Pennsylvania GOP Senate Primary Still Undecided, Moving to Recount; House News Includes NY, PA, TX

By Jim Ellis — May 27, 2022

Senate

Dr. Mehmet Oz (left) leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes.

Pennsylvania: Recount Ordered — It’s now been more than a week since the primary election here and still no declared winner in the Republican Senate primary. Pennsylvania election authorities have already ordered election officials in the state’s 67 counties to begin the inevitable recount. Officials know the final unofficial count, which could be released as early as today or tomorrow, will be within the half percent that triggers an automatic recount.

At this writing, the numbers show Dr. Mehmet Oz leading former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes from more than 1.3 million ballots cast. The deadline for military, overseas, and provisional ballot reception was Tuesday. It is being reported that this is the closest primary in Pennsylvania’s modern political era.

House

NY-16: New Challenger for Rep. Bowman — Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker (D) announced her intention to challenge Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) in the upcoming Aug. 23 Democratic primary. Another Westchester Legislator, Vedat Gashi (D), is already in the race. Parker says the new district lines move Gashi’s political base outside the district’s confines, hence her becoming a candidate. Irrespective of this activity, Rep. Bowman is favored for re-nomination and re-election in the new 16th CD.

NY-17: Two Republicans Oppose Rep. Maloney — After state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) announced her Democratic primary challenge to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), two Republicans have jumped into the new 17th District campaign, state Assemblyman Matt Lawler (R-Pearl River) and Rockland County Legislator Charles Falciglia.

The new 17th is rated D+7 through the FiveThirtyEight data organization’s calculations. While the seat clearly leans Democratic, Rep. Maloney has attracted a great deal of attention since he announced against freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) instead of running just north in what is now the open 18th CD. For his part, Jones is now running in the southwestern Manhattan/Brooklyn new 10th District.

PA-17: New Poll Already Shows Toss-Up — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is already out with a new poll of the open PA-17 CD taken before the May 17 primary (May 9-10; 494 likely PA-17 voters; live interview & text). They project a 44-41 percent lead for their new nominee, election law attorney Chris Deluzio (D) over former local official Jeremy Shaffer, the new GOP nominee. When the DCCC first started releasing polling several years ago, the data was heavily slanted in their candidates’ favor, thus forfeiting credibility. In the last several years, however, their results have been closer to the mark, but still slightly slanted. Therefore, a DCCC poll finding Deluzio only ahead three points is a clear indication this race already begins in the toss-up realm.

Texas: TX-24, TX-15 — Two electoral contests from Tuesday remain uncalled and are very tight. In the 28th District, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) holds only a 177 vote run-off lead over opponent Jessica Cisneros (D). The Secretary of State’s released results show all precincts reporting, meaning ancillary votes arriving in the mail and provisionals are likely the only ballots remaining. A recount will probably be requested, but based upon the trends of where the remaining ballots lie, it appears that Rep. Cuellar’s slim advantage will likely grow.

Staying in South Texas, the Democratic 15th District runoff between businesswoman Michelle Vallejo and attorney Ruben Ramirez leans toward the former by just 23 votes. The voter pool at this point, however, is just over 12,000 individuals, an extremely low participation total. The final ballots can clearly tip this race to either candidate. The eventual winner will face Republican 2020 nominee Monica de la Cruz. The general election campaign will likely begin as a toss-up. If the Democratic decision is drawn out over a long period, de la Cruz would be staked to a key advantage in the early general election period. The FiveThirtyEight rating for TX-15 is EVEN.

Poll Shows Kelly Strong in Ariz;
Lee Declared Winner in PA Primary

By Jim Ellis — May 26, 2022

Senate

Sen. Mark Kelly (D) strong in new polling

Arizona: Sen. Kelly Strong in New Polling — Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling ran a survey of the Arizona electorate (May 12-16; 608 registered Arizona voters; live interview) and tested the top three Republican candidates against Sen. Mark Kelly (D). They find the senator leading each member of the trio by almost identical substantial margins. Against Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Sen. Kelly posts a 50-33 percent advantage. Venture capitalist Blake Masters similarly trails, 49-32 percent. Former solar energy company owner Jim Lamon is in the same realm, behind the Senator, 48-34 percent.

North Carolina: Rep. Budd Takes Early Lead — East Carolina University released the results of their post-primary statewide survey (May 19-20; 635 registered North Carolina voters; SMS text) that shows US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) opening the general election campaign with a substantial 47-39 percent advantage over former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) as the two battle in the open Senate campaign.

President Biden fares poorly on the job approval question. He is a full 20 points upside down in North Carolina, 35:55 percent favorable to unfavorable. Republicans, according to this survey, are up 47-44 percent on the generic question. Incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R) chose not to stand for a fourth term.

House

IL-6: Rep. Casten Leads in Paired Dem Race — An internal Garin Hart Yang Research Group poll conducted for Illinois Rep. Sean Casten’s (D-Downers Grove) campaign (May 12-16; 402 likely IL-6 Democratic primary voters; live interview) finds the poll sponsor developing a substantial lead over his paired Democratic incumbent opponent, freshman Rep. Marie Newman (D-La Grange). The GHY results give Rep. Casten a 36-27 percent lead heading toward the June 28th primary. According to the poll analysis, Rep. Casten has an all-encompassing edge over Newman including men, women, progressives, liberals, and moderate/conservatives.

NY-17: Dem State Senator to Challenge DCCC Chair Maloney — Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) continues to draw fire from his own party for entering into a paired campaign with freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) even though the latter man has moved to the New York City 10th District to seek re-election.

Late Monday, far left state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), granddaughter of the late ten-term US Rep. Mario Biaggi (D) who was both a decorated police officer and convicted of political corruption and accepting illegal gratuities thus forcing him to spend 26 months of his post-congressional time in prison, announced that she will challenge Rep. Maloney. Biaggi referred to the congressman as a “corporate, selfish Democrat” while criticizing him for the move against Rep. Jones. Sen. Biaggi represents a Bronx/Westchester district in the Senate, but originally declared for the Long Island/Queens open seat of US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) who is running for governor. Under the new court map and Rep. Maloney’s decision, she is instead launching a Democratic primary challenge for the newly drawn Westchester County anchored 17th CD.

PA-12: Victory Declared — On Monday, we indicated that state Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) was increasing her small lead over lobbyist Steve Irwin in the open Democratic primary but votes remained in a Pennsylvania counting system that seems to be moving only at a glacial pace. Yesterday, Lee was officially projected the winner. As a result, she becomes the prohibitive favorite for the general election over Republican Mike Doyle, and will replace retiring Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh), no relation to the new Republican nominee, from the downtown Pittsburgh anchored district.

And The Landslides Bring It Down

By Jim Ellis — May 25, 2022

Primary Results

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp turned back former Sen. David Perdue with an unpredicted landslide 74 percent win in what was clearly the most anticipated race of the evening. While polling showed that the governor would be re-nominated, a huge 74-22 percent vote spread was unforeseen. Considering where Gov. Kemp started after the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump piling on him up until the day of this vote, Kemp’s win was extraordinary within a primary turnout of just under 1.2 million GOP voters, the size of which has not been previously seen.

Also scoring big was Herschel Walker in the US Senate Republican primary. He won with more than 68 percent of the vote and now advances to face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. Sen. Warnock had only minor opposition in the Democratic primary and captured 96 percent of the 713,000-plus Democratic votes that have been recorded.

In the 7th Congressional District Democratic incumbent pairing contest, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) scored a huge 63-31 percent victory over freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee). The two incumbents became paired when the Republican map drawers decided to make the new 6th District safely Republican, thus forcing McBath into the adjoining 7th CD.

Alabama: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who former President Trump pulled back from endorsing because, at the time, it was viewed his campaign was going nowhere, rebounded to capture second position (29.2 percent) in the open US Senate Republican primary and advance to the June 21 runoff election. The first-place finisher is former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt (44.7 percent). Both defeated retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant (23.3 percent), whose self-funded campaign fell short of the mark in what was an expensive three-way race.

In the contested Republican gubernatorial primary, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) won re-nomination with 54 percent of the vote against eight Republican opponents. Here, too, GOP turnout was much higher than the Democrats’ — over 645,000 voters compared to 168,000. In both Georgia and Alabama, the Trump endorsements clearly lacked the punch we have seen in the other early primaries.

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman turned back three Republican challengers to win his re-nomination outright with 58 percent of the vote. All four GOP US House members were also re-nominated, though 2nd District Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) posted a surprisingly low 58.5 percent.

The open governor’s race produced no surprise. Former Trump press secretary and daughter of ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, won a landslide Republican nomination with 83.2 percent of the vote. She will easily replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the autumn election.

MN-1 Special Primary: The Minnesota special congressional primary to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) is also undecided. The Republican side now features a two-way battle between former state Rep. Brad Finstad (38.0 percent) and state Rep. Jeremy Munson (36.8 percent) with 88 percent reporting. The Finstad lead is 427 votes, which may or may not stand up as the final counting process proceeds.

On the Democratic side, former Hormel company CEO Jeff Ettinger won the party nomination with 64.3 percent of the vote over seven opponents. The eventual nominees will square off in a special general election on Aug. 9, a date concurrent with Minnesota’s regular primary election. Republican turnout so far surpasses the Democratic participation rate by almost a 2:1 margin, 35,330 to 18,392.

Texas: The Texas results featured a crushing defeat for the Bush family, as two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton swamped Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with a 67.2 – 32.8 percent margin. Paxton will now face attorney Rochelle Garza who won the Democratic runoff with 62.9 percent of the vote.

There are two unresolved congressional races at this writing. In one of the South Texas seats, veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) leads attorney Jessica Cisneros by just 177 votes with 94 percent of the expected vote recorded. Most of the outstanding vote appears to come in Cuellar-favorable counties, so it is more likely that he survives a very close primary and runoff set of elections.

In the contested open 15th District, in what could well become the most hotly contested general election in the Lone Star State, the Democratic runoff is still a long way from being decided. Candidates Michelle Vallejo and Ruben Ramirez are only 23 votes apart with just 50 percent of the counting reported. This contest could require quite a bit of time to decide. The eventual winner will face the 2020 Republican nominee, Monica de la Cruz, who easily won re-nomination outright back on March 1.

Moving to the open Dallas-anchored 30th District, State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) recorded a 60.6 percent runoff win to capture the party nomination in the safely Democratic seat. She will succeed retiring US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) in November. Johnson has represented the area in Congress for the past 30 years.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado to Take Oath for Lieutenant Governor; Will Resign Today — US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) will officially be sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor later today. Resigning the congressional seat just before taking the oath of office allows Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to schedule the special election to replace Delgado concurrently with the Aug. 23 congressional primary. The political parties will choose their respective nominees, meaning there will be only one election to fill the balance of the congressman’s current term. The new member then could seek a full term in the new 19th CD, which will be different in configuration to the current pre-redistricting seat.

Governor

Michigan: Top GOP Candidate Facing Disqualification — Media reports surfacing from Michigan are indicating that several Republican candidates, including polling front-runner James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, may fall short of presenting 15,000 valid registered voter petition signatures to qualify him for a ballot position. According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, 9,879 of Craig’s signatures were invalid for various reasons, leaving him well short of the 15,000 minimum number.

Another gubernatorial candidate, businessman Perry Johnson (R), is in similar position. The Michigan governor’s race is one of he premier statewide campaigns in the country this year, so with Craig potentially being ousted as a candidate, that’s a major developing story.

Pennsylvania Ballot Count Goes On; Ballot Issues in Oregon; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis
May 24, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania ballot

Pennsylvania: Related Court Ruling Could Add Votes — A three-judge federal panel sitting in the capital city of Harrisburg issued a ruling Friday on a Lehigh Valley case that relates to the current vote counting situation. The judicial action mandated the counting of mail ballots where no date appears on the carrier envelope. PA ballot procedure requires the voter to date the envelope before mailing. Immediately upon the ruling being announced, the Dave McCormick for Senate campaign sent a letter to all 67 county chief election officials reiterating the decision. The Dr. Mehmet Oz-Dave McCormick race is down to a lead of 1,070 votes for the doctor, suggesting that any new ballots added to the mix could theoretically help McCormick. It is unclear when we will see a final count publicized.

House

OR-5: Counting Stalled — Oregon’s 5th District ballot counting has ground to a halt because of a major malfunction in one of the district’s anchor areas, Clackamas County. Due to a reported bar code error on the printed ballots, election officials are having to record the votes of every ballot individually, punching a new ballot for each with the correct bar code. Hence, only 57 percent of the expected vote has been reported.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) is trailing badly, 60-40 percent in the Democratic primary, to former local city manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The congressman’s base is Clackamas County, but it appears, according to votes currently recorded there, that he won’t likely have enough support there to fully overcome his opponent’s large early advantage. If Schrader does lose, he will be the third House incumbent who fails to secure re-nomination, joining Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).

PA-12: State Rep Nearing Victory — One of the other Pennsylvania races that was too close to originally call was the open 12th District Democratic primary. Though she has not yet been officially projected the winner, state Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) has increased her small lead to 737 votes of more than 94,000 ballots cast. Her main opponent is lobbyist Steve Irwin, and Lee’s lead may now be too wide for him to overcome. The eventual Democratic nominee becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election and will replace retiring Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) from the downtown Pittsburgh-anchored district.

Redistricting

Florida: Congressional Districts Still Unclear — Legal wrangling among judges imposing and then lifting and then re-imposing stay rulings regarding the Florida’s congressional map may be decided this week at the appellate court level. It is increasing possible, however, that the state Supreme Court will become the final arbiter should the Republicans’ motion to fast-track the maps to the high court be granted. Many argue that fast tracking the maps is the only way to give candidates adequate time to campaign in districts with definable boundaries prior to the Aug. 23 primary election. Most of the objections pertain to eliminating the majority black 5th District of Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) that extends from Tallahassee to Jacksonville.

New York: Congressional Districts Enacted — Steuben County Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister approved the special master’s congressional maps with some changes, particularly in the Brooklyn area. The special master’s footprint helps Republicans to an extent, cutting their current delegation size from eight to five, which is one better than the Democratic map provided.

The new map does create at least five additional Democratic districts that will be competitive, and pairs Democrats Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) into a new 12th District. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) will move from his current 17th CD into a new west-side Manhattan 10th District where he will face former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and many others in a hotly contested primary. New York’s congressional and state Senate primaries are delayed until Aug. 23. The statewide contests and all other races will be decided in the previously scheduled June 28 primary.

Brooks Continues Momentum in Alabama; An Unusual Alaska Endorsement; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis
May 23, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Brooks With Momentum — US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) continues to make strong strides to capture one of the two runoff positions in Tuesday’s primary election. All polling suggests that none of the three top candidates will reach the 50 percent plateau to claim the nomination outright. The latest survey, from the Cygnal research group for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 15-16; 634 likely Alabama Republican primary voters), sees Rep. Brooks moving past retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant, while knocking on race leader Katie Britt’s door.

The ballot test breaks 31-29-24 percent (Britt, Brooks, Durant) meaning that all three candidates still have the potential of qualifying for the two-person runoff. Tuesday’s vote will undoubtedly be close. The eventual Republican nominee is a lock to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R) in November. The runoff election is scheduled for June 21.

House

AK-AL: Cross-Endorsing — Previously, the Alaska Republican Party endorsed businessman Nick Begich III in the special election to replace the late US Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) over former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R). Now, we see another unusual endorsement. Begich is the grandson of the late US Rep. Nick Begich (D), who died in a plane crash in 1972. This led to Young winning the special election in 1973. While Nick Begich III is following in his family’s footsteps in running for public office, he is doing so as a Republican. This move now leads his uncle, former US Sen. Mark Begich (D), to endorse Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant (D) in the large field of 48 candidates instead of his nephew.

Under the new Alaska electoral system, four of the 48 candidates on the June 11 jungle primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election.

NY-17: Internal Dem Chaos — Assuming the presiding judge adopts the special master’s redistricting map, it appears that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) has created a political hornet’s nest with his declaration that he would challenge freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), who happens to be African American, in the new 17th District rather than compete for the seat directly to the north, the new 18th District. Rep. Maloney said he is running in the 17th because that is where the map placed his home, but a substantial part of his current constituency also lies in the new 18th.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx) criticized Maloney saying, “I don’t think he should be DCCC chair if he’s going to challenge another member. It’s completely inappropriate.” Neighboring Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) was more critical. He said Rep. Maloney is trying “to dismantle and tear down Black power in Congress” and should run in his own district (meaning District 18).

Redistricting

Missouri: Map Adopted — Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed the legislation enacting the new Missouri congressional districts. With that, now New Hampshire remains the only state that has not completed the re-mapping process. The Missouri map is largely an extension of the current eight-district plan and will likely continue to send six Republicans and two Democrats to Washington. Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Ballwin) 2nd District becomes more Republican, thus stabilizing her seat. Interestingly, the legislature did not change the candidate filing deadline of March 29, so no new individuals can enter the congressional races even though the district lines are somewhat different.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey Back Over 50 percent — A new Emerson College survey (May 15-16; 706 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; and text) tested the governor’s Republican primary. In another poll, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) had dropped below the 50 percent threshold, but Emerson finds her rebounding in this study. Here, she captures 53 percent support, while developer Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, posts 21 percent preference and ex-ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, records 13 percent. All other candidates fall into single digits.