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Political Roundup — May 28, 2024


Libertarian Party: Chooses Presidential Candidate 


After booing former President Donald Trump during his speech to the party convention, the Libertarian Party delegates on the fourth ballot nominated former Georgia Senate and congressional candidate Chase Oliver as the party’s presidential nominee.


The Libertarian Party is the only one of the minor entities that will have 50-state, or near 50-state, ballot presence. 


The party’s presence is more likely to take votes away from former President Trump than President Biden.


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. received only 2% of the delegate vote on the first ballot and was eliminated. Oliver then advanced to a third ballot against college professor Michael Rectenwald.


Oliver received 49.5% of the vote, just short of the majority threshold. He then advanced to win 60% alone against a none-of-the-above option.


New Jersey: Sen. Menendez Circulating Petitions 


While Sen. Bob Menendez (D) is standing trial for bribery, reports are surfacing from New Jersey that he is also having petitions circulated to enter the 2024 Senate race as an Independent.


Earlier, Menendez announced that he would not compete in the Democratic primary.


It is likely that the Senator will file as an Independent not because he believes he can win from that ballot line, but because his status as a candidate would allow him to use his substantial campaign funds to pay his legal expenses. His cash-on-hand figure was just under $3.6 million on March 31.


TX-12: Runoff to Succeed Rep. Granger


Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-Ft. Worth) is retiring after serving what will be 14 terms in the House. The remaining Republican candidates vying to replace her are state Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Ft. Worth) and real estate developer John O’Shea.


Goldman placed first in the original election with 44.4% of the vote, just 5.6% short of winning outright. Some conservatives have lined up behind O’Shea, but Goldman’s closeness to winning the first election, as well as support from the Texas Republican establishment, including that of Gov. Greg Abbott, will likely carry him to victory tonight.


TX-23:  Rep. Gonzales Likely to Prevail Tonight

Two-term Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio) was forced into a runoff against firearm manufacturer Brandon Herrera. This race has turned nasty, with Gonzales attacking Herrera as a “neo-Nazi,” and the latter man hitting the Congressman on a series of his votes that make him less acceptable to the conservative base voter. 


Gonzales placed first in the original election with 45.1% of the vote as compared to Herrera’s 24.6%. Though an incumbent being forced to a runoff generally plays poorly for the officeholder in the secondary election, the fact that Gonzales came close to the 50% threshold suggests that he is still the favorite heading into tonight’s vote counting.

TX-28:  Republican Runoff to Decide Who Will Face Rep. Cuellar


Originally, it appeared that the 28th District Republican runoff would be a non-event since the victor would become a severe underdog to incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) in the November election.


With the Congressman’s subsequent indictment, and now even more adverse publicity coming to the forefront surrounding his activities and associates, the general election here is likely to become much more competitive. 


The two GOP runoff participants are retired Navy officer Jay Furman and rancher Lazaro Garza. The former man placed first in the March 5 Republican primary with 44.7%, compared to the latter candidate’s 27.1%. Again, we see a first-place candidate coming close to majority support who should be viewed as the favorite tonight.


The general election will largely become a referendum on Rep. Cuellar and whether he can convince a majority of the November electorate to again send him back to Congress for another term despite the bribery charges the federal authorities have brought forth against him.


It remains to be seen just how much support the national Republican apparatus will devote to trying to win this seat, a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+7. 

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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