Polling the Alabama/Michigan Senate Races, Two Open House Seats, and Kansas/Ohio Statewide Political News

August 2, 2017

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


Two new Alabama Senate polls change the Republican primary outlook. The Cygnal research company, a local Montgomery entity, released the results of its independent GOP primary poll for the upcoming August 15th special primary. The survey (7/20-21; 500 AL likely GOP primary voters) finds appointed Sen. Luther Strange now moving into first place with 30%, followed by former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore with 26%, and US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) now trailing with 16 percent.

Mobile's Research Strategies, Inc. (7/24; 3,000 AL registered voters) also finds Sen. Strange leading former Judge Moore by a similar margin, 35-33%, with Rep. Brooks registering the same 16%. Mr. Brooks, however, is just now beginning his campaign advertising for the stretch run. A likely September 26th run-off will become necessary, and should feature two of the three aforementioned candidates.

Several polls have come forth in the last week to show that entertainer Robert Ritchie (Kid Rock) is competitive against Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Though the first Delphi Analytics poll that finds Ritchie leading Sen. Stabenow is largely discredited, two more reliable pollsters are also seeing a close race developing. The Trafalgar Group (7/25-27; 1,078 MI likely voters) sees Ritchie pulling ahead of Sen. Stabenow, 49-46%, when those saying they are "leaning" to one of the candidates are included.

Target-Insyght (released to the LA Times 7/31; 800 MI registered voters) doesn't quite see Ritchie leading, but posts Sen. Stabenow to a 50-42% lead, certainly suggesting that the fledging potential candidate could become viable.

Montana state Insurance Commissioner and Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) announced that he will challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) next year, becoming the first Big Sky statewide official to enter the Senate race. Though Sen. Tester must be favored for re-election, the Republican Party leadership believes this will become a top tier challenge campaign.


Maryland US Representative John Delaney announced that he will not seek re-election and passes upon running for Governor in order to enter the 2020 presidential campaign. The Congressman is independently wealthy, reportedly controlling more than $100 million in assets, thus assuring that he will be able to fund a credible early effort. He plans to be immediately targeting Iowa, hoping to become familiar with the Hawkeye State electorate before the 2020 Democratic Caucuses are held.

Tennessee veteran US Rep. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr. (R-Knoxville) announced that he will retire next year. Mr. Duncan was first elected in a 1988 special election held to succeed his late father, John J. Duncan Sr. (R), who held the seat for 23 years. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (R), who had already scheduled a political news conference for later this week, is now expected to become the first major contender for the open CD. The move means there will be at least 18 open House seats in the regular election, eleven Republican held. The GOP has held this particular region since 1866, so the chances of a Democratic conversion occurring here in 2018 are very slim.


President Trump appointing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) as US Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom means that Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) will ascend to the Governor's position upon the former's confirmation. Though Mr. Colyer has not yet announced his gubernatorial campaign, it has been a foregone conclusion that he will enter the race. Now, he will do so as the sitting incumbent. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and an announced gubernatorial candidate, says Mr. Colyer becoming Governor will not greatly change the Republican primary.

The Tarrance Group, polling for the American Freedom Builders conservative organization (7/24-26; 800 OH likely Republican primary voters) tested the political all-star Ohio Republican gubernatorial primary, making this the first public poll of this particular budding statewide nomination battle. According to the results, Attorney General and former US Senator Mike DeWine claims first place with 42% preference. Secretary of State Jon Husted commands 18% support, while Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor follows at 11%, and US Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) registers 5 percent support.

Democrats are expecting Consumer Federal Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray, Ohio's former Attorney General, to return and run for Governor. Already in the Democratic field are former US Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley), state Senator and ex-Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, and former state Rep. Connie Pillich. Gov. John Kasich (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.