Monthly Archives: September 2018

Delaware Primary Results

By Jim Ellis

DelawareSept. 7, 2018 — The First State voters chose their nominees last night, the 47th state to do so in the current election cycle. The nominating election was basically a non-event despite media reports attempting to hype the challenger’s chances. Sen. Tom Carper (D) scored almost a 2:1 victory over socialist Democrat Kerri Harris. Sen. Carper, running for a fourth term, posted a 65-35 percent win from a turnout of just over 83,000 Democratic voters.

The three-term incumbent will now face the GOP winner from last night, Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett who thrashed two minor GOP candidates with 67 percent of the vote. The general election is not competitive and Sen. Carper will easily win a fourth term in November.

In the House race, freshman Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) was unopposed for re-nomination. In the Republican primary, floral contractor Scott Walker scored a 53-47 percent win over teacher and actor Lee Murphy. As in the Senate race, this House campaign will be non-competitive and Congresswoman Rochester will easily win a second term on Nov. 6.

Delaware Today; MA-3 Still Undecided

By Jim Ellis

the-primariesSept. 6, 2018 — The nation’s second Thursday primary is underway today, as Delaware voters will choose their federal and state candidate slates. Also, yesterday morning in northern Massachusetts, former congressional chief of staff and businesswoman Lori Trahan held a news conference to declare herself the new 3rd District Democratic congressional nominee, but her victory dance may have been premature.


DELAWARE

The race of note today features state Human Relations Commissioner Kerri Harris challenging Sen. Tom Carper (D). Harris has raised only $120,540 through the Aug. 18 pre-primary financial disclosure period in comparison to Sen. Carper’s $3.6 million, and her effort is not expected to amount to a highly competitive Democratic primary battle. The Harris Campaign did draw support from New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whose political operation is actively supporting this long-shot challenge.

Sen. Carper was first elected to the Senate in 2000 and is completing his third term. He toyed with the idea of retiring this year but obviously rejected that course of action. Before his election to the Senate, Carper served two terms as Delaware’s governor and was the at-large representative in the US House for five terms after serving a six-year stint as Delaware state treasurer. Since his original election as treasurer in 1976, Sen. Carper has spent 42 consecutive years in elective office.

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Capuano Thrashed; MA-3 Undecided

Boston-City-Councilwoman-Ayanna-PressleyBy Jim Ellis

Sept. 5, 2018
— Ten-term Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) was unseated last night as at-large Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley scored a major 59-41 percent victory in the 7th District Democratic primary.

The challenger victory means that a total of four US House incumbents to date, two Democrats and two Republicans, have been denied re-nomination. The other three are Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Bob Pittenger (R-NC), and Mark Sanford (R-SC).

The 7th District is Massachusetts’ only majority minority district and Pressley, who is African American, successfully coalesced the minority communities behind her campaign. She was quoted last night as saying that while the situation is different than in New York where Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Crowley, the energy and momentum behind her own campaign greatly increased after the New York result became a national story.

Pressley demonstrated her ability in uniting minority voters, particularly in Boston where she is a known entity, despite the community leadership largely backing Rep. Capuano. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, former Gov. Deval Patrick, the Congressional Black Caucus, and most labor unions all supported Rep. Capuano. Polling never projected Rep. Capuano gaining majority support, but it also failed to foretell him losing and by such a decisive margin.

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Today’s Massachusetts Primary

Massachusetts congressional districts

Massachusetts congressional districts

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 4, 2018 — Bay State voters head to the polls today to choose nominees for federal and state office.

In the Senate race, Republicans will select an opponent for first-term Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But the question looming is whether she will quickly jump into 2020 presidential campaign immediately upon concluding her re-election in November.

Republicans have three candidates vying for the party nomination: state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Plymouth), former Department of consumer affairs director, Beth Lindstrom, and businessman John Kingston who has loaned almost $5 million to his campaign. All three have generated well into seven figures in campaign resources. But, whomever wins the nomination tonight will begin the general election in an obvious underdog position to Sen. Warren.

There are several US House primaries to be settled today. The most competitive incumbent challenge comes against ten-term veteran Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville). He is working to repel a challenge from Boston at-large City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley.

Presley is a strong candidate, having been twice elected citywide to the Boston Council. Most of the Democratic political establishment has fallen in behind Congressman Capuano, i.e., Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, ex-Gov. Deval Patrick, and major labor union leadership. This, in addition to his 20-year service record in Congress and as mayor of Somerville before coming to Washington, largely gives him the support base necessary to win another re-nomination tonight.

The latest publicly released MassInc poll (July 27-29; 403 likely MA-7 Democratic primary voters) gave the congressman a 48-35 percent advantage and showed Presley performing well in Boston, but not outside the city. Capuano’s margin in the non-city portion of the district, in places like Somerville and Cambridge, should be enough to carry him to victory tonight. Winning the Democratic primary here is tantamount to victory in November.

Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) is also facing a Democratic primary challenge in his western Massachusetts district. His opponent, Muslim activist Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, gains more media attention than campaign support, however. His finances show just over $112,000 in total receipts. Therefore, Rep. Neal should win easily tonight.

Retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas’ (D-Lowell) open 3rd District concludes a long Democratic primary featuring a myriad of candidates. The field is now down to ten candidates after three withdrew, and several are competitive.

Daniel Koh, former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Walsh, has raised more than $3.3 million and is one of the top candidates. But, the 3rd District doesn’t touch any of Boston, and coming from the state’s dominant city might not be viewed as a major positive within a field of so many more locally based candidates.

Other strong contenders include state Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), who wants to launch impeachment proceedings against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; former US Ambassador Rufus Gifford has raised more than $2 million for his congressional effort, while state Rep. Juana Matias (D-Lawrence) possesses strength within the district’s Hispanic community. Ex-congressional aide Lori Trahan is also running an active campaign and could become factor tonight.

The Republican nomination is decided. Business owner Rick Green is unopposed for the party nomination and poised to run a competitive general election campaign against tonight’s winner. The 3rd District is one seat where Gov. Charlie Baker (R) must run well to secure re-election, and he is on track to score a landslide victory. Therefore, Green taking advantage of the opportunity to work in conjunction with the Baker turnout operation here is a decided positive.

The 9th District will also yield a potentially competitive general election, which is another place where Gov. Baker must run up the score. Here, former chain convenience store owner Peter Tedeschi (R) is quietly putting together a viable challenger campaign opposite three-term Rep. Bill Keating (D-Bourne/Cape Cod) who has only averaged 53.5 percent in his trio of campaign victories.

The congressman posting his strongest showing, 55.1 percent, in his initial campaign yet failing to expand upon that number in subsequent re-election efforts suggests potential political weakness. Keating won re-election in 2016 with just 52.5 percent against an opponent who spent less than $1,000. The congressman faces anemic Democratic primary opposition tonight, while Tedeschi is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Gerrymandering Ruling in North Carolina Could Alter Majority

North Carolina Congressional Districts

North Carolina Congressional Districts


By Jim Ellis

Sept. 3, 2018 — Last week, the same three-judge panel that previously ruled the North Carolina congressional boundaries as unconstitutional did so again, well after the lines were re-drawn in 2016 to reflect one of their previous decisions.

Predictably, the two Democratic judges ruled to overturn the legislature’s map once again, with the lone Republican dissenting. This time, the ruling concerns political gerrymandering, after the panel originally tossed the map because of what they cited as “racial gerrymandering.” The North Carolina delegation has split 10R-3D since the original 2011 map was created after the 2010 census.

The latest action, coming at a time when the US Supreme Court has only eight members because Judge Brett Kavanaugh has not yet been confirmed to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, could stand if the high court fails to halt or invalidate the ruling.

If the decision remains, it becomes very unclear as to how the election would proceed. If the lines are suddenly unconstitutional, a new map would have to be set in its place. At this point, it is probable that the court would usurp the state legislature’s constitutional power and force its own map into law.

What happens to the candidates who won the May primaries, or even lost, as in the case of Rep. Bob Pittenger (R-Charlotte), remains in flux. It is likely many lawsuits would be filed, likely from candidates who won primaries but were denied the chance of running in the subsequent general election, to voters who would be disenfranchised after voting for a candidate who, after being nominated, no longer appears on the ballot because the particular voter has been arbitrarily shifted to another district, and every argument in between.

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