Midterm Roundup: Polls and Primary Challenges

In today’s midterm roundup: Fox News released a series of polls of contested GOP primaries in PA, GA, and OH, Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Ilhan Omar face primary challenges, and the return of Andrew Cuomo?

State of Play – March 12

North Carolina & Pennsylvania Get New Court-Drawn Maps

State courts in Pennsylvania and North Carolina struck down Republican-leaning maps drawn by their respective state legislatures and replaced them with maps more friendly to Democrats. The Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge from the NC and PA legislatures, meaning both states will have several hotly-contested swing seats and evenly-divided maps for the 2022 cycle.

Texas Primary Results

The Texas primary was a good night for establishment Republicans and progressive Democrats.

Battle for the Senate

Ohio (GOP primary): A recent Fox News poll showed businessman and 2018 Senate candidate Mike Gibbons taking a narrow lead over ex-OH Treasurer Josh Mandel, 22%-20% (a statistical tie). Author JD Vance, ex-OH GOP Chair Jane Timken and wealthy OH Sen. Matt Dolan were effectively tied for a distant third.

Oklahoma (special, GOP primary): Sen. Jim Inhofe’s resignation kicked off a special election for his safe GOP seat. Ex-OK House Speaker and Black Voices for Trump national chairman T.W. Shannon, Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland, US Rep. Markwayne Mullin – one of four Native Americans in Congress – and OK Sen. Nathan Dahm are all running for the open seat. US Rep. Kevin Hern is considering joining as well, and other candidates may expand the field even further.

Pennsylvania (GOP): The GOP Senate primary is seemingly a two-man race in the latest Fox News poll of the election. Wealthy hedge funder and ex-Bush 43 Treasury official Dave McCormick leads with 24%, with celebrity TV Dr. Mehmet Oz in second place with 15%. 2018 Lt. Gov. nominee Jeff Bartos is tied with defeated 2020 PA-04 nominee Kathy Barnette at 9%, while Trump Administration Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands is in a distant fifth with 6%.

Governors’ Races

Georgia (GOP): A new Fox News poll found Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is leading his Trump-endorsed primary challenger David Perdue 50%-39% ahead of the May primary election. Kemp has drawn fire from Trump for refusing to overturn Trump’s defeat in the state. Perdue is a former US Senator who lost reelection to millennial activist Jon Ossoff in a January 2021 runoff.

New York (Dem): He’s baaaack. An Emerson College poll showed disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be nearly tied with incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul if he jumped back into politics barely a year after resigning amid scandal. Hochul led Cuomo 37%-33%, with US Rep. Tom Suozzi in a distant third place with 7%.

Pennsylvania (GOP): The wide-open PA GOP primary seems to have four leading candidates according to a new Fox News poll. Failed 2018 US Sen. Candidate Lou Barletta is tied for first with PA Sen. Doug Mastriano, with businessman Dave White and ex-US Attorney Bill McSwain close behind. PA Senate President Jake Corman is far behind the leading four candidates.

The House of Representatives

Minnesota’s 1st (special): Two-term Rep. Jim Hagedorn tragically died of cancer on Feb. 17. The special election will be on Aug. 9 and has drawn several candidates, potentially including his “scandal-plagued” widow Jennifer Carnahan. Carnahan resigned as Minnesota GOP Chair after a donor she was closely tied to was arrested on multiple counts of sex trafficking. Trump USDA official Brad Finstad (R) has already announced a campaign for the seat, as well as former Hormel Foods CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D), who could make a credible run to flip the seat blue.

Minnesota’s 5th: Ex-Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels announced he would challenge inflammatory US Rep. Ilhan Omar in the Democratic primary. Samuels, who is black, is a prominent advocate of increased policing in Minneapolis and campaigned against a rejected 2021 ballot measure that would’ve effectively defunded the Minneapolis police department.

North Carolina’s 11th: US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R) just can’t stay out of trouble. The inflammatory millennial has drawn criticism for a rant where he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and Ukraine “incredibly evil” and was recently charged with driving while his license was revoked. Redistricting and Cawthorn’s many embarrassing missteps earned him a credible primary challenge from NC Sen. Chuck Edwards (R).

Pennsylvania’s 17th: PA’s new district lines moved this suburban Pittsburgh district leftward, but it remains tightly competitive. Democratic US Rep. Conor Lamb’s run for Senate left this seat open. Ex-PA Senate candidate Jeremy Shaffer, who narrowly lost a GOP state Senate district to a socialist in 2018, and Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) councilman Sam DeMarco are the leading Republicans. Attorney Chris Deluzio and LGBT activist Sean Meloy are campaigning for the Democratic nomination.

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© Dominic Moore, 2022