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Political Roundup — May 17, 2024

Updated: May 21


Utah: Rep. Curtis Leading in New GOP Poll

Four Republican candidates are vying for the right to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Mitt Romney in Utah's June 25 primary election, but one is pulling away from the field.

The Conservative Values for Utah super PAC commissioned a Guidant Polling & Strategy survey for the Utah Senate race and released the results yesterday. The ballot test finds US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo) developing a large 41-14-9-2% GOP primary advantage over Riverton Mayor John Staggs, former state House Speaker Brad Wilson, and businessman Jason Walton, respectively.

Mayor Staggs was officially endorsed at the Utah Republican Party Convention and earned former President Donald Trump's support. Through submitting 28,000 valid signatures, Rep. Curtis and Messrs. Wilson and Walton all successfully petitioned onto the primary ballot. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the open general election.


CA-16: State Dem Party Endorses Low  

A recount of the tied jungle primary finish between San Mateo County Supervisor Joe Simitian (D) and state Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) awarded the latter man the second qualifying general election ballot position by just five votes.

Because Simitian did not request a second canvass of the narrow result, the California Democratic Party has taken action, issuing an endorsement for Assemblyman Low.

The first-place finisher, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D), wrapped up his qualifying position on the March 5 primary election date. Neither Low nor Simitian requested an original recount because under California election procedure, tied candidates both advance into the general election.

Instead, Liccardo allies paid for the recount, figuring correctly that the tally would move by a handful of votes. Later, polling surfaced showing Liccardo doing better in a two-way race against either Low or Simitian, as opposed to a three-way all-Democratic battle. The November winner will replace retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton).

MI-13: Former State Senator in Danger of Being Disqualified  

In 2022, then-state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) lost a close, crowded primary to then-state Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit), 28-24%, and vowed to try again in 2024.

Though Hollier announced for the seat and circulated petitions, the preliminary city clerk staff report indicates that his valid signature petitions will fall short of the minimum required number for ballot qualification. After the two-day public comment period expires, the city clerk will make the final decision of whether to award the former state senator a ballot line.

Even without Hollier on the ballot, Rep. Thanedar will likely face a Democratic primary challenge from Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Waters and former Southfield City Clerk Shakira Hawkins.

The Michigan primary is scheduled for August 6.

House Incumbents:  Three Being Outspent  

Three US House incumbents are on the short end of spending battles in their respective primaries. Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Nancy Mace (R-SC), and Bob Good (R-VA) all face tough challenges against credible opponents.

According to media monitoring group AdImpact, in New York, Westchester County Executive George Latimer now has a major media spending advantage against Rep. Bowman — $3 million, versus Bowman's $171,000 — owing largely to the backing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's United Democracy Project. However, the Congressman had over $1.4 million in his account through March 31, and can expect further outside money to help him close the voter contact gap in the final six weeks of the primary campaign.

AdImpact also estimates that in South Carolina — owing largely to the involvement of a PAC run by allies of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — approximately $4.3 million has been spent against Rep. Mace, as compared to $2.5 million spent backing her. Mace's opponent is former Nikki Haley Administration official Catherine Templeton.

While there are no reported figures for the Virginia race to-date, it is clear that challenger John McGuire, a Virginia state Senator endorsed by former President Trump, is well ahead of Rep. Good in advertising and polling. An early May Battleground Connect poll found Sen. McGuire leading Rep. Good, 45-31%. The congressman, like Rep. Mace, voted to oust former Speaker McCarthy.

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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