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IA Sen Grassley to Seek Re-Election; KS Governor Race Tightening

October 1, 2021

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

Key Takeaways    

  • AZ-Sen: Sen. Mark Kelly (D) Leads Opponents, But Well Below 50%
  • IA-Sen: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) to Seek Re-Election 
  • Redistricting: CO; ME; NE; OR; WV 
  • KS-Gov: New Polling Finds Close General Election Race 
  • NY-Gov: Democratic Primary Forming Against Gov. Kathy Hochul 
  • Los Angeles: US Rep. Karen Bass (D) Announces for Mayor

Senate

Arizona: OH Predictive Insights ran a series of ballot tests for the 2022 US Senate race and tested incumbent Mark Kelly (D) against all current potential Republican opponents. The survey (9/7-12; 882 AZ registered voters; online opt-in panel) finds Sen. Kelly, who won the 2020 special election to fill the unexpired portion of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) final term with a 51-49% margin, only posting 43 or 44% against any of the announced Republican candidates. 

The GOP opponent coming closest is state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who trails 43-39%. The Senator performs best against venture capitalist Blake Masters, leading 44-35%. Also tested were former Arizona National Guard Adjutant General Mick McGuire and businessman Jim Lamon. They both finish within seven points of Sen. Kelly.

Iowa: Iowa’s longest serving US Senator, Chuck Grassley (R), announced that he will seek re-election to an eighth Senatorial term, unprecedented for any Iowan. Mr. Grassley was first elected to the Senate on the same night that Ronald Reagan won the Presidency back in 1980. He has been in office consecutively since 1959, including his time in the state legislature and US House. Sen. Grassley, who will turn 89 years of age before the next election, said he has “a lot more to do for Iowa,” and is therefore seeking re-election. 

Nevada: WPA Intelligence released a new survey of the Nevada Senate race featuring first-term incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R). According to the WPAi survey (9/11-15; 504 NV likely voters; live interview), the GOP challenger, Mr. Laxalt, holds a slight 39-37% edge over Sen. Cortez Masto. The poll features an unusually high undecided/refused to say response of 24% considering both individuals have long political histories in the state.

Ohio: Former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel continues to maintain a large lead in the open US Senate Republican primary according to a new statewide survey. WPA Intelligence went into the field during the September 20-23 period, interviewing 510 likely Republican primary voters. The results find Mr. Mandel holding a 37-13% lead over author J.D. Vance. All other contenders, including former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, fall well below the 10% double-digit mark.

House

Colorado: The congressional Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission approved a new 8-district map on an 11-1 vote, adhering to the September 28th initiative mandated deadline. The map, that appears to be a 4D-3R-1Swing partisan division, now goes to the Colorado state Supreme Court for legal approval. The high court has until December 15th to provide confirmation for the new map. The new 8th District lies to the north and northeast of Denver and becomes only a 1.3% Democratic district meaning that the new CD is in play for both parties.

Maine: Maine’s redistricting commission, which consists of ten state legislators and five appointed members, reached an agreement on a new congressional map. The main change is moving the capital region of Augusta from liberal District 1 (Rep. Chellie Pingree-D) to more conservative District 2 (Rep. Jared Golden-D). The 2nd District becomes slightly more Democratic, but former President Trump would still have carried the seat. Both houses of the Maine legislature must pass redistricting maps with 2/3 vote, so this process is far from complete.

Nebraska: Nebraska’s three congressional districts have been re-drawn, passed through the unicameral legislature, and Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed the completed map into law. The new plan is similar to the previous draw. Rep. Don Bacon’s (R-Papillon/Omaha) 2nd District becomes slightly more Republican, keeps the Omaha metro area whole, and remains a competitive seat. Rep. Adrian Smith’s (R-Gering) 3rd District again stretches the width of the state, from Colorado and Wyoming all the way to Iowa and the northwestern corner of Missouri. This time the 3rd even goes so far as to border Omaha’s Douglas County. 

It is likely that Nebraska will continue to send three Republicans to the US House, though Democrats will return to target Rep. Bacon in District 2.

OH-11: Former Ohio state Senator and ex-national co-chair for the Bernie Sanders for President campaign, Nina Turner, lost the Democratic special congressional election primary to Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown on September 14th after the former woman began the campaign as a big favorite. 

Though the special general hasn’t yet occurred (November 2nd), Ms. Turner this week filed a 2022 congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. The former state legislator said the action doesn’t mean she will run in 2022, but does give her the option of quickly launching a campaign. The Cleveland anchored seat will remain in Democratic hands regardless of who wins the next party primary.

Oregon: Oregon became the first state to complete 2020 census redistricting this week. The new congressional map creates two Portland area safe Democratic seats, for Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Washington County) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland), and one safe Republican district for freshman Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario). The remaining three districts all lean the Democrats’ way, but none can be considered safe. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield), after only scoring 51.5% in the 2020 election, sees his district improve by about five percentage points. 

On the other hand, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) finds his 5th District splitting in half, with most of his territory forming the heart of the new 6th District. The 5th, which will now stretch to the Bend community from the Salem metro area, becomes a competitive seat, only slightly leaning toward Rep. Schrader. The new 6th CD is more Democratic but could also be competitive with a viable Republican candidate in a good GOP year.

OR-6: Just after the Oregon legislature and Governor enacted the state’s new six-district congressional map, Dundee Mayor David Russ (R), who had announced against Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Washington County) in the safely Democratic 1st District, said yesterday he will switch into the new more competitive and neighboring 6th District. Like Colorado, Oregon was awarded a new district in reapportionment.

West Virginia: The first proposed West Virginia redistricting map is public. The state is losing one of its three districts, which will likely force Rep. Alex Mooney’s (R-Charles Town) mid-state 2nd District into collapse.  Since parts of his seat are in each of the new districts, Rep. Mooney would have his choice of running in a Republican primary against either Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) or Carol Miller (R-Huntington) if this were ultimately the adopted plan.  

Governor

Arizona: OH Predictive Insights (released 9/29; 9/7-12; 882 AZ registered voters; 863 AZ likely voters; online opt-in panel) released the gubernatorial portion of their latest survey, covering both Arizona open gubernatorial primaries. 

For the Democrats, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs held a 40-10-8% lead over former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez and ex-state Rep. Aaron Lieberman. Turning to the Republicans, former Phoenix news anchor Kari Lake holds a 25-9-6-5% advantage over ex-US Rep. Matt Salmon, state Treasurer Kimberly Lee, and businessman Steve Gaynor, respectively. Former President Trump recently endorsed Ms. Lake. Though the primary sample sizes are low, the margins are such that both Ms. Hobbs and Ms. Lake can be considered the early front runners for their respective party nominations.

Kansas: Clarity Campaign Labs, polling for the EMILY’s List organization that supports Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, released their statewide survey, the first since Attorney General Derek Schmidt became a consensus Republican candidate. According to the poll results (9/13-15; 810 KS registered voters; interactive voice response system), Gov. Kelly’s ballot test lead over AG Schmidt is only 47-44%. We can expect this race to move into the toss-up realm.

 New Jersey: Three pollsters have released September data for the New Jersey Governor’s race, and while all three find Gov. Phil Murphy (D) holding an advantage, the margin differences are large. Stockton University Polling Institute (9/17-25; 552 NJ likely voters; live interview) finds Gov. Murphy topping former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R), 50-41%. Monmouth University (9/16-20; 804 NJ registered voters; live interview) projects Murphy holding a larger 51-38% advantage. Finally, National Research, Inc. released their September data (9/13-16; 600 NJ likely voters; live interview) showing a much closer conclusion with the Governor holding only a 45-42% edge.

New York: New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has formed a political exploratory committee to assess his chances of challenging new Gov. Kathy Hochul in next year’s statewide Democratic primary. Mr. Williams entering the race will take the primary to a competitive level and may encourage other credible Democrats to enter. Mr. Williams and Gov. Hochul have previously opposed each other. She defeated him 53-47% in the 2018 Democratic primary for Lt. Governor. Ms. Hochul can expect a competitive 2022 Democratic primary and general election.

Oregon: Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read (D) officially announced his gubernatorial candidacy, becoming only the third major Democrat to enter the race to succeed term-limited Democratic Governor Kate Brown. In addition to Mr. Read, state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla are in the primary race. The eventual Democratic nominee will be a heavy favorite in the 2022 general election.

Virginia: A trio of new surveys again confirm that former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) maintains a discernible lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin. Roanoke College (9/12-26; 603 VA likely voters; live interview) posts the Democratic advantage to be 48-41%. Monmouth University (9/22-26; 801 VA registered voters; live interview) produced a similar 48-43% McAuliffe spread. The closest result, from Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group (9/16-20; 600 VA likely voters; live interview) sees only a three point difference, 48-45%, also in favor of the former Governor and ex-Democratic National Committee chairman.

Localities

Los Angeles: As sources predicted, California US Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) announced this week that she is entering the open Los Angeles Mayor’s race.  She will risk her Los Angeles anchored US House seat, which now stands a good chance of being the seat collapsed since it is, to date, the only California open seat for the 2022 election. At this point, Ms. Bass will face LA City Council President Pro Tempore Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles City Councilman and ex-state Senate President Kevin de Leon, and LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. All are Democrats, though the mayoral race is ostensibly non-partisan.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has been nominated as Ambassador to India. Upon obtaining Senate confirmation, Mayor Garcetti will resign and the City Council has the authority to appoint an interim replacement. The replacement choice could change the course of the budding campaign.