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Political Roundup: April 30, 2024

Updated: May 17


MI-8:  Flint Mayor Drops Congressional Bid 

The open race to replace retiring Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) just got smaller. Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley (D) ended his congressional bid after filing for the seat. The Democratic establishment is coalescing around state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) and this, in addition to poor fundraising totals, was relegating Neeley to the second tier of contenders.

Therefore, the Democratic field has winnowed to Rivet, Michigan Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, and former Flint Mayor Matt Collier.

On the Republican side, two-time congressional nominee and former television anchor Paul Junge, state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder, retired Dow Corporation executive Mary Draves, and frequent candidate Anthony Hudson are competing for the nomination.

The open 8th District is politically marginal. President Biden carried the seat 50-48%. Currently, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the district as R+1, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks MI-8 as the 11th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference. In practice, however, the Democrats will carry at least a small edge heading into the 2024 general election.

NY-26:  Special Election Today  

One of the House's six vacancies will be filled today. New York Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) resigned the seat in February; the local New York political parties chose state Sen. Brian Kennedy (D-Buffalo) as the Democratic nominee, while the GOP selected West Seneca Town Supervisor Gary Dickson to challenge Kennedy.

The projected outcome appears clear. Kennedy is a heavy favorite tonight in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+18. Therefore, it is most probable that the House party division will move to 217R – 213D after the votes are counted this evening, with five vacancies (4R – 1D) remaining. The 26th District includes the Buffalo metropolitan area, as well as parts of Erie and Niagara Counties.

TX-34:  Close Texas Rematch 

In 2022, due to the Texas redistricting map, Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) and Mayra Flores (R-McAllen) were forced to run against each other in the new Brownsville-McAllen-anchored 34th District. In November of that year, Rep. Gonzalez scored a 53-44% victory in the new district, which the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated as D+17.

With the political climate changing along the Texas-Mexico border, this district will become more competitive during this election cycle. An 1892 polling organization survey, taken April 11-13, confirms that the final result is likely to be closer in 2024. The Gonzalez-Flores ballot test only breaks 48-45% in the Democrats' favor, suggesting the campaign could evolve into a toss-up.

On the presidential front, the 1892 pollsters did not ask a direct ballot question. Rather, they phrased a similar query testing which candidate's border policies are viewed more favorably. The Trump policies were selected in a 51-36% margin. It appears this rematch contest will be one to watch in November.


West Virginia: Polling Flip  

The polling in the open West Virginia Republican gubernatorial primary has been erratic for several months, with eight consecutive polls showing Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leading the race by between one and 19 percentage points.

However, a new NMB Research survey (for West Virginia's Future PAC) finds former Delegate Moore Capito, son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R), now assuming the lead.

The ballot test projects a 31-23% margin for the top two candidates, with businessman Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington), attracting a 14% preference factor, and Secretary of State Mac Warner right behind at 13% support.

The West Virginia's Future PAC is supporting Capito, and the poll comes on the heels of Gov. Jim Justice (R) endorsing the former Delegate.

The West Virginia primary is scheduled for May 14th.

Jim Ellis is a 35-year veteran of politics at the state and national levels. He has served ss executive director for two national political action committees, as well as a consultant to the three national Republican Party organizations in DC, the National Federation of Independent Business, and various national conservative groups.

Born and raised in Sacramento, California, he earned a B. A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis in 1979. Jim raised his daughter, Jacqueline, alone after his wife died following a tragic car accident. He helped establish the Joan Ellis Victims Assistance Network in Rochester, NH. Jim also is a member of the Northern Virginia Football Officials Association, which officiates high school games throughout the region.

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