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State by State

Florida

Democrat Christine Jennings’s drawn-out challenge to Rep. Vern Buchanan’s (R) 2006 win might be costing her with voters, according to a poll conducted for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

The Public Opinion Strategies poll, conducted March 5-6 among 400 likely voters, showed Buchanan leading Jennings 53-37 in a race that was decided by one-fifth of 1 percent just 14 months ago. Since then, Jennings alleged voting machine malfunctions and unsuccessfully contested the result in state courts and in the House.

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The House finally struck down the challenge last month.
Buchanan’s approval and favorable ratings are positive at 51-20 and 45-25, respectively. Jennings’s favorable is 29 percent, while her unfavorable is 38 percent.

“Christine Jennings is perceived to be a sore loser, and her negative image has driven her vote down,” pollster Glen Bolger said. “It’s going to be very difficult for her to turn her sour image around.”

Jennings’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. She was added Wednesday to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) Red to Blue program for top House challengers.
DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell said the polling means little.

“This is the same firm that had former Reps. J.D. Hayworth [Ariz.] and Curt Weldon [Pa.] up 14 points and 19 points, respectively, just two months before the 2006 election,” Thornell said. “The only thing this survey proves is that the NRCC is nervous enough to spend [its] limited resources on an insignificant poll.”
–— Aaron Blake


Illinois

State Rep. Aaron Schock, the GOP nominee for retiring Rep. Ray LaHood’s (R) seat, on Wednesday sought to put some distance between his candidacy and that of losing special election candidate Jim Oberweis (R).

In an interview with The Hill, Schock conceded a tough situation for the GOP in the state but also noted he has won four elections in recent years, while Oberweis has lost four.

Oberweis fell to Democrat Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterWorking together to effectively address patient identification during COVID-19 Britain to infect healthy individuals with coronavirus for vaccine trials Pelosi, Mnuchin continue COVID-19 talks amid dwindling odds for deal MORE on Saturday in a conservative-leaning district vacated by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R). Despite losing two Senate races, one governor race and now the special election, he remains the Republican nominee in the general election.

“Anybody in Illinois who knows Jim Oberweis knows that was not a referendum on the Republican Party; it was a referendum on Jim Oberweis,” Schock said. “The Republicans didn’t lose that race; Jim Oberweis lost that race.
“The people that knew him best, liked him least.”

Schock got an opponent this week in broadcaster Colleen Callahan, who was selected by local Democratic county chairmen after the party’s initial choice in the race, former basketball coach Dick Versace, backed out.
–— A.B.


Michigan

Could “Dr. Death” assist in the demise of Democrat Gary Peters’s campaign?

Voters might soon find out, as Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the assisted-suicide doctor who was released from prison last year, told the Oakland Press that he will run for Rep. Joe Knollenberg’s (R) seat as an Independent.

It’s not clear whom Kevorkian might take his voters from — Knollenberg or Peters — but Democrats are traditionally thought of as more accepting of assisted suicide, and an independent candidacy usually dilutes the challenger field.

A Gallup poll conducted in May 2007, around the time of Kevorkian’s release, showed 77 percent of Democrats approve of assisted suicide for incurable patients if the patient and their families ask for it, while 64 percent of Republicans agreed.

Kevorkian, who has said he helped kill 130 people, will need to gather 3,000 signatures to make the ballot. Skeptics note his age, 79, and that he is in failing health.

The Constitution does not prohibit felons from running for the House.

The race is a top Democratic target, and Peters was named to the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program on Wednesday.
–— A.B.


Mississippi

A trio of crowded primaries will require another three weeks to sort out after Tuesday’s voting in the Magnolia State, and new congressmen in the 1st and 3rd districts will almost surely emerge from two of them.

Former state Sen. Charlie Ross and attorney Gregg Harper will battle in the GOP primary in retiring Rep. Chip Pickering’s (R) district after defeating the presumed front-runner in the race, businessman David Landrum. Ross took 33 percent to Harper’s 28 percent, while Landrum was third with 26 percent.

The winner will face Democratic nominee Joel Gill in what is expected to be a safe GOP seat.
In Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerDespite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Republicans start turning the page on Trump era MORE’s (R) former House seat, former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough and Southaven Mayor Greg Davis will have the head-to-head match-up they have been girding for. McCullough finished first with 39 percent, while Davis took 37. Ophthalmologist Randy Russell took 24 percent.

The winner will face either Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers or state Rep. Steve Holland, who took 41 and 31 percent in a five-person Democratic primary.

The runoffs are set for April 1, with the special general election for Wicker’s seat on April 22.
–— A.B.

Indiana

Rep.-elect Andre Carson (D) will be sworn in as the newest member of Congress on Thursday after winning Tuesday’s special election to replace his grandmother, the late Rep. Julia Carson (D).

Carson defeated state Rep. Jon Elrod (R) 54-43 in a race that was not seriously contested on the GOP side. The national Democratic Party spent about $260,000 on the race, while the Republicans spent nothing and saw their candidate severely out-raised.

Carson will face a tough primary in less than two months, however, as a pair of state House members and a former state health commissioner fired up their campaigns before the special election.

State Rep. David Orentlicher officially launched his campaign Wednesday alongside Martin Luther King Jr.’s nephew, Derek King, while former health commissioner Woody Myers was set to launch television advertisements.

State Rep. Carolene Mays will also pose a tough challenge to the newest congressman.
–— A.B.