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Period Ending August 16, 2019

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

President

John Hickenlooper: In a move that has been building for the last several weeks, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper became the second candidate to end his 2020 presidential effort. With virtually no way to qualify for the September debate and barely registering on any poll, Mr. Hickenlooper yesterday announced that he would end his national campaign. He stopped short, however, of declaring a bid for the Colorado Senate seat, a race that would pit him against first-term Sen. Cory Gardner (R). He does say he is considering the Senate race, however.

Change Research Polls: The Change Research organization has previously conducted simultaneous online communication polls in several states, and they have done so again. On Thursday, the group released its surveys for Iowa and Wisconsin. The polls were both conducted over the August 9-11 period. The Iowa survey queried 621 likely Democratic caucus attenders, while the Wisconsin sampling sector featured 626 likely Dem primary voters.

Sen. Warren captures the lead in both states, topping Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), 28-17-17-13-8%, respectively. Wisconsin breaks similarly: Warren 29%, Sanders 24%, Biden 20%, Buttigieg 9%, and Harris 5%. Obviously, this data shows an uptick for Sens. Warren and Sanders and a possibly dangerous downturn for Mr. Biden.

New Hampshire Poll: A new survey from the nation's first primary state, New Hampshire, was released from Gravis Marketing (8/2-6) during the week, though their likely Democratic primary voter sample is low with just 250 people interviewed.

Gravis finds Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who received 60% of the vote here in his 2016 primary against Hillary Clinton, topping the field with 21% support followed by Mr. Biden who only posts 15%. Sen. Warren is next at 12% while South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) record 8 and 7% preference scores. Tracking above 2% in New Hampshire for the first time are Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) with 5%, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MA), businessman Andrew Yang, and billionaire Tom Steyer who all register 4% support.

YouGov/Economist Poll: The new survey from the international research firm YouGov, polling for The Economist magazine, finds Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) closing in on front runner Joe Biden. According to the YouGov data (8/10-13; 592 likely Democratic primary voters), Mr. Biden has only a 21-20-16% edge over Sens. Warren and Sanders, while Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) follows with 8% support, and ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg each record 5 percent. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tie with 2% preference, and all others post 1% or less.

Senate

Colorado: A move that perhaps best indicates former Gov. John Hickenlooper will return to Colorado and enter the US Senate race occurred before he announced his presidential campaign was at an end. After forming a Senate exploratory committee, Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) said earlier in the week that she would not become a candidate. This is significant because, of the 14 announced candidates or those who filed exploratory committees, Ms. Griswold is the only one who has won a statewide office, and arguably had the best chance of winning the crowded primary as the race currently stands. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is running for re-election in what will be a highly competitive 2020 campaign.

Minnesota: Political rumors had been abounding for the past couple of weeks that former Rep. Jason Lewis (R) had decided to challenge Sen. Tina Smith (D), but the ex-Congressman and radio talk show host would only admit to "considering" his political options. Apparently, the rumors are about to bear fruit. Minnesota sources indicate that Mr. Lewis will announce his Senate candidacy at the State Fair next week.

New Hampshire: The recently released Gravis Marketing New Hampshire survey (8/2-6; 505 NH adults) finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) holding a 51:37% job approval ratio, which favorably positions her against two potential Republican opponents. Opposite former state House Speaker Bill O'Brien, Sen. Shaheen would lead 52-39%. If retired Brigadier General Don Bolduc were her Republican general election opponent, the numbers break in similar fashion: 51-38%, in the Senator's favor.

But, Gravis did not include former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in the field of candidates. Fabrizio, Lee & Associates conducted their own New Hampshire poll (8/11-12; 400 NH likely Republican primary voters) that did include Mr. Lewandowski. According to their results, the former Trump politico would actually lead the Republican primary with 30% support as compared to retired Army General Don Bolduc's 11%, and former state House Speaker Bill O'Brien's 10% preference.

House

Arizona: Three-time World Series champion pitcher Curt Schilling confirms that he is considering entering an Arizona congressional race but does not yet specify the district. Mr. Schilling won the Most Valuable Player award in the 2001 World Series when his Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees to win the title.

Mr. Schilling, though born in Alaska, was raised in Arizona and attended Phoenix metropolitan area elementary and secondary schools. If he were to run for the House, the most logical district would be the 1st, the expansive eastern Arizona politically marginal seat that Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-Sedona) currently holds. A Schilling candidacy would certainly draw national attention, and President Trump is already voicing his encouragement to the former MLB player to run.

NY-27: The TelOpinion Research firm released their independent Republican primary poll of New York's 27th District primary featuring indicted incumbent Chris Collins (R-Clarence/ Batavia). The survey (7/31-8/1; 500 NY-27 likely Republican primary voters) finds the Congressman in relatively strong position if he were to seek re-nomination. Currently, he is scheduled to stand trial on insider trading charges in February but promises a re-election decision prior to the beginning of legal proceedings.

According to the poll results, Rep. Collins commands 46% support as compared to state Sen. Christopher Jacobs' (R-Buffalo) 26% with attorney Beth Parlato recording 4% support. Late this week, state Sen. Robert Ortt (R-Lockport) joined the enlarging group of GOP candidates. Democratic nominee Nate McMurray, who fell within less than a percentage point of unseating Rep. Collins in November, also says he will return for the 2020 campaign.

UT-4: Utah's 4th District that encompasses more than half of Salt Lake County, almost all of Juab, and parts of Sanpete and Utah Counties is one of the most Republican seats that elected a Democrat to Congress in 2018. Therefore, the upcoming race looks to be as competitive for freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City) as was his campaign last November when he unseated then-Rep. Mia Love (R) by 694 votes from just under 270,000 cast ballots.

This week, state Rep. Kim Coleman (R-West Jordan) joined the growing field of Republican candidates. She will oppose former radio talk show host and gaming application developer Jay Mcfarland, who refers to himself as "JayMac", ex-Utah Republican Party communications director Kathleen Anderson, and Iraq War veteran John Molnar in the Republican primary. It is clear the general election contest will be a top-tier challenge race next year.

Governor

Louisiana: The candidate filing deadline has now passed in Louisiana, and no unexpected entry came forward. Therefore, it is now clear that Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) officially faces US Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto/Monroe) and developer Eddie Rispone along with six minor candidates. Now, the group advances to the October 12th jungle primary where all of the candidates will appear on the same ballot. If one contender receives majority support in that election, the individual is elected. If no one reaches 50%, the top two will advance to a November 16th run-off vote.

Mississippi: State Rep. Robert Foster (R-Hernando), who finished a distant third with 18% of the vote in the August 6th gubernatorial primary, has endorsed second place finisher Bill Waller Jr., a retired state Supreme Court Judge. He faces front-runner Tate Reeves, Mississippi's Lt. Governor, in the August 27th Republican run-off. In the first vote, Mr. Reeves came within one percentage point of clinching the nomination outright.

Montana: At-large Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Bozeman) just publicized an internal Moore Information Republican primary poll (methodology statistics not released) that posts him to a large lead over his Republican primary opponents, Attorney General Tim Fox and state Sen. Al Olszewski (R-Kalispell). According to the MI results, Mr. Gianforte's margin is 56-17-5% over his two rivals, respectively. Before winning a 2017 special at-large congressional election and a full term last November, Rep. Gianforte was the 2016 Republican gubernatorial nominee losing to incumbent Steve Bullock (D), 50-46%.

North Carolina: Harper Polling conducted a statewide North Carolina survey (8/1-4; 500 NC likely voters) for the North Carolina-based Civitas Institute, individually pairing Gov. Roy Cooper (D) with three potential Republican opponents for next year's gubernatorial election. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R), who is an announced gubernatorial candidate and commonly viewed as the leading Republican, would trail Gov. Cooper 48-36% in the general election ballot test. State Rep. Holly Grange (R-Wilmington) fares worse against Mr. Cooper, behind 48-30%. Finally, former Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who lost his re-election bid to Mr. Cooper in 2016 and is not a candidate in 2020, would trail 47-38%.

While Gov. Cooper fails to reach 50% support under any scenario, he's close, and the consistency of his standing suggests that he is in strong position for re-election. At this early point in the election cycle, the Governor must be considered a clear favorite to win a second term next year.

North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum (R) released an internal 1892 polling firm survey from mid-July (7/15-17; 500 ND likely voters) that gives him a very strong 62-33% lead over former US Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D). The same poll finds President Trump topping former Vice President Joe Biden, 60-34%. Since the survey's release, Ms. Heitkamp has said she will not be a gubernatorial candidate, while Gov. Burgum indicates that he will "likely" seek re-election.