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Political Roundup — July 3, 2024


UT-2: Rep. Maloy's Margin Dwindles 

Because Utah is an all-mail voting state, receiving and counting its ballots takes some time. Though it earlier appeared that US Rep. Celeste Maloy (R-Cedar City) has been renominated, the later votes have swung significantly toward her opponent, businessman Colby Jenkins (R). Reportedly, all untainted ballots are now tabulated, and Rep. Maloy's lead has dropped to 309 votes — out of a turnout of more than 106,000 ballots cast. The only ballots not included in this count are those that may be ineligible due to verification issues.  

The margin is still beyond the automatic recount range under Utah election law, but Mr. Jenkins can request and finance a recount of all ballots. (An automatic recount occurs if the difference between the candidates is less than a quarter of a percentage point.)  Considering the total turnout, the margin would have to drop to 266 votes — i.e., 43 votes would have to swing in Jenkins' favor from the present total. It is unlikely, however, that a new count will differ to the point of overturning the original outcome. The final canvass necessary to certify the vote won't occur until July 22.

VA-5: McGuire Officially Certified as Winner 

Yesterday marked the certification deadline for all Virginia primary races, and state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin Sabot) has been declared the official Congressional District 5 Republican nominee, defeating incumbent Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg). Senator McGuire won by just 374 votes out of almost 63,000 ballots cast, or 50.3% of the total.


Virginia has no official recount law, but Rep. Good can now request and finance a full recount and is reportedly raising money to do so. He has a ten-day period in which to make the request. Like in the Utah race, it is unlikely that a recount will change the final total to the degree that it alters the certified outcome. Previously, Rep. Good challenged the City of Lynchburg's count owing to a faulty machine, but election officials claim the affected number of votes is likely fewer than ten.


Senator McGuire is now the prohibitive favorite to defeat Democrat Gloria Witt in the general election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates VA-5 as R+14. Former President Trump carried this district in 2020 with a 53-45% margin but is expected to do better in the current election.

Endorsements: Two House Races Get Major Boost 

A pair of US House endorsements — one for a New Jersey Democrat and the other for a Kansas Republican — may signal what will happen in the respective primaries for two partisan districts.

The late-April death of New Jersey US Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) has triggered a special primary election, scheduled for July 16, after Payne posthumously won the regular election primary on June 4. Last week, Sen. Cory Booker (D), a former Newark Mayor, endorsed Newark City Council President LaMonica McIver in the special Democratic primary. Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) followed suit and announced his support for Ms. McIver over 10 other Democratic competitors. McIver also has the backing of several local officials, and is the favorite to win the special primary.  

After this election, the District 10 Democratic Committee will then choose a nominee to replace Mr. Payne in the regular general election. It is highly likely that the committee members will choose the special election nominee as the regular election party standard bearer. The special general election in the safely Democratic district is scheduled for September 18.


In Kansas' open 2nd Congressional District, former Attorney General and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Derek Schmidt has received the Kansas Farm Bureau's endorsement, which represents critically important support in an agricultural district anchored in the state capital of Topeka. Mr. Schmidt, who is already the perceived race leader, now extends his advantage with the Farm Bureau endorsement.  It is likely he will win the Republican primary and then succeed retiring Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Topeka) in the general election.


Missouri: GOP Leader Change 

A new ARW Strategies poll of likely Republican primary voters projects Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe to have taken the GOP primary lead over Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft for the first time this year. State Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) has also moved into contention.

The ARW ballot test finds Kehoe posting a 24-19-19% lead over Ashcroft and Eigel. This most recent data (11 gubernatorial polls have been publicly released this year) suggests that a legitimate three-way race is developing ahead of the August 6 primary. The eventual Republican nominee becomes a definitive favorite to win the general election.  Incumbent Gov. Mike Parson (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

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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