November 2, 2022

It is rare, but Trump finally got something right. Resisting his narcissistic and egotistic impulses, the ex-president understood that out-of-sight is out-of-mind. He did not announce his 2024 presidential candidacy before the Nov. 8 election.

That would have been disastrous for Republican candidates, making 2022 “step one” in a 2024 choice between Biden and Trump. With Mar-A-Lago and “classified” documents out of the news until after Thanksgiving, and Trump pretty much not making a peep, the mid-terms are now a referendum on Biden’s half-term, and Republicans are peaking.

Except of course in Illinois and around Cook County, where Republicans can’t differentiate a mountain peak from an anthill. The phrase “peaking” describes a political art whereby a candidate musters his/her resources, sort of like a military battle, and then deploys money, manpower and advertising 14-21 days before the election. Timing is crucial.

The goal is to develop momentum and gin up the voter base by showcasing a fresh message which drowns out the opposition’s stale message, in this case abortion, Trump and Jan. 6. The Democrats peaked-out between June 24 (the Dobbs decision) and Oct. 1. They are now eclipsed by the pre-Dobbs issues – inflation, gas prices, wealth (stock, 401k and IRA) shrinkage, crime and immigration – which have gotten much worse and less tolerable in the past month.

ILLINOIS: In politics a do-over is different from a make over. A bad haircut can get a do-over. A bad heart surgery cannot get a do-over. Darren Bailey (R) cannot be done-over by a make over. He is way too “Trumpish” and too much of a country bumpkin for IL voters north of I-80, which is the entire Chicago metro area.

He is going to lose big for governor to J.B. Pritzker (D), probably by more than the 713,495 votes by which Bruce Rauner (R) lost in 2018. That was a 54.3-38.8 spread in a 4,547,042 turnout. Politics is fluid and nothing lasts forever. I can remember all the media talking-heads in 2008 swooning about an “Obama Era” of Democratic dominance which would last for a generation or more. It lasted 8 years. It gave us Trump. It will take IL Republicans a decade to re-brand after the Trump Era.

Recent polls make Republicans wish for a primary do-over. Bailey is down 50-41 in an Oct. 24 Emerson poll, down 56-39 in an Oct. 26 Civiqs poll, and down 46-34 in an Oct. 11 PPP poll. Those numbers haven’t moved in 4 months. Bailey is proving to be a double-anchor.

9TH COUNTY BOARD DISTRICT: Matt Podgorski (R) is lugging that tonnage in his bid to win Pete Silvestri’s (R) open board seat. The Democrat is Maggie Trevor, a 2-time loser for state rep from Rolling Meadows. “It’s all about abortion, abortion, abortion,” said Podgorski. “Every direct mailer and digital impression claims Republicans are going to ban all abortions.”

That’s not true. Abortion-on-demand through and at the moment of birth was legalized by state statute in June 2019. Federal law mandates private insurers provide abortion coverage in private hospitals. And the board is 15D-2R, so Podgorski’s election will change nothing. Nor will Trevor’s, but she will be a rubberstamp for board president Toni Preckwinkle.

But a Bailey bust-out will change everything. Podgorski’s polling shows Pritzker up by 12 points in the district, at 55-43 and him up 51-49 with undecided allocated. That means to win, Podgorski must run eight points ahead of Bailey and Trevor must lag six points behind Pritzker.
The 9th District was remapped by the board in 2021 to be more suburban, extending to Palatine and including the west suburbs south of O’Hare, plus Park Ridge and Des Plaines for a total of 170 precincts, plus 43 41st and 38th ward precincts west of Nagle. But the suburbs are now a killing ground for Republicans.

To be sure, Pat O’Brien (R) trounced Kim Foxx (D) there by 35 points in 2020, and Silvestri won re-election by 4,772 votes in 2018, getting 51 percent. But Trump lost the district by 14 points in 2020.  That’s a spread of roughly 57-43. Rauner lost by 5 points in 2018, but he was a drag on Silvestri. He won by 18 points in 2014.

Trevor has been an anemic fund-raiser, having $6,234 cash-on-hand as of Sept. 30. But she got an influx of $182,508 from the county party (CCDP), which got it from Pritzker, and her October A-1 filings indicate she is on track to have six mailings, each with a household universe of 70,000 and certainly with a concentration on single-female voter homes. She looks to spend about $350,000.

Podgorski will spend about $150,000 and will have hree mailings, but his universe is a much-smaller 30,000, with a concentration on multiple-voter (family) households. Podgorski has been endorsed by a slew of local mayors and key trades unions. “I could lose,” said Podgorski.
There is a “red wave” building nationally, but it’s a “blue wave” in Illinois. Trevor is peaking at the right time while Podgorski has an anchor on his back. “It will be really close,” he said, with a win or loss by less than 1,000 votes. If he loses we’ll know why.

INDIANA 1ST DISTRICT: Can a onetime Black-influenced congressional district centered on Gary, and which is part of the Chicago Metro Area and media market, elect a conservative Black woman (R)?  Count on it.

There has been a notable in-migration of Illinoisans into the district, which consists of Lake (Gary-Hammond), Porter and LaPorte counties. The district is now 63 percent White. The state has no income tax, low property taxes, and inexpensive homes. Places like Valparaiso, Crown Point, Michigan City and Merrillville are booming. Obama got 61.2 percent in 2012 and Biden 53.6 in 2020.

The candidates are incumbent Frank Mrvan (D) and commercial pilot and Air Force veteran Jennifer-Ruth Green (R). In a major upset, Green wins.

GOVERNORS: Republicans hold a 28R-22D edge among the 50 governors and that will enlarge by a net 3-4 this year. New York is the harbinger. If Lee Zeldin (R) beats incumbent Kathy Hochul (D), and a Nov. 1 Trafalgar poll shows them tied. That means no Democrat except Pritzker and Gavin Newsom (CA) are safe.

There are eight toss-Up races (7D-1R) in OR, NV, MN, NM, KS, MI and WI, all Democratic-held, and one in AZ (R). All are within the margin-of-error, which is 3 percent. Gretchen Whitmer (MI), who wants to run for president in 2024 (as does Newsom) has remained at or near 50 percent, the benchmark for an incumbent governor. She is pounding the abortion issue, as is Joan Kelly (KS), but a Nov. 1 Insider Advantage poll showed Whitmer tied.  Something is happening.

Pro-choice Democrats are doing likewise in CT, ME and the open PA seat, where a Trump-backed, Bailey-like nominee (R) is floundering just like Bailey, barely able to crack 40 percent. Democrats will win open statehouses (R) in MD and MA. But Republicans are peaking in WI, NV, NM, MN and OR.

The Republicans’ Big Three MUST WIN races are their incumbents in TX (Greg Abbott), FL (Ron DeSantis) and GA (Brian Kemp), a much-despised trio constantly heaped with scorn and abuse by the Left and news media.

All of them defied CDC wisdom on COVID,  avoiding business shutdowns and school closures. All enacted reasonable ballot-access laws and reasonable abortion restrictions.  All are running against the Left’s champions – Beto O’Rourke, Charlie Crist and Stacey Abrams, none of whom have been able to crack 43-45 percent all year. All three governors will win by 500-700,000 votes.

And all are proof that a Republican can govern – to coin a phrase here – “extremely effectively.”

U.S. SENATE: It’s 50-50 with 35 seats up on Nov. 8 – 21R and 14D. So Republicans start in a hole, but 12 seats (6R, 6D) are deemed “in play” and 3 are deemed Pure Toss-Ups  (NV, GA, PA), meaning polling has been consistently within the margin-of-error for the past month. It was originally thought that Republicans’ choice of Trump-endorsed nominees like Mehmet Oz (PA), J.D. Vance (OH), Ted Budd (NC), Don Buldoc (NH), Herschel Walker (GA) and Blake Masters (AZ) would be an anchor and give rise to candidate-quality concerns. But with Trump out-of-sight, Biden’s job-approval mired in the low 40s and economy/crime now uppermost, all are peaking at the right time, as are Adam Laxalt (NV) and Tiffany Smiley (WA).

Smiley is running against Washington state institution Patty Murray, a 30-year senator who wants Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) leadership job. Smiley is down by only 5 points. The Georgia race is so tight that a January runoff is likely (as in 2021), Buldoc is fading and CO (D) looks safe.

Republican incumbents in WI, IA and FL have opened leads, polling over 50 percent, with Marco Rubio (R-FL) up 9 points over Val Demings (D). Going into September the expectation was that Democrats would gain PA, hold GA and AZ, and lose NV. It would remain 50-50. But Republicans now have a realistic shot at 54-55 seats. That’s called master peaking.

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