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  • Weekly Political Synopsis - May 29, 2020

    President

    Arizona Poll: In the middle of May, OH Predictive Insights (5/9-11; 600 AZ likely general election voters) released their Arizona statewide survey that received considerable attention in the political pundit community due to the Grand Canyon State’s importance in the presidential campaign. With its 11 electoral votes, Arizona is a must-win state for the Trump campaign. The OH poll found former Vice President Biden leading 50-43%, his largest margin to date, but little in the way of analysis accompanied the poll release.

    Several days later, Redfield & Wilson Strategies released their Arizona poll taken during relatively the same time frame as OH Predictive Insights (5/10-14; 946 AZ likely general election voters) and found a much closer result: Biden, 45-41%. Now, another Phoenix-based pollster, HighGround, Inc., (5/18-22; 400 AZ likely voters), sees a race well within the statistical margin of error: Biden, 47.0 – 45.3%.

    The May trend again suggests that Arizona, while moving closer to the ideological center as its population continues to rapidly expand, is a domain very much in play for both candidates as we begin the general election campaign in earnest.

    Hawaii: Voters in Hawaii cast their ballots in a Democratic presidential nomination primary over the Memorial Day weekend that is not particularly important in the scope of campaign politics but did provide an interesting note. In a first round of voting that included ten candidate names who had previously qualified for the Hawaii primary, former Vice President Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee, received only 56% as compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT), 31%. In a second round, featuring only Biden and Sanders, the former VP’s total was still a rather unimpressive 63% for a candidate who has no active Democratic opposition.

    Minnesota Poll: Minnesota, the most loyal of all states to Democratic presidential candidates, was close in 2016 when Hillary Clinton carried the state with only a 1.5 percentage point margin. A new Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey (5/18-20; 800 MN registered voters) finds presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading President Trump, but the spread again suggests the state election could be close. According to M-D, Mr. Biden holds a 49-44% advantage. Minnesota carries 10 electoral votes. This state is a must-win for Mr. Biden.

    Libertarian Party: After US Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) decided not to seek his new party’s presidential nomination, Libertarian Party delegates met in a Memorial Day weekend virtual convention to choose its national general election nominee. After multiple rounds of voting, Clemson University professor Jo Jorgensen prevailed, and will advance to the general election by constructing a majority coalition of delegates mostly from the South and Midwest. Ms. Jorgensen will have ballot access in all 50 states, but it is unlikely that she will be able to earn a national debate podium if and when those forums are scheduled.

    Senate

    Alabama: Apparently, former US Attorney General and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions realizes he is not getting back in President Trump’s good graces after the latter man reiterated his strong support for retired Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville in the upcoming Republican Senate runoff election scheduled for July 14th.

    Mr. Sessions tweeted a response to President Trump that the law required his recusal from the Mueller investigation and that he (Trump) should be grateful the rule of law was preserved; action, Sessions contended, principally responsible for the President being exonerated in the Russia investigation.

    Previously, Mr. Sessions was attempting to emphasize the positive aspects of his stormy relationship with the President, but that was clearly not translating into a rise in his polling numbers. According to the latest surveys, Mr. Tuberville still maintains a strong lead in the runoff election. The winner faces Sen. Doug Jones (D) in the Fall.

    Arizona: The HighGround Consulting firm poll (5/18-22; 400 AZ likely general election voters) released earlier this week that projected former Vice President Joe Biden to be running ahead of President Trump by less than two percentage points sees consensus Democratic candidate Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut, leading appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R), 51-41%. Polling has consistently shown Kelly with an advantage, and now his edge is regularly reported as being well beyond the polling margin of error.

    Kansas: State Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) ended her US Senate campaign yesterday. State Republican Party chairman Mike Kuckelman had asked all candidates but Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Great Bend) to leave the race in order not to split the primary vote. A crowded field situation theoretically would make it easier for former Secretary of State and failed 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach to therefore win the Senate nomination with plurality support.

    The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a new Kansas poll (5/17-19; 506 KS likely general election voters) pairing both Rep. Marshall and Mr. Kobach individually against consensus Democratic candidate Barbara Bollier, a party-switching state Senator and physician who represents the Mission Hills area. The data finds Rep. Marshall leading Sen. Bollier, 46-35%, which is a typical range for a Kansas Senate race at this point in the election cycle. With Kris Kobach as the hypothetical nominee, the contest changes. He would hold only a slight 44-43% edge over Sen. Bollier.

    Maine: A new entry into the polling scene, Victory Geek, released a new Maine Senate survey (5/13-18; 512 ME registered voters via interactive response device; 100 person Democratic voter over-sample) that finds former state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) opening up a larger lead over Sen. Susan Collins (R), 51-42%, while Democratic candidate Elizabeth Sweet only musters a one point edge.

    There is no question that Ms. Gideon will be the Democratic nominee, so the data pairing Ms. Sweet with Sen. Collins is largely irrelevant. The idea that Sen. Collins is behind has become a recent pattern in recently released research, but whether such a trend holds for the long term remains to be seen.

    South Carolina: A new poll from the progressive left research firm Civiqs (5/23-26; 591 SC registered voters) sees Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) falling into a 42-42% tie with former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison, who has already raised over $15 million for his race.

    Even in the poll analysis, however, the point is made that Sen. Graham is lagging a bit with Trump Republicans, a group in which he should be able to recover support. While the President maintains a ten-point advantage over Joe Biden within the overall sampling universe and has a 93% loyalty factor among Republicans, Sen. Graham commands only 78% support from the same partisan cell segment.

    Perhaps Sen. Graham’s biggest negative, according to this poll, are his unfavorable approval ratings. His index is a poor 35:56% favorable to unfavorable, similar to former Vice President Biden’s 35:59%. Conversely, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) scores 48:30%, President Trump records a 51:47% ratio, and former UN Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) posts a 56:33% approval ratio. While the turnout model favors Sen. Graham in the general election, it is clear that this race is becoming more competitive.

    House

    TX-4: President Trump’s nomination of former Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Heath/ Rockwall) as Director of US Intelligence has led to a 4th Congressional District Republican Party convention gathering in early August to choose a replacement general election nominee. The convention winner advances into the general election and then will take the seat in the next Congress. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has already announced that he will not call a special election to fill the balance of the current term.

    The district convention, scheduled for August 8th as previously reported, will only feature 158 voting precinct chairs from throughout the district’s 16 whole and two partial counties. Candidates will be nominated at the convention, so there is no filing period. Therefore, various individuals announcing their candidacies carries no particular significance other than to inform the precinct chairmen they want to be considered for nomination. Additionally, the 158-voting number is set because a quirk in the party rules won’t allow the many vacant precinct slots to be filled prior to the vote.

    Apparently, Democrats are weighing the option of filing a lawsuit to declare the convention process unconstitutional under US law or the state of Texas. Doing so, and if successful, could mean the Republican Party would have no avenue of replacing Mr. Ratcliffe for the general election, meaning Democratic nominee Russell Foster, chosen in the March 3rd regular primary election vote, would face only Libertarian Party candidate Lou Antonelli in what is a 75% Trump district. Much remains to occur here before we see who emerges as Mr. Ratcliffe’s successor.

    UT-4: Y2 Analytics, polling for the Utah Policy Center and KUTV Channel 2, finds former NFL football player and Utah businessman Burgess Owens leading the Republican field for the June 30th primary election. The poll, however, has a high error rate of over 8% because the sample segment, 148 likely Republican primary voters drawn from a statewide general election sample of 1,099 Utah likely voters, is extremely small.

    That being said, Mr. Owens leads former radio talk show host Jay Mcfarland, state Rep. Kim Coleman (R-West Jordan), and banker Trent Christensen, 36-28-23-13%, respectively. The eventual Republican nominee faces freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City) in the general election.

    Governor/States

    California: The Republican National Committee and California Republican Party have filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of California attempting to declare unlawful Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) executive order that all voters be mailed absentee ballots for the coming general election. Previously, absentee ballot request forms were sent prior to a qualified voter receiving an actual ballot.

    Among other points, the lawsuit contends that, “automatically mail(ing) ballots to inactive voters…invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting. Fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

    Oklahoma: On the other end of the voting law spectrum, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Oklahoma Democratic Party have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s absentee ballot law that requires an applicant to have their signature notarized. Earlier, the Oklahoma state Supreme Court ruled that the government document notarization law did not apply to absentee ballots, but the legislature quickly passed a new law specifically requiring notarization directly in response to the high court’s ruling.

    Now, the plaintiffs have gone to federal court asking that the notarization requirement be eliminated, and then adding that the state should prepay all postage for mailed ballots, and votes received up to a week after the election should be accepted and counted. Currently, Oklahoma law requires all absentee ballots to be received no later than Election Day.

    Missouri: The We Ask America research organization surveyed the Missouri electorate (5/26-27; 500 MO likely general election voters) and found Gov. Mike Parson (R), who ascended to the Governorship when elected incumbent Eric Greitens resigned two years ago, is again posting favorable polling numbers. Against consensus Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nicole Galloway, the Missouri State Auditor, Gov. Parson again has a lead beyond the polling margin of error, 47-39 percent.

    Montana: The Montana state Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling allowing county clerks to receive ballots after the June 2nd primary election so long as they are postmarked on Election Day. The ruling means the state returns to their long-held practice of requiring all ballots to be received by Election Day.

    West Virginia: A Triton Polling and Research survey (5/18-26; 719 WV likely Republican primary voters) produces good news for West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, seeking re-election to a second term, but in his first run as a Republican. Mr. Justice was elected in 2016 as a Democrat but switched parties a year later. The primary ballot test reports Gov. Justice pulling 53% support in anticipation of the June 9th primary as compared to ex-state Delegate Mike Folk at 15%, and former WV Commerce Department Secretary Woody Thrasher, who is running an active campaign and advertising on television, posting only 14% preference.




  • Weekly Political Synopsis - May 22, 2020

    President

    Rep. Justin Amash: Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) decided not to seek the Libertarian Party presidential nomination after filing an exploratory committee to assess his chances. Rep. Amash cited the COVID-19 precautions that make personal campaigning difficult as one reason not to continue along the presidential path. He says he is committed to helping build the national Libertarian Party, however.

    Arizona: Regular Arizona pollster OH Predictive Insights (5/9-11; 600 AZ likely voters) finds former Vice President Joe Biden putting some distance between he and President Trump, 50-43%, in what is a must-win state for the Republican incumbent. The poll itself is not yet in the public domain, therefore making it difficult to analyze the nuances.

    Hodas Polls: The Hodas & Associates survey research firm went into the field to test the swing Great Lakes/Mid-Atlantic states and produced surprisingly inconsistent data. Conducting surveys among sampling universes of 600 likely general election voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in early May, Hodas finds the results very different than the three close wins Donald Trump recorded in these places four years ago.

    While former Vice President Joe Biden posts wide leads in Wisconsin (51-42%) and Michigan (50-42%), he surprisingly trails President Trump in Pennsylvania (46-50%).

    Senate

    Alabama: It appears not much has changed since soon after the March 3rd Alabama statewide primary. Retired Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville finished ahead of former US Attorney General and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions in the Republican primary, and immediate post-election polling reported that Mr. Tuberville was opening a large lead. Despite the time lag, such still appears to be the case.

    The Cygnal polling firm conducted their survey of 607 likely Republican runoff voters over the May 7-10 period and found Mr. Tuberville expanding his lead all the way to 55-32%. At this point, the longer runoff election period – originally the secondary vote was scheduled for March 31 but was moved all the way to July 14th – has not helped the former incumbent. The runoff winner faces Sen. Doug Jones (D) in November.

    Arizona: The aforementioned OH Predictive Insights Arizona survey (see Arizona in the Presidential section above) finds appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) dropping behind retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) by a double-digit margin for the first time. The ballot test yields a 51-38% Kelly advantage. As what plagued her in the 2018 Senate race against Kyrsten Sinema (D), population dominant Maricopa County is performing well above the norm for a Democratic candidate.

    Michigan: A pair of Michigan US Senate polls both find Sen. Gary Peters (D) leading his re-election campaign against challenger John James (R), but Hodas & Associates 5/1-5; 600 MI likely voters) and Change Research (5/11-17; 3,070 MI likely voters; online) see very different margins. Hodas gives Sen. Peters a big lead, 48-36%, a wider spread than other pollsters have found, and Change projects a five-point spread between the two men, 48-43%, also in the incumbent’s favor. The latter ballot test result is more consistent with other previously released data, however.

    North Carolina: Coming off four consecutive April-May polls that found Sen. Thom Tillis (R) trailing Democratic nominee Cal Cunningham, East Carolina University just released their latest data (5/7-9; 1,111 NC registered voters) that sees the Senator rebounding to take a slight 41-40% advantage. The previous May poll from the Civiqs organization for the Daily Kos Elections website (5/2-4; 1,362 NC registered voters) projected Mr. Cunningham to a substantial 50-41% lead.

    House

    IA-4: The American Future Fund organization sponsored a poll of Iowa’s 4th District Republican primary and found challenger Randy Feenstra now eclipsing Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) in their GOP nomination battle that will be settled on June 2nd. Mr. Feenstra, a state Senator and former chairman of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, has been steadily moving upward in polling for the past several weeks.

    Now, the AFF’s Public Opinion Strategies survey (5/16-18; 500 IA-4 likely Republican primary voters) sees Feenstra topping the incumbent, 41-39%. Additionally, Sen. Feenstra had a huge 16:1 cash-on-hand advantage over Rep. King at the close of the 2nd quarter financial reporting period.

    NE-2: Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) just received two impressive Democratic insider endorsements in his re-match with progressive left Democratic nominee Kara Eastman. Bob Krist, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, and former Nebraska Democratic Party executive director Barry Rubin both publicly endorsed Rep. Bacon this week. The 2018 contest saw Mr. Bacon defeating Ms. Eastman, 51-49%, and the 2020 version is also expected to be competitive.

    Oregon: Former Vice President Joe Biden registered a rather uninspiring performance in the Oregon presidential primary last night, scoring a 67% win but against an entire field of candidates who long ago exited the race. All other Democratic incumbents running in the same type of low competition elections all recorded over 81% of the primary vote. Whether Mr. Biden’s performance suggests that he still has not convinced a large share of the Sanders-Warren coalition to support his candidacy remains to be seen.

    The 2nd District with Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) retiring from the lone Republican CD in the state, which encompasses the entire eastern Oregon sector, is open for the first time since 1998. Defeating 2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee Knute Buehler is former state Senator Cliff Bentz, who ran well to the former man’s right. The primary was a crowded affair with 11 candidates on the ballot. Mr. Bentz is now the prohibitive favorite to win here in November.

    The only other even slightly competitive primary occurred in the Salem anchored 5th District where veteran incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) was re-nominated over local Mayor Mark Gamba with 70% of the vote. Rep. Schrader will now have an easy general election run.

    SC-1: One of the bigger upset victories coming in 2018 election was Democrat Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston) converting the open Palmetto State 1st District after then-Representative and former Governor Mark Sanford lost re-nomination in the Republican primary. Now, the eastern South Carolina district becomes a top tier challenge race for the GOP.

    If Mt. Pleasant Town Councilwoman Kathy Landing were the Republican nominee, she would lead Rep. Cunningham, 45-43%, according to First Tuesday Strategies (5/15-18; 500 SC-1 likely general election voters). Should state Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island) win the party nomination, she would edge the Congressman by an almost identical 45-44% split.

    TX-4: Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath/Rockwall) quickly resigned his seat in the House after the Senate confirmed him to become the country’s Director of Intelligence, meaning we have a new vacancy. Immediately after the resignation announcement, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that he would not call a special election to fill the balance of the current term.

    Republican Party of Texas chairman James Dickey said the 4th District Executive Committees will meet in convention on August 8th to choose a replacement nominee for the November ballot. Since Mr. Ratcliffe had already won re-nomination for this year’s general election, the Executive Committee is forced to act. Because the seat is safely Republican, whoever emerges from the Committee vote will become the new Representative next year.

    WI-7: Tricia Zunker (D), the Wausau School Board member who lost a wide 57-43% to Rep-Elect Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) in the special election earlier this month, announced that she will file to run for the full term in the regular primary (August 11th) and general election. Candidate filing is fast approaching on June 1st. Considering the size of his May 12th victory, Rep-Elect Tiffany will be rated a heavy favorite to win the full term.

    Governor/States

    Alaska: Since the COVID-19 virus became omni-present, a state law was enacted to give the Lt. Governor, the chief elections officer in Alaska, the ability to order an all-mail election. Yesterday, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) announced that the August 18th primary would proceed in normal fashion, rejecting the all-mail option citing potential voter fraud. Mr. Meyer said, “that’s 600,000 unsecured ballots that are either sitting in the post office, sitting on your kitchen table, or in the garbage can. And that’s very concerning to us.”

    Georgia: The Georgia primary has already been moved from May 19th to June 9th as a result of COVID-19 precautions, but a number of voting rights groups coalesced to file a lawsuit asking for the election to again be delayed, this time until June 30th. A federal judge sitting in the Northern District of Georgia, rejected the lawsuit, saying moving the primary is a “nonjusticiable political question," therefore, voting will remain on June 9th. Judge Timothy Batten said that the election scheduling issue is a matter for the legislature and Governor to decide.

    Missouri: Everyday, we see more legislative and judicial action surrounding voting procedures, mostly in response to the COVID-19 virus. In Missouri, a state court’s ruling against expanding absentee mail voting for the upcoming primary election will now be heard by the state Supreme Court.

    While the Coronavirus precautions are the reason the lawsuits began, the proponents are invariably trying to take the changes further, wanting them to apply to this year’s general election and likely beyond. The Missouri primary is not until August 4th, but we can still expect a quick ruling coming from the high court since election officials obviously need lead time to send the absentee ballot application forms prior to the actual primary election date.

    North Carolina: The aforementioned East Carolina University poll (see North Carolina Senate above) also tested the 2020 Governor’s campaign. Since the March 3rd primary, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has been leading Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) by wide polling margins, and the ECU model is no exception. According to the university data, Gov. Cooper enjoys a 51-36% lead, consistent with the other seven post-primary published surveys.

    Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court, overturned a lower court ruling that allowed voters to return their primary absentee ballots after the election so long as the envelope was postmarked by election day. The plaintiffs were asking for a seven-day post-election period for the various county election departments to receive ballots. The high court’s action means that local authorities must receive all ballots by June 2nd.

    Texas: The Texas state Supreme Court, overturning a lower court ruling, disallowed the all-mail voting option for the coming July 14th runoff and general elections. The mail voting issue may not be settled, however. Two more lawsuits, both addressing the same all-mail option issues, remain alive in a pair of federal courts.

    Washington: Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who was one of the first 2020 presidential candidates to exit the national race, is running for a third term in his home state. He is a clear favorite for re-election, but the jungle primary will be interesting. He faces no less than 35 opponents who just completed the candidate filing process during the week.

    Survey USA (5/16-19; 530 WA likely voters) tested the Washington jungle primary, scheduled for August 4th, and found Gov. Inslee way ahead in each general election scenario as he drives for a third term. None of his potential opponents have developed much in the way of statewide name identification, thus allowing the Governor to post leads of between 22 and 29 points against each of four general election possibilities.

  • Weekly Political Synopsis - May 15, 2020

    President

    Jesse Ventura: Former Minnesota Governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura announced that he will not become a candidate for the Green Party presidential nomination. Mr. Ventura says doing so would force him to relinquish his employment and health insurance.

    The eventual Green Party nominee will qualify for slotting on most state ballots, as will the Libertarian Party. Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids), now the first official Libertarian Party member to hold a seat in Congress, is a candidate for his party’s presidential nomination.

    CNN Poll: CNN conducted a nationwide political poll (5/7-10; 1,112 US adults; 1,001 registered voters; 302 over sample in 15 battleground states) and compared the national results to those found in 15 battleground states. The latter group included the typical swing states like Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but also added Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia, places where former Vice President Joe Biden has developed significant leads.

    On the national count, as found in most other polls, Mr. Biden leads President Trump, 51-46%, but the numbers are virtually reversed, 52-45%, in Mr. Trump’s favor within the all-important battleground states.

    Polling Trio: Three polls from key 2020 presidential states were released yesterday and yielded rather predictable results. In Wisconsin, Marquette Law School released their quarterly statewide survey (5/3-7; 811 WI registered voters) and found former Vice President Joe Biden edging President Trump, 46-43%.

    In Ohio, Emerson College (5/8-10; 725 OH registered voters) sees the President topping Mr. Biden, 51-49%, in a poll where all respondents were pushed to make a choice. In the Lone Star State of Texas, Emerson (5/8-10; 800 TX registered voters) gives the President a 52-48% advantage.

    Senate

    Colorado: The Colorado Democratic Senate ballot has become a political football with several candidates filing lawsuits to reduce the number of petition signatures required due to the COVID-19 precautions, while previously disqualified candidates attempted to obtain ballot placement through court decree. What began as twelve candidates looking to run for the Democratic nomination to oppose Sen. Cory Gardner (R) is now down to two official contenders for the June 30th primary: former Gov. John Hickenlooper and ex-state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. With the courts finally making definitive rulings, the ballot is now set.

    Kansas: Public Opinion Strategies released a new Kansas Republican primary survey for the Roger Marshall for Senate campaign (5/10-12; 600 KS likely Republican primary voters) that projects the western district Congressman has taken the lead over former Secretary of State and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach.

    The ballot test shows Rep. Marshall leading Mr. Kobach and state Senate President Susan Wagle, 33-26-7%, with two minor candidates finishing even further behind in single digits. This is a significant change from their March poll that found Mr. Kobach holding a 34-28% advantage over Rep. Marshall. Polling suggests that the normally safe Kansas seat would be vulnerable to Democratic candidate Barbara Bollier, a physician and Mission Hills state Senator, if Mr. Kobach were to win the GOP nomination.

    Additionally, Manhattan Mayor Usha Reddi, who appeared to be Sen. Barbara Bollier’s strongest Democratic primary opponent has dropped out of the race. She stated late this week that she will not file as a candidate on the June 1st deadline. The move assuredly wraps up the nomination for Sen. Bollier, and she will await the Republican primary winner on August 4th.

    Massachusetts: On the heels of our report last week that the latest University of Massachusetts at Lowell survey finds US Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) leading Sen. Ed Markey (D) in a 44-42% virtual toss-up result, Emerson College (5/5-6; 740 MA registered voters; 620 MA likely Democratic primary voters) sees a much different political landscape. According to the Emerson data, Rep. Kennedy has a whopping 58-42% lead after voters were pushed to make a decision. The UMass Lowell poll is closer to the three others conducted in 2020, which yield only a three-point average Kennedy advantage.

    Mississippi: A rare Mississippi US Senate poll was released from the Impact Management Group (5/4-7; 606 MS likely voters) and the data finds first-term incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) claiming a large double-digit lead over her previous special election opponent, former US Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D) who is returning for a re-match this year. The ballot test gives the Republican Senator a 58-31% major advantage. This is a significant improvement over Sen. Hyde-Smith’s 54-46% win in 2018 to fill the balance of the late Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) final term in office.

    Nebraska: Sen. Ben Sasse (R) was easily re-nominated last night with a 75% Republican regular primary win against minor opposition. For the Democrats, local Omaha business owner Chris Janicek topped a field of seven candidates in a campaign where no one even raised $100,000. Sen. Sasse now becomes a prohibitive general election favorite.

    North Carolina: With the FBI wanting to search Sen. Richard Burr’s (R) financial records regarding stock transactions executed after receiving COVID-19 briefings, speculation is buzzing about what would happen to the Senate seat if this eventually leads to a Burr resignation. The Senator next comes before the voters in 2022, but he said even before being re-elected in 2018 that he would not seek further re-election.

    North Carolina is one of three states that has a law requiring a Governor to appoint a member of the departing incumbent’s political party should a US Senate vacancy occur. Therefore, in the event of a North Carolina vacancy, for example, the state Republican Party would present Democratic Roy Cooper a list of three replacement potentials of which he must choose one.

    House

    CA-25: Despite thousands of ballots still to be received and counted in the California special congressional election, Democratic state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D) has conceded defeat to Republican Mike Garcia. The early totals, representing almost 144,000 votes, broke heavily for the GOP retired Navy fighter pilot, 56-44%. His total included a surprisingly large 55-45% margin in dominant Los Angeles County, which was enough to spell defeat for the Democratic candidate who was originally favored to hold the seat that scandal-ridden Rep. Katie Hill (D) resigned late last year.

    IA-4: American Viewpoint, polling for the Randy Feenstra for Congress campaign, is out with a new poll (5/7-8; 350 IA-4 likely Republican primary voters) that finds state Sen. Feenstra (R-Hull/Sioux County) continuing to gain ground in his Republican primary challenge to veteran Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron). The new survey finds King’s lead dwindling to 39-36%. Two weeks ago, AV found Rep. King leading 41-34%. Originally behind 31 points in January, Sen. Feenstra clearly has strong momentum as the campaign makes its way toward the June 2nd primary election.

    MI-6: Democratic candidate Jon Hoadley, a state Representative from Kalamazoo, released his internal Victoria Research poll (5/2-5; 400 MI-6 likely general election voters) showing him edging ahead of veteran incumbent Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) by a 38-37% margin. Whether or not this is yet a one-point race, it is clear that the southwestern Michigan district is becoming more competitive. In 2018, Rep. Upton was re-elected with a 50-46% victory margin.

    Nebraska: The US House general election ballot in the Cornhusker State is now set. In the 1st District, veteran Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) will face state Sen. Kate Bolz in what could be a more competitive general election.

    In the 2nd District, 2018 Democratic nominee Kara Eastman, who scored 49% of the vote against two-term Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillon/Omaha), will get her re-match after scoring a 61% victory over Ann Ashford, wife of former Congressman Brad Ashford (D-Omaha), and restaurant manager Gladys Harrison in last night’s Democratic primary. Rep. Bacon defeated a minor Republican opponent with 91% of the vote.

    In the expansive 3rd District that occupies about 3/4 of the Nebraska land area, seven-term Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Gering/Grand Forks) easily defeated four Republican opponents with 82% of the vote. He will face marijuana legalization activist Mark Elworth Jr. in the general election. Mr. Elworth was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Rep. Smith is a prohibitive favorite to win in November.

    VA-5: In a Republican contest that looks to be serious, freshman Virginia Republican US Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Manassas) will have to win re-nomination at a party convention in a church parking lot outside of the district.

    Fifth District GOP committeemen have scheduled their nominating assembly for Saturday, June 13th at the Tree of Life Ministries Church in Lynchburg, which isn’t even in the 5th CD, and deliver their ballots to party officials in the parking lot. The Congressman’s principle opponent is Campbell County Supervisor Bob Good, who is a member at Tree of Life. Rep. Riggleman, who is contesting the convention process and favors a primary to decide the nomination, is exploring his legal options.

    WI-7: Republican state Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) recorded a landslide 57-43% special election win over Democratic school board member Tricia Zunker last night and will finish the remainder of resigned Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-Wausau) term. Rep-Elect Tiffany will now file for the regular primary election before June 1st. The Wisconsin primary is scheduled for August 11th. The new Congressman will not likely face major opposition during the regular election cycle.

    Governor

    Alaska: After a long court battle, the Alaska Supreme Court ordered that a recall campaign against Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) can proceed. Alaska has stringent conditions for launching such an effort, and both sides argued their legal positions through several court proceedings attempting to determine whether Mr. Dunleavy’s performance in office warranted a recall election.

    Now that the recall can proceed, proponents must obtain at least 71,252 valid registered voter signatures to place the petition on the November ballot. Reportedly, the recall drive has so far collected about half the minimum amount needed meaning they have a lot of work ahead of them in an uncertain logistical environment. There is no official established signature deadline as yet, but assumptions presume the petitions must be submitted in early July.


  • Weekly Political Synopsis - May 8, 2020

    President

    Colorado: A Keating Research/OnSight Public Affairs survey (5/1-3; 800 CO likely general election voters) finds that former Vice President Joe Biden has opened up a large lead over President Trump in a state that continues to move toward the Democrats. The data finds Mr. Biden topping President Trump by a huge 55-36% spread. Results such as this will likely make Colorado a concession state for the Trump campaign.

    Montana: The Montana State University at Bozeman just released a statewide survey (4/10-27; 738 MT adults; 548 MT likely voters; online) that tested the presidential race and the US Senate campaign (see Senate section below). The totals find President Trump leading former Vice President Joe Biden 45-40%. This is a much lower total than the President’s 20-point victory here in 2016 over Hillary Clinton. More polling will undoubtedly be released after the June 2nd statewide primary.

    Nevada: A newly released Nevada statewide presidential race survey from ALG Research (4/27-30; 763 NV likely general election voters) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump 49-45%, which is very similar to the final total we saw in the 2016 presidential race. In that year, Hillary Clinton carried Nevada with a 48-46% margin spread. This type of result suggests that Nevada could again become a targeted state.

    New York: Last week the New York State Board of Elections canceled the Democratic presidential vote even though the state primary for all other offices is occurring the same day. Lawsuits then were filed – former presidential candidate Andrew Yang is one of the plaintiffs – to reinstate the vote saying that people still deserve the right to cast their ballots even though the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

    A federal judge sitting in New York City then reinstated the primary saying that other candidates could still win delegates that might influence the party platform at the Democratic National Convention. Therefore, pending appeal, the New York presidential primary is back on the schedule.

    North Carolina: North Carolina, one of President Trump’s key core states that he must win, is often in the swing category. In the new Civiqs statewide poll (5/2-4; 1,362 NC registered voters; online from a research pool of respondents that Civiqs invited to participate), Civiqs finds former Vice President Joe Biden holding a slight 49-46% edge over President Trump. North Carolina will be a focal point state again in this election cycle.

    We can also expect the continuous polling to seesaw all the way to Election Day. Such would be a similar pattern to what occurred in the 2016 presidential race and in several recent US Senate contests.

    Senate

    Colorado: The Colorado state circuit court ruling that placed candidates Michelle Ferrigno Warren and Lorena Garcia on the ballot despite not having the required number of petition signatures was overturned this week in the state Supreme Court.

    Though the Colorado Senate ballot has resulted in great indecision as to which of the original dozen or so Democratic candidates would actually achieve ballot status, it appears that the race will become a two-way affair between former Gov. John Hickenlooper and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. The winner of the June 30th primary will then challenge first-term Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

    The Keating Research/OnSight Public Affairs survey (5/1-3; 800 CO likely general election voters) found former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) holding a big 55-36% advantage over Sen. Cory Gardner (R). Another survey, from Montana State University (4/10-19; 503 CO residents; 400 CO likely general election voters), finds Hickenlooper’s lead to be 48-31%.

    Georgia Poll: The Cygnal research firm released a new Georgia survey that polled both of the state’s 2020 Senate races. In the special election, the Cygnal numbers (4/25-27; 591 GA likely voters) are consistent with other recent polls that find Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) leading the jungle primary, while appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) is locked in a three-way battle for the second run-off position and well behind the leader.

    Cygnal finds Rep. Collins’ margin to be 29-12-11-11-4% over businessman Matt Lieberman (D), Baptist pastor Raphael Warnock (D), Sen. Loeffler, and former US Attorney Ed Tarver (D), respectively.

    The regular election question produces underwhelming numbers for Sen. David Perdue (R), who is seeking his second term. Here, Sen. Perdue leads businessman and former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff (D), the only Democratic candidate tested, by a 45-39% margin.

    Mr. Ossoff raised over $31.6 million for his special election congressional race when he effectively became a national candidate since the 2017 6th District race was virtually a stand-alone election. For his Senate campaign, Mr. Ossoff is lagging behind his congressional fundraising prowess taking in $3.3 million for his current political effort.

    Iowa: Sen. Joni Ernst (R) is on the ballot for a second term and this is a race the Democrats are working to move into the first tier. A new poll suggests a close contest emerging. The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling released their new Iowa figures (4/30-5/1; 1,222 IA likely general election voters via automated response device) that find Sen. Ernst topping Democrat Theresa Greenfield by only a 43-42% margin.

    The Democratic leadership has endorsed real estate executive Greenfield to oppose Sen. Joni Ernst (R) in November who acts as a consensus candidate, but another competitor is not conceding the Democratic nomination.

    Self-funding businessman Eddie Mauro (D) just announced a $500,000 media and digital buy attacking Ms. Greenfield for “failing to take responsibility for her own business failing.” The Greenfield campaign responded by saying that “Wall Street corporate greed” was more responsible for the entity going out of business. Thus, the June 2nd primary is getting a touch more interesting.

    Massachusetts: A new University of Massachusetts at Lowell poll was just released (4/27-5/1; 1,000 MA registered voters; 531 MA likely Democratic primary voters), and it finds Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and US Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) locked in a virtual tie. The results see Rep. Kennedy holding a slight 44-42% edge, a margin virtually unchanged from the university’s last poll (2/12-18) that projected Mr. Kennedy ahead 35-34 percent.

    The fact that Rep. Kennedy, steeped in Kennedy family history so entrenched within the state, hasn’t pulled away in this race is a good sign for Sen. Markey, a Massachusetts politician who has been in elective office since his first term in the state legislature that began way back in 1973.

    Michigan Poll: Public Policy Polling tested the Michigan Senate race (4/28-29; 1,270 MI registered voters via automated response device), and their results are consistent with others taken this year. PPP finds Sen. Gary Peters (D) leading presumed Republican nominee John James, 46-37%, in what is the fifth survey of the Michigan Senate electorate released in 2020 according to the Real Clear Politics polling archive. The polling range stretches from Peters leading by four points, all the way to ten.

    Montana: The Montana State University at Bozeman also covered the US Senate race in their statewide poll (4/10-27; 738 MT adults; 548 MT likely voters; online) and it returns a surprising result. Their data finds Gov. Steve Bullock (D) opening the race with a seven-point lead over incumbent Sen. Steve Daines (R), 46-39%.

    It appears the major reason for Gov. Bullock’s early advantage is his solid 70% approval rating on his handling of the Coronavirus situation. On the negative side, with a very long 18-day sampling period and only self-identified online likely voters responding, the poll is vulnerable to reliability points of inquiry.

    House

    CA-25: Resigned US Rep. Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce/ Palmdale) released an ad this week for the May 12th special election being held to replace her, but curiously doesn’t mention supporting Democratic candidate Christy Smith or even attacking Republican Mike Garcia. The ad starts with blaming people in “the building behind me” for how they are handling the Coronavirus pandemic, but it is not clear to what building she is referring as the camera pans the area behind her from a distance. Then, she simply urges people to vote in Tuesday’s special election.

    IA-4: Embattled nine-term Iowa incumbent Steve King (R-Kiron), who ran into major trouble when comments he made were associated with white supremacism that ultimately led to his being stripped of committee assignments, just received another blow. The US Chamber of Commerce announced their endorsement for Mr. King’s principle opponent, state Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull/Sioux County). The Business-Industry PAC (BIPAC) endorsed Sen. Feenstra early in the year.

    Polling is suggesting a tightening race with the momentum clearly on the challenger’s side as the candidates move toward the June 2nd primary election.

    MN-2: Marine Corps Reserve officer Tyler Kistner easily defeated four other Republican candidates last weekend at the virtual Minnesota Republican convention to capture the official GOP endorsement for the August 11th primary election. Most of the time, Minnesota candidates end their campaign after the state convention delegates act, but it remains to be seen if any of the non-endorsed candidates choose to force a primary. The candidate filing deadline is June 2nd.

    Should Mr. Kistner ultimately capture the party nomination he will face freshman Rep. Angie Craig (D-Eagan) who has already amassed a campaign treasury of just over $2 million. The 2nd is a marginal district, so a competitive 2020 contest is again possible.

    Governor/States

    Missouri: The Missouri Governor’s race hasn’t attracted too much attention so far this year, but a recent poll was released this week testing Gov. Mike Parson’s (R) political standing. Mr. Parson, then the state’s Lt. Governor, assumed his position when then-Gov. Eric Greitens (R) resigned the office.

    The Remington Research Group, polling for the Missouri Scout political blog (4/28-29; 1,356 MO registered voters via automated response device), finds Gov. Parson leading presumed Democratic nominee and state Auditor Nicole Galloway by double-digits, 52-39%. By a margin of 50-40%, the respondents favor Gov. Parson’s plan to reopen the Missouri economy.

    Utah: Lawsuits from candidates attempting to convince a court to lower the number of petition signatures required to obtain ballot position have now been decided, and the two candidates who have been disqualified, businessman Jeff Burningham and businesswoman Jan Garbett, will not pursue any further legal remedies.

    Therefore, the Utah Republican gubernatorial ballot is now set and will feature Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, former state House Speaker Greg Hughes, and ex-Utah Republican Party chairman Thomas Wright. The primary election is June 30th, and the winner faces Democrat Chris Peterson, a law professor who was previously nominated in convention. Three-term Gov. Gary Herbert (R) is retiring.

    Lawsuits:  Progressive left voter groups are expanding their moves to file lawsuits in states that they hope will change the election system to one emphasizing mail voting. New suits have been filed to expand absentee voting options and outreach in Alabama, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The goal of the action is to increase mail voting not only for upcoming primary elections, but for the 2020 general election, as well, and probably beyond.





  • Weekly Political Synopsis - May 1, 2020

    President

    Rep. Justin Amash: Five-term Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) made three announcements this week.

    First, he informed the Clerk of the House that he will now be listed as an official member of the Libertarian Party instead of an Independent and becomes the party’s first member to hold a US House seat. Second, he has filed a presidential exploratory committee to determine his chances of obtaining the Libertarian Party presidential nomination. Third, Mr. Amash acknowledged that he would not be seeking re-election to the House because he expects to be a presidential candidate, meaning Michigan’s 3rd District becomes the 43rd current open seat.

    New Hampshire Poll: St. Anselm College, frequently the site of presidential debates before the New Hampshire primary, also polls the state’s electorate from time to time. Their latest conducted survey, from April 23-27 (820 NH registered voters), finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump, 50-42%.

    The Real Clear Politics site maintains a 2016 polling archives. Consistent with the current data, the average margin spread among the eight polls from that year’s early polling period found Ms. Clinton leading Mr. Trump by virtually the same spread as St. Anselm’s sees today, 7.25%. The final New Hampshire tally found Ms. Clinton winning the state, but the margin closed to a razor-thin 46.8 - 46.5% spread.

    Senate

    North Carolina: Already, the North Carolina Senate race, expected to be one of the nation’s top statewide contests, has drawn its share of political polling attention. All the results show a close race, which is predictable from the state that has defeated more incumbent Senators than any other. This week’s Survey USA poll is consistent with the other polling firms that see a tight contest. According to the S-USA data (4/23-26; 580 NC likely general election voters), former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) holds a slight 41-39% edge over first-term Republican Sen. Thom Tillis. We can expect a plethora of polling here in the coming months for this race and the presidential contest that figures to be equally close.

    House

    FL-25: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami), who recovered from Coronavirus within the past month, has effectively won a new term in the House. No one submitted documents to oppose him when the candidate filing deadline as April expired, so under Florida election law and procedure the race will not even appear on the ballot. Thus, Rep. Diaz-Balart is re-elected to a 10th term by default.

    IA-4: State Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull/Sioux County) released his American Viewpoint survey (4/22-23; 400 IA-4 likely Republican primary voters) that gives incumbent Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) a narrowing 41-34% edge in their Republican primary congressional battle that will be decided on June 2nd. Three other candidates are on the primary ballot, but they together split only 8% of the stated preference.

    While Sen. Feenstra trails, he has polling momentum and the financial support. In American Viewpoint’s late January poll, Rep. King led 53-22%, making the current late April numbers a net 24-point gain for the challenger. Among people who have an opinion of both candidates, Feenstra leads 53-29%. On the money front, Sen. Feenstra had a cash-on-hand advantage at the end of March of $415,651 to Rep. King’s $26,773. For the campaign, Sen. Feenstra has raised over $844,000, as compared to Rep. King’s $301,000.

    KY-4: After he made a motion for a roll call vote in an attempt to delay a vote on the $2 trillion Coronavirus bailout bill, President Trump called for Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Garrison) to be defeated in his upcoming Republican primary election now scheduled for June 23rd. It doesn’t look as if such will happen, however. A new WPA Intelligence poll finds the Congressman to be in very strong shape against GOP primary challenger and attorney Todd McMurtry. According to WPA, Rep. Massie leads Mr. McMurtry 70-13 percent.

    MD-7: In an election that was a foregone conclusion after Kweisi Mfume won the special Democratic primary on February 4th, the former Congressman completed his political comeback with a 73-27% win over sacrificial Republican Kim Klacik on Tuesday night. Mr. Mfume left the House in 1996 to assume the Presidency of the NAACP. In 2006, he returned to elective politics with an unsuccessful run for Senate.

    The former Congressman will now again be sworn into the House to serve the balance of the current term and appear on the ballot in the delayed June 2nd primary and likely November for the full term. Mr. Mfume replaces the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore) who passed away in October.

    New York: The New York qualified candidates list was released yesterday for the state’s June 23rd primary election. From the 27 congressional districts, 23 incumbents are seeking re-election. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) is the only unopposed incumbent and effectively re-elected. Among the other 22 incumbents seeking another term, 13 have primary opposition.

    Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) and Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) face re-matches with competitive 2018 primary challengers. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York City), Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez (D-Bronx), and Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) also face credible opponents. Three seats are open, all with crowded nomination candidate fields, while the 27th District will host a special election to fill the balance of the current term along with the regular primary vote.

    OH-1: Healthcare company executive Kate Schroder defeated engineer and Air Force Reserve officer Nikki Foster, 68-32%, in the Cincinnati anchored 1st Congressional District primary concluded on Tuesday. Ms. Schroder advances into the general against veteran Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) who was first elected in 1994 but lost the seat in 2008. He came back in the 2010 election and again looks to face a competitive challenge this year. In 2018, Mr. Chabot defeated Hamilton Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval, 51-47%.

    OH-3: Four-term Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) easily defeated former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official Morgan Harper in this week’s Democratic primary. Mr. Harper raised more than $800,000 for his campaign and was clearly a serious candidate. But, Ms. Beatty, who was first elected to the House in 2012, was able to win re-nomination with a substantial 68-32% victory margin. She will have little trouble in the general election and is a lock to win another term in November.

    SC-1: A new WPA Intelligence poll finds state Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island) establishing a clear lead for the Republican nomination and toward an eventual challenge to freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston). This will be a national campaign because SC-1 is a district that Republicans must re-claim if they are to have any chance of taking the majority in the 2020 election.

    The WPA poll finds Rep. Mace leading Mount Pleasant Town Councilwoman Kathy Landing 42-13% in the Republican primary, which remains scheduled for June 9th. If no candidate receives a majority vote, the top two finishers advance to a quick June 23rd runoff election.

    UT-1: The Utah state Republican and Democratic virtual nominating conventions were held last weekend, and we now have contenders for the open 1st District primary that is scheduled for June 30th. In the congressional race, the convention delegates voted former state Agriculture Commissioner and ex-state legislator Kerry Gibson and retired foreign service officer Barry Moore into the Republican primary. Already qualified through the petition signature process were Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson and Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt. Therefore, we will see a four-way GOP primary at the end of June.

    For the Democrats, the convention delegates sent Shoshone Indian Tribe chairman Darren Perry and vocation rehabilitation administrator Jamie Cheek into the primary election. No one used the petition signature process on the Democratic side. The GOP winner will be the prohibitive favorite in November from this 50-22% Trump district.

    UT-4: Democratic convention delegates gave almost 90% of their votes to freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City), who defends his congressional seat for the first time. By rule, the convention sends only one candidate to the primary election if the individual’s vote total exceeds 60 percent. Since no one qualified via petition signature, Rep. McAdams is automatically re-nominated.

    A total of four Republicans will be on the June 30th ballot for what will be a highly competitive general election campaign. State Rep. Kim Coleman (R-West Jordan) and businessman and former NFL football player Burgess Owens advance to the primary ballot from the convention process. Mr. Owens also qualified through petition signatures. Qualifying only through petitions were radio talk show host Jay Mcfarland and non-profit organization CEO Trent Christensen. The Republican primary election winner then advances to face Rep. McAdams in November.

    Governor/States

    Indiana: In an increasing pattern occurring around the country, voting rights group activists have filed a lawsuit in Indiana state court petitioning the judiciary to extend the no-excuse absentee ballot ruling now in effect for the June 2nd primary to the general election. This is one more example of how the COVID-19 situation may influence long term changes in the laws and rules that govern America’s electorate.

    Massachusetts: Early this week, Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin (D) informed the state legislature that the body must pass any bill changing the election procedure as it relates to conducting the September 1st primary election by mail no later than June 2nd. Mr. Galvin is under statutory authority to begin printing ballots and cannot wait any longer than this point in early June. It is likely the state will adopt the all-mail format for the upcoming primary, but the members of the General Court will have to act quickly if the change is to be made.

    North Dakota: Previously, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) issued an executive order allowing each county to decide if they wanted to convert to an all-mail June 9th primary. Like in Montana, which was operating under a similar order, all 53 North Dakota county clerks have opted for the all-mail format. Therefore, Montana and North Dakota will join the all-mail states at least for the upcoming primary election.

    Pennsylvania: In addition to filing a lawsuit asking the judiciary to mandate ballot harvesting in the state, a new petition has been filed asking a judge to allow any mailed ballot postmarked on election day in either the primary or general election to be accepted and counted. Currently, county election authorities must receive absentee ballots no later than election day. The rulings will have to come quickly since the Pennsylvania primary is now June 2nd and mail voted has been greatly expanded.

    Texas: While the Texas judiciary is in the middle of deciding lawsuits attempting to expand absentee balloting for the runoff and general elections, a new complaint was just filed that challenges the state’s current practice of not requiring a reason for voting absentee of people over age 65, but forcing anyone under that age threshold to provide a reason for not appearing in person. The lawsuit states that the practice is unconstitutional because it doesn’t treat all segments of the voting population equally.

    Utah: The Utah convention Republican and Democratic delegates conducted their virtual nominating conventions over the weekend and we now have a Republican primary slate and a Democratic nominee.

    The convention delegates sent Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and former state House Speaker Greg Hughes to the Republican primary after five rounds of voting. Former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, who was eliminated in the convention’s second round, and ex-Utah Republican Party chairman Thomas Wright have qualified for the primary through the petition signature option, however.

    The winner of the four-candidate June 30th primary election will face law professor Chris Peterson who captured 88% of the convention vote and clinched outright the Democratic nomination. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert is retiring.




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