Early Polling for 2020 Democratic Nominee and Last Push in Alabama Senate GOP Special Election

September 20, 2017

This article originally appeared on BIPAC's blog. Written by BIPAC Political Analyst Jim Ellis.

Top Lines

  • California Looks to Move Up its 2020 Presidential Primary to March
  • Alabama Runoff Hits Final Week
  • Arizona Polls Show Flake Down
  • Michael Grimm to Run for NY-13
  • Gillespie Closing the Gap in Virginia Governor's Race

President

Believe it or not, two 2020 presidential stories came to the forefront since our last report. First, we have now seen the first 2020 presidential poll, from Zogby Analytics (released 9/12; 834 likely US voters; 356 likely Democratic presidential primary voters). The survey tested nine potential Democratic national candidates and found Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the group with 28% support. He tops former Vice President Joe Biden by eleven points, while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew 12% support. Those in single-digits were Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New York Senator and Governor Kirsten Gillibrand and Andrew Cuomo, respectively. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe tied for last place with just 1% apiece.

Secondly, the California legislature is considering a bill to again move their presidential primary. Golden State officials have been moving the primary from an early-cycle slot to a late one in the past few elections to find the best place for the most populous state to have the most influence in choosing presidential nominees. In 2016, they returned to their traditional June primary date in order to possibly become the deciding factor, and that almost worked as both nomination battles were coming down to the end of the primary process. But, many believe the state would be better positioned with a March primary. Therefore, the legislature will soon vote on a bill to again re-position the California presidential nomination vote back to the earlier time slot.

Senate

As the special Alabama Senate Republican run-off election winds down to its final days, the two candidates, appointed Sen. Luther Strange and former state Supreme Court Chief Judge Roy Moore, are moving full steam ahead. Judge Moore leads in all polls, but the margin is tightening. President Trump and Vice President Pence are making appearances in the state for Sen. Strange, and the NRA is spending more than $1 million on his behalf in a last minute media blitz. The run-off election is scheduled for this Tuesday, September 26th. The winner will face Birmingham former US Attorney Doug Jones in the December 12th special general election. The eventual winner will serve through the 2020 election, at which point he will be eligible to seek a full six-year term.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R) received some bad polling news during the past week. A new GBA Strategies poll (8/30-9/7; 600 AZ likely general election voters; 500 AZ likely Republican primary voters) found the Senator falling much further behind his announced 2018 GOP primary opponent, former state Sen. Kelli Ward. According to GBA, the ex-legislator would lead the incumbent by a whopping 51-38% in next year's Republican primary with the Senator scoring a terrible 34:58% job disapproval score. In a hypothetical general election pairing with potential candidate Kyrsten Sinema, the three-term Phoenix area Congresswoman, Sen. Flake would trail, 40-47%.

All signs indicate that 84-year old California Senator Dianne Feinstein will seek re-election next year. She has been raising money at a steady clip, appears to be facing little to no opposition, and now freshman Sen. Kamala Harris (D) has just gone public with an endorsement of her Golden State Democratic colleague, saying she supports Sen. Feinstein's re-election, "100%."

A surprising new poll for the North Dakota Senate race was just released. WPA Intelligence (9/10-11; 406 ND likely voters) surveyed the Peace Garden State electorate and found that state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, heretofore not even mentioned as a possible candidate, actually leads first-term Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), 48-44%. The Republicans' announced candidate, state Senator and entrepreneur Tom Campbell (R-Grafton/Grand Forks) was not tested.

House

Three Republicans immediately stepped forward to declare their candidacies in what will be the open Detroit suburban 11th District of Michigan. Last week, Rep. David Trott (R-Birmingham) announced that he will not seek a third term. Lena Epstein, a businesswoman who is President Trump's former Michigan co-chair, is switching from the Senate campaign into the open House race. State Rep. Klint Kesto (R-Oakland County) also declared his candidacy, as did former state House Majority Leader and ex-US Senate candidate Rocky Raczkowski. The eventual Republican nominee will have an edge heading into the general election.

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