Monthly Archives: February 2016

North Carolina’s New Map

Feb. 22, 2016 — Last week, the North Carolina state Senate passed a new congressional map, responding to a court-ordered directive to remedy what a three-judge federal panel determined to be an illegal draw in Districts 1 (Rep. G.K. Butterfield-D) and 12 (Rep. Alma Adams-D). The lines were struck down just 39 days before the state’s primary election.

The resulting map, constructed and passed within a 14-day period, is substantially different from the current map. It pairs one set of incumbents, likely causes two Republican House members to square-off in a primary election, eliminates an African-American district, makes several of the 10 Republican districts more competitive, and calls upon the Board of Elections to re-schedule the congressional primary election while nomination contests for all other offices proceed as scheduled on March 15.

Since the court in its ruling about the two original African-American majority districts declared there is no evidence of polarized voting in North Carolina, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act does not apply. Therefore, the Republican map drawers took the opportunity to break up the famous “I-85 district” that traveled from Charlotte up Interstate 85 to capture predominately black precincts in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and at one time, as far away as Durham. Greensboro’s Rep. Adams’ 12th District that the court invalidated is now eliminated. Adams will find herself in a new Republican-leaning 13th District, while the new 12th is fully contained within Mecklenburg County and will probably elect a white Democrat from Charlotte.

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Nevada and SC Numbers

Feb. 19, 2016 — All of the presidential campaigns head to the Nevada Caucus next Tuesday: the Republicans immediately after their South Carolina primary Saturday, and the Democrats before their own Palmetto State vote on Feb.  27.

A new Nevada Caucus CNN/ORC survey (Feb. 10-15; 1,006 adults; 282 likely Nevada Democratic Caucus attenders, 245 likely Nevada Republican Caucus attenders) finds Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) pulling into a virtual tie with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, trailing 48-47 percent.

Even a Sanders victory in Nevada would do little to help him close the delegate gap, however. It is likely that Clinton will actually gain a greater advantage, win or lose, because of her dominance within the Super Delegate category. Whether increased Sanders’ momentum from another strong electoral performance will help him in the Deep South is questionable. Such won’t be known until the following Saturday in South Carolina and throughout the southern region including Texas, the third-largest delegate pool (252) within the Democratic universe, on March 1.

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Two Signatures From Calamity

Feb. 18, 2016 — A brewing controversy is underway in the open Indiana Senate race, and it’s over whether literally two petition signatures are valid. Under Indiana election law, candidates for statewide office must file 500 registered voter petition signatures in each of the state’s nine congressional districts to qualify for the primary and general election ballots.

In the northwestern Indiana 1st District (Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Merrillville; Hammond; Gary), Republican Senate candidate Todd Young, the 9th District congressman, may be lacking two valid signatures on his submitted petitions, which may be enough to disqualify his candidacy. Young’s petitions are approved in the eight other districts, so his race status is coming down to whether two people on this one list are, or are not, legally registered voters.

Earlier, the county clerks who comprise the 1st District territory jointly and publicly reported that Young filed 501 valid signatures, or one more than the bare minimum. The Indiana Democratic Party, rejecting the Clerks’ report, instead responded by filing a complaint with the four-member Indiana Election Commission -– a body comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans -– claiming that Young only has 498 valid 1st District signatures. To give the challenge more legs, the congressman’s chief GOP statewide opponent, 3rd District US Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Howe; Ft. Wayne), joined the Democrats’ objection.

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Trump Bangs Independent Drum

Feb. 17, 2016 — Donald Trump is publicly accusing the Republican National Committee leadership of being “in default of their pledge.” Earlier in the cycle, Trump and the committee hierarchy agreed via signed document that no Independent candidacy would be launched should he fail to capture the GOP presidential nomination and, in return, the party leaders would not erect any artificial impediments or enact rules designed to gut his Republican candidacy.

Trump, the early GOP delegate leader, is crying foul over the audience loudly booing him several times during the CBS Republican presidential debate from South Carolina last Saturday night. The candidate claims the RNC gave all the live viewing tickets to “special interest lobbyists”, thereby stacking the audience in an effort to make him look bad.

Yesterday, Trump held a news conference and called upon the media to remember his comments pertaining to his view that the RNC is breaking the pledge. Trump was clearly putting the option of running as an Independent back on the table under the justification that RNC personnel had violated the agreement terms.

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Justice Scalia and the Presidential Election; Latest South Carolina Polls

Feb. 16, 2016 — The sudden death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend will have a major effect upon the 2016 presidential elections. Both sides will now emphasize base issues such as abortion and 2nd Amendment rights in order to energize their respective constituencies. The heightened political atmosphere could lead to the largest electoral turnout in United States history.

Expect the Supreme Court vacancy to dominate the political coverage for the rest of the year. The high court situation not only changes the open presidential campaign, but it puts new importance upon the US Senate campaigns because the Scalia replacement confirmation battle could possibly be delayed to 2017. Since neither party will have close to the 60 seats needed to invoke cloture, we can expect this contentious situation to be unresolved for months.

South Carolina

Two new polls were released over the weekend, from the American Research Group (Feb. 12-13; 400 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters) and CBS/YouGov (Feb. 10-12; 744 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters). GOP voters cast their ballots in the party-run primary this coming Saturday, Feb. 20, while their Democratic Party counterparts will vote a week later on Feb. 27.

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