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Period Ending May 25, 2018

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This weekly roundup of election news and notes is compiled for Thompson Coburn by the The Ellis Insight.

Senate

Texas: A JMC Analytics & Polling survey of the Texas Senate race (5/19-21; 575 TX likely voters) finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leading US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso), 47-40%, as the two continue their general election campaign. The results, while still close, are a slight improvement for Sen. Cruz from the April Quinnipiac University poll that found him leading Mr. O’Rourke only 47-44%. Both Sen. Cruz and Rep. O’Rourke won their respective Republican and Democratic primaries back on March 6th.

Vermont: Months ago, former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders again pledged to seek re-election to the Senate as an Independent on the Vermont ballot. Now, the Senator and potential future presidential candidate says he will also enter the Democratic primary. If he wins the party nomination, Sen. Sanders maintains his name will still reside on the Independent line. Winning the Dem nomination would ensure that he would only face a Republican in the general election and not a three-way campaign. In any scenario, however, Sen. Sanders is a lock for re-election.

West Virginia: WPA Intelligence conducted the first West Virginia post-primary survey (5/10; 400 WV likely general election voters) for the new Joe Manchin-Patrick Morrisey US Senate race. According to the results, Attorney General Morrisey (R) notches a two-point, 46-44%, spread over Sen. Manchin (D). As predicted on primary night, this general election campaign, from a place where President Trump scored 69% of the vote but has also elected Mr. Manchin twice as both Governor and Senator, will go down to the political wire. Perhaps most troubling for Sen. Manchin, however, is his poor 30:59% favorability index among those polling respondents who declared themselves as undecided with regard to whom they will support in November.

Sen. Manchin then countered, releasing his own poll that provides a much different perspective of the impending general election. According to the Senator’s internal Global Strategy Group survey (5/13-16; 600 WV likely voters), he leads Mr. Morrisey, 50-42%. But, the totals are a bit surprising when seeing Sen. Manchin receive support from only 70% of Democrats, but then picking up 29% of Republicans. While the Democratic support number appears low, the Republican defection figure seems high.

House

AR-2: State Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) defeated three Democratic opponents to win outright the party nomination this Tuesday. Mr. Tucker advances to the general election where he faces two-term Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) in what could become a competitive general election.

CA-50: Embattled California Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine), who is reportedly under FBI investigation for campaign finance violations, still fares well in a new Survey USA poll conducted for the San Diego Union Tribune and local Channel 10 News. According to the S-USA results (5/15-20; 567 CA-50 likely June 5th jungle primary voters), Rep. Hunter would lead the upcoming primary vote with 43% support. Placing second with just 10% support is Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar. The 2016 Democratic candidate who opposed Mr. Hunter, Patrick Malloy, is next with 7%, and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells (R) follows at 6% support. In California, the top two finishers in the primary election, regardless of percentage earned or party affiliation, advance into the general election.

CO-5: Though Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) had to fight through the courts to secure a ballot position after he was disqualified because of using non-Colorado resident petition circulators, a new political poll suggests he remains in position to win a plurality primary against two strong opponents. Magellan Strategies (5/20-21; 519 CO-5 likely Republican primary voters) conducted a pre-primary survey and find Rep. Lamborn leading the field of candidates attempting to deny him re-nomination. According to Magellan, Rep. Lamborn posts 37% support as compared to El Paso County Commissioner and former US Senate nominee Darryl Glenn who records 27% preference. State Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) registers 10 percent. Two other minor candidates fail to even reach the 5% plateau. The Colorado primary is June 26th.

GA-6: Gun control advocate Lucy McBath (36%) and businessman Kevin Abel (31%) both slipped past former news anchor Bobby Kaple (26%) to advance into a July 24th Democratic run-off election. The winner faces Rep. Karen Handel (R-Roswell), who won the most expensive congressional election in history last June in a special election to replace then-Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell).

GA-7: Ex-congressional and state Senate staff member Carol Bourdeaux (27%) and chain business owner David Kim (26%) advanced to the late July Democratic run-off election. The winner will then oppose four-term Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville) in the upcoming general election.

HI-1: The Honolulu-anchored 1st Congressional District is again open as Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) is once more engaged in a statewide Democratic primary challenge, this time opposite Gov. David Ige. The Merriman River Group, polling for the Honolulu Civil Beat online news and political newsletter, (5/3-5; 967 HI statewide registered voters; 321 HI-1 likely Democratic primary voters), finds state Senator and former congressional candidate Donna Mercado Kim leading the all-important Democratic primary, 26-19% over new Lt. Gov. Doug Chin. Party-switching state Rep. Beth Fukumoto (D-Mililani) is in third place with 11%. No other candidate reaches double-digits. The eventual Democratic nominee wins the seat in November. The Hawaii primary is August 11th.

KY-6: Retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Amy McGrath defeated Lexington-Fayette Mayor Jim Gray in Tuesday’s Democratic primary with a 49-41% victory margin. Ms. McGrath now challenges three-term Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) in what should be a highly competitive general election.

Texas: Partisan run-off elections were won on Tuesday. Retired Naval officer Dan Crenshaw (TX-2; 70%), state Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-5; 54%), Tarrant County Tax Assessor Ron Wright (TX-6; 52%), former Ted Cruz chief of staff Chip Roy (TX-21; 53%), and businessmen Michael Cloud (TX-27; 61%), all won their respective party nominations and become prohibitive favorites to win their seats in November. For the Democrats, attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (TX-7; 67%), former Obama Administration US Trade Office official Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23; 68%), retired Army officer M.J. Hegar (TX-31; 62%), and ex-NFL football player Colin Allred (TX-32; 69%), advanced into the general election where they will face respective incumbents John Culberson (R-Houston), Will Hurd (R-San Antonio), John Carter (R-Round Rock), and Pete Sessions (R-Dallas).

VA-6: Last weekend, delegates in Virginia’s open 6th District met in convention to choose a Republican nominee to replace retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Roanoke). The first ballot winner is state Delegate Ben Cline (R-Amherst), who captured 52% of the vote. He defeated Republican National Committeewoman Cynthia Dunbar, a former Texas Board of Education member, who scored 39% delegate support. Mr. Cline will go into the general election as the prohibitive favorite since the 6th is Virginia’s second-most Republican congressional district (Trump ‘16: 60-35%). Four Democrats are vying for the party nomination that will be decided in the June 12th primary election.

Governor

Alabama: The Tarrance Group, polling for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R), projects their client to be in strong position as we enter the primary campaign’s final two weeks. The poll (5/20-22; 602 AL likely Republican primary voters) finds Gov. Ivey holding a stout 58-18% lead over Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. Baptist minister Scott Dawson is next with 7%, while state Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) posts only 5% support. The Alabama primary will be held June 5th.

Connecticut: Businessman Ned Lamont, the founder of Campus Televideo, a company that provides video and data services to colleges and universities, easily won the official Democratic primary endorsement at the state party convention last weekend. Mr. Lamont’s victory was so complete that his top challenger, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim did not even secure enough support to qualify for the primary ballot. He pledges to force an August 14th primary through petition, however.

Georgia: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (39%) and Secretary of State Brian Kemp (26%) advanced to a July 24th Republican run-off after placing first and second in Tuesday’s primary election. State Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) (18%), businessman Clay Tippins (12%), and state Sen. Michael Williams (R-Cumming) (5%) were eliminated. For the Democrats, former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams won a landslide 76-24% outright victory over ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Hawaii: An early May Merriman River Group survey was just released (5/3-5; 707 HI likely Democratic primary voters), and while this data still finds US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) leading incumbent Gov. David Ige (D) for the August 11th Democratic primary election, the margin is much closer. According to Merriman, Rep. Hanabusa’s lead is 37-31%. In March, a Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategies survey found her substantially outpacing the Governor, 47-27%. Back in 2014, then-state Sen. Ige blasted Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) out of office with a 66-31% Democratic primary win. Rep. Hanabusa hopes to continue the Democratic voter streak of denying re-nomination to their incumbent Governors.

Iowa: It appears more likely than ever that businessman Fred Hubbell will capture the Democratic gubernatorial nomination on June 5th. His chief rival, state Sen. Nate Boulton (D-Des Moines) yesterday suspended his campaign in response to several sexual harassment claims. The move assuredly ends Sen. Boulton’s statewide efforts, though it is too late to remove his name from the ballot. The eventual Democratic nominee would then challenge Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who is running for her first full term after succeeding former Gov. Terry Branstad (R) upon the latter’s appointment as US Ambassador to China.

Kansas: While the Kansas gubernatorial primary is not until August 7th, Remington Research went into the field to provide early numbers for the Republican nomination battle. According to their poll (5/14-15; 1,441 KS likely Republican primary voters via automated message device), Gov. Jeff Colyer, who ascended to the Governorship when incumbent Sam Brownback (R) accepted a federal appointment, has only a 29-27% slight lead over Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Though eight Republicans are in the race, it already appears the GOP primary is winnowing down to the two major candidates.

Maryland: This week, state election authorities informed gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin (D) that while she can now run for Governor in the late Kevin Kamenetz’s place, her name will not appear on the ballot because it is too late to reverse the printing. Therefore, Ms. Ervin will have to convince her supporters to vote for Mr. Kamenetz, who suddenly passed away on May 10th, in order for the tallies to count for her. Obviously, this procedure lessens her nomination chances. She faces Prince Georges County Executive Rushern Baker, former NAACP president Ben Jealous, and state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) in the June 26th party primary. The winner opposes Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in the fall.

Tennessee: US Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) released the results of her new OnMessage gubernatorial survey (5/14-17; 600 TN likely GOP primary voters) that post her to a sizable 41-28-9-8% advantage over former state Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd (R), State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), and businessman Bill Lee (R). The Tennessee primary is Thursday, August 2nd. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Texas: A day after Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez won the Lone Star State Democratic gubernatorial nomination over businessman Andrew White, 53-47% in Tuesday’s run-off election, JMC Analytics & Polling released a general election survey taken just days before the vote (5/19-21; 575 TX likely voters). The results find Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leading Ms. Valdez by a 48-36% clip. The totals are likely understating Gov. Abbott’s strength because of the pre-primary publicity the Democrats were generating. Additionally, the campaign war chest figures are grossly out of balance. Going into the Democratic run-off election, Ms. Valdez reported having only $115,000 in her campaign account versus almost $41 million in the Governor’s campaign treasury.