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Political Roundup — May 15, 2024

Updated: May 21


Maryland: Alsobrooks Upsets Trone  

The big story coming from last night's Maryland primary is Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks defeating US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac) for the open Democratic US Senate nomination, despite Trone spending what some believe will total $62 million for his campaign. Not only did the spending imbalance not lead to a Trone victory, but his loss was substantial, 54-42%.

The over-spending apparently backfired and, coupled with several Trone gaffes in the final three weeks, led to a shift in momentum. As we had been saying for weeks in this race, turnout among the state's substantial African-American communities would be a key indicator of whether Alsobrooks had a chance to win. This, and her strong support from the congressional delegation and Gov. Wes Moore (D), helped her overcome the huge financial imbalance.

The new Democratic nominee will now face former Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election. He won the Republican primary with approximately 62% of the vote. This is a strong showing, but not overwhelmingly so. It is indicative of the strong conservative GOP flank not embracing the former governor's eight-year record in leading the state, and his outspoken position against former President Donald Trump.

Trone, however, was not the only big spender to lose in Maryland last night. Former Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who gained notoriety for his role in the January 6 controversy, raised more than $5.4 million for his attempt to replace retiring Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Baltimore). It was state Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D-Annapolis), however, who recorded the victory.

The open 2nd District, as expected, easily went to Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, who won the Democratic primary with 78% of the vote. He will be a prohibitive favorite to replace retiring Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Cockeysville) in the general election.

In District 6, also as expected, former US Commerce Department official April McClain Delaney, the wife of former Congressman John Delaney (D), won the plurality primary in Trone's open seat. On the Republican side, the primary winner was two-time congressional nominee and ex-state Delegate Neil Parrott. Though both parties can win this district, McClain Delaney will be the heavy favorite, based on Parrott's poor previous performances.

Nebraska: All Incumbents Easily Win  

Nebraska's two US Senators hovered around the 80% mark in their individual Republican primaries last night. Senator Deb Fischer (R), now unopposed in the general election, is the in-cycle senator, while appointed incumbent Pete Ricketts (R) must win the right to serve the final two years of the current term and then return to the ballot again in 2026, when he will compete for a full six-year stint. The strength of Ricketts' win last night, and his familiarity with the voting public after serving two terms as governor, means he will skate to an easy victory in the general election.

Representatives Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) and Adrian Smith (R-Gering) recorded easy renomination wins in their respective 1st and 3rd Districts with 81 and 74% vote totals, respectively.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), who represents the most competitive seat in the state, clinched renomination with 62% of the vote. Bacon will again face his 2022 opponent, state Sen. Tony Vargas (D-Omaha), whom he defeated 53-47% two years ago.

West Virginia: Justice, Morrisey and Moore Win the Contested Races  

The open senate and governors' races were the key battles in the Mountain State last night. As expected, Gov. Jim Justice (R) scored a landslide 62-27% victory over US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) to clinch the Republican Senate nomination.

Justice now becomes the prohibitive favorite to defeat the newly-crowned Democratic nominee, Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott. Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is retiring, which gives the Republicans their strongest conversion opportunity in the country.

In the open governor's race to replace the term-limited incumbent, Attorney General Pat Morrisey, as polling correctly predicted, defeated former state Delegate Moore Capito, businessman Chris Miller, and Secretary of State Mac Warner, 34-27-20-16%, to capture the Republican nomination. Morrisey will now be a heavy favorite to turn away the new Democratic nominee, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who was unopposed in his party's primary.

In Mooney's open 2nd District, also as expected, state Treasurer Riley Moore, nephew of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and cousin to gubernatorial candidate Moore Capito (R), is the new Republican nominee. Moore captured 45% of the plurality vote in a field of five candidates. He is now considered a lock to win the general election in the state's northern seat.


Polling: Numbers Released on Key Senate Races  

The New York Times and Siena College again teamed to survey some of the key Senate races. The polls were conducted within the April 28–May 9 period and interviewed between 614 and 1,023 likely voters in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The top Republican targets of Maryland, Michigan, Montana and Ohio were not included in this series.

The results found tight races in all but Wisconsin. The most vulnerable within this group appears to be Nevada, where disabled Afghan War veteran Sam Brown (R) has pulled into a 41-41% tie with Sen. Jacky Rosen (D).

In Arizona, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) leads 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R) by just three points, 46-43%.

The Pennsylvania result is similar. Here, NYT/Siena sees a 46-44% split in favor of three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D).

Finally, the Democrat from this group in the best position is Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). She leads businessman Eric Hovde (R) by seven percentage points among the likely voters, 49-42%.

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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