Vance Takes Lead in OH GOP Poll; Lt. Gov. Fetterman Has Large Dem Primary Lead in PA

April 22, 2022

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

Key Takeaways

  • IA-Sen: Court Reinstates Abby Finkenauer to Dem Primary Ballot
  • OH-Sen: J.D. Vance Takes Lead in New GOP Poll
  • PA-Sen: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Dominates in Dem Primary Poll & $
  • TN-5: Tennessee GOP Bounces Three Candidates
  • Redistricting: DeSantis Florida Map Passes Legislature
  • GA-Gov: Gov. Brian Kemp Establishes Strong GOP Primary Lead


Iowa: After an Iowa lower court judge removed former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D) from the US Senate ballot by invalidating enough petition signatures where she failed to meet the minimum qualification, the state Supreme Court, with a Republican majority, reinstated her just before the ballot finalization deadline in association with the state’s June 7th primary. The original ruling indicated that the lack of a signature date, as required in Iowa election law, meant the affected names would be rejected. The state Supreme Court Justices ruled that the law doesn’t explicitly identify missing or incorrect signature dates as a reason for disqualification. 

Nevada: OH Predictive Insights released a new survey of the Nevada Senate race and draws a different conclusion from last week’s Blueprint Polling and Suffolk University studies that gave Republican Adam Laxalt leads of 47-40% and 43-40%, respectively, over incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D). The OH data, conducted for the Nevada Independent political blog (4/1-9; 748 NV registered voters; opt-in panel), finds Sen. Cortez Masto back in front of Mr. Laxalt with a 43-35% margin. The original pollsters tested likely voters, while OH surveyed registered voters. The stark contrast underscores the enthusiasm gap responses that polls around the country have been detecting as strongly favoring Republicans.

Ohio: The Federal Election Commission has released the 1st quarter 2022 campaign finance totals, and we see that the Ohio Senate Republican self-funding candidates are the race’s top donors. Businessman Mike Gibbons and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) have donated or loaned their US Senate campaigns $16,420,000 and $10,490,000, respectively. Among the five Republican candidates, the total combined amount received from other individuals or entities is $6,543,490, of which former state Republican Party chair Jane Timken raised $3,998,150 of the total. By contrast, the Democratic candidates have obtained from others a total of $12,583,263 of which $11,377,697 comes from Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-Warren/Youngstown) campaign.

The latest Fabrizio Lee Ohio US Senate survey (4/18-19; 800 OH likely Republican primary voters; live interview & text), conducted for the Ohio Values Super PAC that supports Mr. Vance, reveals a new Republican leader. Late last week former President Donald Trump endorsed Vance, and now this new Fabrizio Lee survey finds the candidate forging into first place on the eve of the May 3rd state primary. The ballot test results project a 25-18-13-11-9% spread in favor of Mr. Vance followed by Messrs. Mandel, Gibbons, Ms. Timken, and Sen. Dolan, respectively. 

Oklahoma: The Oklahoma candidate filing deadline expired, and we saw a new entry come forth just as the period was ending. Former Trump Administration Environmental Protection Agency director and former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) announced that he will enter the special election campaign to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R).

Mr. Pruitt will face the race polling leader, US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville), ex-state House Speaker T. W. Shannon, state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), former National Security Council official Alex Gray, and ex-Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland in the June 28th Republican primary. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance to an August 23rd runoff election. Winning the Republican nomination will be tantamount to clinching the seat in November. The eventual Inhofe replacement will serve the balance of the Senator’s term, which means standing for a full six-year term in 2026.

Pennsylvania: Franklin & Marshall College, a frequent Pennsylvania pollster, released numbers at the end of last week that basically confirm the internal poll that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman made public the day before. The joint conclusion: Mr. Fetterman has a large lead in the Democratic primary. The F&M poll (4/30-4/10; 785 PA registered voters; 356 Democrats, 317 Republicans, & 112 independents; live interview and online) finds the Lt. Governor holding a 41-17-4% lead over Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia). The numbers are similar to Fetterman’s GBAO Strategies poll, except for Kenyatta’s standing, that pegged the Lt. Governor to a 44-19-17% advantage over the others in the same order. 

Fetterman not only enjoys strong polling leads for the upcoming May 17th Pennsylvania US Senate primary, but he has an equally significant advantage in fundraising. According to the recently released 1st quarter 2022 campaign finance reports for the period ending March 31st, Mr. Fetterman has raised just over $15 million for the race without any self-contribution. His next closest rival, US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) reported $5.7 million in receipts for the campaign. 

Senate Cash: The first quarter 2022 fundraising figures are public, and it appears the aggregate in-cycle Senate incumbents and challengers raised a total exceeding $150 million just for the 12-week period. The top two overall fundraisers for the 2022 cycle are again Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), who has obtained more than $44 million for his first re-election effort, and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (D) who has pulled in over $39 million.


Maryland: The delayed Maryland candidate filing period closed on Friday in conjunction with the postponed state primary, now to be held on July 19th. The legal challenges to the Maryland congressional map led to the election calendar change. With the new map in place, two districts were most affected. The 1st District of Rep. Andy Harris (R-Cockesyville) returns to safe Republican status at R+25 according to the FiveThirtyEight statistical team. Under the rejected Democratic legislature’s map, the Harris seat was rated only R+8. Rep. David Trone’s (D-Potomac) western Maryland 6th District moves into Republican territory at R+1, a major change from the D+12 seat that the Democratic legislature drew. 

TN-5: This week, the Tennessee Republican Party officially disqualified three candidates from the new Congressional District 5 ballot because they did not meet the state imposed requirement of voting in three of the last four statewide elections. The three are former State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, film producer Robby Starbuck, and businessman Baxter Lee. It will be interesting to see if any or all of the group files a lawsuit in federal court. Their success chances may be favorable because the US Constitution bars states from imposing more requirements to run for federal office than are outlined in the country’s foundation document of principles.


Florida: The Florida congressional map that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is proposing passed the state legislature at the end of the week. Once Gov. DeSantis signs the legislation, we will see an immediate lawsuit filed over the re-drawing of District 5, (Rep. Al Lawson; D-Tallahassee) which is currently a majority minority district. With the courts back logged, it appears any federal challenge won’t likely move through the process until next year. The Florida state Supreme Court would likely hear any state challenge. Should the Florida high court uphold the map, it would be virtually assured that these will be the districts for the 2022 election. Federal action next year, however, could force a re-draw for subsequent election years.

Ohio: A federal three-judge panel is taking action to end the court vs. legislature deadlock that has resulted in the state Supreme Court rejecting four different versions of the state House and Senate districts. The panel gave the state’s redistricting commission until May 28th to draw new House and Senate lines and said if the committee again fails, the court will implement a map set that the state Supreme Court previously ruled as unconstitutional. While voters will go to the polls to choose nominees for all other offices on May 3rd, the state House and Senate primaries will be held at a still undetermined date later in the year.


Georgia: A Landmark Communications poll conducted for WGCL Channel 46, the Atlanta CBS affiliate (4/9-10; 660 GA likely Republican primary voters), finds Gov. Brian Kemp recording his strongest GOP primary survey result over former US Senator David Perdue. The ballot test revealed a 52-28-10% split in favor of the Governor, with Mr. Perdue and educator Kandiss Taylor following, respectively. This poll suggests that Gov. Kemp could win the May 24th primary outright, thus eliminating the need for a secondary runoff election. According to the Landmark data, Gov. Kemp posts a 56:25% favorable job approval ratio within the Republican polling sample.

Massachusetts: The University of Massachusetts at Lowell just released a statewide survey of the Democratic gubernatorial primary (4/2-11; 800 MA likely Democratic primary voters) that posted state Attorney General Maura Healey to a powerhouse 62-17% lead over Democratic primary rival, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston).  Gov. Charlie Baker (R), who this poll finds with a 78% approval rating, is not seeking a third term. Therefore, Democrats have an open door to reclaiming the inside track for the general election, hence the importance of winning the party primary. The Massachusetts nomination election isn’t until September 6th, but Ms. Healey clearly has established herself as the early race leader.

Nebraska: State Sen. Brett Lindstrom (R-Omaha) released the results of his internal 3D Strategies survey (4/10-12; 500 NE likely Republican primary voters; live interview) that projects he and University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen tied at 27% apiece with Conklin Company CEO Chuck Herbster a close third at 23%. This poll was taken just before eight women, including state Sen. Julie Slama, went public with sexual assault accusations against Mr. Herbster. Former President Trump long ago endorsed Mr. Herbster while Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) backs Mr. Pillen. Gov. Ricketts is ineligible to seek a third term.

Nevada: The OH Predictive Insights firm that tested the Nevada Senate race (4/1-9; 748 NV registered voters; opt-in panel) also tested the state’s gubernatorial campaign. As mentioned in the Senate section above, OH surveyed only registered voters as compared to other polls that sample likely voters. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) holds comfortable leads over Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R), 44-35%; a 46-33% spread against former US Senator Dean Heller; and 46-33% clip over North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, who relatively recently switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party. Because of the likely voter performance detected in other polls, the spread here is probably too optimistic for the Democratic candidates, but there is no doubt that both the Nevada Senate and Governor’s races will be hard fought and close.

Wisconsin: Republican Tommy Thompson was elected four consecutive times as Wisconsin’s Governor, but lost his last attempt to win public office, a 51-46% loss in 2012 to Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). Reports had surfaced that Mr. Thompson, now 80 years old, was considering a return to the Governor’s race after being away from the office for 21 years. Toward the end of this week, Mr. Thompson announced that he would not enter the race to challenge Gov. Tony Evers (D). The leading Republican candidate is former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.


Georgia Secretary of State: The aforementioned Landmark Communications poll conducted for WGCL Channel 46 (see Governor’s section above) also tested the Georgia Secretary of State’s race where embattled incumbent Brad Raffensperger faces US Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro) among other opponents. Mr. Raffesnperger was at the center of the election fraud controversy in Georgia and the poll suggests he has not recovered from the post-election fall-out. The Landmark ballot test finds Rep. Hice posting 35-18% advantage over the Secretary of State with former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle recording 10% preference. The Georgia primary is May 24th. Should a runoff be necessary, that election will be conducted on June 21st.