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Redistricting in MI, TX, WV; Rep. John Yarmuth to Retire

October 15, 2021

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

Key Takeaways    

  • MO-Sen: Ex-Gov. Eric Greitens (R) Releases New Positive Poll
  • PA-Sen: Early Financial Disclosure Reporting 
  • Redistricting: MI; TX; WV
  • KY-3: Rep. John Yarmuth (D) to Retire
  • NY-Gov: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) Performs Well in First Poll
  • Boston: Poll Gives Michelle Wu Big Runoff Election Lead

Senate

Iowa: Retired US Navy Admiral Mike Franken, who lost the 2020 Iowa Democratic Senate nomination 48-25% to real estate company executive Theresa Greenfield, officially announced that he will return in 2022 to again compete for the party nomination. Mr. Franken will oppose former Rep. Abby Finkenauer in the Democratic primary. The winner will then challenge veteran Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) in the general election.

Missouri: Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) released a new internal Fabrizio Lee & Associates poll (10/3-5; 400 MO likely Republican primary voters; live interview) that posts his Senate candidacy to a 36-17-10-6% lead over state Attorney General Eric Schmitt and US Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) and Billy Long (R-Springfield), respectively. Other polls have shown the race to be much closer. Mr. Greitens was elected Governor in 2016, but resigned a year later from pressure related to a sex scandal.

Pennsylvania: The September 30th Federal Election Commission financial disclosure reports are due October 15th, but many candidates are releasing their figures early. Such is the case for two Pennsylvania Senate competitors. US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) says his campaign raised $1.2 million for the quarter with $2.2 million cash-on-hand, some of which was transferred from his US House campaign committee. Republican Sean Parnell will report similar numbers. His campaign raised $1.1 million for the quarter and posts $1 million cash-on-hand.  

House

Speakership: There had been a rumor floating around Capitol Hill that after the infrastructure and reconciliation legislation has been dispensed with that President Biden was going to appoint Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Ambassador to the Holy See and she would resign her current position and House seat. President Biden’s move this week disproves such a rumor. Instead of Speaker Pelosi, the President appointed former Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly (D) to represent the United States at the Vatican. 

IL-17: Though Illinois Rep. Cherie Bustos (D-Moline) announced her retirement in April, the race to succeed her has been slow to develop. This is because politicos are waiting to see how the new redistricting plan will re-draw western Illinois. Late this week, however, Rockford Alderman Jonathan Logemann (D) announced that he will run for the seat. Responding to this move, state Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) confirms that he is considering entering the race. 

For the Republicans, 2020 nominee Esther Joy King, who held Rep. Bustos to a 52-48% re-election victory, appears to be a consensus GOP nominee for the open race campaign.

KY-3: House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) announced during the week that he will not seek re-election to a 9th term in the House next year. Though redistricting is not yet complete in Kentucky, it is likely Mr. Yarmuth’s retirement will not change the configuration of the next congressional map and the Louisville anchored 3rd District will remain as the state’s one solid Democratic seat. 

Mr. Yarmuth later said that he is not planning on endorsing anyone to succeed him, with the possible exception of his son. Aaron Yarmuth confirms that he is considering entering what will now be an open seat race. 

Michigan: The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission released a series of ten congressional and state legislative maps, of which the public will be allowed to comment upon during hearings that will last through October 29th. The four congressional maps radically change the districts and could force several incumbent pairings either for the general election or respective party primaries. Michigan loses one seat in reapportionment, so at least one sitting member will not return next year. 

The maps suggest that the Republicans will lose one seat, though several districts become more competitive. This means the final outcome will remain unclear until the various district electorates cast their ballots.

OR-6: There is a high correlation in redistricting years between key state legislative redistricting figures and candidates who run for newly drawn congressional seats. We again see this pattern emerging in Oregon. Late last week, Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) announced that she will run for the state’s new 6th District, the seat that touches the outer Portland suburbs and moves southwest toward the state capital of Salem.  Ms. Salinas was co-chair of the House Special Committee on Redistricting that drew the district.  We can expect this seat to generate contested primaries in both parties and feature a relatively tight general election finish.

PA-9: Two-term Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Dallas/Lebanon) announced yesterday that he will seek re-election to a third term in the US House and not run for Governor. While Rep. Meuser was often included on the lists of potential gubernatorial candidates, he made no definitive move toward running statewide. He was re-elected in 2020 with 66% of the vote last November. 

Texas Redistricting: The redistricting process in Texas has moved more smoothly than expected. Now that the state House has passed their own map, the logjam has been broken. The congressional map has passed the state House Redistricting Committee and now can be scheduled for a floor vote. The Senate has already passed the map, and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will sign the measure.

TX-3: This week, former three-term Collin County Judge Keith Self filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission, signaling that he will challenge Texas Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) in next year’s Republican primary. A County Judge in Texas is equivalent to a County Executive in most other places. Collin County comprises approximately 90% of what could become the new 3rd District under the published redistricting plan. Therefore, should Mr. Self follow through and file his candidacy, this GOP primary will feature two well known individuals battling for the party nomination.

TX-12: Former Colleyville City Councilman Chris Putnam, who challenged veteran Rep. Kay Granger (R-Ft. Worth) in the 2020 Republican primary and lost 58-42%, is returning for a re-match. Mr. Putnam says he will report raising $180,000 in the quarter ending September 30th and has added an additional $250,000 of this own money for a grand total of $430,000. In 2020, Mr. Putnam spent over $1.25 million on his campaign. Rep. Granger, first elected to the House in 1996 and the Ranking Republican Member of the House Appropriations Committee, is expected to run for a 13th term.

TX-23: Freshman Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio) not only came through a hard fought 2020 general election campaign, but he barely won the GOP nomination. In the Republican runoff, Mr. Gonzales defeated homebuilder Raul Reyes by just 45 votes, in a result that took weeks to confirm. Mr. Reyes, who had not ruled out again challenging Rep. Gonzales, has made his political decision for 2022. He will run for the state Senate. Mr. Reyes not running again certainly helps the new incumbent achieve the important preliminary goal of unifying his Republican Party base.

WV-2: The West Virginia House of Representatives yesterday passed the state’s new two-district congressional map after the state Senate approved the draw last week. The state lost a seat in reapportionment, so the new map would inevitably pair two of the state’s current three incumbents. The north-south draw will pit Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) and Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) in the same 2nd District that covers the northern part of the state. Both announced that they will oppose each other for the Republican nomination. 

The new southern 1st District goes to current 3rd District Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington), who should be set for re-election. Ms. Miller, too, announced that she will seek re-election next year.

Governor

Maine: Speculation fueled by a union-backed political action committee promoting Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) as a Democratic primary opponent for Gov. Janet Mills has ended. Sen. Jackson has made clear that he is not running for Governor and formally endorsed Ms. Mills for re-election to a second term. Without Sen. Jackson in the field, it appears Gov. Mills will have an easy run through the Democratic primary and look to face former Gov. Paul LePage (R) in the general election.

New York: Marist College conducted a poll of the New York electorate, including a subset Democratic primary survey (10/4-7; 822 NY adults; 389 NY likely Democratic primary voters; live interview), and found new Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) performing well. Within the sample as a whole, the Governor holds a 49:31% positive job approval ratio despite a majority, 54%, who say they believe New York is headed down the wrong track. Matching the Governor with potential Democratic primary opponents, she would lead Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, 44-28-15%, respectively, if the election were today.

Oregon: New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristof (D) resigned from the position he held with the newspaper for 37 years as a precursor for him entering the Oregon Democratic gubernatorial primary in an attempt to succeed term-limited Gov. Kate Brown (D). Already, in the race are state Treasurer Tobias Read, state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla. The eventual Democratic nominee will be favored to win the general election.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has long been considered the consensus Democratic candidate to succeed term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf (D), officially announced his gubernatorial campaign this week. Mr. Shapiro is not expected to draw any significant Democratic primary opposition. Republicans feature a crowded field for a 2022 open race that could become highly competitive.

Atlanta: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) is not seeking a second term, which has drawn a large field of 14 candidates vying to become her successor. Survey USA went into the field to test the Atlanta electorate (9/28-10/5; 650 adults; 544 Atlanta likely Mayoral election voters; interactive voice response system & text) and found former Mayor Kasim Reed topping the field but with only 18% preference.  In second position with 8% support is Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore. All other candidates fail to reach the 6% mark. 

The election is November 2nd, with a runoff between the top two finishers, if necessary, scheduled for November 30th.

Boston: The MassInc polling firm (10/6-12; 500 Boston likely mayoral election voters) finds Boston at-large City Councillor Michelle Wu opening a large lead over City Councillor Annissa Essaibi George as the two runoff finalists move toward the November 2nd election day. 

According to MassInc, Ms. Wu’s victory margin is a definitive 57-31%. The winner replaces interim Mayor Kim Janey, who failed to qualify for the runoff. She replaced elected Mayor Marty Walsh who resigned to become US Labor Secretary. All of the remaining candidates are Democrats but the race is ostensibly non-partisan.