Latest Polls in AL, NJ, & VA and Political Announcements from CA to PA

October 18, 2017

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

Top Lines

  • Sen. Feinstein (D) to run in 2018
  • GA 6th gets new Democratic candidate
  • Sen. Collins won't run for Maine Governor
  • Gillespie pulling closer to Northam in Virginia Governor race


A new Alabama US Senate special election poll was released late last week. The Cygnal polling firm (10/2-5; 497 AL likely special election voters) finds former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) leading ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D), 49-41%. Moore has a strong twelve-point advantage with the highest propensity voters, meaning his statewide margin could be even greater under the low turnout model that is forecast. The special election is scheduled for December 12th.

Last week we reported that California Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced she will seek re-election to a fifth full term next year. Over the weekend, state Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) declared his candidacy against the veteran incumbent, making it clear that he intends to attack her from the left. Under the state's jungle primary system, it is probable that both Sen. Feinstein and state Sen. de Leon will advance to the general election. Though the state legislative leader will be able to command resources in his Senatorial effort, Sen. Feinstein remains the clear favorite to win again in 2018.


We of course remember Jon Ossoff, the Georgia Democratic special election nominee who spent over $35 million in his losing effort to convert the GA-6 special election. Now it looks like he has competition for next year's Democratic nomination. Bobby Kaple, a well-known local CBS News affiliate anchorman recently entered the primary election and will oppose Ossoff, assuming the latter man makes a return appearance as a candidate. In any event, it will be even more difficult to defeat Rep. Karen Handel (R-Roswell) now that she is an active incumbent.

New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-Rochester) surprisingly announced that she will not seek re-election in the one district that has defeated more incumbents than any other since 2006, inclusive. The Congresswoman was first elected in 2006, re-elected two years later, defeated in 2010, returned in 2012, defeated again in 2014, and once more claimed the seat last November. Her 44% victory percentage against a scandal-tainted Republican Congressman and a Libertarian candidate revealed severe political weakness, which is clearly a factor in her not running again.

Democrats are now scrambling to find a candidate, while three Republicans had been running before the announcement. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford), former South Hampton Police Chief Eddie Edwards, and judicial reform activist Andy Martin remain active candidates. Others are soon expected to join the fray. This seat will remain in the toss-up category throughout the remainder of the election cycle.

Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino (R-Williamsport) again withdrew from being nominated as the nation's director of the National Drug Control Policy agency this time after adverse media coverage over an apparent contradiction regarding drug enforcement legislation that the Representative helped shepherd through Congress. The move means that the 10th District will no longer go to special election, and is not an open seat. Mr. Marino did not indicate in his withdrawal statement whether he would seek re-election, but he will likely not have a difficult run should he choose to do so.


Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) made her long-awaited decision about whether to enter the state's open Governor's race next year. Late last week, Sen. Collins announced that she will not run for Governor, choosing to remain focused on her duties in the Senate. This leads state Senate President Mike Thibodeau (R-Winterport) and former Secretary of State Charlie Summers to begin making moves to enter the race. Already, ex-Health & Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, state Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R-Lisbon) and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) are in the race. No less than ten Democrats are vying for their party nomination. Gov. Paul LePage (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Fairleigh Dickinson University tested the New Jersey electorate for the state's upcoming gubernatorial campaign scheduled for November 7th. Their poll (10/11-15; 658 NJ likely voters) finds former US Ambassador to Germany and Wall Street executive Phil Murphy (D) again leading Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) by a double-digit margin. This result finds the spread, 47-33%. Ms. Guadagno's biggest problem is being associated with beleaguered Gov. Chris Christie (R). His favorability continues to be historically low for a New Jersey Governor, and his presence and record looms large in this election.