But Republicans, who retook both chambers of the state legislature in 2020, were determined to upend that tradition with a radical redraw. Their plan would have had the 2nd District entirely envelop the 1st by running it along the state’s entire border with Vermont and then Maine until it touched the Atlantic Ocean. It also would have shifted hundreds of thousands of residents, all in an effort to target Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas by making the 1st District considerably redder.
Surprisingly, Pappas was spared that fate by Gov. Chris Sununu, who in March threatened to veto the map passed by his fellow Republicans because, he said, he didn’t want to "concede" the 2nd District, which would have become correspondingly bluer. What followed were several more maps from legislators, all of which sought to gerrymander the 1st in various ways, all of which were shot down by the governor.
That lengthy impasse resulted in the Supreme Court taking over the redistricting process, and as courts often do in such situations, the justices sought to alter as little as necessary to restore population equality between the state’s two districts. But even though the presidential toplines in the 1st remain unchanged—it would still have gone 52-46 for Joe Biden, according to Dave’s Redistricting App—Pappas will nonetheless face a challenging re-election campaign. And if Sununu is right, Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster, whose 2nd District remains a 54-45 Biden seat, could see a competitive race as well.
● OH Redistricting: Just two days after the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the fifth set of legislative maps passed by the state’s Republican-dominated redistricting commission for violating the state constitution, a three-judge federal court ordered those very same maps be used for this year’s elections.
Those maps were identical to the commission’s third batch, which the state Supreme Court ruled in March were illegal partisan gerrymanders designed to benefit the GOP. However, two Trump appointees on the federal panel hijacked the redistricting process the next month, saying that if the state failed to adopt valid districts by May 28, it would implement the third set of maps. That majority relied on the threadbare justification that Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who himself served on the commission that voted to adopt the maps, had told local election officials to prepare to use them before the justices had a chance to rule on their validity.
One dissenting judge, Algenon Marbley, warned at the time that his colleagues’ ruling would simply allow the GOP to run out the clock: Even though the Supreme Court had ordered the commission to draw a fifth set of maps (a fourth had already been ruled unconstitutional as well), Republicans had only to sit on their hands until the May 28 deadline to get their preferred districts. In fact, the commission ignored the Supreme Court’s order to try again and merely re-passed the third batch of maps—the ones the federal court said they’d implement in the absence of any others.
Though the federal court said that these gerrymandered maps will only be used for 2022, GOP delay tactics will likely succeed in yet another way: Control of the state Supreme Court is up for grabs in November, and the final result could easily yield a majority that would side with the GOP in any future disputes. The court’s redistricting rulings this year have all been on a 4-3 basis with GOP Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor joining the court’s three Democrats, but O’Connor is barred from seeking another term this fall.
The outcome represents a predictable—indeed, predicted—demolition of the rule of law. One reason for this failure is the text of the constitutional amendment Ohio voters approved in 2015 reforming legislative redistricting, since it expressly forbids state courts from implementing their own maps, regardless of the intransigence of elected leaders. But that intransigence, on the part of Republican officials, is the true problem, both in Ohio and across the country.
● GA-Sen: The GOP group One Nation, which recently said it would spend $17 million trying to defeat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock this fall, just went up with its first ad, a spot attacking the senator on inflation.
● WI-Sen: Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry has released an internal poll from Normington Petts showing him trailing Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes just 34-31 in the Democratic primary, with state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski at 18%. The memo also features trendlines that include their prior February poll and two previously unreleased surveys dating back to last August that show Lasry gaining on Barnes, with the most recent showing the lieutenant governor up 35-27 in February.
● AZ-Gov: Former state Rep. Aaron Lieberman has abandoned his bid for the Democratic nomination in the race for Arizona governor, acknowledging he lacked "a realistic path forward." Last month, Lieberman put $500,000 into TV ads decrying state politics as a "dumpster fire" but managed to superimpose his own logo over the image of a burning dumpster. The spending blitz didn’t help, as recent polls showed him badly trailing the frontrunner, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Former Nogales Mayor Marco López remains in the contest.
● CT-Gov: In its first poll of its home-state gubernatorial race this year, Quinnipiac University finds Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont leading businessman Bob Stefanowski, the presumptive Republican nominee, by a 51-43 margin. In 2018, Lamont fended off Stefanowski 49-46.
● IL-Gov: Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has publicized an internal poll from the polling firm 1892 of Illinois’ Republican primary for governor that shows him leading state Sen. Darren Bailey 31-25, with venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan at 11, businessman Gary Rabine at 8, two other candidates in the low single digits, and 22% of voters undecided. Democrats have been meddling in the GOP contest in an effort to boost the more extreme Bailey past Irvin.
● ME-Gov: A new survey for the AARP, conducted by Democratic pollster Impact Research and Republican pollster Fabrizio Ward, finds Democratic Gov. Janet Mills leading her likely GOP opponent, former Gov. Paul LePage, 51-46. The poll also included a test of the race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, but its sample size of 237 falls below the minimum of 300 Daily Kos Elections requires in order to report on polls.
● MI-Gov: Polling the Republican primary on behalf of MIR News, local firm Target Insyght finds Allendale Township planning commissioner Ryan Kelley surging from obscurity to a 19-15 lead over businessman Kevin Rinke, while right-wing radio host Tudor Dixon takes 9%, chiropractor Garrett Soldano earns 6%, and no other candidate tops 1%. This is the first survey from anyone since state officials disqualified several of the Republicans running for governor last week after deeming thousands of their voter petition signatures fraudulent, disqualifications that included self-funding businessman Perry Johnson and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who had previously led in every poll.
Kelley, a Big Lie proponent whom we previously hadn’t mentioned before the disqualifications shook up the race, was present at the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Kelley has never held elected office, but he gained prominence organizing rallies protesting COVID-19 restrictions and calling for the arrest of Democratic officials such as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, rallies that regularly included far-right paramilitary groups in attendance with Kelley’s support.
However, the matter of the disqualifications isn’t completely settled. Both Craig and Johnson announced late last week that they would go to court to get onto the ballot, arguing that they were the victims of fraud perpetrated by paid signature gatherers their campaigns had hired.
● NY-Gov: Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul continues to dominate in fundraising: From Jan. 15 to May 23, the incumbent brought in $10.3 million and had $18.6 million in the bank ahead of New York’s June 28 statewide primary despite spending $13.1 million during that time. By contrast, Rep. Tom Suozzi raised $3.8 million and had $2.7 million left over after shelling out $6.4 million. The third prominent candidate in the race, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, took in just $250,000, spent $308,000, and had $131,000 in cash-on-hand.
The Republican field has been dominated financially by businessman Harry Wilson, who self-funded $10 million (plus raised $1.9 million from donors) and spent $7.7 million, leaving him with $4.2 million, though presumably there’s more where that came from. Rep. Lee Zeldin, who has the state GOP’s endorsement, managed to spend $5.7 million after collecting $3.2 million in donations; he had $3.1 million in his campaign account. Two other notable contenders, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and former Trump aide Andrew Giuliani, raised six-figure sums.
● CA-22: The Congressional Leadership Fund has now spent more than $470,000 to boost Republican Rep. David Valadao ahead of California’s June 7 top-two primary, despite the fact that his two GOP rivals are both badly underfunded. The effort includes at least $170,000 on TV behind a spot touting Valadao as the answer to high gas prices (and framing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom as the bogeyman). CLF’s counterpart on the Democratic side has likewise spent $260,000 promoting Assemblyman Rudy Salas, the only Democrat in the race. Almost half of the redrawn 22nd District is new to Valadao, who was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump. Uniquely, though, Trump did not endorse a challenger.
● GA-02: Businessman Wayne Johnson, who took third in the GOP primary last week with 19%, has endorsed Air Force veteran Chris West over Army veteran Jeremy Hunt in the June 21 runoff. Also backing West are perennial candidate Vivian Childs and teacher Paul Whitehead, who together had won another 10% in the initial primary, where Hunt led West 37-30.
● NC-11: Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who is the Democratic nominee, has publicized a poll from Survey 160 that shows Republican state Sen. Chuck Edwards with a modest 46-40 lead while Libertarian David Coatney takes 6%. This is the first poll we’ve seen here since Edwards defeated far-right Rep. Madison Cawthorn in an upset in the mid-May primary.
● NH-01: Republican Russell Prescott, who had previously served on New Hampshire’s five-member Executive Council and in the state Senate, has kicked off his campaign for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas.
● NH-02: Keene Mayor George Hansel, a businessman who leads a town of 23,000 people, has announced he’s running in the September Republican primary, and GOP Gov. Chris Sununu endorsed Hansel at his launch event.
● NY-10: New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon are the latest Democrats to join the increasingly crowded primary for this lower Manhattan and western Brooklyn seat, which includes former Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rockland County Rep. Mondaire Jones, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, and former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman.
● NY-11: Former Rep. Max Rose announced on Tuesday that he’s continuing his comeback bid in New York’s 11th Congressional District, despite the fact that the state’s new court-drawn map returned the district to a configuration that would have favored Donald Trump.
Under the plan approved by Democrats in February, the 11th would have incorporated liberal Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope, meaning Joe Biden would have carried it 54-45. The court-imposed map, by contrast, reunites Staten Island with the more conservative Bensonhurst area in southern Brooklyn; as a result, Trump would have won the district 53-46, much closer to his 55-44 margin under the old lines.
Rose unseated Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in 2018 in the prior version of the 11th thanks to that year’s blue wave, but he lost to Republican Nicole Malliotakis two years later. Before he can square off against Malliotakis again, though, Rose first faces a primary with Army veteran Brittany Ramos DeBarros, who is running to his left.
● NY-12: Community organizer Rana Abdelhamid has dropped her bid for Congress after the state’s new court-imposed map removed her Queens base from New York’s 12th Congressional District and imposed a Manhattan-only district incorporating the Upper East and West sides for the first time in more than a century. Abdelhamid’s decision leaves three candidates in the Democratic primary: Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, and attorney Suraj Patel, who tried to unseat Maloney in 2018 and 2020.
● OR-05: Just before the holiday weekend, the AP called the Democratic primary for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District for challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who defeated Rep. Kurt Schrader by running to his left. Due to a ballot printing error in Clackamas County that’s necessitated a slow manual copying of voter entries onto new ballots, the final results of the May 17 primary are not yet known, but McLeod-Skinner led Schrader 55-45 as of Tuesday afternoon. She’ll face former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who defeated businessman Jimmy Crumpacker 43-29 for the GOP nomination
● SC-01: Winning for Women, a PAC that supports first-term Rep. Nancy Mace, has publicized a Basswood Research poll of the June 14 Republican primary that shows Mace leading 44-24 over former state Rep. Katie Arrington, who has Donald Trump’s endorsement and was the 2018 nominee here. A runoff would take place on June 28 if no candidate wins a majority in the initial primary.
● VT-AL: Right at the filing deadline, state Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale dropped out of the Democratic primary for Vermont’s open at-large congressional seat and endorsed a fellow state senator, Becca Balint. That by and large sets up a head-to-head race with Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, though two little-known candidates are also seeking to succeed Democratic Rep. Peter Welch. Welch is the overwhelming favorite in the race for the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy. A full candidate listing can be found here.
● WY-AL: GOP firm WPA Intelligence has conducted a poll for the far-right Club for Growth that shows attorney Harriet Hageman crushing Rep. Liz Cheney 56-26 in the August Republican primary, while state Sen. Anthony Bouchard takes 12%. Trump previously endorsed Hageman as payback after Cheney voted to impeach him last year, though the Club has yet to formally join him in doing so. Candidate filing in Wyoming closed last Friday, and the full GOP field also includes Army veteran Denton Knapp and businesswoman Robyn Belinskey in addition to the three candidates included in the poll above.
● Where Are They Now?: Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has appointed former Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi to the New York state Court of Claims, where he’ll serve as a judge handling civil litigation against the state. Brindisi had announced last year that he would not seek to return to Congress in the 22nd District following his narrow defeat in 2020, and he showed no interest in running again even after redistricting made the redrawn 22nd significantly more Democratic than its Trump-backing predecessor.
Dollar amounts reflect the reported size of ad buys and may be larger.
- AL-Sen: Katie Britt (R)
- GA-Sen: Progress Action Fund (D) - anti-Herschel Walker (R), backed by a "six figure" buy on streaming TV services
- IL-Gov: J.B. Pritzker (D-inc) - anti-Richard Irvin (R)
- NM-Gov: Mark Ronchetti (R) - anti-Rebecca Dow (R)
- NY-Gov: Tom Suozzi (D) - anti-Kathy Hochul (D-inc)
- WI-Gov: Rebecca Kleefisch (R)
- WI-Gov: Tony Evers (D-inc) (here, here, here, here, and here)
- AL-05: Casey Wardynski (R) - anti-Dale Strong (R)
- IL-06: Sean Casten (D-inc)
- MI-11: Haley Stevens (D-inc), backed by $107,000
- MI-11: Andy Levin (D-inc), backed by $91,000
- SC-01: Katie Arrington (R) - anti-Nancy Mace (R-inc)
- TX-34 (special): Congressional Leadership Fund (R) - pro-Mayra Flores (R), backed by $173,000