May 1, 2018 — Just when we thought the number of special elections was lessening when Debbie Lesko won the AZ-8 election last week to replace resigned Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-Peoria), new vacancies are popping up.
Pennsylvania Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Chadds Ford), abruptly resigned Friday.
On Friday, Pennsylvania Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Chadds Ford), who had previously announced his retirement for term’s end, abruptly resigned when learning the House Ethics Committee was going to launch an investigation into the severance payment awarded to one of his staff employees. The source of this particular recompense was the special taxpayer funded congressional account found to cover members’ special staff settlements.
Meehan also pledged to repay the $39,000 payment that is the investigation’s basis within the next 30 days. Now that Meehan has exited the House, the Ethics Committee no longer has jurisdiction. He joins former Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) who resigned in early April also to avoid a congressional investigation.
Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Tulsa) resigned his seat in late April to accept his position in the Trump Administration as the new NASA Administrator. Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Allentown) says he will resign his seat at an unspecified date in early May, presumably because he will be accepting a position in the private sector. As we know, the late New York Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester) passed away on March 16.
April 10, 2018 — Four-term Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi), who had shelved his plan to run for re-election well before the March 6 state primary largely due to details stemming from a sexual harassment settlement, abruptly resigned from the House on Friday. Farenthold delivered his announcement via video during the middle of the day and left his position by 5 pm.
The resignation from his TX-27 seat had been rumored because the House Ethics Committee was about to conduct a further investigation into the harassment case and the $84,000 taxpayer funded settlement. Rep. Farenthold said earlier that he would reimburse the government for the payment, but records do not indicate the refund was made. By resigning, the Ethics Committee cannot continue the investigation because Farenthold will no longer be a member.
With now former Rep. Farenthold having left office early, five House seats will be vacant upon Pennsylvania Rep-Elect Conor Lamb’s (D-Pittsburgh) imminent induction. The others are: AZ-8 (Franks-R), MI-13 (Conyers-D), NY-25 (Slaughter-D), and OH-12 (Tiberi-R). All will be filled by special election before the current Congress ends, though the Michigan seat will be done concurrently with the regular election cycle and there is no announced schedule for the New York seat. The AZ-8 seat special general election is April 24. The OH-12 special primary will be held May 8, concurrent with the regular state primary. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to decide a replacement procedure for the late Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester).
The Texas succession situation is unclear. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has eight days to decide on a special election schedule. The post-primary run-off for both parties is May 22 for the now vacant 27th CD.
By Jim Ellis
March 20, 2018 — Veteran New York Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester) who, at 88 years of age was the oldest member of the House of Representatives, passed away on Friday after suffering a fall-related concussion earlier in the week.
Veteran New York Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester) | Facebook
Rep. Slaughter, a native of Kentucky, was first elected to the House in 1986 from a Buffalo-Rochester district where she unseated first-term GOP Rep. Fred Eckert. She held the seat ever since, and had announced plans to run again this year. Slaughter became the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee, a position she held while the Democrats held the majority from 2007-2011.
Her one close re-election call came in 2014, when she surprisingly survived by just 871 votes. She rebounded in 2016 to defeat the same opponent, Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini (R), 54-42 percent. Prior to her service in Congress, Slaughter spent two terms in the New York State Assembly and one in the Monroe County Legislature.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will now call a special election for the winner to serve the balance of the term and presumably run in the 2018 regular election. In accordance with New York election law, the Monroe County political leadership will choose party nominees. Therefore, no primary elections will be held.
FEB. 24 – Likely signaling a return to elective politics former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) late last week officially resigned his US State Department position, a necessary step for anyone planning to announce a political candidacy. It has long been surmised that Feingold would seek a rematch with the man who unseated him in 2010, first-term Sen. Ron Johnson (R).
Feingold was originally elected to the Senate in the Clinton presidential year of 1992, after spending 10 years in the Wisconsin state legislature. He defeated then two-term incumbent Sen. Bob Kasten (R) with a 53-46 percent victory margin. Six years later he faced then-Rep. Mark Neumann (R-WI-1) in what proved to be a much closer race than originally predicted. Feingold scored a close win over Neumann, 51-48 percent. He won a much easier 55-44 percent victory in 2004 before losing 47-52 percent to Johnson in the Republican wave year of 2010. President Obama then appointed him as a special US envoy to the African Great Lakes region.
Sen. Johnson has been commonly viewed as one of the more vulnerable Republicans standing for re-election in 2016. Wisconsin is a volatile political state, but historically has voted Democratic. Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) three consecutive wins and Johnson’s victory five years ago, however, suggest that the state is becoming highly competitive. In fact, since 2010, inclusive, Republicans have actually won four of the six Wisconsin statewide federal races. So, Feingold cannot expect an easy road back to the Senate. Continue reading >
The late Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R, MS-1). Photo Courtesy Facebook
FEB. 9, 2015 — The news that three-term Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R) tragically succumbed to a cancerous brain tumor on Friday at the age of 56 now means the northern Mississippi congressional district joins NY-11 in the 2015 special election category.
Under Mississippi law, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has 60 days to schedule the succeeding vote, and the election date must be no sooner than 60 days from the time Bryant acts. It is conceivable that the special vote can be linked to the state’s regular 2015 elections, but that would mean waiting until August.
The seat should remain in Republican hands, but the last time this district went to special election (May, 2008) Democrat Travis Childers scored an upset victory. Then-Rep. Roger Wicker (R) had been appointed to the Senate replacing resigned Sen. Trent Lott (R), thus necessitating a special congressional election. Continue reading >
Things continue to go badly for Democrats in the upcoming special election to replace resigned Staten Island/Brooklyn Rep. Michael Grimm (R).
Though Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) still has yet to schedule the election date, it is clear that Richmond County District Attorney Dan Donovan will be the eventual Republican nominee in this New York congressional district. The latest developments suggest he is now becoming a prohibitive favorite to win the seat, too.
Staten Island Assemblyman Michael Cusick was commonly viewed as the likely Democratic nominee. With polling showing him already 20 points behind Donovan, Cusick announced that he will not run for Congress after all. This leaves the Democrats with second-tier choices.
Coming into view is New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile, who is reportedly seriously looking at the race. But, Gentile is part of a continued losing Democratic formula in this district.
The 11th CD, formerly numbered 13, captures all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn. The Staten Island portion represents two-thirds of the district’s population, and therefore candidates hailing from there have the upper hand. Previous Brooklyn Democratic candidates such as 2014 nominee Domenic Recchia, a former NYC councilman, fared poorly in general elections … Continue reading >
The new 114th Congress will commence tomorrow with already one vacant seat in the House of Representatives headed to special election.
Despite Rep. Michael Grimm (R) saying he would not resign his US House seat after pleading guilty to one count of tax evasion in December, the man who scored a resounding 53-41 percent re-election victory only a month earlier in the face of a 20-count federal indictment will officially leave Congress.
That means New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will call a special election once the seat in the new Congress officially becomes vacant, which will occur during the body’s first session on Jan. 6th. Under New York election law, the governor must schedule the election between 70 and 80 days from the date of official vacancy. This means the special will occur sometime between March 16 and 26, 2015. The most likely prospects are Tuesday, March 17, and Tuesday, the 24th.
Also under New York election procedure, the local political parties will choose their respective nominee, meaning there will only be one election before the voting public. For a time, it looked like former three-term Staten Island Borough president James Molinaro might enter the race as a Conservative Party candidate, but the 83-year-old former local political leader is Continue reading >
Despite being under indictment for 20 counts of various financial felony charges, New York Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY-11) was handily re-elected (53-41 percent) to a third term in office last month, but he soon may be forced to resign.
Reports emanating from New York City indicate that Grimm will plead guilty to one count of felony tax evasion at a hearing later today. He obviously hopes to avoid a prison term, though a sentence of between 24 and 30 months appears highly possible.
Clearly, if he goes to prison Rep. Grimm will be forced to resign his congressional office, and most likely the felony guilty plea will make it legally impossible for him to continue even if he isn’t incarcerated. To become a congressional candidate, one must legally qualify as an elector. Since he will lose his voting privileges upon conviction, Grimm will no longer qualify to serve in Congress.
A pending resignation means Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will schedule a special election to fill the subsequent vacancy. The 11th District comprises all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn. Almost two-thirds of the district includes Staten Island, which gives us an indication as to why favorite son Grimm did so well in this district despite his legal problems. Ironically, despite his indictments becoming a major issue in the just-completed campaign, his 2014 performance was the strongest of his three winning efforts for the seat. Continue reading >
In the last major primary of the 2014 election cycle, nine-term Rep. John Tierney (D-MA-6) became the fourth US House member to lose renomination this year, thus ending his congressional career. Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton denied Tierney the opportunity of continuing as the Democratic standard bearer with a substantial 49-41 percent victory spread against a sitting incumbent.
The Tierney defeat is really a term late. With his wife being convicted of federal tax fraud for filing illegal returns associated with her brothers’ illicit off-shore Internet gambling business several months prior to the 2012 election, Tierney barely escaped losing to former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R). The congressman won re-election 46-45 percent, even after he stopped campaigning and spending money with weeks remaining in the election cycle because he thought he was finished. Though a surprise comeback winner in 2012, his inherent political weakness made him highly vulnerable against a strong Democratic primary opponent this year. Continue reading >