Home
ELECTION CENTER

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.


October 18, 2019
Close Senate Contests Developing in Michigan, North Carolina; Succeeding Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD 7)
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Presidential: Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) leads cash-on-hand
  • MI-Sen: Sen. Gary Peters (D) and opponent, businessman John James (R) race again close
  • NC-Sen: Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in dead heat
  • MD-7: succeeding Rep. Elijah Cummings (D); special election details pending
  • NY-17: Chelsea Clinton (D) won't run
  • KY-Gov: Gov. Matt Bevin (R) rebounds
  • LA-Gov: Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) forced into run-off with GOP candidate, businessman Eddie Rispone.

President

Cash-on-Hand:  More is becoming known about the presidential campaigns' financial status. The October 15th filing disclosure deadline is now past, and reports are becoming public.  We knew from the announcements last week that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had raised the most among Democrats during the quarter, and now we see that he has the largest dollar amount in his account, $33.7 million.  Next is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) with $25.7 million followed closely by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's $23 million.  Biggest surprise: former Vice President Joe Biden showing only $9 million on hand, just ahead of businessman Andrew Yang's $6 million.

Iowa Poll:  We continue to see tight polling coming from the Iowa Caucus prelude, scheduled for a vote on February 3rd. Emerson College (10/13-16; 317 IA likely Democratic Caucus attenders) finds former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tied at the top of the Democratic field with each posting 23% support figures.  South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is seeing his Iowa efforts begin to bear fruit as he captures third position with 16% preference. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) drops to fourth position with 13%.  California Sen. Kamala Harris who, like Buttigieg, also said she is making Iowa a top priority, drops all the way down to a tie for eighth position with only 2% backing.

New York Poll:  Siena College surveyed the New York electorate (10/6-10; 742 NY registered voters; 340 NY registered Democratic voters) and found former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) locked in a flat tie at 21% apiece.  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is a close third with 16%.   New York has 273 first ballot delegates after gaining 49 more in a recent Democratic National Committee nomination process adjustment.  The addition makes New York the second largest contingent at the Democratic National Convention.

Senate

Colorado:  Saying she has no path to victory after former Gov. John Hickenlooper entered the Democratic Senatorial primary, former state House Majority Leader Alice Madden announced over the weekend that she is ending her statewide campaign.  She joins ex-state Sen. Mike Johnston and former diplomat Dan Baer in departing from the contest since Mr. Hickenlooper emerged after exiting the presidential campaign.  Though eleven candidates remain in the Democratic primary, it appears obvious that the general election will feature Mr. Hickenlooper and Sen. Cory Gardner (R) in a campaign that will draw a great deal of national attention.

Kansas:  It appears the Democrats have found their candidate to challenge for Sen. Pat Roberts' (R) open seat.  Recently, party-switching state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) announced that she would run for the Senate and has already earned the endorsement of an individual who appeared to be her strongest primary opponent.  Former US Attorney Barry Grissom (D) has withdrawn from the race and announced his endorsement of Sen. Bollier.

Republicans will have a crowded primary at this point featuring US Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend), state Sen. President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita), former Secretary of State and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, and Kansas Turnpike Authority chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs football player Dave Lindstrom.  Rumors continue to persist that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may eventually become a candidate for the position.

Massachusetts:  Author and businessman Steve Pemberton, who announced his US Senate candidacy back in July, has withdrawn from the Bay State race, citing a "rigged political system."  Mr. Pemberton on leaving the contest said that he, "ran into an impenetrable wall of legacy and birthright - of incumbency and connections" thus denying him the ability to construct a viable campaign.

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) entering the race to challenge incumbent Sen. Ed Markey in the Democratic primary makes this campaign very difficult for any other candidate. Attorney Sharon Liss-Riordan remains, but it is already clear that she will continue as a minor candidate.  The Massachusetts primary is not scheduled until September 15th, so what appears to be evolving into a Markey-Kennedy race will develop over a long campaign cycle.

Michigan:  The Marketing Resource Group just released their Michigan US Senate poll (10/7-10; 600 MI registered voters) and again find a close contest between Sen. Gary Peters (D) and businessman and retired Army Ranger John James (R).  The ballot test sees Sen. Peters clinging to a 43-40% edge.  This is a similar result to an Emerson College poll conducted in March that found the two separated by a scant 44-43% spread.  Last month, however, Target-Insyght released a much different result: Peters ahead 53-37%.  Most observers believe this Senate race will evolve into a close contest.

North Carolina:  Raleigh's Meredith College (9/29-10/7; 998 NC registered voters) finds a typically close race developing for the North Carolina Senate seat.  Here, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) is in a dogfight with both state Sen. Erika Smith (D-Gaston) and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D).  When each is paired with the Senator, both candidates received 33% support.

House

AZ-1:  Former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling, who had been speculating that he might enter the 1st District Republican primary in order to challenge Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-Sedona) in the general election, has now ruled out becoming a candidate.  Though he indicated two weeks ago that he was leaning toward running, comments he made over the weekend about being interested in managing or coaching at the major league level was a clue that he had already made up his mind not to run.  The 1st District is politically marginal and one of 31 Democratic seats that voted for President Trump in 2016.

CO-1:  Former Denver state House Speaker Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) over the weekend dropped her Democratic primary challenge to veteran US Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver).  Ms. Duran suffered a burst appendix less than a month ago, and said she came to the conclusion that she can "be more effective in pursuing transformational change through other means."  Absent a strong primary challenge, Rep. DeGette again looks like a sure bet for re-election and should easily win a 13th term from this heavily Democratic urban seat.

IL-6:  Former Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti (R) this weekend announced that she will end her 2020 congressional bid.   She had entered the race to attempt to unseat freshman Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) but faced a Republican primary opposite conservative former state Rep. Jeanne Ives, the gubernatorial candidate who held incumbent Bruce Rauner to just a 51% primary victory that left him in a politically weakened state.  He would go onto lose the 2018 general election to current Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in a 55-39% landslide.  Ms. Ives will now almost assuredly square off against Rep. Casten in a seat that Republicans formerly held in the person of then-Rep. Peter Roskam.

MD-7:  House Oversight & Reform Committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), serving his 12th full term in office, passed away yesterday morning at the age of 68.  Now, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has ten days to schedule a replacement special election to fill the vacancy. According to Maryland election law, the special primary must occur before the end of this year, with a general to follow within 65 days of the first vote.  This means the entire cycle must be completed on or before March 5th.

We can expect a crowded Democratic primary to form as future candidates will battle to become Mr. Cummings' successor.  With a 68-16% party registration advantage, the 7th District will remain in Democratic hands.  The Maryland vacancy now becomes the 26th open seat during the current election cycle, including the three vacancies: MD-7 (Cummings), NY-27 (Chris Collins), and WI-7 (Sean Duffy).  Republicans currently hold 19 of the open seats, and Democrats now up to seven.

NY-17:  There has been much speculation that former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton would enter the open 17th Congressional District race now that veteran New York Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) is retiring.  Appearing on The View program, Ms. Clinton indicated that while running for Congress could be on her personal horizon at some point in the future, she is not looking to run in 2020.  She responded to Whoopi Goldberg's question about whether she would become a candidate by saying, "...right now, the answer is no."

OK-2:  The overwhelming number of the intra-party challenges to sitting House incumbents lie on the Democratic side in this election cycle, but Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville/Muskogee), who broke his three-term limit pledge during the 2018 campaign, has drawn a competitive 2020 Republican challenger.  State Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow), a strong social issues conservative leader who reportedly does not get along with his party's leadership in the legislature, announced that he will challenge the four-term Congressman next year.

TX-2:  Mike Collier, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor who was reported to be considering challenging freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston), says he will not run for Congress in 2020.  This leaves educator Elisa Cardnell (D) as the Congressman's only political opponent.  The candidate filing deadline, December 9th, is fast approaching.  The development means that Mr. Crenshaw will likely sail to re-election next year.

WI-5:  Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Hills), second in US House seniority with what will be 42 years of congressional service at the end of the current term and not seeking re-election in 2020, looks to be yielding to a very strong successor.  State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) is rapidly building support to the point that he could actually run without strong opposition for a seat that hasn't been open in more than two generations.

Yesterday, wealthy entrepreneur and former US Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson (R) said he would not run for the House seat and endorsed Mr. Fitzgerald, following a long line of would-be office seekers who took similar action.  Senator Fitzgerald's political strength is such that he appears a virtual lock to become a member of the next Congress.

WI-7:  While Gov. Tony Evers (D) has not yet re-scheduled the special election for the open 7th Congressional District (Rep. Sean Duffy (R) resigned for family reasons) after his original election dates did not comply with the federal MOVE Act, two Democrats have finally entered the campaign contest.  Wausau School Board member Tricia Zunker and businessman and Vietnam War veteran Lawrence Dale (D) have both announced that they will enter this race. Republicans have more candidates, but the race is essentially between state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) and disabled Afghan War veteran and Jason Church, also an ex-aide to Sen. Ron Johnson (R).

Governor

Kentucky:  The Kentucky Governor's race will be decided on November 5th, and a new Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey (10/10-13; 625 KY registered voters) paints a different picture of the race as the campaigns begin to enter the stretch drive.  The last poll released here was in late August, from Garin-Hart-Yang Research, and it gave Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear a 48-39% lead over Gov. Matt Bevin (R).  The Mason-Dixon results find a different trend.  According to M-D, the race has now evolved into a flat tie with both candidates deadlocked at 46%.  It is clear that Gov. Bevin has again made this race competitive, and we can now expect a dash to the political finish line.

Louisiana:  While late race polling suggested that Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) had a chance to win re-election outright, he was instead sent into a November 16th run-off election with Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.  In the jungle primary contest, Mr. Edwards finished with 46.6% of the vote, ahead of Mr. Rispone's 27.4% and US Rep. Ralph Abraham's (R-Alto/Monroe) 23.6%.  Turnout exceeded 1.35 million voters, a 20.6% increase over the 2015 jungle primary.  We can now expect a highly competitive run-off campaign.  No Governor forced into a run-off has previously won re-election in Louisiana history.

North Carolina:  The aforementioned Meredith College North Carolina survey (9/29-10/7; 998 NC registered voters) reports a positive result for first-term Governor Roy Cooper (D) who will stand for a second term next year.  The Meredith data yields a 46-33% margin in the Governor's favor.  In this poll, he was paired with the likely GOP 2020 gubernatorial nominee, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R).


October 11, 2019
House Appropriations Chair to Retire
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Presidential: Biden well behind in money chase
  • KY-Sen: Sen. McConnell opponent raising huge money
  • NY-14: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez draws NYC Dem challenge
  • NY-17: Rep. Nita Lowey (D) to retire
  • LA-Gov: election Saturday 

President

Presidential Money:  Last week, as we reported, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg released strong 3rd Quarter fundraising figures, $25.3 and $19.1 million, respectively, and now Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Vice President Joe Biden have also publicized their totals.  Ms. Warren came close to Sanders' number at $24.6 million, but Mr. Biden was considerably behind even Mayor Buttigieg at $15.2 million raised.

North Carolina:  Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling (10/4-6; 410 NC likely Democratic primary voters) just released their new North Carolina Democratic survey, and it finds former Vice President Joe Biden enjoying a substantial advantage.  According to the PPP results, Mr. Biden records 39% support as compared to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) posting 22% preference.  Mayor Pete Buttigieg places third with 9% and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gets only 6% of the respondents.  North Carolina is joining the Super Tuesday primary on March 3rd.

Wisconsin:  Fox News just completed a Wisconsin political poll (9/29-10/2; 1,512 WI registered voters; 663 WI likely Democratic primary voters) and finds former Vice President Joe Biden continuing to lead in what could become a very important post-March presidential primary on April 7th.  The data shows Mr. Biden capturing 28% preference compared to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) 22 percent.  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) posted 17%, and all the others were in single digits.  In late August, Marquette Law School found the former VP also holding 28% with Sanders second at 20%, and Warren recording 17 percent.

IBD/TIPP Poll:  The new Investors Business Daily/TIPP poll finds Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) eclipsing former Vice President Joe Biden 27-26% with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) posting 10%.  The small sample size of just 341 registered voters throughout the US is woefully small, however, particularly when taken over a long period (9/26-10/3).  Though the TIPP polls have a good past prediction record, the results of this particular poll should be disregarded because the sample size makes the reliability factor too low.

Politico/Morning Consult:  The monthly Politico/Morning Consult Democratic presidential primary survey is out, and the results show very little change from the previous pattern.  The poll (9/30-10/6; 16,529 Democratic likely primary voters; online) finds former Vice President Joe Biden maintaining a healthy lead over Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), 33-21-19%.  Consistent with the current prevalent polling pattern, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg remain in single digits with 6 and 5%, respectively.

Quinnipiac University:  Quinnipiac University released their latest Q-Poll (10/4-7; 646 US registered voters), which portends a much different result than what Politico/Morning Consult (see above) reached.  The Q-Poll sees Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) eclipsing former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), 29-26-16%.  All the other candidates recorded percentages no greater than four.  Methodology and sample selection appear as the key reasons for the rather large discrepancy between the two polls taken during similar time periods.

Susquehanna Polling & Research:  Frequent Pennsylvania pollster Susquehanna Polling & Research also released their latest work (9/30-10/6; 307 PA registered voters), which is again a small-sample survey.  As expected, former Vice President Joe Biden leads the pack of candidates, but with only a 17% preference factor.  No other candidate even reaches double digits. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is second with 9%, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has 8% support, just ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who records 6% support.  The small sample size and abnormally high undecided figure leaves much to question about this study.

Senate

Alabama:  This week, Sen. Doug Jones (D), the most vulnerable Democrat on the US Senate ballot next year, reported his 3rd Quarter receipts and the total is impressive.  Sen. Jones raised $2 million during the previous twelve weeks and has more than $5 million cash-on-hand.  Reports have yet to surface from his key Republican opponents, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile), Secretary of State John Merrill, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, and ex-state Supreme Court Chief Justice and 2017 GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore.

Arizona:  Both Sen. Martha McSally (R) and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) released their 3rd Quarter financial numbers earlier in the week.  The two went 1-2 last quarter in terms of money raised, and it appears they may do so again for the current financial disclosure period.  Mr. Kelly reports campaign receipts of over $5.5 million, with a cash-on-hand figure of $9.5 million. Sen. McSally pulled in just over $3 million and has $5.6 million in the bank.  These are astonishingly large numbers this early in a smaller domain.  Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) is reporting similar results, but his state is four times the size of Arizona, putting both Kelly's and McSally's fundraising prowess into perspective.

Kentucky:  Retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath (D), who raised over $8.6 million for a congressional race in 2018, logged an enormous 3rd Quarter in fundraising for her new Senate race.  Ms. McGrath, challenging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), attracted a whopping $10.7 million for her campaign just in the last twelve weeks.  Mega millions will be spent in this race, but Sen. McConnell, first elected in 1984, will continue to be the favorite to win again regardless of the amounts raised and spent against him.

House

AL-2:  Former state Attorney General Troy King (R) just released the results of his open seat 2nd District poll in the battle to succeed retiring Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery).  Mr. King's internal Tarrance Group survey (released 10/7; 303 AL-2 likely Republican primary voters) gives Mr. King a large lead, 34-18-17%, over former state Representative and 2018 congressional candidate Barry Moore and state Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville).  No other candidate even reaches double digits.  Considering that Mr. King is a prominent former statewide office holder, the results are not particularly surprising.

NY-14:  New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera (D), an ordained minister, is launching a Democratic primary challenge to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx).  Three other Democrats are already in the primary race, but Mr. Cabrera is clearly the incumbent's most credible opponent.  The Republicans have eight announced candidates against the flamboyant freshman Congresswoman, but none have any chance.  The 14th District is solidly Democratic (Trump '16: 20%).

NY-17:  House Appropriations Committee chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced yesterday that she will retire from her Westchester County anchored congressional seat at the end of this Congress.  Rep. Lowey was originally elected in 1988 and will have served 32 years in the House when her current term concludes.  The Congresswoman, 82 years of age, thanked her constituents in the retirement statement, but did not cite any particular reason for her decision not to seek re-election.  The open 17th District will remain under Democratic control (Trump '16: 38.4%).  Ms. Lowey is the sixth House Democrat voluntarily leaving Congress.  The total number of House open seats now grows to 25.

PA-7:  The National Republican Congressional Committee leadership scored a recruitment victory in the Allentown/Bethlehem seat to oppose freshman Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild (D-Allentown).  Former Lehigh County Commissioner and corporate CEO Lisa Scheller (R) announced that she will challenge the freshman lawmaker next year.  Ms. Scheller was the Committee's top recruitment prospect.  First, however, she will have to get past former Lehigh County Commissioner Dean Browning in the GOP primary.

OH-1:  On the GOP retirement potential list was former House Small Business Committee chairman Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), who was first elected in 1994.  The Congressman lost his seat in a 2008 Obama-wave upset but rebounded to win again two years later.  Late this week, Rep. Chabot formally announced that he will seek re-election next year.  He faced a difficult campaign last year but came away with a 51-47% victory.  At this point for the 2020 cycle, healthcare company executive Kate Schroder and Iraq War veteran Nikki Foster are the two announced Democratic candidates.  The Ohio primary is scheduled for March 10th.

TX-28:  Attorney Jessica Cisneros, a one-time intern to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) who is now challenging him in the 2020 Democratic primary, released her 3rd Quarter fundraising total.  She pulled in just over $310,000 and claims to have $300,000 cash-on-hand. Rep. Cuellar has not yet countered with his own financial report, but he held just over $3 million in his campaign account at the end of June.  Obviously, the challenger begins her campaign at a distinct disadvantage.

TX-30:  On the Democratic potential retirement list was 83-year old Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), chair of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Yesterday, the 14-term Representative announced that she will seek re-election to "one last term."  Ms. Johnson is expected to again win easily.

WI-5:  State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) continues to demonstrate political strength in running for retiring Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's (R-Menominee Falls) open congressional seat.  Yesterday, another potentially viable contender announced that he would not run for the seat. State Rep. Adam Neylon (D-Pewaukee) made public his decision not to become a congressional candidate.  With a safe Republican seat and little in the way of early opposition, Sen. Fitzgerald is quickly becoming a consensus candidate and clearly has the inside track for replacing Mr. Sensenbrenner.

Governor

Indiana:  The Democrats have a new official 2020 gubernatorial candidate.  During the week, state Sen. Eric Melton (D-Gary) formally announced his candidacy at a campaign event. Introducing the Senator to his supporters was State Education Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, a Republican who has been at odds with her own party leadership.  Many believe that Sen. Melton will attempt to form a unity ticket with Ms. McCormick since Indiana is a ticket state, and he did not rule out such a possibility.  The Gary area state legislator joins former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers and online retail company owner Josh Owens in the Democratic field.  The winner of next May's partisan primary will undoubtedly face first term Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) who is seeking a second term.

Louisiana:  The Louisiana jungle primary election day is this Saturday, and the candidates are making a final dash to the finish line.  Two new polls find the race hasn't changed much.  The data suggests that Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is hovering around the 50% mark, but only one poll shows him winning majority support.  Doing so would elect him outright to a second term. If no one reaches 50% a run-off election will be held November 16th.

Both JMC Enterprises and Mason-Dixon Research & Strategy are returning new numbers from the polling field.  JMC (10/2-5; 600 LA likely primary voters) sees Gov. Edwards at 47% support followed by developer Eddie Rispone with 22% and US Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe) obtaining 19% preference. Mason-Dixon sees similar results.  Their poll (10/1-4; 625 LA likely primary voters) projects Gov. Edwards with 45%, Rispone recording an identical 22% as found in the JMC data, and Rep. Abraham dropping to 17% support.

According to yesterday's released Market Research Insights poll (10/1-7; 600 LA likely gubernatorial voters), Gov. Edwards would record 51% preference.  Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe) and real estate developer Eddie Rispone are in a dogfight for second position, but that may be irrelevant if the Governor wins outright.  Should Edwards fall short, the top two finishers would advance to a November 16th run-off election.  After holding second place for most of the campaign cycle, Rep. Abraham had recently fallen behind Mr. Rispone.  According to this MRI poll, however, the two are tied at 19%, apiece.

Utah:  US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman (R), a former Utah Governor and ex-presidential candidate, officially resigned his federal position at the end of last week.  It is expected that he will soon enter the open race to re-claim his state's gubernatorial position.  Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who succeeded Gov. Huntsman when President Obama appointed the latter man as US Ambassador to China, is not seeking re-election to a fourth term.  Already in the GOP race is Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and real estate investor Jeff Burningham.


October 4, 2019
Another Resignation and Retirement
by Jim Ellis
 
Key Takeaways:
 
Presidential: Bernie Sanders (D) leads money chase 
GA-Sen: Ex-CT Senator's son Matt Lieberman (D) to run in Georgia
NY-27: Rep. Chris Collins (R) resigns; will plead guilty
TX-13: Ex-Armed Services Committee Chair Mac Thornberry (R) to retire
LA-Gov: Businessman Eddie Rispone (R) now in second place
 
President
 
Debates:  As preparations continue for the next presidential debate, the Democratic National Committee leadership announced that the next debate from the Columbus, Ohio suburbs will be on one night despite having twelve candidates participating.  In addition to the ten that were on stage in September, the new field will include Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), returning to the forum, and first-time entry Tom Steyer, the billionaire candidate who originally said he would not run.
 
Money Report:  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg released their 3rd Quarter fundraising numbers along with several other Democratic presidential candidates.  To re-cap, Sen. Sanders led the field with $25.3 million raised in the preceding twelve weeks and Mr. Buttigieg recorded $19.1 million in the commensurate time frame.  Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced that her campaign had attracted $11.6 million in the 3rd Quarter, while businessman Andrew Yang recorded an impressive $10 million for a previously unknown upstart candidate.  Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) also publicized that his campaign brought in an additional $6 million.
 
Tri-State Polling:  Change Research, Emerson College, and the Public Policy Institute of California tested three major states for the Democratic presidential primaries and found razor thin margins in two.  The exception, Arizona (Change Research; 9/27-28; 396 AZ likely Democratic primary voters), finds Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) topping the field with 35% support, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with 19%, former Vice President Joe Biden's 15%, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg recording a 13% preference figure.  According to these numbers, Arizona is one of Mr. Biden's weakest states while Mr. Buttigieg returns to double digits.
 
The two others are virtual three-way ties. The Public Policy Institute of California (9/16-25; 692 CA likely Democratic primary voters) sees Sen. Warren barely in first place with 23% of the responding sample, compared to Mr. Biden's 22%, and Sen. Sanders' 21%.  The result portends another disappointing performance for Sen. Kamala Harris in her own state as she records only 8% support. 
 
Little polling has been done in Ohio, but Emerson College reversed the trend and just completed a test of the Buckeye State Democratic electorate (9/29-10/2; 353 OH likely Democratic primary voters).  They also find a close contest with Mr. Biden claiming first place with 29%, and Sens. Sanders and Warren close behind with 27 and 21% preference factors. 
 
Virginia Poll:  Virginia is another state whose electorate will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, but polling here has been infrequent.  The Research America, Inc. firm tested the state (9/3-15; 882 VA registered voters), however, and found that former Vice President Joe Biden has a substantial lead here as he does everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  According to RA, Mr. Biden records 23% preference, which is a big lead against the rest of the field.  Tied for second place with just 9% apiece are Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg trailing with just 5 and 4% support, respectively.  Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and businessman Andrew Yang follow with 2% support.  All others record 1% or less.  
 
Winthrop University Poll:  Rock Hill, SC-based Winthrop University went into the field to test the South Carolina Democratic presidential candidates (9/21-30; 462 SC likely Democratic primary voters) and, like other pollsters, finds former Vice President Joe Biden holding a comfortable advantage.  According to the Winthrop results, Mr. Biden holds a 37-17-8-7% lead over Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), respectively.  Mr. Biden's strength is clearly in the South, and he again displays a dominant result in what will be the first southern voting state. His numbers are similar in the other recently tested states south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
 
Senate
 
Arizona:  Change Research also tested the tight Arizona Senate campaign (9/27-28; 856 AZ likely voters; 396 AZ likely Democratic primary voters) and, like three other pollsters who have tracked this race in 2019, finds a statistical tie.  Change projects retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) to be leading appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R), 47-45%, which is consistent with five other polls conducted throughout the year.  Four of the previous five found separation margins of 0 to 2 percentage points, while only one, the OH Predictive Insights August poll, found a five-point Kelly advantage.  We can expect this race to remain in toss-up mode all the way to Election Day 2020.
 
Georgia:  Businessman Matt Lieberman (D), the son of former Connecticut Senator and 2000 Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, announced that he will enter the special election for the position from which Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) will be resigning at the end of the year.  He is the first individual from either party to declare his candidacy.  The special jungle primary is scheduled concurrently with Election Day, November 3, 2020 with a run-off for January 5, 2021 if no candidate receives majority support in the first election.
 
Michigan:  Sen. Gary Peters (D) has considerably improved his standing in the Michigan statewide race according to a just-released Target-Insyght poll (9/24-26; 800 MI registered voters).  The data shows Sen. Peters leading Republican John James, the 2018 Senate nominee, 53-37%.  The only other reported survey came back in March from Emerson College.  At that time, Emerson projected the ballot test as a 44-43% dead heat.  
 
New Hampshire:  Saying that President Trump's re-election is more important than his running for elective office, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski indicated that he is less inclined to run for the Senate next year.  Early polling suggests Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) would easily defeat Lewandowski, which is undoubtedly another factor in the former political operative becoming disinclined with launching a Senate challenge campaign. 
 
South Carolina:  An online Change Research poll (9/17-21; 809 SC likely voters) finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) leading former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison (D) by a 50-43% clip.  Though the margin appears low for a South Carolina Republican, particularly an incumbent, GOP candidates typically under-poll in the state.  Even so, Sen. Graham is beyond the polling margin of error and his advantage is likely a bit stronger than this survey indicates.
 
House
 
HI-2:  Public Policy Polling went into the field to test presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard in her own congressional district.  So far, the Congresswoman has been non-committal about whether she would seek re-election if or when her presidential campaign ends.  The survey (9/27-29; 990 HI-2 likely Democratic primary voters) finds Gabbard's numbers acceptable but not particularly strong.  It is clear that her constituents want her to end her national campaign, however. PPP finds that 60% of those sampled said Ms. Gabbard should drop out of the presidential race against only 28% who said she should continue.
 
Paired with state Sen. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) in the congressional campaign, Rep. Gabbard posts a healthy 48-26% lead, but she is below majority support within a group that should constitute her political base.  Sen. Kahele is an announced congressional candidate and appears willing to stay in the Democratic primary race even if Rep. Gabbard returns.
 
MN-1:  Democrat Dan Feehan, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Defense Department who lost a tight 50.1 - 49.7% contest to now-freshman Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester), announced yesterday that he will return for a re-match in 2020.  We can expect another hard-fought campaign to occur in southern Minnesota next year.
 
NY-22:  GOP former Congresswoman Claudia Tenney announced yesterday that she will return for a re-match against the man who unseated her, freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica).  Though Ms. Tenney made some controversial statements during her tenure that contributed heavily toward her defeat after just two years in office, the race was still very close, 50.9 - 49.1%, a difference of 4,473 votes.  NY-22 is the second strongest Trump district in the nation that a Democrat now represents, so it is highly likely the Brindisi-Tenney pairing will again be hotly contested.
 
NY-27:  Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence/ Batavia), who was indicted on insider trading charges resigned from the House and will enter a guilty plea, meaning the 27th District is now vacant.
 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has the power to call a replacement special election and says he may schedule the election concurrently with the presidential primaries on April 28th.
 
New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said late this week that she will not return to her Upstate New York home and enter the special election for the congressional seat that she once held. Ms. Hochul won a 2011 special congressional election after then-Rep. Chris Lee (R) resigned the seat.  She lost her bid for a full term in 2012 to Mr. Collins in the post-redistricting 27th congressional district. Gov. Cuomo then selected her as his 2014 running mate.
 
TX-2:  Mike Collier, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, is reported to be considering entering the race to oppose freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston).  While the 2nd District is decidedly Republican (Trump '16: 52-43; Crenshaw '18: 53-45%), fielding Mr. Collier would give the Democrats a credible candidate to oppose the freshman Congressman in this transforming Houston suburban seat.
 
TX-13:  As has been expected for some time, veteran Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Amarillo), first elected in 1994 and a former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that he will conclude his congressional tenure at the end of this term.  He becomes the sixth Texas Republican to announce his retirement. 
Mr. Thornberry represents the strongest Trump district in the country (Trump '16: 80-17%), so there is little doubt that Republicans will hold the seat.  The Congressman issued a simple statement announcing his retirement saying, "We are reminded, however, that for everything there is a season, and I believe that the time has come for a change.  Therefore, this is my last term in the U.S. House of Representatives." 
 
WI-7:  Last week Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) scheduled the special election to replace resigned Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) for December 30th with a general election on January 27, 2020.  Now, it appears the Governor will have to move the special general.   In order to satisfy the federal MOVE Act requirements designed to allow overseas and military voters time to vote absentee, at least 45 days must be placed between elections.  Therefore, the January 27th date will have to be moved.  Governor Evers will set a new special general election either concurrently with the April 7th presidential primary and statewide election, or shortly thereafter.
 
Governor
 
Louisiana:  Confirming other recent data, the We Ask America research organization polled the Louisiana electorate for the upcoming October 12th gubernatorial jungle primary.  The survey (9/24-26; 600 LA likely gubernatorial primary voters) again finds Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) hovering around the 50% mark but not quite reaching the majority plateau.  He scores 47% according to WAA.  
 
In second now is developer Eddie Rispone who has pulled ahead of Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe) for second position as this and other polls report.  Second place is important because that individual will advance to a secondary run-off election on November 16th if Gov. Edwards fails to reach majority support in the October vote.
 

September 20, 2019
Three-Way Race Developing for Democratic Presidential Nomination
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • GA-Sen: Rep. Lucy McBath (D) won't run
  • MA-Sen: Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D) to announce challenge of Sen. Ed Markey (D)
  • CA-8: Rep. Paul Cook (R) to run for local office
  • NJ-3: Freshman Rep. Andy Kim (D) draws strong opponent
  • LA-Gov: More polling as October 12th primary nears

President

California Poll:  Emerson College conducted a poll in Sen. Kamala Harris' home state (9/13-16; 474 CA likely Democratic primary voters) and finds that the Senator has even dropped behind New York City businessman Andrew Yang on her own political turf.  Emerson projects a close and crowded top tier, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tied at 26% apiece.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is close behind with 20% support.  Mr. Yang and Sen. Harris post 7 and 6%, respectively.

This poll confirms that the Democratic race has evolved into a three-way race among Biden, Sanders, and Warren, even in California.  Such a tight configuration, if it were to hold, would also suggest a virtually even split among the state's 416 first ballot delegates, the largest contingent heading to the Democratic National Convention next July in Milwaukee.

The new Change Research survey conducted for San Francisco radio station KQED (9/12-15; 3,325 CA likely Democratic primary voters; online) also sees a very close presidential nomination race developing and with home state Sen. Harris removed from the upper echelon. This data finds Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a virtual tie (Warren 25; Sanders 23), and former Vice President Joe Biden trailing with 18% support.   Sen. Harris records an 11% preference score, an improvement from the recent Emerson College poll but still far behind, while South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg registers 10 percent.

Florida Poll:  A rare Florida presidential primary poll was released at the end of the week from Florida Atlantic University (9/12-15; 407 FL likely Democratic primary voters), and while former Vice President Joe Biden has an advantage beyond the polling margin of error, the seeds are planted for a tight three-way contest.   The results find Mr. Biden leading with 34%, while Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are tied at 24% apiece.  Way back are South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 6%, California Sen. Kamala Harris pulling only 4%, Miramar, FL Mayor Wayne Messam finally getting on a polling board at 3%, and ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) and businessman Andrew Yang attracting 2% apiece.

Iowa Polling:  Two new Iowa Democratic presidential polls both show South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg returning to the candidates' top tier, reversing his recent single digit performance. According to the Civiqs research firm, polling for Iowa State University (9/13-17; 572 IA likely caucus attenders), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has opened up a lead over former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  The results find the spread at 25-16-16%, with Mayor Buttigieg creeping up on second place with his own 13% showing.

The second Iowa survey, from Dave Binder Research (9/14-16; 500 IA likely Democratic caucus attenders), sees Mr. Biden still claiming the lead at 25%, with Sen. Warren closely behind with 23%.  In this poll, Mayor Buttigieg eclipses Sen. Sanders for third place, posting 12% to the Vermont lawmaker's 9%.   While there are wide ranges for several candidates between these two polls, the Buttigieg number is consistent.  Another contender needing to make a strong Iowa showing, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), does so on the Binder survey coming in just behind Sen. Sanders at 8% preference, by far her best showing in any political poll.

New Jersey Poll:  The new small-sample Monmouth University poll (9/12-16; 325 NJ Democratic registered voters) was publicized on Thursday and a close race is developing here, too.  Though home state Sen. Cory Booker is improving, up to 9% support in this survey, the top three are still dominating the decided preferences.  Former VP Joe Biden tops the field with 26% followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at 20% and Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) 18 percent.  Falling well behind are Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg who both post 6% support figures.  The New Jersey primary is one of the latest contests in the nomination cycle, scheduled for June 2, 2020.  The state has 107 first ballot delegates.

New York Poll:  Siena College just published the results of their New York state poll (9/8-12; 359 NY likely Democratic primary voters), which yields a close finish here, too.  Siena sees former Vice President Joe Biden taking first place, but with only a 22% support level. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is next with 17%, followed closely by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with 15%.

YouGov Poll:  The YouGov international polling firm again conducted a national Democratic Primary poll (9/14-17; 603 US likely Democratic primary voters) and generally confirms other recent data results.  YouGov finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading the field with 25%, while Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) follow with 19 and 15%, respectively.  Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) again comes in at only 5%, while New York City businessman Andrew Yang posts 3%, as does ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX).

Senate

Arizona:  A new Democratic poll, from the Bendixen & Amandi International firm for the Arizona Sheet Metal Workers union (9/9-12; 520 AZ registered voters), again produces similar results to previously published data.  The Bendixen data finds appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) tied at 42% apiece.  Clearly, this campaign is going to be a premier national US Senate contest with both candidates raising millions of dollars and seeing no more than a point or two separating them from its inception.

Colorado:  Since former Gov. John Hickenlooper has returned from the presidential campaign and jumped into the US Senate race, three Democrats have ended their efforts: former state Sen. Mike Johnston, ex-US Attorney John Walsh, and former US Ambassador and State Department official Dan Baer.  This, however, has not stopped a new candidate from emerging. Denise Burgess, owner of a national construction management company, officially joined the Senate field yesterday.  Mr. Hickenlooper is still a strong favorite for the nomination, but it is clear he is not yet a consensus nominee.  The eventual Democratic winner challenges Sen. Cory Gardner (R) in the general election.

Georgia:  Freshman Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta), who upset then-Rep. Karen Handel (R-Roswell) in the 6th District 2018 general election, said she will not enter the special US Senate election after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigns and a replacement is appointed.  Instead, Ms. McBath reiterates that she is committed to her job in the House and will seek re-election. There is a good possibility of a re-match occurring here. Ms. Handel has already announced her intentions to run again, though she will face Republican primary opposition.

Massachusetts:  The Associated Press is running with a story that indicates Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) will announce his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey on Saturday.  There has been much speculation about such an impending race, and now the predicted move looks to have legs.  Rep. Kennedy recently said he would decide in a few weeks, but apparently the timetable has accelerated.  Sen. Markey, who has been in Congress since 1977, shows no signs of retiring.  This campaign has a long election cycle.  The Massachusetts state primary is not until September 15, 2020.

House

CA-8:   As predicted a couple of weeks ago, four-term Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) announced that he will not seek another term in the US House but will instead file for an open seat on the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Cook, who will be 77 years of age at the next election, will be able to continue in public service should he be elected but won't have to travel cross country almost every week.  Immediately, state Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) announced that he would run for Congress, and just as quickly Rep. Cook endorsed him.  The 8th District is one of the few safe Republican seats in California.

CA-48:  With Republicans clearly coalescing behind Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel to challenge California freshman Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach), a new TargetPoint poll already finds the race tied.  The survey fielded a month ago but just now released (8/10-11; 336 "active" CA-48 voters) projects each candidate attracting 42% support.  Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) represented the area comprising the current 48th District for 30 years until losing to Mr. Rouda, 54-46%, in last year's election.  The 2020 race here will be a top national Republican conversion target.

CA-50:   Former California Congressman Darrell Issa (R) reportedly has received word that the Senate will soon move forward on his nomination as director of the US Trade and Development Agency, but the retired nine-term House member says he will continue preparing to run for the 50th Congressional District unless he is confirmed by November 3rd.  Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) is under indictment and faces a trial after the first of the year.  Four other Republicans have already announced their intention to run.  One Democrat, 2018 nominee Ammar Campa-Najjar, has also declared his 2020 candidacy.

CA-53:   San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez has officially declared her congressional candidacy for the newly open 53rd District, hoping to succeed retiring US Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego).  Already in the race is former congressional candidate and ex-State Department official Sara Jacobs.  Ms. Jacobs, who is independently wealthy, spent $2.15 million in her 2018 campaign for the open 49th District.  She placed third in the jungle primary that launched current Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) into the seat.

MA-4:  With Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) heading to challenge Sen. Ed Markey in next year's September Democratic primary, state Treasurer Deb Goldberg (D) got the jump on her potential opponents and announced that she will run in the 4th District Democratic congressional primary.  We can anticipate seeing a crowded Democratic field form for an open and determinative primary election that will decide who next serves in the House.

NJ-3:  Freshman New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown), who claimed one of the closest victories in the 2018 election cycle (50.0 - 48.7%), may be drawing his first major re-election opponent.  Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs (R), largely with the support of the Burlington County Republican apparatus, has filed a 2020 congressional exploratory committee to test her ability to unseat Mr. Kim.  This seat will also be a top GOP conversion target.

NY-12:  In 2018, hotel executive and attorney Suraj Patel spent over $2 million of his own money to challenge Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York City) in the Democratic primary.  The first returns showed a tight race, but when all the ballots were counted, Rep. Maloney posted a comfortable 60-40% re-nomination victory.  Late this week, Mr. Patel announced that he will return for a re-match, though two other minor Democrats have also already filed.  He also promises to run a campaign that emphasizes what he says are more relevant issues than during his last effort.

WI-5:  As expected, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) announced his intention to run for the open Milwaukee suburban House seat from which veteran Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menominee Falls) is retiring.  The seat is safely Republican, so the April GOP primary will ultimately determine who succeeds Mr. Sensenbrenner.  The Congressman is completing what will be 42 consecutive years of service at the end of this Congress.  He is second in House seniority.

Governor

Louisiana:  Two polls find Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) hovering around the 50% mark for the October 12th jungle primary, but not yet reaching the magic number to avoid a runoff.  A newly released internal Remington Research campaign poll (conducted for the Ralph Abraham for Governor campaign; 9/10-11; 1,144 LA likely voters via interactive response system) sees Gov. Edwards commanding 45% support as compared to US Rep. Ralph Abraham's (R-Alto/Monroe) 27%, and developer Eddie Rispone pulling 19%.  In a November 16th run-off election, however, the race tightens.  Gov. Edwards would lead Rep. Abraham only 48-44%, and Mr. Rispone 49-44%.

But Baton Rouge-based JMC Analytics, a frequent Louisiana pollster, sees the Governor in a tighter race than other research firms.  According to the JMC data (9/14-17; 600 LA likely voters), Mr. Edwards secures only 41% support as compared to Rep. Ralph Abraham's (R-Alto/Monroe) 24%, and developer Eddie Rispone who posts 16 percent.


September 13, 2019
Republican Special Election Sweep in North Carolina
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • MA-Sen: Another poll shows Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D) ahead of Sen. Ed Markey (D)
  • TX-Sen: Sen. John Cornyn (R) could draw primary challenger 
  • NC-3 & 9: Republican special election sweep, electing Greg Murphy (R-NC 3) and Dan Bishop (R-NC 9)
  • WI-5: Three top GOP potential candidates won't run
  • LA-Gov: Polling finds Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on the cusp of winning
    outright in October 12 jungle primary

President

Howard Schultz:  In what seemed to be a clear signal that he would not continue his independent run for President when he ceased activities due to a series of medical procedures, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz formally announced early this week that he would not pursue his 2020 candidacy.  Included in his statement was a point expressing his desire not to become an impediment to former Vice President Joe Biden having a clear shot in the general election to unseat President Trump.

Republicans:  The Republican leadership in at least four states is moving toward canceling their primary or caucus, and instead simply awarding all of their delegate votes to President Trump.  The states seriously weighing the option include two of the "First Four," South Carolina and Nevada, the electorates from which are scheduled to vote in February. Kansas and Arizona are the other two states.  Others could then follow their lead.

This act is not particularly unusual. Several states in both parties have previously canceled primaries when their party held the Presidency.  Such happened for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  The leaders argue that party funds spent to help administer the primary election or caucus meetings would be better spent in the general election to support their candidates.

Emerson College Poll:  Emerson College tested the New Hampshire Democratic electorate (9/6-9; 481 NH likely Democratic primary voters) and, like many other pollsters, found former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren entangled in a tight race at the top.  This survey finds Mr. Biden topping the field with 24%, and Sen. Warren close behind at 21%.  Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pulls 13% support from this respondent group.

But the surprise finding is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg returning to double-digit figures after a relatively long absence.  He pulls 11% support, just behind Sanders and ahead of California Sen. Kamala Harris, whose preference figure is 8 percent.  Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also turns in her best polling performance.  She registers 6% in the Emerson poll, the first time she has exceeded the 5% threshold in any survey.

Texas Polls:  Quinnipiac University, YouGov, and Climate Nexus all surveyed the Texas Democratic primary electorate, and each finds former Vice President Joe Biden taking the lead in this important state, the second largest national convention delegation with 228 first ballot votes.  All of the polls were conducted between August 20th and September 9th with relatively small sample sizes - between 456 (Q-Poll) and 639 (CN) respondents - and arrive at similar findings.  Two of the three, Q-Poll and YouGov, find Sen. Elizabeth Warren capturing second place, while Climate Nexus still sees Texas favorite son Beto O'Rourke holding that position.

YouGov Polls:  The YouGov international polling organization conducted simultaneous surveys for the February voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Though these states are small, having only 155 combined delegates, they tend to set the tone for Super Tuesday and the bulk of the voting.  According to YouGov, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are close in each of the four places. Mr. Biden leads in Iowa and South Carolina, Sen. Sanders places first in Nevada, and Sen. Warren tops the field in New Hampshire.  None of the other candidates even reach double-digits in any of the four states.

Senate

Colorado:  Former US Attorney John Walsh has ended his campaign for the Democratic Senatorial nomination and, while doing so, publicly endorsed former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Mr. Walsh becomes the second candidate to exit, following former state Sen. Mike Johnston. Eleven others, however, remain. Mr. Walsh said he believes that Mr. Hickenlooper has the best chance to unseat Sen. Cory Gardner (R), which, he says, is the ultimate goal.

Georgia:  As has been speculated upon for several months, former special election congressional candidate Jon Ossoff (D), who raised over $31.6 million for his 6th District losing campaign in 2017, announced that he will run for the US Senate.  In a bit of a surprise, however, Mr. Ossoff decided to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R) in the regular election rather than entering the special election against the eventual appointed GOP incumbent.  Because Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) is resigning at the end of the year due to health problem, both of Georgia's Senate seats will be on the ballot in 2020.

Massachusetts:  A new Suffolk University poll (9/3-5; 500 MA likely Democratic primary voters) confirms what we saw in last week's released Change Research survey (8/23-25; 808 MA likely Democratic primary voters) that found Sen. Ed Markey badly trailing Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) in next year's Senate Democratic primary, 42-25%.  According to the Suffolk results, Rep. Kennedy opens with a 35-26% lead over Sen. Markey with the other candidates way below the double-digit mark.

If Markey and Kennedy were to square-off by themselves, Suffolk projects Mr. Kennedy's lead would expand to 42-28%, this despite both men having strong favorability index ratios.   Mr. Kennedy has not committed to making the race but has said he is considering entering the contest.

New Hampshire:   Emerson College surveyed the Republican statewide electorate (9/6-9; 379 NH likely Republican primary voters) and found former Trump Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski jumping out to a large lead over his two Republican potential opponents.  Mr. Lewandowski has not committed to running, and it is unclear at this time whether he will enter the race.  Irrespective of his status, Emerson finds Lewandowski leading retired Army General Don Bolduc, and former state House Speaker Bill O'Brien, 23-9-7%.  At this point, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) appears secure for re-election.

Tennessee:  US Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty, armed with President Trump's endorsement, officially announced his US Senate candidacy in hopes of succeeding retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R).  So far, most of the notable Republican players are yielding to Mr. Hagerty, though he does face physician Manny Sethi in the GOP primary.  The Democrats look to be coalescing behind Iraq War veteran James Mackler.  At this point, Mr. Hagerty is opening as a heavy favorite in the Republican primary and for the general election.

Texas:  State Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), who won his current position by defeating a veteran incumbent in the March 2018 Republican primary, has filed a US Senate exploratory committee.  He is working the conservative leader base to test whether he could become a formidable GOP opponent to Sen. John Cornyn.

Two separate polls tested the Democratic Senate primary where the eventual winner will battle Sen. Cornyn, and the results are similar.  Neither shows any candidate in position to win the nomination or avoid a secondary run-off election.  The University of Texas for the Texas Tribune news publication (8/29-9/8; 550 TX likely Democratic primary voters) finds no candidate even reaching mid-double digits.

Ragnar Research Partners also surveyed the Democratic electorate during a more recent period (9/3-5; 600 TX likely Democratic primary voters) and found a comparable split: retired Army helicopter pilot M.J. Hegar 12%, state Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), non-profit exec Cristina Ramirez, and Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards all posting 10%, and former US Rep. Chris Bell trailing with 9% preference.

House

AL-2:  The first Alabama named politician has filed an open 2nd District congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. Former state Attorney General Troy King (R) appears headed to join the race and will be rated as one of the favorites to capture the Republican nomination.  The GOP nomination process will basically be the election since AL-2 is a safely Republican seat. Five-term Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) is retiring.

NC-3 & 9:  GOP nominees won both special congressional elections this week, as state Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) and state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) each overcame their Democratic opposition.  Mr. Murphy, as expected, easily won the 3rd District seat, 62-37%, and will succeed the late Congressman Walter Jones, Jr. (R-Farmville).  He defeated former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas (D) in taking 16 of the district's 17 counties.

The 9th District was a battleground that saw more than $10 million expended by both sides. Sen. Bishop scored a hard fought 50.7 - 48.7% victory over Democratic businessman Dan McCready even though the Republican nominee was outspent.  In addition to spending over $5 million from his campaign committee for the special election, Mr. McCready had raised and spent over $6 million for the 2018 general election in a campaign that ended with a disputed result.  For his part, Sen. Bishop raised and spent just over $2 million but was aided by the majority of outside spending.

WI-5:  With veteran Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menominee Falls) not seeking a 22nd term next year, we can expect a crowded Republican primary to eventually form.  The seat is the safest for the GOP in the Badger State, so the primary contest will be hard fought.  Three people who won't be in the race, however, are former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, 2018 US Senate nominee Leah Vukmir, and Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow who all announced this week that they will not run for Congress next year.   It is widely believed that Ms. Kleefisch is looking to challenge Governor Tony Evers (D) in 2022.

Other discussion centers around the Fitzgerald brothers. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) is the state Senate Majority Leader.  His brother is former state House Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald.  A crowded field is still expected to form, possibly including former Gov. Scott Walker's son, Matt Walker, and several state legislators coming forth to run.

WI-7:  With Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) scheduled to resign on September 23rd, jockeying to replace him continues.  For the Republicans, whose special election nominee will have the inside track to winning the seat, state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) is working to become a consensus congressional candidate.  Other legislators have not yet jumped into the race, and yesterday former Gov. Scott Walker publicly endorsed Sen. Tiffany.

Governor

Louisiana:  Baton Rouge-based pollster Bernie Pinsonat of the Southern Media and Opinion Research firm just released his new survey of the Louisiana electorate (9/3-6; 500 "chronic" voters) and the results suggest that Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is on the cusp of winning outright in the October 12th jungle primary.

According to the Pinsonat data, Gov. Edwards commands 47% support as compared to US Rep. Ralph Abraham's (R-Alto/Monroe) 24%, with developer Eddie Rispone pulling 16%.  The key for the challengers is forcing a November 16th secondary election.  If no one receives majority support in the jungle primary, the top two finishers advance to a run-off. It is clear that Edwards will finish first in the primary.  The question is will he go over the top or be forced into what could become, for him, a dangerous secondary election.

Missouri:  Just a few days after drawing a Republican primary challenge from term-limited state Rep. Jim Neely (R-Cameron), who says he doesn't necessarily disagree with the incumbent on any key issue, Gov. Mike Parson (R) officially kicked-off his nomination campaign for a full term.  Mr. Parson, elected Lt. Governor in the 2016 election, ascended to the Governorship when then-incumbent Eric Greitens (R) was forced to resign due to a sex scandal.

Democrats are coalescing around state Auditor Nicole Galloway, who, at this point in the cycle, appears to have an unencumbered path to her party's nomination.  Gov. Parson is favored to win a full term in November of 2020.


September 6, 2019
Four House Retirements Highlight the Week
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • MA-Sen: Poll shows Rep. Kennedy crushing Sen. Markey in primary
  • Four House Retirements: Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA 53), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL 15), Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX 17) & Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI-5)
  • KS-2: State Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R) to challenge Rep. Watkins (R)
  • NC-3 & 9: Sept 10 special election polling
  • WV-Gov: Sen. Manchin (D) will not challenge Gov. Justice (R)

Senate

Colorado:  Former state Sen. Mike Johnston, who was the leading money raiser in the crowded Senate Democratic race with $3.4 million raised and $2.6 million in the bank, has suspended his campaign.  Mr. Johnston, a former gubernatorial candidate, indicated he is simply "not willing to run the kind of negative race needed" to defeat ex-Gov. John Hickenlooper for the Democratic Party nomination.

Georgia:  Freshman Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta), who upset GOP Rep.  Karen Handel in the 2018 general election, is reportedly considering entering the Senate special election that will be conducted somewhat concurrently with the 2020 election cycle.  The calendar will be announced once Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigns at the end of this year, though we already know that the special will be in the form of a jungle primary scheduled concurrently with the regular general election date of November 3, 2020.  If no candidate receives a majority, the top two primary finishers will run-off in a January 5, 2021 statewide election.

Kansas:  Western Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) has scheduled a formal announcement for this Saturday at the Kansas State Fair.  It is presumed that Mr. Marshall will make his long-awaited declaration of candidacy for the state's open US Senate seat.  The Congressman had been raising money for such a race throughout the cycle but held back on making the move when it was thought that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might return to the state in order to run.

Rep. Marshall will enter the Republican primary against former Secretary of State and gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, state Senate President Susan Wagle, and Kansas Turnpike Authority chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs NFL football player Dave Lindstrom.

Massachusetts:  The Change Research polling organization tested Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) in a hypothetical primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey (D), and the incumbent starts out well behind.  According to Change (8/23-25; 1,088 MA registered voters; 808 Democratic primary voters; online), Rep. Kennedy would lead Sen. Markey 42-25% if the September 15, 2020 Democratic primary were today.  Mr. Kennedy has now admitted to considering the race and has filed a Senate committee with the Federal Election Commission. With such a long primary season, the candidate filing deadline isn't until May 5th, so much time remains for all potential contenders to make decisions.

Freshman Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Boston), who denied then-Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) re-nomination in the 2018 Democratic primary, also hasn't ruled out entering next year's Senate race.  When asked whether she would become a candidate, Rep. Pressley was non-committal, but cryptically said, "I just follow the work. Wherever the work takes me, that's where I go."

House

CA-53:  Ten-term Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) is one of three more House members to announce this week that they will not seek re-election next year.  The open seat count, including the two North Carolina seats that will be filled in special elections next week, now grows to 21, but Rep. Davis is only the fourth Democrat heading to the exits.

The Congresswoman's district is fully contained within San Diego County, covering part of the city of San Diego, and the La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, and Bonita communities.  The region is now Democratic as evidenced by President Trump managing to receive only 30% of the vote here in 2016.  Rep. Davis has averaged 64.1% in the four elections under the district's current configuration.

IL-15:  Twelve-term Illinois Congressman John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) also announced that he will not seek re-election next year.  The veteran Representative said he is making his decision public now because candidates will begin circulating nominating petitions next week. The 15th District covers southeastern Illinois and is a safe Republican seat. President Trump carried the district, 71-24%, a stronger performance than Mitt Romney's 63-43% margin. Mr. Shimkus was re-elected with 71% of the vote last November.

KS-2:  Late this week, state Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), who was the first to announce his US Senate candidacy when the seat opened, switched races.  Mr. LaTurner will now challenge freshman Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Topeka) in the Republican primary.  Many leading Republicans, including former Gov. Jeff Colyer, urged LaTurner to make the move.  Resignation rumors surrounding Mr. Watkins had begun to surface, but the Congressman put such talk to bed last week.

MN-7:  House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson (D-Detroit Lakes) could well face the most accomplished opponent since he originally came to the House after the 1990 election.  Right after the holiday weekend, former Lt. Governor and state Senate President Michelle Fischbach (R) announced that she will challenge the veteran Congressman in the most pro-Trump district in the country that sends a Democrat to Washington.  Mr. Trump carried this seat 62-31% in 2016.  Mr. Peterson, against weak opposition, has failed to exceed 52.5% in his last two election campaigns.

NC-3:  A just-released RRH Elections survey (8/26-28; 500 NC-3 likely special election voters) finds Republican state Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) holding a 51-40% lead over his Democratic opponent, former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, as the September 10th special election quickly approaches.  The seat is heavily Republican, so Mr. Murphy is the clear favorite and could easily exceed this polling margin.

NC-9:  Harper Polling released their poll (8/26-28; 551 NC-9 registered voters) for the upcoming September 10th special election congressional campaign in south-central North Carolina.  According to the Harper results, Democrat Dan McCready would lead Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte), 46-42% on the first ballot test.  When leaners are prodded for a response, the totals increase to 49-44%.  This polling sample contained 56% female respondents suggesting a slight Democratic skew.

RRH Elections then publicized their 9th District survey results that suggest a different conclusion.  The RRH study (8/26-28; 500 NC-9 likely special election voters) finds Sen. Bishop holding a slight 46-45% lead over Mr. McCready, and the margin extends to 48-41% among those who say they have already cast their ballot under the state's early voting system. Clearly, this special election campaign appears headed to a photo finish.

TX-7:  The Congressional Leadership Fund yesterday released their mid-August survey (TargetPoint Consulting; 8/10-11; 336 TX-7 registered voters) that shows Iraq War veteran and mortgage industry executive Wesley Hunt (R) taking a slight lead over freshman Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (R-Houston), 45-43%. Mr. Hunt already has the national Republican leadership's support and raised over $500,000 through the June 30th reporting period.  The poll also revealed Rep. Fletcher recording only a 31:30% favorability index.

TX-17:  Another Texas Congressman has decided not to seek re-election next year, making the fifth from the state to announce his retirement.  Rep. Bill Flores (R-Bryan) was first elected in 2010 and has had little trouble winning re-election in his four subsequent terms.  The Bryan-College Station anchored district stretches into northern Travis County and then all the way to Waco.  It is a strongly Republican seat (Trump '16: 56-39%; Romney '12: 60-38%), so we can expect a hard-fought GOP primary likely followed by a run-off election featuring the top two finishers.

WI-5:  Veteran Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls), who was first elected to represent the west Milwaukee suburban area in 1978, announced yesterday that he will conclude what will be a 42-year career in the House at the end of this term.  The fact that this district will open for the first time in two generations certainly changes the area's political situation, but Republicans will be favored to hold the seat.  President Trump carried the CD with a 57-37% margin and will likely do so again next year.

Governor

Missouri:  State Representative and physician Jim Neely (R-Cameron), serving in his last legislative session under the state's term-limit law, announced that he will challenge Gov. Mike Parson in next year's Republican primary.  Gov. Parson, who ascended to the office from his position as Lt. Governor when elected Gov. Eric Greitens (R) resigned, will be running for his first elected term.  He is the early favorite both in the Republican primary and general election. State Auditor Nicole Galloway is the lone announced Democrat and well on her way to becoming a consensus candidate for the party nomination.

West Virginia:  A MetroNews Dominion Post West Virginia Poll (Research America; 8/14-22; 501 WV registered voters) finds Sen. Joe Manchin (D) leading Gov. Jim Justice (R), 49-39%. In the Republican primary, Gov. Justice holds a 53-19-12% advantage over former state Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher and ex-state Delegate Mike Folk.

Sen. Manchin had been traveling his state during the congressional recess testing the waters as to whether he should challenge Gov. Justice.  Though he was leading in the aforementioned poll and presumably in private surveys, Sen. Manchin announced that he will not run for Governor choosing instead to continue his career in federal office.  The Senator was just re-elected in November, meaning he does not again come before the voters until 2024.

In the last gubernatorial campaign, Mr. Manchin made a similar maneuver, indicating he might run but then chose to remain.  Joe Manchin was Governor from January of 2005 to November of 2010 when he resigned to enter the Senate after winning a special election to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D).

Washington:  Washington state Republican leaders were trying to convince retired US Representative and former King County Sheriff Dave Reichert to return to the political wars and challenge Gov. Jay Inslee (D) next year.  Late this week, Mr. Reichert released a statement saying he has decided not to run and is confident the GOP will field a strong candidate to oppose Gov. Inslee.  At this point, the Governor is favored to win a third term now that he is concentrating on state office after withdrawing from the presidential campaign.


August 30, 2019
Resignations Announced in Senate and House 
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Pres Campaign:  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Seth Moulton out
  • GA-Sen: Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) to resign  
  • MA-Sen: Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D) considers Senate race
  • CA-21: Ex-Rep. David Valadao (R) returns for re-match
  • WI-7: Rep. Sean Duffy (R) to resign

President

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:  Officially failing to qualify for the September 12th presidential debate, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has ended her presidential quest.  She joins Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), ex-Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Gov. Jay Inslee (WA), and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) in withdrawing from the presidential campaign.  The race effectively has 12 remaining active candidates.

Rep. Seth Moulton:  US Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), who failed to qualify for any of the national debates and never made a ripple in the presidential campaign, also withdrew from the presidential race.  It is believed that he will now return to seek re-election to his northeastern Massachusetts congressional district.  If so, he will likely face three credible Democratic primary challengers including Salem City Councilwoman Lisa Peterson.  But, with the Massachusetts congressional primary not until September 15th of next year, Rep. Moulton has plenty of time to recover from his failed presidential effort.

Maine:  As the Maine special legislative session was ending this week, the state Senate passed a bill and sent to Gov. Janet Mills (D) a measure that would add the Ranked Choice Voting system to the presidential primary ballot.  Maine, like several other states, is moving from a caucus system to a primary and will join 13 other places in voting on Super Tuesday, March 3rd.  Ranked Choice Voting is a system that allows voters to rank their candidate choices, and certain individuals will have their multiple votes counted if the first-place finisher only receives a plurality of the vote.  The system's purpose is to guarantee that a candidate will exceed 50%.

Two Polls:  The new Quinnipiac University poll (8/21-26; 1,422 US registered voters; 648 self-identified Democratic and Democrat-leaning Independent primary voters) and the latest Suffolk University survey (8/20-25; 424 likely US Democratic primary voters) find very similar results, and to former Vice President Joe Biden's benefit.  The Q-Poll sees Biden with a 32-19-15-7-5% advantage over Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.  Suffolk sees the same order, with just slightly different numbers, 32-14-12-6-6%.

HarrisX Poll:  During the past few weeks Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) seemed to be locking into a second-place position but the latest polls are reflecting a different result.  The HarrisX research firm released their latest survey (8/20-23; 1,343 US registered Democratic voters), which provides more support for a new trend.  That is, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) eclipsing Ms. Warren for the second position behind former Vice President Joe Biden.  Their latest data finds Biden recording 28% preference followed by Sanders' 17%, and Warren's 12 percent.  All others are in single digits.

New Jersey Poll:  Change Research conducted one of the few Democratic presidential polls of the New Jersey electorate (8/16-20; 635 NJ likely Democratic primary voters) and finds a tight three-way race for the top spot.  Former Vice President Joe Biden places first with 28%, followed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at 23% and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at 21%.  In fourth position, posting 12%, is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.  Home state Sen. Cory Booker could only manage 5% support for his presidential effort.  New Jersey has 126 first ballot delegates.  The state primary is one of the latest on the schedule, June 2, 2020.

September 12th Debate:  The final two polls that help determine debate qualification were released, those from Quinnipiac and Suffolk universities, and the two candidates on the cusp, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and billionaire Tom Steyer, failed to reach 2% support in the required number of surveys.  Had they done so on at least one of these last two surveys during the qualifying period, they would have been admitted.  But each could only muster 1% preference.

Therefore, the next debate will feature ten candidates and occurs over just one night, not two as has been previously the case.  The qualifiers are the obvious top tier candidates: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg.  Joining them are Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), and New York City businessman Andrew Yang.

Senate

Arizona:  Skincare company CEO Daniel McCarthy (R) earlier this week announced that he will challenge appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) for the Republican nomination in next year's August 4th Arizona primary.  Mr. McCarthy, a Trump campaign activist, is planning to attack McSally from the right.  It is presumed he has the ability to self-fund.

Colorado:  Clearly part of the enticement package for former Gov. John Hickenlooper to enter the US Senate race was getting national party support despite being in a field with 13 other Democratic candidates.  Late last week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee officially endorsed Mr. Hickenlooper, just two days after he officially entered the Senate race. Obviously, the party leaders are "all-in" with Hickenlooper, and it is likely we will see a highly competitive Hickenlooper-Sen. Cory Gardner (R) general election campaign.  The nine Democratic female candidates in the race, however, objected and sent a joint letter to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) asking that the DSCC endorsement be rescinded.

Georgia:  Veteran Republican Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) announced on Wednesday that his deteriorating health condition is forcing him to resign his seat at the end of the year.  Sen. Isakson said his Parkinson's Disease is progressing, and this and further health complications precludes him from handling his job in an effective manner.  His official resignation is scheduled for December 31, 2019.

The development means that Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will appoint a replacement Senator for a year.  A special election will be held to fill the balance of the current term, which ends at the beginning of 2023.  The special primary will be in a jungle format - that is, where all candidates are placed on the same ballot - for a vote on November 3, 2020, concurrent with the regular general election.  If no candidate receives majority support the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to a January 5, 2021 special run-off election.

Massachusetts:  Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) for the first time publicly admitted to considering challenging Sen. Ed Markey in next year's Democratic primary.  In a written message, Rep. Kennedy continues to say he has not yet made a decision, but also wrote that, "...I'm not sure this is a moment for waiting.  Our system has been letting down a lot of people for a long time, and we can't fix it if we don't challenge it."  The Massachusetts primary is not until September 15, 2020, so this campaign has a long cycle.

House

CA-8:  Speculation is surfacing that four-term California Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) may eschew running for re-election to the House next year in order to seek an open seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.  Should the Congressman not seek re-election, the 8th District would be heavily contested in the March 3rd jungle primary.  In two of the last four elections, the jungle vote produced two Republicans advancing to the general election. Thus, the 8th is the second-safest seat in the state for the GOP.  It stretches along California's eastern border from San Bernardino County all the way through the Death Valley National Park, and even to the El Dorado National Forest on the outskirts of South Lake Tahoe.

CA-21:  Former Congressman David Valadao (R), who lost his Central Valley California congressional seat to now-freshman Rep. T.J. Cox (D-Fresno) by 862 votes of more than 113,000 ballots cast in a final count that came weeks after the election drew to a close, announced that he will return for a re-match next year.  The new California ballot harvesting law was largely responsible for changing the outcome since Valadao had originally been projected as the winner.  Ballot harvesting allows individuals to collect ballots from voters and return them to the county authorities in batches.  The rural 21st District is typically a Democratic CD, but Mr. Valadao successfully held the office for three terms after serving a two-year stint in the state Assembly. This contest will be a top GOP target next year.

CA-50:  Former 49th District Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) has formed an exploratory committee to assess his chances in adjacent District 50.  The current incumbent, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) is scheduled for trial early next year on campaign finance charges.  The race has already attracted five Republican challengers for the jungle primary including a Mayor, former Mayor, city councilman, a retired Navy SEAL and 53rd District candidate, and a radio talk show host who has run for both Mayor of San Diego and the 52nd CD, along with the 2018 Democratic candidate and two Independents.  Because the trial has now been postponed to after the December 6th candidate filing deadline, Rep. Hunter may well file for re-election.

IN-5:  Former state Rep. Steve Braun, the brother of freshman US Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), lost a 2018 congressional Republican primary in the open 4th District to now-Congressman Jim Baird (R-Greencastle).   Now, Mr. Braun has announced that he is returning to campaign in another district as he declared his candidacy for the open 5th District, from which Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) is retiring.  Mr. Braun becomes the first named candidate to enter the CD-5 Republican primary.  Democrats will likely coalesce behind former state Representative and Lt. Governor nominee Christina Hale.

WI-7:  Five-term Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) announced this week that he will be leaving office effective September 23rd.  Mr. Duffy, originally elected in 2010 to the seat that former House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey was retiring from after 41 years in the House, is leaving because an expectant child has already been diagnosed with serious health challenges.

Gov. Tony Evers (D) will call a special election for the seat once the resignation takes place.  It is likely that the special will coincide with the state's Spring Election, a primary and general vote where judges and local officials are elected.   The Spring primary is February 18, with the general election scheduled concurrently with the Wisconsin presidential primary on April 7th.   The Duffy resignation means there are now 17 open US House seats.

Governor

Kentucky:  A new Garin Hart Yang Research Group internal survey for the Andy Beshear for Governor campaign shows incumbent Matt Bevin (R) falling behind Democratic Attorney General Beshear.  According to the poll (8/19-22; 501 KY likely voters) Beshear has jumped out to 48-39% lead over Gov. Bevin for the November 2019 election.

Louisiana:  A just-released mid-August Market Research Insight survey (8/13-16; 600 LA likely 2019 jungle primary voters) finds Gov. John Bel Edwards performing well enough in the prelude to the October 12th jungle primary election that he may be re-elected outright. According to the results, Gov. Edwards would score a 52-25-19% victory over US Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe) and developer Eddie Rispone (R).  For Gov. Edwards, his numbers in the three-way race are better than if he's forced into a run-off. Against Rep. Abraham, his lead would dip to 53-47%.  If Mr. Rispone advanced opposite the Governor, the Edwards' margin would be 55-45%.

Mississippi:  Lt. Governor Tate Reeves scored a 54-46% victory in Tuesday's Mississippi Republican gubernatorial run-off election, meaning that he will oppose four-term Attorney General Jim Hood (D) in the November election.  The winner will succeed term-limited Gov. Phil Bryant (R) as the state's Governor.

Just after Tuesday's vote, Hillman Analytics released their mid-August general election survey (8/11-15; 600 MS likely 2019 general election voters).  The results gave Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood a 43-42% edge over Mr. Reeves.  It will be interesting to see how the run-off result will affect subsequent polling.  The general election is scheduled for November 3rd.


August 23, 2019
Democratic Presidential Candidate Slate Continues to Evolve
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Presidential Campaign:  Gov. Jay Inslee (D) out
  • AZ-Sen: Sen. Martha McSally (R) drops behind challenger and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) 
  • CO-Sen: Ex-Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in Senate race
  • MN-Sen:  Former Rep. Jason Lewis (R) announces for Senate
  • NC-Sen: Sen. Thom Tillis' (R) tepid GOP primary lead over businessman Garland Tucker 
  • FL-26: Firefighters Union President Omar Blanco announces for GOP
  • OR-4: Anti-terrorist hero Alec Skarlatos (R) announces for Congress

President

Gov. Jay Inslee:  Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced late this week on The Rachel Maddow Show that he is withdrawing from the presidential race, saying that he understands he will not become the Democratic nominee.  Mr. Inslee is the third candidate to leave the presidential race. He then quickly announced plans to seek a third term as Governor.

Debates:  The upcoming September 12-13 Democratic presidential debate from Houston now has ten qualifiers.  Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro is the latest to earn a podium.  The others are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke, in addition to Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren along with businessman Andrew Yang.  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire Tom Steyer each have secured the necessary 130,000 donors, but still need to score 2% on at least one more designated poll in order to be included.  The qualification deadline is August 28th.

Elector Ruling:  A 10th Circuit Appellate three-judge panel overturned a federal district court ruling that allows states to mandate Electoral College members vote for the candidate who carried the state they represent.  Michael Baca, a 2016 Colorado Elector who said he would not vote for Hillary Clinton despite the candidate winning his state because of a national elector strategy designed to deny Donald Trump the Presidency, was removed from his position before the Electoral College convened.  He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the state arguing that his constitutional rights were violated.  The Appellate Court ruling agreeing with Baca could have a wide-ranging effect and we could see the US Supreme Court petitioned to make a declarative ruling.

YouGov/Economist:  International online pollster YouGov, again surveying for The Economist magazine, returned with another test for the Democratic presidential contest.  As in other polls, the YouGov study (8/17-20; 559 US likely Democratic primary voters), finds the top three finishers to be former Vice President Joe Biden (22%), Sens. Bernie Sanders (19%) and Elizabeth Warren (17%).  These results project Sanders slipping past Warren into second while most of the other surveys see the order reversed.

Colorado:  A new Emerson College poll (8/16-19; 403 likely CO Democratic primary voters) finds Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) topping the Democratic presidential field in the Centennial State.  While Sen. Sanders leads, it is by the smallest of margins, just one point over former Vice President Joe Biden.  The ballot test finds a 26-25-20-13% split among Sanders, Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), respectively.  South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg trails substantially, polling only at 5% just one point over New York City businessman Andrew Yang.

Nevada:  Gravis Marketing just surveyed the important Nevada Caucus prospective electorate (8/14-16; 382 likely NV Democratic caucus participants from a survey universe of 926 registered voters) and finds former Vice President Joe Biden developing a comfortable lead but with a low support level.  The results find Mr. Biden commanding 25% preference followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at 15%, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) posting 10%, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) close behind him with 9 percent.  The Nevada Caucus is third on the election calendar and will likely prove to be a more important nominating event than it has in previous elections.

Senate

Alabama:  State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) has ended his Democratic primary challenge to US Sen. Doug Jones saying he does not have the resources to compete with the incumbent.  The primary challenge was never viewed as particularly serious, but now it will not even be an irritant.  Sen. Jones will face a very difficult general re-election, however, against the eventual Republican nominee in a state that will be one of President Trump's strongest domains.

Arizona:  Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights conducted their semi-regular survey of the Arizona electorate (8/13-14; 600 AZ likely general election voters) and again finds a close contest between appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) but, this time, the lead has changed.  The OH data finds Mr. Kelly leading Sen. McSally for the first time, 46-41%, in what promises to be one of the most competitive Senate elections in the 2020 cycle.

Colorado:  The long process for former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to end his presidential campaign and convert into a Senate candidacy has been completed.  Yesterday, Mr. Hickenlooper, despite earlier saying the Senate would not suit him, declared his candidacy. He has 13 Democratic opponents, but some of those may withdraw.  The eventual nominee faces vulnerable Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.  Early polling gives Hickenlooper a large lead, but Gardner is arguably the Republicans' best Senate campaigner.

Minnesota:  Former one-term Congressman Jason Lewis (R) announced yesterday, as expected, that he will challenge Sen. Tina Smith (D) next year.  Mr. Lewis was originally elected to the House in 2016, defeating businesswoman Angie Craig.  In the 2018 election, Ms. Craig returned for a re-match and unseated the freshman incumbent.  Instead of attempting to regain his 2nd District Congressional seat, the former radio talk show host has now entered the statewide campaign.  Sen. Smith was appointed to replace Al Franken when he resigned due to a sexual harassment scandal.  She was then elected in a special election last November to fill the balance of the current term on a 53-42% vote over state Senator Karin Housley (R).

North Carolina:  Public Policy Polling tested the North Carolina Senate Republican primary (8/19-20; 564 NC likely Republican primary voters) and found incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis leading businessman Garland Tucker by an unimpressive margin.  The survey results found Mr. Tillis leading only 38-31% in a state that has a penchant for defeating its US Senators. Since the 1974 election, only Senators Jesse Helms (R) and Richard Burr (R) have successfully been re-elected.  Democrats are coalescing around former state Sen. Cal Cunningham as their prospective nominee.  The North Carolina primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020.

House

AZ-1:  Sophomore Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-Sedona) already has a Democratic primary opponent to his left, former Flagstaff City Councilwoman Eva Putzova, and now it appears he has one to his right.  Former state Senator Barbara Maguire, who also served in the Arizona House of Representatives and is a self-described "conservative Democrat," announced that she will run for Congress next year and attempt to deny Mr. O'Halleran re-nomination in the August 4th Democratic primary.  She now says that Mr. O'Halleran has moved too far right.

Last week, former three-time World Series champion pitcher Curt Schilling indicated that he was considering running in an Arizona congressional district.  This week, Mr. Schilling, who pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks and attended high school and college in the state, said if he does run it will be against Rep. O'Halleran in this expansive district that encompasses almost all of eastern Arizona.

CA-45:  Congressional candidate Greg Raths, a retired Marine Corps officer and member of the Mission Viejo City Council, the 45th District's second largest municipality, released his recent internal Fabrizio Lee Associates poll (8/15-18; 300 CA-45 likely jungle primary voters).  The data shows Mr. Raths as the strongest Republican, but not to the point of being out of reach for any of the others.  Freshman Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) easily captures first place for the jungle primary with 46%, followed by Mr. Raths with 10%.  Three other candidates all finish with either 3 or 2% support.  We can expect this race to be a major congressional contest in the fall of 2020.

OR-4:  Alec Skarlatos, an Oregon National Guardsman who helped stop a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in 2015 and later played himself in a Clint Eastwood directed movie depicting the event, has announced a bid for Congress.  This won't be Mr. Skarlatos’ first political run, however.  Last year, he ran for Douglas County Commissioner, and while placing second in a field of eight candidates for the non-partisan position, still came just under 1,300 votes of winning.  Mr. Skarlatos will be running in the Republican primary to eventually challenge House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield/Eugene) who has held the politically marginal district since the beginning of 1987.

FL-26: Miami-Dade Firefighters local union president Omar Blanco has filed a 2020 congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission, the prelude to him announcing his candidacy. Should he win the 26th District Republican nomination, he will face freshman Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Miami) in a seat the Democrats converted away from Republican hands in 2018. The presence of a Hispanic Republican union president as the GOP nominee will make this race one to watch.

NM-2:  Reports say New Mexico Oil & Gas Association chair Claire Chase (R) is scheduled to announce her candidacy against freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-Las Cruces) in the state's southern congressional district.  Assuming Ms. Chase wins the Republican nomination, it is highly likely that we will see a race based upon the Green New Deal and its promise to eliminate the fossil fuels industry within twelve years.  Southeastern New Mexico is rich in oil and gas, thus placing the energy issue as the focal point of this impending campaign.

PA-8:  Saying, "I think more people are interested in me running than I am," ex-Rep. Lou Barletta, who was the Republican US Senate nominee in 2018, indicates he is not planning to challenge Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) in the district that adjoins his previous CD.  Republicans are looking for a strong candidate to challenge Rep. Cartwright because he sits in a seat that went strongly for President Trump in 2016.  Early this year, 2018 nominee John Chrin, who lost to Cartwright 55-45%, filed a 2020 cycle FEC committee but has since declined to run.  Mr. Barletta says he will make a final decision after Labor Day.

TX-22:  Mega-GOP and conservative cause donor Kathaleen Wall announced her congressional candidacy for the open 22nd District yesterday.  In the last cycle she ran in the open 2nd District and lost to now-Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston) by just 155 votes as she failed to qualify for the run-off that the latter man eventually won.  We can expect both a tight primary and general election in this seat from which four-term Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) is retiring.

Also in the GOP race is County Court judge Greg Hill, a former Pearland City Councilman. Expected to join is Ft. Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls.  For the Democrats, the leading contender is 2018 nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni, who held Mr. Olson to a 51-46% re-election victory last November.

UT-4:  In what will be a Top Five Republican target race nationally, state Sen. Dan Hemmert (R-Orem) this week announced his congressional candidacy.  If successful in the GOP primary, he will face freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City), the former Mayor of Salt Lake County.  Also in the race is former radio talk show host and software gaming developer Jay Mcfarland and ex-Utah Republican Party Communications Director Kathleen Anderson. Former Rep. Mia Love (R), who has not ruled out running again, previously said she would not seek a re-match with Rep. McAdams if Sen. Hemmert would seek the position.

 
 

 

 

ELECTION COUNTDOWN
Election Insights Voter Information
Employee Voter Registration Week 2017

September 25-29, 2017

Employee Voter Registration Week is an effort to make a dent in the number of unregistered citizens across the country. During this week, companies and associations will join together in an effort to encourage voter registration among private sector employees. The initiative will not tell employees how to vote or who to vote for, but instead aims to serve as a resource to help employers educate their employees about the issues that are important to their industries and provide key deadlines, voter registration, and polling location information.

For more information on Employee Voter Registration Week, visit www.EmployeesVote.com