California: The Public Policy Institute of California went into the field again with a major statewide survey (3/4-13; 1,706 CA adults) to test residents' attitudes about issues and candidates. Looking at their new US Senate data, it is clear that the state is again headed for a double-Democratic general election. According to the jungle primary question, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) leads state Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) by a 42-16% margin with no prominent Republican candidate on the ballot.
Mississippi: Gov. Phil Bryant (R) announced that he will appoint Agriculture & Commerce Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) to replace retiring Sen. Thad Cochran (R) before the veteran incumbent actually leaves office. With state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville) already declaring that he will become a candidate in the special election and not continue with his plan to challenge Sen. Roger Wicker in the Republican primary, Gov. Bryant says he wants the new Senator to have as much time as possible to begin preparing a campaign. Sen. Cochran says he will resign after the appropriations process is completed on or around April 1st.
Upon Ms. Hyde-Smith being sworn in at some point in April, will then run for the seat in November. All candidates will be placed on the November ballot with the top two advancing to a November 27th run-off election if no candidate receives majority support. The winner then serves the balance of the term, meaning he or she will be eligible to run for a full six-year term in 2020. Already, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville) has announced for the special election. He came close to upsetting Sen. Cochran in the 2014 Republican primary. Former US Agriculture Secretary and ex-Mississippi US Congressman Mike Espy declared his candidacy on the Democratic side.
Montana: We now see a slate of official Republican Senate candidates in the Montana race hoping to oppose two-term incumbent Jon Tester (D), as the candidate filing period drew to a close. As expected, state Auditor Matt Rosendale, former District Judge Russell Fagg, state Sen. Al Olszewski (R-Flathead Valley), and businessman Troy Downing all submitted the candidate declaration documents. The June 5th Republican primary winner will face Sen. Tester who is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Sen. Tester is favored for re-election and just began his preliminary media advertising blitz last week.
Nevada: Sen. Dean Heller (R) now faces only minor opposition for the upcoming June 12thRepublican primary. Businessman and frequent political candidate Danny Tarkanian, adhering to a public request from President Trump to exit the race, did so. Instead, Mr. Tarkanian will enter the open 3rd Congressional District campaign. Back in 2016, he lost that race 47-46% against now-freshman Representative and current US Senate candidate Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson). Bypassing a seriously contested primary will now allow Sen. Heller to pool his resources and immediately concentrate on his general election campaign with Ms. Rosen. A Heller-Rosen general election contest is rated as a toss-up in what is proving to be a swing political state.
Ohio: Ohio-based Baldwin Wallace University released a poll of the upcoming Senate race (2/28-3/9; 1,011 OH registered voters), and they project Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) holding a 41-29% lead over Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth). If venture capitalist Mike Gibbons were the Republican nominee, Sen. Brown's margin would be 41-31%.
The sampling period is long meaning the poll's reliability factor is lessened, though the respondent universe size is strong. Additionally, the decided factor is a bit low considering that Sen. Brown is a two-term incumbent, which means more reliability questions. Rep. Renacci is favored to win the Republican nomination, and the general election figures to become highly competitive.
West Virginia: Countering Rep. Evan Jenkins' (R-Huntington) polling release that showed him leading the Republican primary race for the right to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D), Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) just went public with his own internal poll that shows very different results. According to his Osage Research survey (3/13; 500 WV likely Republican primary voters), it is Mr. Morrisey who has climbed into first place, leading former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship and Rep. Jenkins, 24-23-17%. At the beginning of last week, Mr. Jenkins released his Harper Polling survey that found him leading with 29% support versus 27 for Mr. Blankenship, and 19% for Attorney General Morrisey. The Republican primary is May 8th and expects to become a testy affair.