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OR Rep. DeFazio to Retire; MA Gov. Baker Won't Run for Third Term

December 3, 2021

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

Key Takeaways    

  • President: Gov. Chris Sununu (R) Confirms Presidential Interest
  • NH-Sen: GOP Still Close Without Gov. Chris Sununu (R)
  • PA-Sen: Television Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) Announces for Senate
  • NY-3: Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) to Run for Governor
  • OR-4: 18-Term Rep. Peter DeFazio (D) to Retire
  • GA-Gov: Stacey Abrams (D) Declares for Governor
  • MA-Gov: Gov. Charlie Baker (R) Won’t Seek Third Term
  • TX-Gov: Actor Matthew McConaughey (I) Won’t Run

Senate

New HampshireA new Tarrance Group poll for potential US Senate candidate Corky Messner, the 2020 Republican Senate nominee, finds that the GOP continues to be competitive against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even without Gov. Chris Sununu (R) as the party’s nominee. According to the poll (11/14-17; 500 NH likely 2022 general election voters; live interview), Sen. Hassan would lead Mr. Messner by only a 47-45% margin, only slightly worse than when Gov. Sununu was paired with the incumbent.

PennsylvaniaAs expected, television personality and physician Mehmet Oz joined the open Republican primary hoping to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R). Dr. Oz only recently moved to the Philadelphia area after residing in New Jersey for approximately 20 years. Dr. Oz says he will partially self-fund his campaign. In the GOP contender fold are ex-US Ambassador Carla Sands, former Lt. Governor nominee Jeff Bartos, and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette, among others. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) are the leading Democratic candidates.

House

CA-34Movie executive David Kim, who held California Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) to a 53-47% re-election victory in the 2020 double-Democratic general election, announced that he will return for a re-match next year. Mr. Kim spent only $84,000 in his 2020 campaign, so we can count on seeing a more robust effort in the current cycle compared to his previous performance. The 34th District will substantially change as the seat must add 56,933 people just to meet the state’s new population quota.

FL-20It appears that the South Florida special Democratic primary, which ultimately ended in a five-vote victory for businesswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, isn’t yet over. The losing candidate, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, has filed a lawsuit against Ms. Cherfilus-McCormick. He claims her support of the Universal Basic Income proposal that would provide $1,000 per month to the general public constitutes an illegal bribe. Therefore, Mr. Holness is asking the court to retroactively disqualify Ms. Cherfilus-McCormick from the ballot. 

While this approach is unlikely to deny Cherfilus-McCormick a ballot slot for the January 11th special general election to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D), it does signal that Mr. Holness will be back in the regular 2022 August primary. This means the pair’s lengthy South Florida political fight will continue at least through next summer.

GA-7The Georgia redistricting surprise was US Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) leaving her 6th District constituency that the new map made more strongly Republican to instead challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in the new 7th CD. Now, we see another unexpected development. Explaining that neither US House member actually lives within the confines of the 7th District as newly drawn, state Rep. Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), who does represent the 7th’s anchor population region, this week entered the congressional primary. The election is scheduled for May 24th.

IllinoisNow that the Illinois congressional map has become official, incumbents and candidates are making their political moves. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), despite representing only about a quarter of the new 15th District’s constituency, announced that he will not enter the Governor’s race, but intends to seek re-election to the House from this newly configured district. 

In Mr. Davis’ former 13th District, drawn as a new open Democratic seat that stretches from Champaign to the St. Louis suburbs through Decatur and Springfield, former Obama Administration official Nikki Budzinski (D), who had originally declared against Rep. Davis, announced that she will run in the new 13th and immediately becomes the favorite to capture the seat.

NY-3Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) has turned down NYC Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’ (D) offer to become one of the city’s Deputy Mayors and instead will run for Governor.  This will be the second gubernatorial campaign for Mr. Suozzi. He lost the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary in a crushing 82-18% landslide defeat to then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. 

At this point, Rep. Suozzi opposes new Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Tish James, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in a growing semi-open Democratic intra-party election battle. Gov. Hochul assumed the state’s top office when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was forced to resign. She had been his running mate for Lt. Governor.

NC-2Saying, “I’m not a far-left liberal Dem, and this is not a far-left, liberal-drawn district,” state Rep. James Gailliard (D-Rocky Mount) declared his congressional candidacy for the state’s new open 2nd District that sits in the northeastern part of the Tar Heel State. Veteran Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) has announced he is not seeking re-election next year. Rep. Gailliard becomes the fifth Democrat to enter the race in what is now a competitive political domain.

NC-4State Rep. Charles Graham (D-Lumberton), who had originally announced his congressional candidacy against two-term Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) earlier in the year, has switched districts. As a result of the new North Carolina congressional map creating a competitive open seat anchored in Fayetteville, Mr. Gray announced yesterday that he will instead compete in the new 4th District. Already in the open Democratic primary is state Sen. Ben Clark (D-Cumberland County). Six Republicans have announced, including a state Representative and a former Fayetteville Mayor. The seat leans Republican.

OH-9Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), who ranks fifth in current House seniority in serving her 24th term, has drawn two significant GOP challengers in her 9th District. The new version of the northwest Ohio CD is much more Republican than any the Congresswoman has previously represented. Former Miss Ohio Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R), an attorney and political commentator, announced her candidacy during the Thanksgiving holiday break. The race is expected to draw additional candidates. State Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) soon followed suit. The Ohio candidate filing deadline is February 2nd for the May 3rd partisan primary.

OR-4Veteran Oregon US Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, late this week announced that he will retire after completing his 18th term next year. He ranks sixth in House seniority. Mr. DeFazio becomes the 19th Democrat not to seek re-election to the House, and the third full committee chair to retire. 

The new 4th District was made stronger for Rep. DeFazio, thus allowing two other districts, including the state’s new 6th CD, to become more competitive. Republican Alex Skarlatos, who held Mr. DeFazio to the closest re-election outcome of his long career, 51-46%, had announced a re-match effort months ago. He will likely continue to be a consensus Republican candidate. 

State Labor and Industries Commissioner Val Doyle (D) immediately declared her congressional candidacy upon Mr. DeFazio announcing his retirement. The 4th District race will be viewed as competitive, with the eventual Democratic nominee being cast as the favorite.

TX-1Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran (R) announced his congressional candidacy this week. He is a major contender vying to succeed Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), who is leaving the House to run for state Attorney General. A Texas county judge is equivalent to a county executive in most places. Smith County is the population anchor of the east Texas’ 1st Congressional District. The candidate filing deadline is December 13th for the March 1st primary. The 1st CD is safely Republican, so the GOP primary will almost assuredly determine the region’s next House member.

TX-30Now that 15-term Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) has officially announced her retirement, we can expect to see several sitting state legislators come forward to declare candidacies in a growing field that already features eight contenders. The newest entry is state Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas), who announced her candidacy during the Thanksgiving holiday break. This race will be decided in the Democratic primary and runoff, which are scheduled for March 1st and May 24th, respectively. Rep. Johnson immediately endorsed Ms. Crockett.

WA-8King County Councilman Reagan Dunn (R), son of the late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn (R) who represented the 8th District for six terms after serving eleven years as chair of the Washington Republican Party, announced his own congressional candidacy yesterday. Mr. Dunn will join the jungle primary to oppose second term Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish). Already in the primary is the 2020 Republican Attorney General finalist, Matt Larkin. Mr. Dunn, himself, was an Attorney General nominee in the 2012 election.  The Washington qualifying election is August 2nd.

Governor

AlaskaFreshman state Rep. Christopher Kurka (R-Wasilla) announced his challenge to Gov. Mike Dunleavy during the week. Mr. Kurka, a former director of the Alaska for Right to Life organization, is attacking Gov. Dunleavy from the ideological right. Previously, an organized recall group was opposing the Governor over his budgetary spending cuts. 

Georgia2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, the former state House Minority Leader, this week announced that she will run for Governor next year. In the previous election, she lost to now-incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R) by less than one percentage point. There was some recent speculation brewing that Ms. Abrams, who bypassed the 2020 US Senate cycle to concentrate on a gubernatorial re-match, would also sit the 2022 cycle out in order to prepare for a presidential run. 

Now, all eyes will turn to former US Sen. David Perdue (R). He admits to be considering a Republican primary challenge against Gov. Kemp, whose numbers are lagging among the party faithful largely due to the post-election voter fraud controversy.

MassachusettsSaying he doesn’t want to go through an ideologically based Republican primary campaign, Bay State Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that he will not run for a third term next year. Immediately, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) made public her plans also to retire from politics, saying she will not run for Governor. 

The Daily Kos Elections site is reporting that while a number of new potential candidates are reported to be considering the race, four prominent individuals are ruling out launching gubernatorial candidacies. Former US Sen. Scott Brown (R), ex-Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D), Jonathan Kraft, son of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone (D) all say they will not enter the open gubernatorial contest.

TexasActor and Austin resident Matthew McConaughey, who was considering running for Governor of Texas as an Independent, has rather unsurprisingly decided not to enter the race.

Localities

AtlantaAtlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens (D) defied the latest polling that gave City Council President Felicia Moore (D) a small lead in the Atlanta Mayor’s contest. On Tuesday night, Mr. Dickens scored a crushing 64-36% victory over Ms. Moore. Mayor-Elect Dickens will replace current incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) who chose not to seek a second term.