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Two Veteran House Democrats Retire; VA Gov. Race Tightening

October 22, 2021

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

Key Takeaways    

  • AL-Sen: Rep. Mo Brooks (R) Expands Lead
  • NH-Sen: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) in Close Race Against All
  • Redistricting: IL; IA; TX; VA
  • NC-4; PA-18: Two Veteran Democrats to Retire
  • OH-15: Poll Boosts Mike Carey (R) to Big Special Election Lead
  • VA-Gov: Three Polls all Show Tight Nov. 2 Contest

Senate

Alabama: WPA Intelligence released an Alabama US Senate survey (10/10-12; 506 AL likely Republican primary voters) that finds US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) posting another major lead in his race for the GOP nomination. According to the results, Mr. Brooks holds a commanding 55-12-5-5% advantage over former Alabama Business Council CEO Katie Britt, ex-US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard, and businesswoman Jessica Taylor., respectively. The lead grows to 72-13-4-2% when respondents are informed that former President Trump has endorsed Mr. Brooks.

New Hampshire: The University of New Hampshire released its regular Granite State Poll (10/14-18; 1,061 NH panel members; 979 NH likely voters; online) and found Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) in a close contest regardless of who the Republicans nominate next year.  According to the UNH results, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) would lead Sen. Hassan, 45-42%, but she would top ex-Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) by a slight 44-43% margin. The Senator holds a 47-42% edge over retired Army General Don Bolduc (R) who lost the 2020 Republican Senate primary. Perhaps the worst news for Sen. Hassan concerns her favorability index. It drops to 38:52% favorable to unfavorable on this poll, her worst mark since the Granite Poll began tracking her in 2011.

House

Illinois Redistricting: Previous reports suggesting the Illinois Democratic leadership would attempt to draw a new congressional map to cost the Republicans two seats, and actually a net three when considering the state loses a district in reapportionment, proved accurate. The released map would create a 14D-3R plan in the state, meaning potential Republican incumbent pairings in the downstate region. The map could be vulnerable to a racial gerrymandering lawsuit as well as a political action when seeing that drawing a second Hispanic seat in Chicago is numerically possible but not done.

IL-3: The new Illinois redistricting map soon likely to become law is attracting the attention of at least one former member. Ex-Rep. Dan Lipinski, who lost his battle for re-nomination to freshman Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange), feels the new 3rd District lines may be more favorable to him than was the former draw. Therefore, he confirms considering returning for a Democratic primary re-match. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) is also placed in this district meaning that the 2022 election cycle will likely be an interesting one in this newly configured CD.

Iowa Redistricting: After the state Senate rejected the Iowa legislative committee staff’s first redistricting plans for the congressional, state House and Senate maps, the second option has been released. In this version, former President Trump would have carried all four of the districts, but with very small margins in two of the seats. In the previous map, freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion) would have been defeated. This map would give Republicans a chance to win all four seats, but also lose three of the four in strong Democratic years. Therefore, it appears representative of Iowa’s political trends and tendencies.

MD-4: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) announced this week that he will not seek re-election in 2022. Political speculation is suggesting that US Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Bowie), a former Democratic gubernatorial nominee, will forego re-election to the House in order to enter the open Attorney General’s race. The move would create a competitive open Democratic primary for what will again become a safe Prince Georges’s County anchored seat in the general election. 

NE-1: During the week, a California Grand Jury indicted Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) for lying to the FBI and concealing information from federal agents in association with certain political contributions traced to a foreign citizen. This makes the 2022 political situation surrounding the Congressman’s re-election campaign murky. A Nebraska law exists that prohibits indicted individuals from running for political office. Whether this statute can be applied to a federal candidate is yet unanswered. If so, then we could see a forced open seat campaign occur in the 1st District.

NC-4: Veteran Raleigh area Congressman David Price (D) announced that he will not seek an 18th non-consecutive term in the House. Mr. Price, 81 years of age, was first elected in 1986, but lost the district in the 1994 Republican landslide. He returned two years later to re-gain his seat, and has not seriously been challenged since. Democrats will likely retain the 4th District seat under the new redistricting map, unless the plan changes as a result of Mr. Price retiring. 

OH-15: Emerson College released a new survey of the OH-15 special election to be decided on November 2nd. The poll (10/14-16; 445 OH-15 likely special election voters; interactive voice response system and online) finds former Ohio Coal Association chairman Mike Carey (R) leading state Rep. Allison Russo (D-Columbus) by a 50-39% count. When self-described leaners to each candidate are added to the mix, Mr. Carey’s lead expands to 59-41%. 

PA-8: Consultant Jim Bognet, the 2020 Republican nominee who held Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) to a 52-48% re-election victory, announced yesterday that he will return for a re-match next year. With the 8th District requiring 51,779 more people to reach the required population quota, which means redistricting could add some outlying Republicans to the seat and taking advantage of what could be a favorable Republican tide coming in 2022, Mr. Bognet feels he would have a chance to add the minimum two-plus percentage points needed to flip the seat.

PA-18: In another retirement announcement, 14-term Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) declared his intention to retire after the current congressional session adjourns. His retirement makes it even more likely that the Pittsburgh area will absorb the seat loss from reapportionment that reduced the PA delegation from 18 to 17 seats. Neighboring Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) leaving his seat to run for the Senate makes it logical that these seats will be part of the necessary plan to collapse the state contingent of districts. 

Texas Redistricting: Maps to re-draw Texas’ congressional and state legislative districts have now passed both houses of the legislature and are headed to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his signature. The congressional map adds two districts, one likely for each party, and creates a district for each current incumbent. A possible swing of one seat toward the Republicans could be the net result.

Now, members and candidates are beginning to make early political moves. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) announced that he will run in the new Travis County 37th District, thus leaving open his current 35th CD that encompasses counties and precincts from Austin to San Antonio. Immediately, Austin City Councilman Greg Casar (D) formed an exploratory committee for the 35th. Former 25th District nominee Julie Oliver also filed a federal committee for the 37th District Democratic primary. 

Previously, 15th District Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) said he would run in the open Brownsville anchored District 34 if the map was passed into law.  Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) is retiring and said he would endorse Rep. Gonzalez moving into his district. Attorney and Iraq War veteran Ruben Ramirez (D) says he would run in the open 15th. Already in that race is 2020 Republican nominee Monica de la Cruz-Hernandez, who held Rep. Gonzalez to a 50-48% re-election win. 

TX-24: State Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) announced this week that she is suspending her congressional campaign committee after seeing the new congressional redistricting map pass the legislature. Declaring the map “an extreme Republican gerrymander,” Ms. Beckley said she will not challenge freshman Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Irving). 

Virginia Redistricting: Unable to agree upon a new congressional map, the Virginia Redistricting Commission suspended its meeting schedule on an indefinite basis. The Commission is empowered until November 8th, but it appears the deadlock will allow the state Supreme Court to draw the new map.

VA-7: State Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Fredericksburg) became the sixth Republican to announce his candidacy for the opportunity of challenging Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) in what will be a newly constructed 7th District. The originally proposed map that failed to advance from the Virginia Redistricting Commission would have made the 7th a heavily Republican district. 

The local Republican Committee is likely to call a convention to decide the nomination winner in lieu of a primary, so the crowded field will not drain party resources. Sen. Reeves is the first elected official to declare his candidacy, though 2020 nominee Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper), who held Rep. Spanberger to a 51-49% re-election victory, is expected to run after he wins re-election to the state House this November.

Governor

Florida: State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami), who was former Governor Charlie Crist’s (D) running mate in the 2014 election, is now his opponent. Sen. Taddeo entered the Governor’s race this week where she will face Mr. Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Democratic primary. Ms. Taddeo has also run unsuccessfully for Congress in the past. She begins as an underdog for the party nomination but hopes to construct a large enough Hispanic base to win a plurality three-way campaign.

Oklahoma: An Amber Integrated poll of the Oklahoma electorate (10/12-14; 500 OK registered voters; live interview and online panel) tested the 2022 Governor’s race featuring a likely general election pairing of Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who switched from the Republican Party to the Democrats in order to run for Governor. According to the AI survey, Gov. Stitt opens with a 49-33% double-digit advantage.

Virginia: A trio of new VA Governor polls were released, from Fox News, the Trafalgar Group, and Monmouth University, in anticipation of the November 2nd election. The Fox Poll (10/10-13; 726 VA likely voters; live interview) actually gives former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) his best showing in recent weeks. The ballot test projects the ex-Governor over 50% with a lead beyond the polling margin of error: 51-46%, over Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin. 

Trafalgar finds virtually the exact opposite result. The survey (10/11-13; 1,095 VA likely voters; live interview, online, and text) pushes Mr. Youngkin into the lead, only the second poll since August began to do so, by a slim 48-47% margin.

Monmouth University, carrying an A rating from the FiveThirtyEight statistical organization as their tenth best pollster in the country, released their latest Virginia ballot test numbers (10/16-19; 1,005 VA registered voters; live interview). The results show a dead heat between former Governor Terry McAuliffe and ex-hedge fund CEO Glenn Youngkin with each candidate scoring 46% support. The polling continues to provide data suggesting that the Virginia race is tight and will be decided through the eventual voter turnout model.