In today’s midterm roundup: redistricting court cases, Trump-backed primary challenges and the culling begins as candidates drop out of competitive multi-way primaries.
State of Play – February 12 (change from 1/29)
- President’s job approval: Biden -11.1 (no change)
- 41.4% approve
- 52.5% disapprove
- Generic Congressional ballot: Republicans +3.3 (R-0.7)
- Democrats- 43.0%;
- Republicans- 46.3%
- Direction of the country: Wrong Track -37.5 (-2.2)
- Right track- 27.6%
- Wrong track- 65.1%
- Congressional retirement scorecard: 29 Democrats, 13 Republicans (no change)
Redistricting Update: See You in Court!
Thirty-three states (plus six with at-large districts) have finished drawing new maps for the 2022 elections according to the FiveThirtyEight redistricting tracker. Nine states have yet to finish drawing their maps, including the important swing states of Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
An additional two – Ohio and North Carolina – passed Republican-leaning maps that were struck down in court. Both states must redraw their maps to be more favorable to Democrats. The Supreme Court turned away an additional court challenge to Alabama’s map, preserving its 6R-1D breakdown.
New York State Democrats halved the number of Republican seats from 8 to 4 in a brutal gerrymander. Republicans in Tennessee and Kansas passed maps that each put one Democratic seat in danger of flipping parties.
On net, Democrats have gained more seats nationwide from redistricting from Republicans. Per FiveThirtyEight, the states that’ve finished redistricting have produced:
- 160 Democratic-leaning seats (+11 seats)
- 141 Republican-leaning seats (-3 seats)
- 26 “highly competitive seats” (-8 seats)
Battle for the Senate
Ohio (GOP primary): The millionaire’s derby is down one millionaire. Car dealer Bernie Moreno dropped out last week, citing the presence of “too many Trump candidates” that “could cost the MAGA movement” a Senate seat.
Meanwhile, author and venture capitalist JD Vance’s pollster described his employer’s campaign as being in “precipitous decline” due to the perception that he is anti-Trump. Vance has been the target of a $2 million negative ad campaign airing videos of Vance calling himself “never Trump” during the 2016 primaries.
Pennsylvania (Dem primary): Pennsylvania Democrats declined to endorse a candidate for Senate last week. Western Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb (D) won the most votes but was seventeen votes shy of the threshold needed to win the endorsement.
Lt. Governor John Fetterman finished a distant second. Montgomery County Commission Chair Val Arkoosh, head of the state’s third-largest county in suburban Philadelphia and the race’s lone woman, dropped out after a disappointing last-place finish.
Georgia (GOP primary): Ex-Democratic DeKalb Co. executive Vernon Jones dropped out of the GOP primary for governor. This gives Trump-endorsed ex-US Sen. David Perdue a clear path to challenge Gov. Brian Kemp (R). Trump promised Jones his endorsement in another race if he agreed to end his campaign (see below).
Georgia (Dem primary): Presumptive Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams was forced to apologize after photos of her visiting a school mask-less surrounded by masked children earned her charges of hypocrisy. Abrams initially implied the criticism was racist before backtracking.
Pennsylvania (GOP primary): The Pennsylvania GOP declined to endorse candidates for its open gubernatorial and Senate primaries. A non-endorsement in the primary is unusual and has not happened for decades. Both primaries feature sprawling fields ahead of the May primary.
The House of Representatives
Georgia’s 10th (GOP primary): Ex-governor candidate Vernon Jones (D->R) is now running in Georgia’s 10th district in suburban Atlanta. Trump backed Jones in this crowded GOP primary, where Jones’s leading GOP opponent, small businessman Mike Collins, has already attacked Jones as a “conman” and “a Democrat with a rap sheet” who’s been “accused of rape.”
New York’s 11th (Dem primary): He’s baaaack: ex-New York mayor Bill de Blasio is reportedly creating an exploratory committee to run in this Staten Island and Brooklyn-based seat. Democrats redrew the GOP’s lone NYC House seat, taking it from R+13 all the way to D+7.
De Blasio would face ex-US Rep. Max Rose (D) in the primary for the chance to take on incumbent Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R), who he defeated in the 2017 mayoral race, in the general election.
Rhode Island’s 2nd: 2014/2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung announced his candidacy for this western Rhode Island seat. Fung was the mayor of Cranston, the district’s largest city. Fung offers the GOP the rare chance to flip a seat in heavily Democratic New England.
South Carolina’s 1st (GOP primary): For the second time in four years, Trump endorsed Katie Arrington’s primary run against a GOP incumbent. In 2018, Arrington won the primary but shockingly lost a safe seat to Democrat Joe Cunningham.
Arrington is challenging Rep. Nancy Mace, a Trump 2016 campaign staffer who defeated Cunningham in 2020. A George W. Bush quote comes to mind: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”
Washington’s 4th (GOP Primary): Trump endorsed another primary challenger to a House Republican who voted to impeach him after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The former president is supporting 2020 GOP gubernatorial nominee Loren Culp over incumbent Rep. Dan Newhouse.
© Dominic Moore, 2022