GOP Race Tightens in OH-Senate Primary; CT-Gov. Lamont Leading in New Poll

April 29, 2022

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

Key Takeaways

  • OH-Sen: Anybody’s Game for Tuesday’s GOP Primary
  • UT-Sen: Dems Coalesce Around Independent Candidate
  • FL-5: Rep. Al Lawson (D) May Challenge Rep. Neal Dunn (R)
  • HI-2: More Announce as Rep. Kai Kanele (D) Heads for Gov Race
  • Redistricting: NY Court of Appeals Tosses Dem Cong Map
  • CT-Gov: Gov. Ned Lamont (D) Leading in First 2022 Poll


Ohio: The Blueprint Polling firm tested the Ohio Republican field for the upcoming Senate primary next week (4/21-24; 634 OH likely Republican primary voters; live interview), and yet another candidate is detected taking first place. This is the first survey that projects state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball club, in the top position and the fourth of the five major candidates who in one poll or another has led the field. In this study, Sen. Dolan posts 18% support, just a point ahead of author J.D. Vance, with businessman Mike Gibbons, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, and ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken following with 13, 12, and 7% preference. 

Fox News was also in the field during virtually the same time period (4/20-24; 906 OH likely Republican primary voters; live interview), but they produce a much different result. According to this poll, it is Mr. Vance with the lead at 23% with Messrs. Mandel, Gibbons, Dolan, and Ms. Timken trailing with 18-13-11 and 8%, respectively. Early voting continues for the May 3rd primary election.

Utah: The Utah Democratic nominating convention over the weekend voted with a 57% majority not to field a party candidate against Sen. Mike Lee (R), but instead form a coalition to back Independent candidate Evan McMullin. The move was the first of its kind in Utah political history. The delegates clearly agreed with the argument that the party was better coalescing behind McMullin, a 2016 Independent presidential candidate and former Republican who placed a strong third in the state (21.5%) behind Republican Donald Trump (45.5%) and Democrat Hillary Clinton (27.5%) than nominating their own Democratic contender. They understood that supporting Democrat Kael Watson and producing a three-way campaign meant a sure victory for Sen. Lee.


AK-AL: The Alaska Republican Party took an official stand in the special election that is scheduled for June 11th, with the succeeding four-person runoff on the political calendar for August 16th. The AK GOP endorsed software executive Nick Begich III, the grandson of the late former Congressman Nick Begich (D), and nephew of ex-Democratic US Senator Mark Begich. The Alaska Republican State Central Committee took the action even though former Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is also in the huge field of 48 candidates all vying to replace the late Congressman Don Young (R). Earlier in the week, Ms. Palin’s former in-laws, Jim and Faye Palin, also publicly announced they are backing Mr. Begich. One way the party justified their endorsement is to explain that Mr. Begich was the only one of the 13 GOP contenders to follow the party procedure for requesting formal support.

FL-5: Florida US Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) has difficult choices ahead of him in determining where to seek re-election in the north Florida region. The new Florida congressional map collapses his current district. The Politico publication reports yesterday that Mr. Lawson is leaning toward challenging Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District, a R+16 CD but one that does include Rep. Lawson’s home base of Tallahassee.

HI-2: Confident that freshman Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) will soon declare his intention to run for Governor, former state Senator Jill Tokuda (D) yesterday formally exited the Lt. Governor’s race and announced that she will enter the 1st Congressional District contest. Though Rep. Kahele is still technically a congressional candidate, Ms. Tokuda follows the lead of state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (D-Kailua), state Rep. Angus McKelvey (D-Lahaina), and Honolulu City Council chairman Tommy Waters (D) who have all entered the congressional race. The Hawaii candidate filing deadline is June 7th for the August 13th statewide primary, so Rep. Kahele will soon have to make known his 2022 political plans.

MA-4: Former Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell, who lost the 2020 Democratic primary to current US Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton) by just one percentage point, announced yesterday that she will not return for a re-match. Therefore, Rep. Auchincloss becomes a prohibitive favorite for re-nomination and re-election. The Massachusetts primary is not until September 6th, and the candidate filing deadline is May 31st.

MN-1: First Congressional District Republicans convened over the weekend to potentially endorse a candidate in the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester). Though state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) attracted 55% of the delegate vote, it was not enough to secure the official endorsement. Doing so requires 60 percent. This means we will see an open special election primary on May 24th with no officially endorsed candidate, though Rep. Munson appears to be a clear front runner.

NC-11: The Differentiators Data research organization, polling for GOPAC (4/25-26; 400 NC-11 likely Republican primary voters; live interview and text), finds that a majority of GOP sampled voters saying they would not vote to re-nominate Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville), but his hard core support group appears large enough to allow him to win a plurality election.

When asked if they would support Rep. Cawthorn in the North Carolina primary, 61% said they would choose another candidate. His 39% coalition that would vote to re-nominate him is large enough to win the primary in a state that has a runoff law, but with only a 30% threshold. Rep. Cawthorn having seven opponents is clearly playing to his benefit.

OR-5: In a disappointing development for challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, President Biden just involved himself in the impending May 17th Oregon primary by endorsing veteran Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) over the more progressive contender who is an attorney and former local city manager. The two are vying to win the party primary for the newly constructed 5th District that is rated D+3, making it the most competitive seat in the Beaver State. 

Utah: US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo), posted only 41% of the convention vote on the first ballot, which was just enough to avoid an embarrassing defeat since he did not also opt to obtain petition signatures. The later rounds pushed him to 45%, but the Congressman still must win a Republican primary against the man whom he defeated in a 2017 special election and the 2018 GOP primary, former state Representative Chris Herrod. Despite Rep. Curtis’ poor showing at the party convention, he is still expected to win the primary and general elections.

First District Blake Moore (R-Salt Lake City) also found wavering support among the delegates. He drew only 34% of the delegate vote, but had already qualified for the primary ballot via the petition signature process. Marketing executive Andrew Badger, who pledges to join the House Freedom Caucus if elected, captured just under 60% of the delegate vote. Mr. Badger and Morgan County Councilwoman Tina Cannon, who also gained ballot access through the petition option, will both oppose Rep. Moore in late June. Reps. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) and Burgess Owens (R-Salt Lake City) both easily qualified for the ballot with 84 and 68% of the vote, respectively. Both, however, will face petition primaries against attorney Erin Rider and technology executive Jake Hunsacker.


Florida: On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) took the final step toward adopting the new Florida congressional plan by signing the bill that the legislature passed. Immediately, several groups, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, Equal Ground Education Fund, and Florida Rising Together, along with several individuals filed suit in state court to overturn the map. They claim the new draw violates the “Fair Districts” amendment to the Florida Constitution that voters passed in 2010, which pertains to gerrymandering and minority representation. It is likely the Florida state Supreme Court will ultimately decide the matter.

Kansas: Continuing a string of adverse rulings from judges over maps that the corresponding state legislature had passed, another Republican judge has tossed a Republican drawn map. Wyandotte County Judge Bill Klapper declared the map unconstitutional on the basis of racial and partisan gerrymandering of the state’s 3rd District that Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park/Kansas City) represents. He ordered the legislature to draw a new map. Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), who is running for Governor, said the state will immediately appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court. The state’s candidate filing deadline is June 1st in conjunction with the August 2nd state primary.

New York: The New York Court of Appeals, the highest judicial body in the state, upheld the two lower court decisions to invalidate the Democrats’ 22D-4R congressional map. The high court ruled that the legislature did not have the power to usurp the created redistricting commission even though the members could not complete their task by the assigned date. The CoA also ruled that the map is a partisan gerrymander. The court remanded the map back to the lower court and instructed a special master be hired to draw the new congressional and state Senate maps. The court also recommended the June 28th state primary be moved to a time in August.


Alabama: A new internal Tarrance Group survey for Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R) re-election campaign (4/18-20; 600 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds the incumbent in position to win re-nomination outright in the May 24th Republican primary election. Failing to reach the 50% support mark would send the nomination battle into a secondary June 21st runoff election between the top two finishers. The Tarrance results project Gov. Ivey holding a 57% preference figure. Following are former US Ambassador to Slovenia Lindy Blanchard with 14% and businessman Tim James, son of former Alabama Governor Fob James, posting 12% support. The Republican nomination battle in the Yellowhammer State is tantamount to winning re-election in November.

Alaska: After the Alaska Republican Party, which has also endorsed businessman Nick Begich, III over former Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin in the US House special election, had already officially endorsed the party’s incumbent Governor, Mike Dunleavy (R), the political entity has now expanded its official support list. In addition to the Governor, the Alaska GOP voted to also endorse Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, who is the Governor’s Republican primary challenger.

Connecticut: Fairfield, Connecticut’s Sacred Heart University released a new poll of the Governor’s campaign, which is expected to become competitive once we enter the post-primary period. The survey (3/24-4/11; 1,000 CT residents; online) finds Gov. Ned Lamont (D) opening with a substantial lead over businessman and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski (R). The ballot test finds the Governor holding a 48-30% advantage. The poll, however, has a questionable methodology. The sampling period of 18 days is very long, and the respondent universe did not segment for likely or even registered voters. Therefore, the result likely places Gov. Lamont in a better position than he might be before a more targeted poll.

Georgia: The new University of Georgia poll conducted for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution news site (4/10-22; 886 GA likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Governor Brian Kemp (R) expanding his polling lead over former US Senator David Perdue as the two move toward the May 24th GOP primary. The UGA numbers post the Governor’s advantage to 53-27% with educator Kandiss Taylor pulling a mere 4% support. Former President Trump has endorsed Mr. Perdue. Gov. Kemp has been ahead during the entire campaign, but his margin has clearly increased as we head toward the beginning of May.