Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Redistricting Update – Part II

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023

House

A look at how things might play out in key states in the redistricting tug of wars

Five States Affected: Democrats Have Upper Hand — Today we conclude our two-part series on the current status of Round II redistricting. We now examine the affected states from North Carolina through Wisconsin.

• North Carolina: In what looks to be a strong new redistricting run for the Democrats in most of the other states, the North Carolina situation will mitigate some of the national Republican losses. North Carolina redistricting had been a virtual omnipresent issue throughout the previous decade, since we saw a new congressional map created in almost every election cycle.

The problem was largely politics. The state legislature alone controls redistricting (the North Carolina governor has no veto power over redistricting legislation), and the majority consistently held a different view of how districts should be drawn than did the Democratic state Supreme Court.

In the 2022 election, Republicans gained two seats on the seven-member judicial panel, thus turning a 4-3 deficit into a 5-2 majority. Now, seeing the legislature and judiciary largely on the same page as it relates to redistricting, it is very likely that the map legislators will draw in the next week or so will obtain the needed judicial approval. If so, such will be the final congressional redistricting map until the 2030 census.

It also appears that the legislature will return to the basic model that the Democratic Supreme Court failed to approve. Therefore, we can expect the current 7R-7D delegation map to probably end with 10 districts favoring Republicans and four trending Democratic.

Thus, Reps. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro), Wiley Nickel (D-Cary), and Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) each could find themselves without a winnable district. Gaining three Republican seats in North Carolina would go a long way toward keeping the GOP in position to hold their slim US House majority.

• South Carolina: Soon after the first of this year, a federal three-judge panel declared the state’s Charleston anchored 1st Congressional District (Rep. Nancy Mace-R) to be an illegal racial gerrymander. This means the map drawers will likely add to the 1st African Americans from Rep. Jim Clyburn’s (D-Columbia) adjacent 6th District. This would make Rep. Mace more vulnerable to a Democratic candidate.

Nothing, however, has happened since the ruling, and it is unclear when the legislature will address the issue. Some movement is expected before the next election, but chances are strong that the legal challenges are not over.

Therefore, the Republicans may be able to delay long enough to push the final judicial decision, after the inevitable appeals are filed against whatever new map version is developed, until after the 2024 general election.

• Tennessee: A lawsuit claiming the new central Tennessee 5th Congressional District (Rep. Andy Ogles-R) is a partisan gerrymander is filed, but no judicial action has yet occurred. Even if the lower court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, an appeal to the state Supreme Court will likely require more time than remains in the 2024 election cycle. Therefore, any change in the Tennessee map most likely will not happen until the 2026 election cycle.

• Texas: As in Tennessee, a lawsuit challenging the Texas map as a partisan gerrymander has been filed without seeing any judicial action. In this situation, regardless of how a lower court may rule, the Texas state Supreme Court would almost assuredly become involved. Therefore, it is probable that we will not see any substantive action changing the Texas congressional map in the 2024 election cycle.

• Wisconsin: The 6R-2D congressional map became a key point in the campaign to elect a new state Supreme Court Justice. Democrat Janet Protasiewicz won a seat on the high court, and her presence now gives her party a majority. She campaigned on what she sees as a Republican gerrymandered congressional map. The GOP filed a motion saying that she should be recused from hearing the 2023 redistricting because her stated campaign positions against the map demonstrates a preconceived bias. Predictably, the Supreme Court rejected the motion.

If the Democrats can get a map to the state Supreme Court, the result will almost assuredly be adverse for Republicans. The two most affected members will be those representing districts in the southern part of the state, Reps. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) and Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien/La Crosse).

One Democrat who may not be in favor of drawing a new map, however, is Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Currently, she is not being seriously challenged for re-election, but if a new map forces either Steil or Van Orden out of their districts, at least one would likely jump into the Senate race.

Chances are fair to good that the Democrats can force a new map to be drawn. The state has a late primary – August 13, 2024 – so time remains for a new redistricting plan to be enacted. If so, then count on seeing either Rep. Steil or Van Orden, or both, being displaced. This will likely mean one of the two enters the Senate race to challenge Baldwin. Though the GOP would sustain a US House loss, redistricting could ironically put the Wisconsin US Senate seat into play.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney to Retire; Local Wisconsin Republican Announces for Senate; Michigan Secretary of State Slates Trump; OH-13 House News

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney announces he will not run for re-election: C-SPAN

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023

Senate

Utah: Sen. Mitt Romney to Retire — “It is time for a new generation of leaders,” Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) said yesterday. “I would be in my mid-eighties if I were to serve another full term.” With that, the Beehive State senator announced that he will not seek a second term next year.

Romney becomes the sixth senator — four Democrats and now two Republicans — to retire when their respective terms end in January of 2025. While Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), are all retiring from politics, Indiana’s Mike Braun (R) is running for governor instead of seeking re-election.

Had he sought another term, Sen. Romney would have faced an active Republican primary challenge. Since he would not likely have fared well at the conservative-dominated Republican nominating convention, it is probable that he would have been forced to access the ballot via the petition signature route. Now, we will see a highly competitive GOP primary battle to succeed Romney in what will be an open-seat campaign.

Wisconsin: Local Republican Steps Forward — Trempealeau County Supervisor Stacey Klein (R) announced yesterday that she will enter next year’s statewide US Senate campaign with the hope of unseating two-term incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). This race has been very slow to develop, and Klein now becomes the most politically accomplished individual in the Republican primary.

This, despite her western Wisconsin county serving as home to less than 30,000 individuals. Unless a more senior opponent soon announces, Sen. Baldwin could coast to a third term in what should be a very competitive political environment come November.

President

Michigan: Dem Secretary of State Slates Trump — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) yesterday announced that she will award former President Donald Trump a ballot position on the Michigan primary ballot, unless a court decision directs otherwise. Benson stated that “… the courts, and not secretaries of state, should decide if the US Constitution disqualifies Trump.” The Michigan primary is scheduled for Feb. 27, 2024. Presumably, she will also slate Trump in the general election, again barring a court ruling, should the former president win the Republican presidential nomination. Michigan is a critical swing state, so ensuring a ballot position here is a must for the Trump campaign.

House

OH-13: Ex-GOP Chair Won’t Run for House — Jane Timken, the former Ohio Republican Party chair who was a 2022 US Senate candidate, announced yesterday that she will not enter next year’s Republican primary in Ohio’s Akron anchored 13th District. GOP candidates will be vying for the opportunity to challenge freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).

Announced Republican candidates are Hudson City Councilman Chris Banweg and 2022 congressional candidate Greg Wheeler. Republican leaders are reportedly attempting to recruit former state senator and ex-Rep. Kevin Coughlin.

The 13th will likely feature a competitive general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat R+2. Dave’s Redistricting App, however, casts the partisan lean in the Democrats’ favor, 50.7D – 47.0R. President Joe Biden carried the district over former President Trump, 50.7 – 48.0 percent.

General to Oppose Marjorie Taylor Greene; Montana Candidate Filing; Another Opponent for Wisconsin Rep. Steil; Republican Candidate for Houston Mayoral Race

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023

House

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

GA-14: Retired General to Oppose Rep. Greene — Retired Army Brigadier Gen. Shawn Harris (D) announced that he will enter the Democratic primary to hopefully challenge two-term Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome).

Defeating Rep. Greene in the general election is the longest of shots. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates GA-14 as R+45. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 69.4R – 28.8D. The question as to whether Greene is even vulnerable to a Republican primary challenge remains doubtful. In the 2022 race, the congresswoman was re-nominated with 69.5 percent of the vote with five opponents dividing the remaining 30.5 percent.

MT-2: Republican Files Exploratory Committee in Anticipation — Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen (R) filed a congressional exploratory committee Monday in anticipation that Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) will run for the Senate. Arntzen, who is ineligible to seek a third term in her current statewide position, says she will only enter the US House contest if Rosendale vacates the seat for another statewide race.

Should he depart for the Senate, the 2nd District Republican primary figures to host a very crowded and competitive open primary. Carrying a R+30 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization and a 59.8R – 37.9D partisan lean factor that the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate, a succession battle here would be decided in the Republican primary. The 2nd District covers central and eastern Montana and encompasses the cities of Billings, the state’s largest municipality, Great Falls, and the state capital of Helena.

WI-1: Second Democrat Announces Against Rep. Steil — Lorenzo Santos (D), a Racine County Emergency official, joined the Democratic primary with the goal of challenging three-term Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) next year. Already running is former local official Anthony Hammes (D).

This race is beginning to attract attention because of the possibility that the Wisconsin congressional map will be redrawn. If that happens, there is a strong probability the 1st District becomes more Democratic and enhances the possibility that Rep. Steil may opt for a Senate bid. We can expect further action coming from southern Wisconsin as the potential of a district reconfiguration begins to grow.

Cities

Houston: Republican Emerges — Hoping to split the Democratic vote between US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) and veteran state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), former at-large City Councilman Jack Christie (R) announced that he will now compete in the open mayoral race scheduled for Nov. 7. The structure is a jungle election contest where all 14 declared candidates would appear on the same ballot. If no contender receives 50 percent of the vote in the first election, a runoff will be scheduled between the two top finishers.

Though the field is large, polling suggests that Sen. Whitmire and Rep. Jackson Lee are well ahead of the remaining candidates who comprise the pool. Therefore, Christie’s strategy of coalescing the minority Republican vote and coming from the outside to capture a runoff position could potentially become viable. Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) is ineligible to run for a third term.

Senate Primaries Forming – Part II

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Aug. 14, 2023

Senate

Sen. Pete Ricketts (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Senate Races: Balance of Power — We conclude our look into the critical Senate primary campaigns by previewing the states alphabetically from Nebraska to Wisconsin. (See Friday’s post:
Senate Primaries Forming — Part 1.)

• Nebraska: Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R) resignation earlier this year led to former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) being appointed to the seat. The new senator must now run in a special election to fill the balance of the term, and then again in 2026 for a full six-year stint. Sen. Ricketts has already announced that he will run in both elections.

Republicans are safe here in the general election; thus, the primary could become the competitive race. So far, no major challenger has come forward, though rancher Chuck Herbster, who placed only second in the 2022 governor’s primary despite having a Donald Trump endorsement, remains a potential candidate.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R), on the ballot for the regular term, has no opposition to date in either the primary or general elections. Nebraskans will choose their nominees on May 14, 2024.

• Nevada: Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) is on the ballot for a second term, and the Republican primary is now becoming crowded. Sam Brown, a disabled Afghan War veteran, is the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s choice and should be viewed as the leading candidate.

Earlier this week, former ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter and retired Air Force officer and director of the Reno Air Aces, Tony Grady, entered the race and could make the Republican primary interesting. The Nevada general election contest could well become a top-tier challenge race. The Silver State primary is scheduled for June 11, 2024.

• Ohio: One of the top three Republican conversion opportunities is the Ohio race featuring Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D) run for a fourth term. Republicans have three major contenders: Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state senator and 2022 US Senate candidate Matt Dolan, and businessman Bernie Moreno.

Early polling gives LaRose, who has won a statewide campaign, the advantage. Sen. Dolan, in his 2022 race, came on strong at the end and finished within one percentage point of second place. Moreno, who was also in the 2022 Senate race but withdrew before voting began, has earned Ohio junior Sen. J.D. Vance’s (R) endorsement.

Regardless of who wins the Republican primary, the Buckeye State Senate campaign will remain a top-tier challenge race. The Ohio primary will occur on March 19, 2024.

• Pennsylvania: Little is occurring in the GOP nomination race as Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) rallies his supporters in a quest for a fourth term.

Republicans are confident that 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R) will enter the race, and the primary appears his for the taking. McCormick lost the 2022 Republican campaign to Dr. Mehmet Oz by just 950 votes statewide. Assuming he returns, McCormick will begin the general election contest as a decided underdog to Sen. Casey. The Pennsylvania primary will be conducted on April 23, 2024.

• Texas: The Lone Star State Senate contest appears to be the Democrats only shot at developing a competitive challenge race. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is on the ballot for a third term and must be considered a clear favorite in a state where Democrats still have not won a major statewide campaign in decades. In a presidential year, their task becomes even harder.

The Democratic leadership is backing US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas), but he faces a serious challenge from state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio). The senator is the top gun control advocate in the legislature and much closer to the party’s progressive left base than is Rep. Allred.

Additionally, Texas state Senate seats are bigger than congressional districts, so Gutierrez actually represents 150,000 more people than does Rep. Allred.

Allred has raised more than $6 million since his announcement, but now must spend that and more just to win the party nomination. Sen. Cruz will use the primary to force both men further to the left on energy issues, which are so critical to the Texas economy. The Lone Star primary will be held on Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

• Utah: The big question lingering in the Beehive State is whether Sen. Mitt Romney (R) will run for a second term. The senator says he will make a decision in the fall. If he does run, Romney faces a competitive Republican primary challenge, likely from state House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville).

Sen. Romney has little chance of winning the state nominating convention, so to qualify for the ballot he will need to recruit 28,000 valid petition signatures from around the state. This process would allow him to bypass the party structure and go directly to the primary ballot.

Republicans will hold the seat in the general election, but the political drama comes in the Republican primary where it is not inconceivable that Sen. Romney could lose. The nomination will be decided on June 25, 2024.

• West Virginia: Sen. Joe Manchin (D) continues to waver about seeking re-election. He is again making statements that he could become an Independent or run for president as a minor party nominee. Regardless of his decision, the West Virginia race is the Republicans’ best conversion opportunity. Gov. Jim Justice (R) is an announced candidate in the Republican primary and faces US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town).

The winner, likely Gov. Justice, will be considered the favorite for the general election in what has been former President Donald Trump’s second-best state in the nation during both his 2016 and 2020 election campaigns. With the Club for Growth willing to spend millions to help Mooney from the outside, the Republican primary will be more competitive than one might believe at first glance. The victory odds, however, still favor Gov. Justice. The Republican nomination will be settled on May 14, 2024.

• Wisconsin: The Badger State race is the Republicans’ biggest disappointment to date in terms of candidate recruitment. No one has yet come forward to challenge two-term Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), and it’s possible that she could run without a serious challenge in what is typically a close state.

Should the congressional districts be redrawn, it is possible that Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) will find that entering the Senate race is his best political option. He would be the Republicans’ strongest contender. The Wisconsin primary is not until Aug. 6, 2024, so time remains for Republicans to right their political ship.

GOP Changes Delegate Allocation Rules; Former Rep. Cisneros May Return; Re-Match Possible in New Hampshire, Other House News; Wisconsin Redistricting Lawsuit

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Aug. 4, 2023

President

California: GOP Changes Delegate Allocation Rules — The California Republican Party’s executive committee, a total of 100 members, voted to change the way the state allocates its Republican delegates. Despite California being a poor performer for Republicans, the presidential delegation to the GOP national convention is still the largest in the country. In 2024, the state will feature 169 voting delegates.

Instead of allocating the delegates through the state’s 52 congressional districts – three delegates per district plus at-large votes – the California GOP will now authorize a system that awards a winning candidate who obtains majority support in the March 5, 2024 primary all of the state’s delegate votes. Many states use this system, but California doing so will provide an extra vote boost to the Golden State primary winner.

At this point, several polls show former President Donald Trump at or exceeding the 50 percent threshold. The change makes it all the more likely that the nomination will be clinched as voting ends on Super Tuesday.

House

One-term ex-Congressman Gil Cisneros (D)

CA-31: Former Rep. Cisneros May Return — One-term ex-Congressman Gil Cisneros (D), a former US Navy officer who struck it rich in winning over $200 million from a major lottery, has resigned his position as Under Secretary of Defense. Speculation suggests this is his first definitive move to declare for retiring Rep. Grace Napolitano’s (D-Norwalk) Los Angeles County congressional seat.

Cisneros defeated now-Congresswoman Young Kim (R-La Habra) in 2018 from a 39th District that covered parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties. In 2020, Kim returned for a re-match and reversed the outcome. She now represents the post-redistricting 40th CD that covers parts of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

Already in the open 31st District race are state senators Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) and Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) along with Community College Trustee and former Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz (D). It is likely that two Democrats will advance into the general election from the all-party primary. While Cisneros represented virtually none of the current 31st CD during his previous stint in the House, even Rep. Napolitano fails to reside within the district, so the lack of residency is likely not much of a detriment.

NH-2: Re-Match Possible — Former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns (R), who lost the 2022 congressional race 56-44 percent to veteran Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/ Concord), confirms that he is considering returning for a re-match. His decision is nowhere close to being made, however. He also says he would like to run for governor and would even consider a bid for Executive Councilor if one of those seats were to open. It is likely the Republican leadership would prefer a more committed candidate.

Since the New Hampshire June candidate filing deadline is later than most state’s primaries, this race will develop over a long period. At this point, Rep. Kuster will be favored to win a seventh term in 2024.

PA-7: New Candidate Announces — The Public Affairs director of the Philadelphia Convention Center, Maria Montero (R), announced her congressional candidacy Wednesday. This will be the second time she has run for the US House. Montero, also former staff member for Republican former Gov. Tom Corbett, entered the special nomination for the 12th District seat, closer to central PA, when then-Rep. Tom Marino (R) resigned. She lost to then-state Rep. Fred Keller who would go onto win the special election.

Already in the race are state Rep. Ryan MacKenzie (R-Macungie) and 2022 candidate Kevin Dellicker who secured 49 percent of the Republican primary vote. The winner will face vulnerable Rep. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) in a politically marginal 7th CD that covers the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area. In the past two competitive elections against Republican Lisa Scheller, Rep. Wild has been re-elected with 52 and 51 percent of the vote.

UT-2: Maloy Approved for Ballot — Celeste Maloy, who the Republican 2nd District convention chose as its candidate for the special election to replace resigning Rep. Christopher Stewart (R-Farmington), has faced a serious challenge to her standing as a candidate.

A state judge in ruling Wednesday over a lawsuit filed against Maloy claiming that she did not meet the state’s residency requirement to run for Congress, declared that she will be slated on the Sept. 5 special primary ballot. The judge stated that “the public interest favors respecting the party convention’s choice.” He further said that the election process is well underway, and ballots have been printed. Therefore, altering the candidate configuration would be disruptive.

Earning Republican ballot positions through the signature petition process are former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough. Democrats have united around state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights). The special general election is scheduled for Nov. 21. Rep. Stewart will resign on Sept. 15.

States

Wisconsin: Redistricting Lawsuit Filed — A coalition of law firms and progressive left activists filed a challenge to Wisconsin’s state Senate and Assembly redistricting maps, labeling them partisan gerrymanders. Now that the new liberal majority state Supreme Court has taken office, the plaintiffs winning this lawsuit is probably just a matter of time.

The court will likely order a redraw of the two plans, which will almost assuredly be a precursor to the congressional map being re-configured as well. At this time, however, the federal plan is not included in this particular lawsuit.

Senate: Status Check

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023

Senate

Senate Election Cycle: A Review — The 2024 US Senate cycle is a critical one, especially for Republicans since the political map favors them for the first time in three election cycles. Democrats must defend 23 of the 34 Senate races next year, and there are signs of competition in only one of the 11 GOP defense seats.

Therefore, Republicans must maximize their present opportunity because they face minority status for several more election cycles if they fail to claim the majority next year.

With that, let’s review where the key races stand:


FIRST TIER (alphabetically by state)

Sen. Jon Tester (D), Montana

• Montana: Sen. Jon Tester (D) stands for a fourth term from a state that has moved considerably to the right since he was last on the ballot in 2018. The presidential turnout for 2024 is another obstacle that he must overcome.

The Club for Growth leadership several months ago said they would back US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) to the tune of $10 million if he decided to challenge Sen. Tester, as he did five years ago. In the 2018 election, Rosendale, then the state auditor, lost to Sen. Tester, 50-47 percent.

Now, CfG president David McIntosh, himself a former Republican congressman, is hedging on such a support level, saying that retired Navy SEAL and aerospace company CEO Tim Sheehy is an impressive candidate and Rep. Rosendale is needed in the House. Rosendale has long been a presumed Senate candidate but has yet to come forward and formally announce his political plans. Former Navy SEAL and aerospace company Sheehy, with the Republican leadership’s endorsement, has officially entered the race.

• Nevada: The close results seen in the state both in 2022 and 2020, along with more GOP candidate development, moves Nevada into the top tier. Afghan War veteran and 2022 Senate candidate Sam Brown enters the race with endorsements from the Senate leadership and key support groups.

Former Ambassador to Iceland Jeffrey Ross Gunter, one of former President Donald Trump’s appointees, is close to becoming a Senate candidate. Also in the race is former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant who was defeated in previous gubernatorial and secretary of state races.

The eventual Republican nominee, particularly if Brown wins, will be in a toss-up race with first-term Sen. Jacky Rosen (D).

• Ohio: Republicans have a three-way primary featuring Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state Sen. Matt Dolan, and businessman Bernie Moreno. Polling shows all three would run within the polling margin of error opposite Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) while keeping him under the 50 percent support plateau.

Republicans have done well in Ohio since Sen. Brown was re-elected in 2018. This will likely be the incumbent’s most difficult re-election race. Ohio becomes a must-win for the Republicans if they are to wrest the Senate majority away from the Democrats.

• West Virginia: Polling finds Gov. Jim Justice (R) holding comfortable leads over Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the general election and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) in the Republican primary. Sen. Manchin has still not committed to seeking re-election. West Virginia is the Republicans best conversion opportunity. If the GOP fails to win this seat it will be a precursor to a very bad election night.


SECOND TIER (alphabetically by state)

• Arizona: This race will be the wild card of the 2024 election cycle. The three-way race featuring Independent incumbent Kyrsten Sinema means that she, a Democrat, likely Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), and an eventual Republican nominee, possibly 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, could all win this seat with a plurality figure of less than 40 percent.

Considering that Lake received 49.6 percent of the vote in the governor’s race, her chances in the Senate race should not be overlooked. She still, however, must be viewed as an underdog since the other two candidates’ chances appear better at present.

• Michigan: Mitchell Research conducted a new poll of the Michigan electorate (July 11-13; 639 likely Michigan voters; SMS text) and finds Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) recording a 44-38 percent lead over former Rep. Mike Rogers (R) and an even larger 41-28 percent advantage over ex-US Rep. Peter Meijer (R). Both are potential Senate candidates.

Additionally, two-term US Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Bruce), who represents the region commonly referred to as “the thumb” since the state’s Lower Peninsula configuration resembles a human hand, said that she will not enter the open Senate race next year. The move presumes that she will seek re-election to the House in 2024.

Michigan is trending more Democratic than it had in the previous elections before 2020, so the party remains the favorite to hold this open seat due to incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D) retirement.

• Pennsylvania: Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) is on the ballot for a fourth term next year and is the clear favorite for re-election. Republicans do not yet have an official candidate, but it is believed that 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick will at some point announce his entry into the race. He lost the Republican nomination in the last election to Dr. Mehmet Oz by 950 votes statewide.

Even with McCormick in the race, Sen. Casey will hold the inside track to re-election. For this seat to fall to the Republicans, a national Red Wave will have to form.

• Texas: The Lone Star State is the only place at present where a Republican incumbent is being seriously challenged. The entrance of state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), however, actually helps Sen. Cruz. With Gutierrez being identified with the progressive left, Sen. Cruz will be able to use the Democratic primary to help drive Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) further to the left, thus setting both up favorably for the general election regardless of which man becomes the Democratic nominee.

This will be an expensive race, but Sen. Cruz is well positioned to again prevail.

• Wisconsin: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) stands for a third term. Wisconsin turns in close races, but early polling suggests the Democrats have a clear advantage heading into this cycle. Republicans have yet to recruit a candidate. Some of the GOP possibilities are individuals who have lost previous statewide races.

Should a redistricting case come before the state Supreme Court, there is a possibility that the Wisconsin congressional map may be redrawn. If so, then both Reps. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) and Derrick Van Order (R-Prairie du Chien) could be endangered. If that happens, we could see Steil move forward to challenge Sen. Baldwin. Should this scenario unfold, the Senate race would become more competitive.

An Unusual DeSantis Trend;
A Returning MD-6 Candidate;
A Big Lead for Dem Candidate in Oregon; Trouble in UT-2

By Jim Ellis — Friday, June 30, 2023

President

Wisconsin Poll: DeSantis Pulls Within One of Trump — A new Marquette University Law School regular Wisconsin poll finds an unusual trend developing. In this survey (June 8-13; 913 registered Wisconsin voters; 419 self-identified Republicans; live interview), Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pulled to within one point of former President Donald Trump, 31-30 percent in terms of first choice preference, a margin not seen in any other state with the exception of the governor’s home domain. Former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott are third and fourth with six and five percent support.

In a general election pairing with President Joe Biden, Gov. DeSantis pulls to within the polling margin of error, trailing 47-45 percent. Ex-President Trump fares considerably worse. Biden would lead this match-up by a substantial 52-43 percent margin. It remains to be seen if the closeness of this poll is an anomaly, or the beginning of a new trend.

House

Maryland Ex-Delegate Neil Parrott

MD-6: Ex-Delegate Parrott to Return — Former state Delegate Neil Parrott (R), who twice lost to Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), announced earlier in the week that he will return for a third congressional run. Rep. Trone has already declared for the state’s open Senate race, meaning the politically marginal western Maryland 6th Congressional District is also open. Post-redistricting, the 6th became more competitive, so Parrott’s 55-45 percent loss to Rep. Trone was an under-performance.

In 2024, however, the former congressional nominee will face at least four other Republicans, including a fellow ex-Delegate, Brenda Thiam. Five Democrats have announced for the seat, including two sitting Montgomery County state Delegates, Joe Vogel and Lesley Lopez. In the general election, this seat could evolve into a toss-up race.

OR-5: 2022 Nominee Posting Big Dem Primary Lead — Freshman Oregon Republican Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Happy Valley) scored one of the biggest upset victories of the 2022 election cycle when she defeated Democratic nominee Jamie McLeod-Skinner (D) to capture the 5th District seat with a 51-49 percent margin. McLeod-Skinner had unseated then-US Rep. Kurt Schrader in the May Democratic primary.

In a politically marginal district that the FiveThirtyEight organization rates D+2, three credible individuals have already declared their candidacies, state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley), Oregon Metro Council President Lynn Peterson, and former congressional aide Kevin Easton. McLeod-Skinner confirms she is “seriously considering” running again, and now is releasing an early June poll that posts her to a big lead in a hypothetical Democratic primary among the four early contenders.

According to the GBAO Strategies’ poll (May 30-June 1; 400 likely Democratic OR-5 primary voters), McLeod-Skinner would lead Bynum, Peterson, and Easton, 50-9-5-4 percent. No numbers were released for how any of these Democratic candidates would pair with Rep. Chavez-DeRemer. In any event, we can expect another close general election race here in 2024.

UT-2: Trouble Brewing — A story is running in the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper that special Republican Party convention winner Celeste Maloy, legal counsel to resigning Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington), may not have met the legal requirements to become a candidate. During her time in Rep. Stewart’s DC office, she did not vote in Utah, thus was placed on the inactive voter list. She re-registered in Utah after the special election candidate filing deadline. During her time living in Virginia, she registered to vote and cast ballots in Old Dominion elections.

Republican Party officials say there is no requirement to be a qualified voter to compete in the special election, but state law appears to say something quite different. Some of the Republican candidates who failed to win the recent party convention may file a lawsuit to overturn the results.

At this point, it appears that two candidates, former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough, may meet the petition signature requirement to enter the special election primary that is scheduled for Sept. 5. The special general is calendared for Nov. 21. Rep. Stewart will resign his seat on Sept. 15.