — According to a new Grassroots Targeting survey (July 13-19; 625 likely NJ-1 general election voters), New Jersey Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City) lies barely beyond the polling margin of error in yet another potential warning sign for Democrats.

The GT results find Rep. Norcross topping Republican nominee Claire Gustafson, 49-44 percent, despite the fact that 83 percent of the respondents said they have not heard of the GOP nominee. To underscore matters, Rep. Norcross’ favorability index has dropped to 42:41 percent favorable to unfavorable. This contrasts with his 2020 re-election margin of 62-38 percent, similar to what President Biden recorded in the district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NJ-1 as D+20, so seeing a close poll featuring an unknown Republican with little money from this district is surprising to say the least.