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NYC Mayoral Primary Election Update

July 2, 2021

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

Key Takeaways

  • OH-Sen: Author J.D. Vance (R) Announces Candidacy
  • NJ-7: State Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R) Returning for Re-match
  • Oregon: Redistricting Deal Made
  • SCOTUS: Court Rules for Arizona in Voting Rights Case
  • AZ-Gov: Dem & GOP Candidates Enter Field
  • CA-Gov: Recall Election Scheduled for September 14th
  • New York City: Counting of Mayoral Ballots Contaminated

Senate

Georgia: In an interview earlier in the week on the new Clay Travis and Buck Sexton nationally syndicated talk radio show, former President Donald Trump said that University of Georgia football legend Herschel Walker (R) will run for the US Senate next year. 

Mr. Walker, in response, indicated that he hasn’t fully decided to enter the race but will do so shortly. He has just relocated to Georgia from Texas. He remained in the Lone Star State after retiring from the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys in 1997. Already in the Republican primary is state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and construction company owner Kelvin King. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) is standing for a full six-year term.

MissouriSix-term Missouri Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) said during the week that he is still considering entering the open Senate race and is “making preparations” to form a campaign in case he decides to join the Republican field. In the GOP contest are former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia). Sen. Roy Blunt (R) is retiring after two terms.

Ohio: As has been expected for months, venture capitalist and author J.D. Vance, best known for his book “Hillbilly Elegy,” yesterday officially declared his US Senate candidacy at an event in his home city of Middletown, joining former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, ex-state Treasurer, and 2012 US Senate nominee Josh Mandel, and businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno as announced Republican candidates. The eventual GOP nominee will likely battle US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) who is becoming the consensus Democratic candidate vying to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R).

PennsylvaniaBusinessman and former World Affairs Council president Craig Snyder announced that he will enter the open Senate Republican primary. He joins businessman and former Lt. Governor nominee Jeff Bartos and Afghan War veteran and 2020 congressional candidate Sean Parnell as one of the more significant GOP candidates. Democratic contenders include Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh. We can expect further individuals to enter on both sides before the February 2022 candidate filing deadline expires. Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is retiring after two terms.

House

Montana: Montana politicos are beginning to jockey for position vis-à-vis the Big Sky Country’s new congressional seat even before it is drawn. On Wednesday, state Rep. Laurie Bishop (D-Livingston) announced that she will run for Congress next year. Previously declaring was former US Interior Secretary and ex-Congressman Ryan Zinke (R). Other former statewide candidates such as ex-Judge Russ Fagg (R) and past state Senator Al Olszewski (R) have also expressed interest.

NJ-7: The New Jersey Globe news site is reporting that state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Ringoes), who is not seeking re-election to the legislature this year, will return for a re-match in 2022 with two-term US Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill). Last November, the two fought to a 51-49% finish, with Rep. Malinowski barely holding on to win a second term. Redistricting will undoubtedly change some of the district, so it remains too early to properly analyze a second campaign between these two political veterans. Rik Mehta, the Republicans’ 2020 US Senate nominee, will oppose Mr. Kean in the GOP primary.

OH-11Former Cleveland state Senator Nina Turner (D) has a substantial spending lead in her special congressional election campaign. Reports are surfacing that Ms. Turner, the 2020 national co-chair of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, will disclose spending more than $1 million to date in her campaign to succeed Housing & Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, who resigned the 11th District seat after being confirmed to her cabinet position. 

It appears Ms. Turner’s spending advantage will almost triple that of her presumed closest Democratic primary rival, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Shontel Brown. The special primary is August 3rd, with the associated general election coming November 2nd. Early voting begins July 7th.

OH-15: A new Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll for the Mike Carey for Congress Campaign (6/23-24; 400 OH-15 likely special election Republican primary voters; live interview) finds the Ohio Coal Association chairman topping the pack of GOP candidates. In the initial ballot test, Mr. Carey leads state Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-Lancaster) by a 20-9% clip with state Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Fayette County) and former state Rep. Ron Hood trailing with 7% apiece. State Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) lags behind with 6% support. 

When the respondents are informed that former President Donald Trump has endorsed Mr. Carey, however, his lead swells to a huge 60-8-7-7-6% spread over Mr. Hood, Rep. LaRe, and Sens. Peterson and Kunze. The special primary is August 3rd, with the associated general election coming November 2nd. Early voting begins July 7th.

Oregon: In a surprising move as reported in the Associated Press, the Oregon Democratic state house leadership agreed to a deal with Republicans that the minority party would have equal representation with Democrats on the House redistricting committee and co-chair the panel. This, in exchange for Republicans ending their blockage of the Democrats’ legislative agenda. The deal will likely have a major effect on how the state’s new congressional district is drawn.

Supreme Court

Voting Rights Rulings: The US Supreme Court yesterday on a 6-3 vote supported Arizona Attorney General, and now US Senate candidate, Mark Brnovich’s (R) argument defending his state’s voting rights laws over which the Democratic National Committee had sued. The rulings upheld Arizona’s prohibition on ballot harvesting, meaning any individual collecting and returning live ballots to the election authorities or ballot depositories unless done so by a family member or certified health care worker, along with the state’s prohibition of counting ballots cast outside of a voter’s home precinct. 

Ballot harvesting has now become a commonplace legislative initiative in many states, but the Arizona legislature acted to proactively prevent the practice. They also continued the typical procedure of not counting provisional ballots cast by individuals who don’t reside in the precinct in which they are attempting to vote. The high court also stated that Arizona law, especially with a 27-day early voting period, gives individuals plenty of access to the process.

Governor

Arizona: Businessman Steve Gaynor, who defeated a sitting Arizona Secretary of State in the 2018 Republican primary but would then lose the general election by slightly over 20,000 votes from more than 2.33 million ballots cast, announced that he is joining the open Republican gubernatorial campaign. Ironically, the Democrat who defeated him in the Secretary of State’s race, Katie Hobbs (D), is also a current gubernatorial candidate.

In the Republican primary are state Treasurer Kimberly Yee, former US Congressman and 2002 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon, ex-news anchor Kari Lake, and Arizona State University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson. In addition to Ms. Hobbs on the Democratic side is former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez, along with state Rep. Aaron Lieberman (D-Paradise Valley) who also just announced his candidacy. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is ineligible to run for a third term.

California: Once the legislature completed its administrative duties in finalizing the recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the state’s Lt. Governor, Eleni Kounalakis (D), wasted little time in scheduling the election. The candidate filing deadline will be a quick July 17th and the recall vote will take place on September 14th.

New York: Over the weekend, the New York Republican Party county leaders met in convention and awarded 85% of their votes to Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) in his race for Governor. This means, according to the state chairman, that Mr. Zeldin is now the “presumptive” 2022 Republican Party gubernatorial nominee. Previously, Mr. Zeldin had received party support individually from a majority of GOP county organizations.

The vote means that the party organization is now authorized to help Mr. Zeldin defeat his GOP primary opponents, former Westchester County Executive and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino, ex-Trump White House aide Andrew Giuliani, son of Rudy Giuliani, and Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli.

Cities

Buffalo: The city apparently has not heard the last of four-term Mayor Byron Brown (D). Last week, he lost re-nomination to self-proclaimed socialist India Walton by a 52-45% margin. That spread may close when the absentee ballots count is released on July 6th. Early this week, however, the Mayor announced that he will run in the general election as a write-in candidate, hoping yet to salvage a fifth consecutive term in office. Mr. Brown was first elected Mayor in 2005, after previously serving in the New York Senate, as chairman of the New York Democratic Party, and as a member of the Buffalo City Council.

New York City: Tuesday was the deadline to accept absentee ballots, and it appears that these 125,000+ votes will decide the Democratic primary outcome. Though the City has not yet released definitive numbers of the Ranked Choice Voting count, estimated reports suggest that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ virtual ten-point margin in the election night count has decreased to approximately two percentage points. Mr. Adams is citing counting discrepancies that the city elections official acknowledge, so accurate information is difficult to obtain.

In any event, if the Adams’ margin is reduced to just two points over former NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, meaning approximately 3,500 votes, then the 125,000+ absentee ballot could certainly change the outcome. This is especially true when seeing that 32% of the ballots come from Manhattan, more than any of the other four boroughs and a place where Mr. Adams finished third while Ms. Garcia took first place on election night. City officials are still claiming that they won’t produce a certified winner until mid-July. The first preliminary Ranked Choice Voting count will be released on July 6th.

Late in the week, the New York City Board of Elections admitted that the count of the mayor’s primary race has been contaminated. Over 135,000 ballots, used as placebos to test their machines before the election, were added to the count, therefore bringing the printed results into question. Originally, the City Clerk said there would not be a final determination as to who won the June 22nd primary elections until mid-July. Now, it could be even longer.

Pittsburgh: When state Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Pittsburgh) defeated Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in the May Democratic primary, it appeared that the Republicans had no nominee for the general election, since no one filed in the GOP primary. Now, however, the party will have representation in the November election. 

Tony Moreno, a former Pittsburgh police officer, placed third in the Democratic primary. It was confirmed during the week, however, that he received enough write-in votes in the Republican primary to qualify as the GOP nominee. Therefore, Mr. Moreno will face Rep. Gainey in the mayoral general election. Mr. Gainey remains a prohibitive favorite to win, but he is now no longer officially unopposed.