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More on Redistricting

By Jim Ellis

Winners & losers in the redistricting tug of wars

Nov. 19, 2020 — In yesterday’s Update, we ended with the paragraph, “Considering the states that are losing and gaining seats, party control, and changing political trends, the Republicans are still likely to lose a small net number of seats in the transfer process despite holding the most redistricting power.”

This statement generated some questions about why the Republicans could lose seats in the apportionment transfer when they hold the balance of power in more states. Today, we delve deeper.

At this point, and remembering these are only estimates that could change when the actual apportionment formula produces the official number of seats that each state will possess, it appears ten seats will move from one state to others. Therefore, it is projected that Texas (3), Florida (2), Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon will gain districts, while Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia will lose a seat apiece. We will now explore each individually:


States That Lose

• Alabama – Even though Republicans have full control and a 6R-1D delegation, the Republicans will take the loss here. The Democratic district is a Voting Rights seat, so the loss will come from the GOP column even though they hold the redistricting pen.

• California – The lopsided California delegation, even with Republicans gaining one to three seats here when the votes are all finally counted, will likely yield the Democrats losing the district. California is a commission state that operates under strict guidelines. Therefore, the mathematics suggest, in what will potentially end as a 43D-10R delegation that the transfer seat loss will come from the Democratic column.

• Illinois – Though the state delegation features only five Republicans from a group of 18 members, the Democrats control the redistricting process here and 10 years ago produced the most lopsided of partisan gerrymanders. Expect them to figure a way for the Republicans to take the one seat loss.

• Michigan – The voters adopted a new redistricting commission, but the composition parameters look to favor the Democrats. Therefore, expect the 7D-7R delegation to recede by one Republican seat.

• Minnesota – This state features the only state legislature where each party controls one legislative chamber. Though this gives the Republicans a seat at the redistricting table, the population loss in the northern part of the state, where they have two seats, will likely result in the 4D-4R delegation lessening by one Republican seat.

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The Redistricting Prelude

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 18, 2020 — The Census Bureau continues to make progress in completing the decennial population count and it appears the national apportionment report, which details how many congressional seats each state’s population earns, will be delivered to Congress in early January. Because of COVID, the apportionment process has been slightly delayed since the report typically has a year-end deadline.

Once apportionment is known, states then begin receiving their updated data necessary for drawing new congressional and state legislative districts. The states with the earliest primaries are the first to receive their data so they have adequate time to prepare their new congressional and state legislative boundaries.

In terms of apportionment, it is expected that Texas may gain approximately three seats and Florida two. The other gaining states are likely to be Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. Those losing seats appear to be Alabama, California (for the first time in history), Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. These estimates are not always completely correct, so this list could change when the actual apportionment is applied and publicly released.

A total of 34 states will draw their new districts solely through the legislative process. The remaining multi-member states operate through a type of commission, either an independent body or one under political control. Seven states are at-large meaning their congressional race is statewide. Rhode Island joins this group in 2021 as it will lose its second seat, while Montana will likely regain the district that was lost in the 1991 reapportionment.

In the Nov. 3 election, Republicans saw a net gain in state legislative seats around the country. Only one state saw its legislative chambers flip, however, the New Hampshire House and Senate moving from Democrat to Republican. This means Republicans will control 61 legislative chambers as compared to the Democrats’ 37. The Nebraska unicameral legislature is elected on a non-partisan basis, but Republicans control that chamber as well.

Republicans will again have the advantage in the states where the legislatures and governors determine the new map boundaries. Democrats, largely under the National Democratic Redistricting Committee that former Attorney General Eric Holder leads, targeted 13 states to protect or gain legislative chambers. They failed in all, as Republicans kept their majorities in each state they previously controlled and flipped New Hampshire to their column.

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Sights on 2022: The 52 Percent Club

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 12, 2020 — The 2020 election isn’t officially even in the books yet, but we do have enough info to surmise who might be some of the most competitive early targets in the 2022 elections.

Looking at the non-incoming freshmen House members, we see 24 Democratic and four Republican districts where the incumbent recorded 52 percent of the vote and below. Such a re-election performance paints a target on these members in anticipation of the next campaign.

Redistricting, however, will be a wild card for many members and potential candidates, and some who found themselves locked in close 2020 contests could greatly benefit from a re-draw. Of the 24 Democrats in this category, 10 are located in states that are positioned to lose congressional representation, which could possibly make the affected districts even more vulnerable.

Conversely, three of these incumbents are in states projected to gain additional seats, thus likely making it easier for them to improve their political standing.

Only four veteran Republicans found themselves falling in the 52 percent or below group, and two of the four are from states that will lose congressional representation.

Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are expected to lose seats while look to gain one apiece. Texas could add as many as three to its delegation.

Below are the affected members who would become potential early 2022 cycle political targets:


DEMOCRATS

STATE-DISTRICT WINNER PERCENT
AZ-1 Tom O’Halleran (D) 51.7
IA-3 Rep. Cindy Axne (D) 49.0
IL-14 Rep. Lauren Underwood (D) 50.4
IL-17 Rep. Cheri Bustos (D) 51.9
MI-11 Rep. Haley Stevens (D) 50.2
MI-8 Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D) 50.9
MN-2 Rep. Angie Craig (D) 48.2
NH-1 Rep. Chris Pappas (D) 51.4
NJ-7 Rep. Tom Malinowski (D) 51.5
NV-3 Rep. Susie Lee (D) 49.2
NV-4 Rep. Steven Horsford (D) 50.8
NY-19 Rep Antonio Delgado (D) 50.3
NY-4 Rep. Kathleen Rice (D) 52.0
OR-4 Rep. Peter DeFazio (D) 51.7
OR-5 Rep. Kurt Schrader (D) 52.0
PA-17 Rep. Conor Lamb (D) 51.1
PA-8 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D) 51.7
PA-7 Rep. Susan Wild (D) 51.8
TX-7 Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D) 50.7
TX-32 Rep. Colin Allred (D) 51.9
VA-7 Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) 51.0
VA-2 Rep. Elaine Luria (D) 51.6
WA-8 Rep. Kim Schrier (D) 51.8
WI-3 Rep. Ron Kind (D) 51.5

GOP

STATE-DISTRICT WINNER PERCENT
MN-1 Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) 48.6
NE-2 Rep. Don Bacon (R) 50.9
OH-1 Rep. Steve Chabot (R) 51.9
MO-2 Rep. Ann Wagner (R) 52.0

Outstanding Races Update

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 9, 2020 — A few races were called over the weekend, while political overtime drags on for others.

Alaska senate race still undecided between physician and commercial fisherman, Democrat Al Gross (left), and first-term Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan.

The uncalled Senate races will likely remain in their current position throughout this week. Currently, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) holds a big lead over physician Al Gross (I/D), 62.3 – 32.1 percent, with a vote margin of 57,616. Despite the large spread, the race is not called because only 58 percent of the vote is reporting. The Alaska cut-off date for receiving ballots postmarked Nov. 3 is this Friday, Nov. 13. Therefore, it is presumed that we will not have a final declaration until the weekend at the earliest.

The North Carolina situation remains frozen. Sen. Thom Tillis (R) holds a 95,739-vote lead with all counted but those ballots that could come in through Nov. 12. It appears the universe of requested ballots not yet returned could only be a maximum of approximately 116,500. The ballots must now be in the mail stream as they would have to have been postmarked on Nov. 3. Mathematics suggest a Tillis victory will occur, but such a declaration is not yet official.

As we know, both Georgia Senate races will advance to their respective runoff elections on Jan. 5. The political battles feature Republican Sen. David Perdue (49.7 of requested ballots not yet returned) and Democrat Jon Ossoff (47.9 percent). The special election features Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock (32.9 percent) and appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler (25.9 percent).

The House races are not fully complete, as 24 contests remain in abeyance. At this point, Republicans have gained a net five seats among the 411 campaigns that have been decided. Of the remaining 24, the GOP candidates lead in 18, but many will likely flip back toward the Democrat as counting concludes. In the end, it is likely that the Republicans will gain between seven and nine seats, meaning they will hold 208 to 210 House seats as compared with 227 to 225 for the Democrats.

In the past few days, the following races have been declared and the winners are listed below:

AZ-6: Rep. David Schweikert (R)
CA-50: Darrell Issa (R) – Open Seat – Republican hold
GA-7: Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) – Open Seat – Democratic gain
IN-5: Victoria Spartz (R) – Open Seat – Republican hold
MI-3: Peter Meijer (R) – Open Seat – Republican gain
MI-8: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D)
MI-11: Rep. Haley Stevens (D)
MN-1: Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R)
MN-2: Rep. Angie Craig (D)
NV-3: Rep. Susie Lee (D)
NV-4: Rep. Steven Horsford (D)
NJ-2: Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R)
NY-4: Rep. Kathleen Rice (D)
PA-7: Rep. Susan Wild (D)
PA-8: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D)
PA-10: Rep. Scott Perry (R)
PA-17: Rep. Conor Lamb (D)
WA-3: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R)

The remaining races are still undecided:
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Election Day Results & Analysis

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 4, 2020 — Last night’s national election, as predicted, is now it in political overtime.

The presidential race won’t be decided for more than a day, and possibly not until all ballots are received and counted in Pennsylvania, which as of this writing could drift into Friday. The state’s post-election ballot reception deadline, is Nov. 6, at 5:00 pm.

It appears that former vice president Joe Biden (D) has the inside track to unseat the president, but Trump still has a narrow path to victory.

It is likely that the Republicans have held the Senate majority despite what appears to be a close loss at the top of the ticket. Defending 13 of the most vulnerable 16 Senate seats, the GOP may break even. Converting Alabama and leading in Michigan offsets the loss of seats in Arizona and Colorado. Four races remain undecided.

Republicans had a much better night in the House than expected. With 43 races still uncalled, a reasonable projection suggests the Democrats will return to the House with a majority margin approximately seven seats less than in the current Congress. This would make the new majority 226D-209R, and certainly put House control front and center for the 2022 election cycle.

In the 11 governor’s races, we saw one state flip from Democrat to Republican, the open Montana race that completed a Republican sweep of the top four statewide offices. At-Large Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) was elected the state’s new governor, replacing term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock (D) who lost the Senate race to incumbent Steve Daines (R).

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