The Political Report – 5/28/22

The Cook Political Report is shifting ten races in Republicans’ direction and two in Democrats’ direction.

  • AZ-4: Stanton – Likely D to Lean D
  • CA-40: Kim – Likely R to Lean R
  • CA-49: Levin – Likely D to Lean D
  • CT-2: Courtney – Solid D to Likely D
  • CT-5: Hayes – Likely D to Lean D
  • IL-14: Underwood – Lean D to Likely D
  • MN-1: VACANT (Hagedorn) – Likely R to Solid R
  • NV-1: Titus – Lean D to Toss Up
  • OR-5: OPEN (Schrader) – Lean D to Toss Up
  • PA-1: Fitzpatrick – Likely R to Solid R
  • PA-7: Wild – Toss Up to Lean R
  • PA-10: Perry – Likely R to Solid R

“Overall, there are now 35 Democratic-held seats in Toss Up or worse, and we’re revising our fall House outlook to a net GOP gain of between 20 and 35 seats.”

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “The book is nearly closed on the decennial redistricting process. And by at least one metric, the new House landscape is very much like the old landscape: It tilts toward Republicans.”

“However, this GOP bias is not nearly as strong as it was a decade ago.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told the San Francisco Chronicle he has “sub-zero interest” in running for president in 2024.

Gabriel Debenedetti: “As far as Biden’s camp is concerned, there isn’t any ambiguity about 2024 at all. He has said in private that he sees himself as the only thing standing between the country and the Trumpian abyss and has instructed his aides to redouble their planning for a rematch.”

Said an exasperated longtime Biden adviser: “People ask me with some regularity, ‘When is Biden going to come out and say what he’s going to do?’ And I say, ‘Well, he has!’”

“Relatively few people outside the White House totally buy it. With Trumpism reascendant, ambivalence about Biden’s age and political standing is fueling skepticism just as the image of his understudy, Vice-President Kamala Harris, dips even further than his.”

NEW YORK 22ND CD. Businessman Steve Wells announced over the weekend that he would seek the Republican nomination for the open 22nd District, a constituency in the Syracuse and Utica areas that Biden would have won 53-45. Wells ran in 2016 for the old 22nd District, which makes up just under 40% of this new seat, when moderate Rep. Richard Hanna retired; however, while Wells enjoyed a financial advantage and an endorsement from the departing incumbent, he lost the primary 41-34 to eventual winner Claudia Tenney.

Wells will again have intra-party opposition in August as Navy veteran Brandon Williams says he’ll continue for his campaign to succeed his fellow Republican, retiring Rep. John Katko. Williams, though, had less than $100,000 in the bank at the end of March, while Wells proved in 2016 he was capable of self-funding. Tompkins County Legislator Mike Sigler, meanwhile, has dropped out and endorsed Wells, a decision he made after the new court-drawn map relocated his community to the 19th District. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente also has made it clear he won’t be running for Congress.

On the Democratic side, nonprofit executive Vanessa Fajans-Turner has ended her campaign. Both Syracuse Common Councilor Chol Majok and Navy veteran Francis Conole, who lost the 2020 primary to take on Katko, have announced that they remain in the race for the newest incarnation of the seat, however.

NEW YORK 3RD CD. The progressive Working Families Party has endorsed healthcare advocate Melanie D’Arrigo, who previously waged an unsuccessful Democratic primary challenge from the left against departing Rep. Tom Suozzi in 2020. D’Arrigo may have a better shot this time without an incumbent in the August primary, which includes DNC member Robert Zimmerman, deputy Suffolk County Executive Jon Kaiman, and Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan. State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi’s departure on Monday to instead run in the redrawn 17th District could also help D’Arrigo consolidate progressive voters here.

WASHINGTON 4TH CD. Six Republicans have lined up to challenge GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse, who also voted to impeach Donald Trump, while businessman Doug White is the one Democrat campaigning for this 57-40 Trump constituency in eastern Washington. Trump is all-in for 2020 gubernatorial nominee Loren Culp, though the far-right ex-cop has struggled to bring in money for his new bid. The GOP field also includes businessman Jerrod Sessler, who has self-financed most of his campaign, and underfunded state Rep. Brad Klippert.

FLORIDA 10TH CD. The crypto-aligned Protect Our Future PAC says it will spend $1 million for progressive activist Maxwell Alejandro Frost ahead of the Democratic primary in August. Frost has led the field in fundraising here in both the last two quarters, bringing in $350,000 during the first three months of 2022 while none of his rivals cracked six figures in either quarter.

ILLINOIS 3RD CD. VoteVets has launched a $360,000 buy to promote Chicago Alderman Gil Villegas, which makes this the first outside spending on his side ahead of the June 28 Democratic primary. The commercial touts Villegas’ time in the Marines and work on the Chicago City Council. Villegas’ main intra-party rival is state Rep. Delia Ramirez, who has so far benefited from $200,000 in support from the Working Families Party and another $70,000 from EMILY’s List.

MINNESOTA 1ST CD. Former Department of Agriculture official Brad Finstad outpaced state Rep. Jeremy Munson 38-37 in the special election primary to succeed their fellow Republican, the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn, and Munson conceded early Wednesday. (Hagedorn’s widow, former state party chair Jennifer Carnahan, took a distant third with 8%.) Finstad benefited from heavy spending from American Dream Federal Action, which is a crypto-aligned group, and Defending Main Street, which is close to the old-line GOP establishment; Munson, who has long antagonized his party’s legislative leaders, in turn had support from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s allies at Protect Freedom PAC.

On the Democratic side, Jeff Ettinger, the former CEO of the food processing giant Hormel, took 64% of the vote against several underfunded foes. Finstad and Ettinger will face off in the Aug. 9 general election for the final months of Hagedorn’s term representing the existing 1st District, a southern Minnesota constituency that Trump took 54-44. That contest will also coincide with the primary for the regular two-year term under the state’s new congressional map, which made only small changes to the 1st District. The state’s filing deadline is May 31, so we’ll see if anyone decides to challenge either special election nominee for the full term.

CALIFORNIA 37TH CD. The cryptocurrency-aligned Web3 Forward is spending $317,000 on a media buy to aid Democratic state Sen. Sydney Kamlager ahead of the top-two primary on June 7. Kamlager has previously gotten support from Protect Our Future PAC, which is funded by crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.

TEXAS 15TH CD. With only about 12,000 votes counted in the Democratic runoff, businesswoman Michelle Vallejo leads Army veteran Ruben Ramirez 50.1-49.9, a margin of only 23 ballots. The winner will go up against 2020 Republican nominee Monica De La Cruz, who won the Republican primary outright in March, in a Rio Grande Valley seat that Trump would have taken 51-48.

TEXAS 30TH CD. State Rep. Jasmine Crockett defeated party operative Jane Hope Hamilton 61-39 in the Democratic runoff for this safely blue Dallas seat. Crockett sported an endorsement from retiring Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, and she also benefited from over $700,000 in spending from two groups with ties to the crypto industry.

GEORGIA 6TH CD. Physician ​​Rich McCormick will compete against Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate, former state Ethics Commission Chair Jake Evans, in the GOP runoff for this newly-gerrymandered seat in the northern Atlanta suburbs. McCormick, who was Team Red’s 2020 nominee in the old 7th District, was far out in front with 43%, while Evans beat pastor Mallory Staples 23-9 for second.

GEORGIA 10TH CD. The Republican runoff to succeed failed secretary of state candidate Jody Hice will pit trucking company owner Mike Collins, who is the son of the late Rep. Mac Collins, against former state Rep. Vernon Jones, a conservative Democrat-turned-Republican who has Donald Trump’s backing. Collins, who lost the 2014 runoff to Hice, took first with 26%; Jones outpaced Hice’s pick, state Rep. Timothy Barr, 22-14 for second. Trump would have carried this seat, which includes Athens, Atlanta’s eastern exurbs, and rural areas in the northeastern part of the state, 61-38.

Just behind in fourth place with 13% was former Rep. Paul Broun, whose career aptly seems trapped in a pit of Hell. Broun gave up the existing version of the 10th in 2014 to unsuccessfully run for the Senate, and he went on to lose comeback bids for the old 9th in both 2016 and 2020.

GEORGIA 13TH CD. Despite being one of the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus, Rep. David Scott took 66% to claim renomination in this safely blue seat in Atlanta’s western and southern suburbs; South Fulton City Councilor Mark Baker was far behind with 13%.

NEW YORK 23RD CD SPECIAL ELECTION. Joe Sempolinski, who chairs the Steuben County Republican Party, has announced that he’ll compete in the upcoming special election to succeed outgoing Rep. Tom Reed but will not run anywhere for a full term. State election authorities, meanwhile, say they’ve finally received Reed’s letter of resignation.  

ALABAMA 5TH CD. Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong and former Defense Department official Casey Wardynski will face off in the June 21 Republican runoff to succeed Senate candidate Mo Brooks in this safely red constituency in northern Alabama. Strong took first with 45% while Wardynski, who has the support of the nihilistic House Freedom Caucus, led businessman John Roberts 23-14 for the second spot.

GEORGIA 2ND CD. Army veteran Jeremy Hunt took first place with 37% in the Republican primary, while Air Force veteran Chris West beat out businessman Wayne Johnson 30-19 for the second slot in the June 21 runoff. The eventual nominee will go up against Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop in a southwestern Georgia seat that Biden would have carried 55-44.

NEW YORK 16TH CD. Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker announced this week that she’d challenge Rep. Jamaal Bowman in the August Democratic primary. Parker last cycle campaigned for the old 17th District but struggled to raise money, and she ultimately dropped out and endorsed Mondaire Jones weeks ahead of his primary victory.

Parker said that Jones told her last week that he’d go up against Bowman, and that she’d committed to supporting her one-time rival. However, after Jones instead decided to run five districts to the south for the newly open 10th, Parker said she made up her mind to defeat Bowman herself because he’d “voted against funding a litany of projects that will make a difference in the not-so-distant future.” Bowman already faces intra-party opposition from another Westchester County legislator, Vedat Gashi, but Parker argued that her colleague “no longer has a base of voters that live in the district.”

NEW YORK 17TH CD. Rockland County Legislator Charles Falciglia has launched a campaign for the Republican nod to take on Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in a redrawn constituency that Biden would have taken 54-44. Falciglia’s move came shortly after Assemblyman Mike Lawler announced he’d also compete in the GOP primary.

NEW HAMPSHIRE 1ST CD. Former Executive Councilor Russell Prescott has filed paperwork with the FEC, and WMUR reports he will announce this week that he’s joining the September Republican primary to take on Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas.

As the story notes, Prescott is a longtime Granite State politician who won re-election to the state Senate in the 2002 general election by fending off none other than now-Sen. Maggie Hassan. Hassan unseated him in their 2004 rematch, but Prescott reclaimed his seat by riding the 2010 red wave to victory in their third and final bout. (Hassan herself bounced back in 2012 by winning the governorship.) Prescott made the jump to the powerful Executive Council in 2016 and narrowly won re-election two years later before retiring in 2020.  

ALASKA AT LARGE CD. Alaskans for TARA, a super PAC set up by the leaders of the ANCSA Regional Association to support former state Interior Department official Tara Sweeney (the name officially stands for True Alaska Representation Alliance), has so far deployed $280,000 to support the Republican ahead of the June 11 top-four primary, which is by far the most any outside group has spent so far.

GEORGIA 14TH CD. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), “the far-right Georgia Republican, spent more campaign money on personal security in the early months of 2022 than any other person running for office this year,“ the New York Times reports.

WYOMING AT LARGE CD. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) “officially filed to run for U.S. House on Thursday, announcing her reelection bid in a video that focused on her allegiance to the U.S. Constitution,” the Casper Star Tribune reports.

“Cheney angered many in her own party by voting to impeach former President Donald Trump over the Capitol riot and for her steady criticisms of him as a threat to democracy. That anger prompted several Republicans to challenge her in the primary.”

FLORIDA 20TH CD. Democratic state Rep. Anika Omphroy has announced via her campaign website that she’s running for Congress. Omphroy didn’t specify which district she’s running in, but her existing Broward County legislative district is located entirely within the new 20th District, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that she’s likely waging a primary challenge against new Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick following the latter’s special election win last year.

CALIFORNIA 40TH CD. Republicans are calling in the cavalry for Rep. Young Kim: The deep-pocketed Congressional Leadership Fund, which has close ties to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is spending at least $538,000 to air a new ad hitting GOP challenger Greg Raths ahead of the June 7 top-two primary. The spot blasts Raths as a “liberal” who sought to increase his own pay and raise taxes in his role as Mission Viejo city councilman while calling Kim the “conservative choice.”

Kim herself also began a similar ad campaign earlier this week, while the Democratic frontrunner, physician Asif Mahmood, recently started running his own ads aimed at boosting Raths past Kim by “attacking” him as “too conservative”—an effort, of course, to bolster his standing with right-leaning voters. Mahmood would rather face the more extreme Raths in the general election while the GOP establishment very much wants Kim to remain its standard-bearer.

CALIFORNIA 22ND CD. The House Majority PAC is jumping into a primary once again, but this time, it’s the sort of situation the group has gotten involved in before: The PAC says it’s launching a “six-figure ad campaign”—including television, digital, and mail in both English and Spanish—to boost Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas ahead of California’s top-two primary on June 7.

Democratic organizations have regularly parachuted into Golden State primaries ever since the top-two system was adopted a decade ago in order to avoid the devastating prospect of two Republicans advancing to the general election. HMP, in fact, did exactly this in the old 26th District in 2012 and the old 24th in 2016. It’s more surprising that Salas needs help, though, since he’s the only Democrat who qualified for the ballot.

However, this heavily Latino part of the state’s Central Valley has often seen low turnout to the detriment of Democrats, particularly in midterm years and even more so in primaries. Along with Rep. David Valadao, who’s all but assured of moving on to November, two underfunded GOP candidates are also running, former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys and Kings County Board of Education member Adam Medeiros. Valadao is the only House Republican who voted to impeach Donald Trump yet did not see Trump endorse an opponent in response, but HMP may be seeing signs that conservative discontent with the incumbent could propel a second Republican to the next round of voting.

NEW YORK 10TH CD. Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, who’d been considering a bid for New York’s radically revamped 10th Congressional District, confirmed that she’s joining the race at a candidate forum on Wednesday night. “Why am I running? I’m running because these are very dark times,” said Holtzman, adding, “I took on Richard Nixon, and I can take on Donald Trump.”

Yep, you read that right: The 80-year-old Holtzman served on the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 and recommended that articles of impeachment be brought against Nixon. Just two years earlier, at the age of 31, she’d become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the time after she narrowly unseated 50-year incumbent Emanuel Celler in a huge upset in the Democratic primary. (Holtzman’s district, then numbered the 16th, included parts of Brooklyn and Queens but shares almost no overlap with the new 10th.)

In 1980, Holtzman lost a painfully close Senate race to Republican Al D’Amato after D’Amato had defeated Sen. Jacob Javits in the GOP primary. Javits insisted on running on the Liberal Party line and took 11% of the vote, allowing D’Amato to squeak past Holtzman 45-44. She bounced back, though, by winning two terms as the district attorney for Brooklyn, followed by a successful bid for city comptroller in 1989.

However, a second campaign for Senate in 1992 went disastrously, as she finished last in the Democratic primary with just 12% of the vote. When she sought re-election as comptroller the following year, she got crushed 2-to-1 by Assemblyman Alan Hevesi in a primary runoff and hasn’t run for public office again since.

Should Holtzman succeed in her comeback attempt, her 42-year gap between periods of service in Congress would be the longest in history by far. (A 19th century Maryland Democrat named Philip Francis Thomas waited a mere 34 years, from 1841 to 1875, to return to the House.) Perhaps more amazingly, the man she beat in her very first race, Celler, was first elected in 1922—a full century ago. However, Holtzman faces stiff competition for this safely blue seat in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan from a number of prominent Democrats, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio and Hudson Valley Rep. Mondaire Jones.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

0 comments on “The Political Report – 5/28/22

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: