Sen. Jim Inhofe to Resign; Redistricting in LA, NC, PA, RI

February 25, 2022

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

Key Takeaways

  • President: Rep. Tlaib (D) to Give Working Families SOTU Response
  • OK-Sen: Sen Jim Inhofe (R) to Resign
  • MN-1: Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) Passes Away
  • PA-9: Redistricting Pairs Reps. Fred Keller (R) & Dan Meuser (R)
  • Redistricting: LA; NC; PA; RI
  • NY-Gov: Gov. Hochul (D) Endorsed; Under 50% in New Poll


State of the Union: Michigan US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) is moving into uncharted territory as a key member of “the Squad,” the name the Democratic Socialist House leadership labels themselves. She has been tabbed to give the State of the Union response for the Working Families Party, an organizational entity for the Democratic Socialists who claim membership in 19 states and have ballot position in four including New York.  


Florida: The University of North Florida conducted a statewide survey of the Sunshine State electorate (2/7-20; 685 FL registered voters; live interview) and the results project Sen. Marco Rubio (R) to a 46-34% double-digit lead over US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando). The Congresswoman has already become the consensus Democratic candidate, long before Florida’s scheduled August 23rd primary. The poll is significant since rarely do we see double-digit Republican leads here because the right-of-center vote is typically under-polled. This sample, however, appears to lean further to the right than what is usually found in a Florida survey.

Another survey taken within the same period, from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research (2/7-10; 625 FL likely voters; live interview), found the Senator holding a 49-42% advantage over Rep. Demings.

Missouri: A new Missouri Republican primary US Senate poll is in the public domain, and former Gov. Eric Greitens still maintains a small lead with a great deal of time remaining between now and the August 2nd primary. Since late October, Mr. Greitens has held a stagnant edge in the Senate race and failed to break 28% support in referencing ballot test results from five individual polls. 

The current Remington Research numbers (2/16-17; 917 MO likely Republican primary voters; interactive response device) find Mr. Greitens pulling his customary 25%, with Attorney General Eric Schmitt and US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) attracting 22 and 18%, respectively. US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield), attorney Mark McCloskey, and state Senate President Dave Schatz follow with single digit support: 8, 5, and 2%, respectively.

Oklahoma: Veteran Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe (R), who turned 87 years of age last November, is set to announce that he will leave the Senate at the end of this year. He was first elected in 1994 after serving four terms in the US House and six years as Mayor of Tulsa. 

The Senator is expected to sign an irrevocable resignation letter before March 1st. If so, he will serve until the end of this year and a special election to replace him will be held concurrently with the 2020 election cycle. This yields a primary on June 28th, an August 23rd runoff if necessary, and the general election on November 8th. It also means that both of the state’s Senate seats will be up for election since Sen. James Lankford (R) is in-cycle. The special election winner will serve the remaining four years of the Inhofe term and be eligible to run for a full six-year stint in 2026.

Washington: Public Policy Polling, surveying for the Northwest Progressive Institute (2/17-18; 700 WA likely voters; live interview & text) projects that Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley is gaining on Sen. Patty Murray (D) according to the study’s analysis. The ballot test finds the Senator still holding a comfortable 50-41% lead, but the margin is an under-performance for a Washington Democratic incumbent. 

The latest survey is a four-point gain for Ms. Smiley when compared to the November NPI survey (Public Policy Polling; 11/10-11; 909 WA likely voters) that posted the Senator to a 50-37% advantage. A month before that, Survey USA (10/15-28; 542 WA registered voters) found Sen. Murray holding a more substantial 49-31% margin. Therefore, enough data confirms at least a moderate swing toward Ms. Smiley


CA-9: Northern California US Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) fared poorly in redistricting and, as a result, has hopped around to three districts in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys attempting to find a suitable place to seek re-election. When Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) announced his retirement, Rep. Harder switched from the Fresno area anchored 13th open district to run in the former’s 9th CD. The redistricting map placed his home in new District 5, which is a Republican seat where Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) is running for re-election.

Over the holiday weekend, Jose Hernandez (D), a former NASA astronaut who held then-Rep. Jeff Denham (R) to a 53-47% re-election victory in 2012, announced that he will enter the open seat 9th District campaign. San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti appears to be the leading Republican, meaning this race will be interesting in both the June 7th jungle primary and the general election.

MI-4: While Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) still has not officially announced that he will seek re-election to a 19th term, his actions are speaking louder than his words. According to news sources, the Congressman’s campaign is launching an ad wave beginning this week. Mr. Upton seeking re-election will yield a spirited paired incumbent Republican August 2nd primary with fellow US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland). State Rep. Steve Carra (R-Kalamazoo), who carries former President Trump’s endorsement, is also a contender.

MN-1: While no one has yet announced their candidacy to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester), who passed away at the end of last week, one potential leading candidate did make her intentions clear. State Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) said that she will not enter the congressional race, stating her preference to remain in the legislature. 

Sen. Nelson ran in the 2018 congressional election, when the seat was last open, but placed a poor second to Mr. Hagedorn in the Republican primary. The special primary is scheduled for May 24th, with the special general on August 9th, concurrent with the statewide nomination election.

PA-9: The new court-ordered Pennsylvania redistricting map was least kind to current 12th District Rep. Fred Keller (R-Middleburg) who saw his seat divided into three parts. Though he only represents 34% of the new 9th District, Rep. Keller announced he will seek re-election there and oppose current 9th District Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Dallas) in a Republican primary pairing. This becomes the seventh intra-party incumbent pairing in the country and fourth involving Republican members. Because more than 60% of the new PA-9 contains carryover constituents from Rep. Meuser’s current CD, he would be favored over Mr. Keller, but another spirited primary contest is certainly on tap.


Louisiana; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island: The Louisiana state legislature sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) an adopted congressional map that leaves the state’s 5R-1D delegation intact. Should the Governor sign the measure, civil rights groups are ready to file a lawsuit contending that another majority minority seat could be drawn in the state.

The special three-judge panel overseeing North Carolina redistricting quickly struck down the legislature’s latest creation and surprisingly pivoted to approve a map with no legislative input. It is this latter plan that was sent to the state Supreme Court for final adoption. All appeals to the high court were rejected, meaning the congressional and legislative plans are now final. The new map clearly favors the Democrats and should allow them to gain at least one seat in the delegation, and possibly two.

The result from this stage is a major blow to Republicans nationally in that North Carolina looked to be the only state where the party could gain multiple seats. Now, it is more likely they will lose strength. This decision will give the Democrats an advantage nationally when the redistricting process closes. The caveat with this and any court map is it only stands for the succeeding election and the map will again be re-drawn next year in the new legislature.

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court late this week adopted, on a 4-3 vote, a new congressional map that will cost second term Rep. Fred Keller (R-Middleburg) his seat, but does give the Republicans a rather surprising chance to convert two seats in the eastern part of the state. Though Reps. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) and Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) must still be regarded as favorites for re-election, they will both again find themselves in highly competitive battles come November. 

All other PA incumbents look to have a clear ride to re-election and the two open Democratic seats in the Pittsburgh area have been restored, both the downtown seat from which Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) is retiring, now numbered 12, and the western Allegheny County 17th CD that Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) is vacating to run for the Senate.

Gov. Dan McKee (D) signed the Rhode Island congressional map, which made little change between the state’s two federal districts. Both will continue as safely Democratic political domains. Only six states remain without completing at least an original version of their congressional map. Two, North Carolina and Ohio, have already had their original draws rejected by state courts.


Hawaii: Honolulu City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi (R) announced that she will run for Governor, becoming the first potentially strong GOP candidate to enter the race. Lt. Gov. Josh Green leads former First Lady Vicky Cayetano and ex-Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell in early open Democratic Party primary polling. The Hawaii nomination election is August 13th. Gov. David Ige (D) is ineligible to seek a third term. Democrats will be favored to retain the Governor’s position in the general election.

New York: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) may have received 86% of the New York State Democratic Party convention delegate votes for official endorsement, but the latest polling numbers still show her under 50% with rank and file Democratic voters. Siena College (1/14-17; 803 NY registered voters; 396 NY likely Democratic primary voters) finds the Governor pulling 46% among Democrats, but is way ahead of NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) who draw 17 and 9% support, respectively. Within the respondent sample as a whole, Gov. Hochul’s personal favorability is 46:32% positive to negative. Her job approval ratio, however, is an upside down 44:51%.

Ohio: Though a rather unimpressive showing for a sitting Governor within his own party leadership, the voting members of the Ohio Republican Party’s state central committee awarded Gov. Mike DeWine the official party endorsement, but only on a 36-26 vote. This vote further suggests that Mr. DeWine will face a potentially competitive gubernatorial primary on May 3rd against former Congressman Jim Renacci (R).