House Appropriations Chair to Retire

October 11, 2019

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


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 of 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 of 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.


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 astonishing 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, thus 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.


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 serve 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 yesterday 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.


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.