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Political Roundup — June 20, 2024

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AK: Trump Endorses Lt. Governor


The Alaska at-large district is the most Republican seat that a House Democrat holds.  Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) has won three congressional elections, largely through the state’s Ranked Choice Voting system. This year, the stage may be set for a similar result.


Businessman Nick Begich, III (R), nephew of former Democratic US Senator Mark Begich (D), ran against former Gov. Sarah Palin in the special election when veteran Rep. Don Young (R) passed away, and for both succeeding regular terms. This year, while Palin is not running, Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom has joined the Republican congressional field.


Under the Alaska system, all candidates appear on the jungle primary ballot, and the top four advance into the general election, irrespective of political party affiliation. 


Yesterday, former President Trump announced his endorsement for Dahlstrom, the candidate who enjoys the backing of national and state Republican Party leadership


With two strong candidates battling for the Republican vote, it is likely that Rep. Peltola will again finish first among the four general election finalists. The question to be answered is whether she can reach the 50% mark. If not, Ranked Choice Voting then takes effect. 


Begich says he will withdraw if Dahlstrom places ahead of him in the initial qualifying election on August 20. Dahlstrom has yet to make a similar promise.  


In the latest available published poll (taken February 23-March 2 by Data for Progress), Begich had a large 41-12% lead over Dahlstrom. In a head-to-head pairing against Rep. Peltola, the Congresswoman and Begich tied at 50-50%. 


Once again, the Alaska at-large race is one to watch.

AZ-6: Rep. Ciscomani Holds Comfortable Lead 


An internal Public Opinion Strategies poll for the Juan Ciscomani re-election campaign finds the freshman Arizona Congressman holding a 50-39% advantage over former state Senator and 2022 Democratic congressional nominee Kirsten Engel, as the two prepare for a rematch from the campaign of two years ago. The poll interviewed 300 AZ-6 likely general election voters


In the previous election, Ciscomani defeated Engel, 50.7-49.2%, a margin of 5,232 votes.


The same survey finds former President Donald Trump leading President Biden, but with a smaller margin than Ciscomani’s advantage, 49-45%. In 2020, Biden carried this region with the slightest 49.3-49.2% edge.


The 6th District, which sits in Arizona’s southeastern corner, is politically marginal in nature, but was made more Republican in the 2021 redistricting plan.

IL-17: Rare Poll is Published 


If there is a competitive seat in the Illinois delegation, it is the far-western 17th District, anchored in the Quad Cities, which freshman Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) now represents.


Republicans nominated retired circuit judge Joe McGraw back in March. The 1892 survey research organization just released their polling data, and the results find Rep. Sorensen holding a 44-35% lead over McGraw. 


The 17th was highly competitive prior to the last redistricting, but the legislative Democrats who drew the plan configured the district in a much different manner. The configuration now resembles the form of a letter “C” — beginning in the city of Rockford, then coming west to pick up the Illinois section of the Quad Cities (i.e., the cities of Rock Island and Moline), and then turns east to include Galesburg, downtown Peoria, and the territory all the way to Bloomington.


The FiveThirtyEight data organization calculates a D+4 rating for the post-redistricting 17th, but that number should realistically increase because of a new Democratic incumbent seeking re-election.

VA-5: McGuire Declares Victory


Though the race has not been officially finalized, it does appear that Rep. Bob Good (R-Lynchburg) has been defeated in his bid for renomination. His opponent, state Sen. John McGuire (R-Manakin Sabot), thinks so and has publicly declared victory.


According to the Virginia Public Access Project, all the outstanding votes have now been counted and McGuire has a 309-vote lead. With only provisional and overseas ballots left to be received and counted, it is highly unlikely that even this small lead can be overcome. 


Once final, Rep. Good will be the first 2024 cycle incumbent of either party to lose renomination to a non-incumbent challenger. The only other incumbent defeat in either the Senate or the House occurred in Alabama, where Reps. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) were paired in a court ordered redistricting plan. Moore scored a 52-48% victory on March 5. 


Other incumbent primary defeats may soon follow, however. On Tuesday, Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Celeste Maloy (R-UT) face serious primary challenges, and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) attempts to win renomination from a new congressional district.

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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