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Political Roundup: May 7, 2024

Updated: May 17

May 7, 2024


CA-20:  Secretary of State Drops Appeal to Fong Ballot Status  

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) has announced that she is dropping her

office's appeal of court decisions allowing Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) to run for the open 20th District congressional seat while still on the ballot for state Assembly.

Weber contended that a candidate cannot seek two offices simultaneously.

Two court rulings, however, allowed Fong to continue his regular election campaign for the seat — from which former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) resigned — even after qualifying for the state Assembly ballot.

Weber's action means that Fong's congressional candidacy is finally unimpeded.

Fong did appear on the ballot for both offices on the March 5 jungle primary. He placed first in the congressional race and was unopposed for re-election to his current office. He is also on the ballot for the May 21 special congressional election to fill McCarthy's unexpired term. In both the special election and in November, Fong will face Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux in a double-Republican format.

Should Fong win the special election — and he is favored to do so — he will resign from the Assembly before taking the congressional oath. At that point, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will call a special election to fill the remainder of the unexpired Assembly term and another for the regular election.

Indiana: Primary Today  

Indiana voters cast their primary ballots today, and while the presidential election nomination process is locked for both parties, several key US House races will be effectively decided.

The incumbent facing the most competitive challenge today is Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) who originally announced her retirement, only to change her mind before filing time. While eight Republican challengers are opposing the incumbent, the race is really between Spartz and state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville). The crowded field likely helps Spartz, but polling suggests a close finish.

The state features three Republican open seats, and GOP nominees who will be heavy favorites in the general election will be chosen today.

Reps. Greg Pence (R-Columbus) and Larry Bucshon (R-Evansville) are retiring, and the Republican winners this evening will be locks to win in November.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who is running unopposed for the party nomination in the US Senate race, leaves a field of eight Republican candidates vying to be his successor. The contest is winnowing to three candidates: former circuit judge Wendy Davis, former Congressman Marlin Stutzman, and state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington).

WA-4: Senate Finalist Announces for House  

There has been growing speculation that Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside), one of two remaining Republican House members to vote for the Trump impeachment, would announce his retirement before the state's May 24 candidate filing deadline.

The latest development here will increase such talk.

Tiffany Smiley (R), who was a credible opponent to Sen. Patty Murray (D) in the 2022 statewide election, yesterday announced that she will enter the 4th District House race.

The move is unusual, since it seems unlikely that she would challenge the incumbent, especially when former President Trump has already endorsed former race car driver Jerrod Sessler (R).

Smiley's candidacy does make sense, however, if Newhouse has decided not to seek re-election and has quietly told her such. This is a developing situation worth watching.


Indiana: Sen. Mike Braun Likely to Win GOP Gubernatorial Primary  

Indiana is one of 11 states featuring governors' campaigns this year, and eight are open-seat contests.

US Sen. Mike Braun (R) is foregoing a re-election bid in an attempt to succeed Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) who is ineligible to seek a third term.

Braun looks to be well-positioned to win a plurality primary victory over Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, and businessmen Eric Doden and Brad Chambers. The Republican nominee then becomes a heavy favorite in the general election against consensus Democratic candidate, former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, an ex-Republican.

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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