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Political Roundup: May 3, 2024

Updated: May 17


Senate


Maryland: Trone's Spending and Gaffes 

Reports are surfacing that Rep. David Trone's (D-Potomac) personal spending on his Senate race has now exceeded an incredible $57 million to win the Maryland Democratic US Senate primary. Polling, however, suggests that while Trone leads on the various ballot tests, he still hasn't quite put away Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. 

 

Trone is now recovering from two misstatements that have caused him to publicly apologize. The first was uttering a racially-insensitive comment during a committee hearing, and the second is verbiage in his latest ad that suggests he wouldn't need "training wheels" once he entered the Senate — a condescending, backhanded swipe at Alsobrooks' lack of legislative experience. 


Trone had to publicly apologize for the committee remark and, yielding to criticism of his belittling of Alsobrooks, he now has removed the training wheels language from his ads. Thus, he is in an apologetic position entering the critical final two weeks of campaigning before the May 14 primary election.

House

 

CA-16:  A Greater Understanding 

The Silicon Valley congressional situation may be becoming clearer. With the original count showing Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) and San Mateo County Supervisor Joe Simitian (D) tied for the second general election qualifying position after all ballots were counted, curiosity arose when allies of first-place finisher Sam Liccardo (D), the former mayor of San Jose, requested and paid for an electronic recount. Under California election procedure, in the event of a tie between candidates for a general election qualifying position, both would advance to the November ballot. Therefore, it was in neither Simitian's nor Low's interest to request a recount.

 

An early April Lake Research poll of likely general election voters found a tight three-way contest if the tie stood, with Liccardo leading Low and Simitian by a tight 26-21-20% count. If the battle were only between Liccardo and Low, the former mayor would hold a stronger 36-26% advantage. The recount did change the outcome, and the final numbers now show Low with a five-vote advantage. It remains to be seen if Simitian will challenge that result.


CA-49:  Becoming Competitive 

California Rep. Mike Levin's (D-San Juan Capistrano) Orange-San Diego County district is on the verge of becoming competitive.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+5, and President Biden carried the district with a 55-43% margin. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks CA-49 as the 29th most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference. In the 2022 election Levin defeated frequent Republican congressional candidate Brian Maryott 52.6 – 47.4%, which is a closer margin than Biden's. 

 

Republicans, armed with what appears to be a better candidate in the '24 election, just released an 1892 research organization poll, taken April 9-11, which finds Levin leading business owner Matt Gunderson (R) by a scant 44-42% margin. Biden, meanwhile, is now upside-down, with a 39:56% favorable-to-unfavorable ratio. This, coupled with the fact that Levin only pulled 51% of the vote in the March jungle primary, suggests this race could become highly competitive in November.

 

NC-13:  Candidate Daughtry Drops Out 

Attorney Kelly Daughtry (R), who placed first in the 14-candidate 13th District Republican primary on March 5, has now dropped out of the race. Daughtry indicated her initial internal polling suggested she led the runoff against former federal prosecutor Brad Knott; but, the candidate said, when former President Trump endorsed her opponent, the race's entire political flow changed. 

 

Saying that Trump's "involvement has foreclosed her path to victory," Daughtry announced yesterday that she is ending her campaign. This means that Knott will be effectively unopposed in the May 14 Republican runoff, and is a lock to convert the newly-redistricted seat to the GOP column in November.

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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