October 25, 2021

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Why the mayor’s race in this small city always attracts big-name attention


The mayor’s post can also be a springboard to higher office, particularly given the dearth of statewide elected positions in New Hampshire (only the governor and U.S. senators are elected by the entire state). Republican Frank Guinta, for example, served as mayor in the late 2000s, then went on to represent the 1st Congressional District for two nonconsecutive terms. Guinta’s successor as mayor, fellow Republican Ted Gatsas, won a seat on the powerful state Executive Council in 2018, a year after his loss to Craig.

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Craig herself has been talked about as a potential statewide or congressional contender ever since her victory over Gatsas ended 14 years of GOP control over the Queen City (yet another disappointing nickname). There’s once again chatter about Craig running for governor in 2022, but she first needs to win re-election this fall. If history is a guide, though, she’s in good shape: In both 2017 and 2019, her vote share in the primary was almost identical to what she took in the general election. In addition, Biden carried the city 56-42 last year.

Redistricting

IN Redistricting: Republicans maps to redraw Indiana’s congressional and state House districts advanced out of a House committee on a party line vote on Monday, making some minor changes to drafts that were released last week. In addition, on Wednesday, the full House voted to incorporate a newly released Senate map into its redistricting package, with a full floor vote on all three expected Thursday. The maps, all three of which would lock in Republican gerrymanders, will then go before the Senate, which said it expects to wrap up consideration around Oct. 1.

Senate

CO-Sen: Here’s yet another internal poll that tells us very little about an election but is useful for fundraising purposes: Republican Eli Bremer, a former Olympian and Air Force vet, released a survey of next year’s Senate race from co/efficient that shows Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet leading him 40-32. That means 28% of voters—almost as many as pick Bremer—aren’t choosing one of the named candidates. Where will they end up? Who can say, based on fragmentary data like this. But Bremer’s pollster says that his client “is within striking distance” of Bennet (whatever that may mean), which is good enough to stick in a fundraising email or repeat during call time with donors.

NC-Sen: Former Rep. George Holding, who didn’t rule out a bid for Senate when he announced his retirement from the House back in 2019, has now done just that by endorsing Rep. Ted Budd in the GOP primary for retiring Sen. Richard Burr’s seat.

Governors

NJ-Gov: A new poll from Monmouth University finds Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy with a 51-38 lead on former Republican Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, little changed from his 52-36 advantage last month. A recent Ciattarelli internal had Murphy up just 45-42, but outside GOP groups have not swooped in with the kind of spending you’d expect if this race were competitive.

OR-Gov: At the end of an interview about the ongoing battle over redistricting underway in Oregon, state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, the top Republican in the chamber, declined to rule out a bid for governor when directly asked. Given the context, though, Drazan may simply have been disinclined to give an inch to her chief adversary, House Speaker Tina Kotek, who is running for governor.

RI-Gov: Former Secretary of State Matt Brown entered the busy Democratic primary for governor on Wednesday as part of a slate of progressive candidates running under the umbrella of a group called the Rhode Island Political Cooperative. The organization, which Brown helped found in 2019, enjoyed great success last year, when it helped oust eight conservative Democrats in the legislature.

Brown, however, has not done well at the ballot box since ousting incumbent Secretary of State Edward Inman in the Democratic primary in 2002 at the age of 32. He dropped out of the 2006 race for Senate amid a campaign finance scandal, then, after a long absence from the Rhode Island political scene, challenged then-Gov. Gina Raimondo in 2018, losing the primary 57-34.

VA-Gov: A new poll from the University of Mary Washington is the first independent survey to find Republican Glenn Youngkin leading Democrat Terry McAuliffe, in this case by a 48-43 margin among likely voters. However, among registered votes, McAuliffe is ahead 43-38—an unusually large 10-point swing between the two voter screens, with all of the movement limited entirely to the Republican side. The only other poll to show Youngkin up was his own internal earlier this month that gave him a narrower 48-46 lead.

Meanwhile, the battle on the airwaves continues with new spots from both candidates, both of which feature women who were shooting victims. McAuliffe’s latest ad stars Lisette Johnson, whose husband shot her four times in front of their daughter in 2005. She castigates Youngkin for opposing “laws to stop domestic abusers from buying guns, even when they’ve threatened the lives of their family,” adding, “My kids and I still bear those scars today.”

Youngkin’s minute-long ad, meanwhile, is narrated by former Richmond police officer Cheryl Nici, who was shot in the head by a man wanted for killing three others in 1984. “I spent years trying to heal those emotional and physical wounds,” says Nici. “Every few years I have to rip those wounds open again to plead with the members of Terry McAuliffe’s parole board to keep the man who tried to kill me off the streets.” As the Washington Post notes, though, Nici’s attacker was denied parole in no uncertain terms three times over the last decade.

House

MN-02: Former Republican Rep. John Kline, who represented Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District from 2003 to 2017, has endorsed Marine veteran Tyler Kistner’s second campaign against Democratic Rep. Angie Craig. Kistner so far is the only Republican in the race, though state Sen. Eric Pratt recently said he was considering a bid and would decide next month.

NM-02: Democratic state Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill, who’d been considering a bid against Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, announced this week that she would not run.

Mayors

Austin, TX Mayor: State Rep. Celia Israel announced Wednesday that she was forming an exploratory committee for a potential 2022 campaign to succeed her fellow Democrat, termed-out Mayor Steve Adler, and would not seek re-election to the legislature. Former state Sen. Kirk Watson, who previously served as mayor of Austin from 1997 to 2001, and City Council Member Kathie Tovo have also expressed interest in campaigning to lead a fast-growing city that’s long been a bastion of progressivism in a conservative-dominated state.

Buffalo, NY Mayor: The Republican pollster co/efficient has released a survey of the November general election that it says was not done on behalf of any candidate or allied committee, and it finds Mayor Byron Brown, who is running as a write-in candidate, leading Democrat India Walton 59-28. Write-in campaigns are usually very challenging to poll, and there’s one added complication here. This two-day survey began on Sept. 16, the day that a pair of courts ruled that Brown could not be listed on the ballot as an independent.





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