June 3, 2015 — Alcorn County Prosecuting Attorney and Iraq War veteran Trent Kelly (R), as expected, easily won the northern Mississippi special MS-1 congressional election last night to succeed the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R). The three-term congressman passed away in early February.
Kelly racked up approximately 70 percent of the vote against former Jackson mayoral aide Walter Zinn, Jr, (D). He won the endorsement of Rep. Nunnelee’s widow in the May 12 jungle primary helping him qualify for yesterday’s run-off election, and claimed 20 of the district’s 22 counties last night. He will immediately be sworn in, and serve the remainder of the current term. Rep-Elect Kelly will assuredly seek a full two-year term in the regular 2016 cycle.
The 1st District occupies Mississippi’s northern quadrant and houses the south Memphis (TN) suburbs, and the Tupelo and Columbus areas. Special election turnout unofficially tallied 98,254 voters, but the final canvass could produce totals closer to 100,000.
Zinn had little chance. With virtually no money, in a next to hopeless political minority, and spending his career in politics well away from the 1st District in the state’s capital city of Jackson, it was a foregone conclusion that Kelly would be victorious when he topped a field of 11 other Republican candidates in the May vote.
Only one House vacancy remains, that in IL-18, the seat then-Rep. Aaron Schock (R) resigned in March. A replacement will be chosen in September. The House now stands at 246 Republicans, 188 Democrats, with the one vacancy.
June 2, 2015 — The vacant northern Mississippi congressional district (Tupelo, Columbus, Memphis suburbs) will be filled today, as special run-off participants Trent Kelly (R) and Walter Zinn, Jr. (D) do battle in the secondary election.
The race shouldn’t be much of a contest. The 1st CD is heavily Republican and campaign resources greatly favor Kelly, the Alcorn County Prosecuting Attorney and Iraq War veteran who outpaced 11 other Republicans in the May 12 jungle primary. Zinn is the lone Democrat who filed, hence he was able to place first in the badly fractured field despite spending only $9,000 on his primary campaign effort.
Harper Polling released a survey of the race (May 28; 509 likely MS-1 voters), finding Republican Kelly with a big lead, as predicted. According to HP, the local Republican prosecutor would top the former Jackson Democratic mayoral aide 54-37 percent. This should translate into a victory margin approaching, if not breaking, the 60 percent threshold.
The district was left vacant in early February when three-term Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R) passed away. Filling this district tonight will mean only one vacancy remains, that being the IL-18 seat of resigned-Rep. Aaron Schock (R) who won’t be replaced until September.
Tonight’s winner fills the remainder of the current term and is eligible to seek re-election in the 2016 regular cycle.
April 6, 2015 — Familiarity is already returning to at least three congressional races. Two will be in the form of 2016 re-matches from last November, while a new special election appears to be a walk in the park for a recognizable family member.
Last week, former Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) announced that he will seek a re-match with freshman Rep. Will Hurd (R-Helotes) next year in the Texas swing congressional district that stretches from San Antonio all the way to El Paso.
After this seat was created in a special redistricting during the 1960s, the six TX-23 incumbents prior to Hurd winning in November were all eventually defeated for re-election. This is quite noteworthy when compared to a nationwide electorate that routinely re-elects almost all of its congressmen. Typically, well over 90 percent of House members who seek re-election win. Continue reading >
Now that Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R) resignation announcement has been absorbed and understood, the list of those who may or may not join the replacement field of candidates is becoming clearer, but the election system itself is not yet finalized.
State Sen. Darin LaHood (R), son of former US Rep. and Transportation Department secretary Ray LaHood (R), is now officially running in the upcoming special election. He enjoys high residual name ID – largely his father’s recognition, because the younger LaHood represents only part of Peoria County and a total of three of the district’s 19 counties – and establishment Republican support.
State Sen. Bill Brady, a former Republican gubernatorial nominee who lost to then-Gov. Pat Quinn (D) by just a percentage point in 2010, will not run, but his brother, Ed Brady, who operates the family home building business, chaired his brother’s gubernatorial campaign, and who formerly worked for Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential effort, is moving forward with plans to enter the race. Continue reading >
Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R-IL-18) resignation announcement Tuesday, at least for now, ends an impressive upstart political career. Winning a local school board post in a write-in campaign at age 19, Schock became the youngest public official in the state. Four years later, he ran for the state House of Representatives and defeated a long-term incumbent. At age 27, he became the youngest member of Congress in 2009.
However, after a plethora of news stories written consistently during the past two weeks detailed financial reimbursement improprieties over his federal expenses, Rep. Schock announced that he would leave Congress effective March 31. Though his unforced errors have sent him packing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make a future political comeback.
Once Schock officially leaves office, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) will have five days to schedule the replacement election. The nominating and general elections must all occur within a 115-day period from the time of scheduling. This means the special general will likely be placed on or about July 28, with the closed party primary elections somewhere on or around June 23. Continue reading >