This article originally appeared on BIPAC's blog. Written by BIPAC Political Analyst Jim Ellis.
- AK-Sen: Democrats Field Candidate
- MD-Sen: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) Won’t Run for Senate
- IA-2: Rep. Ashley Hinson (R) in Close Re-election Race
- MI-11: Paired Dem Reps. Haley Stevens and Andy Levin Tied in Poll
- Redistricting: Action in AL; CT; KS; NC; OH; WA
- OH-Gov: Another Close GOP Nomination Poll for Gov. Mike DeWine
- States: An Andrew Cuomo Comeback?
Alaska: State Rep. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) announced that she will enter the 2022 US Senate race, challenging incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R). Ms. Gray-Jackson becomes the first Democrat to become a Senate candidate.
The party nomination may be more valuable in this election than in any other because of changes to Alaska election law. The state’s new qualifying system will feature four jungle primary candidates advancing into the general election. With the chance of three Republicans qualifying for the general, alone Democratic slot could be valuable as the GOP contenders would likely split the majority vote. Mostly because of the election system change, the Alaska Senate race becomes one to watch.
Maryland: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) this week announced that he will not challenge Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) later this year. The decision is not a surprise, since Gov. Hogan has clearly been looking toward a national race in 2024 as opposed to running what could be an uphill battle for the Senate in Maryland. Though his favorability ratings are as strong as any Governor in the country, it appears to be more difficult in today’s political climate to change partisan vote trends for federal offices. Sen. Van Hollen remains a strong favorite for re-election.
Pennsylvania: Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, the only woman in the Democratic US Senate field who was once thought of as a top-tier contender, has ended her statewide bid. With Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) leading the field with a substantial margin, Ms. Arkoosh did not see a viable victory path. State Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) previously declined to run after being an early unofficial candidate. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), who has shown improved polling numbers, remains in the race. The Pennsylvania primary is May 17th.
IA-2: Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Hiawatha/Cedar Rapids) released a Public Policy Polling survey (2/2-3; 623 IA-2 registered voters; live interview and text) and the results find her running predictably close in a ballot test with freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion). The PPP poll sees Rep. Hinson posting only a 43-42% edge. We can expect close polling such as this in three of the state’s four districts to occur throughout the election cycle. Districts 1 (Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks-R), 2 (Rep. Hinson), and 3 (Rep. Cindy Axne-D) are all highly competitive and each of these Hawkeye State congressional campaigns are likely to land in the toss-up category well before the November 8th elections.
MI-11: According to the Jewish Insider publication, the Target Insyght survey research firm conducted a poll of the Democratic primary in Michigan’s new 11th District that features an incumbent pairing between Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township). The TI numbers (2/1-3; 400 MI-11 likely Democratic primary voters) found the two members tied at 41% apiece. Last week, Ms. Stevens released her Impact Research internal poll posting her to a 42-35% advantage.
New York: Now that the New York congressional map is all but assured of becoming law, US House members and candidates are beginning to select districts. Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) announced that she will leave her current 22nd District to seek re-election in the more Republican and open 23rd District (Rep. Tom Reed-R; retiring), and Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park), who could run in the new 23rd or the new 24th, has chosen to declare his candidacy in the latter district. With current 24th District incumbent John Katko (R-Syracuse) retiring, his seat has been converted into the new 22nd District and becomes Democratic (D+13 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization).
SC-1: Though redistricting made South Carolina’s 1st District more Republican, freshman Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) now finds herself drawing a more legitimate Republican challenger. Katie Arrington, who defeated then-representative and former Governor Mark Sanford in the 2018 Republican primary but then went on to lose the general election, announced that she will make a political comeback here this year. Ms. Arrington, who former President Trump endorses, lost her associated general election through campaign missteps and being an unfortunate victim of a serious car accident that kept her away from the campaign trail for an extended time. The Congresswoman, however, remains the favorite to win re-nomination.
Alabama: On a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court voted to stay the lower court ruling that invalidated the new Alabama congressional map. The Republican three-judge panel had ruled that a second majority minority district could have been drawn among the state’s seven congressional districts. Arguing for the majority, Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated that the lower court decision was made too close to the 2022 election to allow a full judicial review. Analysts say this ensures that the original map will be back in place for this year’s election. The new plan is virtually an extension of the current map, which elected six Republicans and one Democrat in the 2020 election.
Connecticut: Responding to the special master they appointed to draw the new congressional map, the Connecticut state Supreme Court justices yesterday approved a new “least change” plan that will likely keep the state’s 5D-0R map intact. The plan merely adjusted the population so that each district met the state per district population quota of 721,189 individuals. The most out of balance district was Rep. Jim Himes’ (D-Cos Cob) 4th CD, being 25,627 people over-populated. The seat closest to the mark was Rep. John Larson’s (D-East Hartford) 1st District that needed to add just 3,535 residents.
Kansas: Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed, as expected, the Republican legislature’s new congressional map that makes the 3rd District of Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park/Kansas City) more competitive. After obtaining the necessary 2/3 majority in the legislature to override Gov. Kelly’s veto means the new congressional map now becomes law. Democrats pledge to challenge the new map in court.
North Carolina: In what has almost been a decade-long game of gerrymander ping pong, the state Supreme Court rejected the new North Carolina congressional and state legislative maps, thus repeating their actions of two previous times the high court disqualified a Republican legislature’s map. The vote was 4-3, with all four Democrats voting in favor of declaring the map a political gerrymander, consistent with their past action, while the three Republicans voted to uphold the lower court ruling that validated the plans.
Whatever happens this year, there is a good chance we will see another re-draw before the 2024 election since Republicans have a strong chance of securing a majority on the high court in the coming elections. Two of the Democratic justices are on the ballot, one is retiring, and no Republican has to risk his seat. The NC primary is June 7th.
Ohio: Seeing the state Supreme Court reject for the second time the legislature’s state House and Senate redistricting plans, House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) announced that he is referring the congressional map to the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The panel is largely advisory in that the legislature must approve the maps they construct. The Redistricting Commission members have until March 15th to draw a new map that meets the state Supreme Court’s objections to the federal map that they earlier disqualified.
Washington: The state legislature approved the Washington Redistricting Commission’s congressional lines, meaning the new 10-District map has been enacted as law. The Commission members made little change in the footprint that stood for the past ten years. All incumbents (7D-3R) receive a similar district to the one they currently represent with population adjustments. The most imbalanced seat vis-a-vis population was the 6th District of Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor), which was short 33,730 individuals.
Alabama: Gov. Kay Ivey now has several official Republican opponents in her quest for re-nomination to a second full term. Alabama has now reported their official list of ballot qualified statewide candidates, and Gov. Ivey will face former US Ambassador to Slovenia Lindy Blanchard, real estate developer and son of former Gov. Fob James, Tim James, former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George, non-profit organization founder Lew Burdette, and pastor Dean Odle.
Though the Governor is a heavy favorite to prevail, the crowded field makes it more difficult for her to clear the 50% hurdle to win the party nomination outright. Ms. Blanchard began the election cycle as a US Senate candidate, but switched to the Governor’s race. She is personally wealthy and intends to spend several million dollars of her own money to wage a viable campaign. The Alabama primary is May 24th. A runoff, if necessary, would occur on June 21st.
Georgia: Former DeKalb County Executive and ex-state Rep. Vernon Jones, who served as a Democrat but became a Republican to support former President Trump, announced that he is withdrawing from the contested gubernatorial contest. This sets up the one-on-one primary pairing, minor candidates notwithstanding, between Gov. Brian Kemp and former Sen. David Perdue. Mr. Jones then entered the open crowded 10th District primary that Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro) is vacating to run for Secretary of State, and with Mr. Trump’s endorsement. The former President was instrumental in talking Jones out of running for Governor.
Ohio: Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Democratic Governors Association (1/25-26; 628 OH likely Republican primary voters), is the third data research organization (Fabrizio Lee; The Harris Poll being the other two) to recently project a brewing Republican primary battle for Gov. Mike DeWine. The PPP result finds the Governor with a 36:43% personal approval rating and a 40:41% positive to negative job approval score among the Republican voting sample. The respondents would prefer Mr. DeWine in only a 38-33% spread opposite former US Rep. Jim Renacci in the GOP primary pairing.
New York: In an interview with the Bloomberg News organization, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who left office last year in response to multiple sexual harassment accusations and now says he regrets quitting because of them, refused to rule out again running for office, and maybe soon. According to CNN and the New York Daily News, Mr. Cuomo is seriously testing the waters for challenging the law enforcement official who officially initiated the charges against him, Attorney General Tish James (D). Mr. Cuomo served as the state’s Attorney General from the beginning of 2007 until the end of 2010, prior to his first election as Governor.
Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court issued a stay on the statewide candidate filing deadline (March 8) and the primary (May 17), as the panel attempts to sort out the congressional redistricting situation. The move suggests that both the filing deadline and the state primary stand a good chance of being postponed. A spokesman for the PA Clerk of Courts, however, said the May 17th election date will likely stand.