US Senate & House Races Heat Up

February 18, 2022

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

Key Takeaways

  • AL-Sen: GOP Primary Turning Into Three-Way Affair
  • OH-Sen: Mike Gibbons (R) Leading; Sen. Portman Endorses
  • NJ-7: Rep. Tom Malinowsky (D), Tom Kean, Jr. (R) Tied at 46%
  • WY-AL: GOP Leader McCarthy Endorses Rep. Liz Cheney Opponent
  • MI-Gov: Gov. Whitmer (D), Ex-Police Chief Craig (R) Tied in Poll
  • PA-Gov: Ex-Rep. Lou Barletta Establishes GOP Primary Lead


Alabama: The Alabama Republican Senate primary is now becoming a three-way affair, as former “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant apparently has become a legitimate third contender in the coming nomination election scheduled for May 24th. According to three surveys conducted since January 25th, what originally looked to be a potential outright win for US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) now appears surely headed for a secondary runoff election.

Cherry Communications reports on their latest survey (2/2-6; 600 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview) conducted for the political arm of the Alabama Farmers Federation. The results post Congressman Brooks to a 34-29-24% lead over former Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Britt, whom FarmPAC supports, and Mr. Durant, who now runs a defense engineering company headquartered in Alabama.

Earlier, Ms. Britt released her internal Deep Root Analytics survey (1/29-31; 2,088 AL likely GOP primary voters; live interview; automated response calls; and online) that gave her a slight 29-28-23% split over Rep. Brooks and Mr. Durant. Finally, WPA Intelligence, polling for the Club for Growth who supports Rep. Brooks (1/25-27; 513 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview), saw the Congressman holding a 35-30-25% edge over Mr. Durant, who vaulted into second position in this poll, and Ms. Britt.

Arizona: Solar Company executive Jim Lamon (R), who launched a major TV media blitz to promote his fledgling US Senate campaign, appears to be on the right track. According to a new independent co/efficent Arizona GOP primary poll (2/6-8; 755 AZ likely Republican primary voters; text & automated interview responses), Attorney General Mark Brnovich continues to lead the crowded primary, but his margin over Mr. Lamon is now only 17-13%. Closely following is venture capitalist Blake Masters at 12%, while former Arizona Adjutant General Mick McGuire posts only 3% support. 

Ohio: A pair of new statewide Ohio Republican US Senate primary surveys finds businessman Mike Gibbons overtaking former state Treasurer Josh Mandel to claim first place in the battle to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R). A co/efficent survey (2/6-8; 613 OH likely Republican primary voters; text & automated interview responses) posts Mr. Gibbons to a 20-18% lead over Mr. Mandel, with state Senator and Cleveland Guardians MLB club minority owner Mike Dolan, former state Republican Party chair Jane Timken, who Sen. Portman supports, and author J.D. Vance trailing with 7-6 and 5% support, respectively.

The new Cyngal research firm’s internal poll for the Gibbons campaign (2/8-10; 609 OH likely Republican primary voters; SMS text & email) gives their candidate a much larger margin over the rest of the field. The Cygnal numbers find Mr. Gibbons holding 23% support, with Mandel, Vance, Timken, and Dolan trailing with 11-9-8 and 6%, respectively. The Gibbons’ media blitz, to an extent featuring Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) endorsing the investment banker’s candidacy, has clearly succeeded in making Mr. Gibbons a top-tier candidate. The Ohio primary is May 3rd.

Pennsylvania: The Trafalgar Group tested the Pennsylvania GOP electorate for the upcoming May 17th US Senate primary. The survey (2/1-4; 1,070 PA GOP likely primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; text) finds Dr. Mehmet Oz leading the Republican field with former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands making a significant upward move. 

Dr. Oz pulls the largest preference share at 27% with former hedge fund CEO David McCormick second at 16%, virtually tied with Ms. Sands who polled 15% support. No other candidate reached double digits. On the Democratic side, previous polls have consistently found Lt. Gov. John Fetterman running substantially ahead of Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh). The Pennsylvania general election will be one of the top national 2022 Senate campaigns.

Utah: Former US Rep. Ben McAdams (D) is suggesting to Utah Democratic Party leaders that they not file a candidate for the US Senate nomination to oppose Sen. Mike Lee (R), who is running for a third term. Instead, Mr. McAdams is suggesting that Democrats coalesce with Independent candidate Evan McMullin, the former presidential candidate who received over 21% of the Utah vote in 2016, placing just behind Hillary Clinton’s 27%. Regardless of what the Democrats decide, Sen. Lee is a prohibitive favorite for re-election in the Autumn.


NJ-7: New Jersey US Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) late this week released his internal GQR survey (1/19-27; 600 NJ likely voters; live interview) that projects the two-term incumbent falling into a flat tie with 2020 Republican nominee and former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. The ballot test results find both candidates receiving 46% support. In the 2020 congressional race, Rep. Malinowski defeated Mr. Kean with a small 51-49% margin. 

NY-16: Freshman New York US Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), who unseated veteran Rep. Eliot Engel in the 2020 Democratic primary, now faces an intra-party challenge of his own. Westchester County Legislator and former United Nations official Vedat Gashi made his candidacy official this week. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano (D), a former state Assemblyman, is also considering entering the contest. With almost one-quarter added territory because the new 16th district is losing its Bronx section, the Democratic primary, scheduled for June 28th, could again become interesting. The NY candidate filing deadline is April 7th.

NY-18: A new BK Strategies survey of New York’s Orange County anchored 18th Congressional District (2/5-7; 300 NY-18 likely general election voters) finds Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman and five-term New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) falling into a dead heat contest in his own re-election. 

Though the new Empire State Redistricting plan slightly increased the district’s Democratic vote, reportedly under the Congressman’s guidance (538 organization stats: new district D+3; current district EVEN), the BK poll stakes Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-South Salem) to a one-point lead, 38-37% over the Democratic incumbent. Even though the district should play a bit more in Rep. Maloney’s favor, this will be a GOP targeted November contest.

RI-2: Former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R), who was the Republican gubernatorial nominee in both 2014 and 2018, announced that he will enter the open 2nd Congressional District race in hope of succeeding retiring 11-term Congressman Jim Langevin (D-Warwick). Redistricting won’t change the state’s two congressional districts substantially, as the 1st District needs to shed only 5,617 people to the 2nd, and that will likely come from the Providence area. Both seats will remain reliably Democratic. Since it was believed that Rhode Island might lose one of its districts in reapportionment, at 548,690 residents per district the state has the second smallest CDs in the country. 

Mr. Fung is a prohibitive favorite for the Republican nomination but will be a decided underdog to whomever wins the crowded Democratic primary. The Rhode Island nomination election won’t occur until September 13th.

WA-3: The Trafalgar Group surveyed the WA-3 jungle primary race, and they again find, as was the case in their late October poll, that Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground/Vancouver) is in danger of not qualifying for the general election. According to Trafalgar’s latest study (2/11-14; 697 WA-3 likely jungle primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; text), Democrat Brent Hennrich would place first with 33%, thus coalescing a large share of his party’s vote, with retired Army officer Joe Kent (R) placing second at 26%. Rep. Herrera Beutler places third with 22%. Two other Republicans combine for 17%. 

Under the Washington system, all candidates are placed on the August 2nd primary ballot, with the top two finishers advancing into the general election regardless of party preference. Rep. Herrera Beutler is one of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump, and most of them are having problems in their succeeding GOP primary. The former President has endorsed Mr. Kent in this contest.

WV-2: WPA Intelligence released a new internal survey for West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town), as he faces fellow GOP Rep. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) in a paired incumbent new 2nd District. The Mountain State lost a seat in reapportionment, hence the need for the two being placed in the same CD.

According to the WPAstudy (2/2-3; 406 WV-2 likely Republican primary voters; live interview), Rep. Mooney would command a 43-28% lead. A month before, Public Opinion Strategies released a survey (1/4-6; 400 WV-2 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) giving Mr. Mooney a similar 45-32% advantage. Before the first of the year, polling posted Rep. McKinley to the lead. Additionally, while former President Trump supports Rep. Mooney, Gov. Jim Justice (R) this week announced his endorsement of Rep. McKinley.

WY-AL: In what may be an unprecedented move, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman in her Republican primary challenge to at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson). The fact that the party leader would support a challenge against one of his own incumbents is an astonishing statement as to how ostracized Rep. Cheney is from her own party. The McCarthy endorsement will now mean that the official Republican Party political apparatus can also get behind Ms. Hageman. 


Alabama: GOP Gov. Kay Ivey defends her position against two challengers with either name ID or money, and the first post-candidate filing deadline poll finds the Governor positioned to win the nomination without facing a runoff. Cherry Communications, polling for the Alabama Farmers Federation’s political arm, FarmPAC (2/2-6; 600 AL likely Republican primary voters; live interview) sees the Governor holding a major 55-11-10% lead over businessman Tim James and former US Ambassador to Slovenia Lindy Blanchard. 

Michigan: The Democratic survey research firm Blueprint Polling (2/1-4; 632 MI likely and probable general election voters; live interview) finds former Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R) falling into a dead heat with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). The two are tied at 44%, according to the Blueprint results. The other significant positive for Mr. Craig, as the crosstabs revealed, is his 41-32% advantage over the Governor among Independents. 

Mr. Craig has been polling close in other early campaign surveys, to the point where all four studies released since the first of the year, from four different pollsters, find the Governor’s race general election projections within the polling margin of error.

Pennsylvania: The Trafalgar Group released a new Republican primary survey in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania (2/1-4; 1,070 PA likely GOP primary voters; live interview, integrated voice response system, text message, and email) and projects that former Congressman Lou Barletta is topping state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) by a 24-20% margin. Messrs. Barletta and Mastriano are the only two candidates who break into double-digit support. 

State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) lags badly behind at only a 5% preference level, just ahead of former US Attorney Bill McSwain and state Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) who both registered 4%. Sen. Martin, however, recently announced his withdrawal from the race after severely breaking a leg that will lead to a long rehab period. The eventual Republican nominee will face consensus Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro, the state’s Attorney General. The Pennsylvania primary is May 17th.