Tag Archives: Rep. Justin Amash

Another Vacancy

By Jim Ellis

Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath/ Rockwall)

May 26, 2020 — US Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath/Rockwall) of Texas, just confirmed as the country’s new Director of National Intelligence, has already resigned from the House meaning that the state’s 4th Congressional District will now be open for the general election.

Almost as quickly as Rep. Ratcliffe’s post-confirmation resignation occurred, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that he will not call a special election to fill the balance of the term. Therefore, the 4th District seat will remain vacant until the next Congress convenes in January. This is the third seat that won’t be filled this year, and it joins CA-50 (Rep. Duncan Hunter’s resignation) and NC-11 (Rep. Mark Meadows resignation) as incumbent-less seats until 2021. All three districts are safe or likely Republican.

Since the Texas primary was held on March 3 and Rep. Ratcliffe was re-nominated with majority support, the CD-4 congressional race will not advance to a July 14 runoff election. Therefore, the district’s Republican Executive Committee will convene on Aug. 8, according to Texas Republican Party chairman James Dickey, in order for the members to choose the party’s general election replacement nominee.

Because TX-4 is a safe Republican seat (Trump ’16: 75-22 percent — Ratcliffe ’18: 76-23 percent), this committee will almost assuredly be choosing the next congressman. And the eventual GOP nominee who emerges from the committee replacement process will have one of the easiest paths into the US House of any new member.

A large field of prospective office holders will declare their candidacies. Already announced are Rockwall City Councilman Trace Johannesen, retired Navy SEAL Floyd McLendon, Navy veteran T.C. Manning, and attorney Jason Ross. McLendon has already been on the ballot this year. He lost the 32nd District congressional Republican primary on March 3 to businesswoman Genevieve Collins who is now challenging freshman Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas).

Texas’ 4th District begins in the far eastern suburbs of Dallas, and then stretches all the way to Arkansas and along the Red River that forms the Texas-Oklahoma border. In between the cities of Rockwall and Heath in the southwest the district roams to Texarkana located in Texas’ far northeast corner. Along the way, small towns with well-known names appear, such as Atlanta, Naples, Paris, Pittsburg, and New Boston.

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Amash Forms Exploratory Committee

By Jim Ellis

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash

May 1, 2020 — It has been speculated upon virtually since the time that Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) left the Republican Party that he would enter the presidential race, and now he has taken the first step toward that end.

Amash made several announcements Wednesday. First, he is indeed filing an exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission to gauge his chances of becoming Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee. Second, he informed the Clerk of the House that he is no longer an Independent, but a member of the Libertarian Party. Third, he confirmed that he will not seek re-election to his 3rd District House seat.

Let’s look at the subjects in order.

It is not surprising that Amash is taking this step. The idea of him becoming the Libertarian presidential nominee was first raised when he became an Independent US House member early last July, and the congressman never expressly ruled out that he would eventually run for president.

Some argue that Amash being on the ticket as the Libertarian nominee could take rightward leaning independent votes away from President Trump and allow former vice president Joe Biden to slip past him in crucial states like Michigan. While the scenario might have some credence in an intensely close election, it matters little that Amash’s name is the one these particular voters would be choosing.

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Impeachment Politics

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 20, 2019 — As the most recent polling from national research sources and in key states shows President Trump gaining political strength, the US House last night, on a virtual party line vote, approved the resolution to send the Articles of Impeachment to the US Senate for trial.

The vote was 229-198, with three Democrats voting against the articles and one Republican-turned-Independent, Michigan’s Justin Amash, supporting the measures. Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who represents the 2nd District of Hawaii, voted “Present”. Three members, two Republicans and one Democrat, were absent. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) will soon resign his seat due to pleading guilty to a federal campaign finance charge. Retiring Reps. Jose Serrano (D-NY) and John Shimkus (R-IL) were the others who did not vote. All present and voting Republicans opposed the impeachment measures.

Two of the three opposition Democrats were expected to vote no, Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) who represents the strongest Trump district in the country to elect a Democrat to the House, and New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew who is about to leave his party to join the Republicans. The third no vote came from freshman Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), who represents the northern district in Maine that delivered its electoral vote to Trump in 2016 even though the state voted for Hillary Clinton. Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that choose to divide their electoral votes.

Two pollsters who had been showing national political support for the impeachment are now projecting a swing toward the opposite conclusion.

The CNN poll, conducted by their usual research partner, the SSRS firm, surveyed 1,005 adult respondents over the Dec. 12-15 period. A total of 45 percent of the respondents favored impeaching the president, while 47 percent said, “they don’t feel that way.” In contrast, their Nov. 21-24 survey found 50 percent favoring impeachment while 43 percent said they didn’t agree with the move. Previously, the CNN polls had reported positions consistently favoring impeachment since late September.

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The Politics of Impeachment

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 26, 2019 — With the House beginning the impeachment inquiry, it is a good time to overlay the political map regarding those Democratic members who may find themselves in a difficult position as a result of this procedure.

In all, President Trump carried 31 congressional districts that elected a Democratic representative in 2018. In 16 of the 31 CDs, 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also won. Additionally, the president carried 13 of the 31 districts by more than six percentage points.

To impeach, the Democratic leadership would need a minimum of 218 votes, and at the outset all but one will have to come from the majority side. Republican-turned-Independent Justin Amash (R-MI) left the GOP earlier in the year over the impeachment issue, so he is a likely “yes”, giving the leadership a little more cushion.

Turning back to the 2016 election, Trump carried Amash’s 3rd Congressional District with 51.6 – 42.2 percent victory margin, meaning this would likely be a tough vote for him, too, since he presumably will appear on the ballot as an Independent or minor party candidate.

In the end, however, should a vote proceed to the House floor, 15 of the 31 members listed below will more than likely have to vote for impeachment in order for the motion to carry.

With Trump being popular in their districts, 10 of the succeeding members with 2020 competition saw the President’s 2016 margin exceed six points. Three more with potential but as yet undeveloped competition, also saw Trump exceed a base six percentage point margin.

Therefore, one less than half of the following members will need to vote to impeach if the resolution is to move to the Senate.

ST-DIST INCUMBENT PARTY TRUMP % CLINTON % ROMNEY %
AZ-1 O’HALLERAN, TOM D 47.7 46.6 50.4
GA-6 McBATH, LUCY D 48.3 46.8 60.8
IA-1 FINKENAUER, ABBY D 48.7 45.2 42.5
IA-2 LOEBSACK, DAVID D 49.1 45.0 42.7
IA-3 AXNE, CINDY D 48.5 45.0 47.2
IA-3 AXNE, CINDY D 48.5 45.0 47.2
IL-14 UNDERWOOD, L. D 48.7 44.8 54.2
IL-17 BUSTOS, CHERI D 47.4 46.7 40.6
ME-2 GOLDEN, JARED D 51.4 41.1 44.4
MI-8 SLOTKIN, ELISSA D 50.6 43.9 51.1
MI-11 STEVENS, HALEY D 49.7 45.3 52.3
MN-7 PETERSON, COLLIN D 61.8 31.0 53.9
MN-2 CRAIG, ANGIE D 46.5 45.3 49.0
NH-1 PAPPAS, CHRIS D 48.2 46.6 48.6
NJ-2 VAN DREW, JEFF D 50.6 46.0 45.4
NJ-3 KIM, ANDY D 51.4 45.2 47.2
NJ-5 GOTTHEIMER, JOSH D 48.8 47.7 50.9
NJ-11 SHERRILL, MIKIE D 48.8 47.9 52.4
NM-2 TORRES SMALL, X. D 50.1 39.9 51.7
NV-3 LEE, SUSIE D 47.5 46.5 48.7
NY-11 ROSE, MAX D 53.6 43.8 47.3
NY-19 DELGADO, ANTONIO D 50.8 44.0 45.9
NY-22 BRINDISI, ANTHONY D 54.8 39.3 49.2
OK-5 HORN, KENDRA D 53.2 39.8 59.2
PA-8 CARTWRIGHT, MATT D 53.3 43.7 43.4
PA-17 LAMB, CONOR D 49.4 46.8 51.7
SC-1 CUNNINGHAM, JOE D 53.5 40.4 58.3
UT-4 McADAMS, BEN D 32.4 40.4 67.2
VA-2 LURIA, ELAINE D 48.8 45.4 50.5
VA-7 SPANBERGER, A. D 50.5 44.0 54.6

Red percentage figures: Denote districts Romney also carried

The Amash Factor

By Jim Ellis

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash

July 9, 2019 — Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Township) officially left the Republican Party as the 4th of July approached, but what does his decision mean for the 3rd District’s political future?

Rep. Amash has served his whole career as a Republican, being first elected in an open congressional seat back in 2010 after winning a state House district in 2008. Though he left the GOP, he did not affiliate with the Libertarian Party, which many expected. Still, he has the option of running for that party’s presidential nomination even if he does not serve in Congress as a Libertarian.

But Amash’s decision clearly changes the congressional race. If he ultimately decides to seek re-election, his decision to leave the GOP is somewhat curious, at least from an electoral perspective. At this point, already four Republicans have announced, with at least three of them clearly credible. Two are sitting state representatives and one an heir to the Meijer retail store chain that features more than 200 stores predominantly in the Midwest. With no run-off required under Michigan election law, a large competitive field would have played to Rep. Amash’s favor since the contest would have been a base vote nomination election.

Should he decide to seek re-election as an Independent, then all bets might be off. Under the same premise that a crowded field could have helped Amash win a Republican primary, at least a three-way general election candidate field could conceivably allow him to win re-election in similar plurality fashion. But, either major party candidate might have the same advantage making this a wild card race.

Additionally, the three-way set-up could put what is typically a reliable Republican seat in play for the Democrats. Should Amash and the eventual Republican split the right-of-center base, it is conceivable that the Democratic nominee could find him or herself in position to score the plurality victory.

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