Election Insights
Election Insights is a political analysis publication of the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC). BIPAC is an independent, bipartisan organization, that is supported by several hundred of the nation’s leading businesses and trade associations.  The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of our organization.


July 13, 2018
Topsy-Turvy Missouri Senate Race Polling Caps Summer Survey Results in Key Contests
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Missouri:  flip-flopping polling data in Senate race with small leads for either Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) or Attorney General Josh Hawley (R)
  • CA-49:  Democrat Mike Levin jumps out to lead in Rep. Darrell Issa's (R) open seat over Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey (R) in recent polling
  • NJ-2:  Republicans back away from candidate Seth Grossman because of past racist statements with chance of retaining Rep. Frank LoBiondo's (R) seat slim at best
  • NY-14:  defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D) still on general election ballot with Working Families Party nomination despite losing in the Democratic primary to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • NC-9:  Democrat Dan McCready leads in the open seat race against Baptist former pastor Mark Harris (R), who upset incumbent Rep. Bob Pittenger (R) in the GOP primary
  • Alaska:  three polls find Gov. Bill Walker (I) trailing former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D)

Senate

Arizona: Axios Media, in conjunction with the Survey Monkey organization, launched a 13-state US Senate race study (conducted during 6/11-7/2 where 12,677 registered voters were interviewed in their 13-state sample taken from their pre-qualified universe of 3,000,000 respondents). The Arizona results (1,290 sample size) finds Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) leading Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson), the strongest Republican in the field, by a 48-44% margin. Under various turnout models, the Sinema range stretches from one to six percentage points.

Florida: The Axios-Survey Monkey polling project also tested the Florida electorate (1,080 respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details) and found Gov. Rick Scott (R) to be leading Sen. Bill Nelson (D) by a 49-46% margin. Under all tested turnout models, Gov. Scott's lead reaches from three to nine percentage points.

Indiana: Again covering the Axios-Survey Monkey data, this time for Indiana (952 respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details), the results find former state Rep. Mike Braun (R) topping Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) 49-47%. Under the pollsters' elasticity models, the Braun advantage ranges anywhere between one and eight percentage points depending upon the voter turnout model employed.

Missouri: The Missouri Senate race may arguably be the most topsy-turvy race in the country so far this year. Most polls have shown just a small lead for one contender or the other but, in most, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) has enjoyed a small advantage. For example, the Axios Media/Survey Monkey poll (see Arizona Senate) posted the Senator to a 49-47% advantage.

Yesterday, however, Remington Research released its new Show Me State survey for the Missouri Times news site (released 7/10; 1,034 MO registered voters via automated response device) and finds Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) slipping back into the lead, posting a slight 48-46% edge over Sen. McCaskill. We can expect this race to be rated a toss-up all the way to Election Day.

Nebraska: The Grassroots Targeting qualitative research organization yesterday released the results of their recent 1,000 person voter survey of the Nebraska electorate and found first-term Sen. Deb Fischer (R) cruising to re-election. According to the GT results, Sen. Fischer would lead Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould (D) 63-28% if the election were held in the current time frame.

Nevada: The new Gravis Marketing Nevada poll (6/23-26; 630 NV likely general election voters) finds Democratic US Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson) taking a 45-41% lead over incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) in one of the nation's most critical US Senate races. The Survey Monkey, in its 13-state Senate study as described above (see Arizona Senate), finds Rep. Rosen to be holding a similar 48-45% edge with a ballot test range of between one and five percentage points depending upon various projected turnout models.

North Dakota: One more state the Axios-Survey Monkey project tested was North Dakota. There, 457 respondents participated (see Arizona Senate above for further details). According to the Survey Monkey results, at-large US Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck) holds a 52-47% edge over Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) and the data models range from five to ten percentage points in the Congressman's favor.

Ohio: In addition to the Missouri results, Ohio is the only state where the Axios-Survey Monkey elasticity turnout models produce different leaders. According to the released data (951 OH respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) leads Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth), 52-44%, but the elasticity stretches from the most likely eight percentage point Brown margin all the way to a one-point edge for Rep. Renacci. In the remaining Democratic incumbent states tested: Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the sitting office holder has a strong lead under all scenarios.

Tennessee: Here, the Axios-Survey Monkey data (1,010 respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details) produces a much stronger Republican result than in most other polls. According to these data, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) is opening up a substantial 55-41% lead over former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), with an elasticity range of 14 to 19 points depending upon turnout model scenario.

West Virginia: The Mountain State Axios-Survey Monkey results (892 respondents - see Arizona Senate above for further details) are also more favorable to one candidate than most polling suggests. Here, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) leads Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), 53-40%. The turnout model elasticity range favors Sen. Manchin from 11 to 13 percentage points.

House

CA-49: Democratic candidate Mike Levin released the results from his first campaign poll conducted in conjunction with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the San Diego/Orange County congressional seat that Republican Darrell Issa (R-Vista) is vacating, the new Feldman Group poll (6/24-27; 400 CA-49 registered voters with an over-sample of 200 independents who are registered as "No Party Preference") finds the poll sponsor leading Republican Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey (R) 44-41% in the first ballot test, and 49-46% when those leaning to both candidates are added to the sample.

NJ-2: New events in New Jersey's open 2nd District have caused the National Republican Congressional Committee to back away from its endorsed nominee. Information coming into the public domain revealing past racist statements from Republican candidate Seth Grossman is precipitating the action. Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May) has long been considered the favorite to replace retiring twelve-term incumbent Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor), so GOP chances of retaining this seat were slim at best even at the beginning of the campaign.

NY-14: Amid a back-and-forth controversy between New York Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) and the woman who defeated him in last month's Democratic primary, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the prospect of a general election campaign between the two still remains. Though Mr. Crowley lost the Democratic primary, he won the Working Families Party nomination, which means he has ballot placement for the general election. Though being called upon by the Working Families leadership to resign from the ticket, Mr. Crowley has refused to do so, but still says he supports Ocasio-Cortez. Therefore, it is at least conceivable that we could see a re-match between the two in the general election.

NC-9: Former pastor Mark Harris upset GOP Rep. Bob Pittenger (R-Charlotte) in the May 8th Republican primary, but a new poll suggests the new party nominee is trailing as the candidates move toward the general election vote on November 6th. The North Carolina-based Civitas Group, a conservative think tank that often sponsors polls of the Tar Heel State electorate, contracted with Survey USA to test the 9th Congressional District race.   According to the poll (7/5-8; 543 NC-9 likely general election voters), businessman Dan McCready (D) has jumped out to a 43-36% lead over Mr. Harris.

WI-1: Labor activist Randy Bryce (D) was raising millions of dollars when he was running against Speaker Paul Ryan (R) before the latter man announced his retirement. Now, his cash-on-hand still reads over $2 million but so far, that doesn’t seem to be helping him in his Democratic primary battle with Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers. According to a just-released Remington Research poll, Ms. Myers has assumed a 34-33% lead as the two move closer to the August 14th Democratic primary. Republicans are sure to nominate University Regent Bryan Steil, a long associate of Speaker Ryan. The race is expected to generate strong competition in November.

Governor

Alabama: A just-released recent Atlantic Media & Research survey (6/12-14 & 6/18-21; 440 AL registered voters) finds Gov. Kay Ivey (R) jumping out to a major 53-28% general election lead over Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D). Both Gov. Ivey and Mayor Maddox won their respective Republican and Democratic Party nominations outright on June 5th, so neither was forced into a July 17th run-off election.

Alaska: Last week, the Alaska Research Service released polling numbers that found Gov. Bill Walker (I) falling well behind both Republican former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy and Democratic ex-US Senator Mark Begich. The ballot test showed Gov. Walker trailing in third place, 38-33-23%, behind both Dunleavy and Begich.

This week, the Governor released his own Patinkin Research Strategies poll (6/22-28; 800 AK likely general election voters), but his own survey actually confirms significant portions of the ARS poll. According to Patinkin, Mr. Dunleavy is also placed in the lead with 36%, followed by Gov. Walker attracting 28%, while Mr. Begich polls last at 22%. Later, Harstad Strategic Research conducted a survey for the Alaska AFL-CIO and also found Messrs. Walker and Begich alternating positions.

According to the Harstad results (6/21-26; 602 AK likely general election voters), Mr. Dunleavy holds a 32-28-28% lead over his two opponents. The polling also finds that both Walker and Begich would top Dunleavy in a one-on-one race, but there is no sign that either the Governor or ex-Senator will soon depart the campaign. So, unless something changes before the August 21st primary, the Alaska Governor's race will feature three major candidates.

Minnesota: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research ran a survey of the upcoming August 14th Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial primary (6/25-27; 602 MN likely Democratic primary voters) and found Attorney General Lori Swanson leading the primary field of candidates with 37% when leaners are included. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) was second at 29%, and state Rep. Erin Murphy (D-St. Paul), the officially endorsed Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate, is well back with only 17% support.

The eventual Democratic nominee will face either former Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Hennepin County Commissioner and officially endorsed Republican candidate Jeff Johnson in the general election. Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is retiring after serving two terms.

Wyoming: A new University of Wyoming poll for Wyoming Public Media and the Wyoming PBS outlet (6/18-20; 596 WY Republican voters) finds that any of the candidates can still win the August 21st GOP primary to succeed term-limited Governor Matt Mead (R). State Treasurer Mark Gordon places first with 19% of the vote, followed by businessman Sam Galeotos who polls 14%, while attorney Harriet Hageman follows with 11%, and retired physician and former gubernatorial candidate Taylor Haynes has 10 percent. Billionaire investor Foster Friess is next with 7%, and businessman Bill Dahlin follows with just 1% preference.


July 6, 2018
New Polling Results Out in Top Contests for Senate and Governor
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Michigan:  GOP Senate race tightens between venture capitalist Sandy Pensler and retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James
  • Minnesota:  polls show leads for Senators Amy Klobuchar (D) and Tina Smith (D) over potential Republican general election opponents
  • Nevada:  Gravis Poll finds Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) topping incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) in Senate race
  • Alaska:  major race changes - businessman Scott Hawkins (R) ends gubernatorial campaign;  former Gov. Tony Knowles (D) publicly endorses former Sen. Mark Begich (D), now a candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary
  • Rhode Island:  Governor Gina Raimondo (D) and Republican opponents file

Senate

Michigan: Though venture capitalist Sandy Pensler has been spending heavily in the Republican primary - well over $1 million reportedly through the end of March of the over $5 million he injected into the campaign - a new Target Insyght survey for the Michigan Information and Research Service (6/24-26; 800 MI likely voters; 400 likely Democratic primary voters; 400 likely Republican primary voters) finds him clinging to only 32-29% lead over retired Army Ranger and manufacturing company owner John James.

But, Mr. Pensler countered by releasing a Strategic National poll (6/16-21; 1,000 MI registered voters), taken much earlier in the month. This data posted him to a 33-18% advantage. Looking at the polling pair, the results suggest that while Mr. Pensler still leads the primary race, Mr. James appears to be gaining ground.

Minnesota: The Outstate blog, the creation of former GOP congressional candidate Stewart Mills, recently commissioned a BK Strategies poll of the Minnesota statewide electorate (6/24-25; 1,574 MN likely voters). In the pair of US Senate campaigns, the Democratic incumbents enjoy leads over their potential Republican general election opponents.

Looking at the race that appears secure for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), who is seeking a third term, the incumbent begins with a sound 57-37% advantage over state Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker). The central Minnesota state legislator is one of four Republicans running, but the only one tested in the hypothetical November contest.

In what could develop into a competitive general election, appointed Sen. Tina Smith (D) begins with a high single-digit lead over two-term state Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Mary's Point), 48-39%. Though Ms. Smith is the state's former Lt. Governor, running in the Senate race marks the first time she will individually appear on the Minnesota ballot.

Nevada: The new Gravis Marketing Nevada poll (6/23-26; 630 NV likely general election voters) finds Democratic US Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson) taking a 45-41% lead over incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) in one of the nation's most critical US Senate races. Nevada is so important because it is one of two states -- Arizona being the other -- where Democrats begin on even footing in a Senate challenge campaign. To win the majority, Democrats must hold all 26 Senate seats they are defending, and then convert at least two Republican states, thus explaining why Nevada and Arizona potentially possess majority-defining status in this national midterm election.

House

KS-2: The crowded August 7th Republican primary is approaching in the district from which five-term Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Topeka) is retiring. The Mellman Group chose one of the seven GOP contenders, state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth), as a proposed general election opponent for former state House Minority Leader and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) in their latest poll (6/13-18; 600 KS-2 likely voters). In addition to Sen. Fitzgerald, a former state House Speaker, four sitting state legislators, a local official, and a defense contractor comprise the primary field.

According to the Mellman Group, a ballot test featuring Messrs. Davis and Fitzgerald would break 39-34% in Mr. Davis' favor, but this is well before the general election campaign has developed. Democrats view this as a top open seat conversion opportunity because Mr. Davis topped Gov. Sam Brownback (R) here by seven points in the last gubernatorial campaign. The fact that Mr. Davis doesn't even reach 40% from a district he carried against the then-incumbent Republican Governor suggests, however, that the partisan trend could change quickly once the GOP nominates a candidate.

MI-13: John Conyers III, who was disqualified from entering the August 7th Democratic congressional primary because he lacked a sufficient number of valid ballot petition signatures, will still apparently be present in the special and regular general elections to be held later this year. Mr. Conyers, and ten others are competing for the seat that Mr. Conyers' father, former 27-term Congressman John Conyers (D-Detroit), resigned late last year. Though Mr. Conyers will not be competing in the special and regular Democratic primaries, he will enter the race as an Independent candidate.

Governor

Alaska:Businessman Scott Hawkins has decided to end his gubernatorial campaign despite being a major candidate for the Republican nomination because the race has so drastically changed in the past month. In addition to former US Sen. Mark Begich entering the Democratic primary just before the candidate filing deadline expired, the emergence of former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell as a Republican candidate altered the GOP picture.

On the Democratic side, ex-Gov. Tony Knowles (D) publicly endorsed former Sen. Begich. This move isn't surprising, but Mr. Knowles attack on Gov. Bill Walker (I), for what the former state chief executive claimed is a poor handling of the state's economy, is eye opening. Gov. Walker has been much more friendly to the Democrats than Republicans and even was prepared to enter the Democratic primary before ex-Sen. Begich entered the race. Additionally, the Alaska Survey Research poll, as reported here last week, placed Walker as running behind both Republican former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy and Mr. Begich (38-33-23%).

Arizona: An Arizona state court ruled in favor of the Arizona Republican Party, which challenged Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kevin McCormick's ballot petitions. The GOP argued, and the court agreed, that Mr. McCormick did not submit the legally required number of signatures to obtain ballot position. It is unclear if Mr. McCormick or the Libertarian Party will appeal the ruling. Republicans generally don't want a Libertarian candidate on the ballot because they believe some conservative votes are diverted to such a contender instead of supporting the GOP nominee. First-term Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is seeking re-election. Though favored in November, this campaign could turn competitive.

Georgia:In the May 22nd Georgia Republican primary, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp advanced into the July 24th run-off election. According to a Cygnal polling firm survey (6/26-27; 812 GA likely Republican run-off voters), the two candidates have lapsed into a dead heat with a month of campaign time remaining. Cygnal sees Lt. Gov. Cagle holding just a 44-43% edge over Secretary of State Kemp when leaners are included. In terms of defined support, Mr. Kemp holds an identical one-point lead, 27-26%.

The Kemp Campaign then released their internal Public Opinion Strategies survey on July 1st (methodological information not available) that showed both candidates attracting 45% support, virtually confirming the Cygnal data. The run-off winner faces former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in the general election. Ms. Abrams won the Democratic Party nomination outright in late May.

Louisiana:Speculation persists that US Senator John Kennedy (R) may enter next year's gubernatorial primary to challenge first-term incumbent John Bel Edwards (D). To encourage even more conjecture and publicity, Sen. Kennedy's political organization commissioned a new statewide Survey USA poll (6/19-22; 812 LA adults; 666 of whom are registered voters; 600 who voted in the 2016 presidential campaign).

In a three-way contest among Gov. Edwards, Sen. Kennedy, and US Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe), the two better-known office holders begin on even footing, and far ahead of the northern Louisiana Congressman. According to the S-USA data, Gov. Edwards and Sen. Kennedy would be tied at 35%, with Rep. Abraham badly trailing with 8% support. But, in a run-off between Gov. Edwards and Sen. Kennedy, which the first poll question suggests would happen, it is the Republican Senator who opens up a large lead, 51-37%.

Michigan:The aforementioned Target Insyght poll for the MIRS (see Michigan Senate above) released a series of numbers for the Governor's race. In a proposed general election campaign between Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) and former state House Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D), the GOP statewide office holder trails 37-42%. Both, however, command substantial advantages in their party primaries. For the Democrats, Ms. Whitmer has a solid 40-19-17% lead over businessman Shri Thanedar and former Detroit Health Department Director Abdul El-Sayed. For the Republicans, Mr. Schuette holds an equally strong 45-16% advantage over Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

Minnesota:The aforementioned BK Strategies poll (see Minnesota Senate above) tested two Democratic candidates against former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R). In a previous question, the pollsters determined that Mr. Pawlenty is leading his officially endorsed Republican primary opponent as the state primary approaches on August 14th. The former two-term chief executive leads Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner who was the party's 2014 gubernatorial nominee, 54-20%.

Perhaps surprisingly, because Mr. Pawlenty previously won two statewide gubernatorial campaigns in adverse Republican election years, he trails both tested Democratic candidates in this BK poll. This includes US Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) who only represents 1/8 of the state. According to the ballot test numbers, Attorney General Lori Swanson (D) is staked to a 46-41% edge over former Gov. Pawlenty. Rep. Walz performs even better, leading Mr. Pawlenty, 48-41%. Curiously, state Rep. Erin Murphy (D-St. Paul), the officially endorsed DFL candidate, was not even tested in this particular survey.

Nevada:The previously mentioned Gravis Marketing Nevada poll (see Nevada Senate above) also surveyed the state's hotly contested open Governor's race. According to the Gravis numbers, Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) leads Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak (D), 43-41%. Tight results such as these can be expected here all the way to Election Day. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Rhode Island:Candidate filing closed this week, and Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) stands for a second term. Her opponents include former Secretary of State Matt Brown, who is her serious Democratic primary challenger, and ex-state Rep. Spencer Dickinson. Once coming through the September 12th Democratic primary, the nominee will likely face 2014 nominee Allan Fung, the Cranston Mayor who held Raimondo to a 41-36% win four years ago. State House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) and former state Sen. Giovanni Feroce round out the Republican field. Five individuals are running as Independents or minor party candidates.

Tennessee:US Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) and businessman Randy Boyd each lead the Republican primary race for Governor according to two new polls. The Phoenix-based Data Orbital firm surveyed the Tennessee Republican electorate from June 27-30, questioning 700 likely Republican primary voters through the Interactive Voice Response system. They find Rep. Black leading businessman Mr. Boyd by a single point, 24-23% for the August 2nd Republican primary, with a large 24% factor saying they are undecided. Businessman Bill Lee is third with 19%, followed by state House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), who receives 10% support.

But, the Triton Polling & Research firm, surveying for the Tennessee Star newspaper (6/25-28; 1,040 TN likely GOP primary voters; Interactive Voice Response) sees the race completely differently. According to Triton, it is Mr. Boyd who leads the contest, and by a more substantial 33-27% over Rep. Black. Mr. Lee is again in third place, this time with 20% support, and Speaker Harwell follows with only 7% backing.


June 29, 2018
Primary Results and Polling Provide Insight into General Election Outcomes
by Jim Ellis
 
Key Takeaways:
  • Florida: Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R) polling close in toss-up Senate race
  • Utah: Mitt Romney wins US Senate GOP primary with landslide victory
  • CA-48: Democrat Harley Rouda advances to general election to oppose Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa)
  • CO-5: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) Easily Wins Re-Nomination
  • NY-11:  Rep. Dan Donovan tops former Rep. Grimm in Republican primary
  • NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) falls to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in huge primary upset
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and mortgage banker Kevin Stitt to head to run-off election for Republican gubernatorial primary.
  • South Carolina: Gov. Henry McMaster won the Republican gubernatorial nomination with a 54-46% run-off victory.

Senate

Arizona:  CBS News and the YouGov polling organization teamed up to survey a potential general election campaign pitting US Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) against the three Republican candidates.  The Arizona poll (6/19-22; 1,001 AZ registered voters) finds Ms. Sinema leading Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson), 45-37%.  If former state Sen. Kelli Ward were the Republican nominee, Rep. Sinema’s lead is a similar 46-38%.  Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio fares the worst.  Against Rep. Sinema, he would trail 49-29%.  Marist College found similar results from their June 17-19 poll of 839 AZ registered voters.  Against Rep. McSally, the Sinema advantage is 49-38%.  Opposite former state Sen. Ward the lead is an almost identical 48-38%.  And, as found in CBS/YouGov, the Sinema lead over ex-Sheriff Arpaio is stronger.  In Marist, the spread becomes 57-32%.  The Arizona primary is August 28th.

California:  No Golden State US Senate poll has ever depicted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) as trailing in her bid for re-election, yet the five-term Senator has also never reached majority support.  This includes the actual California jungle primary vote where she took 44% against 31 opponents from all parties.  The new Survey USA poll, though with a small sample of just 559 likely statewide general election voters (6/26-27), finds Ms. Feinstein holding a 46-24% lead over fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles state legislator and former state Senate President.   Though Sen. Feinstein is showing some weakness, it is unlikely that Mr. de Leon will have the necessary resources to run a winning campaign.

Florida:  Over the past six weeks, several polls have been conducted of the toss-up Sunshine State Senate race, and now we see another where the two candidates are virtually tied.  Public Policy Polling, surveying for the EDGE Communications group (6/18-19; 1,308 FL registered voters; automated), finds Sen. Bill Nelson (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R), 48-46%.  A day later, CBS News/YouGov released their poll (6/19-22; 1,002 FL registered voters) that found Gov. Scott in a much better position, leading with a 46-41% advantage.  But, Marist College (6/17-21; 947 FL registered voters) saw Sen. Nelson rebound, as he posted a 49-45% margin in their newly released survey.

Ohio:  The third Marist College poll, and one that CBS/YouGov did not previously survey, is of the Ohio electorate.  Here (6/17-22; 778 OH registered voters), Marist found Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) topping Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth), 51-38%.  This margin is consistent with other previously conducted and released surveys.

Texas: The last of the released CBS News/YouGov polls surveyed the Texas electorate, tested Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso), the respective Republican and Democratic US Senate nominees.  According to this poll (6/19-22; 1,030 TX registered voters), Sen. Cruz has a 50-40% advantage.  This result is in line with many other released studies that find the Senator holding an advantage in a similar range.

Utah:  As expected, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) won the US Senate primary nomination in last Tuesday’s Republican primary.  Mr. Romney defeated state Rep. Mike Kennedy (R-Provo), 72-28%, and now becomes the prohibitive favorite defeat Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, the Democratic nominee. 

West Virginia:  Public Policy Polling (6/12-13; 633 WV registered voters) released their new West Virginia poll that finds Sen. Joe Manchin (D) continuing to lead Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R).  The ballot test numbers give Sen. Manchin a 49-42% advantage.  But, the office holder approval ratings prove interesting.  While President Trump scores a 64:30% positive to negative ratio, he is the only tested political figure who lands in positive territory.  Sen. Manchin scores only a 39:48% favorability index, but he is in better shape than Mr. Morrisey who posted a 30:44% ratio.  Gov. Jim Justice (R) fares the worst, at 27:47% positive to negative. 

House

CA-48:  Three weeks after Californians voted in their jungle primary, a second place finisher in the state’s 48th District has finally been declared.  Businessman Harley Rouda (D) will advance into the general election and oppose 15-term Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) in the general election.  The final count gives Mr. Rouda a 126-vote lead, and the third place finisher, biomedical company CEO Hans Keirstead (D), announced that he will not ask for a re-count and has endorsed Mr. Rouda.  The final uncertified account gives Mr. Rouda 30,099 votes as compared to Mr. Keirstead’s, 29,973.  Rep. Rohrabacher finished first with 52,734 tallies.  The 48th District jungle primary attracted 16 candidates.  The race is rated as a Toss-up for the fall campaign.

CO-2:  In another primary race that produced an expected outcome, former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse easily won the Democratic primary with 67% of the vote.  Mr. Neguse is now the prohibitive favorite to win the seat in November.  He faces marketing executive Peter Yu in what has become a very safe Democratic district.

CO-5:  Six-term Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), who was originally disqualified from the ballot for lack of valid petition signatures only to have his status restored in court, easily won his heavily contested Republican primary.  Mr. Lamborn received 52% of the vote against four Republican opponents including El Paso County Commissioner and former US Senate GOP nominee Darryl Glenn (20%), and state Sen. Owen Hill (18%).  Rep. Lamborn is now a lock to defeat Baptist minister Stephany Spaulding in the general election.

MD-6:  After spending millions in the neighboring 8th District in the last election to finish second, Total Wine Store founder and CEO David Trone unleashed another $10 million in the adjacent open 6th District.  This time the spending paid off, as Mr. Trone captured 40% of the vote, topping seven Democratic opponents.  He now faces 2016 Republican nominee Amie Hoeber in the general election.  Mr. Trone begins this campaign as the clear favorite to succeed retiring Rep. John Delaney (D-Potomac), who intends to run for President.

MS-3:  In yet another race with a clear expected outcome, local District Attorney Michael Guest easily won the Republican run-off election (65-35%), defeating businessman Whit Hughes.  Mr. Guest is a big favorite to hold the seat in the GOP column in November, and will replace the retiring Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Pearl/Jackson) with his predicted win in the general election.

NJ-7:  A newly released Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll for Democratic candidate Tom Malinowski (6/20-25; 500 NJ-7 likely general election voters) finds the challenger ticking ahead of incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) by a 47-45% count.  The Lance-Malinowski campaign is typically viewed as a toss-up election, and this poll certainly confirms such an assertion.  Rep. Lance was first elected in 2008, and has averaged 57.5% of the vote over his four re-election campaigns.  Mr. Malinowski is a former US Assistant Secretary of State (Obama) and National Security Council Member (Clinton).  He won the Democratic primary on June 5th with 67% of the vote against two opponents.

NY-11:  The political backstreet brawl between Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Staten Island) and former Congressman and convicted felon Michael Grimm (R) ended with a clear victory for the incumbent.  Mr. Donovan’s margin was 64-36%, and he is the heavy favorite to win a second full term in November.

NY-14:  One of the biggest primary upsets of the election cycle occurred on Tuesday when little known Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset ten-term Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens) in the Democratic primary.  The 28-year old self-proclaimed Democrat-Socialist scored a 58-42% victory, but just 27,658 people voted in the party primary.  It appears that Rep. Crowley could still enter the general election from the Working Families and Women’s Equality Parties, where he carries their ballot lines, but apparently will not do so.  Mr. Crowley has already endorsed Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and says that Democrats need to unify in order to win in the fall.  The Congressman is also the chairman of the powerful Queens County Democratic Party.  Mr. Crowley is the third incumbent House member to lose a re-nomination campaign in this election cycle.  The other two are Reps. Bob Pittenger (R-NC) and Mark Sanford (R-SC).

SC-1:  Just two weeks after state Rep. Katie Arrington (R-Summerfield) denied US Rep. Mark Sanford (R-Charleston) re-nomination in the Republican primary, she was seriously injured in a car accident.  Ms. Arrington is expected to fully recover from the crash, but will likely endure two surgeries and spend some time away from the campaign trail while she recuperates.  In response, Democratic nominee Joe Cunningham said he would suspend his campaign efforts while Ms. Arrington begins the healing process.  She is expected to win the seat in November and hold the seat in the Republican column.

SC-4:  Run-off elections were held in the Greenville-Spartanburg congressional district, with the GOP winner becoming the prohibitive favorite to succeed retiring Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-Spartanburg) in the fall.  State Sen. William Timmons (R-Greenville) topped former state Senator Lee Bright with a 54-46% victory margin.  He will now face university official and former congressional candidate Brandon Brown who easily won the low-turnout Democratic run-off.

VA-10:  A new Monmouth University poll (6/21-24; 400 VA “potential” voters) finds two-term Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-McLean) falling behind the new Democratic nominee, state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudon).  According to Monmouth’s likely voter model, challenger Wexton would lead incumbent Comstock, 50-41%.  Among the full voter sample, the Wexton margin was 49-39%. 

Governor

Alaska:  Alaska Survey Research, polling for the Alaska Correctional Officers Association (6/15-21; 654 AK registered voters), released the first public poll of the state’s gubernatorial campaign after former Sen. Mark Begich (D) joined the candidate field.  According to ASR, incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) drops to third place among three major contenders.  For purposes of this poll, only former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy was tested for the Republicans.  Neither ex-Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell nor businessman Scott Hawkins was included in the ballot test questionnaire.  That being the case, it is Mr. Dunleavy who takes first place with 38%, followed by former Sen. Begich who posted 33%, and Gov. Walker trailing badly with only 23% support.

Colorado:  US Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) and state Treasurer Walker Stapleton won their respective Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primary campaigns on Tuesday.  Mr. Polis defeated former state Treasurer and officially endorsed Colorado Democratic Party candidate Cary Kennedy, by a 20-point margin.  He captured 44.4% in the four-way primary vote.  Mr. Stapleton received 48% in the Republican primary, defeating former state Rep. Victor Mitchell and two others.  Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.  Rep. Polis begins the general election contest as at least a slight favorite to win in November.

Maryland:  Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, in a Democratic primary that was marked by the death of one of the major contenders, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, won the party primary with 40% of the vote over eight opponents.  He will now face popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall.  The Governor typically records the second best job approval ratings in the country, but Maryland’s Democratic nature will still make the general election competitive.

Ohio:  The previously mentioned Marist College Ohio poll (see Ohio Senate above) finds Republican Attorney General and former US Senator Mike DeWine topping former Attorney General Richard Cordray (D).  According to Marist, AG DeWine leads Mr. Cordray, 46-42%, in the open race.  Gov. John Kasich (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Oklahoma:  A gubernatorial run-off election will now be held on August 28th, as Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and mortgage banker Kevin Stitt advance into the secondary Republican nomination phase.  Mr. Cornett placed first with 29.3% of the vote, followed by Mr. Stitt with 24.4%.  Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R), at one time viewed as the early favorite, garnered 23.9%, falling just short of Mr. Stitt, meaning the former man is eliminated from further competition.  The run-off winner faces former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who won the Democratic primary outright with 61.4% of the vote.  This general election could become more competitive than we normally see in Oklahoma elections.

South Carolina:  Gov. Henry McMaster successfully won the Republican gubernatorial nomination with a 54-46% run-off victory over Greenville area businessman John Warren.  Gov. McMaster, who ascended to his position when then-incumbent Nikki Haley (R) resigned to become US Ambassador to the United Nations, now runs for his first full term and becomes the party standard bearer.  He will oppose state Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia) who won the Democratic primary outright on June 12th.  The Governor begins the general election campaign in the favorite’s position.

Wisconsin:  The abnormally large Democratic gubernatorial field just got a bit smaller as the candidates move toward Wisconsin’s August 14th state primary.  After most polling gives Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers sustained leads over the field of ten Democratic candidates even though three-quarters of the respondents are choosing other contenders, businessman Andy Gronik and state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) have both decided to end their campaigns.  The eventual nominee, and it most likely appears that Mr. Evers will become the party standard bearer, will then challenge Gov. Scott Walker (R) who is running for a third term.


June 22, 2018
Hectic June Primary Month Winds Down as Summer Campaigning Heats Up
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Arizona:  Rep. Martha McSally (R) expands GOP primary lead over former state senator and US Senate candidate Kelli Ward (R) and ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R)
  • North Dakota:  Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) tops Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) in new Mason-Dixon Poll
  • Utah:  Mitt Romney (R) poised for landslide victory in upcoming primary with commanding lead over state Rep. Mike Kennedy (R)
  • CA-48:  still not done - businessman Harley Rouda (D) with a narrow 62-vote edge over biomedical company CEO Hans Keirstead (D)
  • OH-12:  state Senator Troy Balderson (R) leads in latest August 7 Special Election poll over Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor (D) 
  • Maine:  instant Democratic Governor run-off finally concludes with Attorney General Janet Mills (D) declared the winner
  • South Carolina:  Gov. Henry McMaster (R) opening up lead over businessman John Warren (R) in June 26 GOP gubernatorial run-off 

Senate

Arizona:Regular Arizona pollster OH Predictive Insights released their latest survey (6/11-12; 600 AZ likely Republican primary voters) and finds a major change in the Senate GOP primary scheduled for August 28th. According to OH, Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) has opened up a 39-24-14% lead over former state Senator and 2016 US Senate candidate Kelli Ward, and ex- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Previously, Ms. McSally's advantage was much smaller. The Republican primary winner will face Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix), the consensus Democratic candidate, in the general election. Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is not seeking re-election.

California:The new Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll was just released (6/6-17; 893 CA adults, 767 registered voters, 498 of whom voted in the 6/5 state primary; online) and posts Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) to only a 36-18% lead over state Senator and former Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles). The remaining 46% declared themselves as undecided. The Feinstein total is obviously low for an incumbent who was originally elected in a 1992 special election, and then won four full terms in subsequent campaign years. In the June 5th jungle primary, Sen. Feinstein garnered 44% of the vote, well under a majority, but also faced 31 opponents. Sen. de Leon advancing creates a double-Democrat general election.   He placed second with just 12% of the vote, however.

Missouri:A new Democratic Senate Majority PAC survey (Global Strategy Group; 6/11-13; 804 MO likely voters) finds Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) moving into her strongest position within this current election cycle. Recovering from hits taken during former Governor Eric Greitens' (R) extra-marital affair scandal that forced him from office prior to impeachment and being charged with felonies, Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) has now fallen behind Sen. McCaskill 47-41% according to the GSG results. Previous polls have shown a much closer race, a spread usually in the plus or minus two percentage point range.

North Dakota:A new Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey for the Valley News Service (6/13-15; 625 ND registered voters via live interview) finds at-large Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck) leading first-term Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D) 48-44% on the statewide count. At this point in the election cycle, the North Dakota race appears to be the Republicans' best conversion opportunity according to available polling.

Texas:Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research went into the field to test the Texas Senate race (5/29-6/5; released 6/14; 1,000 TX likely voters) and their data reinforced other released polls within the same time period. According to GQR, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) has a 49-43% lead over Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso). Though the Cruz advantage continues to languish in single-digits, the Senator's early standing isn't particularly unusual for a Texas Republican statewide candidate facing a credible and active opponent. Republicans tend to under-poll in the state, and generally elsewhere in the South. The voting history suggests Sen. Cruz's actual final margin will be more substantial, in the 10-14-point range.

Utah:A new pre-primary survey from the Hinckley Institute of the University of Utah, conducted for the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper, finds former presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) in position to score a landslide US Senate primary nomination victory on Tuesday night. The poll (6/11-18; 654 UT registered voters; 356 UT registered Republicans) finds Mr. Romney holding a commanding 65-23% lead over state Rep. Mike Kennedy (R-Provo). In a general election pairing, Mr. Romney holds a 58-20% lead over Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson who won the Democratic nomination in convention.

Wisconsin:The Restoration PAC released a new Hodes & Associates survey of the Wisconsin Senate Republican primary (6/7-12; 600 WI likely GOP primary voters) that again stakes businessman Kevin Nicholson to a lead over state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield). Once more, we also see a very large undecided segment as the candidates move toward the August 14th primary election. According to Hodes, Mr. Nicholson sports a 28-14% advantage over Sen. Vukmir, while a new Marquette University Law School poll (6/13-17; 800 WI registered voters) finds him holding a 37-32% primary lead. The eventual Republican nominee challenges first-term Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) in the general election.

House

CA-48:The Golden State's 48th Congressional District primary election remains unresolved now more than two full weeks after the June 5th primary election. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) is safe in first place with 30% against 15 opponents. But, biomedical company CEO Hans Keirstead (D) and businessman Harley Rouda (D) continue seesawing for second place and the right to advance into the general election. The latest official count finds Mr. Rouda ahead by just 62 votes, meaning a lengthy recount process will likely begin after the official vote is finally recorded.

NY-11:Campaigns on Staten Island, NY are always known for their "no holds barred" styles and the Republican congressional primary challenge between Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Staten Island) and former Rep. Michael Grimm (R) is certainly no exception. Late last week, Mr. Grimm, who was forced from office because of a federal tax fraud conviction and would subsequently spend seven months in federal prison, claims that Rep. Donovan promised to obtain a pardon from President Trump if he (Grimm) would exit the race. Rep. Donovan denies the accusation but said the subject did come up in a conversation that he and the President held. Mr. Donovan asserts that he did not ask for the pardon, nor did Mr. Trump move in such a direction. The New York federal primary is June 26th.

ND-AL:Democrats and Republicans made their US House nominations official in the June 12th state primary, and Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy late this week released its at-large congressional race results from their new statewide survey (see North Dakota Senate above). According to M-D, state Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson) leads former state House Minority Leader Mac Schneider (D), 46-35%, on the ballot test question. The winner replaces three-term Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck), who is running for the Senate.

OH-12:Special election candidates Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville), a state Senator, and Danny O'Connor (D), the Franklin County Recorder, continue moving forward to their August 7th decision day.   JMC Analytics just released their latest poll (6/13-16; 500 OH-12 likely special election voters who completed the ten-question survey) and found Sen. Balderson leading Mr. O'Connor, 46-35%. This tracks with the previously released Monmouth University poll (6/7-10; 501 OH-12 likely special election voters) that found Sen. Balderson holding a 43-33% district-wide advantage.

PA-10 & 16: Two new polls find Keystone State Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Butler) and Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg/York) holding only single-digit leads in their newly configured congressional districts. Public Policy Polling (6/8-10; 654 PA-10 likely voters) projects Rep. Perry to be leading Lutheran minister and retired Army officer George Scott (D), 45-41%. In 2016, President Trump comfortably carried the new 10th District with a 52-43% margin.

In Rep. Kelly's new western Pennsylvania's 16th CD, stretching from Erie to the outer northern Pittsburgh suburbs, the Normingtion Petts survey research firm conducted a poll for Democratic nominee Ron DiNicola (6/5-7; 400 PA-16 likely voters) and also finds a competitive challenge. According to their data, Rep. Kelly's advantage is only 50-44%, and is the second such poll to suggest that this campaign has the potential to develop. President Trump carried the new PA-16 by a full 20 points, 58-38%, so this seat is more likely to normalize as Election Day approaches.

Governor

Florida:Two new Democratic gubernatorial primary surveys again see a very close statewide race. The Let's Preserve the American Dream organization (6/5-9; 800 FL likely Democratic primary voters) finds Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine topping the primary field, but he leads former US Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) only 24-21%. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is next with 11%, while Orlando businessman Chris King has 4% support, and wealthy businessman Jeff Greene attracts 3 percent.

But RABA Research (6/15-16; 660 FL likely Democratic primary voters) sees the race as being razor thin. Their data suggests Mayor Levine's edge is only one point over Ms. Graham, 27-26%, while Mr. King improves his standing to 15%, Mayor Gillum tabs 8% support, and Mr. Greene has 3 percent. The Florida primary is August 28th. The Republicans see an equally tight Republican race between state Agriculture Commissioner and former US Congressman Adam Putnam and US Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach), but neither of these polls tested the Republican race.

Maine:Through referendum, Maine voters instituted an "instant run-off" process to ensure political party nominees obtain a majority vote, but the new program's first test has been anything but "instant." On June 12th, Democratic primary voters cast 33% of their gubernatorial ballots for appointed Attorney General Janet Mills, but she did not officially win. Businessman and Iraq War veteran Adam Cote finished second with 29% support, and six other candidates followed with between 16 and 1 percent of the vote. The succeeding candidates are important because their supporters are key to who eventually is declared the party nominee.

In a long counting process that began after the election and found irregularities in five towns, the Secretary of State's office finally completed the ranked vote tabulation at the end of this week. When a person now votes in Maine, they are asked to rank the candidates by level of support from 2nd through 8th, in this case. The laborious process finally ended, and AG Mills was declared the winner over Mr. Cote, 54-46%, after the ranked votes from the other six candidates were dispersed. Ms. Mills now faces businessman Shawn Moody who won the Republican nomination outright. The now official general election pairing begins as a toss-up race.

New York: Syracuse former Mayor Stephanie Miner (D), who the national Democratic leadership continually tried to recruit as a challenger for Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse), has decided to run for a different office. But, her next political move is not exciting her previous supporters. This week, Ms. Miner announced that she will enter the Governor's race and form her own party in order to do so. The decision will place her into the general election against both Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and actress Cynthia Nixon (D/Working Families), but with minimal chances of winning the race.

The likely Republican nominee is Duchess County Executive Mark Molinaro, who will also control the Conservative and Reform Party ballot lines.   In New York, candidates may appear on the ballot with different political party lines. All votes cast for a candidate, regardless of on which party affiliation line, are amassed together. Gov. Cuomo is favored to win a third term. The New York state primary is not until September 13th.

South Carolina:The short two-week Republican gubernatorial run-off cycle is already drawing to a close, and the first post-primary poll has just been released. The Trafalgar Group went into the field right after the June 12th primary (6/13-14; 1,000 GOP likely run-off voters) and found Gov. Henry McMaster opening up a commanding 60-36% margin over businessman John Warren. The pollsters included those respondents who are reported as "leaning" to a particular candidate. The June 26th winner, presumably Gov. McMaster, then faces state Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia) who clinched the Democratic nomination on primary night.

Wisconsin:A previously mentioned Marquette University Law School poll (see Wisconsin Senate above) finds Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers opening up a commanding Democratic primary lead over his nine tested opponents for the August 14th Democratic primary. According to Marquette, Mr. Evers scores 25% support in comparison to the other candidates, with the next closest finishers, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and former state Democratic Party chairman Matt Flynn, each only pulling 7% preference. In a general election pairing with Gov. Scott Walker (R), Mr. Evers trails the two-term incumbent, 48-44%.


June 15, 2018
Another Incumbent Defeat and Close Races Highlight Eventful Primary Week
by Jim Ellis

Key Takeaways:

  • Florida Senate: Gov. Rick Scott (R) up in two polls over opponent Sen. Bill Nelson (D)
  • CA-48: second place still up for grabs - biomedical company CEO Hans Keirstead (D) has a 329-vote lead over businessman Harley Rouda (D)  
  • CA-49: in a close finish, Mike Levin (D) advances to open seat general election and will face Diane Harkey (R)
  • SC-1: Rep. Mark Sanford (R) loses re-nomination to state Rep. Katie Arrington (R), 50.5-46.6%
  • Maine Gov: instant run-off to decide Democratic primary for Governor
  • Maryland Gov: former NAACP president Ben Jealous and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker in dead heat; Valerie Ervin (D) drops out of race 
  • South Carolina Gov: Gov. Henry McMaster (R) forced to 6/26 run-off with John Warren (R)

Senate

Florida: A new Politico/AARP survey (Morning Consult; 5/29-30; 1,199 FL registered voters; 676 FL voters over 50 years of age) finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) again taking a small lead over veteran Sen. Bill Nelson (D) as the two prepare for the November general election. Overall, Gov. Scott's edge is 40-39%, but the margin expands to nine points, 44-35%, when the pollsters segment only those 50 years of age and older. Cherry Communications, polling for the Florida Chamber of Commerce (5/25-6/4; 605 FL likely voters), also released their latest results. They confirm Scott's small lead, projecting him to a 48-45% advantage. Both results are within the polling margin of error. The Florida Senate race promises to attract national attention all the way to Election Day.

Ohio: With Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) both winning their Democratic and Republican primaries on May 8th, several pollsters just conducted new general election surveys. Fallon Research (5/21-25; 800 OH likely voters) finds the incumbent holding a comfortable 48-34% lead over Rep. Renacci. Suffolk (6/6-11; 500 OH likely voters) and Quinnipiac Universities (6/7-12; 1,082 OH registered voters) also see Sen. Brown in command, 53-37% and 51-34%, respectively.

Pennsylvania: Lancaster, PA based Franklin & Marshall College just released their new survey of the Pennsylvania statewide races (6/4-10; 472 PA registered voters; 224 Democrats, 185 Republicans, 63 Independents) and Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D), seeking his third term since his original election in 2006, leads Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Hazelton) by a sizable 44-27% count. This is similar to the 43-25% projection derived from their March survey. Sen. Casey's combined personal favorability is 44:23% positive to negative.

House

CA-48: The Golden State's 48th Congressional District primary election is still unresolved as ballots from the June 5th vote are still being counted. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) is safe in first place with 30% against 15 opponents. But, the identity of Mr. Rohrabacher's general election opponent is still unknown. The latest count finds biomedical company CEO Hans Keirstead (D) holding a small 329-vote lead over businessman Harley Rouda (D). It is unclear when this race will finally be decided. On election night Mr. Rouda held a small edge, but Mr. Keirstead surpassed him when the post-election votes began to be counted.

CA-49: Another contest that appeared close enough to turn around when the post-votes are all counted was in the 49th District. With Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) retiring, the open seat contest to replace him also drew 16 candidates. The clear first place finisher was Republican Diane Harkey, who captured 25.6% of the vote. The individual now definitively advancing with her into the general election is attorney Mike Levin (D) who raised well over $1.7 million. It has become clear that Mr. Levin's two full percentage point advantage over his closest competitor, former State Department official Sara Jacobs (D), will hold and he will clinch second place.

KS-4: Many incumbent House members are facing primary opponents this year, but none have Kansas Rep. Ron Estes' (R-Wichita) problem. Mr. Estes' lone Republican nomination foe actually shares his name. To mitigate the confusion, election authorities announced this week that they are allowing Congressman Estes to appear on the August 7th primary ballot as "Rep. Ron Estes." The secondary Mr. Estes will be listed as "Ron M. Estes."

MI-1: Last week, the Michigan Secretary of State rejected retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt Morgan's (D) ballot petition to challenge freshman Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet/Upper Peninsula) because he used a P.O. Box instead of a street address to register his campaign. Michigan law requires a street address. Yesterday, the state Appeals Court upheld the lower court decision that the administrative ruling is correct, and Mr. Morgan remains disqualified. The retired military officer responded by saying he would not offer any further legal challenges but would instead run a write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination. Considering no other Democrat filed for the race, Mr. Morgan's chances of winning a write-in nomination are extremely high.

OH-12: Monmouth University conducted a new poll of the Ohio special congressional election to be decided on August 7th. The survey (6/7-10; 501 OH-12 likely special election voters) finds state Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) leading Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Conner (D), 43-33% with the Green Party candidate drawing 1%, and 21% saying they are still undecided.

SC-1: With President Trump as the focal point of the primary campaign, state Rep. Katie Arrington (R-Summerville) defeated Rep. Mark Sanford (R-Charleston) in Tuesday's South Carolina primary election, with a 50.5 to 46.6% vote margin. The percentage is important because exceeding the 50% mark means Ms. Arrington wins the nomination without advancing to a secondary June 26th run-off election. Mr. Sanford becomes the second incumbent House member to be denied re-nomination in the 2018 primary season. In early May, North Carolina Rep. Bob Pittenger (R-Charlotte) fell to Baptist former pastor Mark Harris in the 9th District Republican primary. In the Charleston area, Ms. Arrington is now expected to defeat Democratic primary winner Joe Cunningham in the November general election.

Governor

Colorado: Another new Democratic gubernatorial poll shows US Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) to be leading state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, the endorsed Democratic Party candidate, as the candidates turn toward the June 26th Colorado primary. As reported here last week, a Magellan Strategies survey (5/30-31; 503 CO Democratic likely primary voters) projects Rep. Polis to a 31-18% lead over Ms. Kennedy, with all other candidates, including Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (D), registering less than 10% support. This week, Strategies 360, polling for the Service Employees International Union (5/29-6/6; 500 CO general election voters; 387 CO likely Democratic primary voters with an over-sample of an additional 200 "Democratic-leaning midterm drop-off voters"), posts Rep. Polis' (D-Boulder) to a 34-23-12% advantage over Ms. Kennedy and ex-state Sen. Mike Johnston. Strategies 360 also tested Rep. Polis and Ms. Kennedy against state Treasurer Walker Stephenson (R) in a proposed general election campaign.   The results are virtually identical. Polis would lead Stapleton, 42-37%, while Kennedy's edge would be 43-38%.

Florida: A new SEA Polling & Strategic Design survey (6/3-7; 600 FL registered Democratic voters) finds Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine expanding his Democratic primary lead to 32-16-11-6-4% over former US Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee), Mayor Andrew Gillum (D-Tallahassee), businessman Chris King, and billionaire Jeff Greene, who just entered the race last week.

Maine: Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary ended with appointed Attorney General Janet Mills outpacing businessman Adam Cote 33-28%, but the race is far from over. In years past, Ms. Mills would have been declared the primary winner, but now the instant run-off system takes effect because no one obtained majority support.

Under the procedure, in use for the first time, the last place finisher's votes among the eight candidates will be distributed to the other seven candidates. In the primary, voters ranked their preferences from one to eight among the contenders. A last place finisher's votes are then distributed to the others in the order that the last place finisher's voters chose. Once those are distributed, the new last place finisher's votes are then distributed according to stated preference, and so forth until a winner is decided. The distribution will begin Friday, meaning it is likely we won't have a new Democratic nominee until sometime next week. On the Republican side, businessman Shawn Moody won the party nomination outright, so he automatically advances into the general election.

Maryland: The University of Baltimore, polling for the Baltimore Sun newspaper (5/29-6/6; 500 MD likely Democratic primary voters), finds a tie at the top of the Democratic gubernatorial contenders list. The fact that the candidates are locked in a dead heat is not particularly surprisingly, but the low number of committed voters as the campaigns begin the final drive toward the June 26th Maryland primary is unusual and might question the poll's accuracy.

According to the Sun poll, former NAACP president Ben Jealous and Prince Georges County Executive Rushern Baker are tied for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination with just 16% support apiece. No other candidate tops 5% support in this poll.

After spending much time trying to secure her own ballot position after gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kamenetz (D) passed away, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D) announced this week that she will no longer campaign for Governor. Because Mr. Kamenetz died in the middle of the campaign and Ms. Ervin was his running mate, she had the option, which she exercised, of assuming the top position on the Kamenetz-Ervin ticket. But, state election authorities ruled that they would not change the ballots, meaning primary participants would still be instructed to vote for the late Mr. Kamenetz for the tallies to count for Ms. Ervin. Despite Ms. Ervin's exit and endorsement for Prince Georges County Executive Rushern Baker (D), Mr. Kamenetz's name will remain on the ballot.

New York: New York's Siena College again tested the impending Democratic gubernatorial primary between two-term incumbent Andrew Cuomo and actress Cynthia Nixon. According to the Siena data, the Governor now leads his opponent, 61-26%, which is up a net four points from their previous 58-27% projection released in April. The latest Siena scoring is much better for the Governor than the May Quinnipiac University poll, however. In that latter survey, Gov. Cuomo's lead was only 50-28% over Ms. Nixon.

Ohio: A new small-sample Suffolk University poll conducted for the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper (6/6-11; 500 OH likely voters) projects a change in the state's open Governor's race. This new survey suggests that former Attorney General Richard Cordray (D) has opened up a 43-36% lead over Attorney General and former US Senator Mike DeWine (R). But, among the 16% who responded "undecided", the overwhelming majority, a 2:1 ratio, are Republican voters. The Suffolk data contradicts other polling that posts Mr. DeWine to a similar lead.

As reported above (see Ohio Senate), Fallon Research also conducted a post-primary survey of the statewide campaigns. According to the Fallon data, AG DeWine is staked to a 40-34% advantage over Mr. Cordray. Yet, the latest Quinnipiac University survey (6/7-12; 1,082 OH registered voters), like Suffolk, also finds Mr. Cordray with a slight advantage, 42-40%. This race is expected to be as close as the 2010 state Attorney General's race when Mr. DeWine unseated Mr. Cordray, 47-46%. The race is open because Gov. John Kasich (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Pennsylvania: As reported above (see Pennsylvania Senate) Franklin & Marshall College also asked respondents questions about the gubernatorial race in their new statewide poll. Similar to the Senate responses, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) leads former state Sen. Scott Wagner (R) 48-29%. In March, Mr. Wolf led 38-21%, meaning both candidates have gained support. But, the March polling segment was significantly smaller than in the current poll. Gov. Wolf's combined personal favorability registered 49:33% positive to negative.

South Carolina: As previous polling correctly predicted, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) was forced into a two-week run-off campaign because his opponents held him under 50% support in Tuesday's primary. At the end of this week, two of his challengers, former Nikki Haley Administration cabinet official Catherine Templeton and Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, both endorsed the second-place finisher John Warren, a Greenville mortgage company executive and former Iraq War veteran. The endorsements were of little surprise because both individuals were also challenging the new incumbent Governor. Mr. McMaster became Governor when then-incumbent Haley (R) resigned to become US Ambassador to the United Nations.   He was elected as Lt. Governor in 2014 with 59% of the vote. 


June 8, 2018
Results from 2018's Biggest Primary Day and Last Minute Decisions Shake Things Up
by Jim Ellis
 
Key Takeaways
  • Ohio:  New poll posts Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) to 48-34% lead over Rep. Renacci
  • AL-5: Rep. Martha Roby forced into run-off against former Rep. Bobby Bright
  • California: All seven competitive US House races in the top two primary format produced a Republican and a Democrat advancing to the general
  • MN-5: Ellison decides last minute to run for Attorney General giving potential candidates only hours to decide about running and increasing US House open seat count to 63
  • NY-11: Ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R) up 47-37% over incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan in new primary poll
  • Alaska:  Former Senator Mark Begich (D) enters gubernatorial race 30 min. before deadline – Governor Walker will no longer run in Dem. primary
  • Minnesota: Candidates from both parties to force primary elections in Governor’s race

Senate

California:  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) advances into the general election with a fellow Democrat, state Senator and former Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles).  In a field of 35 candidates, Sen. Feinstein received 44% of the vote, while Mr. de Leon attracted 11% to secure second place and a general election qualifying position.  Sen. Feinstein is now a heavy favorite to win re-election in November.

Mississippi:  In Tuesday’s primary, Democrats David Baria, the state House Minority Leader, and venture capitalist Howard Sherman advanced to a June 26th run-off election.  The winner will face Sen. Roger Wicker (R) in November.

Montana:  State Auditor Matt Rosendale overcame three other Republicans to win the party primary earlier in the week.  Mr. Rosendale now faces an uphill challenge against Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the general election.

New Jersey:  Sen. Bob Menendez (D) captured only 62% in his Democratic primary against an opponent who did nothing more than put her name on the ballot.  Former Celgene pharmaceutical company CEO Bob Hugin was an easy winner in the Republican primary.  This expensive general election pairing may yield more competition than originally forecast.

Ohio:  With Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) both winning their Democratic and Republican primaries on May 8th, Fallon Research conducted a new general election survey (5/21-25; 800 OH likely voters) that finds the incumbent holding a comfortable lead.  According to Fallon, Sen. Brown records a 48-34% lead over Rep. Renacci.

Wisconsin:  According to a new Tarrance Group poll, state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) has taken the lead in the US Senate Republican primary.  The survey, released late this week (800 WI likely Republican primary voters), projects that she has pulled ahead of businessman and former Democrat Kevin Nicholson, 36-29%.  Earlier, an American Viewpoint survey (5/29-31; 500 WI likely Republican primary voters) found Mr. Nicholson clinging to a 32-30% edge.

House

AL-5:  Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) was forced into a July 17th run-off election with former Democratic Congressman Bobby Bright, who is now a Republican.  In a crowded field, Ms. Roby secured only 39% of the vote on June 5th, meaning she has vulnerability in a run-off. 

California:  All seven of the competitive US House races in the top two primary format produced a Republican and a Democrat advancing into the general election.  The race that is still uncalled resides in Orange County’s 48th District, where Democrats Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda are only 129 votes apart with mail ballots still arriving.  The election authorities will accept votes through midnight on Friday, June 8th.  The two Democrats are vying for second place and the right to oppose Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) in the general election. 

HI-1:  Democrat Ed Case represented Hawaii’s 2nd District for two terms, winning his first election in 2002 and leaving Congress at the beginning of 2007.  He has since twice run for US Senate, once for Governor, and once in the most recent special election in the 1st District.  As the candidate filing deadline expired on Tuesday, Mr. Case again has become a candidate.  At the last minute, he filed for the open 1st Congressional District.  He joins Lt. Gov. Doug Chin, state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, state Reps. Beth Fukumoto, and Kaniela Ing, and Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin in the open August 11th Democratic primary. 

Iowa:  As expected, state Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Dubuque) easily won Tuesday’s Democratic primary and now opposes two-term Rep. Rod Blum (R-Dubuque) in what will be a toss-up general election.  In the 3rd District, high tech firm owner Cindy Axne easily won the Democratic primary and advances into an underdog challenge against two-term Rep. David Young (R-Van Meter/Des Moines). 

MI-13:  Two weeks ago, John Conyers III, son of resigned Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), was disqualified from the regular election ballot to succeed his father in the House because he failed to submit 1,000 valid registered voter petition signatures.  Late this week, it was reported that Mr. Conyers’ legal challenge to the administrative ruling was denied meaning that he will not be a candidate in the November election.   Nine Democrats are on the ballot for the full term including Mr. Conyers cousin, state Sen. Ian Conyers (D-Detroit).  The Democrats will hold the seat, and the crowded primary results will determine who succeeds the former Dean of the US House.  John Conyers was first elected in 1964 and served until the end of last year when he resigned from office.

MN-5:  In a flurry of political activity surrounding the Democratic endorsing convention and Tuesday’s candidate filing deadline, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) jumped into what is now an open Attorney General’s race after incumbent Lori Swanson (D) was denied the party endorsement.  In response, Ms. Swanson abandoned her re-election bid and instead joined the Governor’s primary where she will oppose endorsed candidate Erin Murphy, a St. Paul state Representative, and US Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato). 

Rep. Ellison vacating his safe Democratic Minneapolis congressional district gave potential candidates only hours to decide if they would run for the House.  In response, eight Democrats filed to run including Rep. Ellison’s ex-wife, a former state House Speaker, three sitting state legislators, and one ex-state Senator.  Three Republicans are also in the race, but the August 14th Democratic primary will determine who wins the general election.  Mr. Ellison’s departure now means 63 House seats are open (42 Republican-held; 20 Democratic; with one new seat created through Pennsylvania redistricting). 

MS-3:  Local District Attorney Michael Guest and hospital system company executive Whit Hughes advance to a June 26th Republican run-off election in the open the 3rd District.  Mr. Guest is favored to win the party nomination and replace retiring Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Pearl/Jackson) in November.

Montana:  Ex-state Representative Kathleen Williams won a crowded and close Democratic primary and now advances to face freshman Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Bozeman) in the state’s at-large general election.  The Congressman is a clear favorite for re-election.

New Jersey:  Three key congressional primaries were decided on Tuesday.  State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D) is now heavily favored to convert the open 2nd District for the Democrats in November.  In the competitive 7th District, former State Department official Tom Malinowski won the Democratic primary and advances to challenge five-term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in the fall.  In the open toss-up 11th District, state Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morristown) and attorney Mikie Sherrill will square off in an expensive general election.

New Mexico:  Former state Democratic Party chair and Tribal Administrator Deb Haaland captured the Democratic congressional primary and is now heavily favored to defeat Republican Janice Arnold-Jones in the open 1st District general election.  In the open 2nd District, Republican state Rep. Yvette Harrell (R-Alamogordo) advances into the general election against attorney Xochitl Torres-Small who easily won the Democratic primary.  Ms. Harrell begins the general election as a slight favorite.

NY-11:  A new Siena College survey (5/29-6/3; 513 NY-11 likely Republican primary voters) turns in a surprising result.  Their data projects that former US Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) is leading incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Staten Island) by a substantial 47-37% margin.  Mr. Grimm was elected to three terms in the House, resigning at the beginning of his third because of a federal tax fraud conviction.  Mr. Grimm would then serve eight months in federal prison.  After his release, he began campaigning to regain the seat he was forced to relinquish.  Rep. Donovan, a former Staten Island District Attorney, won the special election to replace Mr. Grimm in 2015, and then clinched a 57-34% general election victory for the full term.  The New York federal primary is June 26th.

NY-18:  New York is the only state in the country that has two separate primaries, one for federal offices (June 26), and another for state (September 13) elected positions.  With the Attorney General’s race now open when Eric Schneiderman (D) resigned, a battle is ensuing in the state Democratic primary.  Yesterday, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring/West Point) said he is going to enter both primaries.  In June, he will seek re-nomination for his US House seat.  Come September, he will run for the statewide Democratic Attorney General’s nomination.  Should he win both, Mr. Maloney says he will withdraw from the congressional race.  This would force the local party to name a replacement with only about seven weeks to go in the general election. 

South Dakota:  Former state Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson won the at-large US House Republican primary, and now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the open seat in the fall.  Mr. Johnson is heavily favored to defeat Democratic nominee Tim Bjorkman, a retired Circuit Court judge.

VA-5:  The 5th District Republican Party committee met last weekend to nominate a replacement for incumbent Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Scottsville/Charlottesville) who is not seeking a second term.  With a scant one-vote margin, the committee chose local businessman Denver Riggleman as the party nominee.  He will face Democrat Leslie Cockburn in the general election.   This will be a competitive campaign, but Mr. Riggleman will benefit from the district’s Republican voting history.

Governor

Alabama:  Gov. Kay Ivey (R) and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) both won their respective party nominations outright, and advance into the general election.  Gov. Ivey, who assumed her position when Ex-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) was forced to resign, is running for her first full term and is favored in the fall campaign.

Alaska:  For months, former US Sen. Mark Begich (D) had refused to rule out that he would enter the 2018 gubernatorial race, but there appeared little in the way of positive speculation that he would actually become a candidate.  With 30 minutes remaining in the candidate filing period last Friday, the former US Senator and Anchorage Mayor did submit his papers and will run for Governor.  Reacting to the move, Gov. Bill Walker (I), who had indicated he would enter the Democratic primary and also run on the Independent ballot line, said he now will not compete in the August 21st Democratic primary. 

The moves will produce a highly competitive three-way general election, featuring the Governor on the Independent line, very likely Mr. Begich becoming the Democratic standard bearer, and an eventual Republican nominee. 

California:  Republicans achieved their goal of advancing a GOP candidate into the general election from the top two primary format.  Attorney John Cox (R) placed a strong second place to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), as the two proceed to the general election campaign.  Mr. Newsom is a heavy favorite to win in November, but Republicans now at least have a candidate to rally around and help spur turnout for the down ballot races.

Colorado:  Though former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy is the endorsed Democratic Party candidate, the polling continues to find her trailing US Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) as the campaign begins to kick into overdrive before the June 26th Colorado primary.  According to the new Magellan Strategies survey (5/30-31; 503 CO Democratic likely primary voters), Rep. Polis now claims a 31-18% lead over Ms. Kennedy, with all other candidates, including Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (D), registering less than 10% support. 

Georgia:  Two Republican pollsters released data for the new Georgia gubernatorial run-off election that will be decided July 24th.  Both polls were conducted over the same two-day period.  McLaughlin & Associates (5/29-31; 500 GA likely Republican run-off voters) finds its poll sponsor, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, leading Secretary of State Brian Kemp, 52-42%.  Public Opinion Strategies, for the Kemp Campaign, (5/29-31; 600 GA likely Republican run-off voters) found a much closer race: Cagle leading 46-45%.  In the actual primary vote, Mr. Cagle placed first with 39%, followed by Mr. Kemp with 26%.  Since neither came close to garnering majority support, the two were forced into the statewide run-off. 

Iowa:  As expected, businessman Fred Hubbell easily won the Democratic gubernatorial primary and now challenges Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who ascended to the position when incumbent Terry Branstad (R) became US Ambassador to China.  The general election will be competitive.

Minnesota:  Usually, the Minnesota state convention process endorses individual candidates, and those not receiving said support generally unite and do not exercise their right to force a primary.  Such is not the case within either party for 2018. 

Last weekend in the open Governor’s race, Republicans nominated their 2014 gubernatorial standard bearer, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, and Democrats tabbed St. Paul state Representative Erin Murphy.  Immediately, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who did not participate in the Republican convention, confirmed that he will challenge Mr. Johnson in an August 14th primary election.  Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) followed suit, and will oppose Ms. Murphy in a forced Democratic primary.  The Governor’s race is an open contest because incumbent Mark Dayton (D) is retiring.

In another key race, incumbent Attorney General Lori Swanson (D) was surprisingly denied the party endorsement in her bid for re-election.  Instead, the Democratic delegates endorsed attorney Matt Pelikan.  In response, AG Swanson decided to enter the gubernatorial primary since Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) is already forcing a vote against Ms. Murphy.  The Attorney General, though rebuked by the party activists in her own party, is a popular statewide official and her entry into the Governor’s race drastically changes the Democratic outlook. 

New Mexico:  As expected, US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-Albuquerque) won a landslide Democratic gubernatorial primary and now will oppose her congressional colleague, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs), in the general election.  The general election winner replaces term-limited Gov. Susana Martinez (R).  New Mexico tends to lean Democratic, but the fall campaign will be competitive.

Ohio:  As reported above (see Ohio Senate), Fallon Research conducted a new post-primary survey of the statewide campaigns.  While Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown holds the lead in his re-election campaign, it is Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine, a former US Senator, who is staked to a 40-34% advantage over ex-state Attorney General Richard Cordray (D).  This race is expected to be as close as the 2010 state Attorney General’s race when Mr. DeWine unseated Mr. Cordray, 47-46%.

South Carolina:  Two polls conducted over the same May 29-31 period draw largely the same conclusions.  First, that the Republican race will advance to a June 26th run-off election, and second, that businessman and military veteran John Warren is making a serious come-from-behind bid for second place.  According to the Fabrizio Lee polling firm (500 SC likely Republican primary voters), Gov. Henry McMaster leads Mr. Warren and former Nikki Haley Administration cabinet official Catherine Templeton, 33-19-17%.  Target Insyght (400 SC likely Republican primary voters) finds a similar result, but with a different order.  They see Gov. McMaster leading 37-25-20% over Ms. Templeton and Mr. Warren, respectively.  The South Carolina primary is Tuesday.

South Dakota:  In a race that was not as close as polling indicated, at-large Rep. Kristi Noem (R-Castlewood) easily won the open Republican primary and is now poised to succeed term-limited Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R).  She faces new Democratic nominee Billie Sutton, the state House Minority Leader in the fall campaign.