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Sen. John Thune to Run Again; Rep. Ed Perlmutter to Retire

January 14, 2022

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

Key Takeaways

  • MO-Sen: KC Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) Won’t Run for Senate
  • SD & WI-Sens: Sens. John Thune (R) & Ron Johnson (R) to Run Again
  • WA-Sen: Sen. Patty Murray (D) Close in New Poll
  • CO-7: Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) to Retire
  • IN-9: Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R) to Leave House After Three Terms
  • Redistricting: NC; OH for State Legislature Maps
  • MI-Gov: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Ex-Chief James Craig Polling Well

Senate

New Hampshire: State Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), who is serving his eighth two-year term, announced over the weekend that he will enter the 2022 US Senate race in hopes of opposing first-term Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) in the general election. Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith (R) is also expected to enter the Senate race later this week. Already in the GOP contest is 2020 Senate candidate Don Bolduc, a retired US Army general. 

North Carolina: Two Tar Heel State Republican primary US Senate polls were released almost simultaneously, with both finding former Gov. Pat McCrory holding the edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). The ex-state chief executive’s advantage is not what one would expect for a well known party leader before his own partisan electorate, however. The McCrory campaign released their Strategic Partners Solutions survey (1/5; 800 NC likely Republican primary voters) that gives their candidate a 30-21-8% lead over Rep. Budd and former US Rep. Mark Walker. 

The Civitas Institute’s latest Cygnal statewide poll (1/7-9; 600 NC likely Republican primary voters) found the McCrory edge to be only 24-19%. Pushing the 48% who said they were undecided and adding those preferences to the total actually finds Rep. Budd pulling into a small lead, 34-33%, when accounting for those who have “definitely” and “probably” made up their minds. 

Ohio: WPA Intelligence (1/3-6; 513 OH likely Republican primary voters; live interview) again finds former state Treasurer and 2012 US Senate nominee Josh Mandel leading the Republican primary field. This time, his advantage is 26-15-14-10% over ex-OH Republican Party chair Jane Timken, businessman Mike Gibbons, and author J.D. Vance. 

Another recent poll, from Moore Information for the Timken campaign (1/3; 1,000 OH likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system), finds Mr. Mandel leading Ms. Timken by just an 18-16% clip. Both surveys, however, find businessman Gibbons, who ran for the Senate in 2018 and finished second in that year’s Republican primary, moving up to 14% in both polls while author J.D. Vance has lost support, dropping to 10 and 8%, respectively.

South Dakota: South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R), the Senate Minority Whip who had been weighing family considerations in light of seeking a fourth term, announced that he will run for re-election. Sen. Thune was first elected to the Senate in 2004 after serving three terms in the House from his state’s at-large congressional district. 

Washington: The statewide Washington Crosscut.Elway poll was released earlier in the week (12/26-28; 400 WA registered voters; live interview and text) and it finds a tightening US Senate race between five-term Senator Patty Murray (D) and Republican Tiffany Smiley, a veterans advocate and motivational speaker. According to the survey, Sen. Murray’s lead has dropped to just 42-39% from a polling sample that rated the economy as the greatest area of concern, the first time in eight years that a Washington cell sample cast the national issue in such a manner. A previous poll, from Public Policy Polling (11/10-11; 909 WA likely voters; text and online), found the Senator’s advantage to be 50-37%.

Wisconsin: Saying that he wants to ‘continue to fight for freedom in the public realm,’ Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R) formally announced that he will stand for election to a third term in the Autumn. Sen. Johnson had been coy about his 2022 plans, especially in light of his promise made twelve years ago that he would only serve two terms.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes released a new ALG Research poll (12/8-16; 842 WI likely Democratic primary voters; live interview and text) that finds the statewide official posting a big lead for his party nomination. According to the ballot test results, Mr. Barnes would lead Milwaukee Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, 40-11-10-8%, respectively. 

House

CA-22: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has scheduled a special election to fill the remainder of former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) term. The Congressman formally resigned the seat on January 3rd.

The CA-22 special election will be held April 5th, with a June 7th runoff if no one obtains majority support in the initial election. The candidate filing deadline is February 10th. This will be an interesting election in that the winner will likely serve only the balance of this year as redistricting split the current 22nd District into multiple pieces leaving very few viable options for election to a full term in November.

CO-3: State Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose), who finds himself without a Senate district in which to run on the new redistricting map, announced that he will challenge freshman US Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) in this year’s Republican primary. Rep. Boebert quickly labeled Sen. Coram as a “super woke social liberal,” to which the latter retorted, “I have no idea what that means.” The Congresswoman will be a clear favorite in the June 28th Republican primary. The Colorado candidate filing deadline is March 15th.

CO-7: Colorado US Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Arvada) announced that he will not seek a ninth term in the House later this year. Prior to his election to Congress, Mr. Perlmutter served eight years in the state Senate. He announced his gubernatorial candidacy in the 2018 election cycle, but withdrew before the filing period concluded and instead ran for re-election. 

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission changed the 7th District in the Republicans’ favor meaning that Mr. Perlmutter, still favored to retain his seat, would have seen a much more competitive general election in addition to representing much more rural territory toward the Centennial State’s central region. The open 7th District will begin with a Lean Democratic rating, but an open race could evolve into a highly competitive political situation.

FL-20: Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, as expected, easily defeated Republican Jason Mariner last night in a district that gave President Biden a 77-22% majority in 2020. Ms. Cherfilus-McCormick scored a 79-20% victory with more than 55,000 people voting and she will now serve the balance of the late Rep. Alcee Hastings’ (D-Delray Beach) final term. 

Winning the special Democratic primary over Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness by just five votes, Rep-Elect Cherfilus-McCormick can expect a highly competitive Democratic primary challenge from Mr. Holness who has already said he will challenge the new incumbent in the regular 2022 primary election. This Florida Democratic win brings the party to their full compliment of 222 House members. Republicans, due to former Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) resignation, recede to 212.

FL-28: Retired US Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Lakeland), who chose not to seek re-election in 2018 after serving four terms, confirms that he is considering launching a political comeback if the state’s new 28th District is placed in central Florida as expected. Florida may be the final state to complete redistricting. The state’s population growth pattern and the preliminary released congressional draft maps clearly suggest that the new district will land in former Rep. Ross’ area. We can expect the seat to at least lean Republican, thus yielding a crowded GOP primary. The Florida candidate filing deadline is not until June 17th for the August 23rd statewide primary.

IN-9: Indiana US Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville), who originally limited himself to serving four terms, will leave the House after three. Mr. Hollingsworth, first elected in 2016 after moving to Indiana from Tennessee, announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election. He becomes the 12th Republican to retire in this election cycle in addition to California Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) resigning. Overall, the Hoosier State seat is the 46th open House district nationally when tabulating retiring Democratic and Republican incumbents, reapportionment transfer seats, and those created through the various redistricting processes. The southeastern Indiana 9th District is rated as safe Republican.

North Carolina Redistricting: The special three-judge panel considering the North Carolina redistricting challenge unanimously rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the congressional and state legislative maps are politically gerrymandered. The panel was comprised of two Republican judges and one Democrat. 

With the plaintiffs pledging to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, we can expect the legal maneuverings to continue. The seven-member Supreme Court will have several of its members facing recusal motions because of their ties to the plaintiffs or state legislative leaders, thus making the future proceedings more intriguing. The court also installed a March 4th candidate filing deadline for the delayed May 17th statewide primary. 

OH-9: Ohio redistricting was not kind to veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), as her western state 9th District western moves from a 59-40% Biden CD to one that Donald Trump carried 51-47%. The partisan swing is largely due to the removal of the Cleveland precincts from the district. During the week, state Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) announced that he will enter the expanding Republican primary field that already includes state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), attorney and former Miss Ohio Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, and Afghan War veteran J.R. Majewski. Candidate filing closes February 2nd for the May 3rd primary election. 

WV-2: Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) just released his internal Public Opinion Strategies poll (1/4-6; 400 likely WV Republican primary voters; live interview) that counters a previously publicized National Research survey. The POS data finds Rep. Mooney leading fellow Rep. David McKinley (R-Wheeling), 45-32%, in their paired incumbent Republican primary battle for the state’s new 2nd District that covers central West Virginia all the way to Pennsylvania.

Late this week, Rep. McKinley released his own mid-December internal survey that paints a different picture. The McKinley poll, from Meeting Street Insights (12/13-15; 400 WV-2 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) shows a 40-34% lead for their client. Even this latter data, however, shows movement for Rep. Mooney. In October, a National Research survey found the McKinley advantage to be 44-29%. 

Governor

Michigan: The Glengariff Group, polling for the Detroit News and WDIV Channel 4 News (1/3-7; 600 MI voters; live interview), finds Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) posting strong leads against all potential Republican challengers. The individual coming closest is former Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) who trails the Governor 49-39% on the ballot test question. Governor Whitmer recorded a 48:40% personal favorability rating. Mr. Craig’s polling, however, shows something different.  According to his new internal ARW Strategies study (1/4-6; 800 MI likely general election voters), Mr. Craig and Gov. Whitmer are tied at 46%. Polling margin of error could account for the discrepancy. It is expected that this will be a hotly contested national gubernatorial campaign.

States

Ohio: The Ohio State Supreme Court, on a divided 4-3 vote with the Republican Chief Justice voting with the three Democratic members, invalidated the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s state House and Senate maps for reasons of political gerrymandering. The Commission is comprised of elected officials whose produced maps require the Ohio legislature’s approval, but now must redraw the map with greater attention to statewide voter history percentages. The Court took no action on the new congressional map, but that challenge remains alive.