Election News

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján to Run for Senate; 5th 2020 House Retirement

April 2, 2019

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján announced Monday (video) that he will run for U.S. Senate in 2020. The seat is being vacated by fellow Democratic Sen. Tom Udall, who is retiring.  Luján will seek to replicate the 2008 election, where he won his current job as then Rep. Udall departed to seek the U.S. Senate seat.

Luján is the 4th ranking Democrat in the U.S. House.  His safely Democratic 3rd district covers much of the northern half of the state. Luján won a 6th term by 32% last November, while Hillary Clinton won here by 15% over Donald Trump in 2016.

Five current House members have indicated they won't seek reelection in 2020. In Alabama, GOP Rep. Bradley Byrne is looking to challenge Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Rob Woodall (R, GA-7), Jose Serrano (D, NY-15), and Rob Bishop (R, UT-1) are retiring. Aside from GA-7 - which gave us 2018's closest congressional race - all these seats appear safe for the incumbent party.

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall Won't Run for Reelection in 2020

March 25, 2019

Democratic New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall said Monday he will not seek a third term. He laid out the reasons via a message on Medium. Udall joins Republicans Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Pat Roberts of Kansas in announcing a 2020 retirement from the Senate. 

The seat is likely to stay in Democratic hands, particularly as it is being contested in a presidential election year. New Mexico has become increasingly Democratic in statewide races in recent years. The last GOP Senate victory was in 2002, when Pete Domenici won a 6th term.  Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham won by double digit margins in 2018, while Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by about 8% in 2016.

Joe Biden Tells Key Supporters He Plans 2020 Presidential Campaign

March 19, 2019

Joe Biden is reaching out to supporters with the news that he intends to run for president, according to The Wall Street Journal. Biden is asking for help in lining up contributions from major donors, which would enable him to announce a large fundraising haul shortly after he officially launches his campaign.

The former vice president, along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have separated themselves from the field in most early polling. These are also the two most well-known Democrats in the large group of 2020 hopefuls; this likely explains some of the gap.

Gillibrand Officially Launches 2020 Campaign

March 17, 2019

Kirsten Gillibrand released a video Sunday in which she officially joined the 2020 presidential race. The New York Senator had launched an exploratory committee back in January. She has several events lined up in the days ahead, culminating in a rally next Sunday outside Trump Tower in New York City.

Gillibrand has not yet gained much traction in the crowded Democratic field.  Polling thus far has seen her receive 1% or less support in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Beto O'Rourke Enters Presidential Race

March 14, 2019

Beto O'Rourke, who raised his national profile during a 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate, will enter the 2020 presidential race

The video announcement coincided with the release of a cover story about O'Rourke in the April issue of Vanity Fair

The 46 year old Texan served three terms in the U.S. House, representing the El Paso area 16th congressional district. He ran for U.S. Senate against incumbent Ted Cruz in 2018.  His campaign - and narrow loss to a Senator deeply disliked by Democrats (and even some Republicans) - made O'Rourke a celebrity in progressive circles.

O'Rourke joins a crowded 2020 field of 15 Democrats. In a recent national poll, he received 6% support, almost identical to the 5% who chose him in a poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers.  By comparison, Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders - both household names - received about 25% each. 

Biden, Sanders Well Ahead of Field in Iowa Caucus Poll

March 10, 2019

A new poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers finds Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders well ahead in a large Democratic field. The former vice-president receives 27% support, essentially tied with the 25% garnered by the Vermont Senator. While eleven others had measurable support, none received more than 10%.

It is not surprising to see Biden and Sanders as frontrunners. This far out - the caucus is February 3, 2020 - name recognition goes a long way in a poll. That these two are running neck-and-neck is also interesting, as the two represent different wings of the Democratic party that will eventually need to settle on a single nominee that can effectively take on President Trump.  Sanders, who challenged eventual nominee Hillary Clinton from the left in 2016, has seen the party move in his direction during the Trump administration.  Biden is seen as more centrist - 70% of poll respondents said his political views are "about right", not too conservative or liberal.

Biden has still not announced if he will pursue the presidency in 2020. We should know his decision in the next few weeks. The race takes on a whole new dynamic if he passes, as it is unclear if a single candidate would pick up the bulk of that centrist support, or if it would fragment among others, including former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (if he runs) and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown Decides Against 2020 Run

March 7, 2019

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown announced Thursday that he will not pursue the Democratic nomination in 2020.  His decision followed a recently completed 'Dignity of Work' tour of several states that have early primary and caucus dates.

Brown is the fifth Democrat to take a pass on 2020 in recent days.  The others are 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

 

 

Michael Bloomberg Won't Run for President in 2020

March 5, 2019

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that he will not be a candidate for president in 2020. Despite his immense personal wealth, the pro-business Bloomberg would have faced an uphill battle to win the nomination in an increasingly progressive Democratic Party. He published an op-ed discussing his decision, as well as a number of initiatives he will pursue, including one called Beyond Carbon.

Bloomberg is also expected to focus his efforts on stopping Donald Trump from winning a second term.  It was reported earlier this year that he is building a data-driven political organization to achieve that goal, which was to be active regardless of whether or not he entered the race.  

This week has seen three other Democrats announcing their decision not to run. This includes the party's 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, as well as former Attorney General Eric Holder.

Clinton, Merkley Pass on 2020 Presidential Race

March 5, 2019

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley both said they will not run for president in 2020.  Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee, had not been expected to run but this is the first time she has said that on camera. The statement came during an interview with News 12 of Long Island.

Separately, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley released a video announcing he will seek a third term in 2020 rather than pursue a long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination. Under Oregon law, he could not be on the ballot for both offices.

There are 12 Democrats in the 2020 field, including six of Merkley's Senate colleagues. Another 12 prospective candidates have yet to make their plans known. The list includes several high-profile names, led by former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Biden's drawn-out process for making a 2020 decision, while strategically smart for him, is affecting the timing and prospects of a number of other potential candidacies.

Dates Set for Two North Carolina Congressional Special Elections

March 4, 2019

9th District: The North Carolina Board of Elections has set September 10th as the date for a special election to fill the vacancy in the state's 9th congressional district.  The seat has been vacant since the beginning of the 116th Congress in January. An apparent narrow GOP win in the midterm elections was not certified due to election fraud. 

There will not be a rematch of the November race. While Democrat Dan McCready will seek his party's nomination to try again, Republican Mark Harris will not run. The primaries will be held on May 14th. If a second primary is required*, it will take place on September 10th, with the general election pushed to November 5th.

3rd District: This district became open in February, when Rep. Walter Jones (R) passed away. Gov. Roy Cooper has set July 9th as the special election date. A primary will be held on April 30th. If a second primary is required, it will take place on July 9th, and the general election will take place on September 10th.

There is a third congressional vacancy, in Pennsylvania's 12th district. Rep. Tom Marino (R) resigned in January. A special election will be held May 21st.

In terms of competitiveness, NC-3 and PA-12 are very likely to stay under GOP control. NC-9 is a toss-up.

* Per North Carolina law, a second primary (runoff) is held when no candidate receives 30% of the vote in the regular primary.