Monthly Archives: June 2020

Rep. Riggleman Loses Re-nomination

By Jim Ellis

Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Manassas)

June 16, 2020 — Despite Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Manassas) being the incumbent representative for the state’s 5th District, losing his party’s re-nomination for a second term on Saturday came as no surprise.

Largely blamed upon his presiding over a same-sex marriage involving two of his campaign volunteers, Rep. Riggleman fell at odds with the district Republican Party leaders. Virginia has the most unique nomination system in the country. There is no standardized primary, and each set of congressional district party authorities can conduct a virtually autonomous process for choosing its partisan general election candidates.

The congressional district committees can nominate in a standard primary or through what they call a “firehouse primary,” where only a few voting places are established throughout the jurisdiction, or, in what often happens on the Republican side, a district convention. Usually the party leaders work with their incumbents to choose the system that will benefit the top officeholder in the region, but not in Riggleman’s case.

In fact, the 5th District Republican committee chose exactly what would be to Rep. Riggleman’s greatest detriment. Because of the COVID-19 situation, they were unable to host a typical district convention. Therefore, the committee adopted what they termed a “drive-in convention,” where the delegates would come from throughout the district to just one specific location, drive into a building parking lot, and cast their ballot.

The fix against Riggleman went so far as to hold the drive-in convention in the church parking lot of where his challenger, Campbell County Supervisor and Liberty University athletic official Bob Good, is a member. Campbell County is in the far western end of the district, near the city of Lynchburg, and is more closely aligned with the 6th District.

The location decision meant the vast majority of delegates, and everyone from Riggleman’s geographic strength, would have to drive several hours in order to simply deposit their ballot envelope. The 5th stretches all the way to the Washington, DC outer Virginia suburbs, but the main population anchor is in and around the city of Charlottesville.

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In Georgia, It’s Perdue vs. Ossoff

By Jim Ellis

2020 Georgia Democrat Senate candidate Jon Ossoff

June 15, 2020 — By the end of last week, enough returns were tabulated from Tuesday’s Georgia Democratic primary election to project that documentary film maker and former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff has secured the Democratic US Senate nomination with just over 51 percent of the statewide vote. He defeats former Columbus mayor, Teresa Tomlinson, and ex-lieutenant governor nominee, Sara Riggs Amico, to win the party nomination outright.

On election night and since, Ossoff teetered around and over the 50 percent mark, but finally cemented the necessary margin as the counted vote totals had exceeded 99 percent. Had he finished with just 49 percent, it was still possible that a runoff could have been avoided. Second-place finisher Tomlinson could have immediately conceded the runoff since it was obvious that Ossoff would have been a prohibitive favorite moving forward into an Aug. 11 secondary election.

You will remember Jon Ossoff as a candidate who ran in the 6th District 2017 special election when then-Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services and resigned from the House. The succeeding special drew national attention and resulted in Ossoff raising $36 million for the lone congressional race. Despite the huge resource advantage, Ossoff lost to then-former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R), who would in turn lose the next regular election to Democrat Lucy McBath.

For the 2020 Senate race, Ossoff’s fundraising is still good, but not nearly as impressive as when he became a national congressional candidate. For the current campaign, Ossoff attracted slightly over $4 million, significantly more than Tomlinson’s $2.5 million but well behind incumbent Republican David Perdue’s $13.2 million raised. All of the financial figures were current through the pre-primary May 20 filing deadline.

In 2014, David Perdue defeated Democrat Michelle Nunn, daughter of former veteran senator, Sam Nunn (D). While projected as a close race, and one that could even be forced to a post-election runoff (Georgia is one of the few states that requires their general election candidates to obtain majority support) Perdue won the seat by eight percentage points, 53-45 percent.

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GA-13: Rep. Scott in Runoff

By Jim Ellis

GA-13 Rep. David Scott (D)

June 11, 2020 — Voting problems in Atlanta delayed counting and reporting from Tuesday’s primary, but it is now clear that nine-term veteran Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) has been forced into an Aug. 11 runoff election with a candidate who spent less than $1,000 on her primary campaign.

With votes still being counted, Rep. Scott garnered only 46.8 percent of the vote to date, with the remaining 53.2 percent being divided among three Democratic challengers. Advancing into the runoff is former state representative Keisha Waites, who managed to attract 31.1 percent of the vote despite spending only $875.00 on her race.

In third place is former local county Democratic Party chairman Michael Owens (14.1% percent), who has previously challenged Rep. Scott in a party primary, while former East Point mayor Jannquell Peters finished fourth (8.0 percent). The latter two candidates have been eliminated.

Though tabulating continues, almost 88,000 votes have been recorded in this primary race, suggesting that turnout is robust. In the only recent Democratic primary from this congressional district, back in 2014, the total turnout was under 36,000 individuals. Combined, the latter two candidates, Owens and Peters, spent approximately $60,000. By contrast, Rep. Scott spent almost $900,000 so far on his 2020 political effort.

As mentioned above, the only other time Scott was challenged for re-nomination since his original 2002 congressional campaign came in 2014. The congressman defeated Owens in that year, 82-18 percent. In his nine general election victories, Scott has averaged 79.4 percent of the vote, including running unopposed three times.

The 13th District is a suburban Atlanta district that sits south and southwest of the city before moving westward and then north to encompass part of Cobb County. The CD contains all of Douglas county and parts of five others, including Cobb, Fulton, and Fayette. The Citizen Age Voting statistics record a 58.1% percent population figure for African Americans here as compared to 33.4 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

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Last Night’s Results

By Jim Ellis

June 10, 2020 — Voters in Georgia, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and West Virginia chose nominees last night or sent finalists to runoffs in the two southern states.


• GEORGIA: Former vice president Joe Biden clinched his party’s presidential nomination with an 83 percent victory in the Georgia primary and sweeping the state’s 105 delegates. By all counts, Biden has secured the 1,991 bound first-ballot delegate votes to seal the nomination.

In the Democratic US Senate primary, former congressional candidate and documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff looks to have fallen just short of the 50 percent mark to secure the party nomination. If the trend holds as the final votes are counted, he will advance to an Aug. 11 runoff election. After trailing former lieutenant governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico most of the night, ex-Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson appears to have secured the second runoff position in a close vote.

Logistical problems in the Atlanta area could delay the final totals, so whether Ossoff won outright and deciding the second runoff position are still not necessarily determined. It is likely, however, that a runoff will occur between Ossoff and Tomlinson, assuming the latter candidate chooses to continue. The percentage spread between the two is a lopsided 49-16 percent.

Numbers are also not final in the Atlanta suburban 7th District, but it appears that 2018 Democratic nominee Carolyn Bourdeaux, who came within 420 votes of winning the seat in that year, came close to avoiding a runoff with 46 percent of the vote. Should this trend hold, she will face state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero (D-Norcross) in the secondary election.

On the Republican side, retired Navy officer and physician Rich McCormick won the crowded primary outright as he topped 55 percent, an impressive total within a field of seven candidates. State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Gwinnett County) placed a distant second.

In the open 9th District, the seat that Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) is leaving to run for the Senate, state Rep. Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) and retired Navy officer Andrew Clyde will advance to the Aug. 11 runoff. Former US Rep. Paul Broun finished in fourth position. In this safely Republican northeast Georgia district, the runoff winner will clinch the general election.

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Primaries Today

By Jim Ellis

June 9, 2020 — While some national Democratic delegate counts show former vice president Joe Biden already reaching the 1,991 bound first-ballot votes he needs to clinch the party’s presidential nomination, others have him only knocking on the door.

The difference surrounds interpretation of state delegate selection rules and whether to count projected delegates in places like Iowa where state convention delegates have more authority to veer away from the original popular vote count.

Regardless of the count observed, delegate votes earned in today’s Georgia and West Virginia presidential primaries will certainly give him enough to mathematically clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.


• GEORGIA: The Georgia vote, with its 105 bound first-ballot delegates should alone be enough to put Biden over the top. The more suspenseful statewide race is the US Senate Democratic primary featuring the two principle candidates vying for the right to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R) in the general election.

Former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff and ex-Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson are the top two contenders, while 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico appears to be running a distant third. If neither Ossoff nor Tomlinson reach the 50 percent mark, and polling suggests the former is close to the majority mark, the two will runoff in a secondary election on Aug. 11.

A pair of major national congressional races are on the docket for today. In the swing 6th District, freshman Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) will face former Rep. Karen Handel (R) in a re-match of their 2018 campaign that ended in a 50-49 percent result. This year promises another tight general election battle.

In the adjacent open 7th District, both parties bring crowded fields in a campaign that was decided by just 419 votes two years ago. With Republicans having seven candidates and Democrats’ six, seeing both parties advance to runoff elections becomes a probable result tonight. This, too, will be a toss-up general election campaign.
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