Monthly Archives: February 2021

Nevada’s Harry Reid Re-Emerges

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 5, 2021 — Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is no longer in elective office, but it appears he’s still active in politics. Now, Reid has a new cause: making Nevada the first-in-the-nation presidential nomination contest.

Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

Reports suggest that the former party leader is lobbying Democratic officials to change the order of nomination voting. As we know, Iowa is the first caucus state to vote, followed by the New Hampshire primary. The Nevada caucus then follows, and then onto the South Carolina primary before Super Tuesday voting commences.

Reid, and others, are arguing that neither Iowa nor New Hampshire are representative of the core Democratic Party, and therefore should not receive the undue attention from being scheduled as the first caucus and primary despite tradition yielding such.

He points out that in 2020 the Iowa caucus system became colluded and poorly administered thus leading to a situation that even today it is unclear as to who actually won the caucus vote. While Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) received the most votes, it was former South Bend mayor and now US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg who came away with the most delegates.

In New Hampshire, Reid contends that the eventual nominee, and of course general election winner, Joe Biden, placed fifth in the Granite State Democratic primary before his candidacy was rescued with a big primary win in South Carolina. He fails to mention, however, that Biden also lost Nevada, coming in a poor second to Sen. Sanders (40-19 percent) and just ahead of Buttigieg’s 17 percent.

Since 1952, there have been 13 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primaries in races that did not involve a party incumbent. In only five of those campaigns did the Granite State voters back the eventual party nominee. The last time the state chose a nominee who went onto win an open or challenge race for the Presidency occurred in 1976. In that year, Jimmy Carter won the New Hampshire primary, and then proceeded to unseat then-President Gerald Ford in a close general election.

In reality, however, South Carolina may actually have the best argument about moving into the first primary position. The South Carolina presidential primary system began in 1988. Since then, the state has hosted seven such Democratic elections where no president of their party was seeking re-election. In its history, the eventual party nominee has won five of the seven Palmetto State presidential primaries.

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Another Delay in NY-22 Certification;
Rep. Ryan to Announce Senate Run

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 4, 2021 — After ordering the eight NY-22 counties to certify their final congressional election results by yesterday afternoon and now surpassing 90 days after the votes were cast, State Supreme Court of Oswego County Justice Scott DelConte has reversed course. Yesterday, he instructed the county election officials to suspend their certification process.

Justice DelConte said he now wants to consider at least until Friday the effect of 116th Congress incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) possibly winning his motions for legal relief at the appellate level after race leader Claudia Tenney (R) is certified the winner and takes office. This new direction suggests it could be several more weeks before we see a member sworn into the House from this particular Upstate New York district.


OHIO SENATE

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown)[/caption]Yesterday, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) indicated that he will officially announce a campaign for the state’s open Senate seat in March. Ryan becomes the first prominent Democrat to begin organizing a campaign.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown)

As we will remember, Rep. Ryan joined the Democratic presidential field attempting to approach the electorate from a union jobs, more centrist perspective. His campaign failed to gain legs and he dropped out well before the first votes were cast in the Iowa Caucuses. During his 10 terms in the House, Ryan has publicly considered running for lieutenant governor, governor, and the Senate, only to back away each time in order to seek re-election to the House.

This time, however, his statement is definitive about running, and such a move makes political sense. Ohio is slated to lose another congressional seat in reapportionment and there is reason to believe that Rep. Ryan’s 13th District seat could be the one collapsed.

OH-13 begins at the Pennsylvania border and immediately encompasses the cities of Youngstown, Niles and Warren. Then the district moves further west to capture more than 228,000 individuals in the Akron metro area. Most of Akron city is shared with Rep. Marcia Fudge’s (D-Cleveland) 11th District, which is the least populated CD in the state. The 11th will likely need an influx of about 100,000 people to become compliant with the projected per district population number for the current decade under the new redistricting plan when adopted.

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The Next Step in NY-22

New York’s Congressional Districts

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 3, 2021 — Late yesterday, by judicial order, the seven affected counties in New York’s 22nd Congressional District finalized and completed the verification process of their final vote totals, but that doesn’t end the process.

The seven entities with the challenged ballots and Tioga County’s long ago completed results will then be sent to the State Board of Elections for final certification. The process, however, could conceivably endure further delays in the capital city of Albany.

First, 116th Congress incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), who now will assuredly finish behind former US Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) in the final 2020 election count, has already filed an appeal to State Supreme Court of Oswego County Justice Scott DelConte’s ruling, asking for a hand recount of all ballots.

Second, as part of the 23-page judicial ruling directing the counties as to which votes must be added and subtracted from their counts because of eligibility rules, Justice DelConte indicated that his ruling is somewhat limited.

The Justice said he does not have the power either to order a new election or allow the 2,418 people who registered to vote before the Oneida County deadline but were denied ballots because election officials did not process their forms to vote post-election. Before the State Board of Elections, however, the final action could result in a different conclusion.

The SBoE is comprised of two appointed Democrats and a pair of Republicans. The panel is co-chaired by Democratic appointee Douglas Kellner and Republican choice Peter Kosinski. Nominees for the two co-chair positions are put forth to the governor from the partisan legislative leaders from both lawmaking chambers.

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NY-22 Vote on Brink of Certification

By Jim Ellis

Former New York Rep. Claudia Tenney (R)

Feb. 2, 2021 — After being suspended in political limbo for three months after Upstate New York voters cast their ballots, it appears that former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) is on the threshold of being declared the winner of the disputed NY-22 contest.

State Supreme Court of Oswego County Justice Scott DelConte issued his ruling late Friday after weeks of hearings regarding disputes over more than 1,000 contested ballots and 2,100-plus individuals who registered to vote in a timely manner but whose documentation were not properly processed.

Justice DelConte released a 23-page ruling detailing his findings. As a result, it appears his acceptance or rejection of various ballots and a decision governing the mis-applied voter registrations allow Tenney to increase her lead from 29 votes to 122.

The justice first ordered Tioga County’s election officials, the only entity from the eight-county district that had no issues, to immediately certify their final totals. From the remaining seven counties with outstanding ballots, those election officials were ordered to appear in court Monday to count or remove votes at the Justice’s direction.

Once completed, the DelConte ruling ordered the counties to then implement a final canvass and certify their results by mid-day today. At this point, the final results from all eight counties will be sent to the State Elections Board in Albany for final certification.

In summary, the original totals found the two candidates, Tenney and 116th Congress incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), separated by just 12 votes from the 317,727 ballots cast: 155,492 to 155,480, respectively, and including 6,755 votes for the Libertarian candidate. Through the ballot challenge period, we saw Brindisi moving ahead by 14 votes, and then back to Tenney’s most often reported 29-vote edge. It was only through Friday’s ruling when her advantage expanded to 122.

In all, 1,118 ballots were challenged. A total of 533 of those were withdrawn through agreement between the two campaigns, and after the two camps had resolved challenges to an additional 43 ballots. Three more ballots were “not preserved for judicial review.” Of the 609 challenges the justice considered, 470 were admitted to the count while 139 were rejected and ordered removed.

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Impeachment Targets

By Jim Ellis

Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY), one of 10 representatives facing primary challenges as a result of their votes to impeach Donald Trump.

Feb. 1, 2021 — Ten Republican House members voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump in January and already primary challenges are being announced against some, the most serious of which appears to be aimed at Republican Conference chair Liz Cheney (R-WY). A new poll suggests that she would badly trail a challenger in her presumed battle for re-nomination come August of 2022 in the at-large Wyoming Republican primary race.

Of the 10, seven already have announced Republican opponents, four of which appear potentially serious. The quartet facing what could become a serious challenge are Reps. Cheney, Tom Rice (R-SC), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and David Valadao (R-CA). The others with minor challengers are Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), and Peter Meijer (R-MI). Those seeing no announced challenger are Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI), John Katko (R-NY), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA).

As many as 1,000 people, according to the Casper Star-Tribune reporter covering the event, gathered at the Wyoming state Capitol in Cheyenne Late last week to listen to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach/Pensacola) and Donald Trump Jr., the latter via telephone, attack Rep. Cheney for her vote to impeach former President Trump.

McLaughlin & Associates released a new poll testing Rep. Cheney against one announced opponent, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie), and a presumed challenger, state Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper). The results suggest Cheney has serious internal political problems.

The McLaughlin poll was conducted during the Jan. 25-27 period and surveyed 500 general election likely voters. According to their data, Cheney’s re-elect score is only 13 percent, which drops to an even lower 10 percent when only Republicans are segmented. Paired directly with state Sen. Bouchard, Rep. Cheney would trail 54-21 percent.

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