Election Insights
Election Insights is a political analysis publication of the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC). BIPAC is an independent, bipartisan organization, that is supported by several hundred of the nation’s leading businesses and trade associations.  The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of our organization.


September 21, 2018
Candidate Slates Finalized as Midterm Contests Heat Up
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Minnesota: potential upset could be on the horizon in Senate race between state Sen. Karin Housley (R) and appointed Sen. Tina Smith (D)
  • Tennessee & Texas Senate:  latest polls have contests flipping back and forth
  • CA-39: GOP's Young Kim (R) opens big lead over opponent, Gil Cisneros (D)
  • MA-3: Democrat re-count winner now final - former congressional chief of staff and businesswoman Lori Trahan officially clinches party nomination and will face GOP candidate, businessman Rick Green in the general
  • Florida & New Mexico: Democrat candidates for Governor develop leads
  • Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker (R) in political dogfight as recent polling shows him trailing Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Evers (D)

Senate

Minnesota:  A new Minneapolis Star Tribune/Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategies poll (9/10-12; 800 MN likely voters) finds state Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Croix Valley) pulling to within high single-digits of appointed Sen. Tina Smith (D) in the upcoming special Senate election scheduled concurrently with the regular election calendar.  According to the Mason-Dixon results, Sen. Smith's lead is narrowing to 44-37%, placing Housley within shouting distance of the incumbent with Sen. Smith well below 50%.  This special election effort may become one to watch as Election Day draws ever nearer.

Tennessee:  The open Tennessee Senate race continues to move back and forth between former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) and US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood).  The latest Vox Populi survey sums it up well.  According to their latest poll (9/16-18; 567 TN "active" voters), the two candidates are tied at 42% apiece on the first ballot test question.  When pushed for an answer, an additional nine percent lean toward Bredesen as opposed to seven percent more preferring Blackburn.

Earlier in the month, CNN released their Tennessee poll (9/11-15; 723 TN likely voters) that placed Mr. Bredesen up 50-45%.  But, during the same time period, Triton Research & Polling (9/10-12; 1,038 TN registered voters) found Blackburn riding in front, 48-45%.  Out of state groups are coming in hard for Bredesen, but Blackburn has raised more campaign money. October promises to be an interesting month in the Volunteer State.

Texas:  Just when Sen. Ted Cruz (R) sees his best independent polling results from Quinnipiac University (9/11-17; 807 TX likely voters) placing him ahead of Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso), 54-45%, Ipsos Reuters countered with their online poll (9/6-14; 992 TX adults/registered voters) that gives O'Rourke a 47-45% edge. This is further countered by Vox Populi (9/16-18; 508 TX likely voters) that foresees a flat tie at 46% apiece.  Then, Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling, surveying for the liberal interest group Protect Our Care (9/19-20; 613 TX likely voters) again finds Cruz up, 48-45%.

Wisconsin:  Marquette University Law School just released their September poll (9/12-16; 800 WI registered voters; 614 likely voters) and sees Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) substantially strengthening her advantage over state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield).

In Marquette's August poll, the margin between the two candidates was only two percentage points (Baldwin leading 49-47%), but this new survey finds the Senator establishing a 53-42% advantage.  Sen. Baldwin, without facing a primary, launched a strong media wave just before and after the August 14th vote, thus taking advantage of Ms. Vukmir having to spend her treasury in order to win the competitive Republican vote.

House

CA-39:  A new independent Monmouth University poll (9/13-16; 402 CA-39 likely voters) is forecasting Republican former state Assemblywoman Young Kim to a new double-digit lead over retired Naval officer and lottery winner Gil Cisneros (D).  According to the Monmouth result, Ms. Kim now has a strong 51-41% lead for retiring Rep. Ed Royce's (R-Yorba Linda/ Fullerton) seat.  Previously, the race had been considered to be languishing in the toss-up category.

CO-6: The Siena College/New York Times polling series examined the east Denver suburbs (9/12-14; 500 CO-6 likely voters) and found five-term incumbent Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) falling significantly behind in his battle for re-election.  The Congressman, who has won three difficult campaigns in a district drawn to defeat him, now looks to be trailing by double digits.  According to the Siena data, challenger Jason Crow (D), an attorney and Iraq War veteran, leads Rep. Coffman, 51-40%.  It is clear the Congressman has his work cut out for him to score another unconventional political victory.

FL-27:  According to a McLaughlin & Associates poll for the Maria Elvira Salazar campaign (9/10-13; 400 FL-27 likely voters), the Republican nominee, an Emmy winning Spanish language news reporter, holds a 51-42% lead over former Health and Human Services secretary and ex-University of Miami president Donna Shalala (D) in the open South Florida seat.  The Shalala campaign countered with their own internal Bendixen & Amandi International poll (8/29-9/2; 600 FL-27 registered voters), which gave their candidate a 46-42% advantage.  Though many prognosticators have this seat rated as Likely Democratic, the numbers appear to be telling a different story. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami) is retiring.

KS-2:  Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Topeka) is retiring, leaving this marginal district open.  Democrats have been high on their chances here with former state House Minority Leader and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis.  Republicans hosted a difficult primary, and Afghan War veteran Steve Watkins, aided by a major independent expenditure that his father financed, overcame four state legislators to win the GOP nomination, but with only 26% of the vote. Therefore, Mr. Watkins must scramble to unite a skeptical Republican base behind him. Siena College just tested this campaign (9/13-15; 500 KS-2 likely voters) and finds a dead heat general election contest.  The Siena results find Davis edging Watkins, 45-44%.

MA-3: The open 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary recount has now concluded.  As expected - after the initial recount precincts actually added votes to her total - former congressional chief of staff and businesswoman Lori Trahan has now officially clinched the party nomination.  Her main opponent, Boston mayoral former chief of staff Dan Koh, conceded defeat.  The original count, which found Ms. Trahan leading by just 52 votes, expanded to a 145-vote margin when the canvass and recount concluded.  The new Democratic nominee is now favored to defeat Republican businessman Rick Green in the general election, though an upset is not entirely out of the question.  The seat is open because Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) is retiring.

NJ-7:  Monmouth University went into the field to test the central New Jersey race between five-term incumbent Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) and former State Department official Tom Malinowski (D).  According to the survey (9/13-17; 414 NJ-7 registered voters), Mr. Malinowski takes a 46-43% over Rep. Lance among the most likely voters.  The 7th District is politically marginal and is obviously in play for a Democratic conversion.

NM-2:  The open southern New Mexico congressional district hasn't generated a lot of national attention, but that could soon change.  While previous polling had posted state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) to leads of between two and 14 points, the new Siena College/New York Times survey (9/13-18; 503 NM-2 likely voters) finds attorney Xochitl Torres-Small (D) now claiming a one- point lead, 46-45%.  Earlier this week, the Albuquerque Journal released their poll that gave Ms. Herrell a 48-41% advantage.

NY-27:  It has now become apparent that New York Republican officials will not be able to legally remove Rep. Chris Collins' (R-Clarence/Batavia) name from the November ballot, as the Congressman requested.  Mr. Collins was indicted for insider trading in a situation involving his son and a company in which both served on the board of directors.  The Democratic nominee is Grand Island town official Nate McMurray, but he has yet to make a mark on the campaign trail.  Despite what is normally a safe Upstate Republican seat, we can certainly expect to see national and local Democrats quickly coalescing behind McMurray to finance a serious run.

VA-2:   A Garin-Hart-Yang Research survey for the Elaine Luria campaign (9/5-8; 404 VA-2 likely voters) finds the retired Navy Commander moving ahead of Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach), 51-43%.  Recent controversy has arisen that resulted in several of Taylor campaign operatives being fired for apparently assisting an effort to qualify an Independent candidate for the ballot with falsified signatures.  This data suggests that the negative publicity has clearly put Rep. Taylor, originally elected in 2016, in serious danger of losing his seat.

VA-10:  Despite political rumors previously circulating that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) was going to abandon Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-McLean) because early polling suggested a Democratic lead, their latest action proves such conjecture wholly false.  The NRCC just committed over $710,000 in new independent expenditures on Rep. Comstock's behalf, making her the top recipient of their most recently announced round of spending in 15 districts around the country.

Governor

Florida:  Rasmussen Reports has, at times, been criticized for producing skewed data in the Republicans' favor.  But, their new Florida poll (9/9-11; 800 FL likely voters) actually gives Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum, the Tallahassee Mayor who scored a come-from-behind upset victory in the August 28th primary, his strongest lead over resigned Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach).  All other polls of this race find the two candidates well within the margin of polling error, but Rasmussen sees a 48-42% spread.

Maryland:  Maryland-based Goucher College, which often polls Maryland political campaigns, released a new statewide study (9/11-16; 831 MD adults).  The results find Gov. Larry Hogan (R) moving out to a prohibitive lead over former NAACP president Ben Jealous (D) in his race for re-election. According to Goucher, the Governor holds a 54-32% advantage.

The fact that this is a poll of "adults" and uses a universe apparently not even screened for registered voters could give the Governor some enhanced artificial support because he is the more well-known candidate, so it's possible that the registered or likely voter ballot test would be a bit closer.  Irrespective of the polling segmentation, Republican Gov. Hogan appears headed for re-election even in this most Democratic of states.

Minnesota: In a rare poll of the open Minnesota Governor's race since the August 14th primary, the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper released their Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey (9/10-12; 800 MN likely voters) that posts the south Minnesota Congressman to a 45-36% lead over Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 Republican gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson.

Among men, the race is tied at 40-40%, but women give the Democratic nominee a whopping 18-point advantage at 50-32%.

New Mexico:  US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-Albuquerque) is sustaining a 50-43% advantage over GOP Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) in the open Governor's race as reported in a new Albuquerque Journal newspaper poll (Research & Polling, Inc.; 9/7-13; 966 NM registered voters).  The winner replaces term-limited Gov. Susana Martinez (R) next year. Earlier, Ms. Grisham's lead over Mr. Pearce had dropped to two points, 42-40%, when Emerson College released the results of their mid-August survey.  Since then two Democratic polls gave her leads of eight and ten points, and now we see a seven-point spread in this latest independent survey.

Wisconsin:  In a race that continually polls close but bounces back and forth between Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers (D), the aforementioned Marquette University Law School survey (see Wisconsin Senate above) finds the Governor trailing Mr. Evers, 49-44% among likely voters.  Expanding to the registered voters universe, the split is a similar 47-43% in Mr. Evers' favor.  Gov. Walker is running for a third term, but he has already won three elections since 2010, including surviving a statewide recall vote in 2012.


September 14, 2018
Primary Season Winds Down as Attention Turns to November Contests
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily defeats Democratic primary opponent, actress Cynthia Nixon
  • Michigan: poll shows Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) has commanding lead over GOP opponent John James (R)
  • FL-6: Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) resigns House seat to run full-time for Governor
  • MA-3: re-count to produce Democratic party winner next week
  • Arizona: Gov. Doug Ducey (R) pulling ahead of Arizona State University professor David Garcia (D) 

Primary Results

The New Hampshire primary produced gubernatorial nominees.  First term Gov. Chris Sununu (R) will face former state Sen. Molly Kelly (D) in the fast approaching general election. Gov. Sununu, with strong job approval ratings, is the favorite for the fall campaign.

In the open 1st Congressional District, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas (D) and former South Hampton police chief Eddie Edwards (R) advanced to the general election.  The November winner will replace retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-Rochester).  Mr. Pappas opens as a slight favorite, but this district has swung back and forth between the two parties more than any seat in the nation since 2006.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo was re-nominated in the Democratic primary on Wednesday, but with only 56% of the vote.  She again faces Republican Cranston Mayor Allan Fung in the coming general election.  Mr. Fung also won re-nomination this week with a percentage only in the mid-50s.  He came within five percentage points of Ms. Raimondo in the 2014 general election.

As expected, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cruised to an easy 65-35% Democratic primary victory over actress Cynthia Nixon on Thursday.  He is the prohibitive favorite to win a third term over the new Republican gubernatorial nominee, Duchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring/West Point) lost his bid for Attorney General, so he returns to the congressional race.  New York is the only state that holds two separate primaries, one for federal and the other for state offices, so current elected officials have the benefit of being able to run for two offices in the same cycle, and then choosing where they will run in the general election.  Rep. Maloney's statewide defeat means he will remain in the House.

Senate

Arizona:  Several surveys were released this week in Arizona, producing mixed results.  Gravis Marketing publicized their new survey (9/5-7; 882 AZ likely voters) that finds Rep. McSally's (R-Tucson) campaign standing improving.  Instead of trailing Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) by single digits as she was before the late August primary, Gravis projects that the Tucson Republican now has slightly forged ahead of the Phoenix Democrat, 49-48%.

OH Predictive Insights (9/5-6; 597 AZ likely voters), an Arizona-based firm, also finds Rep. McSally leading, this time with a 49-46% advantage.  A third firm, Data Orbital (9/4-6; 550 AZ likely voters), however, sees the race flipping back into Rep. Sinema's favor by a 46-42% count.  All of the surveys were conducted during the same September 4-7 period.  The later Fox News data (9/8-11; (801 AZ registered voters; 710 likely voters) also posts Rep. Sinema to an advantage, 47-44% among likely voters, and 46-42% within the larger registered voter pool.

Indiana:  On the heels of the NBC/Marist College Indiana poll (8/26-29; 576 IN likely voters) that we covered last week showing Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) holding a 43-41% lead over former state Representative and international businessman Mike Braun (R), Fox News sees a split result.  Their new survey (804 IN registered voters; 677 likely voters) posts Mr. Braun to a 45-43% advantage among likely voters, while Sen. Donnelly leads 42-41% within the registered voter segment.

Michigan: The Glengariff Group survey research firm, polling for the Detroit News and WDIV-TV (9/5-7; 600 MI likely voters) tested the US Senate race between three-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) and retired Army Ranger and manufacturing business owner John James (R).  According to the Glengariff results, Sen. Stabenow has developed a strong 56-33% margin.  Since he officially became the Republican nominee in the August 7th primary, Mr. James has yet to establish a strong foothold opposite the Senator.

Missouri: Last week, NBC News/Marist College released their Missouri Senate survey (8/25-28; 774 MO registered voters), that saw Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) topping Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), 44-40%. This week Fox News (808 MO registered voters; 675 likely voters) publicized their data that virtually confirms the NBC/Marist numbers.  They find Sen. McCaskill up 44-41% among likely voters, and 41-39% when registered voters are included.

Nevada:  A new Suffolk University poll (9/5-10; 500 NV likely voters) confirms a dead heat race between Sen. Dean Heller (R) and Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson) that every other poll has shown.  This survey projects Ms. Rosen clinging to the smallest of edges, 41.6 (208 respondent votes) to 41.2% (206 respondent votes) on the ballot test question.

Ohio:  The Morning Consult organization released their recent Ohio data (9/2-11; 1,592 OH registered voters via automated response device) and sees two-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) developing a wide lead in his re-election battle against Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth).  The MC results find Sen. Brown holding a strong 47-31% advantage.  The other most recent public survey, from Change Research, found a much closer contest at 46-42% in the Senator's favor.    

Tennessee:  The open Tennessee Senate race between former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) and US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) has been bouncing around for weeks.  Last week we reported upon the NBC News/Marist College poll (8/25-28; 538 TN likely voters) that gave Mr. Bredesen a 48-46% edge over Ms. Blackburn.  Now, Fox News counters with their data (809 TN registered voters; 686 likely voters) that finds the Congresswoman holding a 47-44% advantage among likely general election participants, and a 45-43% edge when registered voters are tested.

House

AR-2: The Talk Business & Politics group and the Hendrix College survey research arm again teamed up, as they have done before every recent election, to test the Arkansas electorate. The entities released surveys in all four of the state's congressional districts, but the 2nd CD, anchored in Little Rock, is the only one that appears even somewhat competitive.  According to the Hendrix data (9/5-7; 428 AR-2 likely voters), two-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) leads state Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock), by a 50-41% count.  Though Mr. Hill is comfortably ahead, Mr. Tucker's level of support does suggest this seat is worth watching as the campaigns now begin to hit full stride.

FL-6:  Now officially the Republican gubernatorial nominee, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach) resigned his congressional seat this week to concentrate full time on his statewide campaign opposite Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D).

The DeSantis decision does not particularly affect the 6th District race.  Because the Congressman was not seeking re-election, this district is already part of the 65 open seat count.  The 6th should remain in Republican hands, but Democrats are making a competitive challenge.  The GOP nominee is businessman, Afghan War veteran, and ex-aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, Mike Waltz. His Democratic opponent, Nancy Soderberg, is a former alternate Representative to the United Nations in the Clinton Administration before directing a congressional advisory committee pertaining to national security in the Obama Administration.

KY-6:  Soon after the Kentucky primary in late May, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released a survey showing challenger Amy McGrath (D) jumping out to a major 52-37% lead over three-term Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington).  This, and what is reported as confirming internal Barr data at the time, led the Congressman's campaign to go heavy negative against Ms. McGrath.  It appears the ad campaign drawing a clear ideological contrast has worked in the conservative-leaning northeast Kentucky district.

According to a new Fabrizio, Lee & Associates for the Congressional Leadership Fund (9/4-6; 400 KY-6 likely voters), the Congressman is back on top, 49-45%.  The negative attacks drove Ms. McGrath's favorability index from 55:16% favorable to unfavorable in June to 45:34% in early September.

MA-3:  Former Boston mayoral chief of staff Dan Koh officially requested a recount of his race against former congressional chief of staff and businesswoman Lori Trahan and eight other Democrats and the results are actually expanding his opponent's slight edge.  The original unofficial tally gave Ms. Trahan only a 52-vote lead over Mr. Koh.  Though the process is not fully completed, the latest report suggests that Ms. Trahan's lead has expanded to 132 votes. The recount will conclude by Monday.  The eventual Democratic winner, probably Ms. Trahan, faces businessman Rick Green (R) in the general election for the seat that retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) is vacating.

TX-23:  Texas' 23rd District, the one truly swing seat in the Lone Star State and a domain that stretches from San Antonio to El Paso, is again a Democratic conversion target this year.  The New York Times/Siena College polling project just surveyed the district (9/10-11; 495 TX-23 likely voters) and posted Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) to a 51-43% lead over his Democratic opponent, former US Trade Office official Gina Ortiz Jones (D).

Utah: Utah pollster Dan Jones & Associates just released new survey data in three of the state's four congressional districts.  Republican Representatives Rob Bishop and John Curtis are posting big re-election leads, but Salt Lake City Congressman Chris Stewart is facing a more competitive opponent.  He leads Democratic college professor Shireen Ghorbani by eleven points, 45-34%. 

The top competitive seat in the state, the south Salt Lake City suburban district that two-term Congresswoman Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) represents, is much closer.  Dan Jones did not poll this district because so many surveys have been recently released, four alone in August and September, including a pair from the campaigns themselves.  Rep. Love leads Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) in all, with margins between two and nine percentage points.

Governor

Arizona:  Gravis Marketing and the Data Orbital survey research organization released new Arizona gubernatorial data, and each sees Gov. Doug Ducey (R) re-establishing his early lead. According to Gravis (9/5-7; 882 AZ likely voters), Gov. Ducey has built a 48-44% advantage over Arizona State University professor David Garcia (D). Data Orbital (9/4-6; 550 AZ likely voters) finds a similar result, though is more bullish for the Governor.  They project Mr. Ducey to be holding a 49-41% advantage. The new Fox Poll (9/8-11; 710 AZ likely voters) largely confirms the DO spread.  They see Gov. Ducey's lead at 51-40%.

Florida:  St. Pete Polls, surveying for the Empower Wellness organization (9/5-6; 2,240 FL likely voters), finds Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) and US Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach) in almost a flat tie.  The large-sample poll found 1,066 respondents choosing Mr. Gillum and 1,059 professing support for Rep. DeSantis.  The support percentages are 47.6 to 47.3%.

Georgia:  The Georgia gubernatorial race is just as close as the one described above in Florida.  According to a University of Georgia poll for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and News Channel 2 (8/26-9/4; 1,020 GA likely voters), Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) has the smallest 45.3 to 44.9% lead over former state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D), meaning 462 poll respondents chose him versus 458 for the Democratic nominee.

Michigan:  The aforementioned Glengariff poll (see Michigan Senate above) finds Democratic nominee Gretchen Whitmer, a former state House Minority Leader, jumping out to a double-digit lead over Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) in the state's open Governor's race. According to the poll, Ms. Whitmer leads, 50-36%.  The Michigan Governor's race is critical from a national redistricting perspective, and it's clear that Mr. Schuette has his work cut out for him if he is to restore Republican chances to continue presiding in this state as they have done for the past 20 of the last 28 years.  

Nevada:  The important Silver State Governor's race was also tested.  As we saw in the Suffolk University poll quoted above (see Nevada Senate), the state chief executive's race is just as close as the Senate race.  According to Suffolk, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak (D) has grasped a slight lead over Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R).  The margin spread here is 37-35%.


September 7, 2018
A Surprising Incumbent Primary Defeat While Close Call Races Continue to Emerge
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • California: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) leads in poll 37-29%
  • Florida: two polls show tie in Senate race battle between Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R)
  • Indiana: new poll again finds Senate race closing between Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) and challenger, businessman Mike Braun (R)
  • FL-7: new poll says Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) up 47-46% in close race against state Rep. Mike Miller (R)
  • MA-7:  ten-term Rep. Mike Capuano (D) defeated in primary by Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley (D)
  • MN-2: Rep. Jason Lewis (R) holding one-point lead in re-election effort over Democrat Angie Craig
  • Alaska: ex-Sen. Mark Begich (D) refuses to leave Gov race
  • Kansas: Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R) clings to lead over state Sen. Laura Kelly (D) and Greg Orman (I) in race for Governor

Primary Results

In another surprising primary finish, ten-term Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) was soundly upended in this week's Massachusetts Democratic primary.  At-large Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley, uniting the minority coalition in what is the state's only majority minority district, defeated the long-term incumbent, 59-41%, far beyond what any published poll was suggesting.

Though data had not been available for most of August, the latest surveys found Rep. Capuano leading but never with majority support.  This signaled weakness within the incumbent's base, but nothing like the margin that materialized in what proved to be a typical primary turnout election.  Ms. Pressley will now be an easy winner in the general election in what is a safely Democratic seat.

The open 3rd District Democratic primary that featured ten candidates vying to succeed retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell), is still not decided.  Only 52 votes separate former congressional chief of staff and businesswoman Lori Trahan and ex-Boston mayoral chief of staff Dan Koh, as the results are surely headed for a recount.  An undisclosed number of provisional ballots also remain to be counted.  We can expect the recount process to drag on for several days.  The eventual winner faces Republican businessman Rick Green in the general election.

Delaware Sen. Tom Carper (D) was easily re-nominated with 65% of the vote against Democratic socialist Kerri Harris in a September 6th Democratic primary that drew media attention but no real competition.  The Senator will now easily defeat Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett (R) in the general election to win a fourth term.

Senate

Arizona: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed former Sen. Jon Kyl (R) to replace the late Sen. John McCain (R).  Mr. Kyl served as a US Senator from 1995-2013 after originally winning election to the House in 1986.  He promises to serve at least to the end of this year, "but probably more." Mr. Kyl says he will not be a candidate in the 2020 special election.

California:  A new Problosky Research poll (8/29-9/2; 900 CA registered voters) finds Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) leading fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles state Senator and former state Senate President, by a tepid 37-29% count.  Sen. Feinstein has never been over 50% in any poll, placed first in the state's jungle primary with only 44%, but retains a huge advantage in campaign resources and personal familiarity.

Florida:  The new St. Pete Polls survey (8/29-30; 1,755 FL likely voters via automated response system) finds Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R) in a flat 47-47% tie, as does the latest Quinnipiac University most recent Florida poll (8/30-9/3; 785 FL registered voters). The Q-Poll finds the two candidates tied at 49%, apiece. We can expect this race to poll close all the way to Election Day.

Indiana:  NBC/Marist College released their new Indiana survey (8/26-29; 955 IN adults; 816 IN registered voters; 576 IN likely voters) and found a much tighter race than in the last published poll. According to NBC/Marist, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) holds a 43-41% lead in the registered voter segment, which increases to 44-41% when the small likely voters cell is isolated.

Sen. Donnelly boasts a good job approval rating, however, 46:31% positive to negative. The numbers also tell us that the outside attacks against Republican nominee Mike Braun have taken their toll. His approval rating is a lower 38:31%. President Trump's job approval in Vice President Pence's home state is 46:47%.

Missouri:  NBC News/Marist College polled the Missouri Senate race (8/25-28; 930 MO adults; 774 MO registered voters), and like all other results we've seen in this contest, the ballot test is close.  According to these results, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) leads Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), 44-40-5-3% with the Libertarian and Green Party candidates obtaining the latter two figures.  If the contest were only between McCaskill and Hawley, the two candidates would fall into a 47-47% tie.  The culmination of data again suggests that this Senate race remains in the toss-up category.

Ohio:  The Ohio Senate race has not gotten much national attention, which suits incumbent Sherrod Brown (D) just fine.  A new Change Research survey for the liberal Innovation Ohio think tank (8/31-9/4; 822 OH likely voters), however, finds the two-term Democratic incumbent leading US Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) by only a 46-42% clip, much closer than the conventional political wisdom suggests.

West Virginia: Last week, Harper Polling released a survey showing Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) closing to within a 47-41% spread.  Now Research America (formerly Repass Research) has released their new survey (8/16-26; 404 WV likely voters from each of the state's 55 counties) suggesting a slightly different cut, but in the same range as Harper. According to Research America, the Manchin lead is 46-38%.

House

FL-7:  A St. Pete Polls survey conducted shortly after the Florida primary (8/30; 435 FL-7 likely voters) finds state Rep. Mike Miller (R-Winter Park) trailing freshman Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park) by only a slight 47-46% deficit. The 7th District is politically marginal. Rep. Murphy unseated veteran Rep. John Mica (R) here in 2016 and defends her seat as an incumbent for the first time.  Mr. Miller was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2014.  The Congresswoman is still favored to win this election, but the electorate here is split, so this poll may well be accurate. More data will be needed to obtain a complete picture.

MI-6:  A Global Strategy Group poll for the Matt Longjohn (D) campaign (8/24-29; 500 MI-6 likely voters) finds 16-term Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) ahead in his current re-election race, but his margin is competitive.  According to the GSG survey, Rep. Upton's advantage is 47-41%.  The 6th District is relatively marginal, so this type of spread isn't especially surprising.  In this current 6th District configuration (since 2012, inclusive), Rep. Upton has averaged 57.7% of the vote.

MN-2: In late July, CNN unleashed a series of negative stories about freshman Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Woodbury), recounting many unflattering comments he made while a Minneapolis radio talk show host.  According to a mid-August WPA Intelligence survey that was just released, the negative attack hasn't changed the race a great deal.  In 2016, he and Democrat Angie Craig were in toss-up mode throughout the election with Mr. Lewis eventually prevailing 47-45%.  The WPA poll (8/18-21; 400 MN-2 likely voters) finds Rep. Lewis leading the re-match with Ms. Craig, 46-45%.

MO-2:  The 2nd District of Missouri, heretofore believed to be safe for three-term Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin/St. Louis County), now is moving into the competitive realm.  According to an Expedition Strategies survey (8/23-26; 402 MO-2 registered voters) Democratic challenger Cort VanOstran has taken a 43-41% lead over Rep. Wagner.  The Congresswoman has just under $3 million in her campaign account, so she certainly has the resources to reverse this trend.

NY-19: Upstate New York's 19th District is viewed as a toss-up for this election cycle as freshman Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), a Republican former gubernatorial nominee, defends the seat he first won in 2016. According to a Siena University survey (8/20-26; 501 NY-19 likely voters), Rep. Faso leads attorney Antonio Delgado (D), 45-40%.  The good news for the Congressman is that he looks to possess growth room with Republicans (76% support; Delgado has 81% among Democrats) and those 55 years and older, a polling segment in which the two candidates are tied.  There is a major gender gap here, however. Rep. Faso enjoys a 21% advantage among men but is behind nine points among females.

NC-2: A couple of weeks ago, a story broke in the Raleigh area that North Carolina Congressman George Holding (R-Raleigh) sent a fundraising appeal to his donors indicating that his internal polling found him tracking behind his challenger, former state Rep. Linda Coleman (D), presumably to energize his donor base.  Yesterday, the Coleman Campaign released their own internal Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll (8/23-27; 401 NC-2 likely voters) that seemed to confirm the Congressman's reported polling numbers.  The GQR data posts their candidate to a 45-44% edge over Rep. Holding.

Governor

Alaska: The three-way race among Gov. Bill Walker, the nation's lone Independent state chief executive, former US Senator Mark Begich (D), and ex-state Senator Mike Dunleavy (R) became official early this week.  Though Walker supporters, including the state AFL-CIO, have been urging Mr. Begich to drop out of the race seeing that polls are uniformly finding Mr. Dunleavy would win a three-way race, he refused to do so.

The adverse split is occurring because Democrats and left-of-center voters are split between Gov. Walker and Mr. Begich, thus allowing the Republican base to push Mr. Dunleavy toward plurality support.  In 2014, Mr. Walker and then-Democratic nominee Byron Mallot unified their ticket (Mallot agreed to run as Lt. Governor), which led to unseating then-Gov. Sean Parnell (R).

Florida: Quinnipiac University immediately went into the field after the Florida primary and found a predictably close budding gubernatorial contest. According to their latest survey (8/30-9/3; 785 FL registered voters), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) holds a slight 50-47% lead over Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach).

Kansas: A Public Policy Polling survey for the Kansas Education Association (8/24-26; 877 KS likely voters) finds Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach leading state Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) by a slight 39-38% margin with Independent Greg Orman pulling 9 percent. Mr. Kobach denied Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) re-nomination in early August by just 361 votes, statewide.

Ohio:  The aforementioned Change Research poll (see Ohio Senate above) also tested the Ohio Governor's race.  Here, the firm finds Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) recapturing a lead over former Attorney General and Consumer Federal Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray (D) by a 45-43% slight margin.  Though the numbers suggest a tight race for DeWine, they are actually an improvement over recently released polling.


August 31, 2018
Voters in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma Choose Nominees in Final 2018 Multi-State Primary and Run-Off 
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Arizona: Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to make appointment for John McCain's Senate seat after his burial
  • New Mexico: Three-way race will stand between Sen. Martin Heinrich (D), building contractor and state labor commissioner Mick Rich (R), and former Governor and Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson
  • Pennsylvania: Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) strong in latest polling against challenger Rep. Lou Barletta (R)
  • CA-50: first post-indictment poll shows Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) leading his opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) 47-39% 
  • MD-6: Democratic nominee David Trone to continue campaign despite cancer diagnosis
  • Alaska: AFL-CIO poll shows Mike Dunleavy (R) leading both Gov. Bill Walker (I) and former US Senator Mark Begich (D) in Gov contest
  • Kansas: Democrats lose ballot challenge to disqualify Independent Greg Orman from running for Governor in November

Primary Results

Voters in Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma chose nominees on Tuesday in the final multi-state primary and run-off of the 2018 election cycle.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum scored an upset win in the open Florida Governor's Democratic primary while Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast; Daytona Beach) romped on the Republican side. As is the case in most Florida statewide elections, the general election will be a toss-up.

The Arizona Senate contest produced a solid win for Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson), who will now oppose Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) in the open general election, which becomes one of the premier national Senate campaigns. Arizona State University professor David Garcia won the right to challenge Gov. Doug Ducey (R).

Mortgage banker Kevin Stitt easily turned back Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett in the Sooner State gubernatorial run-off and now pairs with former state Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) in the general election.

Multiple congressional races up and down the ballot in all three states were determined, advancing both parties into many competitive general election political contests.

President

Iowa: The Democratic National Committee scheduled the next first-in-the-nation presidential campaign caucus for the state of Iowa. The first votes for the 2020 presidential election will occur in the Hawkeye State on February 3, 2020.

Senate

Arizona:  In order to quell political speculation during the late Sen. John McCain's mourning period, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that he will begin considering replacement choices only after the Senator is laid to rest. As we have seen, Mr. McCain has already lain in state in the Arizona state Capitol and his local funeral has been held. His body has now been transported to the US Capitol to lie in state followed by a public funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, before his burial at the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

Arizona pollster OH Predictive Insights, for ABC News 15 in Phoenix, and the Data Orbital firm released their final pre-primary surveys just before the August 28th vote. The firm predicted that Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) held a 47-27-13% lead over former state Sen. Kelli Ward and ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Data Orbital posted Rep. McSally to an even stronger ballot test position, 48-22-18%, over Ms. Ward and former Sheriff Arpaio. The polls proved accurate. In the actual vote, Ms. McSally won 53-28-19%.

New Mexico: After former Governor and Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson entered the US Senate race as a replacement nominee when state Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn decided to withdraw from the Libertarian Party ballot position he won in June, speculation began building that Republican nominee Mick Rich might drop out of the race to allow Mr. Johnson a clear shot at potentially defeating first-term Sen. Martin Heinrich (D). Such is not the case, however. Late this week, the deadline passed for removing a candidate's name from the New Mexico ballot, so the nominees are now locked for the general election. If Mr. Rich was to make such a move, he would have needed to notify the authorities by last Tuesday in order to begin the withdrawal process.

Pennsylvania: Franklin & Marshall College, a regular pollster for Keystone State elections, released their latest data for the upcoming general election. According to the college's new study (8/20-26; 511 PA registered voters; 243 registered Democrats; 200 registered Republicans; 68 Independents), Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) holds a 47-34% lead over Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Hazelton), which is a spread consistent with other relatively recent publicly released polls. The F&M sampling universe is small, which is typical for their polls. The data suggests that Sen. Casey continues to hold a firm lead in this general election campaign, but the contest may not be fully locked down just yet.

West Virginia: Reversing the trend that places Sen. Joe Manchin (D) ahead by double-digit margins, Gravis Marketing released a new survey (8/23-26; 600 WV likely voters) that finds Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) pulling to within six points of the Senator, 47-41%. Heavy anti-Manchin outside organization advertising has been underway, which likely at least partially explains the tightening campaign. Additionally, President Trump has already made one appearance in the state for Mr. Morrisey and that, too, is helping the Republican in a state where the President is most popular.

Wisconsin: On the heels of a Marquette University Law School survey published last week that found Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) topping state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) by just two percentage points, Suffolk University released their first post-primary Wisconsin data (8/18-24; 500 WI likely voters) that posts the first-term incumbent to a 50-42% advantage. While the spread is beyond the polling margin of error, and Ms. Baldwin clearly has an advantage, the fact that she is only hovering around 50% and Ms. Vukmir is now consistently in the 40s, suggests this race is tightening.

House

CA-50: Survey USA, polling for News Channel 10 in San Diego, fielded the first congressional poll after Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) and his wife were indicted for campaign finance violations. According to the survey results (8/22-26; 850 CA-50 adults; 746 registered voters; 539 likely voters), Rep. Hunter would lead Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, 47-39%, if the election were today. By a margin of 76-21%, respondents said they are aware that Rep. Hunter was indicted. In a spread of 41-33%, the polling sample indicated that Rep. Hunter should continue to run as opposed to resigning his seat.

FL-5; FL-9: Freshman Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) turned back former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown (D), 60-40% in the Democratic primary to secure re-nomination. The victory virtually assures Mr. Lawson of a second term. In the Kissimmee area, another freshman Democratic Representative, Darren Soto, easily defeated former US Rep. Alan Grayson (D), 66-34%, to win re-nomination. Likewise, Mr. Soto will go onto secure a second term in the November general election.

FL-27: Former Health & Human Services secretary and ex-University of Miami president Donna Shalala defeated state Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami) and three others, but her margin of victory over her closest competitor was only 32-28%, much closer than polls had predicted. She now faces the new Republican nominee, Maria Elvira Salazar, an Emmy Award winning bilingual news journalist in the general election. The 27th, long thought of as the top Democratic conversion target in the nation, is likely to again become a competitive race.

MD-6: Total Wine, Inc. founder and CEO David Trone, who won the Democratic primary in the open 6th District back in late June, announced that he is battling kidney cancer. Despite undergoing chemotherapy treatment and kidney removal surgery scheduled shortly, Mr. Trone says he will continue his campaign and intends on serving the succeeding term in the House should he be elected. Mr. Trone is a heavy favorite to win the open seat in November and replace three-term Rep. John Delaney (D-Potomac), who is leaving Congress to begin a long shot 2020 presidential nomination campaign. The Republican nominee is 2016 congressional candidate Amie Hoeber, a former State Department official.

NY-24: In the middle of back and forth accusations and responses about whether Democratic congressional nominee Dana Balter would vote to raise taxes, Suffolk University released a poll (8/20-23; 513 NY-24 likely voters) that projects two-term US Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse) to be holding a strong advantage over Ms. Balter, a visiting college professor. He leads 54-39%.

OH-12: Ohio election officials have certified state Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) as the 12th Congressional District special election winner by a 1,680-vote margin (50.1 - 49.3%). This means Rep-Elect Balderson will be sworn into Congress shortly and serve the balance of the current term. He and the man he just barely defeated, Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor (D), will again square off in the regular general election for the full two-year term, but Rep-Elect Balderson will likely expand his margin before a regular midterm turnout.

WV-3: Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-Huntington), who lost the Senate Republican nomination to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey earlier in the year, was just appointed to fill a West Virginia state Supreme Court vacancy, meaning he will immediately resign from Congress.  Gov. Jim Justice (R), who made the appointment, has also declared that he will not schedule a special election to fill the balance of Mr. Jenkins' congressional term. In the open 3rd District general election, state House Majority Whip Carol Miller (R-Huntington) is running against state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) in an open seat race that is becoming highly competitive.

Governor

Alaska: The Alaska AFL-CIO leadership released the results of its Harstad Strategic Research poll (8/13-16; 602 AK likely voters) that sees Republican nominee Mike Dunleavy leading Gov. Walker and Mr. Begich, 36-26-24%, respectively.

Kansas: The Kansas State Objections Board ruled against a Democratic complaint claiming that Independent Greg Orman filed too many illegitimate ballot petition signatures, which should disqualify him from the November campaign. The Board's action secures Mr. Orman's ballot position unless the Democratic plaintiffs can overturn the ruling in court. The Democrats fear that Orman will drain too many votes away from their open seat gubernatorial nominee, state Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka), thus yielding victory for Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), who replaced Gov. Sam Brownback (R) after he accepted a federal appointment, lost the Governor's nomination to Mr. Kobach by just 361 votes statewide.

Pennsylvania: The aforementioned Franklin & Marshall College poll (see Pennsylvania Senate above) also tested the Governor's race between incumbent Tom Wolf (D) and state Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York). Contrasting the Governor's results with those of Sen. Bob Casey, the F&M survey suggests that Mr. Wolf is in the stronger position. Here, the ballot test breaks 52-35% in the Governor's favor, projecting that this race is close to being put away.

Wisconsin: The new Suffolk University survey (8/18-24; 500 WI likely voters) confirms that Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers (D) are locked in a tight battle. According to the latest Suffolk results, the Governor trails Mr. Evers, 46-44%. We expect this Governor's race to remain in toss-up territory all the way to Election Day.


August 24, 2018
Midterm Primary Season Winds Down With Florida and Arizona Contests Up Next
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Arizona: final pre-primary polling puts Rep. Martha McSally (R) ahead of opponents in GOP Senate primary
  • Missouri: Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) breaks into lead over incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D), 48-41% 
  • Wisconsin: State Senator Leah Vukmir (R) pulls to within two of incumbent Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) - 49-47%
  • Florida: Democratic primary for Governor continues in flux between former US Rep. Gwen Graham, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and billionaire Jeff Greene
  • Wisconsin: Marquette Law poll shows Gov. Scott Walker (R) in 46-46% tie with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers (D); a Public Policy Polling survey shows a 49-44% Evers advantage

Primary Results

The August 21st primaries featured several key nomination races.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso defeated self-funding Republican primary challenger Dave Dodson in a landslide 65-28% and becomes the prohibitive favorite to win a third term in November.

In the close Governor's primary, state Treasurer Mark Gordon defeated billionaire mutual fund founder and national Republican donor Foster Friess and attorney Harriet Hageman, 33-26-21%, to capture the open GOP nomination. Mr. Gordon will now oppose former state Rep. Mary Throne (D-Cheyenne), who was an easy winner in the Democratic primary. Republican Gov. Matt Mead is ineligible to seek a third term.

In Alaska, ex-state Sen. Mike Dunleavy easily defeated former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination. He now enters into a three-way general election that features Independent Gov. Bill Walker and former US Senator Mark Begich, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Early polling suggests that Gov. Walker is in danger of losing the general election, as he trails both major party nominees.

Senate

Arizona: Regular Arizona pollster OH Predictive Insights for ABC News 15 in Phoenix and the Data Orbital firm just released new surveys. According to the Predictive Republican primary study (8/14-15; 578 AZ likely Republican primary voters and Independents who will choose a GOP primary ballot), Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) now holds a 47-27-13% lead over former state Sen. Kelli Ward and ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The Data Orbital poll (8/21-22; 600 AZ likely GOP primary voters via live phoner interviews; 40% already reporting to have cast an early vote), taken a week later, finds Rep. McSally in an even stronger ballot test position, 48-22-18%, over Ms. Ward and former Sheriff Arpaio.

The Republican primary occurs next Tuesday, August 28th. The winner faces Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) who is the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic primary. Sen. Jeff Flake (R) chose not to seek a second term.

Minnesota: Suffolk University, polling for the St. Cloud Times newspaper (8/17-20; 500 MN likely voters), finds Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D) and Tina Smith (D) leading in their respective 2018 US Senate races.

It is no surprise that Sen. Klobuchar has a 54-34% lead over state Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker) according to the Suffolk results. The Klobuchar race is not expected to be competitive. But, appointed Sen. Tina Smith is likely to fall into a tough campaign against state Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Croix Valley). The Suffolk numbers on this race find Sen. Smith holding a 44-37% edge, which is relatively consistent with an Emerson College Polling survey (8/8-11; 500 MN likely voters) that found her lead only to be 32-28%.

Missouri: A new WPA Intelligence survey (8/12-14; 501 MO likely voters) posts Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) to his strongest lead over Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) since a Gravis Marketing survey found him trending seven points ahead back in May. According to WPA, the first-term AG has opened a 48-41% advantage over the two-term incumbent Senator. This is a major increase since WPA's mid-July poll that found Mr. Hawley ahead just 43-42%.

New Jersey: Quinnipiac University just released their latest New Jersey poll (8/15-20; 908 NJ registered voters) and finds Sen. Bob Menendez (D) leading his Republican opponent, former pharmaceutical CEO Bob Hugin (R), by only a 43-37% margin with a job approval index of 40:47% favorable to unfavorable, and a poor 29:47% personal approval ratio. Still, Republicans tend to over-poll in New Jersey, so despite his negative image, Sen. Menendez remains the favorite for re-election.

New Mexico: A week after former Governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson agreed to run for the New Mexico Senate seat on the minor party ticket, a new poll already shows him bypassing the Republican nominee and into second place. According to Emerson College Polling (8/17-18; 500 NM registered voters), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) would have 39% support in the three-way race. Mr. Johnson is second with 21%, and Republican nominee Mick Rich, a state Labor Commission member, drops to third place with just 11% backing.

Texas: NBC News/Marist College released their latest Texas study (8/12-16; 970 TX adults) and find Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leading Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso), 49-45%, which is slightly closer than most polls have indicated. But, the sampling universe is of adults in general, and not even Texas registered voters. Therefore, it is probable that, among registered and likely voters, the Senator's standing is stronger.

Wisconsin: A new statewide Wisconsin survey from Marquette Law School, which is a regular Badger State pollster, finds surprising results in the US Senate race. According to their latest release (8/15-19; 800 WI registered voters; 601 likely voters), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) tops new Republican nominee Leah Vukmir, a Brookfield state Senator, by only a 49-47% count within the likely voter segment.

House

CA-50:  Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) and his wife were indicted on federal misuse of campaign funds charges, and now his previously safe re-election is in jeopardy. Under California's top-two primary law, no political party is guaranteed a nomination slot in the general election. Therefore, the Republican Party, in this case, has no standing or ability to remove the Congressman's name from the ballot. The party's only option is to move forward with Hunter and try to win the election with a tainted candidate. The other general election qualifier is Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar. Mr. Hunter placed first in the six-person primary with 47.4% of the vote. Mr. Campa-Najjar was second with 17.6%. President Trump carried the 50th District, 55-40%, in 2016, and Rep. Hunter has averaged 64.4% of the vote since his original election in 2008.

FL-5: Florida is another state that hosts a primary this coming Tuesday, and it appears that freshman Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) is in prime position to win re-nomination in his east-west district that contains both Jacksonville and Tallahassee. The University of Northern Florida conducted a Democratic primary poll (8/17-19; 402 FL-5 likely Democratic primary voters) and finds Rep. Lawson leading former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown (D), 47-29%, despite Duval County (J'ville) holding 58% of the district's population. Mr. Brown is running ahead in Duval, 47-29%, but Rep. Lawson swamps him in the remainder of the district, 68-10%.

FL-27: Former Health & Human Services secretary and ex-University of Miami president Donna Shalala just released her own internal Bendixen & Amandi International consulting firm poll (8/10-16; 700 FL-27 Democratic registered voters) that projects her holding a 36-18-10-9-2% advantage, over state Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami), non-profit group executive Matt Haggman, Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, and College Academic Advisor Michael Hepburn, respectively. She leads in all published polls.

NV-4: A new Moore Information poll for the Cresent Hardy campaign (R), finds the race falling into a dead heat in the open 4th District. According to Moore (8/4-7; 400 NV-4 likely voters), the two candidates are tied at 41-41%. Responding to Mr. Hardy's study, ex-Rep. Steven Horsford (D) publicized his own Global Strategy Group survey conducted back in July (7/17-22; 500 NV-4 likely voters) that gave him a 42-32% lead.

Governor

Arizona: Phoenix-based pollster OH Predictive Insights is back with a new poll, this time covering the Arizona Democratic gubernatorial primary. According to their data (8/14-15; 589 AZ Democratic primary likely voters), Arizona State University professor David Garcia holds a 40-25% lead over state Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson). The results are relatively consistent with other previous polls, though very few have been placed in the public domain. The Arizona primary is next Tuesday, August 28th. The Democratic winner will face Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in the general election.

Connecticut: Two Connecticut universities released their own survey data about the upcoming open Governor's race, and each arrives at rather different conclusions. New Haven's Quinnipiac University (8/16-21; 1,029 CT registered voters) sees Democratic nominee Ned Lamont opening up a substantial lead over Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski (46-33%). But, Fairfield's Sacred Heart University (8/16-21; 502 CT likely voters), in a survey taken during the same period but with a smaller but more refined sampling universe, sees Stefanowski closing to only a 41-37% deficit. The Connecticut race is expected to be close, just as the last two Nutmeg State gubernatorial contests have been. Two-term Gov. Dan Malloy (D) is not seeking a third term.

Florida: The topsy turvy Florida Governor's race has thrown us one more curve ball. A new St. Pete Polls survey (8/18-19; 2,202 FL likely Democratic primary voters through an automated telephone system) now detects yet another Democratic candidate making a move. This time, it's Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. According to the new data, former US Rep. Gwen Graham continues to hold first place, but with a shrinking advantage (27-25-21-14%) over Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Mr. Gillum, and billionaire Jeff Greene. Additionally, Mr. Gillum is the beneficiary of $3.5 million in new independent spending from a coalition of five liberal groups, which could help him to further close the gap before voters cast their final ballots on August 28th. In St. Pete's late-July survey, he attracted only 12% support.

Billionaire Jeff Greene (D), who has spent $25 million of his own money on the Governor's campaign, has reportedly cancelled has last statewide television buy just as the primary is approaching on August 28th. It seems Mr. Greene sees no path to victory for himself, which renders further spending to be a waste. The move could help Mr. Levine. Clearly leading the race before Greene got in - the latter man's support seemed to be coming from Levine's constituency, thus allowing former Rep. Gwen Graham to snatch first place in most polling - Levine has been gaining at the end to make the race very close. Greene effectively conceding could drive some of those votes back to Levine and possibly change Tuesday's outcome.

Kansas: Independent gubernatorial candidate Greg Orman, who is now trying to portray himself as a centrist after running from the left when he opposed Sen. Pat Roberts (R) in 2014, has officially qualified for the general election ballot. Mr. Orman has submitted the proper number of valid petition signatures necessary to secure a ballot position. He joins a three-way race with Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) and state Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka), the two major party nominees. Democrats are challenging the validity of certain signatures, understanding that Orman's presence on the ballot makes it more difficult for Ms. Kelly to score an upset win.

Minnesota: The aforementioned Suffolk University poll (see Minnesota Senate above) also tested the new Governor's race between US Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R). The Suffolk numbers see Mr. Johnson in a slightly improving position when compared to the immediate post-primary polls. The new Suffolk data gives Mr. Walz a 46-41% edge. Just before the state primary, Emerson College Polling (8/8-11; 500 MN likely voters) found Walz leading Johnson, 40-33%.

New Hampshire: A new University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll was just released (8/2-19; 501 NH adults; 389 NH registered voters), and it finds Gov. Chris Sununu (R) in strong position to secure a second two-year term. The results project the Governor holding a 48-32% advantage over former state Sen. Molly Kelly (D-Harrisville), who is favored to defeat ex-Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand in the September 11th Democratic primary. The Governor's favorability index is a rock solid 61:21% positive to negative.

New Mexico: The Emerson College Polling group who surveyed the New Mexico Senate race (see New Mexico Senate above) also tested the open Governor's race. In a contest featuring two-thirds of the congressional delegation fighting to replace retiring Gov. Susana Martinez (R), Albuquerque Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is holding only a small 42-40% edge over Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs). Though the contest has, heretofore, been rated as Lean Dem, further polling such as this could move the race quickly into the toss-up column.

South Carolina: The Tarrance Group, polling for Gov. Henry McMaster (R), released the results of their latest survey for the incumbent's campaign. According to their data (8/6-9; 605 SC likely voters), Gov. McMaster holds a 52-41% advantage over wealthy state Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia). The poll was released in response to a Democratic Garin Hart Yang Research survey that was briefly in the public domain but has since been pulled. Without having any methodology information to quote, the ballot test was reported as a tight 47-43% in the Governor's favor.

Texas: Following the Texas Senate report above, NBC/Marist also tested the Governor's race between incumbent Greg Abbott (R) and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D). Remembering the poll tests adults and is not even segmented into a registered voters cell, the numbers break 56-35% for Abbott. It is likely a registered voters and/or likely voters segment would provide the Governor with an even stronger lead.

 

Wisconsin: The Marquette Law School also produced gubernatorial numbers for their statewide Wisconsin poll (see Wisconsin Senate above). According to the results, Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers (D) would fall into a 46-46% tie. This is a better standing for Walker than the Public Policy Polling survey taken within the same time segment (8/15-16; 596 WI likely voters) that finds Mr. Evers holding a 49-44% advantage. Both polls indicate that this Governor's campaign will be close, which is not surprising for a Wisconsin statewide election.


August 17, 2018
August 14 Primary Tops Weekly Campaign Activity
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Primary Results: key August 14 nominations
  • Minnesota: Sen. Tina Smith (D) off to close start in race against state Senator Karin Housley (R) for Senate seat
  • Missouri: another dead heat Senate poll in Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) battle 
  • New Mexico: ex-Gov. Gary Johnson is the new Libertarian Senate nominee
  • OH-12: post-election canvass favoring Troy Balderson (R)
  • Wyoming: tight poll for Tuesday's gubernatorial GOP primary

Primary Results

The August 14th primaries featured several key nomination races.

In Minnesota, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who was a late entry in the GOP gubernatorial primary, went down in a losing effort to Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson. On the Democratic side, US Rep. Tim Walz won a competitive battle against state Rep. Erin Murphy (D-St. Paul) and Attorney General Lori Swanson. As expected, Sen. Tina Smith (D) and two-term state Senator Karin Housley (R) will do battle in the fall.

In the Minnesota House races, former 1st District Republican nominee Jim Hagedorn again won the party nomination and will be in a competitive battle against Dan Feehan, a former Defense Department official. In the northeastern open seat, St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber becomes the Republican standard bearer and he will face the new Democratic nominee Joe Radinovich, a former state representative, in what is already rated as a toss-up contest.

Turning to Wisconsin, as expected, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers won the Democratic nomination for Governor against nine opponents. He now advances into the general election to face two-term incumbent Gov. Scott Walker (R). In the Senate race, state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) overcame major outside money all designed to disparage her reputation and support her opponent, military veteran Kevin Nicholson, and will now face first-term Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D).

For retiring Speaker Paul Ryan's (R) House seat, his long-time associate, University Regent and attorney Bryan Steil (R) will face union organizer Randy Bryce (D) in the fall election.

The Connecticut Governor's race is now set. Democratic businessman Ned Lamont, who denied Sen. Joe Lieberman re-nomination back in 2006 only to lose the general election when the Senator was able to secure ballot position as an Independent, now faces Republican financial executive Bob Stefanowski in the open November election.

Senate

Indiana: The Trafalgar Group has proven themselves to be one of the most accurate pollsters on today's political scene, but their latest Indiana Senate release is causing some serious head scratching. According to their new survey (7/31-8/7; 1,420 IN registered voters), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) leads former state Representative and businessman Mike Braun (R), 51-39%. While this seems like an abnormally large lead for a Democratic candidate in a Republican state, Sen. Donnelly leading the race should not be considered particularly surprising.

Minnesota: Just before the Minnesota primary, the Emerson College polling organization went into the field to test the general election contest between appointed Sen. Tina Smith (D) and state Sen. Karin Housley (R). The survey (8/8-11; 500 MN likely general election voters conducted electronically) finds Sen. Smith leading Ms. Housley, 32-28%, which supports the underpinnings of those who believe this will be a tight race come November. The high 41% undecided factor is because both women are largely unknown statewide. Each easily won their respective primaries this past Tuesday.

Missouri: A new TJP Strategies survey for the Missouri Scout political blog (8/8-9; 1,785 MO likely voters) finds Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) in a flat tie at 47%, apiece. The result is in line with other recent publicly released surveys. No poll has shown anything but a race where the two contestants are in a virtual dead heat.

New Mexico: Despite being faced with long shot odds even though he says he's "in to win," former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson agreed to become the latter party's US Senate nominee. He replaces state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn who withdrew from the race. Mr. Johnson's entry clearly makes this race more interesting, though Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) remains the favorite to secure a convincing re-election victory. State Labor Commission member Mick Rich is the Republican nominee. According to a new GBA Strategies survey (8/1-5; 800 NM likely voters), Sen. Heinrich would register 47% support if Republican Rich and Mr. Johnson were both on the ballot opposing him. In this configuration, Rich would score 29%, and Johnson 22%

Tennessee: A new Gravis Marketing poll (8/9-11; 620 TN likely voters) finds Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) now assuming a 48-44% edge over former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) in one of the early post-primary Tennessee political surveys.

House

CA-39: A Tulchin Research study for the Gil Cisneros Campaign (8/1-6; 600 CA-39 likely voters via live telephone interview and email communication) finds their client leading Republican Young Kim by a substantial 53-42% margin. The ballot tests also project the gubernatorial campaign and generic congressional vote breaking toward the Democrats in similar percentages. Retiring Rep. Ed Royce (R-Yorba Linda) currently represents the Orange and Los Angeles Counties seat. Republicans are indicating they have closer polling numbers but have yet to release any countering data.

CA-45: The Katie Porter for Congress campaign just released their internal Global Strategy Group survey (7/26-31; 500 CA-45 likely midterm election voters) that finds their candidate trailing Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), 45-44%, on the initial ballot test. It is clear the Porter campaign will attempt to tie the Congresswoman to an unpopular President Trump (39:58% favorable to unfavorable), while Ms. Walters counters that Hill is too far left of the district's voter base.

FL-5: The Democratic primary between freshman Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) and former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is drawing to a close on August 28th. Despite neither man raising particularly large sums of campaign cash - Lawson obtained over $456,000 as compared to Brown's $332,000 - a new St. Pete Polls survey (8/11-12; 445 FL-5 likely Democratic primary voters) finds Rep. Lawson holding a comfortable lead, 50-27.5%. Mr. Lawson won the seat in 2016 after defeating then-Rep. Corinne Brown (D-Jacksonville) in the Democratic primary.

FL-26: With the Florida primary fast approaching on August 28th, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released a mid-July GBA Strategies survey (7/16-22; 500 FL-26 likely general election voters) of South Florida's 26th Congressional District race featuring two-term incumbent Carlos Curbelo (R-Miami) and challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. According to the GBA data, the Congressman holds a 48-41% advantage.

NY-27: Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence/Batavia), who last week a federal grand jury indicted for insider trading, has had a change of heart. Originally saying he would continue to seek re-election while he fought the charges, last weekend the Congressman decided to announce that he is suspending his campaign activities. He further said he will not actively seek re-election and come off the ballot if he can do so under New York election law. If they can successfully pull him from the general election ballot, local Republican Party leaders will field a replacement candidate.

OH-12: The absentee and provisional counting process for the special House election to replace resigned-Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) is underway, and despite Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor getting an approximate net 200 vote boost when the first Franklin County late absentees were tabulated, the remaining picture looks to favor state Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville), the overall race leader and likely winner. Though over 5,000 absentee ballots were potentially outstanding, it appears that, according to the latest report from the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, only 1,070 of them were returned to the appropriate county election office. Over 3,500 provisional ballots are still not tabulated, but many of them will be disqualified. In any event, the certification process must be completed by August 24th, at which time an official winner will be declared.

WA-8: The second finalist in the District 8 open seat campaign finds Democratic physician Kim Shrier holding onto a razor-thin 18.7 - 18.1% spread, a margin of approximately 1,200 votes, over Democrat Jason Rittereiser in the final tabulations for the August 7th jungle primary. The first-place finisher, Republican Dino Rossi, tallied 43% of the original primary vote. Dr. Shrier will need to coalesce Democrats around her candidacy. The party candidates attracted an aggregate vote of just over 50% of the jungle primary voters now that all the mail votes have finally been received and recorded.

Governor

Illinois: Regular Illinois pollster Victory Research went into the field again (8/12-14; 1,208 IL likely general election voters via live phone interview) and found Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker still leading Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) by a double-digit margin, but the incumbent is making some gains. The new data finds Mr. Pritzker holding a 41-30% advantage, an 11-point margin. This is somewhat improved from the 15-point margin Victory detected in late June.

Kansas: As the first provisional votes began to trend in favor of Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the dead heat finish between he and Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, the latter man has already conceded the race. Gov. Colyer stopped short of endorsing Mr. Kobach by name, but says he hopes “a Republican wins in November.” Though Kobach's lead had only increased to just over 300 votes, it was clear Mr. Colyer saw that the trend would continue to cut against him. The original count saw Colyer trailing by just 121 votes statewide. The Governor also says he will not ask for a recount. Mr. Kobach will now face state Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) and credible Independent candidate Greg Orman in what will be a competitive general election.

Maryland: Gaining endorsements from Democratic leaders and former officeholders and now key labor unions, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is building a strong re-election effort despite his party being in a severe minority in this most Democratic of states. According to a new Gonzales Research & Media Services poll (8/1-8; 801 MD registered voters), Gov. Hogan now holds a 52-36% advantage over Democratic nominee Ben Jealous, the former NAACP president. Earlier, Mr. Jealous released his mid-July Garin Hart Yang Research internal polling data (7/10-14; 601 MD likely general election voters) that finds him trailing Gov. Larry Hogan (R), 49-40%. At this point, Gov. Hogan is forging a clear path to secure a second term.

Minnesota: The aforementioned Emerson College poll (see Minnesota Senate above) also tested the general election match-ups for Governor right before the primary election. Though the primary polling featured an incorrect projection for both the Democratic and Republican primaries, the inaccuracy is likely due to such a small sample used in the nomination contests. In the new general election between US Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), the former posts a 40-33% advantage as the general election campaign officially begins.

Tennessee: The new open general election Tennessee Governor's race sees its first published poll, and Republican businessman Bill Lee is opening with a 51-40% lead over former Nashville Mayor Karl Deen (D). Gravis Marketing (8/9-11; 620 TN likely voters) finds the eleven-point ballot spread in their latest Tennessee statewide survey. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Wyoming: Equality State voters go to the polls on Tuesday to choose nominees for the open Governor's position, and it appears the Republican candidates have almost evenly divided support. According to the Trafalgar Group (8/11-14; 1,775 WY likely Republican primary voters), retired mutual fund founder Foster Friess has a slight 21-20-16% lead over state Treasurer Mark Gordon and attorney Harriet Hageman. Three other candidates trail with less than 10% support. The eventual Republican nominee will become a heavy favorite in the general election.


August 10, 2018
Ohio 12 Special Election and August 7 Primary Highlight Week
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Primary Results: key August 7 nomination findings
  • New Mexico: ex-Gov. Gary Johnson possible Senate Libertarian nominee
  • FL-9: ex-Rep. Alan Grayson (D) within competitive range of freshman Rep. Darren Soto (D) in August 28 Democratic Primary
  • FL-27: former HHS Secretary and University of Miami President Donna Shalala (D) lead receding - leading a group of 5 Democratic candidates with 26% of the vote 
  • Florida Gov.: Rep. Ron DeSantis & ex-Rep. Gwen Graham pulling well ahead in primaries
  • Georgia, Maine & Rhode Island:  polls show dead heat in Governor's races
  • Maryland Gov.: former NAACP president Ben Jealous (D) releases poll

Primary Results

The August 7th primaries featured several key nomination races.

Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) appears to have defeated Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor (D) in the central Ohio special congressional election by a scant 50.1% of the vote, meaning a 1,754 unofficial vote margin. Mr. Balderson will take the seat once the vote is officially certified. Approximately 3,300 provisional ballots remain to be counted, and absentee ballots postmarked Election Day could still be a factor. It is likely the Balderson margin will hold, and then the two candidates will return to again do battle in the general election since both won the Ohio regular primary back in May.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach are still locked in a virtual tie for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Mr. Kobach leads by just 91 votes statewide with several thousand provisional ballots remaining to be counted. Remaining are between 8,000 and 10,000 provisional and absentee ballots, with more post-election ballots likely on the way. Election officials were scheduled to accept absentee ballots postmarked on Election Day through close of business today. Not all of the uncounted ballots are for the Republican primary, so it is difficult to say just how many votes remain in political overtime. The eventual winner will face new Democratic nominee Laura Kelly, a Topeka state Senator, and credible Independent candidate Greg Orman in the general election.

The open Kansas 2nd District produced nominees for what will likely be a toss-up general election. Former state House Minority Leader and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis was unopposed in the Democratic primary. The Republican winner is defense contractor and Afghan War veteran Steve Watkins, who placed first in a field of seven candidates with just 26.2% of the vote. He defeated three state Senators, a state Representative, and a former state House Speaker. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Topeka) is retiring.

In the 3rd District, Democrat Sharice Davids, a former White House Fellow and Mixed Martial Arts professional, defeated Bernie Sanders' backed attorney Brent Welder and four others, including 2016 nominee Jay Sidie who finished dead last. Ms. Davids advances to face four-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park) in the general election.

Michigan Republicans chose retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James, who earned President Trump's endorsement, over venture capitalist Sandy Pensler, 55-45%. He now faces three-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). The incumbent begins the general election as a strong favorite for re-election.

In addition to nominating candidates for the open Detroit-area 13th Congressional District seat in the coming Congress, choosing someone to fill the current vacancy for the remaining portion of the term was also virtually decided last Tuesday night. The unusual saga ended with two different people winning the regular election Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to victory in November, and the special election party nod. Former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the regular Democratic primary, which makes it a certainty that she will represent the 13th District in the next Congress. But, Detroit City Council president Brenda Jones won the Democratic special election primary. Therefore, when the special general is held on November 6th, she will undoubtedly be elected, but for only the two-month term.

It will likely be a few more days before we know who advances into the general election against Republican Dino Rossi from Washington's 8th District. Physician Kim Shrier (D) and attorney Jason Rittereiser (D) are locked in a tight battle for second place. In the jungle primary format, the top two finishers advance to the general election. Because Washington uses an all-mail voting system and allows ballots to be postmarked on Election Day, it can take many days to count all of the ballots. Regardless of the final primary result, this will be a close general election battle.

Senate

New Mexico: Just days after the New Mexico Libertarian Party officially asked former Republican Governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson to assume the party's US Senate nomination after the man who won the June 5th primary, Aubrey Dunn, withdrew, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) released his internal polling numbers. Mr. Johnson says he is considering whether to accept and may take several days before rendering a decision.

Seeing Johnson's potential move, Sen. Heinrich then quickly released his GBA Strategies survey (8/1-5; 800 NM likely voters) that suggests the former Governor entering the race would virtually seal the incumbent's re-election. According to the poll results, Sen. Heinrich would register 47% support if Republican Mick Rich and Mr. Johnson were both on the ballot opposing him. In this configuration, Rich would score 29%, and Johnson 22%. Therefore, even though Sen. Heinrich would likely drop below 50%, the split vote would make him a lock for re-election.

House

FL-9: A new Survey USA poll conducted for Spectrum News 13 in Kissimmee (released 8/9/18; 875 FL-9 registered voters) finds freshman Rep. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) leading former Rep. Alan Grayson by a relatively slim 45-38% margin as the two move toward the August 28th Democratic primary. Rep. Grayson represented the 9th District since its creation before the 2012 election. He left in 2016 to unsuccessfully enter the Democratic Senatorial primary. Mr. Grayson fell to then-Rep. Patrick Murphy, who would lose the subsequent general election to Sen. Marco Rubio (R). Rep. Soto, a former multi-term state legislator, is running in his first congressional re-election campaign. He defeated three other Democrats, including Mr. Grayson's wife, in the 2016 Democratic primary, and then easily carried the general election.

FL-27: Former Health & Human Services Secretary and University of Miami President Donna Shalala's open congressional Democratic primary lead is receding according to one of her opponents who has released his own survey data. Non-profit organization executive Matt Haggman's RABA Research poll (8/2-5; 433 FL-27 likely Democratic primary voters) found Ms. Shalala leading the crowded group of five candidates with only 26% of the vote. Mr. Haggman was second at 16%, followed by state Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami), who posted 15% and Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez who trails with 11%. Therefore, it appears this race is tightening as the candidates head toward the August 28th Florida primary.   Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami) is retiring.

NY-27: News was released earlier in the week that Upstate New York Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence/Batavia) is now under federal indictment for securities fraud. Therefore, how might this effect the political situation in the 27th Congressional District? Rep. Collins has already said he will stay on the ballot. Currently, he is facing Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray who will appear on the Democratic, Working Families, and Women's Equality Party ballot lines. Rep. Collins is on the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party lines. A third candidate, businessman Larry Piegza, is representing the Reform Party.

At this point, the race does not look competitive. Mr. McMurray has raised only $133,000 for the campaign, with $81,772 in the bank according to the June 30th Federal Election Commission financial disclosure report. Until the indictment, the seat was rated as safe Republican. Should Mr. Collins decide not to continue the campaign, the various party county chairmen would convene to choose a new nominee. In the 2016 election, President Trump carried NY-27 by 25 percentage points, 60-35%. Obviously, this situation will further develop.

Governor

Florida: The Florida Republican Governor's campaign has been an interesting one because of the juxtaposition between the two main candidates. Early, it appeared that Agriculture Commissioner and former US Congressman Adam Putnam was the clear favorite, but now US Rep. Ron DeSantis, (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach) is putting his campaign into overdrive. Thus, the race's transformation appears complete as the two candidates draw ever nearer to the August 28th Florida primary election. A new North Star Opinion Research poll (8/5-7; 600 FL likely GOP primary voters) sees DeSantis' lead now approaching landslide proportion, 50-30%.

Last week, gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham released her Anzalone Liszt Grove Research Democratic primary poll that projected her building a strong 33-17-13-10-3% lead over Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, billionaire Jeff Greene, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and businessman Chris King. This week, Mayor Levine released his Public Policy Polling survey (8/5-6; 572 FL likely Democratic primary voters) that finds a considerably closer race. According to the PPP results, Ms. Graham continues to lead, but with a much closer 26-22-16-13-4% margin over Levine, Greene, Gillum, and King, respectively. The race is open because term-limited Gov. Rick Scott (R) is running for the Senate.

Georgia: Two national polling firms tested the Georgia electorate soon before or right after the July 24th Republican run-off election, and both find a 46-44% split between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp. But, each pollster sees a different leader. Survey USA, polling for WXIA television in Atlanta (7/15-19; 1,199 GA likely voters), found Mr. Kemp with the 46-44% advantage. Gravis Marketing, just releasing their new survey (7/27-29; 650 GA likely voters), projects Ms. Abrams to be holding the same margin and finding. Obviously, this general election contest is beginning on an even footing.

Maine: Suffolk University tested the Maine electorate now that the open general election contest between Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills and Republican businessman Shawn Moody is well underway. The poll (8/2-6; 500 ME likely voters) finds the two candidates deadlocked at 39% apiece. President Trump's job approval rating in Maine, according to this survey, is 41:54% positive to negative. In the general election, Hillary Clinton carried the state, 46-43%.

Maryland: Former NAACP president Ben Jealous, the Maryland Democratic nominee for Governor, just released the results of his Garin Hart Yang Research poll taken in mid-July (7/10-14; 601 MD likely general election voters) that finds him trailing Gov. Larry Hogan (R), 49-40%.

While nine points is a significant deficit, such a marginal can still be overcome, hence the belated effort to stem the building tide against the Jealous gubernatorial effort.

Rhode Island: In 2014, then-state Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D) won a tight 41-36-21% victory over Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) and Independent Bob Healey to become Rhode Island's governor. A new WPRI 12 News/Roger Williams University survey (7/28-31; 407 RI likely general election voters) finds the Governor leading Mr. Fung by only a 39-37% margin for the 2018 re-match. Therefore, despite Rhode Island's strong Democratic voting history, the 2018 Governor's race again looks to be highly competitive.


 
 

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